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NEWS: 

10 July 2013 - Bundaberg, Queensland

Irrigators - Have your say!


We want to hear from Irrigators in the Bundaberg Irrigation District about your concerns with the SunWater irrigation distribution system.  As you may be aware, the State Government wishes to divest itself of the irrigation distribution system following the recommendations in the Peter Costello report last year, and is acting on that advice to set up the Bundaberg LMA Irrigation Board.  The Chairman is Maurie Maughan and the board is in the process of performing ‘due diligence’ at the moment in preparation of presenting a business plan to the State of Queensland in a few months’ time. 

Local irrigator, orchardist and agribusiness consultant Jim Carney, a member of the LMA Irrigation board is assisting in writing the business plan.  Part of the process is to solicit information about your concerns and comments as to how the system could be improved, what concerns you may have going forward, and how we can incorporate discussions with local fruit and vegetable growers, cane growers and other system users as to how to incorporate those issues into the plans to assume control over the assets currently administered by SunWater.   Jim Carney says “It is better we gain control of our destiny in obtaining the scheme assets for use by irrigators to our benefit, rather than handing them over to a corporate entity which will look to make a profit from scheme operations.  We will be presenting a responsible plan for a viable enterprise delivering efficient water services which are maintained and refurbished regularly while meeting statutory planning, regulatory and environmental obligations.”  The State will continue to maintain control of the Monduran and Paradise dams, supplying water in bulk to the Bundaberg LMA Irrigation Board.

The path to local management is well underway since working groups begin studying the proposal a year ago in July 2012 to transfer assets in eight of the states SunWater irrigation schemes.  The local management boards will need to ensure the schemes will be sustainable over the next 30 years and is in the interest of the scheme customers.  The proposals presented will need to be in the best interest of the State of Queensland and align with the government’s commitment of growth in the agricultural sector.

For more information or to voice your concern as an irrigator in the scheme, contact one of the directors of the board at http://lmairrigation.com.au/bundaberg  or Jim Carney directly via email at jim@superpak.net.au and on mobile 0433 935 933.



NEWS: 

1 June 2013 - Childers, Queensland

SuperPak keeping costs down for growers

SuperPak continues to provide growers with additional resources to keep their costs down by providing bulk buying power through their affiliate company, Prime Orchards Consulting and Management Services.  More products continue to be added which are available at the deepest discount on offer.  By forming a buying group direct to the suppliers, manufacturers and miners, this keeps the overheads down.

SuperPak and Prime Orchards, in conjunction with Avocado Ridge were approached by companies which felt they needed a more direct to the end user approach to supplying their products to the market place, in effect reducing some of the supply chain costs.  Prime Orchards agreed to act as a distributor for products which are sourced from Australian suppliers in bulk quantities to assist their growers to keep costs down in this era of rising prices.  Jim Carney from Avocado Ridge says "I have myself restrained from applying what I really needed and should have applied from year to year, because of the costs restraints, and many times, that is a false economy.  We have really seen that this year with the damage through our own orchard and many others."

Prime Orchards doesn't try to dilute or relabel the products on offer, such as AgSil 32 - a Potassium Silicate product all avocado growers need, but is currently supplied by the manufacturer to over a dozen companies - which adds cost to the product.  The grower now can get the product in its unadulterated state and save 30% or more.  Similarly Prime Orchards offers bulk pricing on Gypsum products, Rock Phosphate, Humates and more.  Growers are not alone in their buying needs and combining buying power goes hand in hand with combining packing volumes to keep the costs down for all.

More information can be found at www.primeorchards.com.au/prod.html and see a sample of products here and links to pricing sheets, MSDS, research studies, analysis and more.

NEWS: 


5 March 2013 - Childers, Queensland

Avocado Season Pick to start soon


The recent rains and overcast skies have delayed the start of this seasons pick by about a week, with some local growers starting in about two weeks with Shepard.  The fruit from Western Australia is finishing this week, Shepards from North Queensland are not as plentiful as forecast, the Childers/Bundaberg region crop is not as plentiful as expected and market floors are clearing and this seasons pricing is firming.


