• GVP $3.0 billion est. Up 2% year-on-year.
  • Exports of horticultural products totalled $287.9 million in 2022-23.
  • Table grape exports increased to 11 thousand tonnes, totalled $47.5 million in 2022-23.
Apple tree Iris
Horticultural gross value of production in 2022-23 is estimated at $2,989 million, 2% higher than in 2021-22. Growers saw some of the prior year challenges such as labour constraints partly ease with an increase in visa holders including Working Holiday Maker and Pacific Australia Labour Mobility visas, 19 while excessively wet conditions moderated for much of NSW in 2023. However, input costs for fertiliser and agrichemical remained high especially for the first half of the year and only began to moderate through the start of 2023.

Separately, the Varroa mite incursion impacting the honeybee industry has also represented a difficultly for horticulturalists growing crops dependent on pollination for maximising yields, such as almond and macadamia, and various orchard crops. The Australian honey bee industry has recently transitioned to a management program for the Varroa mite to minimise the ongoing impacts on both the honey industry and pollination reliant industries. 81

At the date of publication, industry information for 2022-23 is generally limited to trade data and some price data, while other detailed production information is not available, consequently the following production and price commentary analyses 2020-21 industry data, unless otherwise stated.

Value of Horticultural Output 2021-22 21

  • Nurseries, Cut Flowers & Turf
  • Nurseries
  • Cultivated turf
  • Cut flowers
  • Vegetables
  • Tomatoes
  • Mushrooms
  • Potatoes
  • Other vegetables
  • Fruit
  • Citrus
  • Blueberries
  • Apples
  • Other Fruit (Excl. wine grapes)
  • Nuts
  • Almonds
  • Macadamias
  • Other nuts
The Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS) has reduced the set of agricultural statistics available in 2021-22 and is no longer undertaking large agricultural surveys, including the annual Rural Environment and Agricultural Commodities Survey and the 5-yearly Agricultural Census. Instead, the ABS is developing a new approach drawing on existing data from government, industry and commercial sources. 20 This Horticulture section has previously used ABS survey results.

As a result of these changes estimates for 2021-22 used here are drawn predominantly from the most recently available Horticultural Statistics Handbook 2021-22 21 and prior issues, or other industry sources as referenced. Where state-based values of production are not directly estimated in the Horticultural Statistics Handbook for a particular crop, the unit value is derived from the average national value and production and this value applied to the state’s level of production.

While the total value of horticulture value was up by 2%, horticultural produce prices at the retail level were mixed. The fruit consumer price index increased 7% nationally over the year, while the consumer price index for vegetables decreased 2% nationally and by 4% in Sydney. 22

Horticulture trade

Exports of horticultural products totalling $287.9 million were 3% lower in value terms in 2022-23 over the prior year. Declines in exports to key markets included Japan and Hong Kong which were 16% and 14% lower, at $26.6m and $23.0 million respectively. The total decline in the value of exports was moderated by increases in the value of trade to other key Asian markets, including an 18% lift in the value of exports to China to $64.2 million, South Korea up 28% to $19.6 million, while the Indonesia market experienced strong growth increasing up 154% to $14.5 million. 35

Imports of horticultural products totalled $1.39 billion in 2022-23 up 13% year-on year. Horticultural imports from the United States were valued at $170.3 million in 2022-23 with items such as grapes, $30 million, citrus, processed tomatoes, and frozen fruits and nuts being major products. Imports from China totalled $182.3 million in 2022-23 which included a range of fruit, nut and vegetable items. The total value of horticultural imports from New Zealand was $120.5 million in 2022-23 the majority of which were fruits and notably kiwi fruit and berries. 35



NSW nut production, tonnes in shell equivalent 21 23

  • Almond
  • Chestnut
  • Hazlenut
  • Macadamia
  • Pecan
  • Pistachio
  • Walnut
Tree nut production tonnage increased in by 9% 2021-22, driven by a 12% increase in almond production to 36 thousand tonnes (in shell equivalent) or 25.3 thousand tonnes kernel weight. Impacted by the wet conditions along the north coast of NSW, macadamia production increased by just under 4% in volume terms despite increased plantings coming into to bearing age to total 22 thousand tonnes (in shell equivalent).

