Martos Mangoes has grown from a bare block of land to a thriving orchard of 30,000 R2E2 mango trees in Bowen, North Queensland - although it has taken the family-run enterprise more than 30 years to become the overnight success it is.
The Martos family does everything in-house – growing, picking, ripening and packing.
Each season its fully-automated packing system grades up to 180,000 mangoes for external and internal defects as well as measuring maturity using near infra-red spectrometry.
Martos Mangoes supplies the domestic market in Queensland, NSW and Victoria as well as exporting fruit to New Zealand, Italy, United Arab Emirates and Canada.
Manager Ben Martin said each market demands a different ripeness so the fruit arrive in peak condition to the consumer.
“We can be packing up to 10,000 trays of mangoes a day in peak seasons, supplying various different markets so post-harvest rots are just not something we want to mess with,” Mr Martin said.
At the time the business was doing some insecticide trials with the Syngenta technical team and they asked why they weren’t using Scholar post-harvest.
“That was back in 2005/06 and we’ve been using it post-harvest ever since. It’s just become part of our post-harvest routine,” he said.
Syngenta technical services lead, Dr Shaun Hood defines Scholar as an effective, preventative, post-harvest fungicide.
He says growers can influence post-harvest quality and give Scholar a fighting chance by adopting a regular, in-crop fungicide spray program and where necessary, incorporating a range of cultural practices to reduce the spore load settling on the fruit in the paddock.
“For resistance management, Scholar is a Group 12 fungicide. As a result of the normal genetic variability in any fungal population it is possible some naturally occurring individual fungi are resistant.
“For this reason, Scholar fungicide and any other generic product containing the same active ingredient (fludioxonil) is at risk if the same mode of action is used repeatedly on the packing line.
“To ensure Syngenta’s fungicide remains effective for the long term, rotating to other post-harvest fungicides with another mode of action is incredibly important”, says Dr Hood.
Martos Mangoes applies Scholar fungicide at 100 mL/100L in a hot dip at 52°C within 24 hours of harvesting mangoes.
While cheaper post-harvest products are available, Mr Martin says the investment in Scholar fungicide is twofold; benefiting the quality of his fruit today, while banking on what’s to come in future.
“We support the businesses that do the research and development. Syngenta invests money and time in developing new technologies, so we choose to support their products,” he adds.
Mr Martin explains effective management of post-harvest diseases actually starts in the orchard, long before fruit is picked.
“We also do the right thing in the orchard with a fungicide program so using Scholar post-harvest is pretty cheap insurance really.”
Scholar maintains post-harvest fruit quality in transport and storage to increase profitability and marketability.
As Martos grow, pick, grade, ripen and pack all their own fruit they have full visibility of post-harvest management.
“Some growers only use Scholar if they are getting a lot of rain, but it’s just part of what we do now.
“We need to be sure we’re putting a quality product into the market. As an industry, the more shelf life we get the better,” he said.