Our commitment

At Macadamias Australia we are committed to a clean, green future, caring for the environment, each other and every life we touch. With that commitment comes responsibility; a responsibility handed down from our parents to every member of our family and team, and which we all gladly shoulder together.

Across all areas of our business our mission is to continually innovate our farming and processing practices, improve our energy efficiency whilst minimising our impact on the environment.

We have decades of experience with careful consideration behind our approach to farming and we literally start from the ground up. We start with the soil.

Orchard Establishment

When we establish a new orchard from scratch, we start by choosing the right land, with the right soil type and then choose the right macadamia varieties to suit.

Irrigation

We then consider irrigation options depending on the available water and variety we are looking to grow.

Our preferred option is to start with drip irrigation when the young trees are first planted, converting to sprinkler between years 3 and 4 to lead the tree into strong production and encourage wide structured root development.

We are always mindful that we are growing a rainforest tree and so sprinklers allow us to better control the environmental conditions of moisture, temperature and humidity creating a more natural rainforest style environment.

Ground Preparation

When it comes to ground preparation, we not only consider what we can see but also what is below the ground. Through soil sampling, as well as ground mapping of subsoils and drainage we can better understand what may affect orchard production. 

Once mapped, the site is trimmed if needed to remove imperfections that may hinder drainage and runoff directed into on-site water storage to be used for irrigation.

 At the time of installation, the beds are mounted and seeded to initiate ground cover to minimise the risk of erosion as well as provide organic matter in the form of mulch (grass cuttings) for distribution amongst the trees after planting. 

This early establishment of healthy soil helps start the orchard off on the right path, with optimal soil health maintained through the addition of generous amounts of our own organic material.

Our Nursery

Naturally the trees we plant are critical to getting the whole system right, so we have our very own nursery where our trees are grown, cared for and nurtured right here on the farm. 

Constantly learning from the trees themselves we have adapted our process using the tree as the guide as opposed to doing things by a set schedule. 

Reusable pots are recycled and pests within the nursery are controlled using beneficial insects, reducing the need for chemical intervention and providing a safer, more natural environment for both the plants and workers.

GROWING AND PRODUCTION

Sustainability is at the heart of the many growing and production systems we use to produce our crop. Timing, care for the environment, and attention to detail allow us to sustainably supply a high-quality product year after year.

This ideal of being able to continuously to produce high quality nuts and high yields from the original plantings of trees for generations to come drives us to keep exploring and adopting better farming practices.

We regularly sample soils and plant tissues to compare productivity results and monitor overall orchard visual condition to ensure our nutrient applications are exactly what the trees need.

The improved health, life expectancy, and productivity of our trees speak for themselves.

Ground Compaction

Moisture application and control is electronically monitored making sure the correct amounts of water are applied when and where needed.

Impacts are also monitored for sustainability and environmental purposes, and we ensure nutrients are not being leached beyond the rootzone of the trees.

Irrigation is controlled with the use of remote solar powered controllers which in turn reduce the vehicle footprint within the orchards thus reducing soil compaction, fuel usage and ultimately, saving time.

Our entire orchard operation has been designed around a single pass operation having one set of tracks all machinery uses and leaving the orchard as uncompacted and root friendly as possible.

Natural Pest Control

Our pest control is based on balancing effectiveness with impact on other beneficial insects and the environment.

We use beneficial insects that either feed on the pests or the pest’s eggs therefore breaking pest’s life cycles and reducing the need for human intervention.

We also care for numerous hectares of native bush surrounding our orchards and enjoy the benefits of natural predators that also share the orchard as their natural habitat.

Orchard Floor

Care for the orchard floor is a vital component of the success of our trees. Following harvest, we allow regrowth of grasses through to seed providing the future seed banks required to maintain orchard floor ground cover.

This regrowth provides more habitat for beneficial insects to live and breed, further increases natural pest control and eventually ends up as mulch for the trees.

