It was a mixed year for fruit production in 2011-12. Nationally, production of oranges was up by 34% to 390,000 tonnes, as production returned to normal levels in New South Wales and South Australia. Mandarin production, however, fell by 13% to 85,100 tonnes, driven by a 20% fall in production in Queensland. The number of bearing trees for citrus fruit fell by 9% to 6.8 million for oranges, and 20% to 1.5 million for mandarins. This decline was due to growers reducing their tree numbers or exiting the industry as a result of low domestic prices and an influx of imported fruit.
Apple production fell by 4% to 289,000 tonnes in 2011-12. Increased production in Victoria and Western Australia was more than offset by decreases in New South Wales, where hailstorms devastated the crop, and Queensland. Pear production also fell in 2011-12, down by 3% to 119,000 tonnes. Cold, wet weather during flowering caused an 8% reduction in production in Victoria, the major contributor with 84% of the nation's pear production.
Recovery from the effect of Cyclone Yasi has seen the production of mangoes (up by 23% to 44,900 tonnes) and bananas (up by 41% to 286,000 tonnes) return to normal levels.
Nationally, production was down for a number of key vegetable crops as a result of depressed prices and/or poor seasonal conditions. Production of lettuces fell by 21%, to 115,000 tonnes, mushrooms fell by 6% to 46,500 tonnes, and capsicums fell by 28% to 36,600 tonnes. Conversely, it was a good season for a number of other vegetable crops in 2011-12. Carrots reported an above average harvest, up by 42% to 319,000 tonnes; tomatoes benefitted from perfect seasonal conditions in Queensland to rise nationally by 23% to 372,000 tonnes; and good growing conditions saw potatoes and onions both experience increases in production of 14% to 1.3 million tonnes, and 5% to 347,000 tonnes respectively.
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