Crop diversity rewards
DIVERSIFYING crops has a number of added benefits for producers that include not just the market advantages but also those that flow on to employees.
Benyenda Citrus owner and Gayndah producer Chris Benham said being able to use multiple crops was a big advantage to her citrus business.
“We have our main crops of imperial and murcott mandarins but it’s bad to put all of your eggs into one basket,” Mrs Benham said.
“We have just about everything you can name here ... lemons, grapefruit, lime and oranges, we have everything, so when something isn’t doing really well and the others come into production we can always diversify and go ahead.”
Mrs Benham said another big advantage was being able to keep their seasonal workers on.
“When the price drops out of something we don’t want to see the backpackers have to leave early and then bring a whole new crew in,” she said.
“So we go out and pick another variety or do some pruning while we wait for the next variety to come in.
“We try to accommodate for our seasonal workers from the beginning right to the end of the season.
“We have a close relationship with our workers. It’s about more than just the labour, they inject extra culture here.”
The Benyenda lemon crop is just about completely picked for the season, with more mandarins ready to harvest.
“We still have a few lemons left but we have basically finished up with them and now we have our low-seed murcotts and others to come in about a week or so,” Mrs Benham said.
“Most people who are growing low-seeded murcotts will be about ready soon, too.”
❝ When the price drops out of something we don’t want to see the backpackers have to leave early. — Chris Benham
ALL SMILES: Backpacker Nils Richter is working at Benyenda Citrus this season and enjoys the variety of work.