23.7 C
Byron Shire
February 27, 2021

Native wasps may reduce macca farmers’ dependence on chemicals

Latest News

Tweed Council rejects Casuarina disability viewing platform

Issues of queue jumping, the allocation of Tweed Shire Council’s resources in both time and money, and responding to...

Other News

CWA getting their facts right on the Far North Coast

Members of the Far North Coast Group of the Country Women’s Association of New South Wales (CWA) gathered in Lismore on Saturday for their Group Facts Day.

Call to protect oceans from plastic and pollution

A new sign has been installed at Main Beach, Byron Bay, calling for increased awareness and collective action on the issue of marine debris and pollution. 

Saltwater mob style

Story & photo Melissa Butters If you’ve ever tasted the wild fish rillettes from The Bay SmokeHouse you know what’s...

A safe space for sexual assault survivors

In a perfect world, the trauma Margot and Joana experienced would not have happened, and there would be no need for the very important support group they have created.

Bringing down the heat in our ‘hood

How well we survive the future depends on our vision for our towns and suburbs – and on how we bring that vision about.

Police confirm Main Arm drug operation

NSW Police have finally confirmed what pretty much every one in Main Arm already knows – they are conducting drug operations in the north of the Shire.

Gerard Harris

 

The macadamia industry is being challenged by local chemical-free farmer David Forrest to go organic, following his success in an industry where less than three per cent of macadamias are farmed organically.

The Australian macadamia industry, worth over $100 million annually, is the world’s largest provider and exporter of macadamia nuts.

Growers in the northern New South Wales region are behind almost 65 per cent of these exports, injecting up to $70 million into the local economy each year, according to the NSW department of primary industries.

This makes it one of the regions’ largest economies.

The Australian Nut Industry also says that northern NSW takes the lion’s share of the nationwide output, with 2011 figures saying it is worth $105 million per year.

But despite the size of this market, only 2.5 per cent of the Australian macadamia nut industry has made the move to become organic, according to the Macadamia Society’s own figures.

Mr Forrest is an exception to this rule, describing himself as ‘one of the early pioneers of the organic macadamia nut industry’.

Forrest, owner of Organic Forrest, a family company located in Lismore, has been in the organic farming business for the past 30 years.

Reducing reliance on chemicals

He has made a name for himself as a quality supplier in the region, through his championing of sustainable methods of production, with his farm currently involved in a series of scientific trials of native wasps aimed at reducing reliance on chemicals and pesticides.

Macadamia crops, notorious for producing significantly lower yields than other nuts, are plagued by bugs such as the nutborer moth.

‘Organic farming provides a more environmentally friendly and sustainable approach to deterring such pests,’ Mr Forrest told Echonetdaily.

‘The important thing is to not risk the health of my family, friends and buyers.’

Mr Forrest is currently trialling three species of native wasps including the Trichogramma and Anastatus wasps, influenced by the success of trials conducted by the NSW Department of Primary Industries in Alstonville.

The project is funded partially by the Australian Macadamia Society (AMS) through the federal government’s Research and Development Levy.

All macadamia growers are subject to this levy, collected on behalf of the Levies Revenue Service (LRS).

The levy then goes to the National Residue Survey (NRS) for residue testing and to Horticulture Australia Ltd (HAL), who in turn administer the levy on behalf of the federal government according to their industry strategic plan and the Industry Advisory Council’s (IAC) recommendations.

Funds collected from this levy are then channelled into marketing and promotion, and research and development (which is matched dollar for dollar by the federal government).

This process is currently under review.

AMS announced in 2010 that they would release nearly $1 million dollars towards research and management of major diseases in the Australian macadamia industry over a five-year period.

This was, as they suggested, ensuring the continued success of the Australian macadamia industry, with the macadamia being Australia’s only native product to be developed and exported commercially as a food crop.

The follows predictions from the CSIRO that the Australian tree-nut industry will double in size over the next eight years, becoming Australia’s largest horticulture exporter.

Hawaii is Australia’s next biggest competitor in terms of exports of macadamia nuts.

 

Gerard Harris is studying journalism at the University of Queensland.

 


Support The Echo

Keeping the community together and the community voice loud and clear is what The Echo is about. More than ever we need your help to keep this voice alive and thriving in the community.

Like all businesses we are struggling to keep food on the table of all our local and hard working journalists, artists, sales, delivery and drudges who keep the news coming out to you both in the newspaper and online. If you can spare a few dollars a week – or maybe more – we would appreciate all the support you are able to give to keep the voice of independent, local journalism alive.

LEAVE A REPLY

Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here

Bringing down the heat in our ‘hood

How well we survive the future depends on our vision for our towns and suburbs – and on how we bring that vision about.

Resilience through biodiversity and awareness

The Byron Shire Resilience and Regeneration Roadshow will be in Brunswick Heads this Saturday, as part of a series of events across the region tackling the question: ‘How do we create more resilient communities in 2021?’

Housing affordability on agenda at Ballina

With the housing crisis worsening in Ballina and across the Northern Rivers, councillors agreed that something had to be done about the problem at their meeting yesterday.

Final stage of Lismore Base Hospital gets underway

The redevelopment works commenced in late 2016 and the final stage is now getting underway to complete the Lismore Base Hospital refurbishment.