SHEPPARTON, Australia — Peter Hall ran a hand over the Gala apples sitting in a wooden crate on his orchard in southeastern Australia, lamenting the yellow tinge of fruit that would ideally be crisp red and green.
With the borders closed to the backpackers who do much of the country’s farm labor, Mr. Hall was short 15 workers. That had left him racing against the clock. Just a couple of extra days on the tree, and apples can be relegated to low-profit juice.
“We’ve never faced a worker shortage like this in my 40 years,” Mr. Hall said. “I suspect for each lot of crop, we’ll just not get there in time.”
“It’s extraordinarily frustrating,” he added.
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