Mango season both bitter and sweet
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.