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SPRING 2020 UPDATE

UPDATE FROM SGM

The latest round of crop production forecasts has seen the estimated size of the Australian crop increase to 41,969 tonnes in-shell at 3.5% moisture (45,000 tonnes at 10% moisture), a great result considering the record dry conditions experienced through the 19/20 growing season.  At Suncoast Gold we will be taking in a higher volume than last year as we welcomed several new suppliers and returning shareholders in 2020. The success of the company comes from supply of NIS from you and I am happy to report that SGM continues to grow in strength.

Cracking and sales are well underway with in excess of 50% of the crop received already processed. Green and Gold has again demonstrated its value to SGM through solid sales of kernel and NIS. Even with the enormously disruptive year caused by COVID-19 we have contracts for the vast majority of kernel expected to be produced at prices to meet the financial needs of the company.

Interest in share ownership has also jumped in recent months with around 100,000 share in SGM being purchased by commercial macadamia growers, mainly from retiring growers.  This is a very real vote of confidence in the future of our company and the macadamia industry at large. Any suppliers who are interested in purchasing shares please get in contact with us to register your interest.
A major infrastructure improvement project is currently underway in our value-adding area. The completion of a half a million dollar project will see the installation of a new high capacity oven and upgrades to the dicing facility.  The upgrades will double the current roasting and dicing capacity while decreasing energy and cleaning costs and improving quality and work safety outcomes.  

Half of all kernel sold by SGM is value added in some way, our capacity in this space allows us to create unique high quality products for specific customers. Investing in value adding will see SGM continue to be innovative in meeting customer needs and maximising return for our shareholders. We hope to be able to hold an open day at the factory in early 2021 to allow our shareholders and suppliers see these changes in operation.
 
As mentioned at our AGM, the Suncoast Gold Macadamias Board is renewing the Strategic Plan of the business to ensure all activities are directed at achieving long term goals. As part of this process we will be calling on shareholders and suppliers to provide feedback, you are the foundation of the business and as such your input is essential.

Ben Adams 
GENERAL MANAGER

ORCHARD CALENDAR

INTEGRATED ORCHARD MANAGEMENT - Many growers have been very busy working on IOM to help rejuvenate orchards and improve productivity.   If you are not sure where to start, firstly, identify the Red Flags in your orchard, then begin working on making improvements using Canopy, Orchard Floor and Drainage Management
DOWNLOAD THE IOM GUIDES 
  • SPREADING ORGANIC MATTER - Fresh prunings can be mulched directly back onto the orchard floor but wait until after the final harvest before spreading rotted husk, manures or uncertified compost.
  • ORCHARD HYGIENE - Keeping the orchard clean is key pest control pillar. Be prepared to mulch any fallen nut after harvest is finished in each block.
  • MANURES - Growers using manures on farm must be aware that withholding period for these products is 120 days for harvest (Refer to Code of Sound Orchard Practices COSOP).
  • FOOD SAFETY - keeping the food chain safe from chemical and pathogenic contaminants is a major focus of SGM and the wider industry, remember to comply to your Withholding Periods, and keep your shed clean and tidy. 
  • MISTLETOE is flowering now so ensure staff know how to identify and remove, once in the orchard it’s an ongoing job to stop it taking over, reducing productivity & even killing trees.
  • MACADAMIA SEED WEEVIL CONTROLKey timing for your control program is with the first Husk Spot spray at matchhead size – For full details consult the new version of the  Macadamia Plant Protection Guide or the SEED WEEVIL FACT SHEET
SCARAB BEETLES  - The NSW DPI entomology team and NSW-based consultant Steve McLean are encouraging growers to keep an eye out for scarab beetle larvae which can be a cause of slow decline in macadamia trees and a risk to ground cover grass species in orchards.  Look out for dead patches of grass and yellowing trees. Scarab Beetle family includes Christmas beetles, African Black beetles and Argentinian Scarab (pictured). 
Larvae live in the soil in shaded areas for up to a year feeding on roots and tend to be more prolific in dry seasons.  DOWNLOAD THE SCARAB BEETLE FACT SHEET  from the NSW DPI for more information and let us know if you think you may have an infestation of this pest.
SPOTTING BUGS are already starting to appear in many orchards, feeding and breeding on early set nut.  Monitor levels by searching for and cutting open fallen nut.  Once the main crop reaches pea size it will become a prime target for Spotting Bugs and this is when numbers can increase rapidly.  Prepare to control Spotting Bugs from Pea size all the way through to nut maturity.
TREE WATER RELATIONS - Macadamias can be stressed by both drought conditions and by overwatering.  Stress is cumulative and trees can shut down when key stress points are reached.  Monitoring soil moisture and careful, well timed irrigation during dry times can mean the difference between the success or failure of your crop.    Read More on irrigation and tree water relations - accessible for members on the AMS website  or check out this story from Irrigation Australia 
IRRIGATION AND WATER QUALITY For a limited time, horticultural growers in South East Queensland can access over $1,400 in irrigation and water quality services FREE through Growcom’s Hort360 best management practice program. READ MORE FROM GROWCOM
LATEST RESEARCH - Cross-pollination for macadamias has proved critical for maximising yields in a Hort Innovation pollination research and development project which showed that cross-pollination is critical for nut production and maximising yields in macadamia orchards. READ MORE or listen to the AMS Podcast on the latest pollination findings and recommendations. 

