Microsoft word - address for manjimup atga 2011.doc
Good morning Ladies and Gentleman. I thought that I was going to be making comments which be unpopular, however Graham Duell, Simon McCall and Brad
Plunkett have all beaten me to the punch. Nevertheless some of you will regard my comments as negative, others will see
them as honest and constructive. What I am about to say is based on facts and experience and will be a summary from a growers perspective of what the 3 speakers above have said.
We are all involved in an exciting industry which has captured
the hearts and minds of food writers and lovers of fine food across Australia. The truffle story has also captured the hearts, minds and wallets of over 150 truffle growers in Australia, who see the
potential to cash in on a fungus crop that few of us had even heard of 10 or 12 years ago.
Australians love a punt and we have a proud history of rushing up dry gullies in the pursuit of the next big agricultural success
story. Why will truffles not head the same way as aloe vera, jojoba beans, emus, ostrichs, pine forests, bluegums, vineyards, tea trees, poplars, ginseng and many more agricultural enterprises? I believe our industry is headed rapidly in that direction and
the people who will or have made the money are the promoters and sellers of trees and advice. I expect that most of you like the investors in WTC went into
the truffle business with the intention of making money – possibly a lot it. Many of you have made significant investments based on articles which have appeared in the press or information or
advice gained from consultants. Most of this has been hype
and the gap between expectation and reality for just about every informed grower is huge.
I do not want to be a wet blanket but I think it is time for “the
industry” to step back and look at what has been created, and whether it has any chance of meeting the great expectations
we all have of it. I hope my comments will be a catalyst for a lively debate this
afternoon in the “Dose of Reality” forum session. Information
Nobody knows whether any particular site will or will not
produce truffles and yet truffle host trees continue to be
planted. To my knowledge we are the only body conducting research on the culture of truffles and while we know a lot of
things that don’t work, we know fewer that do work. There is however lots of opinion that is passed off as fact. If you were seeking health advice you would want the diagnosis to be based on fact, yet we do not put the same
criteria on our financial health. There is a litany of production problems in our industry, which demonstrates the lack of sound information – for instance most trufferies do not produce (hazelnuts maybe, but not truffle), truffle rot will take 50% at least of most crops and we had never heard of it until a few years ago,
tuber brumale has been found to be reasonably widespread
– to name but a few industry problems. Truffle Rot
Nobody told you about this problem, but it appears to be the result of a widespread soil borne bacterial infection and it also appears that the more truffles you grow the more rot you will have in percentage terms.
Every trufferie I have visited, from Tasmania to Canberra to Orange to WA has had some truffle rot, but only we harvest it
because it is part of our R&D programme. Most dogs are trained to find mature truffle, not rotten truffle, so growers are
in dark about the extent of the problem. Truffle Yields
According to Barry Lee’s report commissioned by RIRDC in
2008, there were then, 150,000 mature trees (should be
producing) in Australia. At 500 trees per ha, that’s 300 ha. Many of those trees are now 12-14 years old.
The 2011 production estimate is 3,750 kg and the potential production of those 150,000 trees in 2013 is about 6,000 kg.
So this year, after an average 12 year wait, production will be
about 12.5 kg per ha and may have a peak of 20 kg per ha in 2 years time.
However averages do not give the real picture. At WTC we have 21 ha and with our neighbour Al Blakers and the other producing WA growers, lets say a total of 35 ha –
12% of the 300 ha of mature trees in Australia. Together we will produce 2,600 kg this season – that’s 70% of estimated Australian production of saleable truffle and 80 kg per ha.
The remaining 265 ha which all on the East Coast, will produce 1,175 kg or 4.5 kg per ha – after an average of 12 years. Start collecting the Hazel Nuts - you will make more money.
I am not saying that we, WTC and Al Blakers, are any better than anybody else. We are lucky we have the soils, climate and whatever other “X” factors there are required to grow truffles.
It appears that most of you will never grow a truffle or at least a commercial quantity. For some this is too bad, for others it
will be a major financial issue. Lets look at what lies ahead for those poor devils who do grow commercial yields!
Most of us were attracted to this business by the lure of high
prices - $3000 per kg is the number bandied around for retail pricing.
