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AU: Rain dashes hopes of dried grapes

Last month's rain has caused significant damage to grape crops in northern Victoria, that had originally looked promising.

Botrytis has caused varying degrees of damage to dried-grape crops in Sunraysia.

Dried Fruits Australia development officer John Hawtin said the fungus damage had hit the premium variety sunmuscat particularly hard.

"Some growers are claiming up to 80 per cent of their sunmuscats are ruined," Mr Hawtin said.

The industry had managed to bounce back somewhat this year, after a poor performance, generally, over the last 10 years related to drought. Now the other extreme has threatened to throw just as much difficulty at growers.

Mr Hawtin has been mapping the extent of the damage. He said: "I don't think it is going to be super-significant to the total crop but we don't know yet."

Some parts of Sunraysia had received several days of consistent rainfall, ensuring grapes there were completely ruined.

"We didn't get the huge numbers like the North East, but it came at the wrong time of the season and over several days, and the crop didn't get a chance to dry." Sunmuscat makes up about 2000 tonnes of the promised 14,000 tonne dried-fruit crop.


Publication date: 3/28/2012


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