Many of the regions growers have suffered damage or maturity delays or even tree losses from the weather, and we have a tight market supply for this season.  We urge all growers to not hurry, pick slow and steady and allow fruit to size up to take advantage of the supply shortfall... the more you let your fruit grow, the less fruit required to fill a tray. 

I don't know of a single grower in the Childers/Bundaberg region who has not suffered and lost fruit and trees from this years weather events coming so soon on the past events.  If we market and supply the market cohesively we stand a much better chance of keeping the prices to a fair and reasonable level which will help to make up for some of the losses you incurred.  We look forward to working together to make this a great season for our growers!


NEWS: 

20 December 2012 - Childers, Queensland

SuperPak wishes customers a Merry Christmas!

Thank you to our customers over the last 4 seasons at SuperPak. We are looking forward to an even bigger season to come!

Watch this space for news to come as we prepare for our largest season ever, and association with more marketers so you have a choice!  We have simplified our pricing and no longer charge additional surcharge for things like promotion and administration, so your packing charge is straight forward and simple.   


We look forward to working with you in 2013!  Have a Blessed and Merry Christmas and a bountiful season to come!


NEWS: 

29 October 2011 - Childers, Queensland

SuperPak Looks for Bumper 2012 Season

SuperPak completed the avocado season with a slight increase in volume with this seasons throughput expected to end at around 460,000 trays of fruit.  The packing shed is still going flat out, currently packing stone fruit from Childers and the Kingaroy area orchards, with some 50 employees working hard to keep up with the volumes that have to pass through in a short 7-8 week time frame. 

The 2011 season was a down season due to the weather events from last spring which reduced volumes on most orchards, but not all.  Huge crops in southern Australian states and record crops in New Zealand have drastically affected the prices the growers received past the start of the season, and this has led to disappointing returns for our Queensland growers. 

The current season of avocados has set fruit on the trees, and barring large fruit drops in December, the 2012 crop looks like it will be a good crop for most growers.   Additionally, many of the founding growers in SuperPak are experiencing maturation of certain plantings, and increases in volumes are occurring.  We want to remind all growers to keep the insect and fungi sprays up to keep the fruit growing and looking good. 
We don't have a crystal ball, but this season looks like:

1) It will be an above average year for avocado fruit in the immediate growing area - this should bring stable, but possibly lower average early season pricing.
2) It is expected that below average avocado fruit volumes will be imported from New Zealand and in the southern Australian states - this should keep late season pricing up above what was received this year.
3) SuperPak is looking at processing around 700,000 trays of fruit for the 2012 season.


We wish to thank the growers who send their fruit to SuperPak, and remind others that to achieve critical mass and achieve the best financial results, we need to commit to work together, organise and coordinate from a unified base, to be able to supply a consistent quality and reliable supply to the supermarkets and wholesalers. 

The holidays are coming soon, so we wish to take this opportunity to wish everyone the best for the festive season and we look forward to seeing you in the New Year.  


For more information please speak to Eric or Lois Carney at 4126 6900, mobile 0403 917 769



NEWS: 

27 January 2011 - Childers, Queensland

SuperPak Helping Growers

With SuperPak now entering the third season packing for growers there is a clear base of avocado and stone fruit growers who are profiting from the advantages offered at SuperPak.  SuperPak customers are located from the Sunshine Coast, to Kumbia, to north of Bundaberg and include AvoChoice and Sunfresh brands when marketed. 

Growers are able to receive high pack-outs because full grading and placement onto diversified markets is achieved.  Premium grade, Supermarket grade, second grade, and even third grade fruit are packed for very different markets so minimal fruit is wasted with common pack-out rates of 96% of fruit sent in - is being sold. 

The standard tray price charged for packing is just over $3, including drop off and pickup of their free field bins, packing, tray, insert and palletising charges.  SuperPak produce a product that the retailer, marketer and chains want, offering consistent grading and dependability, and the grower gets the best cash return possible. 