 The process of using the available organic matter grown in the orchard, the returning of product removed during harvest and the introduction of natural product (rejuvenated by-products), all play a vital role in our sustainable farm management processes and the constant improvement of our soils. 

This in turn promotes nutrient availability, microbiological life and an abundance of earthworms throughout the orchard; all signs of good soil health.

Tree Care

Naturally the trees we plant are critical to getting the whole system right, so we have our very own nursery where our trees are grown, cared for and nurtured right here on the farm.

Constantly learning from the trees themselves we have adapted our process using the tree as the guide as opposed to doing things by a set schedule.

Reusable pots are recycled and pests within the nursery are controlled using beneficial insects, reducing the need for chemical intervention and providing a safer, more natural environment for both the plants and workers.

Pollination

When our trees start flowering, we use honey bees as well as Native Stingless Bees living within the native vegetation for pollination.  We are also exploring the use of other Native Bees rescued from land clearing as an additional pollinator. We have re-housed these bees in new hives in the surrounding native bush and are now breeding them through a non-invasive more natural “budding” process. 

 This process closely resembles the way they would breed and expand in the wild allowing us to use a native pollinator on a native crop.  Pollination is also performed by other insects crawling over the flowers made possible due to our low chemical intervention approach.

Harvesting

Although the harvesting process sounds simple, “pick up nuts and transport to shed” it’s the little things that make the big difference.  Starting with our own harvester design which gives us cleaner pick-up rates and higher quality results as nuts are not left on the ground too long.  We also use large capacity bins for working in long rows and reducing the unloading times and frequency. We also install weight scales from the first harvest to provide accurate yield mapping data that overlaid on block maps, shows how well each area is performing in detail.

Transport

To ensure we maintain quality and consistency, our nuts do not sit in the heat for long periods as we unload directly from the harvesters into the trucks which transport back to our processing facility within hours of harvesting. Even the drop height of the nut has been considered through the whole process as a fall from height can damage the kernel inside.

Product Care, Processing & Storage

From the time it is first received, to storage in silos, the product is monitored, sampled, and tracked with attention again given to drop heights followed by dehusking, drying and storage.  Dehusking is performed inhouse using custom developed dehuskers built to provide efficient results with zero damage to kernel quality.

 

Our drying and storage process is temperature controlled to maintain optimal quality and is also environmentally friendly.  The heat source is provided by very efficient furnaces burning our own macadamia shell as fuel. This endless renewable source burns very clean and produces multiple energy sources in addition to the heat for drying:

 

  1. heat for the drying process and hot water
  2. gases that fuel a combustion to generate our power; and
  3. by-product called Bio-Char which is returned to the orchard soil as a form of carbon

 

This entire process is another example of our commitment not only to product quality, but to our sustainable closed loop process and our precious environment.

RESEARCH AND DEVELOPMENT

Experimenting, trialing and constantly looking for opportunities to improve anything and everything we do is a very strong driver for our family and farm.  We spend an enormous amount of time trialing, monitoring, measuring and looking at what we do, why we do it and how can we be better at it. With assistance from our own on farm PhD as well as external researchers, this commitment has led to ground breaking discoveries in the form of improved yields and quality, damage mitigation of fruit and the reduction our environmental impact which is now assisting the creation of Industry  Standards for regulation sediment and nutrient run off for the region.

 

One noteworthy project we’re very excited about is the Arboretum we are establishing in partnership with the Macadamia Conservation Trust to assist in protecting genetics from risk of loss through bushfire and land clearing etc.  This planting of over 600 trees, from the most endangered and working backwards, will be the largest single collection of distinct genetics within the industry. 

 

We invest and participate in ongoing scientific research to continually improve not only our practices but also assist the macadamia industry as a whole. For over 15 years, the macadamia industry has continuously received a clean bill of health in the Australian Government’s National Residue Survey, which monitors agricultural chemicals and environmental contaminants in our fresh food. This record is unmatched by any other fresh commodity.