Orchard Business Analysis 2019Research & Extension
The Orchard Business Analysis (OBA) was designed to determine the productivity and economic performance of the Australian pome fruit industry in 2018 and forecast the 2019 result. AgFirst were contracted to collect the physical and financial data from 24 orchard businesses, located throughout Australia including Stanthorpe, Orange, Batlow, Goulburn Valley, Southern Victoria, South Australia, Tasmania, and Western Australia with a dataset from 23 businesses.
Summary of findings
- The Australian Model Orchard’s average gross yield in 2018 was 43.9 t/ha, and the subsequent year of 2019 is forecast to be to 46.5 t/ha.
- Fruit quality as measured by Class 1 packout was 68% in 2018 is forecast to be similar at 69% in 2019
- Average yield from 2008 to 2012 was 36 t/ha while the last 4 years (2016-19) average 10 t/ha higher at 46 t/ha.
- Packouts have also slowly improved over the 10 years of the Model orchard. Class 1 packout is also trending up, though the 2018 year did not conform to the upwards trend most likely reflecting challenges with weather events for the crop (e.g. major hail event in South Australia).
- Average class 1 prices are also increasing (general trend from 2013 – 2018) as is revenue/ha.
- In 2018 the model orchard harvested a total of 4,387 bins (1,755 t) over the 40 planted ha. The class 1 recovery averaged 68 per cent, (1,188 t), with the remainder split between Class 2 (13 per cent) and process (19 per cent) production.
In summary, the 2018 growing year yielded less than the previous two, with lower packouts but also stronger prices, that resulted in a revenue per hectare just shy of 2017. 2019 is expected be stronger in yield and price which predicts a very good surplus for the year, comparable to the great result in 2008.
This is the tenth time the modelling exercise has been undertaken, following studies in 2008, and 2010 to 2018. The data has been analysed and used to create an industry model. This model captures the current performance of the industry and provides:
- a productive and financial snapshot of the state of the industry,
- trends over the period 2008-2019,
- a benchmark for individual orchard comparisons,
- a tool for modelling different scenarios such as changes in markets and production,
- a means of benchmarking industry performance internationally.
The model size has been maintained at a 115ha property, of which 40 ha is planted in pome fruit. Prior to 2014, the model was based on a 30ha planting, however this was revised to reflect a trend of increasing orchard size amongst participants.