Queensland HMAA get-together and information session.

Queensland members gathered in the seminar room of the Grange Library in Brisbane recently for a friendly get together and information session. The event also provided the perfect opportunity to welcome new member Emma Swan.

Lionel Sach (Nutrien Ag Solutions) spoke on the challenges and opportunities facing commercial and production horticulture. Lionel gave examples of how weather, labour shortages and increasing input costs have promoted rapid change. The use of drone technology, robotic harvesting and packing has been fast-tracked across a number of industries. The cost and shortage of imported fertilizers has increased the use of bulk compost, resulting in increased yields, less disease and higher profit margins for ginger and strawberry growers. Producers prepared to diversify are finding niche markets may be more profitable than traditional crop lines. And while consumers may be paying higher prices at the supermarket, growers continue to be squeezed.

Renowned Queensland fruit tree expert, Peter Young, shared his incredible grafting knowledge. A basic introduction on the what, why and how of grafting was a great refresher for those who have not grafted in any meaningful way for a number of years. What followed was a glimpse into the incredibly detailed knowledge Peter has gained over many decades of involvement in the production of trees for the commercial fruit tree industry as well as through international consultancy in New Zealand and Asia. Peter concluded his presentation with a ‘show and tell’ of his well-loved grafting tools and a practical demonstration of different grafting methods including the ‘fail safe’ terminal side graft.

Shared responsibility is key to successful local events. More than half of the members attending were directly involved in hands-on activities including room bookings; promotion; organizing refreshments and flowers; setting up AV; undertaking presentations and introducing and thanking speakers.

Annette McFarlane

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