Tablelands starts picking
TABLELANDS mango growers can look forward to higher returns this season as a smaller crop keeps prices firm.
The Mareeba-Dimbulah region is expected to deliver 1.95 million trays – the most in Queensland – despite poor growing conditions.
Dimbulah farmers have started picking, with Mareeba growers to follow in the coming weeks and the harvest to peak over the New Year.
“The prices should be a lot firmer this year and returns for farmers should be higher than normal,” said Australian Mango Industry Association (AMIA) Far North Queensland director John Nucifora.
“The cost of production in a year like this is very high because of there’s less volume per hectare, but the firmer prices will make it sustainable.”
A mild winter and poor wet season stunted growth in mango orchards across the Tablelands, and production is down right across the country, particularly in the KP variety.
AMIA chief executive Robert Gray estimated the national crop at 7.5 million trays.
“Certainly in Mareeba and central Queensland the KP crop is down at least 30 per cent in some areas, maybe more,” he said.
“KP represents about 50 per cent of the total crop, the other 50 per cent is made up predominantly of R2E2, Keitt, Calypso and Honey Gold, so they’re picking up some of the slack.”
Mr Nucifora is bucking the trend with a possible record crop as more trees come online. Like other farmers on the Tablelands, he is praying for rain as Tinaroo Falls Dam dwindles to about 34 per cent.
“Our future looks very grim if we have another dry season,” he said.
Despite a looming water shortage, Mr Gray said the future is bright for Far North mango growers.
“They produce a very high quality, high flavour product that is quite unique in the world and it’s the last seasonal fruit in Australia, so shoppers can’t get enough of the product,” he said.
“For growers that are producing great quality, and the majority are, there’s a real opportunity for them to expand their businesses, both domestically and internationally, over the coming years.”
Dimbulah mango growers have started picking and Mareeba is about to come online. Australian Mango Industry Association Far North Queensland Director John Nucifora with his crops.