Macadamia Nuts

Macadamia Nuts (Macadamia tetraphylla (light pink flowers): M. integrifolia (ivory white flowers) (Proteaceae))

The macadamia pages on this site include listings of macadamia nurseries, growers, sales as well as industry overviews, propagation information, macadamia products and a range of other macadamia related information.

6th International Macadamia Symposium in Brisbane from 18-20 September, 2012

The Symposium, held triennially, will bring together hundreds of influential players in the global macadamia industry.

With a theme of “The Nut Rush – Prospecting for Gold”, the symposium program will focus on driving increased productivity in order to capitalise on the growing global demand for nuts.

For more information see the Australian Macadamia Society Symposium page.


Commercial Plantations

Native to Australia, macadamias are the sole native plant food crop existing commercially as a food crop outside Australia. Macadamias are cultivated along the coastal strip of eastern Australia between Queensland’s Atherton Tablelands south to the Numbucca Heads region of New South Wales. The majority of plantations are located in the south-east of Queensland, especially around Bundaberg in Queensland, and north-eastern New South Wales along the eastern side of the Great Dividing Range. There are smaller plantings in the north-central New south Wales coast, northern Queensland and Western Australia.

Of the 9 species worldwide, 7 species of macadamia are native to Australia but only 2 are edible (Macadamia tetraphylla and Macadamia integrifolia). Both species originate from latitudes 25° to 31° south. Integrifolia is more common in the northern area of the range while tetraphylla is more common to the southern area. The flowers of integrifolia are white and the nut is more rounded and smooth. The flower of tetraphylla is a light pink and the surface of the nut more textured.

Australia and Hawaii are the major producers, but macadamias are also grown in various countries in Africa as well as in Brazil and the Central American region.


Australian Macadamia Industry

Macadamia nuts account for around 2% of the world nut tree trade of which Australia’s share is 45%. Australia is the world’s largest producer of macadamias and has more than 13 million trees in the ground. Australia’s macadamia industry is worth nearly $100 million at the farm gate. About 60-70 per cent of Australian macadamias are exported every year – (CSIRO)

The 2011 crop is anticipated to be 35,000 tonnes NIS which equates to around 10,000 tonnes of kernel. (Australian Macadamia Society – April 2011)

Australians are the highest per capita consumers of macadamia nuts. For more information on macadamia production and markets see Macadamia Production, Industry and Markets

Logo: Australian macadamia SiteAustralian Macadamia Society
The Australian Macadamia Society is the peak body representing the Australian Macadamia industry. It is a body of approximately 800 Australian and 30 overseas members representing all facets of the macadamia industry in Australia. Whilst the majority of members are growers, membership also includes such diverse occupations as processors, administrators, business people, investors, marketers, consultants, researchers, engineers, teachers and other macadamia enthusiasts. Access the website of the Australian Macadamia Society for more information.

Photo: Macadamia harvesting

Harvesting macadamias – Courtesy of Australian Macadamia Society

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Cultivation and Processing
Macadamias prefer climates with distinct wet and dry seasons. While integrifolia is most commonly used for commercial production, growers in the south often use tetraphylla as root stock for grafting integrifolia. Macadamia trees bear fruit at around 10 years old. Cuttings and grafts flower after 3 to 5 years.

It is natural for macadamias to flower, form nuts and bear nutlets and mature nuts similtaneously although the nuts fall and are collected between February and September. Flowers form on racemas (flower stems) and around 10% survive to become nuts. From the time the fruit sets, it takes around 6 months until the fruit is ripe. The fruit comprises the green outer husk and a brown hard shelled nut containing the kernal. Nuts fall and are collected between February and September.

Nuts are collected from the ground, using hand harvesters, then taken away for machine dehusking.

Photo: RacemasMacadamia flower stems (racemas) – Courtesy of
Maccacorp Ltd.

Important information for buying good quality planting stock when establishing an orchard. This note includes information on what to look for when buying trees, checking the root system, checking for pests and diseases and, checking trees for other problems (Department of Primary Industries – NSW)

The Higher yielding macadamia trees information sheet provides information on the macadamia breeding program, the latest selection of high-performance macadamias and progress towards delivering new commercial varieites

Organic macadamia growing (Department of Primary Industries – NSW)

Processing
After dehusking, macadamia nuts are placed in drying bins until the kernal hardens and the shell is ready for cracking, this can take up to two months.

As macadamia shells are vey hard (taking over 2,000 pounds per square inch of compression to break the shell) they require machine cracking. The freed kernals are then sorted and roasted or prepared for inclusion in a range of products.

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CSIRO Macadamia Research
The following are information sheets on research activities relating to macadamia nuts. For information on the role of CSIRO see CSIRO.

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Health and Nutrition
Macadamias contain 78 per cent monounsaturated fats. For health and nutritition information on macadamia nuts see the
Macadamia Health and Nutrition page.

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Festivals and Exhibitions

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MacMan
MacMan is a management system to monitor and improve macadamia orchard profitability and nut quality. The
MacMan project is an initiative of the Department of Primary Industries and Fisheries, Queensland, and is funded and supported by the following organisations:

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Australian Macadamia Nurseries

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Australian Macadamia Growers

Photo: Coe's Creek Orchard
Coes Creek Orchard

 
 

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Australian Macadamia Processing and Sales

Photo: Stahmann Factory
Stahmann Factory

 
 

 

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Conservation

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Additional References

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Overseas Sites

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