Grapes, citrus, stone fruits and vegetables are harvested along the Murray River each year. Jobs include picking, packing, pruning and other general harvest work. The jobs can include climbing ladders, standing, kneeling or sitting while moving through the crop. The work is often repetitious and tiring and can, depending on location, be in dry and dusty or cold and damp conditions. Start time is usually from early morning and often long into the day.
The crop is often picked into tubs, buckets or placed in a bag strapped to the picker or picked into bundles and placed onto trays or into bins. Some sorting and packing jobs are also required. These can involve working later in the day after the crop has been harvested.
For more details on the Fruit & Vegetable Harvest, a video has been produced named “A Great Spot To Pick” which can give you a description of the areas and the jobs available. This can be viewed at you local MADEC harvest office.
Duration Of Seasons
The main grape harvest season commences mid-February and runs through to late March. The stone fruit harvest (Swan Hill) begins in late November and can continue until early April.
Clothing and Supplies Needed
Clothing should be hard wearing and give maximum protection from all weather, particularly the SUN. A broad brimmed hat and sturdy work shoes / boots are required. A Water bottle (for everyday) is essential and Sun block, Sun Glasses and Insect repellent can be useful
Physical Requirements and Weather Conditions
Summer weather along the Murray River is usually hot with little humidity. Temperatures range from 20 to 40 degrees Celsius. It is recommended that harvest workers start early in the day before it gets too hot. The work is not heavy but is repetitious and tiring and often carried out in hot conditions. Harvest workers, therefore need to be fit and active and have the discipline to “stick to the task”. Working couples are readily accepted, but if children accompany parents, your own accommodation is preferable as families become difficult to place on properties. Grower prefer harvest workers to be at least 16 years old.
It is strongly recommended that you have financial resources to cover living costs for at least a week. This is needed if weather conditions change causing delays, as pay day is a week after you start. It will also enable you to stock up on food and drink before starting your job.