- Av. temp 17.7o
- Population 414
- Farms 15
How did you come to be a grower?
This is a strong family business that has been passed down through four generations, making me the 5th now. My grandfathers and father have been heavily involved with the industry for 99 years and counting, so I guess you can say it was always in my blood.
What makes you proud/Passionate to be an Australian grower?
Being a fifth generation farmer in the Leeton area, suppling fruit equal to or better than the citrus industry benchmark makes me proud to be an Australian grower. Knowing the end result of all our hard work ends up apart of another Australian’s dietary requirement is quite meaningful. Ultimately it’s more a passion than it is a job, the sense of satisfaction you get from juicing crops year after year – it’s just something you can see a future for.
Do you work the growing business on your own, or do you work with the family? What role do they play?
It’s a family business through and through. When you’ve been a part of it for 99 years and going, it’s always going to be part of your life. The involvement can range from Irrigation scheduling and maintenance, mechanical duties, Fertigation programming and batching, supervision and planning of weekly/monthly cultural works program and nursery duties. Basically everything you can think of really. My son Jack, he’s 2 years old and you can already see he’s going to be a farm boy – he loves being out in the orchards!
People often think all fruits are created the same, but in reality, quality is hard to produce, can you tell us the hard work that goes behind the cultivation?
It can be quite technical, such as,
- Budline selection
- Nursery production- seed in beds for a year until a healthy rootstock size, plant out rootstock for 6 months to thicken taper and trunk, bud in variety and stake and trellis for a year, dig out of nursery and plant in farm rows and then 3 years later pick first small crop, and a further 4 years from that the tree is in mature production.
- Fertiliser and irrigation programming at different phenological stages of fruit development
Above all it’s resilience. The climate and water security can often throw us curve balls, but during those times, you just have to adapt and move forward.
We have a young growers’ program – what advice would you give the next generation of growers?
You need to work together, not against each other. Develop a vision for the industry that is sustainable for the next. Put our area on the map for quality produce.