Tree change for a diverse future in Fraser Coast
BY DIVERSIFYING his crop, third-generation cane farmer Darryl Doyle is also investing in seasonal workers.
Two years ago the cane farmer, who has land in both Nikenbah and Walkers Point, planted macadamia trees.
It was an investment in the future as the tree crops take about five years to mature.
"I employ about 14 (workers) for the cane season and hopefully when we are harvesting the macadamias we can keep some on year- round," Mr Doyle said.
"It's definitely a long term investment."
Mr Doyle is one of the Maryborough district growers who has begun planting the colloquially-known 'Bauple nuts' as investors show interest in the region's farmland.
PRDnationwide Maryborough's Tony Nioa said business interest wasn't just limited to Maryborough.
"Fraser Coast Free Range Eggs in Hervey Bay sold recently for tree crop which includes macadamias," he said.
"We are talking about multiple investors looking at tree crop opportunities and they range from $2 million to in excess of $10 million."
Mr Nioa added he would like to see tree plantations gain momentum to entice backpackers to perform regional seasonal work in Maryborough as macadamia pickers.
Maryborough and District Canegrowers chair Jeff Atkinson said he knew of two Bidwell farms who had sold up to make way for macadamia trees.
"I know about four guys in the district who are planting them themselves," he said.
"It's good to diversify but we need to retain enough cane growers to keep the mill viable."