Bundaberg-based macadamia growers Daryl and Nicole Wake are known throughout the macadamia industry for their generosity and commitment.
They bought the family farm from Daryl’s parents, who were second generation dairy farmers, and converted it to a 26,000-tree macadamia enterprise.
Daryl and Nicole recently won a prestigious macadamia industry award for their collaboration and commitment to conserving wild macadamias. Macadamias originally grew wild in the rainforests of eastern Australia but wild varieties are now under threat due to the loss of habitat. Over the last decade, Daryl and Nicole have been instrumental in ensuring the high-performing MCT1 cultivar, donated to help fund the Macadamia Conservation Trust by Ian and Jan McConachie, is widely available within the industry.
After observing the desirable characteristics of this cultivar in their own orchard, the couple proposed a joint venture with the Macadamia Conservation Trust to supply wood for grafting this variety to nurseries. As well as conducting genetic tests to ensure the genetic purity of the scions (grafting wood), Daryl and Nicole employed extra staff to assist with cincturing, stripping, sizing and packaging orders. In the past 14 months, more than 260,000 scions from DNA-tested wood have been delivered to nurseries from those trees, ensuring growers have access to this promising new cultivar.
Australia is the only country in the world where they naturally grow in the wild. Whilst over 80% of wild macadamia trees have been lost since European settlement, a lot is now being done to secure their future.
Motivated by a desire to give back to the industry which had given them so much, Daryl and Nicole have borne the cost of the project as well as foregoing the early potential income from the MCT1 trees they planted. “It’s exciting for us to be a part of a young, growing, and ‘like-a-family’ macadamia industry. We feel privileged to support our fellow growers to build a stronger industry while also assisting the Macadamia Conservation Trust as they strive to ensure the conservation of wild macadamias into the future,” they say.