Business

Nut farmers insist on quality

GETTING RESULTS: Mathew and Nicola Fea, macadamia farmers at Mothar Mountain.
GETTING RESULTS: Mathew and Nicola Fea, macadamia farmers at Mothar Mountain. Renee Pilcher

FOR Mothar Mountain farmers Mathew and Nicole Fea, their farming practice is all about quality not quantity.

Initially sheep and wheat farmers near Goondiwindi, the couple made the move to the Gympie region eight years ago with their children.

They have spent the past seven years establishing their macadamia orchard, with almost 3000 trees.

"The theory was to go somewhere where it rained and to plant a crop that you only planted once," Ms Fea said.

They grow three varieties of the nuts, and they take a more holistic approach to the care and maintenance of their orchard.

The couple primarily focus on soil health - no herbicides have been used in the established orchard.

They use compost, lime and manure rather than urea to strengthen nutrients and soil tests are conducted every two years.

Leaf testing is also undertaken three to four times a year. Through the testing, Mr Fea - also an agronomist - knows what nutrients are missing and makes adjustments accordingly.

"Everything is to do with soil, every time I use a fertiliser I think about damages, benefit or how soil health is affected," Mr Fea said.

And while in many macadamia orchards grass and weeds are removed to leave bare dirt, the Fea's have left the ground cover.

Mr Fea said this was one of the biggest differences in their farming method.

He said by doing so, soil erosion and root exposure are reduced, therefore sustaining nutrients, especially within the top soil.

The couple have just completed their second harvest, which was not as successful as they would have liked, but things are looking up for next year.

It is a case of trial, error and, of course, the weather.

"Looking at all the flowers out there, we hope the next harvest is four-times bigger," Mr Fea said.

"We would like to get over five tonne to the hectare, but that is five to 10 years away."

Gympie Times

Topics:  farming, gympie, produce




Stay Connected

Update your news preferences and get the latest news delivered to your inbox.

'My husband lasted 6 weeks as a stay at home dad'

APN Hey Mummy Feature for online - stock images. Katie Dykes being interviewed for the webisodes. Photo Marc Stapelberg / The Northern Star

FROM the outside, being a stay at home mum looks like a breeze.

THE EXPERT: Stop judging working mothers

SUPER MUMS: Being a working mums comes down to perfecting time management.

"WORKING for money is all right; so is working because you want to.”

OPINION: How to prepare your child for day care

Your kids will love childcare, but it may take some adjusting.

GETTING your child ready for day care is vital.

Health and nutrition with kids - how do you balance it?

HOW important is health and nutrition in your household?

Smack or no smack - where do you stand?

THE debate is reignited - is smacking acceptable?

Technology and kids: Do you ever cut their wi-fi?

Check out our new video series featuring mums having a chat

Holidays off to a good start at Cooloola Cove

FOR YOUTH: Youngsters enjoying the first day of free holiday activities at Cooloola Cove.

School Holiday Activity Program off to a fun filled start

St Patrick’s 2016 presentees have a ball

NIGHT OF NIGHTS: Presentees at Friday night's St Patrick's Ball with chaperones Terry and Jan Nolan and Fr Pat Cassidy (centre front).

Moonlight Serenade theme for St Patrick's ball

WATCH: Learner hits wrong pedal, careens into Gympie house

A car crashed into a Gympie home this afternoon.

Fire fighters winch car stuck in front wall of Gympie home

Latest deals and offers

Three bedroom, 1100sqm block: Is this Qld's cheapest home?

BARGAIN BUY: Is this North Bundaberg property the cheapest home in Queensland?

Becoming a real estate mogul is all about risk and reward

PROPERTY BOOM: Coast prices set to skyrocket

Like other areas in south-east Queensland, the Sunshine Coast is at the start of the upturn on the property clock.

Values predicted to rise 25-33%