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Australia - Extreme temperatures burn stone fruit from inside out

Extreme heat in South Australia is leading to heavy losses for stone fruit growers. Dried Tree Fruits Australia chairman Kris Werner, who grows stone fruit at his property in Waikerie, between Adelaide and Mildura, said many growers were losing their fruit to ‘stone burn’ due to the heat.

“The stone burns them, which means they burn on the inside, they become squashy and you can’t use them,” Mr Werner said.

The extreme heat has cost Renmark stone fruit grower and packer Dino Cerrachi up to 30 per cent of some stone fruit varieties this season. Cerrachi says the extreme heat and direct sunlight cooks the fruit and makes it go ‘jammy’: “It’s extremely hot and we are expecting 46o, possibly 47o [Celsius].”

Riverland stone fruit grower Dino Cerrachi says they expect to see crop losses of 25 to 30 per cent for some of their varieties due to the extreme heat. He added that he is racing against the clock, trying to get as much fruit off the trees as possible, before the extreme heat hits throughout the day.

“We are harvesting peaches and nectarines, both white and yellow, and we only have from daybreak until about 10.30-11 o’clock to pick all of that fruit and five varieties,” he told.

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