An initial damage assessment following storms in the Adelaide Hills has painted a bleak picture for the region’s apple crop.
The Apple and Pear Growers Association of South Australia (APGASA) has spent the past week sampling around 85 blocks across the area, with at least one sample collected from nearly every grower.
“As expected, every apple grower in the hills has been impacted,” according to a release from peak industry body Apple & Pear Australia (APAL) based on the assessment. “The one consolation is that pears fared better than expected, with only minor damage in some parts.”
The series of wild storm fronts hit during the afternoon and evening of 21 November, bringing torrential hail and causing widespread power outages.
Despite a similar event last year, many orchards in the area weren’t covered by hail netting. APGASA CEO Susie Green said getting netting onto orchards is a high priority.
“We’re about to be hit with a double whammy this season. Bird pressures are very high on fruit crops at the moment and fruit bats are also building in numbers and damage,” she explained.
APAL’s head of government relations, Jeremy Griffith, will fly to Canberra this week to speak with federal government members, advisors, and the Australian Department of Agriculture about ensuring ongoing support for growers, as well as assistance with netting to ensure the future protection of the industry.