From front left, The Macadamia Processing Company General Manager Stephen Lee, grower Rick Pane of Rous, Page MP Kevin Hogan, Greg Jones of Wollongbar, and Kim Wilson of Clunes, are joined by other growers and staff from the co-op who are celebrating a record high price for macadamias.Photo Cathy Adams / The Northern Star
From front left, The Macadamia Processing Company General Manager Stephen Lee, grower Rick Pane of Rous, Page MP Kevin Hogan, Greg Jones of Wollongbar, and Kim Wilson of Clunes, are joined by other growers and staff from the co-op who are celebrating a record high price for macadamias.Photo Cathy Adams / The Northern Star Cathy Adams

Macadamia bonanza

MACADAMIA growers in the Alphadale-based cooperative will receive a record high of more than $5 a kilogram for their 2015 crop.

The final price announcement for the year is 35% higher than last year and, with better yields, local macadamia growers "are reaping the rewards of the global love affair with the native Australian nut", Macadamia Processing Company (MPC) chairman Chris Ford said.

Growers had already been promised a record $4.70 per kilogram earlier in the year, so the extra $0.30 is another bonus, Mr Ford said.

Kim Wilson, a Clunes-based macadamia farmer for the last 40 years, said the price was the "icing on the cake".

"The extra 30 cents has made a great Christmas," he said.

Prices for macadamias dropped to $1.50 a kilogram six years ago and have been slowly recovering.

"We have had four or five years of pretty tough times, now it has turned around," Mr Wilson said.

"The money will allow us to put the extra additives into the the farm we haven't been able to do for a while.

"You see the ups and downs, and we will have to stockpile for the bad years, but I hope they aren't as bad as the past."

Specialist growers have done particularly well.

MPC growers with high kernel recovery varieties have received $7.15 per kilogram, while the price for organic produce went as high as $8.58, Mr Ford said.

Organic farming suits small to medium size enterprises, and the MPC doubled its output of organic produce from last year.

The record price was announced on Friday, MPC general manager Steven Lee said.

The good prices to growers were the result of strong overseas demand encouraged by a professional marketing approach as well as measures to reduce production costs.

Mr Lee said new handling and sorting techniques, as well as a drying system that runs of the energy from burning nut shells, all helped to keep productions costs down.

"We are focused on making profits for our growers, not making profits from our growers," he said.

The Australian Macadamia Society put the country's total crop for the year at 48,300 tonnes, which is also a record.

Mr Ford said the potential for growth in the local industry was constrained by the increasing land prices on the Northern Rivers.

New growers also had to get through a five to seven-year period of planting and maturation before they could see any return on their investment.



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