NUTS ABOUT PECANS: Boyne River Pecans' Boyd Paton, Michelle Chicken, Lindsay Chicken, and Drew and Caitlin Paton.
NUTS ABOUT PECANS: Boyne River Pecans' Boyd Paton, Michelle Chicken, Lindsay Chicken, and Drew and Caitlin Paton. Contributed

I can, you can, pecan

WHEN Michelle Chicken bought Boyne River Pecans, there were 5000 trees.

Now there are 10,000.

And if she has her way, in the next few years there will be 15,000 pecan trees.

And, rather than jealously guard her turf, she wants other new or prospective pecan farmers to set up shop in the region.

"The Mundubbera climate is perfect (for growing pecans),” she said.

"There is a huge demand, both domestically and internationally, which is growing annually.”

On Friday, March 21, Boyne River Pecans, in conjunction with the Australian Pecan Association, will host a free, fully catered pecan farming information day for the Burnett region at their Mundubbera farm.

Mrs Chicken said there were not many growers in the area.

"You grow what you know,” she said.

"Traditionally pecans are from the United States.”

She said Boyne River Pecans had an interest in seeing the pecan industry in the Burnett flourish.

"It gives us more market leverage from an export point of view and allows us to compete with the United States' and South African industries,” Mrs Chicken said.

The association's president Scott Clark said he wanted to see the pecan industry open up in Australia.

The association has recently adopted a new strategic plan, dropping the word "growers” from their name and focussing on an industry-wide approach.

"As part of the plan, we want to let more people know that growing in Australia is a really viable alternative to current land uses,” Mr Clark said.

"Pecan trees are really adaptable to their environment and they're very hardy.”

Mr Clark, who has 5000 trees in Lismore, said he had gone through one of his "driest summers”, hand-watering at one point, but didn't lose a tree.

He is back mowing after some recent rain and is "amazed at how they handled the dry”.

Conversely, the trees can be submerged under flood waters for up to 30 days and not lose their nuts.

Mr Clark said pecans had a comparable price to macadamia nuts and you could expect three to five tonnes of nuts in their shell per hectare.


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