As the last of this year's harvest is gathered in Sunraysia, dried fruit producers are counting the cost of cloudy weather conditions 18 months ago. Poor bunch initiation at that time and recent heavy rain have reduced yields dramatically.

Experts at the Dried Fruits Research and Development Council are predicting that dried sultana crop could fall to as low as 15,000 tonnes, down from 100,000 tonnes nine years ago. General manager of the council, Ross Skinnersaid that the currant crop is likely to fall to 3,000 tonnes from 5,000 tonnes and the raisin crop will plummet to 1,000 tonnes from a peak of 9,000 tonnes.

Australian producers are also facing the continuing drop in international prices, as other producers in the US, Iran and Turkey experienced record harvests.