NT mango harvest restarts, volume up

The Northern Territory mango harvest is due to restart this evening, as grower Piñata Farms is preparing to recommence harvest of its Honey Gold mangoes following a 10-day break. “We did a select pick last week, and finished that on Friday with about 4,000 trays. We’ll be restarting a full harvest tonight,” says Managing Director Gavin Scurr. 

The crop will be up on last year, and Mr Scurr expects at least 200,000 more trays will come out of the Northern Territory before more Queensland orchards come on line. “Once we start tonight we’ve probably got another four solid weeks of picking around Katherine and Mataranka,” he adds. 

The good volume coming from the Northern Territory is enough to fulfil supply requirements, and keeping prices sustainable for growers, according to Mr Scurr. “Prices are currently very high. Good fruit is scarce and is worth a lot. I think this year will be a fairly good price across the season.” 

Pinata farms also has mango orchards in Queensland, in Caboolture, an area that was hit by hail 10 days ago, marking some fruit, but the Rockhampton fruit is looking ‘very reasonable’ in the lead up to that harvest, according to Mr Scurr. “We also have third party arrangements with growers in Bowen and Mareeba in Queensland, and from an industry perspective Mareeba and other areas are looking ok too.”

This mango season has been challenging for Northern Territory growers in particular, with split flowering, but Piñata Farms has managed the situation with Near Infrared Technology, which it has purchased for use on fruit still on the trees. “We’re a little later starting in Northern Territory, but once we do, we’ve got consistent cropping and volume,” Mr Scurr adds. “Flowering does happen at different times, but you can usually tell just by looking at the fruit which mangoes come from which flowering. The cheeks of the mango start to puff up.” 

Apart from using the new technology, around 20 pieces of fruit per week are still hand picked, dehydrated and weighed to determine the maturity and quality. “The Near Infrared Gun helps us. We can do hundreds of fruit with it, and it gives us peace of mind when it comes to quality,” says Mr Scurr. “It saves us time and gives us confidence about which fruit is ready to pick and when.” 

Around 50 seasonal workers will help with picking in the Northern Territory, but Pinata Farms fruit is packed in collaboration with another grower, so packing shed staff are not required.

For more information

Gavin Scurr, Managing Director
Piñata Farms 

Phone: +61 (0)7 5497 4295

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