Australian dried grape growers are anticipating another strong season as they prepare for the imminent harvest.

Dried Fruits Australia chairman Mark King said dry and warm weather conditions forecast for the primary growing region of Sunraysia would help producers deliver a high-quality crop.

“We’re expecting the yield to be about the same as last year, which came in at 17,000 tonnes,” Mr King said.

“The sultana crop naturally fluctuates from year to year, while new high yielding varieties like Sunmuscat, Sunglo and Carina currants are more consistent and look really promising this year.

“We had an exceptional 2018 season, and if we don’t get any rain or more really high temperatures, the industry can look forward to another great year.”

Mr King encouraged growers to commence summer pruning if their fruit was almost ripe.

“Don’t wait to start cutting because you could lose out in the long run,” he said.

“If you start too late in the season, there is a greater chance of rain and fruit will dry more slowly, it will be of lower quality, and dehydration costs will be higher.”

Mr King said it was vital for growers to be aware of when summer pruning should finish and drying should begin for each variety on their property.

“The ideal time to finish cutting Carina currants and sultana varieties is the end of February, and the end of the first week of March for Sunmuscat and Sunglo,” he said.

“Under normal harvest conditions, these dates give growers the best chance of successfully drying their fruit sufficiently for harvest and in the most economically viable way.”