There has been strong growth in the Australian walnut industry over the last decade, with projections for continued growth. The Australian Walnut Industry Association (AWIA) is the representative association for small and large walnut orchards, which presently cover approximately 3,000 ha of walnut plantings throughout Australia. They can can live for hundreds of years. Native to Central Asia, they prefer a Mediterranean climate with cold winters and mild summers. A tree is first harvestable after 4 to 6 years and reaches full productivity by 11 or12 years of age. Trees are wind pollinated over 2 or 3 weeks of pollination. Traditionally, the cultivars planted in Australia were terminal bearing; more recently there has been an increase in cultivation of lateral-bearing varieties, many of which are imported from California.
For the year ending June 2020:
1. 12,800 tonnes of walnuts (in-shell weight) was produced with a kernel weight equivalent of 5,689 tonnes.
2. The value of production was worth $55.0 million while the wholesale value of in-shell and kernel supply was $104.4 million.
3. 20% of Australian households purchased this but, buying an average of 380 grams per shopping trip.
4. The supply per capita of in-shell and kernel walnuts was 390 grams, based on the volume supplied.
This nut is grown across Australia, with the majority of production occurring in New South Wales. Some of the other regions where this nut is grown are Riverina, Goulburn Valley, Swansea and Manjimup.
Walnuts have a strong export focus, with a moderate volume of Australian production being sold locally in-shell. Moreover, Australia has traditionally been a net importer of this nut. For the year ending June 2020, Australia exported 2,703 tonnes of in-shell nuts and 333 tonnes of kernel nuts. Additionally, the nation also imported 5 tonnes of in-shell walnuts.