The Australian market is about 600 to 800 kg and may have the potential to grow to 1,000 kg by 2013 – although I think
that is optimistic. Existing growers have this market and will protect it with their lives. The high A$ makes Australia an attractive place
to sell and it is our backyard. Already there has been fierce price competition in Australia,
with Extra class truffles being offered from 1 large grower at $850/kg. Overseas markets are also experiencing price
So with rapidly increasing production, forget about $2000 kg
and think less than $1000 per kg as an average crop price
across Extra and 1st class grades before
marketing costs – if
you can sell. Otherwise your truffles are bound for the
freezer and a price of ? There is a tissue box up here if
anybody wants it!! Marketing
This year 80% of the Australian crop will be exported, next
year it will be nearly 90%. You are all exporters and very few
of you are prepared.
Most of us have been sold a pup on this one too. This is the first thing I found when I googled “NZ truffle production”. It is
How big is the truffle market?
Current Périgord black truffle production in France is estimated to total less than
100 tonnes, with this scarcity driving up prices worldwide. It is difficult to
estimate global production or global demand, but it has been said that while New
Zealand's current truffle production is in the order of 20 kilos per year
New Zealand grower regularly has requests for 100 kilos of truffle every week.
How much are truffles worth?
The highest price ever paid for a New Zealand truffle was NZ$9,000 per kilo, but
a typical price is a more modest NZ$3,700 per kilo.
We think there is a NZ industry – there is not. There are reportedly 200 growers in NZ and truffle orchards were first
planted about 30 years ago. From personal communication, there is 1 grower who regularly produces 100 kg from 0.5 ha
and the next biggest grower produces less than 10 kg. But that is another story! My reason for mentioning this is as an example of the mis-information which is rife in our industry. The inference in the
comments above, is that northern hemisphere chefs are lining up to take our truffles – that is crap. The northern hemisphere truffle users are not lining up to buy our truffles. The industry in Europe is fighting back, afraid that we will destroy the established markets for summer truffle and preserved truffles. We cannot sell a truffle into France, UK, Italy or Spain and we have offered our distributor a price of E495/kg = A$651/kg.
The only way to overcome this situation is to provide heaps of education and marketing to get northern hemisphere chefs more inclined to purchase southern hemisphere truffles, in their summer.
There is no reason why tax payers should fund this so be prepared to put your hand in your pocket to pay a truffle tax.
I believe that without the development of an orderly marketing
approach, truffles will end up like wine – price competition will ensure that truffle growing is a great way to lose money.
If you think I am being gloomy, just remember the Barry Lee report, there are another 550,000 trees which are not yet
producing, but many of which will produce in the next 5 to 6 years.
There are 4 basic questions existing and intending truffle
growers should be asking themselves and their advisers:
1. Will truffles grow on my farm? A. Possibly, but probably
2. How long will it take to get a commercial yield? A.
3. What yield can I expect? A. Who knows! 4. How and where am I going to market my crop? A. Who
If the facts I have given above have any credibility, the answers to the 4 questions really means that all of us have taken a huge gamble – and most of us will lose. That is the nature of gambling. So my advice to the industry is simple:-
• do not expand acreage – if you want to get into the
industry or expand your business, buy out an existing
• Change the focus of the ATGA away from production, to
• Question everything, get the facts, forget the hype.
Growing truffles is a business and the purpose of business is to make a profit. The challenge before us all is to put aside any
preconceived ideas and emotions and to look at the facts as if your kids lives depended on the outcome – then make a
decision that you are either in or out. Making a decision that you are out, will be painful and brave, but I honestly think it will be the best financial decision for many growers.
If you are in, there will be nothing gained from competing with
each other – clear thinking and cooperation is the only way out of the mire we find ourselves in. Please note that in talking about pricing, I refer only to International pricing and not domestic pricing.
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Diagnostic Microbiology and Infectious Disease Corynebacterium macginleyi isolation from conjunctival swab in ItalyG.M. Giammancoa,*, V. Di Marcob, I. Priolob, A. Intrivicic, F. Grimontd, P.A.D. Grimontda Dipartimento di Igiene e Microbiologia “G. D’Alessandro”, Universita` di Palermo, Palermo, Italy b Istituto Zooprofilattico Sperimentale della Sicilia “A. Mirri”, Palermo, Italy