North-East: Good rain and chill factor; Good flowering, strong flowers = reasonable fruit set; Pollination ensured a good crop; Most varieties were harvested;Heat impacted fruit size and firmness.
North: Expected good crop after chilly weather but was down 20%, possibly due to cold weather when flowering. Virtually no rain; Pack out was 80-90%; Larger and better quality from did not make up for low prices and decreased production. Down overall.
Yarra Valley: Good crop this year; Fruit to leaf ratio good; Some stress to trees from heat; Wet winter – rain covers 100% effective.
Cobram: Down 20-30%; Worst variety was Bing. All other varieties were good; Following high temperatures the fruit didn't recover.
Tolmi: Lapin – won't perform unless elevated 300m and the climate is cool;
Yarck: Average size due to heat; Sweetheart exceptional; Lapin good but needs to be managed
Boho: No heat damage but dry. Very good quality; Sweetheart exceptional.
Mornington Peninsula: Fruit sales are tourism based. All sold at farm gate. Farm gate price $12/kg Pick your own and $14/kg already picked. 6 million visitors wanting to pick cherries; 95-98% pack out; Pollination not great due to cold snaps; Season started off wet but dried off quickly; Downside – cost of a 10 acre block is $2-3 million to purchase.
Q & A Forum
The Q & A forum was facilitated by Tim Jones and forum speakers were Steve Chapman, Bill Ashcroft (DPI), Michael Aumann, Michael Rouget, Steven Riseborough and Trevor Holmes.
Issues raised included: Grower Levies; Management of Fruit Fly Outbreaks; National Marketing Campaign and Strategies – including grower funded radio campaign; Melbourne Market Report; Market Access; Integrated Pest Management
Day 2 once again provided perfect weather in travelling to Cherry Hill Orchards and Koala Country Orchards for orchard tours and on farm demonstrations.