Apples are also referred to as a pome fruit which is characterised by a core of several small seeds surrounded by a tough membrane. All pome fruits are members of the plant family Rosaceae which includes pears and quinces.
Australians consume around 8.5kg of fresh apples per person per year and the majority of Australian apple production is for fresh fruit consumption with about a third of production used for processing into juice and other products. Australia is a minor exporter of apples around 1-2% of production exported overseas to the Papua New Guinea, United Kingdom, Asia, United Arab Emirates and Thailand.
Apples are generally grown in the same regions as pears and have similar agronomic requirements. Apples harvested throughout autumn. The apple industry is relatively stable in Australia, with almost all of production being consumed domestically. Combined, the apple and pear industry is the largest fruit industry in Australia. Organic apples are also a growing market with apples one of the highest volume organic fruits grown in Australia.
The representative body for apple growers in Australia is Apple and Pear Australia Limited who provide support to growers through providing tools and market opportunities to assist industry growth and increase competitiveness of both apple and pear growers.
Horticulture Innovation Australia (Hort Innovation) invests in and manages research, development and marketing programs for apples. Apples are a levied industry and Hort Innovation receives matched funding from the Commonwealth Government up to 0.5% of the industry’s GDP or the industry contribution which goes to funding for research and development.
Facts and figures
- Australia produced on average just under 300,000 tonnes of apples per year, almost all of which is consumed domestically
- The five most popular apples in Australia are: Granny Smith, Red Delicious, Pink Lady, Fuji and Gala
- Intensive orchard systems require planning and can have extensive establishment costs but can reach first commercial harvest within 1-2 years
- Orchard grown fruit require reliable access to good quality water for irrigation
Apple production in Australia averages around 300,000t a year. Around 73% is consumed fresh with the remainder goes to processing and juicing.
The majority of apple production is in Victoria which produces about 45% of Australian production, followed by New South Wales at 16%, Queensland at 10%, South Australia at 10%, Western Australia at 9%, and Tasmania at 9%.
The number of apple growers has declined since 2000 which is believed to indicate a consolidation where smaller scale growers are leaving the industry and medium and large scale growers are taking over their production.