Stone fruit production in Australia is forecast to increase in marketing year (MY) 2023/24, following two successive seasons affected by unseasonably wet weather, labor shortages at harvest, logistics challenges, and very high costs due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Cherry, and peach and nectarine, production is forecast to increase by 18 and 13 percent, respectively.
Weather conditions in MY 2023/24 are expected to support higher production and improved fruit quality. Cherry, and peach and nectarine, exports are expected to increase by 72 and 40 percent, respectively, from a low level.
The harvest season for cherry producers in the warmest climates of Queensland, New South Wales, South Australia and Western Australia typically commences in mid to late-October and is completed by around mid-January (see table above). A little further south in Victoria the harvest period generally commences in early to mid-November and finishes in mid to late-February. All of these regions are able to take advantage of the period leading up to Christmas when cherries are in the greatest demand domestically.
The southernmost producing region with the coolest climate is Tasmania where harvest commences in late-December and is typically completed by mid-February. As the majority of Tasmanian cherries are exported, harvest timing typically aligns well with strong Chinese New Year demand in China and Hong Kong.