Article by: Hari Yellina
As more Queensland crops are destroyed by unseasonal rain, things could soon get much worse on store shelves. Fresh produce prices, including those of lettuce and strawberries, have already increased, and now other fruits and vegetables are expected to do the same. The Bureau of Meteorology characterises the widespread rain that has been occurring throughout sections of the state as being unusual for this time of year. In Bundaberg, Cross Family Farms, one of Australia’s top producers of fruits and vegetables, is seeing significant losses on everything from beans to tomatoes. “The damp weather has caused a lot of our beans to die, so that is probably where we have been most negatively affected. Together with the snow peas, “said Trevor Cross, a farmer.
Although zucchini plants are already in the ground, they dislike rain. As a result of the cold, the harvest takes a very long time to complete. You’ll see a lot of tomato cracking as well as leaf disease. In the upcoming weeks and months, Mr. Cross issued a warning that supply would be impacted, and prices would rise. Anything that is exposed to the elements will, in general, have problems, he added. Wholesale costs are already rising, according to April Elazzi, co-owner and manager of Start Fresh Fruit Market, although it is unclear how high they will go. “Zucchinis currently cost around $80 per box at the marketplaces. That’s more than double the cost,” she remarked.
“The price of a kilo of snow peas is probably around $40. In other areas, we’ve seen them for a higher price.” It is strawberry harvest time, but Bundaberg grower Michael Meiers reported that 40 millimetres of rain have fallen on his property recently. We’ve practically lost all of this week’s fruit,” he remarked. “They simply blister, take in the moisture, and turn. Some of them are so slimy to touch down there.” Due to poor weather delaying the start of the harvest in May, there is already a supply shortfall in Queensland, and Mr. Meiers anticipates that this will make things worse. “There has been so much rain recently… Not a single strawberry farm has been left out,” he said.
With his plants destroyed by rain and illness, he predicted that his losses this season would “easily” surpass $200,000. This year, we planted 120,000 plants. But now, only 40,000 remain, according to Mr. Meiers. “We believed we had it solved. But in reality, we actually nailed nails into a coffin—we just weren’t aware of it at the time. Although just a tiny portion of these strawberries will be suitable for jams and sauces, we will be able to recover some of them. Long-term rain combined with the recent cold snap and cloud cover have made for the “perfect storm” that will cause crops further south to fail.
In the Currumbin Valley, David Freeman of Freeman’s Organic Farm claimed he had already lost around 70% of his custard apples and was currently losing several of his avocado trees. Because they are so damp, several of the crops, including my leafy greens, have been harmed, he claimed. “But what I’m discovering right now is that due to Phytophthora, a soil fungus, we have begun to lose avocado trees due to the soil’s saturation, a lack of sunlight, and the freezing temperatures. “Your crop will suffer if you’ve received more than 2,000mm of rain this year and only 42 days of sunny weather. “For some growers, this will be the breaking point.” He claimed that the issues affected the whole sector. He continued, “It’s not just me, it’s all the avocado growers in the hinterland, Tamborine, and (NSW) Northern Rivers.