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Insights May 2022

9 May 2022 |Horticulture
Workers in the field

Insights May 2022

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

Commodity Overview

  • Strong banana production following fantastic growing conditions have pushed prices lower.
  • Citrus harvest continues to pick up pace with Naval orange picking now underway.
  • China remains the key market for almond exporters, though logistical challenges remain concerning.

A new national Horticultural Award is now in effect, with workers to be paid a minimum wage of at least $25.41 per hour. This change is expected to increase labour costs, particularly for growers that are reliant upon workers to pick produce. It is likely that these additional costs will transfer to higher produce prices over the longer term. In further labour news, the Pacific Labour Scheme and the Seasonal Worker Program have been combined. The program is now known as the Pacific Australia Labour Mobility scheme. The new scheme has extended the visa to four years, allowing multiple entries, and greater flexibility for workers to move around.

Fruit

Strong banana production due to fantastic growing conditions have pushed prices lower. It is likely that colder weather over the coming weeks will begin to slow banana output. This will help to lift prices in the short to medium term.  Shepard avocado season is ending with Hass picking now underway in North Queensland. Avocado prices have lifted over the past couple of months from the lows seen in December. Strong production in Queensland will keep prices somewhat constrained coming into June. Table grape harvest is also coming to an end with various weather and labour challenges making it one of the longer harvests in recent memory. Despite these difficulties, demand for Australian table grapes remains high.

Citrus harvest continues to pick up pace with Naval orange picking now underway. The season is looking to be a good one despite some smaller sized produce. Orange exports are expected to kick off in late May with particularly high demand for larger sized fruit. Strong demand from Asian markets should support citrus prices.

Vegetables

Favourable seasonal conditions on the east coast will prompt a high rate of sowing across a number of vegetable varieties. This should see an increase in the supply of vegetables in the second half of 2022.

Tomato planting in Queensland is slowly coming to an end with picking to begin in early June. Tomato prices are currently well above average and should begin to ease over the next couple of months.

Nuts

Almond harvest is now at an end following a busy three-month harvest period. Record production of 123,000 tonnes was forecast for this season. Updated output figures are expected to be released this month. China remains the key market for exporters, though several challenges are worrying producers. Logistical issues caused by lockdowns and significant shipping delays into China are the key concerns. Macadamia harvest is also in full swing across most key regions.

   

** The Citrus Index included oranges, mandarins, limes, and lemons.
* The Bulb Vegetable Index includes onions, garlic, fennel, leeks, and shallots.
Sources: Ausmarket Consultants, Rural Bank

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