The packing charges are kept very low because of the reduced labour cost savings from the most efficient packing and fruit handling designs available, and higher utilisation of the packing line over a longer period to defray overhead expenses.  Together with that is the directors concept that we are all growers, we all pay the same low price*, and the benefit is - we share is in keeping costs down and marketing together.  That is where the payback is… in higher returns per tray sold - not in profits from running a packing shed.   

SuperPak also offer a large export market to move the smaller fruit, which would be lowering the overall market floor sales averages if the fruit was sold in Australia.  Pre-pack punnets are also a great seller and also move the baby avocados to select markets to diversify distribution.  

The packing shed reached 50 employees over the last season, and sent substantial volumes of fruit through the line, all handled with the care it takes to handle a peach.  Temperature and chemical treatment and handling ensure the fruit reaches the market in optimum condition.  Other programs now offered to customers will assist growers with picking for hire service, bulk and volume discount program for fertilisers, fuel and other farm items; as well as agronomy and advisory services with experience over 25 years.

For more information please speak to Eric or Lois Carney at 4126 6900, mobile 0403 917 769



NEWS: 

5 September 2010 - Childers, Queensland

Avocado Season Finished - Stonefruit Starts

The 2010 avocado season has ended with mixed result for most growers.  The results were varied - Some growers were up 10% or more on last years performance, and many growers were down 25-70% on crop expectations.  Our Gympie area growers were particularly hit hard with high August temperatures last year of 33 and 34 degrees, and a duststorm effecting flowering.  Many orchardists were effected by above average rainfall coming late in the fill out stage and were plagued by insect damage.  However, with a lot of hard work, selected growers overcame these hardships and were still able to have a reasonable season, with above average prices for most of the season.  A notable pricing dip lasting severl weeks and oversupply from major growers caused a widespread poor return midwinter.  Exports were very good this season and removed a huge quantity of fruit from the market system that would have put pressure to lower the returns even further.

The 2011 avocado crop flowering is looking spot on for a bountiful season with conditions right for a successful fruit set.  Maintenance of the bankrupt Timbercorp avocado orchards is recently back in swing and this should aid in producing better quality fruit and maintaining a later crop, which will spread the market out back to a more normal state.

SuperPak has received its first shipments of stone fruit of the season for packing on our Childers pack line.  The Rewards Group netted Childers orchard (under Administration by the receiver) is expecting a bumper crop of approximately 350,000 trays of peaches, nectarines and plums, and quality looks excellent.  We are delighted they have chosen SuperPak to provide that packing and this will add a boost to the local workforce and economy.  The stone fruit season in this area runs from September to the end of November, with each variety coming along up to a month earlier than the southern states.


NEWS: 

9 February 2010 - Childers, Queensland

First look at 2010 Season Avocado Crop for SuperPak

With the avocado picking season for 2010 just kicking off, SuperPak is expecting the first of the seasons Shepard variety to begin rolling into the pack shed in early March.  The recent deluge of rains may have delayed the startup picking date, but this years pick should yield a larger sized fruit and the fruit is of excellent quality.

SuperPak director Lois Carney would like to welcome all of last years growers back and a big welcome to the new growers who have recently come aboard.  Lois can help with any growers who are upgrading their training and documentation from Freshcare quality assurance level 2 to the new Coles requirement of Freshcare level 3 required for this season.  A strong emphasis on quality is encouraged among our growers to keep the high demand for SuperPak and AvoChoice branded fruit strong among our wholesale and chain store customers.  

This year's Hass crop has a new industry standard of 23% minimum dry matter for first grade fruit (up from 21%).  Avocados Australia the industry body will be conducting more intensive on farm and wholesale sampling of fruit maturity and quality testing this year and SuperPak is working with DPI and scientists to lead the industry on quality assurance and robustness testing and reporting.  Quality, reliable and tasty fruit at the dinner table is our goal.

Growers are asked to give us approximately 5 days notice prior to the start of picking on farm so your picking bins can be delivered on time.  If growers have other changes to their profile such as tree counts, expected volumes, forklift changes, etc., please let Lois know at 07 4126 1174 until the pack shed opens.  

