On Tuesday 12 Feb, APAL Head of Advocacy and Government Relations Jeremy Griffith hosted a State Associations teleconference with the goal of bringing together state grower bodies and facilitate collaboration. Present on the call were representatives from every apple and pear growing state: Fruit Growers Victoria, Fruit Growers Tasmania, NSW Farmers, APGASA (SA), Growcom (Qld), and Pomewest (WA).
Discussions included topics such as a review into netting, the differences between work agreements across state borders, what needs to be done to ensure the Seasonal Worker Programme is flexible enough to support medium-sized growers, and the possibility of crop insurance.
In Tasmania, following two weeks of uncertainty due to bushfires in the Huon Valley and surrounds, the Tasmanian Fire Service has gained control of the situation thanks to the timely arrival of rain, with more on the way. No orchards were affected by the bush fires, and the season for apples is shaping up to be a good one.
After extreme heat of the hottest January on record threatened Goulburn Valley apples with severe sunburn, the region is finally getting a respite. Growers in SA and NSW also experienced extreme heat, though this has not had a significant impact on fruit, while in SA they’re starting to see the impact of the hailstorms, fruit bats, and birds.
While Queensland has been more focused on the north end floods, Western Australia has had optimal weather for growing this season.
The ongoing collaboration between APAL and state associations is an excellent way to bring up local issues affecting the industry and give each region a voice. The next meeting of state representatives is due to place at Hort Connections in June.