Strawberry season extended as farmers try to recoup losses

October 18, 2022 7:36 am in by

You should be able to pick-up local strawberries off supermarket shelves for a little while longer, with growers trying to extend their season.

Some farmers lost up to 70 per cent of their crop earlier this year, after parts of south east Queensland copped heavy rain and flooding.

Queensland Strawberry Growers’ Association president Adrian Schultz says farmers experienced a rough start during the most profitable part of the season.

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“We rely on that early income to pay off all our set-up costs, and of course that didn’t happen this year, so a lot of growers are trying to go for as long as they can, in order to try and recoup those set-up costs and try and earn some money in the bank to go into the next season.”

Mr Schultz, who also owns LuvaBerry at Wamuran, says thankfully many farms have been able to retain staff, allowing the season to continue.

“The Pacific Labour Scheme has certainly allowed us to retain staff for a little bit longer than what we would normally do.

“Normally, if we’d been relying on backpackers, they would have all headed off and made their way down to Victoria where the season’s starting to kick off.

Mr Schultz says the floods in Victoria also mean there is still demand for Queensland strawberries.

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He says the cooler weather has also played a role.

“I believe that this has been one of the coolest Octobers for many years, and that’s also allowed us to keep going, because generally the temperatures are a lot hotter and that’s the reason why we don’t grow strawberries here during summer; it’s just too hot.”

If possible heavy rain predicted this week holds off, Mr Schultz says the season might be able to continue for another couple of weeks.

“I would say the end of October would probably see off most guys that are still going at the moment.”