Tomato Growing in the Tumut District
10 April 1945 The Tumut and Adelong Times
Since the appearance of certain comments in this paper concerning tomatoes in the Tumut district and the difference in the price under Government contract and that on the open market it has come under our notice that the reference to the contract price of £17 per ton, representing approximately 2/6 per half-bushel case, was incorrect as there are only 24lbs of tomatoes in a half-bushel case and the figure of £17 per ton works out at 5/8 nett per half bushel.
If tomatoes are packed for Sydney there has to be added the cost of cartage to rail, the cost of grading, packing, cost of cases, rail freight, agents commission, etc.
As far as size is concerned, whereas canning grade can go down to 1¾in. in diameter, the open market rarely pays a payable price under 2¼in, diameter.
Growers in other districts have found the price of £17 per ton a very profitable one indeed, but when a drought year occurs it is necessary to have irrigation and, in fact, irrigation is necessary in any year in order to secure the best results.
The tomato-growing venture has not been very successful in the Tumut area this season, owing chiefly to the drought conditions and also to the cold weather experienced in February and March.
There is no doubt, however, that there are many areas in the Tumut district which would be capable of producing canning tomatoes very profitably in normal seasons.
The price of £17 per ton is that fixed by the Prices Commissioner and the general consensus of opinion in other districts is that it is an attractive price to a good farmer on suitable land.
The Batlow Packing House, who arranged the present contracts with Tumut tomato growers recently, accepted large quantities of green tomatoes from these growers to give them an opportunity of avoiding any frost injury that may have occurred if the tomatoes had been allowed to remain on the vines to ripen.
As they were of no use for processing these tomatoes were used to supply a shipping order for the Army and were forwarded to islands north of Australia.
Growers have been informed that they may expect an additional payment outside the contract.
The Packing House is disappointed that it has not been possible to ripen these tomatoes, as the whole object in writing these contracts was to produce tomatoes for seed purposes under contract to the Pure Seeds Committee, and for processing purposes.
The basis of any tomato-growing industry in the Tumut district will, it is considered, be based on the development of these two projects as the open market fluctuates and is too unreliable.
With the object of handling the ripe tomatoes, the Batlow Packing House recently installed some additional plant to the value of approximately £1,500.
It is apparent that only a very small quantity will be available this year, but hopes are high for better luck and increased tomato production in this district next year.