Home' Grower : April 2012 Contents The South Australian Grower -- April 2012
Industry braces for subdued harvest
Ms Rowntree does not expect
lower crop yields to impact too
heavily on supply and demand.
"From what I've heard, there is
still some good-quality oil left
from last season which, after it's
tested thoroughly to ensure it
meets all the Australian standards,
can be blended with this season's
oil to fulfil orders," she said.
The smaller crop could see
growers enjoy a slight rise in
prices which have been about
$2.70 to $4.50 a litre for bulk oil
in recent years.
Ms Rowntree said bulk oil
By KERRIE LUSH
THE Australian olive
industry is expecting crop
yields to be down by as
much as 70 per cent this season.
Har vest in South Australia is
expected to kick-off in mid May.
Australian Olive Association
executive officer Lisa Rowntree
said the predicted smaller crop was
because of a number of factors.
"For many growers, because of
the lower oil prices in recent years,
it has been a good opportunity to
do some much-needed pruning to
rejuvenate growth," she said.
"Olive trees are mostly biennial
bearers and last year, there was a
While some growers have
reported larger-sized fruits this
season, it is not the case across
Those who have a crop will
probably have good-quality fruit
which will make excellent Extra
Virgin Olive Oil, but others may
not bother with har vesting this
year's crop if the fr uit set has
JANE (pictured) and Simon Lane
have 6000 olive trees near Aldinga
which were planted in 2000.
Jane says the past few years
have been very tough for the
Australian olive industry.
"What is disappointing is the
influx of imported oil," she said.
"The quality is shocking but
people buy it because it is cheaper
but the Australian product is far
superior, fabulous, fresh and fruity
with a delicious contemporary
"But it is hard to compete when
the imported product is selling at
$3-4 a litre."
Low prices for bulk oil in recent
years spurred the Lanes to market
their own product.
Simon's former life as a barrister
helped, with staff at many legal
offices around Adelaide buying
many bottles of their oil.
Jane admits it can be difficult to
sell their product, but considers
themselves fortunate to not have
to rely on the olives as their main
source of income.
"We haven't even thought about
exporting our oil because the cost
is prohibitive," she said.
"Hopefully, the Australian public
will become much more informed
and educated about locally
Bulk oil could rise to about
R&D projects halted
To use last season's oil
Tough market conditions in recent years has stalled progress in the olive
Australian Olive Association CEO
Lisa Rowntree believes growers
will ride out today's difficult
times for a profitable future.
could rise to about $4/L but
boutique oil price would vary.
"The boutique industr y has been
able to get better prices in recent
years, but also have a more labour-
intensive operation and generally
their costs are higher," she said.
Just like many other industries,
the olive trade has found
conditions difficult because of
the strong Australian dollar.
The large volumes of imported
oil being sold at low prices in the
two major has also played its part.
Ms Rowntree said tough market
conditions in recent years had
stalled the industry's progress.
Research and development
projects have also been halted
while the industry waits for the
proposed levy to be legislated.
"We won't hear anything (from
the Federal Government) until
July," Ms Rowntree said.
"We're frustrated by the delay."
Growers voted in favour of a
levy of $3.10 a tonne being
implemented and collected by
processors in July 2011. This
works out to $3 for R&D and 10
cents towards the biosecurity levy.
But it's not all doom and
gloom as the industry is reporting
some success with the super high-
density growing practices.
It involves trees being planted
closer together in a hedge-like
"It's getting greater
prominence in Australia," Ms
The advantages of this type of
system are that existing
horticultural machinery can be
used in olive orchards.
"Vineyard equipment is perfect
for this model."
Import influx 'disappointing'
National levies delayed
By RICHARD WHITING
THE Australian Olive Association's
proposal for a national olive R&D levy,
and plant health levy is still being
processed by the Department of
Agriculture Food & Forestry.
The Federal Agriculture Minister is
expected to take a decision by July.
Unfortunately, this will mean that the
national levies cannot be implemented
until the 2013 processing season.
Given this delay, current South
Australian Olive Industry Fund voluntary
contribution arrangements will continue
to apply for the 2012 season, requiring
SA processors to collect $6 a fresh
tonne at the weighbridge on all olives
for processing into olive oil or table
olives, as per the fund collection
instructions recently issued to SA
processors by PIRSA.
The Board of Olives SA has advised
the SA government of its intention to
request the Agriculture Minister to
revoke the SA Olive Fund Regulation
as soon as the national olive levies
This means SA olive producers will
not be required to pay both the
national levies and State voluntary
Olives SA is happy with the strong
support provided by SA olive
producers and processors in
collecting funds which are being
invested in 2012 in priority programs
that aim to benefit the industry.
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