The almond industry continues to thrive 2019/20 with a lot more plantings. In fact, currently, there are about 53,014 hectares. Since almonds are a highly suitable crop for horticultural production in southern Australia with a high return per megalitre of water used and are a product with a long shelf life compared with fruit and vegetables, providing a longer marketing season. Also, the almond exports are going strong. Moreover, global demand is growing strongly as the health benefits of almonds are recognized and increasing use in manufactured products remains a strong trend. Plant-based meals are becoming increasingly popular as concerns with animal farming increase amongst consumers. This is a reason why almond exports are increasing everyday.
The growth in the Australian domestic market continued during 2019/20 with a 5.5 increase in sales. Approximately half of the Australian almonds consumed domestically are in manufactured products where almonds remain by far the number one nut choice for inclusion in recipes of new products. Heading the list of new products are protein bars, snack packs and breakfast cereals. almond milk, along with other plant-based milk continues to grow in popularity. The tariffs placed on us by China as a result of their trade disagreements, accelerated exports to china from 11,860 tonnes to 39,862 tonnes, an increase of 236. the 2019 crop of 104,437 tonnes is a record for the Australian almond harvest, an increase of 31 on production in 2018.
The benefit of the large 2019 crop meant the additional production was able to be used to meet the additional demand from China. The significant jump in production in 2019 resulted from the reduced impact of frost and pest damage and better agronomic practices. The improvement of yields is a key factor in delivering higher water use efficiency and is now a major consideration for all irrigators. The almond industry leads the horticultural industry in the adoption of irrigation scheduling technology to best match water application to plant needs. This further enhances efficient water use in producing almonds. Hence, the almond industry is one of the most profitable in the Australian market.