Heat ruins cherry crops

Elle FarcicThe West Australian

Cherry growers in the State's south have been left thousands of dollars out of pocket after scorching temperatures destroyed crops.

Hot weather during the festive season devastated growers who were already expecting a light crop after disappointing spring weather and rain during the harvest.

Mt Barker grower Alice English lost about two tonnes of cherries valued at $30,000 between Christmas and New Year's Day, when temperatures hit 38C.

The heat caused the cherries to shrivel and Mrs English had to pay pickers to strip the fruit from the trees in the hope of salvaging the trees for the next season.

"You work all year for this one crop and whether you lose it to rain like we did at the beginning of the season or you lose it to heat, it's a year's work gone," she said.

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Cherry Growers Association WA spokesman Gary Fergusson said it had been a bad season for WA growers.

"When it gets above about 35C, all fruit trees shut down because it's too hot so they don't keep producing sap," he said.

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