Macadamia production in the NSW Northern Rivers region has expanded by around 25 per cent with new macadamia enterprises developed on floodplains.
NSW Department of Primary Industries (DPI) macadamia development officer Jeremy Bright said approximately 2500 hectares of land on the coastal floodplain has, or is in the process of being set up for planting macadamia.
“This expansion follows a workshop facilitated by NSW DPI 12 months ago on growing macadamia on the floodplain region of Northern NSW,” Mr Bright said.
“The participants involved have been holding monthly planning meetings, facilitated by industry and NSW DPI, relating to the complex of issues encountered when developing sensitive areas.
“The objective of the workshop and planning has been to give potential and new growers from the Clarence, Richmond or Tweed coastal areas a better understanding of what is involved in developing into productive and successful macadamia farms.
“Key to the success of developing this land is the involvement and communication with the relevant shire councils and NSW DPI Fisheries and Department of Industry – Water.
“Each workshop has been developed as a step-by-step guide to the development of a floodplain macadamia enterprise. In particular, how to work successfully within acid sulphate soil boundaries, grower responsibilities, drainage management, and other best practice techniques.”
Over the past year the group has investigated the following topics:
- Selecting suitable land
- Drainage management plans, development applications, using Integrated Orchard Management (IOM) principles and LiDAR mapping
- Orchard design and getting the soils right prior to planting eg. pH, CEC, organic carbon etc
- Working with acid sulphate soils (ASS) and your responsibilities
- Selecting varieties suited to coastal land
- Inter row and within row spacings
- Young tree management and support options for wind
Although the three catchments have further potential for macadamia production, potential growers should be aware that not all floodplain land is suitable for macadamia production.
Photo: A newly planted macadamia orchard on the floodplain in northern NSW. Image: Contributed