Adverse weather impacts Australia's macadamia production

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Adverse weather impacts Australia's macadamia production

The Australian Macadamia Society (AMS) has revised its 2024 crop forecast following adverse weather conditions in Australia's main producing regions.

The updated forecast estimates a 9% reduction from earlier projections. The latest forecast production expects 50,830 tons in-shell at 3.5% moisture and 54,500 tons in-shell at 10% moisture, an 8,000 tons decrease from the previous estimate of 56,000 tons in-shell at 3.5% moisture and 60,000 tons in-shell at 10% moisture. 

Despite the reduction, the AMS still expects a 5% year-on-year increase in volume, with improvements in overall quality, kernel recovery, and nut size. The former forecast expected a 16% increase on last year's crop. 

Last year's output was affected by lower-than-expected yields and a "softening of the farm gate price." The final output by farmers was 48,400 macadamia tons in-shell at 3.5% moisture and 51,900 tons in-shell at 10% moisture.

Prolonged heat followed by extended rains and wet weather has made the harvest season challenging for many growers.

AMS CEO Clare Hamilton-Bate says the conditions led to yield losses across key growing regions.

"In Bundaberg, our largest macadamia growing region, harvest is nearing completion, but early indications suggest a slightly lower intake than initially forecast, the crop impacted by prolonged heat earlier in the growing season," she says.

Bundaberg holds the title of macadamia capital of Australia. Four years ago, the region's macadamia output made up 40% of the overall national macadamia production. 

AMS relies on scientific modeling developed by the Queensland Department of Agriculture and Fisheries to base the initial forecast for the year. The society releases and adjusts numbers throughout the year based on weather and yield.

The society will review the crop forecast again in September. The final 2024 Australian macadamia crop figure will be announced in early December.

Macadamias are native to Australia, which is also the largest producer of the commodity in the world. Both Australia and South Africa account for 55% of total macadamia world production, followed by Kenya, China, USA (Hawaii), and Guatemala. 

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