Oranges use outback water efficiently

10 irrigators form Best Juice plant orchards from Qld to NSW Central West: Prompted by growing demand for fresh fruit juice, a group of 10 leading irrigators, calling their joint venture the Best Juice Company, are in the process of planting citrus orchards on farms strategically located in a strip from near Cunnamulla in Qld to Narromine in NSW’s Central West.

800ha of citrus to yield 750kL/week: Best Juice Company chairman and future citrus grower, Will Kirkby – a Moree cotton grower elected to lead the business at an annual general meeting late last month – said the group eventually hoped to have 800ha of citrus planted between them. This would enable them to supply enough fruit to make 750,000 litres of juice a week.

Market-driven contract: Mr Kirkby said the agreement between Best Juice and Pure and Natural was different to most agricultural supply contracts because it was designed from the supermarket shelf back. "It is a market-driven contract as opposed to production driven," Mr Kirkby said. "The product is sold before it is produced, instead of the other way around."

Income up $600/ML of irrigation water compared to cotton: Best Juice growers are expecting this contract will help them achieve income returns significantly higher per megalitre of irrigation water used than can be achieved with cotton. Best Juice’s outgoing chairman, Steve Buster, Darling Farms, Bourke, said long-term returns should average about $1000/megalitre, as opposed to less than $400/ML for cotton and $60/ML for cereal crops. But growers’ were only able to bank on receiving these returns because of their determination to grow the best quality fruit possible.

The Land, 6/4/2006, p. 41

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