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SA growers happy with lot -- for now
LENSWOOD orchardist Ross Green
(pictured) has had just enough time to
draw breath after harvesting his
apples -- now he is about to start
pruning in the never-ending cycle of
"It's been an excellent harvest from
my point of view," Ross said.
"Although our quantities were down a
bit, the quality of the fruit was out-
Ross grows a range of varieties on
his property, with the emphasis on
gala, pink ladies, fuji and sundowners.
"There are fashions, even in fruit
growing. A few years ago there was a
demand for varieties like Jonathans,
but the market has changed, and the
supermarkets are no longer interested
and prefer the new types," he said.
Like other growers, Ross's main con-
cern is the likely importation of apples
and the effect it may have on the
"The Chinese fruit has not had the
impact we feared -- yet -- because
there wasn't a great consumer accep-
tance of it," he said. "New Zealand
apples remain our major threat, with
those diseases we have managed to
keep out of Australia for so long."
He hopes, like his colleagues, that
the decision will go against the NZ
In the meantime, he will start on his
pruning, and then move on to the
spraying and irrigation phases of his
SA apple growing business.
HILE the industry is in
good shape on the back of
a bumper harvest, there is
a high level of anxiety among grow-
ers about import restrictions on New
Zealand apples being lifted, accord-
ing to SA Apple and Pear Limited
chief executive officer Greg
"We are all on tenterhooks," he
"Our industry has worked so hard
to keep fruit disease-free, and so
much damage could be done by
The government's final decision
would be announced at the end of
August and, if it gets the go-ahead,
NZ fruit could probably begin arriv-
ing within a month.
"There is no avenue of appeal left,"
Mr Cramond said. "If the decision
goes against us, we have nowhere
else to go."
Meanwhile, South Australia's
applegrowers have finished harvest-
ing and are able to reflect on a suc-
"It was a good year overall and the
market has been kind to us," Mr
Cramond said. "All our major
regions produced quality fruit."
The three regions -- the Riverland,
Adelaide Hills and South East per-
formed well, albeit with a few minor
"The Riverland had an exception-
ally good year, largely because of the
cooler and wetter growing condi-
tions," Mr Cramond said.
"It produced top quality fruit with
good colour, and the quantity grown
was also quite high.
"Adelaide Hills growers were
mostly happy with their harvest too,
although in their case the conditions
caused a few headaches at harvest
time. Once again, there was good
colour but some of the fruit was
quite large, which sounds like a ben-
efit but can create a few problems
with marketing through supermar-
One of the extra benefits of higher
rainfall during the season was the
saving incurred by growers through
not having to irrigate -- for once the
pumps were relatively quiet.
"We seemed to have rain when we
needed it," Mr Cramond said.
"It's always welcome, but it can
disrupt harvesting at some times and
did to some extent in the South East.
However, on the whole their harvest
was up to standard -- probably an
average year for those growers."
Quality fruit from all regions
Climate conditions have verying
Fear of imported fruit decision
Although the industry is facing a
major challenge, Ross Green,
Oakleigh Orchards, Lenswood, is
able to raise a smile after his
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