Almond Producer in Line for Great Crop Return

Posted by AFN Staff Writers on 2nd May 2019

One of Australia’s leading horticulture groups Select Harvests LTD’s latest crop update (as of end April 2019) signalled a strong growth boost for its almond business.

The almond crop harvest has been completed.

Ideal growing and dry harvesting conditions, new technology and improved horticultural practices have resulted in a relatively high-quality crop, with a lower percentage of manufacturing grade material. In addition, the introduction of new processing technology has resulted in improved productivity, within the orchards and the Carina West processing facility.

With annual water allocation pricing and availability remaining challenging, the decision to forward purchase all water requirements for this year’s crop turned out to have been prudent.

The company’s investment in risk mitigation, in particular frost fans, has had a significant positive impact on volumes compared to last year, where similar conditions prevailed.

With 48% of the crop processed, Select Harvests’ yield results continue to show all varieties and regions producing yields at least 10% above industry benchmark volumes.

Market Conditions

Domestic and export demand remains buoyant for inshell, kernel and processed almonds. Sales and commitments for the current crop in Australia and US sales remain in line with market expectations and pricing has remained stable post the announcement by industry sources of the expected US 2019 crop (which should begin harvest in August 2019) of between 2.50 – 2.70 billion pounds (up from 2.26 billion pounds for the US 2018 crop).

With Select Harvests’ 2019 crop over 60% committed to sale and over 72% USD hedged, the company expects the FY2019 average price to be in the previously provided range of A$8.40 – A$8.70/kg.

Paul Thompson, Select Harvests Managing Director said: “It is always a bonus to have harvest completed before the Autumn rains. This year’s crop is expected to yield over 10% above industry standards across all regions, and from a quality perspective this is one of our best crops for many years.

“We have invested significantly in our greenfield plantings, horticultural program, risk mitigation strategies, orchard operation technology, processing technology and importantly, our people. It is very pleasing to begin to see the benefits of our investments reflected in both our yield, crop quality and ultimately our financial returns”, he concluded.