By Ian Atkinson – CEO, Nursery & Garden Industry Queensland
Queensland had very much above average rainfall for most of the north and east in July and cooler than average daytime temperatures for most of the state. With widespread cooler than average days for most of the month, many sites reported their lowest July temperature on record, or the lowest for at least 20 years. So, growth in the nursery has been a bit slower than in recent years, but as the market also seems to have cooled, the overall effect has been negligible.
It may well mean we will have a significant bounce in sales this spring, and the enthusiasm shown by buyers at our recent Green Expo lends support to the idea. Growers reported lots of interest and more than one mentioned meeting new independent retailers they had never seen before. Mostly from the SE corner of Queensland, these new retailers seem to be a by-product of the COVID-related boom in gardening and it was heartening to see them at Green Expo.
Meantime, our lobbying efforts with government on behalf of industry continues to deliver (well mostly). I have previously mentioned the joint federal and state government-funded drought resilience program and last month brought another great announcement. The provision of 50% funding from the government for netting (or shade cloth) to protect existing outdoor production areas, has seen dozens of members frantically seeking quotes to upgrade their production nurseries. On the not-so-successful side, we continue to struggle with the National RIFA (Red Imported Fire Ant) eradication program, with the small exception being some acknowledgement that retail nurseries represent a risk not worth their attention.
All the best for Spring.