About an hour south of Mackay is Graham Matsen, a cane farmer situated at Koumala.
A few years ago Mr Matsen travelled to Lismore in New South Wales to speak with growers and processors, after which he converted of some of his cane land to a macadamia orchard in 2006.
He said his trees offered extra security for his farming enterprise when times were tough in the sugar industry.
“The security of the price is something we have been very lucky with. We have been lucky enough to see $5 a kilo,” he said.
“The stability of our market is a bit better, there a quite a few factories and all the factories approach you every year with their prices.
“It is really your decision then as to which factory [you choose], there is no pressure.”
He has since found the trees have adjusted well to the humid and sometimes cyclonic conditions of the north.
To try and combat storm damage, Mr Matsen tried to develop stronger, thicker trunks to cope with the increased risk of cyclones.
“We didn’t really let the trees get too high until the trunks were as thick as your wrists or better … to try and get the roots developed so they could handle a cyclone,” Mr Matsen said.
During Cyclone Debbie of March 2017, while he did lose some trees and nut, Mr Matsen said his orchard coped well overall and expects a bumper crop this year.
Exerpt from ABC story http://www.abc.net.au/news/rural/2018-01-16/macadamias-in-mackay-sugar-heartland/9310878