“Top Performers Recognised by Integrity Fruit Packing”

 Integrity Fruit Packing has recently taken the steps to improve their packing capabilities by installing a new grading line which caters for both stone and pome fruit. The new equipment is the latest technology available from MAF Roda Oceania and co-funded with support of the New Technology and Innovation Grant by the Victorian Government will both help reduce labour costs as well improve overall product quality.

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By taking on such a venture ensures both grower suppliers and packing operations are continuing to be competitive into the future.

Being able to pack more volumes of fruit does not necessarily increase profitability but placing a focus on increasing the volumes of high pack-out lines of fruit will also add value to this business investment.

Integrity Fruit Packing has always recognised this key dynamic and have provided over the years a conduit of information transfer and feedback to ensure growers are equipped with the knowledge to meet the quality and production targets for on farm profitability.

To capitalise on this Integrity Fruit Packing have decided to fund and resource a new innovative Grower Services position, which predominantly focusses on providing more personal interaction throughout the growing and harvesting season.

By providing timely suggested recommendations at key stages during the growing season such as size modelling, performance benchmarking and input into harvest management is like another set of eyes advocating for the grower to decide how to add value to their bins before they come to the facility.

Another key advantage of a grower services approach is when dealing with a varying number of growers it is important that their fruit profile, volumes and quality are consistent with each other, this enhances the efficiencies in the packing shed but also strengthens the growers’ options for better paying markets too!

To begin with this new approach one of the new initiatives implemented by Grower Services is to identifying growers that achieved a consistent season of high grade pack outs, this is not only to reward those successful but also to share information as to what they performed so well amongst the rest of the grower suppliers, which creates a mutually competitive culture raising the benchmark of the whole group.

Two key performers that have been identified for the past 2015 season are Frank DeMaio of Tatura for his Pink Lady apples and Ian Bolitho for stone fruit of Riversby Orchards for his line of Amber Jewel Plums.

Frank (pictured) recognises the value of quality fruit due to his wholesale market experience and attributed his success to paying close attention to tree health by engaging a fertiliser company for the last 4 years, by working in partnership with the supplier his tree performance has improved significantly.

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As for Ian he says that he understands the value of having a high percentage of medium sized fruit on the tree by harvest and pushes hard for this size both by crop regulation and targeted fertiliser applications throughout the season. 

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Both growers stated that they try and grow fruit that will pack out as high a percentage of medium sized class 1 as their trees will allow.

Selection was based on a criteria of highest net value return per kilogram, with some of their lines of fruit delivered being slightly greater than the shed average.

It is anticipated that these awards and sharing of benchmarking information will further develop and strengthen our business relationship with our grower suppliers.

If anyone would like know more on this approach, please contact Tony at Integrity Fruit Packing on 0429 979 456.