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Light tropical fruit season means money in the bank for Aussie farmers

Australia is experiencing a smaller, later lychee crop this year
Australia is experiencing a smaller, later than usual lychee crop this year, which is good news for growers' returns.

Supplied: Derek Foley

Light supplies of tropical fruit mean good prices for Australian farmers this summer.

Before Christmas there were warnings mangoes could be in short supply this season, and shoppers may have noticed fewer lychees than usual in the shops as well.

The bulk of the lychee crop is still to hit the market, and the smaller, later crop is good news for growers.

Australian Lychee Growers Association president Derek Foley is 20 per cent into his own harvest between Bundaberg and Childers in Queensland's Wide Bay region.

He said lower-yielding years could bring farmers higher returns if the market conditions were right.

"Sometimes you make more money out of those years where you have say a 60 per cent crop and the price is high," Mr Foley said.

"You're getting a good margin on what you do produce, so in the end profitability is enhanced by that situation."

Mr Foley said the fruit sustained strong prices through December, and he was expecting more good news from the markets in the lead up to Chinese New Year in late January.

Mango crop defies predicted shortage
Far North Queensland mango grower Raymond Bin checks his Kensington Prides, which will be in the market until February when later season varieties hit the shops.

ABC Rural: Charlie McKillop

Mango crop defies gloomy expectation

Before Christmas there were predictions that this mango season may be poor, particularly affecting the Kensington Pride variety.

But CEO of the Australian Mango Industry Association Robert Gray said the shortage had been less severe than predicted.

"It's been down a little bit, but there have been abundant supplies around in the marketplace over Christmas and we're expecting good supplies over the next couple of weeks," Mr Gray said.

"As we come into February we'll see the vast majority of the Kensington Prides finished, and then it'll be predominant later-season varieties like Calypso, Honeygold, Keats and R2E2 in the marketplace."

At the start of the season there were concerns uncertainty surrounding the backpacker tax would lead to worker shortages during the labour-intensive harvesting season, but Mr Gray said most growers had been able to secure enough staff to get their crop off in good condition.

"It's certainly been a major positive to have the whole backpacker tax clarified, and I think the end result's been a good one for growers," he said.