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National tree crop intensification program (AS18000) – Macadamia

Key research provider: Queensland Department of Agriculture and Fisheries
Publication date: Monday, May 3, 2021

What's it all about?

This investment is part of a collaborative R&D program of tree crop-specific projects established to deliver step-change orchard system intensification knowledge, understanding and technical advancements to the macadamia industry.

The project is delivering new knowledge for macadamia growers that supports the need to change traditional growing systems to increase yields and orchard profits. The project will deliver:

  • Improved understanding of factors underlying productivity
  • Industry awareness of fundamental relationships between key orchard components and their effect on productivity over the life of the orchard
  • Industry awareness of management systems, scion and rootstock selections and their suitability for intensive orchard systems
  • Understanding of canopy management and light relations which may be applicable in conventional orchards.
  • Understanding of establishment costs and relative economic performance of intensive production systems.

The research involves:

  • Continuation of macadamia planting trials to assess canopy and trunk dimension, total light interception and light distribution, yield and fruit quality in seven-to-10-year mature trees.
  • Trial and demonstration of new planting trials building upon previous research: Scion variety (high precocity and/or small tree size), tree structures (complex and efficient canopies) and vigour management (PGR treatment and site selection).
  • Demonstration trials for scion varieties and conventional tree training strategies generating economic and production data.
  • Identification of optimum light characteristics, orchard configurations and pruning techniques by better understanding orchard light and leaf area distribution through canopies (effects of tree density, pruning techniques, tree structure) and influence upon crop load development.
  • Increased understanding on the allocation and potential manipulation of resources.
  • Identification of superior rootstocks to understand rootstock effect on precocity, scion vigour and longer-term productivity.

By the conclusion of the project, the project team will be able to provide the macadamia industry with recommendations on:

  • Rootstock and scion options supporting intensification.
  • Early tree training and management to maximise early yields.
  • Long term rootstock effect on productivity and canopy growth comparisons.
  • Economic comparison of intensive and standard production systems.

Results will be disseminated at macadamia industry extension events (including field walks at intensive and netted orchards) and featured in industry publications such as the AMS Bulletin magazine and Macadamia E-news e-newsletter.