The packing shed is undergoing minor modifications at the moment, and a large expansion of capacity and floor space is engineered and waiting until the 2010 season is completed, for the work to begin.  We wish to welcome all avocado growers from Gin Gin to Blackbutt and ask them to consider the advantages and cost savings of utilising the services of SuperPak for packing and marketing needs. 

 

NEWS: 

10 September 2009 - Childers, Queensland

Successful First Season and Expansion for SuperPak

With the avocado picking season for Childers, Bundaberg and Gympie regions now finished, the SuperPak packing shed will finalise packing avocados for the 2009 season.  Moving onto other fruits as they become available is planned for this season and next, including tropical stone fruit, mangos and citrus.

SuperPak packed hundreds of thousands of trays for the year under the branding of AvoChoice, AustAvo, Sunfresh and Gekko brands, as well as for Coles and Woolworth's.  The year saw the packing of fruit for 18 medium to large quality growers from the nearby regions.  It is planned to incorporate avocados later into the season from the Southern Queensland regions next season with a better crop expected next year.

Finalising commitments with growers in these areas has lead to an expectation for a huge volume increase for next pack year, leading to expansion plans which are well underway.  Approval to expand the shed to accommodate the increase is partially completed with the local Bundaberg Council and work should commence in the next few months or after next season to add on hundreds more square meters of shed space.  With the expansion of the packing facilities the shed will add more automated carton handling, more capacity, and several more receival and despatch cool rooms as well as overhead carton delivery.  

SuperPak expansion plans include adding more value added processing and packaging as well as innovation into longer term storage to even out the volumes of fruit passing through to the markets.  Exports to Asia are increasing and if the dollar comes back off the highs seen recently, exports to Europe may recommence next winter.  

This season saw the chain-stores take very healthy volumes of fruit from SuperPak and they were very pleased with the pack and quality - especially this year when they were receiving a lot of inferior fruit from others.  The returns received for the growers were excellent and considering SuperPak and Sunfresh were able to find markets for all of the seconds and nearly all the third quality fruit, the growers were able to receive maximum dollars for ALL their crop.  

SuperPak is looking forward to a bumper year next season and hope the advantages and benefits are clear to the growers with better returns for less hassles. 

 

NEWS: 

30 June 2009 - London, England

Our avocados hit the beaches in Europe

With the first successful and major shipment of avocados into Europe from Australia which occurred a few days ago, another export commodity is adding to Australia's economy.  Avocados from 6 farms in Childers region were sent via 40 foot atmosphere controlled container to Europe in May and after a 6 week journey, arrived in prime condition.

The avocado quality was excellent and ripening outturn has produced very good results.  Consumer acceptance of the Australian avocados as they are placed on the shelves in England and mainland Europe is also very good.  SuperPak and marketer Sunfresh from Queensland, are very pleased with the results and to see the avocados arrived in such a pristine condition, with less defects than often found in the local markets.

The removal of several 40 foot container loads of fruit from the Australian market and sent to Europe and Asia this season by SuperPak and Sunfresh, has buoyed the prices of avocados during the peak of the winter price slump - which just did not happen this season so far.  This is just the news avocado growers need to give confidence in the industry with lots of trees coming along into heavier production.  The concept which SuperPak was founded under to utilize all the tools of a large grower owned and managed central packing shed, is beginning to bear fruit for it's growers.

Returns to growers for this shipment were also very good.  Growers netted very near Australian market prices for their produce and benefited in higher prices at home too.  Several other benefits and experience was gained in these shipments, and those advantages will be directed into well run future shipments, as well as secondary research and new technology which will aid in the Australian market as well.

NEWS:

19 May 2009 - Childers, Queensland

Milestones reached over the miles

Avocados are lapping the waves at the moment aboard a ship bound for Europe, with the fruit from Queensland avocado growers.  With this shipment, SuperPak reaches another milestone in Export history for avocado orchardist, as well as for the SuperPak shed in Childers, now open and packing fruit for the first 3 months of operation.  After acquiring Global Gap accreditation, the shed and it's certified orchard suppliers are starting a regular supply of avocados to the European market, and removing fruit from the local Australian market.  This assists in keeping net returns for all avocado growers firmer, by reducing the potential for oversupply at this time of year.

