Written by  Ken Gaudion

Cherry season mixed results

As the cherry season approaches the final few weeks of harvest, it is becoming clear that although some growers in some regions were affected by localized adverse weather conditions, on the whole, nationally, cherry growers have harvested a good crop with few losses.

Exceptional fruit quality
Cherries sold in supermarkets and fruit outlets have been of consistently exceptional quality and this has prompted many return sales.
Displays of fruit have been well set up and because quality has been high, cherries have sold well and maintained a good price.
Suffering adverse growing conditions
Some growing regions suffered severe wind damage as strong winds buffeted trees for many days leading up to and during harvest.
Colder than average nights and hotter than average days delayed harvest by 10 to 14 days in many growing regions.
Rain splitting occurred in South Australia and other regions.
Hail in Tasmania caused havoc with protective netting as it added extra weight to the support structures.
Also in Tasmania, fruit fly was found in a mango from Queensland, causing a biosecurity alert for the fruit fly free state.
Some fruit growing regions have been affected by the recent bushfires, or by the ever-present thick smoke. And it's not over yet. As I write this report in mid-January, the fires are heading towards some of the later fruit growing regions—where cherries are ripening and growers are still waiting for the rains to fill their dams.
Cherry yield for 2019–20
Australia was headed for a record cherry crop this season.
I suspect that even with the usual negative stories such as Tasmania’s cherries all ripening at once; the lack of available water; and photos of split cherries, the facts are:
•there has been little fungus disease or rots affecting quality
•sales have been very good in retail, pick your own, and export—which I think might lead to a near record crop sold.
We have to wait for the results from the production-based levy and for reports from individual states, to get a more accurate picture of how everything finished in terms of total tonnages.

See this article in Tree Fruit Jan 2020