Salvatore Caruso with mangoes from his back yard trees.
Salvatore Caruso with mangoes from his back yard trees. ROB BARICH

Rain makes fruit rotten

MANGO grower Col Jeacocke is sitting and watching as $100,000 worth of his produce rots on the ground in the rain.

While recent wet weather has been great news for some, it has meant Mr Jeacocke’s fruit could not be picked, and the Gin Gin farmer estimated he had lost 60% to 70% of his Kensington Pride crop.

“They just dropped on the ground because we can’t get out there and pick them,” he said.

“You have a very small window with some of these products and you have to pick them when they’re ready.”

Mr Jeacocke said the district needed the rain, but sometimes it came at a cost.

“There’s nothing you can do about it. It’s one of those things that happens to farmers,” he said.

But he was not the only loser.

“If I lose $100,000 worth of produce, it means my workers don’t get their wages – the whole community loses,” he said.

Mr Jeacocke said mango prices at present were not very good.

“I believe there’s some poor quality produce coming out of this area and selling for $10 or $12 a tray in Melbourne, and that’s not even the production cost,” he said.

While the rain was doing him damage, he realised the benefit it was having on other farmers.

“The graziers would be loving it,” he said.

Small crops producer John Manera said he felt the rain had been hanging on a bit too long.

“It’s very good for the canegrowers,” he said.

Mr Manera said the rain had not done his tomato and capsicum growing operation any real harm.

“We’re finished harvesting,” he said.

“It’s more the inconvenience of not getting on to the ground, and not being able to get the plastic down.”

Mr Manera said while he sympathised with the mango growers, the wet weather was good for the district.

Backyard mango grower Salvatore Caruso said for him flying foxes were a worse problem than the rain.

“The rain stops eventually but the flying foxes are there all the time,” he said.



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