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Hazelnuts: The Ultimate Tree Change

Are you looking to leave the big city rat-race and make the move to the country? Are you seeking a great lifestyle for a young family? Do you have some spare land and water that you are looking to diversify your on-farm income? Do you have a few years before retirement? Hazelnuts will provide the lifestyle you are seeking.

Superannuation you can see growing

After the collapse of share and residential real estate prices in the wake of the coronavirus pandemic, many people are looking for alternative superannuation schemes they can see growing. Hazelnuts are an ideal alternative. Just like a superannuation fund, farmers make an investment (land and planting) and then make small further investments (mowing, spraying, and pest control) during the seven to ten year wait for full commercial production. At all times, you can see the performance and make changes to your inputs. Just like superannuation, growing nut trees is not without risks – drought, bushfires, floods and birds can take a terrible toll.

What are the benefits of growing hazelnuts?

There are many benefits of growing hazelnuts over regular superannuation including tax benefits of being a primary producer. Truffles grow symbiotically on hazelnut tree roots too!

Where can I grow them?

Hazelnuts are extensively grown throughout Victoria (Wangaratta, Myrtleford, Yarra Valley, Seymour and Ballarat), New South Wales (Orange, Bathurst) and Tasmania (around Launceston), with lesser coverage in South Australia and Western Australia. Hazelnuts require good access to water, either as irrigation or natural rainfall, adequate chill hours during winter and good warm summers.

How much does it cost to start up?

The initial cost of setting up the orchard is around $27,000 to $40,000 per hectare (obviously depending on a range of issues such as the infrastructure on the land), comprising:
  • Land cost: 31%
  • Trees: 34%
  • Planting labour: 6%
  • Tree accessories: 4%
  • Irrigation: 21%
  • Equipment/other: 4%
This total cost corresponds to $52 to $70 per tree planted.

What are the annual costs?

Annual costs of weed control, mowing, pruning and fertilizing are $1,000 to $2,000 per hectare per year.

How much will I make?

Production for the first few years is low and just suitable for personal consumption. From around the seventh year, trees will start to produce commercial quantities with full production from about the tenth year with around three to five kg per tree. This equates to two to three tonnes per hectare.

Obviously, depending on the season and care applied to the orchard there is some variability, but breakeven will be somewhere about the twelfth year following planting.

Where can I sell them?

If you want to give up your weekends, hazelnuts can be sold through farmers markets.  Alternatively, Carboor Farms in Wangaratta, Victoria is buying crops from growers to aggregate and sell as kernel product into the wholesale market.

Selling to Carboor Farms

Carboor Farms provide certainty to growers about pricing based on meeting required quality standards here referencing OECD Inshell Hazelnuts and Hazelnut Kernel available here.

The standard Hazelnut Purchase Agreement is available here and is based on a base price with additions or deductions for quality, crack out rate, inclusions volume and other characteristics.

Next Steps

Download a new grower flyer here as a reference point to start your thinking about your new lifestyle.  There are many good hazelnut nurseries around. In Victoria we work with Trufficulture, details here, and recommend attending a hazelnut seminar.
If you are a current grower, or interested in becoming a grower, please reach out to Ben Barrow at