Support for apple and pear growers facing crop losses from hail damage

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Rural Business Support (RBS) is actively working to help Adelaide Hills apple and pear growers whose crops sustained severe damage during hail storms late last month (October).

Our Rural Financial Counsellors have heard that some growers have experienced crop losses of “80 to 90 per cent”, which is devastating after what was a positive start to the growing season.

CEO of RBS, Brett Smith and Chris Turner, our Rural Financial Counsellor for the Hills, Barossa Valley and pastoral area, will attend a meeting of the Apple and Pear Growers Association of SA at Woodside on Friday, November 10.

“Rural Business Support acknowledges the challenges facing apple and pear growers from Lenswood right through to Gumeracha and surrounding areas,” Brett said. “This wasn’t just a narrow band of hail around Lenswood – the storm impacted a widespread area.

Immature apples damaged by hail in the Adelaide Hills. Photo courtesy of Susie Green.

“We want to assure growers that RBS is available to help them work through this and look at assistance options to enable them to move forward.”

While cherries can recover by growing around the hail damage, apples and pears cannot repair themselves – the impact dints only continue to get bigger as the fruit matures, with some of the scars eventually spanning 1-2cm.

Head of the state’s Apple and Pear Growers Association, Susie Green, has told the ABC that growers had been looking forward to a good season.

“It only takes one little event like this to throw a spanner in the works and it’s really now a matter of working out what is there out on the trees and how best to salvage the crops that’s left,” Susie said.

If you are a grower looking for support, please call Chris Turner directly on 0437 321 107 or Rural Business Support on 1800 836 211.