Focusing on orchard floor maintenance delivers higher yield for macadamia nut grower
Orchard growers around the world strive to produce and sell the best crops possible. The steps a grower takes to create the perfect crop changes according to local conditions, but making sound decisions about the orchard floor could be the difference between a high quality yield and a low value one.
“We get paid top dollar for a top quality product, which can go into a variety of markets,” says Daniel Blanco. Daniel and his wife Belinda farm 346 acres of Macadamia nuts outside Gympie, South Queensland just north of Brisbane, Australia. “There’s definitely a big difference in quality between our product and those that come from other countries when you measure levels of protein, oil content and flavor.”
Australia produces more than 50,000 tons per annum, representing 30% of global production, of which at least 70% are exported globally. Australian-grown macadamia nuts are valued higher than those produced in other parts of the world because of the ideal soil and climate conditions in its native Queensland.
“Orchard maintenance is paramount for disease control and maximizing yield potential,” continues Dan. “We spray regularly for pest control between the trees, and use a high-end mower to cut the grass between the rows which are 32 feet apart.”
Major Equipment are renowned for designing high-performance, low-maintenance agricultural machinery. The quality of manufacture and the global reputation for reliability and longevity of its products are reasons why Dan and Belinda Blanco own two MAJOR cutters to maintain orchard floor vegetation.
The grass valley between tree rows are cut once every two weeks during the off-season and weekly depending on the weather and when the trees are in blossom. The cutters need to get close to the ground to keep the floor clean, while ensuring the debris is shredded finely enough so it can return nutrients back to the soil.
“The increased working width from the six feet to 14 feet means we get the job done in half the time compared to the old system and with just one man instead of three,” adds Dan. “It’s so easy to maintain, too – It’s been a big cost saver.”
Upfront savings here means the family can focus on planning for the future. “Both Belinda and I are expanding our macadamia orchard acreage and we will definitely be purchasing another MAJOR cutter,” continues Dan. “The durability, performance and reliability means we are getting excellent value – these machines will be with us for many years to come. It pays to invest in the best, to get the best return.”