A burst of extreme heat has damaged some of the Goulburn Valley's fruit crop.CATHY WALKER January 17, 2013 4:05am
Some Goulburn Valley growers stand to lose as much as 20 per cent of apple and other fruit crops to sunburn after recent prolonged hot weather.
While people sweltered in temperatures above 40°C, spare a thought for fruit. Bureau of Meteorology air temperature measurements are taken in shade, but sun-exposed fruit surface temperatures are normally 10º to 18ºC higher than the official measured air temperature.
Orchardist Rocky Varapodio at Ardmona uses kaolin clay-based products to spray the fruit for sun protection, but said due to the heatwave some of his fruit would be reduced to juicing apples — a borderline ‘‘break square’’ proposition.
He said the maths was not difficult: apples attract $2/kg as fresh produce and 15¢/kg for juicing.
‘‘That’s barely recovering costs,’’ Mr Varapodio said.
While it was a bit early to put a figure on it, he estimated 15 to 20 per cent of his apple crop was sunburned.
‘‘Pears are usually a bit more tolerant,’’ Mr Varapodio said.
Neighbour Chris Turnbull from Turnbull Orchards said the family’s large investment in protective netting over Granny Smith apples — which also helps against hail damage — would pay dividends.
‘‘We have only had them for one season. The nets aren’t 100 per cent effective, but they certainly do help — I imagine we will have some discolouration of the fruit,’’ Mr Turnbull said.
Not all Turnbull apples are under nets.
‘‘We have had a bit of damage; we get some sun damage every year and we are probably going to have a bit more this year,’’ Mr Turnbull said.
Horticulture experts say air temperature is normally the most convenient indicator of sunburn risk.
DPI says every year sunburn causes some damage to fruit growing commercially in northern Victoria, and while orchardists estimate fruit losses can vary from six to 30 per cent, depending on the season and the type of fruit, losses in susceptible varieties such as Granny Smith and Gala apples have been as high as 40 to 50 per cent in some years.
Ardmona grower Andrew Plunkett said: ‘‘We’ve not lost any burned fruit and haven’t had any problems with over-ripening. There’s been some burning here and there.
‘‘The heat may have slowed down fruit growth because the trees have been just trying to keep their leaves moist.’’
He said the excessive heat had arrived towards the end of the apricot canning season.
Workers from charitable organisation People Supporting People are warning Shepparton residents to keep an eye out for a woman falsely claiming to be collecting donations on their behalf.
The under 16 Pigeons kick started the YFNC's finals campaign with a resounding victory over the Paul Spargo led Scots College in the Grand Final of the AWJFL Elwyn Langford Shield at the Albury Sports Ground on Sunday.
Greater Shepparton City Council was successful in securing the National Cutting Horse Association Victorian Futurity Cutting Horse Championships for 2014 and 2015, with this year’s event scheduled from September 10-14 at Tatura Park.
An ad for the Healthy Ageing Project will be filmed in Echuca, Rushworth and Rochester today.
More than $15,000 was raised at a family day on Sunday. The event was to raise money for the families of Barry Purtell and Dave Lobb.
Book Week gets colourful turnout.
Deaprtment of Environment and Primary Industries unhappy about Mt Disappointment vandals.
Jerilderie Shire deputy mayor Ruth McRae handed the key over for the new Rural Fire Service station last Friday.
Farmers have a new weapon in the fight against mice.
Cobram kids learn about health with hospital as state-wide obesity campaign is launched.
History is recorded to inspire the next generation, author John Northage said at the launch of, Mending the Goulburn Broken, in Shepparton last week.
A few anxious customers were outside the closed gates of the failed Bee-Jay Machinery business on Goulburn Valley Hwy in Shepparton on Tuesday morning, wondering what would become of deposits they had paid for tractors and other machinery.
The Benalla Indian Myna Action Group will pay a $1 per bird bounty on live birds delivered to CAL farm. National Party MP Bill Sykes donated $100 to fund the bounty.
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