Home' Grower : September 2012 Contents The South Australian Grower -- September 2012
Riverland citrus grower Barry Arnold says ensuring the future for Australian citrus on the
export market is paramount, and that the new South Australian Regional Advisory Committee
is a step in the right direction. Mr Arnold -- who works with sons Ryan, Michael and Tim --
bought the Pyap property near Loxton in 2002. Through hard work and new production
methods, the land has been restored to good health and productivity. The family's Fresh
Citrus Direct business has been growing steadily. Mr Arnold is particularly enthused by the
new wave of urban customers in cities such as Sydney and Melbourne who are making the
choice to buy fresh, quality fruit direct from his farm gate -- even though the cost may be a
little higher than what is found in the major supermarkets.
The Arnolds' property consists of 70 hectares of sandy citrus-growing soil on a north-easterly
slope at Pyap near Loxton in the Riverland. Growing and processing methods have been
adapted to ensure the highest-quality fruit at all times. They include using highly efficient
irrigation methods to water trees; irrigating using a drip system and monitoring soil water
levels electronically to ensure minimal wastage; using an integrated pest management
program to control pests and minimise pesticide use; employing modern orchard
management techniques including growing new and improved varieties of oranges,
mandarins and lemons, and conducting annual pruning, thinning and crop monitoring; and
using the HACCP quality assurance system to ensure products comply with industry food
to major changes
He said industry collaboration was
"The states need to work together if we
are going to grow into the future. I think it
is very positive that SA has representation
now at the national level because as a
smaller State, there were some who were
worried we might lose our identity and be
swallowed up by the larger producing
regions," he said.
Mr Arnold said the new committee had a
big task ahead of them but was optimistic
they would do a good job.
"It's important now to keep moving
for ward and not get stuck in the past if we
are to make progress and present one
unified voice to achieve the advancement
we need," he said.
The family's Fresh Citrus Direct business
will feature at the Royal Adelaide Show's
FoodSA tent in September.
Mr Arnold says the family is optimistic
about its growth.
"I think people are really responding to
our high quality produce; they know that it
is picked perfectly ripe on farm and within
a couple of days at most, it is in their fruit
bowl," he said.
"There's no lengthy storage or unknowns
and we have been able to gain a lot of
repeat customers over the years."
Riverland operation Venus Citrus
managing director Helen Aggeletos says
time will tell if the regional advisory
committee will be effective.
She believes the work of the former
Citr us Board delivered a number of
innovative ser vices and quality information
for citrus growers and hopes there will no
gap in ser vices.
"The fact that they're not a legislative
body will ultimately change the sort of
information they can collect and the actions
they can enforce," Mrs Aggeletos said.
"We must be careful that some important
aspects of our industry are not overlooked.
Having a national body is good, but each
region has its own concerns and needs.
"It is, however, good to see diversity in
the representation on the new committee
with growers, a marketer and a packer all
taking seats. I think we will only know the
effectiveness of the committee a little
further down the track when we have given
them time to get up and running and see
how they go."
Fresh Citrus Direct aims to bring fresh, ripe, great-tasting citrus direct to customers around
the country by only picking when fruit is naturally ripe, then packing and delivering directly
to customers in the shortest possible time. It cuts out the middle man and ensures
customers deal direct with the Arnold family -- a direct farm-to-consumer business
supplying fresh citrus to customers across South Australia, New South Wales and Victoria.
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