The main cherry growing regions of Victoria are located in north eastern Victoria, Goulburn Valley, Upper Goulburn/Strathbogie and the southern Victorian area. These areas produce approximately 85% of Victoria’s cherry production. Other smaller areas are located throughout Victoria in areas such as Bendigo and Kerang.
The main production season is mid November to late January, with some early varieties starting in early November and can last until late February with later varieties.
Because of the wide range of climate growing areas local growers can produce fruit for about three months of the year from November to February. Northern Victorian area fruit matures much earlier than the higher regions, especially Tolmie, which can still be harvesting up to late February.
Current production is estimated at approximately 4,500 tonnes, although this figure is highly dependent on climatic conditions such as frost during flowering and rain during harvest which can severely reduce the harvested crop.
Modern production systems are used in orchards with most of the newer plantings being trained to open bush systems. Orchards are irrigated using low flow systems and growers are extremely conscious of the need to improve their management practices related to orchard soil management.
More than 50 varieties are currently being grown. However as buyers are starting to demand improved quality and longer shelf life many of the older and poorer performing varieties are being replaced.
Merchant, Bing, Supreme, Empress, Stella, Lapin, Sweetheart and Van are the main varieties grown.
A large number of other varieties have been introduced recently. The best performing of these are Ferprime, Simone, Early Sweet, Royal Rainier, Sweet Georgia, Kordia, Chelan, Earlise and Australise.
- No of enterprises: 95
- Number of hectares (estimate): 800
- Production (tonnes): 4,500