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  • Australian almonds making their mark globally

    May 1st, 2015

    It is a case of right timing for South Australian almond farm Jubilee Almonds. The business is taking advantage of some cooler, wetter days to do a second shake of its trees and collect an additional 200-300kg/ha or 5-10% of additional crop, as the almonds take on water and become heavier, which makes them easier to shake from the tree. “It’s definitely worth the additional inputs of labour and equipment to gain the additional crop. For us it turns our 480 hectare farm into something that feels like 700 hectare farm ,” says Orchard Manager Michael Ward. Rain can be considered a blessing in this instance, according to him.

    The additional product will be needed to meet demand, as globally supply continues to suffer, down about 7%, from crippling drought affecting California, where 80% of the world’s almond crop comes from.This year’s harvest is expected to be slightly down on volume, but prices have climbed slightly as some growers lift prices as high as $11 per kilo, so revenue should not be affected, according to Mr Ward. “We bulldozed and replaced a 39ha of trees with new varieties and rootstock last year, so this year we’re expecting to harvest a total of around 1300 tonnes, or just over 3 tonnes per hectare, compared to 3.8 tonnes per hectare last year,” he says.

    The export market is significant for Jubilee Almonds, as about 60% of its product ends up overseas in places like Europe and inshell to India where the almonds are sent ‘de-hulled or still in their shell. “India has been a long term buyer of in-shell Australian Almonds,” notes Mr Ward. The ongoing global supply issues mean that many Australian growers are looking to get in to the almond business, according to him. “I think there will be some new players enter the market. At the moment with nurseries you can’t order new trees before 2017.”

    Currently Australia is the world’s second largest almond producer behind California, supplying about 5% of the global market. Spain rounds out the top three, with around 4% of global supply.