WINNERS AND GRINNERS: Paul and Deanne Ryan claimed two prizes at this year's Australian Macadamia Society Awards.
WINNERS AND GRINNERS: Paul and Deanne Ryan claimed two prizes at this year's Australian Macadamia Society Awards. Contributed

Disasters can't keep Gympie farm from award-winning success

FOR many farmers or business people, winning two awards in one year would be cause enough for celebration.

But for Green's Creek macadamaia farmers Paul and Deanne Ryan, the prize is extra nice, coming in the midst of a three-year stretch in which their Green Acres crop was twice rocked by severe hailstorms.

The Ryans claimed Best Quality and Best Productivity in the Gympie region small farm category at this year's Australian Macadamia Society Awards of Excellence.

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Mr Ryan said the two gongs were "unexpected".

"I knew we had a good year," he said.

It was, in fact, a "record year" which yielded about about seven tonnes a hectare.

 

Good nut set on a macadamia tree opened up to natural light.

Photo Jamie Brown / The Northern Star
A macadamia tree. Jamie Brown

 

"A normal year would be about 3.5-4tonnes a hectare," he said.

The crop itself was bookended by two severe hailstorms - one in December 2016 which wiped out about 80 per cent of his crop, and last year's "Hailnado".

The damage from that is not yet fully known, but Mr Ryan said it looked like about half of the crop.

This year's awards are also the Ryans' first time claiming two in the same year at the farm, which they moved to after a stint growing cotton and grain at Chinchilla.

 

GROWER MEETING: The production room at Pacific Gold Macadamia.
Photo: Max Fleet / NewsMail
A macadamia production room. Max Fleet BUN160715MAC9

Mr Ryan said the move east was driven by his health.

"My asthma got the better of me with the grain dust," he said.

On a trip to visit relatives in Tin Can Bay they became interested in the farm, and bought it over six years ago.

It was a move which brought with it a whole new set of challenges.

"It's a totally different ball game," Mr Ryan said.

"You've got to think 12 months ahead with the trees."

Tim Salmon (best productivity - large farms) and Ian and Candy Johnson (best quality - large farms) were other winners from the Gympie Region at the awards.