GROWER WORKSHOPS

Covid-Safe workshops went ahead in SE Qld in early September.  Thanks to Peter Boyle at Beerwah for hosting one of the meetings on-farm.
Suncoast Grower Workshops were held in Glasshouse and Gympie regions during September, during the flowering period with a special focus on preparation for the pest and disease management season, nutrition, optimising quality, and integrated orchard management.

HUSK SPOT DISEASE CONTROL

As flowering is fast coming to an end, most growers would have already prioritised the first application of fungicide for Husk Spot on susceptible blocks.  This first application at Match Head stage is vitally important for controlling husk spot which won't be visible until later in the season.  
The second fungicide application on susceptible varieties/blocks is due at the Pea Size stage.  Ensure adequate coverage and consider using a high performance wetter such as Designer as the size and surface area of the nutlets is growing rapidly at this stage.  If wet weather persists into the growing season, more applications may be required. 
Download the HUSK SPOT FACT SHEET 
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Over the next 3 months SGM will be undergoing a strategic review and we invite the participation of Shareholders in review of the direction, values and mission of Suncoast Gold Macadamias for 2021 and beyond.  
This year marks the 35th Anniversary for SGM which was started by growers in Gympie as a macadamia processing and marketing co-operative to ensure a sustainable future for their macadamia crop. 
Suncoast Gold Macadamias is still 100% owned by growers and now purchases and processes crop from over 100 different growers from the Northern Rivers in NSW to the Atherton Tablelands in QLD.  The business currently focuses on producing macadamias in a range of raw and value added, premium styles for wholesale customers around the world and in Australia. 
Have your say in the direction of your company. 
More information will be sent out soon.

BUNDABERG TRIAL SHOWCASING AG TECH

In a story by Bundaberg Now recently, Paul Hibbert said the ag tech trial had already seen an improvement in tree health compared to the control but this early in the trial their goal was simply to continue monitoring the data.
He encouraged other growers to consider the benefits of ag tech.  “I want to just get the industry moving forward with this." said Paul,  “The technology's been around for quite a while, but it's now affordable, and it's more understood than it used to be.”  Read the full story 
The Bundaberg-based trial at Redrock Macadamia plantation is showcasing a number of advanced technologies to monitor, track and analyse macadamia production.  The collaboration between a number of different stakeholders is already throwing up some important pathways for ag tech in macadamias and we will continue to monitor and share the journey. 

