EXCLUSIVE Honey Gold mango producer, Piñata Farms, will continue to expand plantings in the Northern Territory – now a major growing region – following a successful 2016-2017 mango season.
Piñata Farms managing director Gavin Scurr said the volume produced over summer was consistent with previous years, despite being three weeks shorter.
He said this was due to late winter flowering in the Northern Territory, which delayed harvesting by a fortnight, and record heat in Queensland which sped up ripening and ended the season a week earlier than usual.
Piñata Farms and 36 contracted growers produce Honey Gold mangoes in five states for progressive harvesting between November and March. About 170,000 trees are under cultivation.
“Volume was down in the Northern Territory and up in Queensland, so, overall the season came home well for us," Mr Scurr said.
“At our Wamuran farm on the Sunshine Coast, it usually takes 240 days from flowering to harvest. Due to the ongoing heat in Queensland, it took only 225 days.”
An additional 11,000 trees would be planted near Katherine and Darwin this autumn for full production in 2024, he said.
Mr Scurr said the mid-season Honey Gold variety was a consistent performer and continued to hold fourth spot in the Australian mango market behind Kensington Pride, Calypso and R2E2.
Strong domestic demand and record grower returns meant less than one percent of the crop was exported over summer, he said.
“Australian consumers recognise the Honey Gold mango is a premium product and they’re prepared to pay a little bit more for it,” Mr Scurr said.
Planting of new trees will begin in May and take about six weeks. Trees will begin producing fruit in about three years and progressively increase yield until they reach full production. Three of Piñata Farms’ third party growers also expanded plantings by some 9,000 trees late last year.
Piñata Farms hosted its annual Honey Gold Conference at Airlie Beach on May 1-2. The event, attended by Honey Gold growers from throughout Australia, is an annual opportunity to review the past season and forecast the next. Piñata Farms also presented various awards including Honey Gold Grower of the Year.
Piñata Farms has also announced it will continue to trial late variety Princess mangoes in Queensland and the Northern Territory, following promising early results.
A small volume of Princess mangoes was harvested in March for initial review.
“It’s early days yet, so we'll assess again next summer before deciding if we proceed commercially,” Mr Scurr said.
Princess mangoes have a magenta-coloured skin and orange flesh. Trial crops are growing in Queensland and the Northern Territory.