Fruit for you 12 Dec 2010

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The recent rain, blackouts and floods have not been great for us in the Riverland.

We had almost 7" overnight Tuesday, others had between 5" and 9". Stone fruit seems to have fared reasonably well and we are not seeing many problems yet.

Some growers report that Valencia oranges were pretty well ruined, others say not too much damage; growers can get onto their properties today to check; however I am not hopeful of being able to deliver oranges this month, we will need to wait and see the result. Pumpkin has gone. The rain, heat and humidity have ruined those stored outside under cover and the blackouts (every night for three consecutive nights; the longest being for about 19 hours); stopped growers being able to safely store in a cool environment.

Generally the produce for next year should remain substantially unchanged as growers clean up, sort out, and get on with the business of doing the best we can.

The grain and cereal crops have been far worst hit.

Grape growers have a major problem as they need to spray now for mildew and many have no cash reserves left to purchase the necessary chemicals and the banks are hesitant to increase overdrafts because the wineries have not yet released the indicative prices for next year’s harvest.

Things will become clearer as the ground dries and we actually assess the situation.

Of course, the rain has had no effect on the locust problem, the Government removing our right to use carry over water that we have paid for ,combined with water restrictions on growers – yes still – and the massive amounts of water in the system, has resulted in water dropping from a high of $1200/megalitre a few years ago to about $95 prior to the Government’s announcement to $20 after they announced carry over will not be available next year and any not used will be lost. Many farmers borrowed to buy water to maintain their crops –they still have the debt and no viable way of recovering the cost.

Things are difficult, but not impossible.

Hope this answers your questions.