This year’s apple season is already off to a strong start in Tasmania, with warm temperatures during spring promoting good flowering and pollination rates. Growers are now benefiting from this with ideal crop loads and a high proportion of good-sized fruit.
Frost damage has been reported by several growers in Tasmania’s south and north-east. In the south, overnight frosts occurred intermittently during flowering before dissipating before morning. Frosts have occurred significantly later in the north-east, resulting in localised skin blemishes in some fruit. High winds and intermittent hail during spring have caused small minor skin damage and russeting in some areas.
Recent heavy rainfall events have also brought much needed relief to all parts of Tasmania. These rains alleviated drought concerns after winter and spring were warmer and drier than expected. Growers across the state reported 50-80mm of rain, which has topped up soil moisture and irrigation reserves in all growing regions. This moisture is welcomed by many growers ahead of what is expected to be a long, dry summer.
Most growers are now in the process of selling the final bins of fruit from last season and are preparing to receive the new season’s harvest. Growers in Tasmania’s north are hopeful that the fruit movement restrictions in northern Tasmania will end on 9 January. These restrictions have created transport issues for apple growers across the state’s north, disrupting market access.
It is shaping up to be a very promising season for all growers.