Goulburn Valley fruit trees in bloom

By Jamie Salter

Fruit trees across the Goulburn Valley are coming out of dormancy and are beginning to flower.

Ardmona orchardist Rocky Varapodio grows apples, pears and stone fruit and said he had seen a "good, solid flowering".

“We’ve had lots of chill hours over winter while they’re dormant and we’ve seen a strong bloom from some of the earlier varieties,” Mr Varapodio said.

Stone fruit will be picked first in early December, and with water allocations in the Goulburn system at 40 per cent, the outlook is optimistic.

“At this stage, because we’ve had some good winter rains and the allocation has opened up slightly higher than last year, we're a bit optimistic about getting more allocation — but there’s no guarantee,” he said.

“It’s still very early but were hopeful for a nice spring.

“The winter rain gave us some good levels of moisture in the soil as we come into spring, whereas this time last year was a bit dry.

“We're now applying our nutrient program and monitoring for pests and diseases.”

Integrity Fruit owner Peter Hall said his outlook for this year's harvest season was also positive.

“The blossom has formed on the stone fruit orchards,” Mr Hall said.

“We’ve had quite a cold winter, so that’s set up nicely for us.

“This time, the ground is quite moist so we don’t have to water early; the next steps are to finish pruning and to put out a bit of fertiliser.”

He said improved rainfall and water levels in catchments provided a better chance for a higher water allocation.