Cherry prices are expected to go up this Christmas, with recent bouts of heavy rain damaging Victoria’s stone fruit crops as harvesting gets under way. The rains are linked to the recently declared La Niña weather pattern.
According to theage.com.au, Australia is likely to see heavy rainfall, floods and tropical cyclones this summer with a La Niña event likely to be declared on Tuesday. Recent downpours have led to tricky conditions for many farmers, with stone fruit harvesting delayed by more than a week in some regions.
Rain and cold weather are hindering harvest
Manjimup cherry grower Louis Vellios, who has been growing cherries at his Hillview Orchard for 18 years, says he has never seen a start to the season this bad, with his crop down by about 30 per cent so far.
“It depends what happens from here on, whether we pick them or leave them, because any amount of rain will split them now,” he said. “The cherries aren’t bad but they haven’t been pollinated evenly so we have to go through three or four times to get the crop off, whereas on a normal year you’d go through once and they’re all gone. I’m hoping it doesn’t rain and I’m hoping it warms up.”
Despite the slow start with his early sweet variety cherries, Vellios said he was still optimistic about the season as a whole and thinks there should be more cherries ready to go by the middle of December.