Farmer’s warning over Aussie favourite

Mango fruit and mango slices
Mangoes may be an iconic fixture in an Australian summer but a warmer-than-average winter has seen farmers struggle with significantly reduced yields. Picture: iStock

Australians have been warned there could be less mangoes on the shelves this Christmas, as farmers urge shoppers not to be put off by potentially higher prices.

Queensland mango producers, who are responsible for more than 40 per cent of Australia’s supply, are struggling with significantly reduced yields due to a warmer than average winter.

Sandy Cove Mango Plantation owner Brad Bowen said warmer temperatures had resulted in poor flowering rates across-the-board, including the popular R2E2 and Kensington Pride varieties which have reported reduced yields by about 60 per cent.

“It’s a combination of a warm winter and a big crop last year but this year’s winter hasn’t been cold enough to get trees to fruit,” said Mr Bowen.

“We’re definitely concerned.”

Brad Bowen
Brad Bowen said a warmer winter will reduce this summer’s mango yield. Picture: Supplied

Based in Queensland’s north, between Bowen and Townsville, he said lowered yields were likely worrying the state’s mango farmers who were hoping for a return to normalcy after a challenging 2022-23.

Despite a “massive crop” last summer, Mr Bowen said most farmers lost money due to an over supply of mangoes.

“That drags down the cost and people don’t make any money from it,” he said.

“It’s the years you should do the best that you do the worst.”

While the decreased yields could result in reduced stock levels and higher prices this summer, Mr Bowen urged mango lovers to remember farmers also needed to sustain business costs.

“We need the retail costs to come up to match the cost of product but we don’t make to make them unaffordable,” he said.

“At the end of the day, we need to be able to stay in business so they can turn around and make more fruit next year.”

The Bureau of Meteorology Queensland recorded the warmest average winter temperatures since which were 2.32C above average temperatures.

Both maximum daytime and minimum temperatures were also among the highest 10 per cent of winters since 1910.

Mean daily temperatures
Queensland reported above average mean daily temperatures this winter, with the warm weather affecting this year’s mango yield. Picture: Bureau of Meteorology

Industry peak body Australian Mangoes reported fruit volumes were down year-on-year in Queensland, which produces about 22,000 tonnes of fruit a year.

The most recent regional update from August 29 found growers in Mareeba and Dimbulah reporting lowered volumes of Kensington Pride mangoes year-on-year.

“Absence of flowers in some Kensington Pride orchards have some growers starting off with disappointment for the beginning of season as they should be looking at reasonable sized fruit set at by now, but little to nothing has eventuated.

“R2E2s have set well but still may be down a little on volume compared to last year. Keitts and Honey Golds are starting to flower well.”