In 2006, Anthony Sinnott bought his macadamia orchard near Bundaberg, which had previously been an old sugar cane farm. The 16.6 ha orchard has 5,300 macadamia nut trees. “I only started full time on the farm around 6 years ago. Prior to that I was a supervisor in the mining industry.”
It seems farming full time is showing great results. In 2022, Anthony’s orchard won the annual award for both best quality and best productivity for Central Queensland in the small farms category.
“I love being my own boss, and working outdoors,” says Anthony. “I like the hands-on work in the shed and around the trees, and then in the heat of the day enjoying the A/C in the tractor”.
Anthony identified three key aspects of his farm management strategy that have contributed to his excellent results for yield and quality:
- his attention to nutrition
- his harvesting schedule and soil health
- and his irrigation system
“My agronomist arranges leaf and soil tests twice a year to ensure I’m putting on the correct nutrients,” Anthony said.
As part of his soil health program, compost is applied annually. He buys in the compost, which is recycled green waste that has been stored for 16 weeks to fully mature, and applies Metagen Digestor NP with it to improve soil health by creating a better environment for microbial life and the macadamias’ proteoid roots.
Anthony owns most of the machinery necessary to complete tasks in the orchard, including having a harvester that he shares with another grower. The harvester is a double-row pinwheel machine with a dehusker capacity. “I concentrate on completing harvesting rounds every 14 to 18 days to help with maximising quality,” he said.
“We also get in a tree shaker once a year, as early as possible after the nut season is finished, to clean up any nuts left in the trees,” he said.
The third aspect of his management regime is having access to irrigation water and automatically scheduling applications.
“My irrigation system allows me to monitor soil moisture with the use of moisture probes, and I have an irrigation schedule that starts and stops my pumps and changes valves between blocks,” he said.
Anthony also emphasises that it is important to source as much information from as many people with experience as possible.
Anthony also emphasises that it is important to source as much information from as many people with experience as possible. “I work closely with my processor and listen to advice from experienced consultants and other growers.
And the all important question, what is Anthony’s favourite way to enjoy macadamia nuts? “I love salted, chilli nuts and also the salted macadamia nuts with the key in the packet to crack the shell open”.