IT may still be a few months off yet but the Australian cherry season is shaping up to be a bumper crop, nudged along by favourable winter growing conditions.
In the most recent newsletter out to growers, Cherry Growers Australia president, Tom Eastlake, described the coming season as potentially delivering a "very large crop" with bud counts and winter temperatures adding to the significant crop load.
Reports of a return to more average rainfall have also been welcomed by many growers.
In order to head off a swamped market, CGA has taken the proactive approach of launching a series of videos featuring growers explaining how they prepare for harvest.
"This will be a critical thing this year - managing the crop load," Mr Eastlake said.
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"We want a season of high quality, large size fruit this season and thank you to all the growers who have participated in this series so far.
"We will be contacting more growers as we get closer to harvest and please get in contact if you would like to be involved in providing some advice on how you are preparing for harvest."
The industry will have a focus on the domestic market during the season, which runs from October through to February.
"At this stage, the focus remains on the domestic market, to ensure we have a robust and ready market place that is excited about Australian cherries hitting the shelf again this year," Mr Eastlake said.
"Export remains a focus and strategy on export marketing will be refined as we get closer to the season and export freight availability is clearer."
CGA held export workshops recently via Zoom to keep the industry updated.
With a hefty crop looming, Mr Eastlake also made mention of labour concerns for late 2020.
He said some labour hire companies have been relaying concern about a drop off in worker numbers coming into peak spring/summer employment.
"There has also been some growers who have suggested that the standard of employee has noticeably dropped recently," he said.
"Individuals who are on a holiday visa who did not plan to work in agriculture, as they were prepared to work in hospitality or tourism, and have turned up unprepared and with no background in agriculture."
"The advice was that these, well meaning individuals, may have been forced to consider agricultural work due to a lack of opportunity in other industries but due to a number of factors are not able to provide an output that warrants their continued employment.
"With firm advice from federal government that the borders will remain closed, this has seen some industries start to look at how they may be able to entice Australians to come to work - notwithstanding a general consensus that historically this has seemed to be unpalatable."
Mr Eastlake also encouraged growers to remain COVID-compliant this season.
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