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Queensland season starts with sour grapes

Eliza Rogers, Monday November 4, 2013 - 14:52 EDT
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Nepalese fruit pickers trim grape vines ahead of the harvest in Mundubbera. - ABC
ABC image
These table grapes are due to be picked in the coming weeks. - ABC

Queensland grape growers are expecting quality to pick up as the season gets into full swing.

The table grape harvest starts around Emerald in late October, and will begin in the North Burnett later this week, but one grower says the season has already been marred by low-grade early fruit from the north.

Sue Allan, who farms 15,000 grape vines near Mundubbera, says the biggest problem the industry has is growers jumping the gun to enter the market and fetch the good early prices.

She says growing conditions have been good, and growers need to keep up a high standard to avoid a consumer backlash.

"If the consumer doesn't buy and the sales go down, the prices go down, so even if you've got good fruit, you can still be getting prices that are not going to cover your cost of production," she said.

Mrs Allan says members of the Grape Connect group, which includes about 80 per cent of the state's growers, have to adhere to a picking maturity standard.

The grape season will soon move south to St George.


© ABC 2013

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