All indications suggest 2016 will be another record export campaign for Australian navel oranges.
According to a update issued by peak industry body Citrus Australia, the country’s export programmes have been bolstered by reduced crops from South Africa, favourable exchange rates across a number of currencies and a season that has produced clean, flavoursome fruit in the ideal size range.
Citing recently collated data, Citrus Australia’s market information and quality manager, Nathan Hancock, said the Washington navel harvest finished for most growers in the Riverina and Sunraysia production regions last week, whilst Riverland growers have been harvesting late navels for about three weeks.
A mid-season check of harvest rates revealed a slight decrease in the estimated national navel crop (down 7 per cent overall), most notably the early and mid-season crops, which were down 8 per cent and 11 per cent respectively.
“Indications from the mid-season survey were that volumes were down in some regions more than others, the estimate for the remaining crop is a 3 per cent decrease in the late navel crop,” Hancock said.
Western Australia bucked the trend with a slight increase (13 per cent) to the estimated late navel total, albeit from a low base.
The late navel harvest has commenced across the tri state region (which encompases the Riverina, Sunraysia and Riverland regions). The Riverland has the largest predicted crop and also has the most advanced harvest rate with about 10 per cent of late navel harvest completed.
“The late navel crop this season is in the prime fruit size range giving marketers more opportunities to match market requirements in more countries,” Hancock said.