The Australian Macadamia Society has forecast the national macadamia crop to rise slightly in 2019 to a new record of 49,900 tonnes.
The season’s growing conditions have been dry but largely favourable to date, starting with good rain before flowering and a strong nutset in spring.
A long, hot and dry summer followed, including record dry conditions in the growing regions of Gympie, Glass House Mountains and the Northern Rivers.
This has the potential to affect nut size, although it is still too early in the season to determine the extent of any impact.
Harvest has begun in the largest-producing region of Bundaberg and will commence in all other growing regions in the coming weeks, ending in August/September.
Australian Macadamia Society chief executive Jolyon Burnett said the Australian macadamia industry continued to expand, with high levels of new investment over the last 12 months.
“We estimate more than 2000 hectares were planted last year and expect a similar amount to be planted again this year,” he said.
Mr Burnett said demand for Australian kernel remains strong, with Japan, Taiwan, Europe and the United States all significantly increasing their kernel imports in 2018.
Kernel and in-shell imports into China declined, reflecting an increase in Chinese domestic macadamia production.
“There is very little inventory heading into the new season and it is anticipated that demand for macadamias from existing users and new entrants will remain strong during 2019,” Mr Burnett said.
The macadamia crop forecast is informed by modelling developed over the last decade by the society and the Queensland Department of Agriculture and Fisheries, and historical data provided by the Australian Macadamia Handlers Association.
The first estimate of the crop based on actual receivals by participating handlers will be released in July 2019.
Another report will be provided in September 2019 and the final figure for the 2019 crop will be announced in early December 2019.