These shipments are made possible by the research and development over the past few years in the process for long range ocean transport, conducted by SuperPak’s strategic partner – Sunfresh Marketing Group.  Sunfresh, working under the direction of former chairman Brian Prosser in conjunction with Queensland Department of Primary Industries developed the protocols and static trials and contributed tens of thousands of dollars into the success of these shipments to meet the European Standards.

With avocados stuffed to the rafters in 40-foot containers, the oxygen is removed and replaced with nitrogen and the avocados are put to sleep under refrigeration until arriving some 5 weeks later.  A second shipment is due out next week with more to follow.  Additional export shipments by container are also underway to Thailand and New Zealand in the next few weeks as the Australian avocado is sought to fill the demand in many countries.  Demand is expected to increase now that container shipments have dramatically lowered the landed cost to these markets, saving 75% on freight costs for example to Thailand, over the standard air pallet shipments.  

Jim Carney, SuperPak General Manager says "Interestingly, with the shipment of this container the wholesale price of avocados has raised by $3-4 this week on Australian markets and to some degree these exports would have contributed to that as supplies dwindle.  This is just one of many things the avocado industry has needed for quite some time to even out the market place."  

SuperPak now employees 27 staff, and packs for growers regionally from Kolan to Gympie.  As the picking season moves south, growers from Sunshine Coast, Blackbutt and Toowoomba area have committed and/or expressed their interest in packing with SuperPak as their season starts.  SuperPak supplies avocados to Coles and Woolworth's and other smaller supermarkets, as well as to wholesalers across the country.  "Through our association with Sunfresh We have an extensive distribution network and orders for avocados are fast and furious at the moment" says Jim.  "Our growers are receiving the highest returns available - because our wholesale customers choose our avocados for their consistent quality and standards, and customers like Coles have tripled their orders.”

SuperPak is a the largest grower group owned and operated avocado packing shed in Australia, with the most advanced grading and handling equipment available.  Labour and handling costs are minimized and the cost to growers is substantially less than other packing operations can afford to offer.   See www.superpak.net.au for further information and rates available.

 

NEWS: 

24 February 2009 – Childers, Queensland   

Huge avocado shed set to open with season 

Avocado orchardists will be reaping the benefits of the new SuperPak opening in just one week in Childers, Queensland.  With the opening of the SuperPak shed in the Wide Bay Region, growers from Southern to Central Queensland will benefit with lower prices for packing and a higher return for their avocados sold in Australia and Internationally.  With picking season just days away from starting for Shepard’s and then Hass in the region, the equipment and cold rooms are in and about to be filled. 

The finishing touches are completing this week in what has been a project under development for a couple of years.  Jim Carney, the general manager says; “The goal is to provide the best equipped, and most labour saving facility for growers to have an alternative to the uneconomical costs of packing themselves or with more expensive commercial packers.”  Major financial contributors to the project are growers Jim and Lois Carney, Don and Wendy Reynolds and Sunfresh - with member growers located from Childers to across the state, all having invested in the pack shed to contain their packing costs.  Joining them are over a dozen growers and ever-increasing number of non-stakeholder participants, ready to increase their yield from a market that is looking for fewer supplier entities. 

The shed is equipped with two Dual Lane Sorters with over 100 auto tray fill outlets where the fruit is aligned by packers and labelled with a bar code.  After trays are filled, the trays are flicked forward onto a belt system, which feeds into an automatic carton conveying system controlled by electronic eyes to distribute and sort the cartons into lanes for automated labeling of the premium and first grade fruit.  The system eliminates much of the handling that takes place in any of the other commercial or private packing sheds and reduces labour costs by 30-50%.  

The growers also receive deep discounts in the negotiated bulk pricing of the packing materials, discounted freight from farm to market and enjoy the higher returns from a true marketer in Sunfresh - who works only on a commission - means the more money received for the grower, is in their best interest also.  

