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Australian macadamia crop forecast lowered

Severe weather has impacted the 2017 Australian macadamia crop with the crop forecast lowered to 47,000 tonnes in-shell.

Rain and flooding from Cyclone Debbie in March and record rainfall in the northern rivers in June disrupted harvesting and caused crop loss in affected areas.

The 2017 crop forecast of 44,000 tonnes at 3.5% moisture is predicted to be around 10% lower than the revised forecast of 52,000 tonnes at 10% moisture (48,600 tonnes at 3.5% moisture) following Cyclone Debbie and last year’s record crop of 52,000 tonnes at 10% moisture.

“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,” says Australian Macadamia Society chief executive officer Jolyon Burnett.

“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.”

Burnett says the health of Australian macadamia trees and orchards is good, because growers are adopting new industry-wide productivity initiatives like Integrated Orchard Management and Integrated Orchard Nutrition, which lead to better soil and tree health and higher yields.

Flowering has now begun in most regions, and growers will be focused on nurturing the next crop over the coming months.

“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,” notes Burnett. “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.”

Global demand remains strong across the board for both Australian kernel and in-shell.

The revised 2017 Australian macadamia crop estimate is provided by the Australian Macadamia Society based on factory receipts of the Australian Macadamia Handlers Association (AMHA) until end of July. The AMHA represents 90% of the total crop.

The final figure for the 2017 crop will be announced by the AMS in late November 2017.

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