MacMan - stage 3 (MC03022)
This is a final research report from Hort Innovation’s historical archives. Please note that as these reports may date back as far as the 1990s, the content and recommendations within them may be superseded by more recent research.
What was it all about?
The MacMan project provided growers, processors and industry consultants with tools and services to more effectively manage macadamia production and to improve orchard productivity and efficiency. These tools and services were also designed to satisfy the food safety and quality management requirements of customers in the demand chain by providing product traceability from the processor back to the paddock.
The project’s primary product, the MacMan software, was developed and delivered to industry during the first term of the project (1997-2000). A second project phase (2001-2003) was initiated to further the development and adoption of the MacMan software as well as establishing a network of industry best practice groups. Software updates were released during this phase to ensure that it continued to meet the changing needs of the Australian macadamia industry and users were fully supported with technical assistance and training.
A network of seven best practice groups was also established throughout Queensland and New South Wales during the second phase of the project. Meetings for each of these groups were facilitated either annually or bi-annually to suit the needs of members. Results were regularly summarised and reported to both best practice group participants and the wider industry.
The objectives of this third phase of the project (2004-2009) included expansion of the best practice group network and associated activities as well as on-going support of the MacMan farm recording system.
The best practice group network was expanded to 10 best practice groups and 209 participants, covering all major macadamia production regions. In addition to regular scheduled best practice group activities, additional events and networking opportunities were provided, including regional tours, combined best practice workshops and specialised field days and farm walks.
Formal evaluation found that best practice groups were the most common source of useful information nominated by participants. Participants also made substantial changes to their farm practices compared to other growers, particularly in areas such as harvest management which had been a major topic of comparison and analysis.
The MacMan client base of over 350 users had been well supported during the latest project stage. Many software updates have been released, incorporating features requested by users as well as ensuring ongoing compatibility with new technologies and operating systems. Technical support and training had been provided as required to ensure uptake and effective on-going usage.
The Mac-Net e-mail discussion group continued to be actively used, with 246 subscribers by the end of the project. The discussion group was used to discuss a wide range of industry related topics over the previous ten years.
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This project was funded by Hort Innovation (then Horticulture Australia Limited) with the voluntary financial support of the macadamia industry.
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