Bundaberg Sugar has acquired extensive macadamia orchards on Winfield Road as the company continues to diversify its operations.
The Australian Financial Review reports that Ironbark Farming Company sold the macadamia aggregation, spread across 10 properties and 18 titles, to Finasucre's TQ Holdings for $59.2 million.
The 1018-hectare property includes 644 hectares of mature macadamia orchards and 1838 megalitres of secure water licences.
Finasucre's 2018-19 annual report says crop diversification remains a priority for the company to “guard against too much influence from world sugar prices”.
“The macadamia nut business saw a good harvest and now contributes $4.4 million to the company’s turnover,” the report says.
“The profitability of this activity is significant and we will continue with its development by investing in existing orchards.
“The outlook for this activity is positive, notably with regard to prices which should remain the same, with global demand far outstripping supply.”
The report cautions that in the longer term, it's possible that prices will fall as a result of increased production due to recently planted orchards coming online.
Bundaberg Sugar has also stepped up its cultivation of sweet potatoes and started producing broccolini (small broccoli), raspberries and blueberries.
“The total turnover linked to these new crops (excluding macadamias) amounted to $5.9 million for a turnover linked to sugar cane of $24.4 million or around 25 per cent of the company’s historic farming activity,” the annual report states.
“We will continue to study crops to intensify in the future as well as the sales channels most adapted to marketing these fresh products.”