The value of nut exports decreased 9% from 2021-22 to total $83.6 million in 2022-23. This decline in export values was driven by the substantially lower value of macadamia exports which decreased 25% to $41 million in 2022-23. The reduced value of macadamia exports was largely the result of weaker international pricing given the smaller decline of 9% in volume terms year-on-year, totalling 2,483 tonnes in 2022-23. Notably the value of walnuts exported decreased $5 million in 2022-23 a 30% decline. Moderating the decline in total nut exports, almond exports increased to 3,924 tonnes, their total value reaching $22.4 million up from $7.6 million in the prior year, with China and India accounting for 46% and 45% respectively of total exports by value. 35


Production of almonds in 2021-22 increased 12% year on year totalling 36 thousand tonnes (in-shell). This represented 18% of national production in 2021-22. The almond industry has been impacted by low global prices, with the benchmark California almond price averaging US$1.40 per pound in 2022 the lowest price received since the 2002 production year. 25 Similar 20-year low prices have been reported for the 2023 Californian crop. 26

The production challenges that have impacted the almond crop during 2022-23 are expected to also reduce 2023-24 production given impacts during pollination and the growing season. Demand for beehives for pollination will be a major determinant of production into the future. In the medium-term, demand for hives will continue to increase as non-bearing trees come into maturity. For example, from a hive demand of some 300,000 hives required for the 2020 crop, it is estimated that at least 420,000 hives will be required by the time the total plantings in 2022 reach maturity (at an average density of 6.7 hives per hectare). 27


Macadamia prices have declined substantially over 2022-23 as result of increased global supply and coinciding with reduced global demand. 28 While the impact of the previous year’s excessively wet conditions and associated flooding was expected to impact production, the additional effect of very low prices has forced farmers to reduce costs by rationalising management practices. 29 As a result, the 2023 national crop is anticipated to be 8% lower on the 2022 crop. Industry has noted however that crop quality is good resulting in lower reject levels and a higher proportion of premium grade nuts. 30 Over the period 2010 to 2022 global macadamia production has more than doubled, equivalent to a compound annual growth rate of 9%. South Africa and Australia were responsible for 49% of this production in 2022 and are reliant on growth in export markets. At the same time total global imports of macadamias increased by only 1.3% in compound annual growth rate terms, with large consumers such as China having significantly increased their own domestic production. 31 This will be a challenge for exporters such as Australia with China increasingly meeting their demand from domestic supply, including for higher quality categories. 32

A recovery in global demand including broader demand for macadamia product in ingredients markets, as well as specific opportunities in markets for Australian macadamias such as India will be important to support prices. The Australia-India Economic Cooperation and Trade Agreement includes the provision for the tariff on macadamia nuts, amongst a selection of horticultural products to be phased out by 2028 from the current 21%, potentially supporting increased export volumes. 33 34

Australian macadamia price 29 ab

  • Macadamia price

Global macadamia production 31

  • Global macadamia production (tonnes)


Fruit production was valued at over $1 billion in 2021-22 with blueberries, oranges and apples the major contributing crops. The themes of wet conditions and flooding, constrained labour availability and increasing input costs impacted fruit production in 2021-22, with some of these factors also influencing 2022-23 production.

Blueberries were the most valuable fruit crop produced in 2021-22 totalling an estimated $348.4 million with production of 16.8 k tonnes, 16% lower than the previous year. 21 Prolonged wet conditions impacted pollination in the autumn for southern highbush varieties, as well impeding access to crops to undertake necessary management practices including disease control. 36 Production for 2022-23 has also been impacted by a repeat of these wet conditions during autumn 2022 again affecting pollination and reducing yield from late winter and spring harvested highbush varieties which dominate the large northern New South Wales crop. Higher yields were reported from summer harvested rabbiteye varieties but with some lower quality. 36

Orange production was valued at $219 million from 260.5 k tonnes in 2021-22 this was 4% lower in value terms on the previous year, despite production being 6% higher in 2021-22 over 2020-21 production reflecting the lower prices achieved for oranges. 21 Prevailing wet conditions over the last three years including 2021-22 prevented timely pruning in some orchards and with increased humidity at harvest the quality of fruit was reduced including those for exports. Orange growers have also faced labour shortages since the COVID pandemic and high input costs through 2022. 37

Similarly wet conditions impacted cherry production in 2021-22 with NSW and Victorian crops affected by cherry splitting due to above-average

rainfall in November 38 with continued La Niña conditions during 2022.

NSW accounts for 10% of the national volume of table grapes and are predominantly grown in the Riverina region. Grapes are typically produced in NSW from December through to May peaking in January. 21 At the most recent agricultural census for 2020-21 there were an estimated 2,060 ha of table grapes and a smaller share for dried produce, across 82 businesses in NSW. 39 Table grape production in 2021-22 was similarly impacted by wet and overcast conditions in the south of the state reducing the quality of some crops with lower Brix levels and delayed harvests reported. 40 The value of production totalled $72.2 million in 2021-22 from 19.6 thousand tonnes (HIA). Production peaked in 2019-20 at 21.5 thousand tonnes with the following two production years 8% (2020-21) and 9% (2021-22) lower from this peak. 21 23 This declining trend has been attributed in part to the prevailing wet growing conditions along with continued labour shortages impacting vine management and harvesting.

