Contemplating the events of the past twelve months is a bitter sweet experience for fifth generation farmer Jason Klotz of Red Rock Macadamia’s. On reflection Jason’s voice was tinged with sadness as he lost his right hand man in 2013. His father John!
Ten years ago Jason along with his wife Fiona and his parents John and Beth decided growing sugar cane was not a viable crop for them anymore. Together they came up with the idea of a macadamia plantation. Due to the length of time the trees take to mature they grew watermelons as an interim measure.
Found directly 8 kms east of Bundaberg, Red Rock Macadamia’s grow five different varieties of Macadamia’s, each with varying characteristics. From planting they take five to seven years to mature and the trees are planted by hand but harvested mechanically using a Pinwheel Harvester after the nuts fall naturally from the trees. Interestingly the rows were formed using John Deere Greenstar. One of the first seen in the district at that time!
Exacting growing conditions are needed for the trees to perform. A comprehensive irrigation system keeps the trees fed nutritionally, watered and in top shape. As the higher the quality the greater the return!
Macadamias are sometimes referred to as the Queensland or Bauple nut, where they were first found. They are a highly nutritious and popular nut amongst consumers. Flowering once a year they yield one crop per tree but the harvest is spread over the months of March through to August. While the last 2-3 years have been reasonable, this year has resulted in a good crop. But this adds somewhat to Jason’s regret. That his father didn’t get to see their combined hard work and efforts pay off!
“Reliability at the end of the day is what I look for in a John Deere and from Vanderfield. A new John Deer 6125R tractor, a 6430 and a 5425 with a front end loader and fork lift as well as diesel Gator provides me with one of everything I need. And I find the after sales service at Vanderfield in Bundaberg offer is second to none”!
Standing proud and strong is 25,000 macadamia nut trees as a living legacy to John’s life. And Jason now stands proud and strong knowing his father John was the best right hand man he could have ever wished for and his best mate in life.
Mindful of having a wonderful role model, Jason is now endeavouring to emulate his fathers’ example as he mentors his own nine year old son, Samuel.