The second quarter typically yields a small harvest for the state’s largest macadamia nut producer because it’s the end of the growing season, but ML Macadamia Orchards LP said drought made it not worth harvesting any nuts in the April-to-June period.
The Big Island-based company sold no nuts in the quarter, which contributed to a net loss of $118,000.
ML’s loss actually was an improvement from the 2009 second quarter primarily because of a $212,000 crop insurance claim payment. In the year-earlier quarter, the company posted a net loss of $291,000 and had nut sales of $374,000.
Total operating revenue, which includes nut sales and farm work for other orchard owners, was $626,000 in the quarter, down 39 percent from $1 million a year earlier.
Typically, harvests in the second quarter account for less than 4 percent of ML’s annual harvest. But Dennis Simonis, ML’s president and chief executive officer, said drought exacerbated the situation. "We just couldn’t justify a (second-quarter) harvest," he said. "There just weren’t enough nuts on the ground."
ML said nut production for the full year will likely be reduced by drought conditions that are hurting nut development in its Kau orchards. An orchard in the wetter Keaau area is expected to yield improved production because of adequate rainfall and above-average sunshine. A Mauna Kea orchard is expected to see production that’s around the historical norm, the company said.
A recently completed land purchase is expected to boost annual production for ML by about 25 percent by adding roughly 5 million pounds of nuts to the company’s typical annual harvest of about 20 million nuts. "We think it’s going to improve business quite a bit," Simonis said.
ML bought 4,843 acres of land in Kau, including 1,100 acres planted in macadamia trees, for $12.5 million from California-based International Air Service Co. Ltd.