Australia stonefruit harvest begins

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Australia stonefruit harvest begins

Australia’s early stonefruit harvest has begun, and some of the crop is being gathered from the land of a failed investment company, the Australian Broadcasting Co.’s reported.

The administrator of Rewards Group, which went into receivership in May, hired a local shed to pack the crop, shed owner Jim Carney told the website.

“We've been hired to pack the fruit that is being handled by another marketing company, who has been appointed by the administrator to take off the crop and help defer some of the expenses of growing the crop, and return some income back to the shareholders who have an investment in the Rewards project,” Carney is quoted as saying.

The stonefruit season in Australia is expected to make a comeback in 2011 after years of severe drought and frost, and low prices, according to a U.S. Department of Agriculture report.

The 2010 stonefruit crop was beset by heavy rains the reduced the quality of the fruit, the USDA report said. For cherries, severe splitting led some growers to leave the fruit unharvested.

In 2011, Taiwan is expected to return as an export market, which should raise prices, the USDA said.

Plum production is expected to reach 19,000 metric tons, up from 18,000 in 2010. Exports are expected to reach 5,000 MT.

For cherries, production is expected to be 13,750 MT, up from 10,750 MT in 2010. About 2,200 are expected to exported.

Peach production is expected to be 105,500 MT, up from 98,000 MT in 2010. Exports of peaches and nectarines are expected to reach 8,800 MT, according to the USDA report.



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