THE first pip has been fired in Victoria's cherry season - and growers expect a quality crop.
Harvest began around Wangaratta and Cobram last week and the Yarra Valley would follow soon, Victorian Cherry Association president Ken Gaudion said.
"It looks like a quality crop," Mr Gaudion said. "Nothing's gonna be really heavy. Nothing's over-cropped, so the size should be good.
"The weather's been good, so hopefully there's no disasters in the next 100 days." Boweya grower Graeme Sebire began harvest near Wangaratta last Thursday and, after a slow start on the weekend due to cold nights, should be in full swing this week.
Mr Sebire and son Martin plan to pick every day from now on. "It's not a huge crop, it's more medium. But it should produce very good quality fruit," he said.
"If the weather stays kind to us, it should be quite a reasonable year." The warm weather would need to continue, spattered with a bit of rain, for the crop to reach its potential, Mr Sebire said.
Harvesting the 150ha farm, of which about 100ha is bearing, would take until Christmas. Mr Sebire would then turn his attentions to picking his 30ha in Rosegarland, Tasmania.