Home' Grower : December 2009 Contents Citrus
The South Australian Grower -- December 2009/January 2010
Citrus royalties reduce returns
ACCESS to new citr us varieties will
come at a price for Australia's 2000
growers, with commercial investors
looking to recover research and
The commercialisation of new varieties was
the focus of the Citrus Australia annual
conference in Mildura, Victoria last month.
Biosecurity and grower profitability were also
Keynote speaker at the conference, vice-
president of Paramount Citrus -- the largest
grower and packer of citr us in California --
Etienne Rabe said the opportunities for growers
to receive access to new varieties for free were
"Australia, as one of the highest cost
countries, needs to focus on the newest
technology and varieties to gain advantage,"
Dr Rabe said.
The Australian market would see an influx of
new citrus varieties from the international and
domestic market, which has had the support of
organisations such as the CSIRO.
Citrus growers who want to access the new
varieties would have to come to grips with new
management and marketing models, including
tree royalties, production royalties or
combination tree-production royalties that
could be levied per carton or annually per
hectare based on a formula.
Any production royalty was premised on a
new selection generating a price premium.
And this was not guaranteed.
Instead of a per hectare or tree royalty
formula, growers could be required to pay a
set price per carton, or could have a
percentage of their per carton returns
automatically taken out as a levy.
Dr Rabe said that growers should not
automatically grow new varieties, but should
only change when they were sure of increased
"The management of and royalty structure
around a new variety need be such that the
grower is reasonably assured that the risk will
pay off," he said.
Dr Rabe also said that growers were the first
to feel the pinch if a new variety did not bring
a premium price, because they often had to
pay royalties regardless.
Plantings of new varieties should be carefully
managed to prevent oversupply -- which can
flood the market and dramatically drop prices.
Dr Rabe referred to the lack of acerage
management of the Zee Fire nectarine variety,
which had resulted in overplanting within five
years of its release.
He recommended that growers investigate
new varieties thoroughly before deciding to
Aspects to consider included management
plans for the variety, branding plans to ensure
premium reputation and the track record of
the commercial investor or agent when
dealing with other new varieties.
Growers should also confirm that the
variety's yield, size and colour has been
extensively evaluated, while doing the sums
to discover what returns are needed to
overcome the initial and ongoing costs to
make a profit.
Citrus Australia chief executive officer
Judith Damiani said Australian citr us growers
would need to be proactive and carefully
consider what is on offer.
"Through our industry research facilitated
by Horticulture Australia Limited, which
includes varietal evaluation and consumer
research, Citrus Australia can help guide
growers on which varieties are more likely to
achieve better consumer returns," she said.
THE first two seedless mandarin varieties
bred in Australia -- the result of more than
20 years' research and development -- have
come a step closer to mainstream
The CSIRO has awarded the rights to
commercialise the two new seedless
mandarin varieties it has bred -- Merbeingold
2336 and 2350 -- to fresh produce marketing
company, Perfection Fresh Australia.
CSIRO plant breeder Stephen Sykes said
the two released varieties originated from a
series of controlled crosses first devised by
the CSIRO in 1984 to combine the
characteristics of popular Imperial and
Ellendale mandarins for selection under
"The seedless Merbeingold 2336 matures
from June to July and Merbeingold 2350,
during late July to August," Dr Sykes said.
"Because the varieties will be marketed
under one brand name, this effectively
increases the seasonal availability of the
new seedless mandarins from June to
August. The ability of these new varieties to
store for eight weeks extends the season
Dr Sykes said both varieties produced
sweet, juicy and easy-to-peel fruits which
readily separated into segments.
The first Merbeingold mandarin trees are
expected to be grafted onto rootstocks in
nurseries in early 2010 to produce
commercial quantities of fruit within three
Perfection Fresh chief executive officer
Michael Simonetta said the company was
now seeking expressions of interest from
experienced citrus growers to produce what
would be the first specialty mandarins it
would take to market.
The selection process for a commercialiser
began over two years ago when expressions
of interest in the two varieties were first
Details: CSIRO 1300 363 400, csiro.au
Carton and tree royalties add up
Avoid rushed decisions
Investigate before planting
AT A GLANCE
Citrus growers who want to access new
varieties will have to come to grips with
changing management and marketing models,
such as tree royalties and production royalties.
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