Winegrowers report increased rates of crop loss/waste

By Meg Riley

The average percentage of winegrape crop loss/waste per farm in 2022-23 has been revealed in a new report from the Australian Bureau of Agricultural and Resource Economics and Sciences (ABARES), with winegrape growers recording higher average percentages of crop loss/waste in 2022-23 than 2021-22, and NSW winegrape growers reporting an average crop loss/waste of 41% per farm in the 2022-23 period.

The report, titled Crop loss/waste on Australian horticulture farms, 2022–23, describes crop loss/waste on Australian horticulture farms, including winegrapes. Key findings from the report reveal that weather events were the primary cause of total crop loss/waste on most farms (63%), with the majority of these losses occurring pre-harvest and largely outside of farmers’ control.

For Australia as a whole, the average percentage of crop loss/waste per farm of winegrapes increased from 19% in 2021-22 to 29% in 2022-23.

New South Wales winegrape growers were hardest hit, with a reported average crop loss/waste per farm of 41% in 2022-23, compared to 27% in 2021-22. This overtook the average crop loss/waste percentage per farm of all other crops included in the report in 2022-23, including citrus (38%) and Macadamias (37%).

South Australian winegrape growers reported an increase in crop loss/waste in 2022-23, with the average percentage of crop loss/waste per farm increasing from in 16% in 2021-22 to 28% in 2022-23.

In Victoria, winegrape crop loss/waste was an average of 23% per farm in 2021-22, which rose to 32% in 2022-23.

Dr Greenville said that even though crop loss continues to be a challenge for Australian producers, record horticultural production value is forecast in 2024–25.

“While the difficulties of horticultural production remain, the latest data is a fascinating snapshot of how our producers are using technology, innovative thinking and hard work to find new ways of improving productivity,” Dr Greenville said.

“Agricultural production is inherently risky, and external events outside the control of farm managers are a natural challenge within Australian agriculture,” executive director of ABARES, Dr Jared Greenville.

“However, with the knowledge gained from this latest reporting, consideration can be given to strategies across the value chain for reducing waste and increasing resource efficiency in the industry.”

The report was commissioned by the Department of Climate Change, Energy, the Environment and Water, to fill specific data gaps on food loss and waste in primary production in the horticulture industry.

See the full report here: