Australia: Hailstorm damages Victoria stonefruit crops -

Australia: Hailstorm damages Victoria stonefruit crops

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Australia: Hailstorm damages Victoria stonefruit crops

A hailstorm that recently hit the Goulburn Valley in the Australian state of Victoria has reportedly damaged up to 100% of some stonefruit crops, according to thirdsq

Other tree fruit crops damaged in the major growing region over the weekend include apples, pears and cherries, with pears most affected because they were at the beginning of fruit set.

Fruit Growers Victoria (FGV) reportedly said the bulk of the hail damage was concentrated in a strip north of the Midland Highway in Ardmona, stretching across the northern edge of Shepparton toward Lemnos, including parts of Shepparton East.

It added the full extent of the damage was not yet known, but work was currently underway to produce an assessment as soon a possible in order to develop an action plan.

Kalafatis Orchards technical manager Michael Crisera said one of the company’s eight farms, at Lemnos, had been hit by pea-size hail.

"It’s a bit early to assess, but it looks like we have 40 to 60 per cent damage at that farm," Crisera was quoted as saying, adding the weather event would likely lead to downgraded fruit because of dents, scratches and marks.

"The industry might try to work toward some market variation, such as trying to change the supermarket specifications, so they’re not as stringent on class one fruit requirements and accept fruit with a few marks.

"It really just depends on how this damage shows up at harvest."

FGV industry development manager Tony Filippi advised growers to consult with their chemical providers to help prevent orchard diseases such as brown rot.

"Growers are now faced with questions of ‘what do we do we with what’s left on the tree? Do we burn the fruit right off? Do we hand thin them off? What are the implications?’," Filippi was quoted as saying.


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