INTERNAL DISCOLOURATION - Brown Centres

We are continuing the focus on Brown Centre or Internal Discolouration defects in a bid to reduce waste and maximise returns to growers.   The increase in Internal Discolouration defects has cost SGM suppliers significantly in reduced income as well as contributing to reduced efficiencies in the factory due to the additional, labourious processing required to remove them.
Cropwatch Laboratories have reported an increase in the incidence of Internal Discolouration and Internal Disorders across samples delivered for assessment this season and are calling for more research into this problem which costs the industry at least as much as Insect Damage.
While Brown Centre (shown above) is a main type of Internal Discouration, Cropwatch have identified at least eleven other types of Internal Defect in their report including bruising from hail or other impacts and oily kernels - READ THE CROPWATCH REPORT
MINIMISING INTERNAL DISCOLOURATION - Investing in improvements to your post harvest handling and drying system may be the best way to reduce your risk of internal discolouration defects.  While more needs to be done in the root cause of the enzymatic changes within the kernel that cause Brown Centres, it is well established that moisture, heat and impact management of NIH and NIS are the most crucial factors in mitigating damage.
  • Install auto humidity sensors and switches on silos for more precise drying 
  • Ensure fans are adequately powered for the size of silo/bin and depth of nut bed
  • Minimise contact with heat sources such as engine heat in harvester bins
  • Minimise time NIS or NIH spends in vessels without forced air such as skip bins
  • Use gentle dehusking equipment such as drag-tyre dehuskers
  • Aim for a high harvest frequency with regular harvest rounds
  • Prioritise drying ASAP after harvest
  • Dehusk, sort and dry in smaller batches
  • Adjust dehuskers for different varieties 
  • Inspect equipment regularly and watch for 'pinch points'
  • Place silos and holding bins inside sheds and out of direct sun
  • Duct air from a dry space, such as inside a shed, to the silo inlet
For more information talk to us or visit the AMS resources page

CLIMATE FORECAST TRAINING 

Frustrated at broken weather promises ? 
Take control of forecasting by learning more about it.  The Northern Australian Climate Program are running FREE short courses to educate primary producers on the drivers of the climate in Northern Australia and how to effectively use forecasting tools to aid your decision making.   SIGN UP HERE
 

NEW INFO ON A-SERIES VARIETY RELEASES

Breeders of the A-series Hidden Valley Plantations have added new information to their website including tips on Selecting Varieties for Commercial Orchards .
Owner, David Bell has released a discussion paper on the outcomes of the RVT 3 trials which include the new A-series releases. Read it here .  Newly released variety A376 was a top performer in the trials with kernel recoveries in line with A4 and 816 (46%), an early-mid harvest season and low levels of stick tights reported. 

RETURN SGM NALLY BINS ASAP

A reminder that all SGM Nally bins should be returned to the factory as soon as possible at the end of each season.  We will be conducting a stock take and sanitation of all bins as part of our inventory and food safety audit requirements. 

Bins have been provided to growers to use for transport of NIS only and should not be used as field bins or for storage of other goods as this could contaminate or damage them.  If all bins are returned then they will be available again to those who need them for the following seasons use.   If you have bins on farm please get in contact with one of the team.

BOOKINGS FOR NIS DELIVERIES

We will remain open for deliveries of NIS at reduced hours for at least the rest of October.
Updated Hours Monday - Thursday 6am-12pm  
Click Here to email your booking request be sure to include your preferred date/time  
Contact Rob - email Rob.Albouze@suncoastgold.com.au  mobile 0427 646 939 Or contact your Grower Services rep
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In line with the Code of Sound Orchard Practices (COSOP) and SGM export accreditation requirements, all suppliers need to be appropriately trained in the safe use of farm chemicals.  There are a number of chemical training options available this season including face-to-face and distance delivery. Please call Megan Boote on 0484 099 462 to find out what training options are available.
List used farm machinery on the Mac Growers Farm Equipment Buy and Sell Page. We now have over 465 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 
CONTACT US TODAY
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