Fall armyworm update ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌
Avocados Australia Guacamole 5 March 2021
Coronavirus image from the CDC, on unsplash

COVID-19: what’s new

  • Avocados Australia Chair Jim Kochi raised labour concerns with the Minister for International Development and the Pacific. Listen on ABC Tropical North Rural Report here (from about the 2.5 minute mark) and an interview with Advance Cairns on the meeting.
  • The Australian Government has released the National Agriculture Workforce Strategy, read more. It also announced plans to trial pre-travel quarantine for Pacific workers.
  • In Queensland, the government has announced support for industry-led regional quarantine facilities for the Pacific Labour Scheme and Seasonal Workers Programme, but this is subject to the Chief Health Officer’s approval.
  • If your working holiday makers are coming to the end of their visa, they can apply for a 408 visa, more from Home Affairs.
  • Make sure your local advertising includes notices in your local caravan parks, as nomads and retirees are also interested in the harvest trail, read more from ABC Mildura.
  • Are you planning to reduce your production now or in future because of worker shortages? The NFF and Growcom are collating this data via the Lost Crop Register (click here). This information is used to both promote employment opportunities in ag, and agripolitical activities at a state and national level.

ABARES confirms worker shortage

The Australian Bureau of Agricultural and Resource Economics and Sciences (ABARES) has confirmed that the severe labour shortages in the horticulture sector have led to a fall in horticulture production across the country. According to ABARES, the lack of overseas harvest workers will result in a forecast drop in fruit production by as much as 17% and vegetable production by around 2%.

Image: Steve L. Brown, University of Georgia, Bugwood.org

Fall armyworm may attack avocado

While avocados aren’t the main target of the fall armyworm, it would seem the new pest might attack avocado trees if they happen to be near an area of high infestation, but researchers remain confident it will not be a significant issue for the Australian industry. Queensland Department of Agriculture and Fisheries researcher Dr Ian Newton says there has been one report of fall armyworm in avocados on the Atherton Tablelands, in early 2021.

National Tree Crop Map image

National mapping update: Northern Rivers

Researchers from the University of New England’s Applied Agricultural Remote Sensing Centre (AARSC), Craig Shephard and Joel McKechnie, have updated mapping the extent of the Northern Rivers of NSW. The mapping was largely informed with Spot5 satellite imagery and high-resolution imagery from Google Earth (2020), combined with field validation, and 234 comments received via the Industry Engagement Web App.

Image: Australian Avocados

Check your maturity before you pick

Avocados Australia has recently conducted dry matter assessments to provide direct feedback and empower industry to ensure we are offering consumers the best possible Shepard avocado experience and continue to drive demand. Some of the results are very concerning; immature fruit will turn consumers off the category. Please ensure your fruit is meeting the industry dry matter minimum standard of 21% for Shepard. With the variable fruit set, pickers may need extra training to make sure they select the most mature fruit. Testing for NQ growers is available via QDAF in Mareeba.

Crows Nest regional forum, date claimer image

First Regional Forum to feature nutrition

The first Regional Forum of 2021 will be held in South Queensland on 24 March, covering fruit quality in the supply chain at retail, and a special session on avocado nutrition. RSVPs are essential for this COVIDsafe event, and numbers will be strictly limited based on COVID rules, email Amanda on admin2@avocado.org.au. Priority will be given to South Queensland growers.

Australian Avocados

Shepard season in the news

The teams at Australian Avocados and Avocados Australia have been getting the word out that plenty of delicious Shepard avocados are on their way to retail shelves. 7NEWS Brisbane ran a piece in their bulletin on Saturday, 27 February; watch it here. For more Shepard coverage, read the marketing blog here. The industry’s marketing activity is helping Aussie consumers connect with (and eat!) Australian avocados. This marketing activity is managed by Hort Innovation and funded by the avocado marketing levy.

Visit the Avocado Directory today!
Visit avocado.org.au for our collated COVID-19 resources
What's new in your BPR? Click to find out
Guac_BPR 135x174

Avocado handling best prac

Five videos from AV18000 project exploring the best practice of handling avocados from farm to ripening have been collated into a playlist by the Queensland Department of Agriculture and Fisheries here (YouTube link). The videos include Did firmness at assessment affect the 2019 data collected, Time spent in avocado supply chain stages in 2019, Avocado supply chain temperatures, Temperatures at shed departure, and Did the 2019 fruit quality results meet the 2021 target? These videos have also been embedded in the relevant sections of the BPR: Ripening, Transport, and Packhouse.

The BPR is our free online one-stop-shop to support best practice throughout the Australian avocado supply chains. We encourage all of our stakeholders to register and access this vital resource.

You can log in (or request access!) via avocado.org.au/bpr/.

Do you receive all our avocado industry comms?
Share the Guac with your industry colleagues! Forward this email.
Get more Australian industry news

Retail fruit and vegetable prices expected to rise. 4/3/2021

ABARES predicts consumers will be paying for the shortfall of harvest workers this season. Read more from ABC Rural.

Victoria: safety rebate, and energy investment available

Agriculture Victoria is offering a rebate of up to $5,000 to improve safety for farming families, workers and visitors. Note, you can only apply once, but you can include multiple projects in the application, click here. Victoria also has a $30 million plan to support farm energy efficiency. Free on-farm assessments are available until 15 July. Click here.

