Rain and flooding from Cyclone Debbie in March coupled with record rainfall in the Northern Rivers in June has prompted a revision of Australia’s macadamia crop forecast.
The 2017 harvest is now predicted to deliver around 47,000 tonnes in-shell (at 10 per cent moisture), 10 per cent lower than the revised forecast of 52,000 tonnes released in the immediate aftermath of Cyclone Debbie. It would also be a reduction on last year’s crop of 52,000 tonnes.
“Australian macadamia growers had laid the groundwork for their third consecutive record crop, but unfortunately these extreme weather events and challenging harvest conditions have played havoc with those plans,” said Jolyon Burnett, chief executive of peak industry body Australian Macadamia Society.
“The Australian macadamia crop has been growing steadily since 2014, driven largely by sustained investment into productivity improvements in orchards by our growers. However, like all horticulture industries, we are susceptible to these kind of adverse weather events.”
The revised forecast is based on factory receipts from the Australian Macadamia Handlers Association (AMHA) until the end of July. AMS will announce the final figure for the 2017 crop in late November 2017.
Despite the setback, Burnett said Australian macadamia trees and orchards remained healthy, with growers adopting new industry-wide productivity initiatives like integrated orchard management and integrated orchard nutrition.
Growers are now turning their attention to nurturing the next crop over the coming months, with flowering beginning in most regions.
“Innovative orchard practices coupled with substantial new investment into the industry via new plantings and the establishment of large new orchards, means the Australian macadamia crop will show consistent, steady growth in the coming years,” Burnett added.
“Australia’s reputation for being a stable, reliable supplier of macadamia kernel and in-shell will continue well into the future as our industry continues to grow and evolve.”