Insights March 2023
Insights March 2023
- Apple and pear harvest is now underway. A slight reduction in 2023 output is forecast following flooding in late 2022.
- Poor onion production across Europe and India will see strong export demand for Australian onions.
- Record Macadamia production in 2023 will keep prices below average.
Apple and pear harvest is now underway in Victoria and New South Wales. Harvest is a little later than usual due to the cooler summer conditions seen across the east coast. National production is currently forecast to come in eight per cent below the 2022 crop at 290,000 tonnes. This reduced forecast is a result of the heavy rainfall and flooding seen on the east coast during spring. The inclement weather is also expected to have had a negative impact on quality. Meanwhile, pear production is forecast at 72,000 tonnes this season. Table grape growers in the Murray Valley region have seen widespread downy mildew disease this season. The final percentage of total production losses won't be known until after harvest. Demand for table grapes is expected to remain strong this year at both a domestic and export level. Local table grape prices should remain above average as a result. Pineapple harvest in south-east and central Queensland is currently underway. Harvest across these two regions is normally staggered, though that’s not the case this year. Growers have seen flowering take place at around the same time this season. This is a result of unseasonal temperatures and heavy rainfall seen across both regions. Prices are forecast to drop through March due to this influx of supply.
Europe is currently in the middle of an onion shortage following heatwaves during their summer months. This has driven strong demand for Australian onions from European buyers. Surplus Australian onion volumes will likely be exported to European markets as a result. South Australia and Tasmania will see the largest demand following strong production in these states. Hot temperatures across India are also negatively impacting onion production on the sub-continent. India have also recently reduced its import tariff on Australian onions. These two factors will likely drive increased demand from India for Australian onions.
Initial industry forecasts for this season’s macadamia crop have come in at a record 60,000 tonnes (3.5 per cent moisture). This record crop is a result of favourable seasonal conditions and ongoing maturation of trees. The 2023 production forecast is an increase of over 13 per cent on the 2022 crop, which came in almost 53,000 tonnes. Despite the substantial forecasts it’s still early days with a more concrete forecast to be released in late May. Growing global production combined with this increased domestic supply is expected to keep macadamia prices near record lows of around $2.50/kg. Meanwhile, almond harvest is now well underway across most key production areas. Growers are anxious to understand the impact the reduction in availability of beehives during the key August pollination period has had on yields. Reports of weather damage through parts of Victoria and southern New South Wales are also expected to weigh on almond output.
* The bulb vegetable index includes onions, garlic, fennel, leeks, shallots and spring onion
** The pome fruit index includes apples and pears. Sources: Ausmarket Consultants, Rural Bank
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