Moree citrus farm expanding with latest tree planting

Queensland contractor Alex Zoch and a team of enthusiastic backpackers have been busy planting 30,000 citrus trees by hand at Moree. Photo: Rabbit Hop Films
Queensland contractor Alex Zoch and a team of enthusiastic backpackers have been busy planting 30,000 citrus trees by hand at Moree. Photo: Rabbit Hop Films

Talk about squeezing the most out of a day.

A team of enthusiastic backpackers led by Queensland contractor Alex Zoch have been busy planting 30,000 citrus trees by hand on about 45 to 50 hectares at Moree in northern NSW, this week.

The latest plot of valencia oranges will make up some 230,000 trees across the Estens aggregation where fruit is supplied to Grove Juice.

A downpour of 100 millimetres put a slight delay to the normal week-long planting in the paddock that was previously planted to cotton.

The family will plant another 50 hectares in October. Photo: Rabbit Hop Films

The family will plant another 50 hectares in October. Photo: Rabbit Hop Films

"We are switching cotton country to citrus country as it's really alluvial soils that are good for citrus and the return per megalitre is significantly higher," grower Dick Estens said.

Citrus trees are ordered three years in advance with these from Gary Eyles' western Sydney nursery.

Fruit will be removed from the new plantation for the next two summers, there will be a small return by the third year but it will take eight years for the trees to reach full production.

"You've got to be looking 10 years in front of you when making these decisions...you are a decade older when you get them," Mr Estens said.

Citrus trees are ordered three years in advance. Photo: Rabbit Hop Films

Citrus trees are ordered three years in advance. Photo: Rabbit Hop Films

Seasonal conditions have been promising for citrus.

"They love summer rain and we got summer rain for the last two years to really promote growth so that side is good," he said.

Photo: Rabbit Hop Films

Photo: Rabbit Hop Films

"We start harvesting mid May and we are working at the moment to get Pacific Islanders in and we will go until Christmas."

The family will plant another 50 hectares in October.

This story Would you help plant 30,000 citrus trees by hand? These guys did first appeared on The Land.