Birdwood Nursery, Woombye, Queensland was shortlisted as a finalist for the inaugural 2010 Australian Biosecurity Farmer of the Year Award as part of the broader Australian Farmer of the Year Awards. ABC Rural and Kondinin Group coordinated the event and the award was sponsored by Plant Health Australia.
Peter and Sandra Young have owned and operated Birdwood Nursery for some 30 years specializing in fruit trees with annual production in excess of 200,000 fruit trees.
Historically, the nursery was purpose built to produce avocado trees as part of the Avocado Nursery Voluntary Accreditation Scheme (ANVAS), in which they were founding members. In 1993, Birdwood also joined the Nursery Industry Accreditation Scheme, Australia (NIASA) and more recently gained EcoHort Certification.
The nursery has implemented a sound integrated pest management (IPM) system and plan to replace chemical insecticide with bio-control agents in their greenhouses to dramatically reduce their environmental footprint.
Peter Young says, “weekly releases of beneficial insects are having profound effects, reducing chemical and labour costs, drastically improving the working environment, staff efficiencies and attitudes.”
Peter and Sandra are also working towards being certified under the nursery industry BioSecure HACCP program ensuring rigorous biosecurity practices are followed on their production nursery at all times.
Dr Anthony Kachenko, NGIA Environmental and Technical Policy Manager, says’ “this level of engagement with on-farm biosecurity measures will contribute to the long term productivity and sustainability of Birdwood Nursery as well as the wider Australian nursery and garden industry”
Two other finalists were also announced: Angus Woods of Woods Pastoral, Goondiwindi, QLD and Lachlan Dobson of Kimberly Produce, Kununurra, WA.
Dr Sharyn Taylor, Plant Health Australia Program Manager of Biosecurity Planning and Implementation says, “collectively, the finalists operate diverse enterprises and have used a range of approaches, however each views biosecurity as a priority.”
Kununurra fruit grower Lachlan Dobson was announced the winner at Farmer of the Year Awards Night held at the Westin Hotel, Sydney on 21 September 2010. The award night was jointly supported by ABC Rural and the Kondinin Group.
For more information on the awards please visit http://www2.kondinin.com.au/awards/