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JANUARY 2021 UPDATE

Happy New Year

We will no doubt look back on 2020 as one of the more challenging years for a variety of reasons. It is with pleasure that as I write Suncoast Gold’s evolution continues and the changes we have made, and are planning to make, are adding value for our shareholders and suppliers even in these challenging times.

During 2020 we have faced uncertainty surrounding COVID-19, disrupted supply chains, demand fluctuations for kernel, challenging weather conditions and a volatile foreign exchange rate.  Given all of these challenges SGM is on track to deliver another solid result at the end of our financial year, this is only possible with the support of our shareholders and suppliers.

One of the changes we will see in 2021 is a change in our financial year. The ATO and ASIC have approved the change of financial year to end on 31st of March 2021, rather than the traditional close of December 31st. This change will allow us to capture the majority of each season in one financial year as we anticipate we will be able to receive, process and sell the majority of our product in the period 1st  April to 31st March in each year. In practical terms we will now move the date of our Annual General Meeting  to the middle of the year rather than May, we will keep you updated as we get closer to the time.

It has been pleasing to hear of reports of significant rainfall over the last 2 months and the majority of feedback is the crop is developing well and yields above last season are predicted. While the rainfall has been very welcome I am aware of many growers who are yet to see recharge in their dams. The Bureau of Meteorology continues to forecast a wetter than average start to the year so I hope we get some runoff for those growers who need it most.
As part of the opening of the 2021 season, we are planning two key events in the coming weeks, the first will be a tour in the Bundaberg Region of some projects SGM has been involved in and the second will be an opening of the new roasting room and inspection of the upgraded dicing facility. Invitations will be sent out as these events are locked in.
Lastly the board is continuing to closely monitor kernel and NIS markets, along with the foreign exchange rates, in anticipation of the 2021 season offer.  SGM remains committed to providing a competitive offer for our suppliers and I look forward to releasing this in the very near future.
Thanks to all our suppliers for their ongoing support.




Ben Adams
GENERAL MANAGER

 - PEST ALERT -  NUT BORER  - 

Macadamia nut borer (MNB) egg laying activity has significantly increased in the past week in areas of South East Queensland.  The NSW DPI has also reported a jump in moth flights in previous weeks and a recent increase in egg laying at trial sites in NNSW.   Even though shells have now hardened, there is still a risk as the grub can cause significant damage to the husk, causing nuts to drop prematurely or allowing an entry site for rusk rot pathogens.  
Macadamia Nut Borer can often be kept below threshold levels with regular releases of MACTRIX parasitic wasps that start in December and with the normal Fruit Spotting bug control program.  However, if egg laying increases sharply and conditions are favourable for the grub hatchlings, your crop may be at risk.  MNB eggs hatch in about 5 days in warm conditions.  There are a number of insecticides registered to control MNB, options include broad sprectrums Acephate (eg Lancer) and BetaCyfluthrin (eg Bulldock, Cyborg), these are also affective on late Spotting Bug but may be harmful to Mactrix Wasps so application should be timed with Mactrix releases.  More targeted IPM-friendly options Tebufenozide (eg Mimic) and Methoxyfenozide (Prodigy) are also registered for use on MNB.  Withholding periods for harvest are up to 28 days on some products so always check the label. Please contact us, your crop consultant or your chemical supplier for more information on control options.
For more information on Mactrix and MNB lifecycles visit Bioresources
PREPARE AND PLAN FOR THE PRE-HARVEST CLEAN UP  There have been signs of maturity in some early varieties so be sure you plan to complete the annual pre-harvest clean up soon.   Mulching fallen nut, leaf, sticks etc is key to optimum harvest efficiency and is also important in optimising the quality of your first harvest round.  Timing the pre-harvest clean up too early can lead to excessive levels of immature nuts in the first harvest round. Late pre-harvest clean up can result in significant losses of good quality nuts - Code of Sound Orchard Practices (COSOP).
RAT MANAGEMENT  Rats will begin feeding in the trees as early maturing varieties begin to ripen.  At this stage baiting should be done in the trees for best results.  Bait-stations can be attached to lower branches.  As nut-fall accelerates rats will move to feeding from the orchard floor and that is when baiting on the floor (in secure bait-stations) will be more effective. Be sure to clean up any fallen nut as soon as possible and keep headlands and adjacent areas clean and tidy to reduce rat habitat close to the orchard.  A rat management factsheet is available from the AMS website.
SPOTTING BUGS STING THROUGH HARD SHELL  FSB are known to sting through hardened shell and may be feeding on macadamias all the way though to maturity, and reportedly as late as May in some varieties.  Thin shelled varieties are more attractive to the pests and stinging behavior does usually reduce after January.  Late in the season, monitoring becomes difficult as nuts will be held in the tree.  If you have had high levels of spotting bug damage in your shed or factory reports last season and have not updated your spray program then you may be at risk of late spotting bug damage.  Checking known hotspots for live insects can give an idea of pressure, but is not a guaranteed indicator of damage.  Sticking to a regular spraying cycle until each block matures may be the best way to prevent further crop damage. Spotting Bug Fact Sheet
PROTECTING SUMMER FLUSH  Watch out for pests such as mites, thrips and leaf miner in the summer flush.  This flush will be vitally important to building reserves for next years crop so choose your insecticides carefully when controlling spotting bugs and nut borer as overuse of some products can cause flare-ups that damage flush.  In general try and rotate chemistry and speak to your SGM crop consultant or your chemical supplier to help decide on the best product for your particular situation.
SHED AND SILO HYGIENE  The cleanliness of all areas that are used for post-harvest processing is vitally important for food safety, workplace safety, product quality and the efficiency of your operation. Minimise pest and vermin in and around sheds and storage areas by keeping the area clear of nuts in the off-season, baiting and use of registered pest control or hygiene products where applicable.  COSOP requires baits to be placed so that they cannot contaminate nuts and records must be kept.
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List used farm machinery on the Mac Growers Farm Equipment Buy and Sell Page. We now have over 500 macadamia growers, service providers and industry representatives on the page so items are selling fast.  If you don't have Facebook and have an item to list email megan.boote@suncoastgold.com.au or text 0484 099 462 
The Buy and Sell page can also be used as a DISCUSSION forum for anything to do with macadamia growing, harvesting and sorting equipment.
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