Macadamia high health nursery stock certification

The background to the project is currently there are no certified high health nursery stock standards for macadamia trees grown in Australian production nurseries. The issue with this is that it limits the ability of growers to identify between good and bad (or healthy and poor) supplies of macadamia nursery stock.

One of the reasons for Hort Innovation choosing the NGIA to manage the project is that the Australian nursery industry has a well-established best management practice (BMP) program (NIASA Accreditation) operating across all supply chains. With this successful background, NGIA has the experience to develop a macadamia nursery stock standard as an appendix to the BMP.

Project objective
The overall objective of the project is to develop a nursery stock tree standard to improve macadamia orchard productivity through improvements in nursery stock physiology, hygiene, crop and pest management.

The aim is to position the Australian macadamia industry as a leader in tree stock certification that minimises losses in accredited production nurseries through disease avoidance, high health and crop management. The standard will give the industry a clear guide when making decisions around sourcing planting stock with the highest potential to perform.

Planting stock is sourced from production nurseries located mainly in Queensland and New South Wales, which operate with varying degrees of professionalism, skills, knowledge and product quality. Poor production of nursery stock can have significant productivity issues that only materialise later in tree life, for example resulting in reduced production and tree longevity; conversely, high quality well-developed nursery stock offers the greatest opportunity for meeting or exceeding accepted productivity volumes and tree health.

What the project will do
This project will take the existing NIASA BMP guidelines and add to them through a dedicated Macadamia Nursery Stock Standard Appendix. This will define the specific criteria required for growing a macadamia tree (nursery stock) to a standard that meets industry expectations, including tree form, graft, roots and trueness to type.

The criteria developed will be measurable and assessable allowing independent auditors to confirm compliance to the macadamia tree (nursery stock) standard and certify production nurseries accordingly. High health will be met through the existing NIASA BMP requirements that address critical crop management criteria, including growing media, irrigation water and production surfaces.

John McDonald, National Biosecurity Manager, NGIA