“They expect it to taste amazing, look good and to be extremely convenient and they want this fruit, all year-round.”
GP Graders can cater to this expectation. Based in Mount Waverley, GP Graders have been designing cutting edge technology for over 30-years to help cherry growers drive down costs and achieve the best returns for their fruit through grading techniques that target different tiers of an ever more, global marketplace.
Their custom solutions are designed to dramatically reduce sorting, grading and packing costs and increase the average returns by segmenting fruit to different markets” said Mr Payne.
The sophisticated AirJet® electronic cherry grader is the most technologically advanced cherry sorting machine available in the market today.
It provides fast, gentle and accurate handling of cherries to grade and sort cherries at a speed of 30.2 units per second, or 650kg per lane per hour yielding high productivity while maintaining grading accuracy as well as dramatically reducing sorting, packing, and inspection staff costs.
Technology at the farm gate
With free trade agreements now in operation with Japan, Korea and China, lucrative export opportunities have opened up for producers of premium Australian cherries. Consumers in these markets are eating far more cherries than local markets can supply, even on a counter-seasonal basis.
According to the latest figures, the export value of Australian cherries during 2015-2016 season was worth $74 million dollars. Chinese exports account for about 15 per cent of Australia's production. The demand from this market has resulted in premiums for cherry growers that are able to produce premium large fruit.
"The Chinese market just soaks up whatever it can get. The Chinese are finding it hard to get enough suppliers, particularly larger, high-quality cherries, to service all that demand," says Mr Payne.
Australian cherries are favored by Chinese consumers for both their appearance and flavour.
GP Graders’ technology with its proliferation of advanced grading and sorting solutions, has the potential to unlock this next wave of demand for the Australian cherry farmer.
The Airjet ® technology means quality produce can be graded more accurately for the domestic and overseas markets using sophisticated, high definition camera technology to give the sharpest picture resolution for size, colour and defect of the stone fruit, speeding up sorting and packaging times for cherry farmers.
For some properties of the fruit, the color module alone is not enough. Shape is also important to determine and distinguish specific properties, such as stemless, doubles and spurs. Using Near Infrared the intelligent quality module detect defects such as bruises, softness and fresh splitting under the skin.
GP Graders’ sophisticated grading and sorting solutions has meant the cherry industry is approaching a newfound optimism, says Mr Payne.
"Our technology can be applied to help achieve the best possible returns for the industry, by dramatically reducing sorting and packing costs and providing perfect size grading on time with greater efficiency than ever before.”
So the challenge is to create a culture of new efficiencies on the farm particularly after harvest and integrate high-end grading and sorting technologies within existing production and packaging systems.
“Leveraging high-end technologies within existing production and packaging systems will generate greater profits and efficiencies and support the growth of the industry well into the future,” says Mr Payne.