The mango season in the Kimberley’s Ord Irrigation Scheme is heating up, with packing sheds busy loading fruit for the Perth markets.
The Ord’s mango season this year is looking mixed, with yields varying greatly from farm to farm.
Ari Parker from Australian Outback Mangoes said a late and sporadic flowering had caused issues for some growers. “We were quite confident there would be a reasonable crop in the Ord this year, although it would be quite late,” she said.
“But unfortunately, we’ve had a lot of warm weather recently and a lot of the fruit was just a bit too immature and didn’t hold, so we’ve had a lot of fruit drop in orchards around Kununurra. “Having said that, there’s still quite a bit of fruit around and it seems very much a variety issue, with a reasonable amount of Kensington Prides, but the R2E2’s haven’t done very well at all.”
Ms Parker said the quality of Ord fruit this year was excellent and the prices on offer were high, which was good news for growers.
“We’re getting amazing prices at the moment and I really think that $60 to $80 [a tray] is probably going to stay around for a least another fortnight, because there’s just not the numbers coming through the shed,” she said.
Ms Parker said Ord mangoes were attracting plenty of interest from exporters, particularly in Hong Kong, and she expected the Ord harvest would last until at least the third week of December, storms permitting.
The Perth market is sourcing mangoes from the Ord and also the Northern Territory, which is experiencing its own challenging season. Territory growers who sell mangoes to WA are required to cut open large numbers of fruit to prove the farm is free of mango seed weevil.
The Australian Mango Industry Association (AMIA) has estimated Australia will produce around 8 million trays of mangoes during the 2016-17 season, although there are many within the industry who feel AMIA is being optimistic.