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Australian apple farmers turn to sunscreen, reflectors to enhance Pink Lady crop

Australian apple growers are going to extreme lengths to make their fruit look its absolute best so consumers grab it at the supermarket. Donnybrook grower Neil Yates said he had laid down reflective sheeting ahead of his upcoming harvest to give his apples the best shot at a consumer-friendly color. He said the sheets reflected light onto the fruit to give it a well-rounded color from all angles.

Yates: "We get a more complete coloring of the fruit, certainly the stuff laid down in the trees, the under sides, and sides, we can get another 12 to 15 per cent color [on the] fruit. The pack out goes up and customers are more happy with the with the color on the fruit. The demand, I guess, is for the best looking piece of fruit."

Reflective sheets are used to shoot light around the apple, giving it more color, but Yates said he also had to be careful his apples did not get too much sun. "We summer prune and once we get some of the leaves off the trees then we've got to put a sunscreen on, so we don't end up with too much sunburn damage and that sort of thing," he said. He said the sunscreen was designed specifically for fruit.


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