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Insights May 2021

11 May 2021 |Horticulture
Workers in the field

Insights May 2021

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

Commodity Overview

  • Table grape exports remain a worry for the industry with reports coming through from China that Australian table grapes are facing lengthy delays at port.
  • Carrot prices should begin to ease as supply picks up heading into the winter months, while potato prices are expected to remain steady.
  • Almond prices remain low following record global production, the Australian crop has seen an increase in production of approximately 10 per cent this season.

Horticultural producers have continued to struggle with seasonal labour shortages and fruit fly outbreaks over the past month. The continued arrival of overseas seasonal workers in Western Australia, South Australia and Victoria is offering growers some relief as the busy citrus season begins to kick into gear though the cost to quarantine seasonal workers does remain an issue.

Fruit

Table grape harvest is now coming to a close across most major production regions with exception fruit quality reported across most regions thanks to the cooler weather recorded throughout the summer months. Grape prices were relatively unchanged over the past month as supply across the major growing regions remained steady. Table grape exports remain a worry for the industry with reports coming through from China that Australian table grapes are facing lengthy delays at port with containers taking five to ten days longer than normal to be cleared which is causing some quality issues. Despite these concerns, table grape prices remain an in line with averages with no significant changes expected heading into May.

Hass avocado supply is expected to ramp up over the coming month with the Shepard avocado season now over. Total Australian avocado production is forecast to increase by up to 30 per cent year on year following strong seasonal conditions throughout the summer with this increase in supply expected to be met by increased consumer demand following industry investment into nationwide marketing campaigns with total consumption per person now over 3.8kg per person each year in Australia.

Vegetables and Nuts

The price of carrots has been relatively steady over the past quarter following a substantial jump in prices in January. Prices should begin to ease as supply picks up heading into the winter months with production peaking in Victoria, Western Australia and South Australia over the next May/June period. Potato prices have also remained essentially unchanged over the past quarter and are anticipated to continue sitting at current price levels with no significant changes in consumer demand expected. A slight uptick in potato supply may see prices dip slightly over the short term though this is unlikely to be significant.

This year's macadamia crop is forecast to reach over 50,000 tonnes (in shell) with the major production regions experiencing strong seasonal conditions in comparison to last year. Larger nut sizes and additional plantings beginning to bear produce also behind this season’s increased macadamia production. Almond harvest is now essentially complete following favourable weather over the past month. The total almond crop has seen an increase of over ten per cent across most regions this season thanks to additional plantings reaching maturity. Despite this production increase, global almond prices have fallen by almost 20 per cent thanks to last year’s bumper Californian crop coupled with a rising Aussie dollar which should keep prices in check over the coming months.

 

* The root vegetable index includes potatoes, carrots, beetroot, parsnips and swedes.
Source: Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS), Rural Bank and Ausmarket Consultants.

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