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More rain for Australia's grape growers

A Sydney-based export company will be monitoring the rainfall in the country’s south over the weekend, hoping that it does not cause a short-term shortage of grapes.

"The company, which sources most of its grapes from the Sunraysia region says the current rainfall is not necessarily a bad thing, as long as it does not hang around for too long.

"They have had about 40 millimetres of rain, so it will be interesting to see how it goes from that," an export agent said. “It’s been so dry, a little bit of rain actually livens vines up and cleans the fruit.

We are extremely late this year, so we are running into other country’s supply, which is going to be difficult because we are a high cost producing country. So after this rain, everyone is going to have to be diligent of checking before it leaves the farm. But as for the market it should be winding down, but there is so much fruit to come."

He says the seedless watermelons have also become a bit tight for suppliers at the Brisbane markets, especially since Cyclone Debbie, which hit the Central Queensland coast late last month.

"They (the wholesale agents) obviously find other areas that they source from, but the market is always reflective of any surplus supply or shortage," he said. "So obviously things go up, and as the agents see volume coming through and the fact that it is slowing down, they put the cost up as there is more demand."

But he says it is a difficult time to gauge the full impact of the disaster at the moment, because of the change in seasons.

"There is this changeover from southern to northern, and there's always this gap that is happening now. I am hearing that there was not as much damage (as expected), but at some stage there could be repercussions to the winter vegetable season."

He said that vegetables generally have been slightly higher recently, with a reduction in quality.

Supermarket giant Woolworths has also admitted that it is also experiencing problems, due to the colder than expected conditions in the nation’s south.
"We can confirm that due to extreme weather conditions in Victoria we are currently seeing pressure on the supply of lettuce, tomatoes and broccoli in the short term," Paul Turner, Woolworths Produce Merchandise Manager said.

"We continue to work with our local growers and suppliers and monitor the situation closely."

The cold weather has also impacted on the numbers of rockmelons coming in from New South Wales over the past fortnight, according to the export company.
Author: Matt Russell

Publication date: 4/21/2017
Author: Nichola McGregor
Copyright: www.freshplaza.com


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