Export results encouraging after challenging year

Just Avocados and Darling Group's Andrew and Jacob Darling are pleased with their export 'pool 1' results delivered to growers in early February.

Results for Just Avocados’ export ‘pool 1’ for the 2020-21 season have been announced with an average orchard gate return across premium sizes of $27.27 per tray.

The results are very positive after a challenging year says Just Avocados’ general manager of sales and marketing Jacob Darling.

“We are really proud of the results for export pool 1 as the season to date has had some significant challenges, both from a grower perspective and a packing and marketing perspective.

“We really appreciate the support that Just Avocados growers have shown as we have collectively navigated our way through the season.”

Good returns were hard won amid volatile demand through COVID-19, shipping delays, and an industry-wide issue with small fruit of 28 count size and smaller.

“Where small fruit was identified as an issue on orchard, most growers recognised the opportunity to size this and as a result they increased both their dollars per tray return and total volume harvested.”

In one case analysed, Jacob says select picking early and leaving smaller fruit to size for later harvest resulted in an increased overall return of upwards of $0.85 orchard gate return per tray over the total volume harvested.

“Through management of size picking in the early pool, the volume of 28 count and smaller being harvested was close to 38 per cent. We managed to remain under 50 per cent for the entire season, whereas the industry overall is circa 56 per cent. This will have a material positive impact on Just Avocados growers’ overall orchard gate returns.

“When looking at total profitability from export and domestic markets, our top performing growers are now doing circa $70,000 per hectare orchard gate return.”

Jacob says the domestic market to date has been stable with average class two orchard gate returns ranging from $26.75 to $20.53 for 16 – 28 count sizes.

“Growth in this category and the ability to extract a premium through direct supermarket channels is something our domestic marketing partners, Zeafruit, continue to improve.”
Just Avocados’ focus on orchard health and return crop encourages harvest of large volumes in the first half of the season.

“We offer three marketing options which suit different growers depending on their individual goals. The first export pool is designed to accommodate production focused growers who want to get a large portion of their crop off prior to flowering to assist with tree health and return crop.”

Jacob says the initial plan was to have 70 per cent of fruit loaded out by November 18, 2020, putting it into the early pool and consignment marketing options; however, through leaving fruit to size and forecasts of good returns from the Australian market, this changed to 50 per cent, with 50 per cent in the remainder of the season.

“Production and returns are the key drivers to profitability, and we need to ensure as an export company we focus on orchard health while delivering premiums out of the marketplace especially in a season like we have just had.”

Just Avocados’ returns for small fruit (30 count size - 36 count size) range from an OGR of $22.30 to $18.70 per tray.

Overall, for export pool 1, Just Avocados has produced an average OGR of $24.99 for all class one sizes including 42 count size.

“Individual growers will have different OGRs based on their own individual size profile and specific packhouse's packing and packaging rates.”

Further results will be announced for Just Avocados’ export pool 2 which will be finalised following the close out of their export programme in late February.


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