According to the Australian Macadamia Society (AMS), the forecast for 2021 has been slightly revised. There has been a drop of 4.5 per cent for the macadamia nuts. Hence, from 50,770 the number has decreased to 48,500. This decrease is being solely credited to the chaotic weather conditions. Because of the severe climate fluctuations, there were crop losses in various growing areas. Nevertheless, the new forecast indicated a slight increase of 3.5 per cent from last year’s production.
Native to Australia, macadamia trees are only found naturally in southern Queensland and northern New South Wales. The Hawaiian macadamia industry was grown from one cultivar from Australia that was repeatedly cloned. Recently, new research into macadamias has revealed the world’s dominant commercial cultivar, which is grown in Hawaii, originated from a single tree in southern Queensland from the 19th century. This means the commercial macadamia tree has an incredibly low genetic diversity, and researchers hope their findings will spur the discovery of wild trees and more “novel genes”.
Australia’s east coast experienced extreme and prolonged rainfall during March and April, causing widespread flooding in New South Wales, and associated harvest delays, macadamia orchard and infrastructure damage. The mid-north coast growing region, in particular Nambucca, was the most heavily impacted in connection to the production of macadamia. Moreover, the crop reduction is also in part due to the ongoing legacy of previous years’ sustained drought conditions.
With more than 50% of the Australian macadamia crop now collected, the nut sizing is more normal this season and whilst kernel yields are slightly down. Notwithstanding the extreme conditions, most regions are reporting a good quality crop. All growing regions are at different stages of harvest, with Bundaberg, Australia’s largest macadamia producer, out in front, having now delivered 80% of its crop.
The latest Australian macadamia industry crop estimate is based on forecast intake provided by the Australian Macadamia Handlers Association (AMHA) to the end of May. The AMHA represent 90% of production in Australia. A further crop report will be provided in August/September, and the final figure for the 2021 crop will be announced by the AMS in early December.