MANGO MANIA: Alstonville residents Marie and Calvin Chilcott, pictured with four-year-old friend Bailey Merritt, are all smiles
MANGO MANIA: Alstonville residents Marie and Calvin Chilcott, pictured with four-year-old friend Bailey Merritt, are all smiles

Scarce mangoes may hit $7 each

By SHAN GOODWIN shan.goodwin@northern star.com.au

CALVIN and Marie Chilcott love mangoes so much they planted a Bowen mango tree in their backyard when they retired to Alstonville 13 years ago.

When the tree bears each February they eat about four a day each and freeze the rest so they can continue to have mangoes all year.

And even if the price hits the $7 a mango that growers are predicting this season, the Chilcotts won't be setting up a fruit stand at their front gate.

"We'll just savour them even more," Calvin said.

Northern Australian mango growers, who account for 90 per cent of the country's prized fruit, say their crops are down by more than 50 per cent this season.

The first mangoes are due to hit the market within a few weeks and growers say prices are likely to start at $5.

Mangoes need cold, dry weather to flower, and this winter has been the opposite. Last season was also a bumper crop for Australia's mango producers, which means trees were left with few of the carbohydrates needed to flower again this season.

The poor northern crops could be a huge boost for the 50-odd mango growers on the Northern Rivers if their crops yield well.

Hogarth Range grower John Flint said it was too early to say how local trees were faring, as they don't start producing until after Christmas.

"We had good rain around late June so soil moisture is good, but we need some hot nights now," he said.



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