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Grower profile: Michael Russo

The Russo family has a long growing history in the larger Bundaberg and Childers region. Michael Russo is a fourth-generation farmer and along with his 3 brothers operate Farnsfield Macadamias in Queensland.

They grew broadacre crops including sugar cane, peanuts, barley, sorghum and corn, and have now diversified into macadamias. 

Micheal was determined to cultivate long-term success when he established ‘Hetheringtons’ in Farnsfield, near Childers in Queensland, in 2015.

He relied on his farming experience to begin restoring the poor soils (typical of an ex-cane farm) on the 47 hectare parcel of land and set about studying and restoring the soil, as well as understanding the flow of water across it.

Before a single tree was planted, Michael planted cover crops to fix the nitrogen levels, ploughing them in to incorporate organic matter into the soil. He applied lime to correct the pH balance and ripped the soil to improve its structure.

While this may have taken longer for him to establish the orchard, Michael knew it was essential to get the best results from the poor soils for years to come. 

From choosing the right cultivars to incorporating the best and latest technology, Michael’s approach at ‘Hetheringtons’ serves a long term goal, not necessarily short term gains, aiming to support a lifetime of sustainable productivity.

He is also an advocate for the long-term sustainability of the industry, including opening up pathways for young people and passionately advocating for growers on the Australian Macadamia Society’s board.

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