TOUGH TIMES: Australian Macadamia Society predicts the 2020 macadamia harvest will be lower than originally forecast due to last year’s drought conditions. Photo: Supplied
TOUGH TIMES: Australian Macadamia Society predicts the 2020 macadamia harvest will be lower than originally forecast due to last year’s drought conditions. Photo: Supplied

OH NUTS! Big dry affects 2020 macadamia crop

WHILE recent rainfall has helped some agricultural producers get back on their feet after the crippling drought conditions faced during 2018/2019, one organisation has announced it is a little too late for some farmers.

The Australian Macadamia Society has announced the 2020 Australian macadamia crop has been affected by drought and is forecast to reach only 36,500 tonnes in-shell at 3.5 per cent moisture, or 39,000 tonnes at 10 per cent moisture.

This will be the second consecutive macadamia crop impacted by the unprecedented dry conditions, after the 2019 crop fell short at 43,500 tonnes at 3.5 per cent moisture, or 46,600 tonnes at 10 per cent moisture.

The society's CEO Jolyon Burnett said all growing regions have been impacted.

"2019 was the hottest and driest year in recorded Australian history. Our largest producing region of Bundaberg had its driest ever year on record, and Lismore in the Northern Rivers (our second largest producing region) had its driest spell since 1903," he said.

"Irrigation in Bundaberg made the conditions easier to manage but placed pressure on water availability. However non-irrigated regions were unable to mitigate for the conditions."

Mr. Burnett said while this year's crop has been affected, he said substantial recent rainfall in all growing regions had helped to ease the extreme conditions.

"There is visible improvement to orchard soil and tree health," he said.

"Growers are continuing to focus on improving their orchard floor management, which is integral to managing soil moisture."

Mr. Burnett said the Australian macadamia industry continues to remain focused on both improving productivity and investing in innovative global marketing.

"An exciting new two year marketing campaign will commence in mid-2020 and feature new consumer campaigns plus new market research that will explore opportunity areas for macadamias," he said.

The 2020 macadamia harvest has begun in Bundaberg and will commence in all other growing regions in the coming weeks, ending sometime in August or September.



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