Pineapples faced tough season, 2016 looking better

The pineapple season has been a tough one for Glasshouse Mountain grower Allandale Pines, and now that the harvest is over numbers are in and the total volume was down around 100 tonnes, at 500 instead of 600 for the season finished in mid November. “Prices were down an average of $2 to $4 less per carton at the Sydney markets, for example, and they were taking up to 30% of our fruit at times,” says farm owner Steve Moffat.

“November 12 was the last processing day for the fruit we sent to Golden Circle too. They will probably start that again in mid January.”Mr Moffat is looking to next year for a boost, as the past two months have seen much better weather than they had in 2014, according to him. “Last year was tough, we had 40 degree heat from October through til January and we end up with damaged fruit then. Then it’s been either floods or dry and then we ended up getting frost in August, which pineapples don’t like,” he says. 

“It’s pretty good at the moment though with the moisture we’ve got in the ground.” 

The August frost caused the flowers to be damaged, when the pineapples were still small, only about the size of eggs, Mr Moffat says. “We’ve probably lost $80 000 in income over the year between damaged fruit and lower prices. Last year we were up and the bank was really happy with how we were paying our debt.”Allandale Pines grows all smooth pineapples, and the farm has not experienced much damage from pests or diseases, but the removal of the weed sprayer the farm used to use has caused some concern. “They removed the spray we used, EDB, following tests in Hawaii,” Mr Moffat says. 

As an industry, Mr Moffat believes there are definitely more opportunities for marketing fresh pineapples, and creating value added products to excite consumers about pineapples again. “Sometimes consumers are eating pineapples that were picked three weeks early. It does affect taste. I send 150,000 to the Sydney market and I can personally guarantee all of them, bar some that might be damaged in transit. When you’re a large grower selling a million to the market it’s not that easy.” 

For more information
Steve Moffat 
Allandale Pines 

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