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Orchard Business Analysis – update

Business Management

2019 Orchard Business Analysis and 2020 Forecast Report 

The Orchard Business Analysis (OBA) and crop forecast, produced annually as part of the Future Orchards® program, aims to determine the productivity and economic performance of the Australian pome fruit industry 

This year, data collected from 18 orchard businesses in Victoria, NSW, Western Australia and Tasmania were analysed to create the industry model. The 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 2008-2020. 
  • 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 is based on a 115 hectare (ha) property, of which 40 ha is planted to apples and pears. The analysis represents the crops harvested in 2019 and 2020, where 2020 is referred to as the forecast year.   

Summary of findings 


  • The average gross yield of the Australian model orchard in 2019 was high at 50.3 t/ha, while the subsequent year of 2020 is lower 42.9 t/ha. This is attributed to the lower fruit numbers following a large crop in the 2019 season and the drought and fires affecting two orchards that contributed data.  
  • The average Class 1 packout yield in 2019 was outstanding at 35.2 t/ha. 
  • Average yields are increasing. Over the period from 2008 to 2012 the average yield was reported at 36 t/ha while over the last 4 years (201620) average yields were 10 t/ha higher at 46 t/ha. 


  • Overall fruit quality, as measured by Class 1 packout, was 70% in 2019 and is even higher at 71% in 2020.  
  • Class 1 packouts have been trending upwards since the modelling began. 

Costs of production 

  • Cost of production in 2019 was higher per ha, which was attributed largely to the harvest and post-harvest costs associated with a large crop.  
  • Costs were also high in 2020, the largest impact being associated with labour. 


  • The 2019 season achieved average returns of $2.24/kg, an increase compared with recent years.  
  • Class 1 returns for Red Delicious, Jazz and Kanzi were lower in 2019 compared with 2018 while other returns on other apple varieties rose. 
  • The return on Class 1 for Packham pears was significantly higher in 2019. 
  • The 2019 and 2020 year surplus (EBITDA/ha) is the highest since monitoring began 11 years ago.  


  • The average revenue or orchard gate return (total revenue less post-harvest costs) for the model orchard is $54,245/ha. 

In summary, the average gross yield in 2019 was higher than the previous year but 2020 will see a lower average yield. Class 1 packouts, however, were high in 2019 and forecast to be higher in 2021. Returns in 2019 were strong, and even stronger in 2020 resulting in 2020 having the highest EBITDA/ha since the modelling began 11 years ago.  

The OBA Analysis Report is available exclusively to levy-paying growers. To request a copy please contact APAL by emailing [email protected] or phone 9329 3511.

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