Rain Delays Macadamia Harvest but Growers Optimistic


Heavy rain in northern New South Wales has delayed the start of the region’s macadamia harvest.

But growers are hoping to have machinery in the orchards within days to begin collecting nuts.

McLeans Ridges farmer Charles Burgess was optimistic about this year’s crop and could not wait to get started.

“I can’t harvest until the ground dries out and I can put machinery on it, otherwise I do too much damage,” he said.
“If this weather holds, I’ll be harvesting on Sunday. The quicker you can get them out of the property, the quicker you can get paid.”

He said they were very lucky that ex-Tropical Cyclone Marcia changed path.

“We received 195 mm on this property here and I was worried when they predicted 300 mm for Friday, but the best thing about it was we didn’t get any heavy winds,” he said.

“It was fairly gentle rain, just what the trees needed, but with no wind, so we dodged the bullet again.”

The state’s Minister for Primary Industries Katrina Hodgkinson said she was concerned about the impact the weather had on the industry.

“That’s one of the reasons I wanted to come to the North Coast following the tropical cyclone, just to talk to farmers and see how it had affected them,” she said.

“There was significant rain obviously, but not the winds that you would normally associate with a tropical cyclone, so that has been very good news for the macadamia nut farmers.

“It’s great to see them all smiling and we’re looking forward to having a relatively good harvest this year, all things going well.”

Mr Burgess expected to harvest between 32 and 40 tonnes of macadamias from his 10 hectares of trees.

“At this stage, I’m expecting the same as last year and I’ll be happy if I get it,” he said.

“In my opinion, this is probably been one of our best growing seasons in at least nine years, and the prices are where we want them to be.

“That’s why most macadamia farmers are going around with a smile on their face, but we’re still in the middle of a cyclone season.”

The Department of Primary Industries’ macadamia development officer Jeremy Bright said the local crop looked good.

“We’ve had a fairly dry flowering, which is what we want. It was an extended dry period that came out alright, but then we had the scare of Marcia. But it was a lot of rain and not much wind,” he said.

Last year, the total Australian macadamia crop weighed in at 43,600 tonnes.

Mr Bright said from all reports the 2015 season should be as good as last year.

Source ABC News

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