An Australian government review of the country’s Export Efficiency powers has eliminated the “single-desk” arrangement that limited citrus exports to one marketer — DNE World Fruit Sales, Fort Pierce, Fla.
However, DNE will continue to import a substantial amount of navels and other citrus items this season, said Stu Monaghan, national marketing manager.
Meanwhile, The Oppenheimer Group, Vancouver, British Columbia, welcomed the regulatory change that enables it to import Australian citrus to North America, citrus category director James Milne said.
DNE expects a complete lineup of navel oranges to arrive in the U.S. starting the first week of July and going to mid-October, Monaghan said.
The daisy variety should be available the third week of June and run for five weeks. Minneolas should start by the end of July and continue for six weeks.
Cara cara oranges from Australia should arrive in the U.S. starting the first week of August and blood oranges should arrive by late August.
DNE plans to offer late-season easy-peel mandarins packed in 3-pound, plastic-mesh, finger-tote bags under the Ocean Spray label.
The mandarins are shipped in 35-pound tray cartons and are machine-packed into bags on arrival in Long Beach, Calif. They’re shipped out in the same boxes they arrived in.
Monaghan expects good quality out of Australia this summer.
“Everything so far is indicating that we should have a very good-quality year,” he said in late May.
Shipments for all Australian summer citrus commodities should begin on time, he said.
The current growing season in Australia has been excellent, Milne sad.
“With good water supply and ideal conditions, we anticipate boldly flavored, well-colored, high-brixing citrus starting in early July and carrying through to early October,” he said.
Oppenheimer has aligned itself with a handful of Australian growers, he said, giving the company “an integrated, comprehensive program that spans all preferred items in the category.”
The firm’s Australian line includes navels and easy-peelers as well as a few specialty varieties such as cara caras and minneolas.
“Key brands we’ll carry are Kangara and One,” he said.
The biggest difference between this season and last season will be the much earlier end to the California navel season, which will allow importers to begin bringing in Australian product the first week of July, Monaghan said.
Peak of the Australian season should be from the second week of July through the end of September.
Sizing should be slightly smaller than last year, peaking on 72s then 56s and 48s.
Many of the size 88s will be packed in cartons of nine 3-pound mesh bags.
Monaghan expects navel prices to open in the mid-$20 range for a 33- to 35-pound carton.
Australian navels are grown in three regions — Riverland and Sunraysia, each of which ships about 45% of the total, and Riverina, which ships the remaining 10%.