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e environment

The property is a haven for birds. The beauty of the place, the province and the country is reflected in the macadamias.

Orchard Tasks

Herbicide spraying
to control grass under
young trees, to
control weeds 

 

Mowing
to keep grass low
between rows
and in headlands. 

 

Pest control; baiting
for rats, mice, possums.
Shooting possums
and rabbits. 

 

Canopy management;
Side trimming trees,
lifting the curtain,
to retain access,
taking top branches
out to let in light. 

 

Fertiliser application

 

Shelter trimming

 

Chainsawing
to clean up
damaged trees
after storms. 

 

Mulching
spreading husks
under young trees. 

 

Grafting
re-working
damaged trees
after storms. 

 

Harvesting
bringing in the nuts
using a mechanical
harvester and rake. 

 

Tractor work
transporting bins
to factory,
back blading tracks,
keeping drains open.

Orchard

The major challenge when contemplating growing macadamias in this locality is to identify those varieties which would grow and crop successfully in these conditions.

Macadamias are native to Australia found in Southern Queensland / Northern New South Wales. We are situated Latitude 10 degrees south of Northern NSW. We are said to be the most southern commercial macadamia orchard and processing factory in the world.

In the early 1970s, approximately 300 selected nuts were brought in from a NSW macadamia research centre and planted in the Woodhill Forest, north of Auckland. Two trees from this trial exhibited the most promise and were likely to meet our selection criteria.

The criteria we set included: the nut had to drop to the ground when mature to enable mechanical harvesting, high oil kernel suitable for roasting, high percentage crack out - that is high percentage of kernel to shell ratio, ability to set nut at flowering during our wet springs without the use of fungicides and to carry the crop through to maturity without the use of insecticides. The tree had to be wind tolerant that is whippy not stiff growing.

Both of these varieties GT 205 and GT 207 form the basis of our orchard. There were 17 other varieties trialled in this orchard since 1990 and four varieties from the `A’ series were found to exhibit various degrees of tolerance to this locality. These were A4, A268, A38 and to a lesser extent A29.

At the same time there was some interesting trial work in Israel on clonal grafting using the Beaumont variety as rootstock. Approximately 2000 Beaumont rootstock were propagated and subsequently planted out into our orchard. When the scion wood from the selected varieties became available Bill grafted onto the rootstock `in field ‘. He achieved an 85% success rate.

Clonal grafted trees have a more uniform growth habit and have less vegetative vigour than those trees grafted onto seedling rootstock. Seedling rootstock tends to display a high degree of variability in both growth and cropping performance.

As a result of our original variety selection we are able to adopt a ‘spray free’ regime in the orchard, no fungicides or insecticides are used. We are also fortunate as some of the insects that plague growers in Australia have not arrived here yet.

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