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Bumper mango crop a bit of all ripe

SUMMER is the season for beaches, surf and an ice-cold beer.

It is also the season for bumper mango crops in Queensland which many Australian commercial growers have not experienced.

In Western Australia and the Northern Territory crops have been described as "disastrous", but things are looking better for the Sunshine State.

Queensland has the largest mango production of all states.

January is the traditional time to pick mangoes in south-east Queensland and in Gympie the conditions have been better than previous years.

Queensland Rural Supplies owner/operator and mango producer Darryl Wilcox said he was looking forward to more promising yields than the past few seasons have offered.

"I have 100 trees and we have had a good season so far," he said.

"Our crop is two weeks early so we have already started picking fruit and we should make some money this year, as should other producers in the area.

"Consumers will be purchasing good quality fruit, although I estimate I will lose 15% of my crop due to hail damage from recent storms."

This season has seen the right conditions for mangoes to grow.

Mr Wilcox said it was particularly hard to have successful yields in the Gympie region.

"This season has been dry when we needed it to be, while in other times it has been raining instead," he said.

"For a successful crop you need very little rain at the time of flowering and you need to have a dry climate with high temperatures.

"If it is too cold you lose production and if it is too wet you lose production."

Although tough times are easing there are still some loses to face.

"We don't have many mango growers here (in Gympie) because it is usually too cold when the trees are flowering or there is too much rain," Mr Wilcox said.

"We also compete with the Mareeba market and we have nowhere near the amount of orchid numbers they have."

Despite such challenges, owner/operator of Farmer and Sun, Southside, Trena Waugh said they have been satisfied with the quality of mangoes so far.

"It has been quite good quality fruit, although local mangoes are smaller than mangoes up north but that's because our local suppliers have only started picking," Mrs Waugh said.

"At the moment we are between the end of the season up north and the beginning of the season here but prices are pretty reasonable.

"We sell mangoes we have grown ourselves for a dollar and mangoes from other suppliers for about $1.50."

Mango harvesting and production begins in the Northern Territory and Western Australia in September.

This is followed by Queensland's dry tropical regions in mid-November, Mareeba and Dimbulah in early December, Central Queensland in late December, and South East Queensland and Northern New South Wales in early January.

Gympie Times



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