Home' Grower : November 2011 Contents The South Australian Grower -- November 2011
stone fruit growers
leathers, jams and dried goods," Mr
He believes the industry is "grossly
undersupplied" and could "easily handle a
three to four-fold increase in production".
Executive officer of SA Fresh Fruit
Growers Association Tim Grieger says the
fresh stone fruit industry is also on the up,
with new moves to refocus production on
taste and longevity of the fruit "as opposed
to looks and size".
"The industry bodies are working to
ensure that SA stone fruit not only looks
good, but tastes good too," he said.
"Eatability is a major factor going
for ward and our future success and growth
depends on delivering this, which involves
breeding for the right qualities."
Mr Grieger says new plant varieties,
increased training and education and new
growing technologies are "a good step" to
ensuring the success of newcomers.
"These days, there are a lot of people
taking the chance to gain qualifications in
horticulture as well as business and
marketing to value-add and enter niche
markets, whereas in the past, knowledge
has been passed from one generation to
the next with no formal training."
While the domestic market remains the
main destination for fresh SA peaches,
nectarines and plums (about 60pc of total
production), export markets are growing
and represent about 40pc of production --
or about 520t annually, valued at $1.4m --
with key markets including Taiwan,
Singapore, Hong Kong, Malaysia and
Dried apricot exports average 94t
annually with a value of $790,000 and
fresh apricot exports total 6t annually, with
a value of $30,000.
The main export market for apricots is
New Zealand, with other markets
including Japan, Netherlands, China,
United Arab Emirates and Thailand.
While most cherries are sold to the
domestic market during their main
production period at Christmas, each year
about 72t of fresh cherries are exported to
Hong Kong, United Arab Emirates and
China with a value of about $400,000.
Regions attracting growth in the stone
fruit industr y, particularly dried fruit
production, include Mypolonga, the
Riverland and the Barossa Valley.
The cherry industry has one large
producer with a 30ha orchard, 20-30
growers operating on up to 20ha and
about 80 growers with an orchard size of
8ha or less.
The majority are in the Adelaide Hills
with a few in the Riverland and Limestone
Ten per cent of dried fr uit growers
operate on orchards of more than 10ha,
with 60pc operating 1-10ha orchards.
The main production areas for cherries in
SA include the Adelaide Hills, from
Summertown, Uraidla and Lenswood
through to Forest Range and Gumeracha,
the Riverland -- particularly Renmark and
Barmera -- and, to a lesser extent, the lower
Apricots, peaches, plums and nectarines
are predominantly grown in the Riverland
and upper Murray, around Loxton, Berri,
Renmark, Waikerie, Swan Reach and
Mypolonga, and the Barossa.
The Riverland is suited to drying apricots
-- with hot, dry summers -- and fresh
peaches, plums, nectarines, for which the
dry climate minimises disease in fruit and
retains quality and appearance.
The availability of irrigation water, except
in drought years, is another feature of the
Labour is available for fresh and dried
apricots which have a high labour input for
picking, cutting and drying operations.
There are large packing sheds and markets
centrally-located, and the market is now
The main cherry varieties grown in SA
are stella and lapin. SARDI has bred a
number of superior low-splitting varieties,
including dame roma, dame nancy, sir don,
sir tom, sir hans and sir douglas, which are
Dried apricot varieties include moorpark,
story, hunter and, increasing in popularity,
SARDI-bred riverbrite variety. Earlicot and
katy are the main varieties.
There are more than 20 to 30 varieties of
nectarines, peaches and plums grown in
SA, with early, mid and late season
maturities to meet market demands from
November to April. Best returns are from
early season production, which matures
earlier than other states.
THE success of Paul and Denise Kretschmer's
Taralee Orchards has relied on their ability to
increase fruit production for niche markets.
Their biodynamic stone fruit orchard in the
Wirrabara Forest, Southern Flinders Ranges, is
not located in one of the most prominent fruit-
growing regions in South Australia.
But Paul says it has potential.
"Stone fruit has actually been grown in the
region since the 1880s, but died off somewhat
when the Riverland came to prominence in the
1920s and 1930s," he said. "There are five
commercial growers in the region, but in the
past few years we have seen new people
starting up their own orchards and production is
certainly starting to increase."
Cold winters, moderate summers, a 650-
millimetre annual rainfall, free-draining loamy
soils and good quality underground water suit
stone fruit production.
The Kretschmers bought the 50ha property,
including the 6ha Taralee orchards in 1998. At
the time, it had been under lease for the
previous seven years and had received minimal
input in terms of orchard improvements.
The family have spent the past 13 years
improving the health of the trees and increasing
the volume and variety of stone fruit produce.
"Some of the trees were too old and not
producing the yields we were after anymore, so
we removed them and replanted the same
traditional varieties as well as new species," Paul
The 6 metre x 6m spaced orchard has just
under 1ha of apricots, 1.2ha of plums, peaches
and nectarines. They have recently added
another 30 quince trees to the existing 50 trees.
"For the first two years of producing quinces,
we couldn't give them away so the cattle ended
up with most of them. Now we're planting more
trees because the demand has significantly
increased, possibly thanks to Maggie Beer.
Biodynamics a growing business
The Kretchmers have spent the past 13 years
improving the health of the trees and increasing the
volume and variety of stone fruit produce.
Ph: 8357 4449
Ph: 8357 4449
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Adel Hills Rep M: 0417 882 513 P: 8389 8027
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Also • Barbed Wires • Shadecloth
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Contact Samuel Luke
Phone (08) 8389 4557
Fax (08) 8389 4556
Paul & Denise Kretschmer
Forest Road, Wirrabara Forest
Fresh Fruit, Jams, Dried Fruits,
Self - Contained Accommodation
Phone: (08) 8668 4343
Mob: 0428 827 774
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