This year’s tomato Goulburn Valley crops have been severely affected by last year’s heavy rain and the severe storm that raged last month. Some field tomato farmers have reported losses of more than 50 percent of their crops caused by later spring plantings, hail damage, and disease.
The low supply is expected to impact prices in both regional and Melbourne stores as well as SPC’s production of canned tomatoes.
One Tatura farmer experienced a “complete wipe-out” due to hailstorms before Christmas and last month’s severe storm. The farmer provides tomatoes solely to fresh markets and said the option of selling to a cannery now would be out-priced by the cost of picking the fruit. “It makes it very frustrating,” he said. “We lost 30 percent of our crop just before Christmas, and then last month’s hailstorm took another 30 percent. We now have one crop left.”
He said that despite having several politicians visit the area after the pre-Christmas storm, he had heard nothing back from the federal government.