ARC was appointed by the lawyer of the insurers of the defendant to review the claim and quantify losses caused by spray drift damage to a papaw plantation.
What we did
The matter involved damage to a number of different plantings of papaw trees due to spray drift originating from a neighbouring property. The damage caused some of the papaws to be removed prematurely and caused a reduction in yield for the balance of the papaws. ARC was appointed more than 3 years after the issue occurred. The nature of papaw plantings is that they are staggered to ensure that production can occur as close to year-round as possible. Each planting commences harvested at a different time to the previous planting, meaning that quantification must take into consideration the impact on yields of the different planting times relative to when they are harvested.
The loss of yield must be modelled relative to the when the trees are planted and subsequently when harvest commences, and then when the trees are taken out of production in the absence of the damage. The quantification of the losses was made more complex by the fact that cyclone Larry had destroyed the entire plantation in early 2006. Trees planted following cyclone Larry had only recently commenced production prior to the spray event, so reasonable comparisons were difficult to establish.
ARC developed a model to model the possible yields of the papaw in the absence of the issue. The model was applied to the plaintiff’s available production and planting records, to model what the yield would have been in the absence of the issue.
The matter went to mediation and as a result of our quantification report, settled for significantly less than what the plaintiff’s expert had quantified the losses at. The plaintiff’s expert had quantified the losses approximately 3 times higher than our final quantification figure.