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Early Qld grapes 'quality', yields average

Queensland table grape volumes are ‘just ok’, with wholesale prices around $10 per kilo, according to grower Richard Lomman. 

Early varieties out of Emerald have started hitting stores over the past week, and the industry is emphasizing eating quality better than in previous seasons. “Weather has warmed up early, seeing most areas maturing a bit earlier than normal,” says Mr Lomman. 

The St George crop may be a bit lighter with the closure of Grape Exchange, two large farms previously operated by the Costa Group, but most growers have an average yield and the harvest still just beginning, Mr Lomman says. “We expect the price to slowly decrease as volumes increase. The good US fruit still around is selling for similar value.”

In terms of growers maintaining a decent price, Mr Lomman says the focus needs to stay on eating quality. “As an industry, we firmly believe that if growers, wholesalers and retailers test the fruit from the bottom of the bunch we will have a much sweeter product for the consumer, which will lead to repeat purchases.”

Results from a ‘spot pick’ at Romeo’s farm in Emerald confirmed that the eating quality for grapes out of the Emerald region is good. “Flame seedless and some early menindee seedless are being picked now,” says Mr Lomman. The spot pick is always conducted on fruit that is already ripe, and Australian Table Grape Association CEO Jeff Scott was also present.

Storms remain a threat to grapevines in the area, as nearby Mundubbera and the town of Emerald have been hit recently, Mr Lomman says. “Generally the growing season has been dry, which has minimised the requirement for protective sprays,” he adds. “The biggest concern now is the high probability that most storms will be severe, and growers are looking to the skies as the storms build.”

For more information

Richard Lomman, Grower and Chairman ATGA 

Black Knight Table Grapes/
Australian Table Grape Association

Phone: +61417 786 681

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