Wine, apple prices set to rise after drought, fires

Wine, apple prices set to rise after drought, fires

Horticulture
UP: Bushfires in apple growing areas could see the price of the fruit rise domestically, according to a Rural Bank report.

UP: Bushfires in apple growing areas could see the price of the fruit rise domestically, according to a Rural Bank report.

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Rural Bank says bushfires and drought will mean wine and apple price increases.

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THE numbers are still being crunched but it seems summer's ferocious heat and fires will certainly influence apple and grape prices in the immediate future.

That's according to Rural Bank's January 2020 Insights Update which gave specific mentions to the wine and pome industries, acknowledging the magnitude of the bushfires' effects "will not be known for some time".

The report said smoke damage was a looming concern for winemakers in NSW, South Australia and Victoria, while bushfire damage in apple producing regions was expected to put pressure on supply.

"Wine grapes in both NSW, South Australia and Victoria have been impacted by fire and smoke," it said.

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"Direct fire damage has been more prevalent in the Adelaide Hills with almost one third of the region's wine grapes damaged.

"In NSW and Victoria, it will take longer to assess the impact of smoke taint on this year's vintage."

Rural Bank said both scenarios have the potential to push wine grape prices higher in the coming months with flow-on effects to wine export volumes and values in the coming year.

It was a similar story for apples.

"Apple prices are expected to increase in the coming weeks amplified by the impact of bushfires on local orchards," the report said.

"December prices averaged 18.7 per cent higher than year ago levels, driven by a smaller volume of fruit, combined with bushfire damage this could mean significant increases to price in the coming months."

INCREASE: A graph from the Rural Bank Insights January 2020 report showing the pome fruit price index.

INCREASE: A graph from the Rural Bank Insights January 2020 report showing the pome fruit price index.

In an update on the bushfires' impacts on the apple industry, Apple and Pear Australia Limited (APAL) chief executive officer, Phil Turnbull, said the industry was pulling together.

"A lot of work needs to be done over of the coming weeks to get the industry the support it needs and back on its feet," Mr Turnbull said.

"The apple and pear industry has faced an inordinate amount of challenges over the last 12 months, in addition to fires, there is the on-going drought, hail storms, bird and flying fox damage, as well as excessive heat.

"One thing that has come through this period is both the resilience and goodwill of everybody in the industry."

Rural Bank also highlighted the drought's impact on leafy vegetables, saying prices were expected to continue to move higher in the coming weeks.

"Supply of head lettuce varieties such as iceberg will continue to come under pressure in the coming weeks pushing prices higher," it said.

"The average price per kilogram in December was more than double year ago levels in both Queensland and Victorian markets."

Rural Bank is a division of Bendigo and Adelaide Bank Limited and provides a monthly analysis of production and pricing trends for Australian agriculture.

The story Wine, apple prices set to rise after drought, fires first appeared on Good Fruit & Vegetables.

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