Mango sea­son both bit­ter and sweet

Warwick Daily News - South West Queensland Rural Weekly - - Rural Weekly - Alexan­dra Laskie news@ru­ral­

AUS­TRALIAN mango farm­ers har­vested a record crop this sea­son, pick­ing an in­dus­try high of al­most 11 mil­lion trays.

But the 2017-18 sea­son wasn’t all good news for grow­ers, with a glut in De­cem­ber de­press­ing do­mes­tic prices for the sum­mer fruit.

Aus­tralian Man­goes chief ex­ec­u­tive Robert Gray said the in­dus­try packed more than

10.6 mil­lion trays be­tween the be­gin­ning of the sea­son in Au­gust last year to April, when the last of the fruit was picked.

The sea­son’s crop was up about 15 per cent on the pre­vi­ous year, when about

61,500 tonnes was pro­duced. “For the ma­jor­ity of grow­ers this was a good vol­ume year and a good price year, which equates to a good profit year,” Mr Gray said.

“But un­for­tu­nately we didn’t have that ev­ery week, with a pe­riod in De­cem­ber when we had high num­bers (of man­goes) and low prices for some re­gions and va­ri­eties.”

Grow­ers in Bur­dekin, Bowen and Ma­reeba saw their crops ripen around the same time, lead­ing to fruit from the dif­fer­ent re­gions flood­ing the mar­ket, and do­mes­tic re­tail prices be­low the cost of pro­duc­tion for about three weeks.

Mr Gray said the mango in­dus­try’s data fore­cast­ing sys­tem didn’t pre­dict the glut.

“The fruit comes on very quickly and if it moves early by one week, it af­fects a third of your pick­ing and that vari­a­tion in tim­ing is driven by the weather,” he said.

“So to a de­gree it’s out­side of our con­trol.”

Plant­ings of new va­ri­eties such as honey gold, R2E2, ca­lypso and keitt are ma­tur­ing and bear­ing more fruit.

Mr Gray said the in­dus­try body will work more closely with grow­ers next sea­son to help pre­dict a more ac­cu­rate har­vest.

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