Table grape exports have grown significantly over the last decade, while exports dipped, coinciding with lower production in 2020-21, exports have begun to recover in 2022-23 to 11.1 thousand tonnes with a value of $47.5 million. China represents the largest market accounting for 34% in value terms at $16 million, followed by Indonesia and Philippines which represented 19% and 11% of the value of exports respectively in 2022-23. 35 Providing counter seasonal grape supply for domestic consumers, significant imports occur, with these predominantly sourced from the United States, each year, with 5,000 tonnes imported in 2022-23 and valued at $29.8 million. 35

Value of top 10 fruits produced, 2021-22 21

NSW table grape exports, volume and value 35

  • China
  • Indonesia
  • Philippines
  • Hong Kong
  • Vietnam
  • RoW
  • Value (RHS)
Citrus remains the largest category of fruit exports for NSW and totalled $40 million in 2022-23, 17% lower year-on-year. Japan and China remain the largest export markets for citrus industries both representing some 21% each of total export volumes of citrus. Fresh oranges were the second largest contributor to citrus exports which declined 20% to 19.5 thousand tonnes. Export value was 15% lower to $33.4 million. A 5% increase in the average unit value of oranges exported moderated the year-on-year decline in value terms. While orange exports decreased to most markets, the Japanese market saw an increase totalling $8 million marginally below the value of orange exports to China, the largest market. 35 Globally, citrus production is forecast to be 5% lower in 2022-23 with fresh oranges 5% lower and juicing oranges 9% lower on the prior year and potentially supportive of Australian exports in the near term. 114


The value of the major vegetables produced in NSW totalled $696 million in 2021-22. The major crops contributing to the value of vegetable production included tomato production which totalled 44 thousand tonnes substantially higher than the prior year of 24 thousand tonnes, and mushrooms which decreased 4% in volume terms from 2020-21 to total 21 thousand tonnes in 2021-22. 21 During 2021-22 wet conditions including flooding and cooler temperatures at key times, limited the production of a number of vegetables throughout eastern Australia including NSW. 41
La Niña conditions continued through the second half of 2022 impacting growers capacity to manage crops, continuing volatile production and subsequent pricing. Demand for higher priced fresh vegetables were impacted with consumers able to substitute lower priced alternatives such as frozen vegetables. At the same time vegetable production was constrained by the high cost of critical inputs including fertilisers and agri-chemicals, with some reduction in sowings. 42

Value of top 10 vegetables produced, 2021-22 21

Vegetable exports were 8% lower in value terms in 2022-23. South Korea represented the largest market for exports of vegetables accounting for 27% of exports at $9.4 million in 2022-23. Potatoes represent the bulk of these exports with potato exports increasing 11% in volume terms year on year to 14 thousand tonnes in 2022-23 and 10% in value terms at $7 million. Other markets for vegetable exports include Singapore and New Zealand valued at $5.5 and $4.5 million respectively in 2022-23. 35
Melon exports decreased in both volume and value terms on the prior year, 25% and 29% respectively to total $5.3 million in 2022-23. Exports to Singapore, the largest market in volume terms, decreased 36% from 2021-22 to total 923 tonnes in 2022-23 and was valued at $1.7 million. A decrease in the unit value of melons exported to United Arab Emirates resulted in the value of exports to this market decreasing 30% year on year to $2 million in 2022-23 despite a 31% increase in the volume exported totalling 700 tonnes. 35

Nurseries, Turf and Floriculture


Nurseries had a gross value of production of $680 million in 2021-22, 21 from an estimated 519 businesses. ac Nationally, the nursery industry is especially dependent on retail sales which contributed 42% of total sales in 2021-22 followed by the wholesale channel accounting for 22%. For wholesale nursery businesses half of their sales, 51% in 2021-22, were to ‘big box’ retailers. The remaining sales to landscape, builders and developers represented 13% of total sales, while primary industries accounted for 12% in 2021-22. 43


The NSW turf industry was significantly impacted by flooding in 2022 with an estimated 45 farms affected. The timing of the floods, occurring in February and March, meant that flooded and silt covered turf could not adequately recover until spring, resulting in root rot and significant wastage with delayed harvesting also resulting in increased transport costs because of increased weights. 44 With disrupted supply, prices for buffalo and kikuyu species increased on average in 2021-22 over the prior year by 3% and 7% respectively, while specialty grasses were also reportedly higher. Couch and couch hybrids were marginally lower, down 1%, from 2020-21 surveyed prices. 45 47

