11% reduction in crop forecast
While initially anticipating a record production of 60,000 mt for in-shells with a moisture content of 3.5%, AMS has now revised the forecast downwards by 11% to 53,160 mt. Production will, in other words, be roughly on par with last year’s 52,974 mt. AMS has also revised the production estimates for in-shells (10% moisture) downwards from 64,400 mt to 57,000 mt. Harvesting will be underway until August and AMS will issue the final estimate in December.
Economic and weather-related events prompted the crop forecast reduction. Trouble is that growers are struggling with the lowest farmgate prices in ten years as local media report. Some have been forced to rationalise by bulldozing trees, taking up additional jobs or even selling farms. Others report that looking after their tress has become a rather expensive hobby. Issue is that global demand has slumped, and supplies are up. Although the crop quality is very good, nut sizes are smaller and total kernel recovery has decreased. As larger volumes are being sold to the in-shell market kernel supplies will also be affected.
The industry is currently grooming potential importers in India. Yet, it will take some time for macadamias to be successfully promoted for consumers here. As new trees are still being planted in Australia confidence persists that the market will bounce back.