The incredible yield of macadamia orchards in Bundaberg has contributed significantly to a higher than expected 2020 national crop of 50,300 tonnes in-shell at 10 per cent moisture.
The figure, which was higher than forecast, was announced yesterday by the industry’s peak body the Australian Macadamia Society (AMS).
AMS chief executive Jolyon Burnett said the original forecast had catered for the potentially harsh impacts of the 2019 drought and the final result proved how hardy macadamias are.
“Overall, Australian macadamia orchards weathered the drought conditions well,” he said.
“Nut quality is very good and more whole kernel has been produced this year.
“Macadamia trees are native to Australia and have proved this year how naturally resilient they are in volatile weather conditions.”
Jolyon said Bundaberg was the fastest growing macadamia region in Australia and had contributed about 40 per cent of the national crop, equivalent to the Northern Rivers region in NSW, but at a much higher yield per orchard.
“Bundaberg produced about 20,000 tonnes of that 50,000 tonnes, grown by 60 or 70 growers, while the Northern Rivers also produced 20,000 tonnes but that was between about 500 farmers,” he said.
Jolyon attributed the Bundaberg Region’s growth to several factors including availability of suitable land, skilled farmers, a reliable water supply and a supportive community.
“Firstly, Bundaberg has a relatively good supply of suitable land at reasonable prices,” he said.
“Especially now we’ve realised that macadamias grow on grey soils as well as they grow in red soils, in fact they seem to prefer the sandy soil.
“And Bundaberg benefits from having a pool of very good, skilful farmers many of whom are second or third generation farmers, whereas a lot of the farmers in other areas are tree changers from Sydney and Melbourne who do not have the same amount of farming experience to call upon.”
Jolyon said an affordable and secure water supply, including irrigation, gave Bundaberg growers an advantage over other farming areas, including Gympie and the Glasshouse Mountains, as did having the backing of the community.
“The Bundaberg community understands and supports the industry and knows what macadamias are doing for the community,” he said.
Jolyon said the willingness of Bundaberg Region growers to adopt innovations, including the use of tree-shaking equipment that enables quicker collection and processing and results in a higher quality product, also kept it at the forefront of macadamia growing regions.
He said the significant number of new macadamia plantings in Bundaberg and the Clarence Valley (NSW) were also factors in the higher than expected national crop.
“The high value of the crop has ensured Australian growers have gathered every last nut from their orchards, which has increased the tail end of the harvest,” he said.
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