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Smaller Australian apple crop to firm prices for growers

Apple growers in central west New South Wales are reporting lower yields this year after the hot growing season, and rain through harvest.

But NSW Farmers Association horticulture committee chair Peter Darley says this is good for prices and reflects a smaller crop nationwide.

"The crops are down this year, but I think the quality has been very good. The previous year was a very tough year because Australia-wide there was a huge volume crop.

"I think this year the crop volume is down Australia-wide, so that'll certainly equate better to a firmer wholesale price for growers," he said.

Mr Darley, whose orchard is in Nashdale near Orange, says that the heat affected Royal Gala yields the most, but what has come off the tree tastes great.

"It was a very difficult year for growing Galas, all the extreme heat we had in the growing season, particularly January and February,

"And then we had considerable rain in March and galas have got a tendency to split around the stalk, so there was splitting around the stalk and heat burn from the sun."

There is also a lower yield of Fujis this harvest, but later varieties such as Sundowners and Pink Ladys weren't as badly affected by the heat.

The extreme cold temperatures and frost in October last year also impacted on production.

Mr Darley says that higher wholesale prices, due to the smaller crop nationwide, will give growers more hope in the industry's future after a tough year last year.

Tasmanian apple growers hope to fill the shortfall this winter, as their crop could be up 20-25 per cent.

Source: ABC news

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