Mango farmer counts the devastating cost of ‘blow torch’ heatwave

Farmer Brian Middleton with rotting fruit. d414069
Farmer Brian Middleton with rotting fruit. d414069

Neerabup mango farmer Brian Middleton said the heat, reaching 46 degrees on his farm over the hot January 11-12 weekend, had scorched fruit, leaving brown marks on their skins.

‘The devastation from the heat is like someone has gone with a blow torch,’ he said.

‘With the overnight temperature of 29 degrees the night before, the mangoes did not have a chance to cool down, exasperating the situation,’ he said.

The Perth Mango Farm owner said he had expected to produce between 20 to 30 tonnes of mangoes this season, but was now possibly down to 10 tonnes.

‘I have been growing mangoes for 25 years and never had such waste,’ he said.

Mr Middleton said the orchard had escaped damage from a bush fire in the area the previous week before the hot weather scorched fruit on the west side of his trees.

‘Fortunately there is fruit on the east side of the trees that has escaped the worst and will be available in February and March for ‘pick your own’,’ he said.