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AU: Mango numbers down significantly for one Queensland grower
The warmer than usual winter has had an effect on mango production for one Queensland grower, who says his forecast volumes could be down as much as half of last year's totals.
The Australian Mango Industry Association has reported increases of up to 15-20 per cent on forecast figures from some growers across northern Western Australia, the Northern Territory and parts of Queensland that have finished, or are close to finishing their harvesting.
But John Warren from Makhoma Farms, near Bundaberg, says for his business the extra heat throughout the growing season came on top of heavy pruning, and has meant less fruit will be picked in 2017/18.
"Volumes are down a great deal from the previous year," he said. "The main reason I suspect was the warmer than usual winter in 2017. The warmer winter caused early flowering of the mangoes, and when it cooled down only in August, the flowers that had not set into fruit suffered in the later cooler temperatures. We also had large volumes of rain and storms later in the season once the fruit had developed which then caused fruit-splitting and rub marks from too much water and strong winds."
Makhoma Farms sends the majority of the fruit to the central markets in Brisbane and Sydney, and from there the agents sell the fruit to local and international buyers.
"The term 'Australian Mangoes' carries a certain weight and is associated with a quality product," Mr Warren said. "We like to uphold this reputation and ensure that any fruit destined for export is especially clean and unmarked. I cannot speak for all growers but I believe that the weather conditions around this region have affected us a great deal."
In 2017 Makhoma purchased and installed a new grading machine to allow them to process and pack all of their own produce. The mango farm is spread over 100 acres with 4,000 mature mango trees, the majority of which are R2E2.
"We also have Kensington Pride, Palmer, Keitt and a variety called 'Bundy Special' which this farm has the breeding rights for," Mr Warren said. "We also have 1,200 Custard Apple trees and a handful of Lychee trees. At another location we have an established Avocado orchard with approximately 8,000 avocado trees."
The main mango season is expected to last through until mid to late February.
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