New program aims to deliver for Queensland macadamia growers

THE local macadamia industry will gather this week to learn about a new major opportunity for improving production and orchard health to increase productivity and help meeting growing global demand.

More than 200 local macadamia growers will attend the Australian macadamia industry's 'MacGroup' workshops and field trips this Tuesday, July 12 in Glass House Mountains and then on Wednesday, July 13 in Gympie.

The workshops will focus on the industry's brand new Integrated Orchard Nutrition program. They will be followed by regional field trips to various local macadamia orchards, showcasing orchards that have recently implemented successful nutritional and other programs. 

The ION program, which is one of a number of productivity initiatives being rolled out by the industry, will be promoted to Aussie macadamia growers via six MacGroup workshops across the country.

Presenting at the workshops will be Australian Macadamia Society CEO Jolyon Burnett, the industry's productivity development manager Robbie Commens, NSW Department of Primary Industry's Jeremy Bright and well known scientific researcher Femi Akinsanmi from the University of QLD.

"Our 2015 investigative committee decided that big gains in production and orchard health will result from paying attention to orchard nutrition through an integrated orchard nutrition program," Mr Commens said.

"The priority for growers now is to identify the most limiting ION factor on their orchard and, with their consultant, implement an ION program to increase their production and profitability."

Mr. Commens said the workshops are also focused on increasing grower confidence.

"It's about increasing confidence to continue to invest in improving Integrated Orchard Management (drainage, canopy and orchard floor), and confidence to increase their investment in engaging professional consultants. Confidence is the key driver of grower investment. With increased confidence comes increased investment - in the right areas of their orchard," he said.

"Over the past 12 months we have seen an unprecedented level of investment into orchard rejuvenation and improvements from growers. They are investing into orchard improvements like IOM and ION that will place them and our industry in a very strong position over the next five years."

Mr. Commens said the new program represented another big step forward for the Australian macadamia industry which is the world leader in production and innovation, largely due to its strong investment in research & development and marketing, made possible by the grower levy and Horticulture Innovation Australia.

EVENT DETAILS: Australian Macadamia Industry MacGroups

Date: Tuesday, July 12 2016 

Time: Meeting 9am - 12pm, followed by field trip 12.30-5pm

Location: Glasshouse Mountains Community Hall, 8 Coonowrin Road, Glasshouse Mountains

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