Tree and Shrub Growers Event at Mansfield’s Propagation Nursery
Our Tree and Shrub Growers braved the cold but managed to avoid the rain for an event that saw a record number of attendees on Tuesday 22 November. Over 140 Tree and Shrub Growers members headed out to Mansfield’s Propagation Nursery for a tour of the nursery and a chance to gather as an industry for the final time this spring.
The evening kicked off with the Annual General Meeting, during which outgoing Board Members were thanked and congratulated before the new Board was welcomed. As always, the AGM was an opportunity to celebrate NGIV’s successes throughout the year and look forward to the future and the many opportunities that lie ahead.
Following the AGM, attendees were divided into four groups for a tour of the nursery. Mansfield Propagation Nursery is run by a third-generation family of horticulturalists. In addition to being one of Australia’s largest young plant producers, they have one of Australia’s largest tissue culture labs, where they are exploring the hemp/cannabis and many other markets. They grow around 6 million plants annually, consisting of over 100 different varieties of native and exotic trees, shrubs, grasses, succulents, food crops and rootstocks.
Being divided meant that each group was given the opportunity to learn about this first-class nursery from a slightly different perspective; however, the focus of the tour, and indeed many of the discussions throughout the night, was on technology. Touring the nursery, the Mansfield’s Propagation Nursery staff demonstrated the many ways in which they are adopting new technologies to increase consistency among their product range and maximise efficiency, and while offering a glimpse of these cutting-edge approaches, Matt Mansfield commented on the importance of being flexible to not only adopt new approaches but also to adapt new technology for new purposes as it’s developed. Sometimes, he said, it’s about seeing what’s out there and finding an application for it. In this way, Matt and the Mansfield’s Propagation Nursery team are open-minded; they don’t simply react to present challenges, but rather they are always on the lookout for new and exciting ways to hone their production processes.
Unfortunately, high winds meant that the drone spraying demonstration that was scheduled to go ahead could not; however, XAG were more than happy to show their drones and talk through their applications on the final stop of the tour.
After the tour groups all returned, it was time to welcome the first guest speaker to the stage, Major General David McLachlan AO AO (Mil) (Rtd). The Major General enlightened attendees as to how Australian Defence Force personnel and veterans have the individual skills and experience that can transfer to almost any workforce, including horticulture. David is extremely versed to speak in this space, having served in the Australian Army for 38 years, retiring in 1994 as the General Officer Commanding the then Army Logistic Command. Since 2017 he was appointed the Victorian Government's Veteran Employment Advocate, a role he still performs today.
Attendees then heard from Adrian Parsons from Helix Australia, who are launching their ‘Local Hero’ waxflower next year to raise money for the SAS resources fund, and Cait Lewis from WorkSafe, who will be partnering with NGIV this year to provide targeted preventative safety strategies for the horticulture industry.With the formalities concluded for the night, it was time to enjoy some pizzas and paella and come together as an industry to chat, laugh and reflect. Once again, the event highlighted just how collegial the people in horticulture are and just how strong our industry has remained to be.
NGIV would like to extend our sincere thanks to the team at Mansfield’s Propagation Nursery. We look forward to many more enjoyable and rewarding Tree and Shrub Growers events in the future.