Home' National Farmers Federation : Annual Review 2014 - 2015 Contents 98 NATIONAL FARMERS' FEDERATION ANNUAL REVIEW 2014-- 15
quality Sunmuscats. There were also issues
with currants and raisins which were di cult
to sell on current prices and volumes.
Contaminants are still of concern, but
processors commended the industry
for fewer deductions this season. This
enabled higher processing speed with
less waste, reducing processing costs.
The signi cant di erences between the
major processors in grading for light fruit
has again highlighted the urgent need
to develop an objective measurement
system for evaluating colour and quality
of dried grapes. This would be a priority
research project for the immediate future.
Grower experience --- what
worked and what didn't
The negatives for the season included
rain in mid-January that split fruit and as a
consequence, resulted in reduced grade.
Yields on swing-arm trellis were lower than
previous years, with the average production
of all varieties grown on swing-arm being 6.2
tonnes per hectare. The high density planting
of Selma Pete was better than the other
varieties yields at 11 tonnes per hectare.
Green tinge on Sunmuscats was another
problem and should have been left on the
sheets in the sun longer to remove the
chlorophyll from the skins of the berries.
Managing the work load at the peak of
the season was a problem and resulted
in not being able to get to some of the
US varieties in time before they started to
self-raisin, resulting in dark berries in the
harvested fruit and thus a lower grade.
In summary the season was okay with
the overall tonnage being about 7.4
tonnes per hectare. The season started
and nished earlier than previous years.
The goal for the harvest was to look at
what we wanted to achieve and then
what was practically possible to achieve a
successful harvest. The main procedures
in the harvest of leaf sucking, cutting,
wetting, crown picking and harvesting were
analysed to see what labour was required
to complete the jobs in the expected time.
To achieve our goals, this would require
single and double shifts to be worked.
Due to the rain in mid-January and with grapes
splitting, a Rovral® spray was applied to attempt
to stop moulds developing as well as trialling
a new product, Lockout®. Mechanical summer
pruning commenced on 14 February 2015,
which took just over the ve days expected
to nish this job. Wetting commenced on
16 February 2015 and took 6.5 days.
This year the crop is somewhere about 6.2
tonnes per hectare of fairly good quality fruit
without being brilliant.
Dehydration was minimal given the
season with most of the fruit harvested
at 13--14 per cent moisture.
My property is a mid-sized family block of 12
hectares of dried grapes and four hectares of
wine grapes. The dried grape part of the block
consists of 1.3 hectares sultanas, 5.7 hectares
of Sunmuscats, 3.2 hectares of Carinas and 1.8
hectares of Sunglo, all grown on swing-arm
trellis. The fruit matured early with an early
start to harvest. Other than the rain in January
2015, it was a perfect drying season making
the fruit very easy to harvest and dehydrate.
After the rain in January 2015, three dry sulphur
applications over two weeks were made to the
sultanas in an e ort to minimise any mould
developing. I have all of my own equipment,
which allows me to be independent and allows
timeliness for all harvest operations. It also
eliminates the labour costs as there is no labour
hired over harvest.
In spring, the cordon bunches are removed
so that labour is not required to remove them
during harvest, this not only does away with
the extra work but fruit dries uniformly once
cut. The aim is to mechanically cut and have
the fruit drying in block for minimum time,
with bare soil, leaves thinned with no irrigation
after summer pruning to help hasten drying
and always aim to nish summer pruning
before 7 March 2015.
Yields were average but of good
quality considering the rain.
Almost all of the fruit was dehydrated
and put through a mobile riddle to
clean out any vine material.
It is time to get rid of the sultanas and replace
them with Sunglo. Do not assume that next
season will be as dry and as easy to handle fruit
as this year --- history shows that we have had
ve drying years like 2015 in the past 65 years.
Higher yields result in higher pro ts, even
though the Carinas paid less per tonne, they
paid $3000 per acre more than the sultanas.
This season con rmed the need to have
labour saving equipment that will also lead to
producing higher quality fruit.
Solutions to grow industry
Dried Fruits Australia Chief Executive, Phil
Chidgzey said the industry was working
towards nding solutions that would help
growers improve the value of dried grapes
and encourage investment in the industry so
that the bene ts of scale could be realised.
Dark fruit and poor quality had been the
biggest problems in recent years, and a special
program has been developed to look at the
production of high value grapes.
The initial stage of the project was a literature
review to identify the vineyard factors that
in uenced the colour of dried grapes and
determine the direction for on-farm trials. Mr
Chidgzey said information from the review had
also been utilised in the preparation of a 'Best
Practice Manual'. To date, two instalments have
been released, Part 1 --- Pre-harvest and harvest
and Part 2 --- Postharvest and winter, to coincide
with key stages in the growth cycle of the vine.
As Chair of the Project Management
Committee, Mr Shaw spoke on the eld trial
results to date. He said manipulation of crop
load/maturity had shown little or no in uence
on colour. Covers, which helped to keep
rain o developing fruit, also increased the
humidity within the canopy, but similarly did
not make any di erence to colour.
During 2014--15, the next stage of eld trials
were undertaken at the SuniTAFE Cardross
property to investigate the e ect of potassium
spray, emulsion mixes and cover crops; results
are not yet nalised.
DRIED FRUITS AUSTRALIA
Links Archive Annual Review 2013 - 2014 Annual Review 2015-2016 Navigation Previous Page Next Page