With favourable weather conditions greeting this year’s fruit season, Goulburn Valley growers are feeling positive — despite a threat of not enough backpackers early in the season.
With the fruit harvest head- ing into its last month, Goul- burn Valley Independent Packers director Chris Georgopoulos was all praise for the season so far.
‘‘Overall the season has been fantastic for us. It has been a very grower-friendly season,’’ he said. ‘
‘Yields have been great but size has been the issue for us.’’ Mooroopna orchardist Peter Hall agreed the season was good for his business.
‘‘It’s been a fairly steady season,’’ Mr Hall said.
‘‘The weather has been kind to us and there has been no real bad weather events and it hasn’t been too hot.
‘‘It’s been a more relaxed season in terms of pressure. It’s been quite welcome. ‘‘Weather extremes are our biggest challenge, always have been.
‘‘The quality (of fruit) is dependent on the weather as well and so the good quality is reflecting the mild weather conditions we have had.’’
Mr Georgopoulos said his workers were currently pack- ing new-season Williams
pears and new-season Gala, Pink Lady and Granny Smith apples. He is particularly excited about a new apple variety called Bravo.
‘‘It’s West Australian and has been grown locally the last two or three years.
‘‘It’s a very exciting variety. It’s a very sweet apple, which is high in colour and very grower friendly.’’
Mr Georgopoulos said the season had been pushed back by about a week-and-a-half because of last year’s wet spring.
Mr Hall said that had help- ed improve backpacker numbers.
‘‘The late season has help- ed the backpacker issue as it allowed for the numbers to accumulate,’’ Mr Hall said.
‘‘Say it was an early harvest, I don’t think there would have been enough.
‘‘This underscores the importance of an attractive tax rate to maintain that work- force each year.’’
Mr Georgopoulos wasn’t so positive about backpacker numbers.
‘‘It has affected us a little bit,’’ he said.
‘‘It would have been better had they (politicians) gone about it differently.
‘‘We are down on back- packers by 20 to 30 per cent.’’