ABGC Directors` Reports - three months to August 31, 2013

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Quarterly round-up from the regions – three months ending August 31, 2013

At its August 2013 Board meeting, the Australian Banana Growers’ Council (ABGC) reviewed regional growing reports for inclusion in industry communications. The following report is for the three months to the end of August.

Summary

Fruit production levels have been plentiful in Far North Queensland following warmer-than-usual Winter conditions. In other banana-producing regions, production has been sharply lower due to the adverse weather conditions experienced during Summer which damaged banana plants and fruit. Weather conditions are currently favourable in most growing regions.

Queensland

(from ABGC North Queensland directors)

In the Cassowary Coast region (including Innisfail and Tully) there have been warmer-than-usual conditions in August. There has been increased fruit production with most farms busy.

There was wet weather in June and July and some cold mornings of 10 to 11 degrees Celsius resulting in some underpeel chill, mainly on unbagged bunches or bottom hands of bagged bunches. Some of this fruit will be cut in the next two months.

Growing conditions are improving for the months ahead but increased Winter production may mean the usual Spring flush of fruit could be moderated.

Yellow Sigatoka (Leaf Spot) has been well under control.

The Tablelands region has experienced cooler weather but has been free of frosts.

Lakeland grower Paul Inderbitzin reported there have been good growing conditions with clear weather

and daytime temperatures of up to 27-30 degrees Celsius. On a few cooler days, night-time temperatures dipped to about 12 degrees.

Fruit quality has been good with bright fruit and minimal underpeel chill. Point scarring is a potential issue this time of year and it has been important to keep wind off the bunches by bagging on time and, when deleafing or bell injecting, ensuring bunches are being kept clear.

Production levels are expected to hold.

New South Wales

(from ABGC NSW directors)

On the Far North Coast, there has been extremely low production due to a cloudy, wet and cooler

Summer and fruit loss caused by ex-Tropical Cyclone Oswald in January and storms from an East Coast

Low in February.

Production is expected to be spread over a longer period than usual – from Spring through to Autumn.

This will be an advantage for the production of Lady Finger bananas as it will assist in reducing the supply shortages which have occurred over the past few months.

There were clear days and warm daytime conditions in August, following overcast and showery weather in June and July. Daytime temperatures in August reached about 26 degrees Celsius. The warmer

August conditions follow on from the warmer overnight temperatures experienced in July of 10 to 14 degrees, above the normal range of 0 to 14 degrees. Fruit quality is good.

On the Mid North Coast, production levels are also extremely low due to lower-than-average temperatures throughout Summer and damage from ex-Tropical Cyclone Oswald in January and storms in February.

Weather conditions have been good over the past three months with some above-average temperatures. There has been a lack of the usual Winter frosts and conditions have been dry.

Western Australia

Carnarvon

(from Carnarvon grower, Michael Nixon)

Extremely low production levels due to the heat damage caused to fruit in February. Production has improved slightly in recent weeks. The results of the heat damage is still evident with some choked bunches coming through. Irrigation from the Gascoyne River has been difficult due to salinity levels. In northern WA there were new plantings earlier in the year in Broome and Kununurra.

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