Cherries: this season and next

Written by   Ken Gaudion

There are many unknowns when it comes to determining how world-wide trade may change due to events such as Brexit, US–China relations, Trans Pacific Partnership, the Australian federal election; or how fruit exports from Australia might be affected.

Agricultural production in Australia has also suffered from supermarket price–wars where stores sell staples like milk and bread cheaply—sometimes below the cost of production—to entice customers to walk through their door.
Berries vs cherries
The past few months have been hotter than usual resulting in a much shorter ripening window for some tomatoes and berries.
During this shorter window of production, much more product has hit the supermarket shelves because of the brief shelf life of seasonal produce.
The result of this sudden peak in supply has been a significant price drop for that produce.
Did cheaper berries eat into the fresh cherry sales this year, or did cherries hold their own as is usual for a festive, summer fruit?
The answer to this question may come in the post–season reviews that are conducted some time after the cherry season has ended.
The late cherry growing areas in Tasmania and the mainland will be over in a few weeks, and it will be interesting to hear exactly how the industry fared.
Prepare for next season
Amongst the world–wide uncertainty, one thing is certain: there will be another cherry season.
Post season is the time to review, to focus, and to be clear about a plan to improve your orchard and its profitability. In this review:
•Identify what could be done better
•Prioritise in order of importance, and set a timeline
•Draw an action plan and then implement it.
For instance:
•Is there a variety in your mix that lost money, or produced in a time-slot that was too crowded in the market place?
 Consider removing or grafting over to a variety that is more in demand.
•Is there a patch on your orchard that should have been pruned more severely last year and has over produced or set fruit too small to be profitable?
 Plan to prune with the aim of getting a desired result, and don’t put it off.
•Is the irrigation supply sufficient during times of drought; and can the pumping system supply sufficient water to the trees? Mature cherry trees require about 5ML/ha over the season (minus the rain that falls: reference, Ian Goodwin, Tatura.)
These are just a few examples of what could be reviewed so that you can plan to improve the orchard and your bottom line.

See this article in Tree Fruit Jan 2019

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