Fine-tuning for the future

I find myself repeating the same sentiment from my editorials of the last few months: it’s been a tough season.

For avocado growers, the struggle to make ends meet persists long after the harvest is over.

Yet, amidst the challenges, there’s a prevailing spirit of resilience among those in the industry.

Passionate individuals are determined to play on and seek ways to emerge stronger from this downturn.

In conversations with growers, one question we are hearing a lot is: What will it take to succeed in the seasons to come?

At Darling Group and Just Avocados we believe at the heart of success lies a relentless pursuit of improvement, from the orchard to the marketplace.

Growers must focus on fine-tuning the things that are within their control such as refining their growing methods, exploring new techniques, and optimising every aspect of production.

Likewise, partnering with packers and marketers they trust who are moving the needle on efficiency in the supply chain and who will sell their crops for the best outcome.

Drivers of profitability

It’s also important that growers assess their financial situation and take time to understand the drivers of profitability on their orchard so they can plan where improvements could be made.

In measuring profitability, we must look beyond per tray returns and consider the broader economic factors.

Return per hectare is what really matters. This nuanced approach challenges conventional wisdom, but it’s essential for truly understanding the orchard’s financial health and potential.

During recent years, the Just Avocados team have produced some helpful resources for growers on profitability, reducing costs, and budgeting – please ask our team to take you through these.

So, growers need cash, yes, but they also need return crops in order to be sustainable. Money made in one season contributes little to success if you make nothing the next season.

A guiding principle

In 2019, Just Avocados reviewed what they were trying to achieve for their growers and how they were going to set themselves apart.

Out of that came their focus on long-term profitability and business sustainability.

Central to this is the overarching philosophy that harvesting 70 per cent of crop prior to flowering is critical to tree health and return crop.

Leaving fruit to hang late reduces pack outs, increases the chance of quality issues, and in many situations reduces the tree’s ability to produce consistent crops year-on-year.

For Just Avocados, this orchard management philosophy for long-term success is more than rhetoric—it’s a guiding principle that is demonstrated across our end-to-end service from production advice, orchard services, and harvesting, to logistics, packing, and market selection.

Multiple markets

At the marketing end, for growers, it is critical their post-harvest logistics and sales channel has access to multiple markets, domestically and overseas, and that they have the responsiveness to adapt to changing dynamics.

Looking ahead for 2024, Canada and the Asian markets are queued up for Darling Group and Australia may get a spin.

However, success in this arena requires strategic assessment throughout the year, the ability to be nimble, and transparent communication back to growers.

Ultimately, Just Avocados’ mission for success is clear: to ensure that grower outcomes remain paramount in all our endeavors today while building a sustainable future for tomorrow for the industry we proudly serve.


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