SuperPak will be hosting an open house on March 6th, where a half dozen International Buyers are expected in attendance; along with teams of Australian wholesalers from across Australia with growers and dignitaries from the region in attendance, to experience the largest avocado packing shed operation in the country open to general growers, followed by a BBQ.  Export is a major card in the deck of options developing for SuperPak along with offering fruit retailers a range of options to niche market the fruit from Premium SuperPak brand, AvoChoice, and other brands such as Sunfresh and AustAvo

Jim Carney started as an avocado orchardist in 1984 in Western Australia, prior to relocating to Queensland in 2002.   The contributing avocado orchards involved in the project account for approximately 500,000 trays in volume and are expected to substantially grow in volume as the project develops in the coming year, with fruit intake from orchards further a field.  SuperPak can be contacted at 07 4126 6900.

NEWS:

7 November 2008 

Sunfresh has been appointed as the marketer for the AvoChoice brand of premium avocados for SuperPak.  

Jim Carney – General Manager for SuperPak said that for the past two years running while SuperPak has been in the formative stages, fruit from several of the participating growers in the project was sent through 4 different pack sheds and marketers.  Detailed pricing comparisons were made on a week for week basis to ensure comparative equality, and it was clear that Sunfresh maintained a return equal to or higher than the competing marketing firms, with a $2 average better return.  Often the sale price was on average even $5 or more higher with the Sunfresh marketing team.

 Jim said we are pleased to have Sunfresh aboard as our marketer as they are clearly situated to take the highest volume of fruit and achieve the highest rate of return for the grower. 

Sunfresh has an extensive network of wholesalers who rely on them for year round quality fruit, and will displace the smaller growers and other marketers to take Sunfresh fruit when the market is near saturation in order to protect and nurture the relationship they maintain with Sunfresh.  Sunfresh has an established market with all of the major Supermarket chains for RPC tray fruit, and the pack house will also be providing the punnet packing requirements for Sunfresh. 

Sunfresh will market the AvoChoice and AustAvo brands of avocados for SuperPak from the Childers pack house and position them as a complimentary brands on the market which is expected to meet or exceed previous returns.  Sunfresh will continue to market the grower packed Sunfresh brand and if a Sunfresh member wishes to have SuperPak pack their fruit in a Sunfresh branded carton, they are welcome to utilise the SuperPak facilities.

Tom French, the Chairman of Sunfresh encouraged his members to take note of the prices and services on offer by SuperPak and see if it would be beneficial for them to have SuperPak pack their avocados so they can concentrate on growing and picking, as most growers have enough to do already. 

Sunfresh also offers ripened fruit for the wholesale markets through their facilities in Palmwoods and in capital cities, and SuperPak will utilize the facilities of Sunfresh in the interim until extensive ripening rooms and programs are set up at the Childers facility.

  

NEWS:

10 October 2008 

Queensland has a new entry in the avocado packing business, and this packer will now be the largest grower owned regional packing shed in the country outside of the Timbercorp managed partnership with the Simpson family.  

The $2.2 million facility has been placed in the Wide Bay Region, where approximately 40% of the nations avocados are grown, and where there is enough volume to satisfy the voracious appetite for future export sales. 

Childers avocado grower Jim Carney was a member of the Avocado’s Australia Ltd steering committee that hired consultants to produce a Benchmarking Report, a Feasibility Study and finally a Business Plan for the placement of a Regional Packshed in the Childers area.  Jim and other avocado growers assembled to produce the facility to lower their packing costs and provide what the wholesalers and chain stores want – consistent quality avocados with support and full range of seasons supply. 

It will also have the latest high-tech grading equipment with the highest concentration of automated features available, which can reduce the required labour by 30% or more.  When open for the season in March 2009, the shed will have the capacity to handle 12,000 trays of fruit a day and room to expand.  

“The building structure has now been completed and we are finishing such things as fire protection, electrical and fixtures” Jim said.  “The packing equipment is being produced in New Zealand and is very near completion.  We will take delivery in early December and be doing test trials in January.” 

Australia produced 7 million 5.5kg trays of avocados in 2008, and the forecast for 2009 is 9 million trays.  The Wide Bay area will be producing 3.7 million trays on approximately 250,000 trees, spread over 1250 hectares in the coming year.