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Tony Coad - Reid Fruits

"The later Chinese New Year worked out pretty well perfectly"

The cherry harvest has now come to an end at Reid Fruits in Tasmania, the first cherries were picked in the first week of December, around 7-10 days earlier than last season and the last of the fruit from the late, high elevation Honeywood Orchard was packed and shipped on 6th of February.

"We had excellent weather during most of the growing season from flowering through the Spring with nice warm days and cool nights which made for production of some very good quality fruit, particularly in the first half of the season," explains Tony Coad, Manager of Marketing and Sales at Reid Fruits. "During the early and later period of the harvest the weather was generally warm and dry. We did have some rain during mid-January, which although not a huge amount, did have some impact on quality for a week or so, but quality then recovered again for the last couple of weeks of the season which was very pleasing. As we say, to expect that we will be completely rain free in Tasmania for 10 weeks during the cherry season is probably somewhat unrealistic!"

All of Reid Fruits' producing orchards are under nets for bird and wind protection. They also have 4 Ha under fully automated Cravo retractable covers at their Honeywood Orchard and are running some trials with the more traditional fixed rain covers over an area in the Huon Valley orchards.

"Whilst the automated Cravo covers are very good, the existing design is currently too expensive to roll out on a large scale over more of our orchards. At the same time, we are still to be completely convinced in relation to the currently available fixed rain covers as whilst they certainly offer some protection from rain events there seems to be a compromise in the effect on fruit firmness which we have seen from our own trials and also other fruit available in the market."

Volumes this season were up by over 20% which is from recently planted new orchards coming into production along with the generally very good growing season.

"Following the excellent growing season our size this year was very good and in general a size up on last season, quality was excellent during the early part of the season with some of the best fruit we think we've grown. We had a bit of blip with quality for a week or so mid-season after the rain but quality recovered again for the last 2 weeks which was a good way to finish off the season for us and our customers."

The timing of the season this year and the later Chinese New Year worked out pretty well perfectly, according to Tony and they had good volumes available in the lead up to CNY and then with their very last day of packing for the season being on 6th Feb this allowed them to send the last few shipments to arrive in Asia just a couple of days before CNY for some last-minute sales.

Although the volumes from Chile were a bit lower than last year, Tony said that when the Chilean sea freight arrival volumes start to increase around mid-season it does put pressure on some markets as it always does and which they need to manage and work on along with their customers.

For more information:
Tony Coad
Reid Fruits
Tel: +61 3 6261 5620