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Tasmanian fruit growers confident heavy rain will help cherry crop

Heavy rains over recent days have failed to damage the state’s cherry crop.

John Woodhouse, of Kings Rock Cherries at Magra in the Derwent Valley, said his property copped 21mm over a 24-hour period, with 7mm of that swamping the property for three minutes, but his crop remained viable.

“I’ve had the agronomist in this morning and he’s happy. The crop is looking OK as the fruit is starting to turn from green to red as we near harvest,” he said.

“The heavy rain didn’t hurt, but an extended soak over weeks could cause damage.

“We won’t know the yield of the crop until we pick, but extreme weather events can affect a crop quite quickly.”

Fruit Growers Tasmania business development manager Phil Pyke said the rain was not a problem at the moment and would only cause concern if it hit hard just before harvest.

The local cherry season starts mid to late December and continues through to late February. The peak of production is through mid to late January.

Tasmania has a later growing season than interstate and a strong export focus.

Local cherries are exported to more than 20 countries.

Asian demand for cherries always exceeds supply.

“Any glut of interstate cherries could affect smaller growers selling into local markets but, because Tasmania has a late season, growers manage to get a better price and we have the advantage of the export markets,” Mr Pyke said.

Publication date: 11/28/2017


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