Geoff Chivers is one of Bundaberg’s macadamia pioneers, having planted his first trees in 1990!
The fifth-generation farmer and his family (wife Narelle and sons Luke and Ryan) run a 43ha orchard with about 14,500 trees. It’s one of the region’s oldest orchards and also one of its highest producing, a testament to Geoff’s attention to detail and commitment to best practice farming methods. He’s passionate about recycling (the nut husks and branches are mulched and used as fertilizer for the macadamia trees) and his orchard is home to 150 native bee hives (native bees are used as a natural pollinator for macadamias).
After growing stone fruit, pear and apple crops for five generations in Victoria, Geoff moved to Bundaberg in 1985 to grow low chilled variety stone fruits. He diversified into macadamias after doing extensive research.
“While it seemed to be very capital intensive in the early years, we believed that, once established, labour costs would be significantly less than any other tree or vegetable crop, which has proven to be correct.” Now the Chivers’ clan are working hard to set up their second macadamia orchard in North Bundaberg. The new 40ha property was formerly a sugar cane farm and most recently a golf course!
Geoff has loved macadamias ever since being introduced to the delicious native nut in the 1970s. “Friends of ours had a macadamia tree in Alstonville and would send a sugar bag of macadamias to our family each year. “I would sit on the back step, cracking the nuts with a hammer. I think I ate 75% of the macadamias, sharing the remaining 25%.”