Olive oil producers across Australia reported mixed results from this year’s harvest, Olive Oil Times reported.

Although some producers and officials had forecast a bumper crop for Australia this year, cooler weather and labour issues resulted in lower yields than expected, the report said.

“The oil yield is definitely lower than average because of the cooler growing conditions, but the quality of oil remains high because the fruit ripened slowly,” David Valmorbida, president of the Australian Olive Oil Association (AOOA) was quoted as saying.

While the Australian olive harvest is not officially tracked, the AOOA estimates a yield of 18M-19M litres of oil extracted from between 10,000-20,000 tonnes of fruit, according to the 31 August report.

If achieved, this total would be up on last year’s estimated yield of 14M-15M litres but far below 2021’s bumper crop of 20-22M litres, Olive Oil Times wrote.

Alongside cool weather, Australia’s ongoing agricultural labour shortage was also creating problems for some small-scale growers, the report said.

“There was a major problem in some areas where contract harvesters and contract processors were just not available or not offering their services,” Michael Southan, the chief executive of the Australian Olive Association, told Olive Oil Times.

“This created problems for many small growers, some of whom did not harvest as a result,” he added.

However, Southan said the overall olive harvest was good.

“The fruit yield was good this year, but the oil yield was lower than average from the cool weather we had during fruit development in the eastern states.”