National nursery markets by share of sales 43

Turf production by species in NSW, 2021-22 45

  • Buffalo
  • Couch and hybrid couches
  • Kikuyu
  • Zoysia
  • Other specialty grass

Cut Flowers

Cut flower production totalled $30 million in 2021-22 and represented 12% of Australian total production by value. 21 Production occurs both within a limited amount of protected cropping infrastructure, including 3 ha of glasshouses, 10 ha of polyhouses and polly tunnels and 105 ha of conventional production systems. 21 This protected cropping area used for flowers represents a small share of NSW’s total protected cropping infrastructure for all horticultural industries which includes an estimated 1,210 ha of glasshouses, poly houses and tunnels and shade houses, in addition to 3,006 ha of shade houses. 48

Australia is a net importer of cut flowers, whilst in NSW imports roughly equal exports. Imports were relatively unchanged and totalled $37.5 million, with the majority sourced from China (36%), Colombia (25%) and Kenya (19%) in 2022-23. Notably Australian total imports decreased 9% in value terms in 2022-23 to $69.3 million over the prior year, 35 likely reflecting in part the discretionary nature of cut flowers sales given cautious domestic consumers in a higher inflationary environment.


The easing of La Niña conditions that contributed to excessively wet conditions and flooding across eastern Australia during 2021 and 2022, is expected to result in a lift in horticultural production volumes through 2023 and 2024. Supporting this improved outlook, is the state of water storages with most irrigation schemes at or near full capacity. 161

With this expected increase in supply, the quantities of horticultural product available for export is expected to increase. Exports for citrus for example appear positive for the year ahead with limited global supply, and the industry flagging the potential for increased citrus exports to key markets including China, Japan and south east Asia countries in the near and medium term. 111

While seasonal labour pressures for many horticultural industries eased to an extent during 2023, labour supply remains a longer-term challenge for industry. Likewise horticultural industries reliant on pollination of crops, will be monitoring the availability of pollination services as the Australian honey bee industry manages and adapts to Varroa mite.

Stronger Primary Industries Strategy

Biomass for Bioenergy

Strategic Outcome

Icon of sun behind a cloud
Carbon Neutrality and Climate Resilience
  • 5.2 Increase carbon storage and sequestration
  • 5.3 Adoption of energy efficient and renewable energy technologies

Biomass from harvested trees is a carbon-rich material which can be used as feedstock for energy generation and a number of products that replace the use of fossil fuels. DPI’s Biomass for Bioenergy project is investigating which native woody crops like acacias, mallees and traditional forestry species, such as spotted gum and river red gum, would grow best on short rotation. Dr Fabiano Ximenes, NSW DPI Senior Research Scientist, and his team, in partnership with CSIRO, have been growing a range of native tree species for three years now.

Tree biomass grown on a short rotation basis has a broad range of uses including renewable energy production, biochar, bioplastics manufacture and green chemical production. These types of products will be essential to support a future bioeconomy, as fossil fuels become more restricted. Trials have been established across a number of climates and soil types in NSW, with the ultimate aim of establishment on marginal, less productive land. The project has seen over 60,000 trees planted on different sites including a number of NSW DPI Research Stations across the State.

In May 2023, it was harvest time at the Tamworth Agricultural Research Institute for the tree crop trials there. After three years of growth a range of native woody tree crops were ready for harvest and analysis. The team harvested over 5,550 trees. How much biomass they had produced was the question? Early observations by Dr Ximenes were that that the trees in Tamworth had grown exceptionally well and that substantial biomass had been produced. However, detailed analyses will be conducted to reveal precisely how much biomass was produced by the different species over the three years.

Biomass is being seen worldwide as a significant tool in the fight against climate change because it sequesters carbon and can be used to generate renewable energy. Most states in Australia and countries around the world are fast tracking their bioenergy opportunities. NSW is seen as a leader in biomass crops and the work of NSW DPI has been attracting the interest of major aviation companies, maritime companies and agricultural companies to replace aviation fuels and diesel and supplement energy supplies.

Planting a tree crop is an attractive option for primary producers and associated industries as it offers multiple environmental and productive benefits across the crops rotation. The Biomass for Bioenergy project is exploring the proposition that by planting native woody crops on marginal land, NSW landholders have the opportunity to contribute to climate mitigation outcomes while earning extra income and supporting the development of regional economies. Projects like Biomass for Bioenergy help us understand which native species and on what type of land would be best suited for landholders to diversify their production in a way that has positive environmental and climate benefits.