The Australian Macadamia Society has gathered together some resources to assist growers to make key decisions when it comes to harvest time. These include a new harvest strategy checklist fact sheet, a quick tips and grower experiences information sheet, a video summary of the December 2016 MacGroups (featuring harvest consultant Kerry Sparke), as well as various grower case studies (from macSmart and NSW DPI).
1. Macadamia Industry Fact Sheet: Harvest Strategy Checklist
Planning, preparation, maintenance, flexibility and a clear understanding of what growers want to achieve are crucial ingredients of a successful harvesting strategy. To assist growers navigate through the process of developing their own harvest strategy the AMS has, with extensive input from growers, processors and consultants, developed a range of base line self-assessment questions. Test how confident you are in your harvest strategy and if you can identify any areas for improvement.
2. Macadamia Industry Information Sheet: Harvest Quick Tips and Grower Experiences
Tips for different aspects of the harvest process including orchard, harvester, sweeper and dehusker set-up and maintenance. In addition, grower comments, ideas and experiences from the December 2016 MacGroups were captured and incorporated into this fact sheet.
3. MacGroup ‘Harvest’ presentations (Dec 2016)
MacGroup summary video with Kerry Sparke
Independent harvest consultant Kerry Sparke has over two decades of experience in macadamia harvesting and logistical management. At the MacGroups, Kerry outlined the key aspects of finger wheel harvesters, sweepers, blowers, dehuskers, on farm transport and off farm transport. He also identified minor modifications or changes that can greatly assist the efficiency of a harvester and harvesting system. Here’s a video summary of his talk.
Harvesting and economic losses (Robbie Commens, formerly Macadamia Industry Productivity Development Manager)
Recent research by the NSW DPI and AMS has uncovered concerning levels of losses comparing hand harvesting to mechanical harvesting. A wide range of orchards were involved in the trials with the variances including; full grass on the floor, a combination of mulch and grass, no exposed roots, substantial exposed roots, young trees and old mature trees. With data still being analysed we can modestly estimate the difference between hand harvesting and mechanical harvesting yields were approximately 10% representing a concerning level of loss – but also a substantial opportunity! What would an extra 10% of your crop represent? Working on the industry average of 3t NIS/ha and a conservative seasonal price of $5.00/kg it equates to over $1,500 per hectare!
OTHER VALUABLE RESOURCES: MACSMART AND NSW DPI VIDEO CASE STUDIES
These short videos show the modifications that growers have made to their harvesters and harvesting systems.
MacSmart harvest videos
Charles Burgess of McLeans Ridges in northern New South Wales discusses the modifications he has made to his harvester that allow him to dehusk nut while he is harvesting.
Bob Willemse of Alstonville in NSW discusses his innovative harvester modifications designed to improve efficiency.
Rick Paine and Bill Johnstone provide details about the harvesting and post-harvest handling practices they use that make the Merraldan farm successful.
Tim Salmon, Gympie
Scott Allcott, Macadamia Farm Management, Kona orchard, Bundaberg
NSW DPI video
In this video, soil scientist Justine Cox explains the amount and pattern of soil movement caused by sweepers and blowers during harvest. A macadamia grower also talks about how he has changed his orchard floor management and harvesting practice to minimise soil movement under his trees.
For more information on this topic, contact the Macadamia Industry Development Manager Leoni Kojetin (Tel: 02 6622 4933) and/or your harvest consultant.
This website has been partly funded by Hort Innovation, using the macadamia research and development levy and contributions from the Australian Government.