Article by: Hari Yellina
In recent days, heavy rain and flooding have wreaked havoc on macadamia plantations. Although preliminary projections have been made, it is yet impossible to estimate the magnitude of the damage. Severe storms in New South Wales’ growing regions resulted in crop losses at the start of the year, but Queensland producers were generally spared. The Australian Macadamia Society (AMS) estimated a harvest of 54,930 mt of inshell macadamias based on this; this figure is also included in the current INC statistics. However, in recent days, there has been more significant rain and floods, this time hitting sections of both New South Wales and Queensland.
It’s still difficult to predict how large the fresh losses will be, although early estimates put them at roughly 10%. “As these locations are just in the early phases of harvest, there was minimal produce on the ground when the events happened,” Jolyon Burnett, Managing Director of the AMS, told a famous news site. Our growers’ issues with orchard cleanup, on the other hand, are causing the most anxiety. Harvest may be postponed in affected growing regions while growers clean up their orchard floors, which could have a negative impact on the fruit.” Additionally, Bundaberg produces roughly 46% of Australia’s macadamias, making it the country’s leading producer. The Bundaberg region is in the midst of harvest. At 3.5 percent moisture, the Australian macadamia crop was expected to exceed 54,930 tonnes in-shell (58,900 tonnes in-shell at 10 per cent moisture).
The severe rains also wreaked havoc on plantations, causing major erosion. Luigi Coco, a farmer from Elimbah, north of Brisbane, said he had lost not only nuts, but entire trees as well. Mr Coco explained, “The rain weakens the ground, and the wind blew the trees over.” “I have two men employed in the orchard right now.” They’re pruning and replanting trees in an attempt to save them. “With the trees that die, you really have to start over. It’s time for you to plant a new tree. You won’t see a harvest for another five to six years.” It takes 14 years for the trees to achieve full maturity. “These destroyed trees were at their peak, and they were starting to provide a good crop for us.” Mr Coco said it was challenging coming to terms with the latest storm damage. Macadamia nuts are harvested once they fall to the ground.