THE staggering growth of the Australian avocado industry has prompted many observers to ask if the avo bubble will ever burst.
According to the Australian Bureau of Agricultural and Resource Economics and Sciences' (ABARES) Outlook 2018 agricultural commodities report for the March quarter, while the sailing is currently smooth for the sector, there are some potential submerged obstacles that could be approaching.
A three-year wait time for nursery trees is a commonly referred-to figure within the industry but the mass plantings of recent years could soon create some nervous growers.
The ABARES report warns for both blueberries and avocados: "Lags between establishment and fruit production can result in fruit prices at harvest that are well below the prices at time of establishment."
The ABARES report shows in the five years to 2015–16, a 64 per cent increase in fruit-bearing avocado trees contributed to a doubling of Australian avocado production to 67,600 tonnes.
"A further 347,000 young trees — equivalent to 26pc of the total number of fruit-bearing trees in 2015–16 — are approaching maturity in 2017–18," it says.
"These are projected to contribute to Australian avocado production reaching 100,000 tonnes by 2022–23, more than double the production volume a decade earlier, placing downward pressure on prices and profitability.
"Competition with NZ imports is expected to intensify beyond the 24,000 tonnes imported in 2016–17.
"This is because the NZ industry is investing in research and development, primarily into new cultivars better suited to local climate and finding solutions to irregular fruit-bearing."
Rural Bank's Australian Agriculture Outlook 2018 highlighted avocados as a category to watch this year.
"The popularity of avocados has grown as a result of marketing and the café culture of Australians which is spreading across every age demographic," the Rural Bank report says.
"Average wholesale price for avocados at the Brisbane market increased 78pc in 2017 compared to 2016."