Abysmal season for fruit growers
LOCAL fruit growers are hoping the current spell of cool, dry weather continues following an abysmal crop from most of their varieties over the past 12 months.
“We didn’t have a crop at all for a lot of our fruits,” co-owner of the Botanical Ark Alan Carle said.
“Our commercial crops, the mangosteen, rambutan and durian, they all failed.
“They all produced bumper crops the year before, so you expect it to be a bit light the next year, but we got nothing.
“Of the other 200 or so species we have that are mature enough to fruit, probably half of them produced a crop.”
Mr Carle said the constant wet weather, while promoting woody growth, has not produced the stress required to produce bonanza crops.
However, pests are still plentiful.
“The flying foxes and cockatoos have been hungry too, so we’re not harvesting as much as we’d like,” Mr Carle said.
North of the Daintree River at the Cape Trib Exotic Fruit Farm, Alison Gotts and her husband Digby have been contending with a massive increase in the number of feral pigs.
“The other night, we had about seven pigs walk straight past the cabins,” Ms Gotts said.
The only exception to the local fruit crop failure has been the calak, or snake fruit.
The fig-sized Indonesian fruit has been fruiting prolifically this year.
Both the Gotts’ and the Carles have reported bumper crops of calak this year.
“We’ve been picking since November,” Ms Gotts said.
“It’s the first time we’ve got a crop from them.”
Family bonding: Gerard, Angelos Snr and Jnr, Lucia, and Therese Puglisi picking their cocoa crop
Tough year: local tropical fruit growers have struggled to harvest a crop this season