Home' Grower : November 2011 Contents The South Australian Grower -- November 2011
Stories by LIZ COTTON
SOUTH Australia's stone fruit
industr y is approaching the future
with diversified markets and value-
added products after enduring years of
SA Dried Tree Fruits Association's Chris
Werner, who grows apricots, pears,
nectarines, peaches and peacherines in the
Riverland, says the problems associated
with the wine industry, in particular, have
led to renewed interest in stone fruit.
"I think there are a lot of people out
there who are thinking they do not want to
put all their eggs in one basket. There have
also been a lot of trees sold recently -- up
to 15,000 -- for a new commercialisation
project," he said.
"With the many new varieties coming
onto the market, now is a great time to
Opportunities open for more diversified
• Annual farmgate value of stone fruit
production in South Australia is
about $34.7 million, including $14m
for apricots and $9m for cherries.
• SA growers involved: 110 cherries,
400 peaches, plums and nectarines,
320 apricots (90pc in dried
production) and 50 avocados.
• SA produces more than 860t of
fresh cherries, 4200t apricots, 2500t
nectarines, 2800t of peaches, 2300t
of plums and prunes and 2100t of
other stone fruit production,
enter the industry. Stone fr uit does not
require a huge area for production and is
not overly water-intensive.
"For example, income potential can be
about $40,000 a hectare with a 6-7
megalitre water application."
Angus Park at Angaston is the State's
only dried fruit processor, but in the fresh
stone fruit industry, three large operations
dominate production: Quality Fr uit
Marketing, Lowana Fruits and Sunfresh, all
Farmers markets are also growing rapidly
with most regions in SA hosting numerous
weekend markets for the public. This is a
great way for newcomers and established
orchardists to add to their income or sell
value-added products, such as fruit
Farmers markets growing rapidly
Fresh industry refocuses on taste,
Large packing sheds, markets centrally
AT A GLANCE
Nursery aims to stay 'clean and green'
SINCE 1887, Balhannah Nurseries has been
one of the best-known names in deciduous
fruit and ornamental trees in South Australia.
The company now operates under the Joyce
Family Group, one of the largest names in the
Australian apple industry, and has continued
to expand to become a leading supplier to
Manager Sam Luke (pictured) believes the
industry's future is in good shape with new
stone fruit varieties coming onto the
"Through our affiliation with the Australian
Nurserymen's Fruit Improvement Company
and the most advanced breeding programs
throughout the world, such as the Bradford
Breeding Program in the United States, we
have the ability to produce the best stone
fruit trees to help maximise returns for
growers across all regions."
The nursery's extensive range and new
varieties can help growers maximise
financial returns, yield and fruit quality.
"We can help overcome issues that growers
may face with replanting into old soil -- or with
a range of varieties to see out the season,
which assists with labour retention," Sam said.
Balhannah Nurseries sells dwarf rootstocks,
virus-tested rootstocks and the newest
varieties in pome and stone fruit genetics,
including the bendor plum from Israel and the
goldenblush and goldensweet apricots from
BBP, to growers across the country.
Sam believes the biggest challenge facing the
nursery industry is cheap imports.
"The potential for disease is greatly
increased and a real risk for our clean, green
industry here," he said.
"We just don't know what chemicals and
additives have gone into the products and of
those we are aware of, many are banned for
use here in Australia."
But Sam says the nursery industry can
overcome the challenges by promoting the
"clean, green products we offer in Australia," he
"It's a line that has become perhaps a bit
over-used, but it really is true. We really do
produce the healthiest products here in
Australia and should be focusing on that for
the benefit of our nurseries, growers and the
Supporting Growers Australia Wide
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Pooraka SA 5094
Phone 08 8349 4556
Fax 08 8349 5316
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