Despite the fact it’s blowing a gale with rain and hail at Truffle Paddock farm as I write, it looks like the fresh truffle season is drawing to an early close once again in 2019. Warmer overnight temperatures in Manjimup, Western Australia, where 75% of Australia’s production comes from, has meant that their season has ended a week earlier than the early season end last year. With a very late start to the season there as well, 2019 hasn’t been a good year for production in WA – perhaps the shortest season ever, with yields similar to last year at best.
On the east-coast, the late winter blast we’re getting now might help the season last another week or two, but it’s been a late start and early finish in all but the coldest areas. Fruiting might continue in the higher or colder areas into August at best it seems.
Truffles need low overnight winter temperatures to ripen, and just as we see in the wine industry, the impact of climate change is already having a significant impact. There’s some interesting modelling done by CSIRO and the Bureau of Meteorology for viticulturists here. This shows that by the end of the century, under a high emissions assumption, the climate of Melbourne will be similar to the climate in Dubbo, NSW, today. The model is adjustable for different emissions and other assumptions – it’s a useful tool.
Arguably if you’re just now planning to become a truffle farmer, you should either start in Tasmania, or in the higher country on the mainland.