With the MIA’s prune harvest starting this month the weekend’s rain was a relief for growers of the plum but problematic for other crops around the Point.
Darlington Point prune grower Bruce Gowrie-Smith said 30 mm of rain at his property on Friday.
“Psychologically everybody has benefited, from a cropping point of view I have had to retain a water profile at high expense, the rain will help us to carry through to the harvest (this month),” Mr Gowrie- Smith said.
Australian Prune Industry Association director Grant Delves said this week his crops at Hanwood have been benefiting more from cooler temperature than the rain.
Mr Delves said January’s extreme heat saw the region’s irrigated growers having to increase the duration of their drip irrigation given greater rates of evapo-transpiration.
With the price of water passing $700 a meg last month Mr Delves said he himself had to irrigate his fruit for around 40 per cent longer every day than usual.
“It’s a bit of a stab in the dark but I would like to think the industry can produce 3000 dried tonnes of high quality produce this year and sell every bit on the domestic market," Mr Delves said.
“We’re looking good for this time of year, the industry set a relatively large crop in spring but growers were able to thin crops where necessary.
“It’s a good solid crop compared to other years, last harvest we produced only 1000 dried tonne (of prunes) and 3500 tonne in 2017.”
Mr Delves said while Friday’s rain will help with improving the sizing and finishing of the prunes before they are harvested, more rain is needed to fall over the Burrinjuck Dam and Blowering Dam which are currently at the 35.2 percent and 29.2 percent of their respective capacities for there to be an increase in allocations.
According to Darlington Point zucchini and pumpkin grower Brendan Murray Friday’s rain will be detrimental to the region’s vegetables, as he will be facing additional costs for his packaging due to sand being splashed over the plants and fungus being encouraged to grow.
Mr Murray said more labor will be needed to harvest and wash the crops while the sand will also the reduce the amount of sunlight and water the veggies absorb.
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