AU: Top End mango farmer expects crop to be down 30% after bad weather

A Top End mango farmer, part-way through harvesting, expects her crop will be down 30 per cent on what was originally forecast.

Tou Saramat Ruchkaew started picking at her Acacia Hills farm, Tou's Garden, in August and is now about 65 per cent of the way through.

Ms Ruchkaew said the weather had presented many challenges this season, which had impacted her harvest.

"We have had hot and cold, hot and cold [weather] about four times [which has caused] four flowering systems, so the picking has been very challenging," she said.

"We have had to stop and start, stop and start.

"I have been farming since 1992 and I have not seen this this season has been quite different."

The multiple flowerings have meant the maturity of the fruit on each tree differs, making it difficult to manage.

"Some of the flowering needs spraying. The small fruit needs a different type of fertiliser and the older fruit needs different spraying, so it is hard to manage this year," Ms Ruchkaew said.

"We have been picking one tree three or four times, so the cost of the picking is very high."

Ms Ruchkaew said in some cases, the multiple flowerings had killed the fruit.

"My thought as a farmer is every time we see the flowering, the trees start aborting the fruit or slow the process," she said.

This year's poor mango season at Tou's Garden is in contrast to other farms in the region and below what was forecast for the Acacia Hills farm.

Ms Ruchkaew said she had expected to have a good season, given the good wet season at the start of the year.

"We will probably produce 10 per cent less than last year, which we were expecting to have 20 per cent more [fruit] this year, so we expect we will lose 30 per cent," she said.

Currently 80,000 trays of mangoes have been harvested from Tou's Garden, with another 50,000 trays expected to be packed in the next three weeks.

Read more at abc.net.au

Publication date: 10/2/2017


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