Australian cherries: Good prospects, but water needed

Cherry growers throughout Australia are carefully monitoring their crops as warmer weather approaches; many are hoping for a decent rain event to kick things along. The NSW report from Fiona Hall, Biteriot and CGA president, Tom Eastlake, said water resources were low in Orange and Young with growers are looking for rain.

"Despite recent warm days (18oC), chill accumulation has been high in Orange with 68 chill portions (1176 chill hours) and moderate to high in Young with 59 chill portions (988 chill hours) accumulated to 29 July," their report said. “Budset has been good and if the warm weather continues, an early season is predicted.

Susie Green from the South Australian Cherry Growers Association reported that after a long dry spell through summer and autumn, winter rainfall was average to below average in South Australia, meaning many of the water storages are still quite low.

"More rain is needed across the growing regions to replenish dams and set up the trees for the year ahead," Ms Green said.  "Winter chill has been reasonable, although there are some indications that we may be in for an early flowering."

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