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Insights February 2021

8 February 2021 |Horticulture
Workers in the field

Insights February 2021

8 February 2021 |Horticulture
The February update provides an analysis of production and pricing trends for Australian horticulture producers.

Overview

  • Red wine grape prices are anticipated to fall this year with some wineries reportedly offering growers indicative red wine grape prices around 10 per cent lower in comparison to last season
  • Australia’s total almond production is anticipated reach a record 123,000 tonnes this year, a 10 per cent increase on the 2019 crop.
  • Summer vegetable prices are anticipated to rise by 15 to 25 per cent.

Fruit, vegetable, and nut producers throughout much of Australia are coming into an especially busy period over the next month. Prices of horticultural produce are largely anticipated to rise throughout February and into March due to an overall decline in harvested produce alongside increasing labour costs across the industry with the ongoing seasonal worker shortage still causing headaches for growers throughout the industry.

Fruit

In Queensland, banana farms are currently in their peak production period, with high yields seen by growers, particularly in northern parts of the state. A lack of seasonal workers is impacting upon grower’s ability to pick their banana crops with the coming avocado harvest expected to put further pressure on fruit and vegetable growers. The worker shortage will likely peak in March with most growers now offering wages well above the industry norm in order to attract a greater number of local workers.

Red wine grape prices are anticipated to fall this year with some wineries reportedly offering growers indicative red wine grape prices around 10 per cent lower in comparison to last season. The lower prices are primarily due to reduced demand from China and ideal growing conditions throughout most regions leading to strong production numbers. White wine grape prices are expected to remain stable thanks to continuing demand from the UK and Europe. Table grape prices are anticipated to rise by up to 20 per cent in the coming months.

Shepard avocado growers are hoping to begin ramping up harvest in mid to late February with high production forecast due to high levels of avocado plantings throughout the state over the last five years now beginning to bear fruit. As additional avocados begin to hit the market prices will fall from the high levels seen over the last couple of months.

Stone fruit harvest is well underway with growers in northern Victoria struggling to find enough seasonal workers to fill their needs. Picking costs have increased significantly which is making things unsustainable for growers with an oversupply in the market contributing to the relatively low prices of stone fruit, though prices will likely rise in the coming month as harvest nears completion and supply slows.

Vegetables & Nuts

A fantastic season for tomato growers driven by reduced irrigation costs, particularly in southern areas has led to a surplus in the market with large amounts of produce coming in from Victoria, South Australia and Queensland. This oversupply has caused prices to plunge over the past month. Summer vegetable prices more generally are expected to rise by 15 to 25 per cent in the coming months.

Almond harvest is anticipated to begin in earnest within the next fortnight, with a record production forecast. Additional plantings throughout 2016 are now coming into production which will see Australia’s total almond production reach 123,000 tonnes this year, a 10 per cent increase upon the 2019 crop. Exports are expected to remain strong despite strained trade relation with Chines, with three quarters of all Australian almonds estimated to hit export markets. The mechanical process used in harvesting almonds means the industry has been able to avoid any labour shortage issues.

 

Source: Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS), Rural Bank and Ausmarket Consultants.

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