Increased grower returns the focus of 2019 Juice Forum

New processing technology, capitalizing on increased consumer demand for fresh juice, and new farm management techniques, will all be explored at the second annual Citrus Australia Juice Forum, to be held in Griffith on June 12-13.

Citrus Australia CEO, Nathan Hancock, said Citrus Australia has formed a Juice Committee with an objective to find ways to drive returns to over $420/tonne for growers.

“For a short time juice variety oranges saw an increase in returns due to a shorter supply, largely related to seasonal conditions and fresh fruit export opportunities,” said Hancock. “Unfortunately lower pricing has resumed and the 2019/2020 season looks to be a difficult one for growers.

“It is my firm belief that the juice industry must develop markets outside the domestic market to ensure its survival in any significant way.

“In our Juice Forum, we will explore some of the areas the committee will be working in such as export market development, market intelligence and juice quality, all with the objective of improving grower returns.

“We encourage all growers to join us and explore how we can work together to expand the Australian citrus juice industry.”

The 2019 keynote speaker is the US-based Michael Mas, global product line director (fruit & vegetables) for food systems specialist, JBT.

“We are fortunate to have the opportunity to hear firsthand from Michael, who is acutely aware of global consumer trends.”

Innovative Australian juice companies, including Nippy’s and Grove Juice, will share the export potential of Australian juice.

Afternoon sessions will discuss practical ways to reduce costs and lift productivity on farm, and provide an opportunity for growers to help set the course by sharing their priorities and knowledge. Australian Frost Fans will also share how its innovative frost fans can minimise effects of frost events.

“Frost has impacted citrus regions over a number of seasons and has a significant impact on juice varieties,” Hancock said.

A farm tour on Thursday, June 13 will visit a number of sites to showcase new varieties, demonstrate management techniques, including pruning and hedging juice varieties to minimise biennial bearing, and a visit to farms utilizing fans from the Australian Frost Fans range.

“We urge all citrus growers to register for real insight into domestic and global juice trends, and how they can capitalise,” Hancock said.

“This is a free event that will provide real value to every business.”