Water availability determines cherry crop quality

By Rodney Woods

The success of last year's cherry crop across the region was dependant on how much water you owned.

Mt Bruno growers Tony and Marion Rak, who own Cherrybrook Cherry Farm, were forced to rely on sales from the farmgate and local markets to make a profit as supermarkets and overseas buyers would not accept their fruit sizes.

Mr Rak said they had to leave plenty of fruit behind because of the supermarkets’ reluctance to buy them and their inability to access enough water on the Broken system.

“We were excluded water from the Water for Fodder program, yet there is still some in the dam,” Mr Rak said.

“Since the closure of Lake Mokoan, our ability to access water hasn’t been taken into consideration.”

Mr Rak admitted any allocation would be welcomed, but a figure of 30 per cent would be needed to make a considerable difference.

At Tatura, Pickworth Orchards owner Stuart Pickworth said his crop had been down, but for a different reason.

“It’s been going well, our crops are down slightly than anticipated, but that’s because we had a big harvest last year,” Mr Pickworth told Country News in December.

“It’s been so dry, which is perfect for cherries, and we had about 100 to 120 pickers daily during harvest.”