Australian citrus grower Nutrano will celebrate 10 years of commercial production of the Delite mandarin this year, the start of this year’s harvest is just two weeks away.
“The fruit is looking amazing,” according to Tania Chapman, Executive General Manager Farming Operations at Nutrano. “The Delite is a premium mandarin and our growers go the extra mile on quality, they must be seedless and have a minimum of 12 Brix and the perfect size profile.”
The Delite is a seedless Afourer mandarin sold exclusively to Woolworths in Australia, Nutrano expect to deliver 4 million kgs this season.
“The Delite is grown in Victoria, New South Wales and Western Australia. We have seen a lot of rain in the growing regions this year, but this brings with it an influx of health to the trees with good clean air.”
The Navel harvest has been underway since early May and is a good strong crop, but the albedo layer (pith) has not received enough vitamin D and is causing the fruit to crease.
“This is not a disease and doesn’t affect the eating experience, it is caused when the calcium does not move through the tree properly. Normally vitamin D from sunlight would push it through but the overcast conditions have meant less sunlight in the orchards. The consumer expects premium fruit so it has to be graded out, normally we would have to employ 10-12 extra people on the packing to do this, but our Global Scan 7 from MAF can grade it out.”
The yield of Navels will not be affected but it will impact the volumes of Class I and II fruit and there will be a lot more class III fruit on the market.”
The mid-season Navel harvest has around 6-10 days to go, then the late Navels harvest will begin in around two weeks.
Looking at the export markets Tania said that shipping has not gotten any easier. “Ships are available, but cost is horrendous, ships are not going to some destinations so this will influence where we send out fruit. We seem to take all the risks, but have no control over when the containers will arrive in the markets.”