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South Australian stonefruit growers report good quality for 2014 crop

The quality of this year's stonefruit crop is better than last year, and growers are seeing good prices as the season gets underway, according to a South Australian industry body.

Last year strong hot winds saw tonnes of fruit from the South Australian Riverland downgraded due to blemishing, but those winds have not been as problematic this year.

The apricot harvest started around three weeks ago, and now nectarines, peaches, cherries and plums are all being sent to market from the Riverland, located 200km north east of Adelaide.

The president of the South Australian Fresh Fruit Growers Association, Jason Size, says prices are starting to drop off as more fruit comes off the trees.

"Apricot prices seem to be strong still, and that's probably an indication this year's crop is a bit lighter," he said. "Prices for peaches and nectarines are starting to ease because there's a lot more volume than we did this time last year."

The fresh fruit industry has watched nervously for the past couple of years, as financial troubles have plagued the canning and processing industry.

There have been fears that more growers could divert fruit to the fresh market if companies like SPC Ardmona reduce the amount of fruit they process.

But Mr Size says over the past couple of years, those concerns haven't become a reality for South Australian growers.


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