Horticultural export value up 64%. 25/02/2021

A new ABARES report has confirmed agriculture has been one of the Australian economy’s standout performers in recent decades. The Snapshot of Australian Agriculture 2021 reports the gross value of agricultural, fisheries and forestry production reached $67 billion in 2019/20. Despite COVID-19, horticulture export values increased 64% in that period. Read the Snapshot here.

Victoria: farm financial literacy online course. 25/2/2021

Victorian young farmers can sign up for a Farm Finance – Getting Prepared webinar series covering every aspect of farm finance, from creating a business case to putting the plan into action. Read more.

COVID-19: NSW Farmers launch fruit picker plan. 24/2/2021

A five-point plan to tackle the acute, COVID-19 induced labour shortage affecting fresh fruit and vegetables has been released by NSW Farmers. Read more in the Redland City Bulletin.

South-West WA ag adapting to less water. 22/2/2021

When it comes to rainfall, south-west Western Australia has been hit by climate change harder than almost anywhere on earth, according to climatologist Pandora Hope from the Bureau of Meteorology. Read more from ABC Weather.

People at Work – psychological risk assessment survey

People at Work is Australia’s only validated psychosocial risk assessment tool. It is now online and ready for use by workplaces. This free digital tool, supported by Australian work health and safety regulators helps workplaces meet their legislative responsibility to identify, assess and manage risks to psychological health and safety. You can use the People at Work tool to self-administer a tailored organisational survey to assess your workplace psychosocial hazards and factors. A comprehensive report will show you how your organisation’s results, and the website provides detailed support materials, and interactive learning modules.

Click here for a round up of international avocado news

Kenya: concerns for elephants as avocados expand. 3/5/2021

There are concerns an expanding avocado industry in Kenya will impact on the free movement of wild elephants and other wildlife species. Read more in Christian Science Monitor.

Peru hopes to increase Indian market. 25/2/2021

Peruvian avocado growers are trying to encourage Indian consumers to include avocados in their daily diet, via a new campaign. Read more in FreshPlaza.

New plant-based edible coating. 25/2/2021

Another product to extend the life of fresh produce has been launched, the VitaFresh Botanicals plant-based, edible coating. Read more in FreshPlaza.

Mission Produce launches podcast. 25/2/2021

The For the Love of Avocados podcast will focus on avocado tips and tricks, farming, and marketplace trends. The target audience for Mission Produce is their customers and consumers. Read more in FreshPlaza.

South Africa: new grower board chair. 24/2/2021

The Board of the South African Avocado Growers’ Association has elected Clive Garrett, who previously held the position as vice-chair, to chairperson of the organisation for the next two years. Mr Garrett is marketing manager ZZ2, one of South Africa’s best-known avocado producers. Read more in FreshPlaza.

Your round up of export news that matters

Australia avocado exports and imports

The 2020 exports and imports report has been added to the BPR Library, under Export. Unsurprisingly, the report found exports were down in 2020, due to the ongoing impact of reduced airfreight capacity during the pandemic. Malaysia remained the leading destination for Australian avocado exports, followed by Singapore.

IFAM briefings for horticulture

Exporters can book into one of four sessions being run by Austrade, to provide updates on the international freight assistance mechanism. Click here for links to register to the events between now and June. Meanwhile, IFAM has added an additional outbound flight, from Toowoomba (Q) to Hong Kong on Fridays, download the schedule from here.

New Zealand Export Plan introduced. 23/2/2021

The Australian Government has announced the New Zealand Export Plan has now replaced the previous bilateral quarantine agreement. There are changes for those exporting fresh produce to New Zealand. Read the factsheet here.

Want regular export news?

Sign up for Export Coordinator Joy Tang’s regular email updates on avocado export related news and grants. Email your contact details to export@avocado.org.au to be subscribed. (Note, you must be a participant in the Australian avocado industry to subscribe.)


Have news to share?

Have you recently read a story of interest to your fellow avocado industry members? Email our Communications Manager. Please note, suggested content will be selected for use based on our editorial standards.

Check our calendar for more!
Don't miss the 2021 Hort Connections

Special avocado event at Hort Connections

Avocados Australia will host a special avocado shoulder event at Hort Connections, on Monday, 7 June. More details will be released soon, for this supply chain-focused event. For more information, email co@avocado.org.au.


Northern Australia Food Futures Conference

Avocados Australia members will receive a 10% discount if they want to attend the 2021 Food Futures Conference. The event will be held 17-20 May in Darwin. You can find the full program on the conference website.



9-12 Mar – FOODEX, Makuhari Messe, Japan

15-16 Mar – Food Agility Summit 2021, virtual event
24 Mar – Avocados Australia Member Breakfast, Crows Nest Q

24 Mar – SQ Avocado Regional Forum, Crows Nest Q

7-9 Jun – Hort Connections, Brisbane Q

4-5 Aug – Fruit Growers Victoria Conference, Shepparton & Ardmona V

18 Aug – Fresh Produce Safety Conference, Sydney

27 Spt – Asiafruit Congress, Hong Kong

28-30 Spt – Asia Fruit Logistica, Hong Kong



13-16 Feb – Australasian Plant Breeding Conference, Gold Coast Q
15-16 Feb – evoke AG, Perth, WA

Horticulture Innovation Australia
Guacamole has been funded by Hort Innovation, using the avocado research and development levy and contributions from the Australian Government. Hort Innovation is the grower-owned, not-for-profit research and development corporation for Australian horticulture.