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Greg Chislett - Chislett Farms
"People were just scrambling for more Australian Navels"This year has seen record volumes for Australian citrus and it is still in big demand despite the good harvest.
"The season is almost done, Navels and mandarins are finished, but we are still picking a few lemons," explains Greg Chislett from Chislett Farms.
He said they have had very good growing conditions with high yields, even record yields and eating quality is very good, as are prices.
"Our Chinese market has performed very well, and my son who has just been on a trip to China with Mildura Fruit Company, who market our fruit, said everywhere they went people were just scrambling for more Australian Navels," said Greg. "I'm told they are also paying around $60 per box which is quite a lot and more than the domestic market, but of course there are extra costs to export."
Greg said they are always expanding their citrus area, planting more Late Navels and the red fleshed Navels, Cara Cara and Kirkwood Red which are very popular in China.
Greg discovered the M7 variety in one of his orchards a few years ago and now it is being commercially marketed and according to him it is a big success.
"The Australian growers had a very good season with the M7 variety, yields were very good, one grower got 50 tonnes per hectare on eight year old trees and around $1000 per tonne returns. This variety is popular in all markets, but is especially popular in China as it is has good flavour and high sugar levels."
At the moment there are 600 ha grown in Australia, 65 by Chislett Farms.
But Greg is not keeping this new variety to himself, "We have our own nursery here and we sell trees to other growers. On the scale of things Australia is a small producer and you need a big volume to make an impact on the market."
He has no immediate plans to grow in other countries.
The M7 is ready early May, but could be harvested in Apri. However, Greg prefers to wait until it is fully tree ripe and the eating quality is guaranteed.
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Tel: +61 3 5038 8238
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