Thursday, 12 February 2009 by Dr Maytel
Fruit growers whose crops haven't been destroyed by fire are now worried their harvest won't be picked.
General manager of Fruit Growers Victoria, John Wilson, saysthat at Stanley in the state's north-east, growers have ripe fruit that needs to get to market.
"We've had reports that we can't get pickers into the area because of road blockages or debris on the roads, and at the moment we need to get people up there to pick some raspberries."
And in New South Wales and Victoria, farmers are worried the news that many crops are heat-stressed will keep workers away.
In New South Wales, labourers are needed to plough in ruined vegetables, cut burnt flowers and pick damaged fruit in orchards.
Victoria is facing a similar problem, as sunburnt fruit still has to be picked because of orchard hygiene policies.
Grower associations say they'll need plenty of harvest labour this season.
Growers are requesting that Australian consumers accept lower fruit standards this season.
The land is scorched, the fruit is burnt, koalas are thirsty and I'm sunburnt even though I put on sunscreen, lay under an umbrella and wore a sarong last weekend in Sydney. And just as everyone and everything is feeling a bit singed, the temperature drops. In Canberra tonight its 9 degrees and I have on wooly socks and a cardigan......WTF