Pineapples peak for Rollingstone grower

Pineapple production is at its peak for Rollingstone farmer Steve Pace, who grows both smooth leaf and rough leaf variety, and the topless hybrids preferred by larger chain stores. “We’re probably producing 5,000 cartons of smooth leaf each week at the moment, and 10,000 trays of the hybrids,” says Mr Pace. Things will slow down from next week on, until production is expected to finish in mid to end January, according to him. The Pace farm supplies a small (take out small) number of large wholesale customers through its small onsite packing facility, and another it part owns with others.
 
There was an overlap with the harvest from further south, and Mr Pace says that there is still some oversupply on the market, but prices are above average for smooth leaf varieties in particular. “South East Queensland have had a fairly big September and October for harvest, that even lasted into November this year. The tail end clashed with our own season.”
 
The dry weather has been a concern for Mr Pace’s north Queensland farm, situated near Townsville, and there has only been about a quarter of the average rainfall for the area. “It’s the driest year we’ve seen, our spring creek water supply probably finished two weeks months ago, but it’s helped the sugar level in the fruit, so overall fruit quality has been really good.”
 
Although the pineapples sent to the processor are worth less, the difference is minimal, according to Mr Pace, and the volume now being precut and sold is keeping the fresh pineapple price more sustainable.
 
Size is also another sticking point for pineapples, with wholesalers (take out wholesalers) customers demanding bigger pineapples, but conditions producing sweet, but smaller ones, according to Mr Pace.
 
For more information
 
Steve Pace
Phone +61428743972

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