"It was an early start on Thursday 2nd of June as I made my way to meet Rob Horner from Yarra Timber Salvage in Lismore (VIC) just as the sun was peeking over the horizon.I was looking forward to spending some time with Rob.
We then drove out together to meet up with the rest of the party in Hamilton at Arborline Nursery. Here we were given a tour of the operations by managing director, Keith Cummings. Keith walked us around the nursery, taking us from the conveyor line where a number of staff are loosening the seedling Southern Blue Gum trees in their tubes for easy removal by those planting in the field. Then moving out into the yard and being overwhelmed with the sheer scale of the nursery. Currently growing in the area of 7 million trees.
After a few hours of walking amongst a sea of seedlings we got in our cars and headed off to Jigsaw Farms, 15 minutes north of Hamilton. Mark Wooten and Eve Kantor have 3500 hectares of farmland and plantations over 2 blocks. As of May 2022, 692 hectares of trees and shrubs have been planted on their land which has seen a number of fantastic results. These include the doubling of food and fibre produced per Ha, being carbon neutral, from 48 species of birds in 1996 to now having 172 species amongst many other benefits both financial and environmental. Arborline Nursery have been working with Jigsaw along the way to get to where they are now. The plantation timbers on Jigsaw farms are not quite ready for harvesting as sawlogs yet but we are very excited for this in the years to come.
Back to Hamilton for dinner and out with all of the touring party then off to bed.
Friday morning we were off again to Mimosa Farm Trees just over the border (SA), 20 minutes south of Mount Gambier. Peter Feast gave us a fantastic tour of his farm and nursery, showing all of the amazing work they have been doing there. Running sheep in and around the plantations of native regeneration and trees planted for their timber. Grabbed a few seedlings on the way out to plant at home on my tiny little plot. Similar to Jigsaw farms we are very excited for the trees being grown for their timber at Mimosa for future harvesting.
The trip helped me appreciate and get a better feel of what actually goes into growing trees through the whole process. From the seedling to getting them into the ground and nurturing them into a harvestable sawlog.
It was great to meet and see the passionate people growing these trees and that growing trees for them goes way beyond the bottom line. For them it is a pursuit of purpose that captures increasing biodiversity on the farm, improving the lives of their animals and aesthetically improving their farms too. It was great to see first hand how these farmers are stewarding their land. I really enjoyed learning about what else is involved in growing trees like waste and creating income streams from thinning to make it financially viable while waiting for the harvest-able logs, which can take years.
These people are really passionate about growing trees on their farm and are keenly invested in ensuring this timber goes on to be used to its highest standard
After visiting Mimosa we were off for a late lunch then a long drive back to Melbourne"