Northern Territory mango crops have unexpectedly started to flower early. That is thanks to a drier than usual wet season, and cooler than average temperatures during the first month of Autumn. “If we get early fruit we always have good quality early fruit with that,” says Greg Owens, Engagement Officer with the Northern Territory Farmers Association. “That helps every market in terms of export too, but we will see what happens with the end of the Queensland wet season. If they follow us into the mango flowering (wet) season it should be a good year.”
The fact that the flowers also attract insects will mean growers have to be on the lookout for issues affecting the quality of the fruit, according to Mr Owens.“You always have to be on the ball in terms of pest and disease management. A dry wet season sometimes catches people on the hop and certain pests can multiply in the flowers.”
Mango farmer Ross Maxwell spoke with media about how he and his staff are carrying out midnight spraying of the flowers. The spraying speeds up flowering and encourages a more even yield when harvest begins in the region in August.
Organic farmers using certified organic fertilisers may experience a similar effect, according to Mr Owens.
They should have a good harvest regardless thanks to the strong weather conditions, he says. “There doesn’t seem to be a huge price premium on organic mangoes anyway. More and more producers are becoming chemical free and broad spectrum chemicals like organophosphates are being phased out,” he says. “It’s hard to think of any farmers that would lose from an early dry season.”
As farmers are busy making the most of the current conditions, Mr Owens says he is anticipating a good season for a number of reasons, including the lower Australian dollar which will assist the mango export program , and encourage more local tourism into the NT.
Vegetable Grower Engagement Officer
NT Farmers Association
M: 0437 092 551
Publication date: 5/8/2015
Author: Kalianna Dean