Apples will be right as rain

APPLE growers will be looking skyward and hoping the promised rain later today and tomorrow will deliver the last minute boost to round off a strong crop.

Orchardist Tim West says the hot conditions experienced last week brought the final stages of development of the fruit to a standstill.

“Apples don’t particularly like the heat so the cooler conditions at the end of this week have come at the right time,” said Mr West.

“The hot weather just stopped them in their tracks.”

Mr West said he is looking forward to using around 20 international backpackers to bring in his crop of royal galas when picking starts in a couple of weeks.

“They are reliable and very good people,” he said.

Mr West said two inches of rain over the next couple of weeks would be absolutely ideal.

Today one millimetre of rain is expected hopefully building to up to 40mm predicted for tomorrow.

With the cooler conditions of a top of 26 degrees is predicted for today and a top of 20 for tomorrow, combined with the rain it will put the finishing touches to the crop for growers.

Cooler conditions are expected to continue over the weekend with tops of 25 degrees and 24 degrees respectively.

However temperatures are expected to climb again next week into the high 20s and early 30s.

Mr West and other growers are hoping the fruit will have the chance to progress again before hot conditions return.

Mr West’s crop is targeted for the domestic market.

“I have no idea at this stage what the prices might be - we will have to wait and see,” he said.

Some district apple growers expressed concerns a couple of weeks ago that a colony of flying foxes attacking late harvest cherries might stay on and target apple crops.

“I have just seen the odd one or two, but there’s nothing to worry about,” Mr West said.

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