Welcome to HE Heather & Co’s
Spring 2017 market report

By Troy Beaton

The recent shift in temperature marks the start of the annual mango season. Retailers are already getting really excited about mangoes and so too are consumers. Mango season has started somewhat earlier than usual this year with thanks to the Northern Territory crops. The quality is brilliant. What we saw in 2016 was farmers pruning quite heavily which meant last season’s crop was smaller. However, that pruning event set up a bumper flowering event which means 2017 should see substantial numbers. With Northern Territory mangoes now on our sales floor, Bowen’s crop should start appearing in mid-late October and Bundaberg’s crop will follow shortly afterwards. Mango prices have been healthy at $50-60 per tray and retailers are buying which has been pleasing to see.

But with every rainbow comes some storm clouds. In general, August and early September have been quite dire with low prices right across Queensland. Bowen was one of the towns hardest hit when Cyclone Debbie crossed the coast in July. The weather event wiped out many crops and growers collectively replanted in bulk. This, combined with a dry, mild winter has seen surplus stock that, in turn, sees low prices.

HE Heather & Co is a specialist when it comes to tomatoes and in the past six weeks we’ve witnessed tomato prices the cheapest we've seen in 15 years. Capsicums, zucchinis and strawberries have also been affected. As is always the case, the mood and confidence of the buyer drives prices and the mood has been somewhat lackluster which amplifies the situation. However, we can’t complain, as tomatoes have been a really good line for us for the previous 18-24 months.

As we all know, mud makes money so we look forward to some rain as the weather heats up, and a return to more ‘normal’ prices.