Australian oranges being fed to the sheep

Posted by AFN Staff Writers on 24th October 2012

A record harvest of navel oranges in the Sunraysia and Riverland districts along the Murray River near Mildura and Wentworth have seen orange prices collapse.

Hundreds of tonnes of citrus fruit are being dumped in nearby fields to be eaten by sheep.

The inability of Australian oranges to compete with cheap imported juice concentrates and the high Australian dollar has many growers preferring to skip fruit-fly fumigation and simply feed the oranges to livestock. Selling to the fresh fruit markets or juice processors would return less than the cost of harvesting and storage.

Australian Food News recently reported that rising food demand in Asia is set to drive Australian agricultural exports. ANZ Banking Group released a major report detailing opportunities for Australia and New Zealand to become the food bowl for a developing Asia over the next 30 years.

Likewise, Australian Food News reported that the Victorian government was also promoting the export of food grown in Victoria. In spite of this, the high Australian dollar makes the concept of selling plentiful food to the rest of the world more difficult.

The over-supply of oranges follows other recent reports of Australian production excess for potatoes, avocados, and strawberries throughout Australia. Despite the significant losses for the farmers, the news has been positive for the major supermarkets and the benefits from low prices.



Dumped citrus. Image courtesy of Gary McCarten from The Weekly Times