Australian macadamia industry celebrates its champions on National Agriculture Day

Embargoed 5am Thursday 21 November 2019

Australia’s best and most innovative macadamia growers and industry representatives have been honoured in the industry’s Awards of Excellence, announced the peak industry body, the Australian Macadamia Society (AMS) today.

Alan Coates from Ridgewood was awarded the prestigious Norman R. Greber Trophy for his outstanding contribution as an educator and consultant as well as a collaborator in research trials for the biocontrol of insect pests. Alan has been at the forefront of the industry’s education program over the last three decades, teaching growers to look after their soil and focus on achieving environmentally friendly sustainable outcomes. He has been passionate about driving the industry towards integrated pest & disease management. The award is named after the pioneer of the Australian macadamia industry, Norm Greber, who was the first person in Australia to successfully graft macadamias. The industry remains indebted to him for his early work in plant breeding. 

Experienced macadamia growers Julie and Gary Davis, who planted their orchard in Donnybrook 22 years ago, took out the Australian Macadamia Grower of the Year trophy for outstanding and consistent production and quality as well as contribution to the Australian macadamia industry. Their five-year average (2014-2018) was 1.65 tonnes of saleable kernel per hectare. 

Julie, Gary, their son Mitchell Davis (GJ&M Nuts) and Jim Phillips (JP Water) were the joint recipients of the Innovation Award for their micro-irrigation/fertigation system on their Canina orchard (near Gympie). Uniquely designed to be effective on steep/undulating slopes, sustainable and efficient, the system is the result of very close collaboration between grower and designer. It received the Excellence in Irrigation Planning & Analysis Honour Award from the American Society of Irrigation Consultants.

NSW Mid North Coast grower Chris Cook was crowned Young Achiever of the Year for his use of information, innovation, technology and collaboration to significantly improve orchard operations, efficiency, productivity and sustainability at the Dymocks farming operation. The 37-year-old has immersed himself in the industry since first entering in 2011. He regularly visits other producing regions to expand his knowledge and participates in the industry benchmarking program to gain a better understanding of the farms’ production.

AMS CEO Jolyon Burnett congratulated all Awards of Excellence recipients and paid tribute to the 800 Australian macadamia growers who have helped the industry achieve a huge amount in its relatively short 45-year history.

“We have risen to become global leaders in the production and marketing of macadamias and are regarded as pioneers in horticulture more broadly, thanks to the breakthroughs our industry has made in growing, post-harvest handling, technology, food safety and marketing.

“At the heart of this is a continued desire to find new ways to do things better. We are an industry powered by the collaboration and innovative thinking of our people. Our award winners are a great example of this and are helping to drive our industry’s success.”

Mr. Burnett said that advances made by the Australian macadamia industry over the last 5-7 years have been driven largely driven by long-term investment in productivity improvements. 

“Our annual $5million investment in R&D is now complemented by a surge in grower-led innovation, with many growers investing in their own trials and implementing innovative and sustainable new practices on farm. 

“Growers have adopted new industry-wide productivity initiatives which are delivering better soil and tree health and higher more consistent yields.

“Adoption of new technology, enviro-monitoring and more efficient, targeted and precise irrigation scheduling is paving the way for further growth to ensure our industry remains at the forefront of world production.”

Mr. Burnett said the Australian industry is also now collaborating with other macadamia producing countries on projects like water efficiency, high altitude production, macadamia health research, as well as the development of a global pest & disease app.

Images, from top left to bottom right: Norman R. Greber trophy winner Alan Coates; Jim Phillips (JP Water), Mitchell Davis, AMS Chair Richard Doggett with Gary and Julie Davis winners of the Innovation Award; Chris Cook, AMS Young Achiever of the Year.

2019 Australian Macadamia Society Awards of Excellence

  • Norman R. Greber Memorial Trophy – Alan Coates (Sunshine Coast)
  • Australian Macadamia Grower of the Year – Gary and Julie Davis (Moreton Bay Region)
  • AMS Young Achiever of the Year – Chris Cook (NSW Mid North Coast)
  • Innovation Award - Gary, Julie & Mitchell Davis from GJ&M Nuts and Jim Phillips from JP Water Designs

Australian macadamia industry fast facts

  • Macadamias are native to Australia
  • 800 Australian macadamia growers
  • 8.7 million macadamia trees on 28,000 hectares
  • Producing around 46,000T/year (forecast to be 70,000T by 2025)
  • Around 1/3 of macadamia trees currently under cultivation are yet to reach full production
  • $267M farm-gate value
  • $850M retail value
  • 70% of Australian production exported.


Photos of all award winners are available on request.

To arrange an interview please contact: 

Nyree Epplett – Communications Manager - Australian Macadamia Society

M: 0434 261 070 | T: 1800 262 426 (Aust) | +61 2 6622 4933

Our Partners

Partner Logos

Proudly Supported By

Supported by Hort Innovation and Macadamia Fund

This website has been partly funded by Hort Innovation, using the macadamia research and development levy and contributions from the Australian Government.