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Insights March 2022

15 March 2022 |Horticulture
Workers in the field

Insights March 2022

15 March 2022 |Horticulture
The March update provides an analysis of production and pricing trends for Australian horticulture producers.

Commodity Overview:

  • Flooding in Queensland and New South Wales has caused significant challenges for producers.
  • Table grape harvest has continued with some adverse weather resulting in lower yields than expected.
  • Almond harvest has now kicked off across New South Wales, Victoria and South Australia.

Major flooding across south-east Queensland and northern New South Wales caused significant challenges. Damage to produce along with various supply chain issues have caused variable produce quality. This has also caused more volatile pricing, with produce having to be rerouted from across the country due to the floods. As a result, it’s expected there will continue to be supply and quality issues throughout March.

Fruit

Pineapples in particular have seen a dramatic drop in supply due to the Queensland floods. Pineapple prices have spiked to their highest level since July 2020 as a result. Table grape harvest has continued across Victoria over the past month. Some adverse weather has resulted in a drop in yields of 5-10 per cent. This inclement weather will also see harvest finish a few weeks later than usual. Despite this, table grape quality has held up surprisingly well, with strong export demand a positive for producers. Export logistics will remain a challenge, with limited container availability a real concern. Avocado supply remains strong, though output has dropped from the highs seen in the second half of last year. This has seen prices trend higher over the last month, but remain well below average. Western Australia is now coming to the end of their Hass harvest with Queensland now well into Shepard harvest. Mostly average production is expected. Avocado exports in 2021 more than doubled in comparison to the year prior driven by record production.

Vegetables

Flooding throughout the Lockyer Valley in Queensland will negatively impact vegetable supply. The area is a major vegetable production region for the state with output typically totalling over $300 million or 8.7 per cent of national production. Potatoes, beans, broccoli, sweet corn and lettuces are all grown in large quantities throughout the region. Wholesale prices of these vegetables have jumped as a result. The level of damage to crops will become clearer over the coming week as growers continue to assess their produce.

Nuts

Almond harvest has kicked off across New South Wales, Victoria and South Australia, and is expected to finish up in early May. An average to slightly above average season is forecast, weather permitting. California, the world's largest almond producer, is likely to see record level of carryover almond stock this year. This is driven by logistical and shipping issues which continue to disrupt exports. US import tariffs may also see a greater level of export demand from China for Australian almonds during 2022. This would be a real boon for Australian growers; however, it remains to be seen if this will eventuate.

 

** The Tropical Fruit Index includes bananas, mangoes, papaws, passionfruit and pineapples
* The Edible Flower Index includes artichokes, broccoli and cauliflower.
Sources: Ausmarket Consultants, Rural Bank

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