Nuts

Macadamias: first crop estimates

March 6, 2024 at 4:09 PM , Der AUDITOR
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CANBERRA. The Australian Macadamia Society has announced the first estimates for the 2024 Australian macadamia crop. After a difficult year in 2023, the outlook is much more optimistic this time.

Good conditions

The Australian Macadamia Society (AMS) has published new estimates for the Australian macadamia crop 2024. According to these estimates, the crop volume is expected to be 56,000 mt of in-shell macadamias (3.5% moisture). This would represent an increase of 16% compared to the 48,400 mt harvested in the previous year. At that time, yields were lower than expected. Clare Hamilton-Bate, CEO of the Australian Macadamia Society, is optimistic: “2024 is looking like a better season, with good conditions experienced during flowering, and positive grower sentiment across growing regions. While recent rainfall in some regions will make the start of harvest a little challenging, with good growing conditions we expect to see an improvement in kernel recoveries, which is very encouraging.” Hamilton-Bate is particularly pleased that a return to normality is now on the cards after last year's small crop.

Complicated analysis

The Australian macadamia industry generally relies on scientific models developed by the Queensland Department of Agriculture and Fisheries to provide an initial forecast for the year. This data is slightly higher than that of the Australian Macadamia Society. Clare Hamilton-Bate states that at the AMS, the official forecast was further supported by an examination of climate-based modelling combined with a review of historical crop volumes following periods of low prices. “Historical data from prior price downturns shows a slow return to orchard productivity. This is due to reduced crop inputs along with intense orchard management practices such as pruning and hedging.  The last two seasons have been very challenging for growers with spiraling input costs making crop input management decisions even more challenging than normal. Taking this into consideration, we believe this season’s actual crop volume is likely to finish below that predicted by the climate-based modelling,” she says. A first crop report will be published in May or June 2024.

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