FAMILY FARM: Fourth generation farmer Mark Dorey with uncles Ron, Ken, Spencer and Colin Dorey during macadamia harvest at their Knockrow plantation.
FAMILY FARM: Fourth generation farmer Mark Dorey with uncles Ron, Ken, Spencer and Colin Dorey during macadamia harvest at their Knockrow plantation. Patrick Gorbunovs

National-award-winning Doreys go nuts for macadamia harvest

A THUD on the shade-covered ground underneath a row of macadamia trees is Colin Dorey's proof the harvest is in full swing.

"Since we had that five or six inches of rain start about a week ago, you can just stand under the tree at the moment and it's like rain," he said.

Colin Dorey is just one of the six Dorey brothers - Ray, Ron, Colin, Spencer, Ken and Geoff - who currently runs the 70,000 tree plantation at Knockrow.

The soil they plough, plant and harvest has been in the Dorey family for over three generations.

Colin Dorey said each brother brings a different area of expertise.

"It allowed us to sort of work like a co-operative," he said.

"Even though we all talk at once we end up coming to probably the best solution at the end of the discussion."

Farmer, Colin Dorey of Knockrow. Gearing up for the Macadamia harvest. Photo Patrick Gorbunovs / The Northern Star
Farmer, Colin Dorey of Knockrow. Gearing up for the Macadamia harvest. Photo Patrick Gorbunovs / The Northern Star Patrick Gorbunovs

Despite having won the Australian Macadamia Society's state of origin Large Producer of the Year award three years in a row, the Dorey's macadamia farm is still relatively young.

For 30 years the family was the biggest sugar cane growers in New South Wales.

But a trial of macadamia plants in 1998 yielded impressive results.

"We had a choice where we could plan for the future and say how can we plan for retirement and still have land that the next generation can farm," Mr Dorey said.

"By going to macadamias it increased our agricultural intensity eight to ten fold."

Plantation Lorna, named after Colin Dorey's mother Lorna Dorey, is now in its 16th year of macadamia production.

The majority of the 283ha orchard is planted on the alluvial soils of the coastal floodplains.It's currently producing 400 tonne of nut in shell, an average of two tonne of kernel per hectare.


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