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Insights February 2020

3 February 2020 |Horticulture
Workers in the field

Insights February 2020

3 February 2020 |Horticulture

Overview

  • Increased berry production due to favourable summer growing conditions is expected to see prices soften in coming months.
  • Onion prices remain high as supply comes under pressure from drought and continued export demand.

Ongoing impacts from bushfires continue to present new challenges for horticulture. The loss of millions of bees is expected to impact the pollination of tree crops such as almonds, apples and pears in 2020.

Drought was already a problem for the country’s apiarists, the addition of bushfires wiped out the bees’ food source which leads apiarists to substitute flowers with sugar syrup, a temporary solution which isn’t conducive to hive
expansion. Supply of fruit has the potential to be lower as a result which will likely lead to higher prices later this year.

Berry prices were softer in January as favourable ripening conditions led to an increase in supply of strawberries from Victoria and raspberries from Tasmania. Supply of strawberries is expected to peak in coming months, this will likely lead to further price declines in February. Tasmanian raspberry prices were down $4.64/kg on the same time last year.

Growing season conditions improved significantly in December and January with a run of mild weather leading to increases in yield and quality. This is expected to prolong the season and keep pressure on prices.

Strong export demand and a smaller onion harvest will continue to support onion values during the coming months, despite seasonal influx of supply.

Bulb vegetable prices have remained elevated driven by drought conditions in key onion growing areas of South Australia and Victoria.

Export markets continue to compete for supply, seeing prices rise in January to 50.5 per cent higher compared to the same period in 2019.

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Sources: Sources: AusMarket, ABS.
*Berry price index includes raspberries, strawberries, blackberries and blueberries.
**Bulb vegetable price index includes onion, leek, spring onion, fennel, garlic and shallots.

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