UNDER the auspices of the Australian Macadamia Society, a series of Mac Groups will operate throughout macadamia growing areas.
Robbie Commens, productivity development officer with the society said the groups provided an excellent network for growers.
"The groups allow bench marking and frank discussions with other growers and industry officers," he said.
"It is a great venue to discuss problems and to see who else is having similar issues and how they may be dealing with them."
A Gympie region meeting held on Anton and Jenny Fick's Mary's Creek farm heard a broad industry update from Brice Kaddatz of Suncoast Gold.
Mr Kaddatz said production this year would be about 39,000 tonnes. He predicted an increase to 41,500 tonnes for 2013.
"The crop is a bit patchy, with dry nuts not sizing up as they should," he said.
"The high dollar is making sales a bit softer."
In a follow-up to the yield, Mr Commens said recovery in Australia was way ahead of the rest of the world.
"Not only do we have the highest kernel recovery rate but we also are leaders in research and development work," he said.
"Our recovery rate is 33%, compared to South Africa, where it is about 22%."
Also reporting at the meeting was "bug spotter" Chris Fuller, who said the damaging spotting bug had been prevalent in a few areas and was kept under control by targeted spraying.
"There was a thrip problem in late September, with huge numbers," he said.
"This insect sucks the flower dry and leaves a golden sheen on the kernel."
Mr Fuller indicated the thrip could become an increasing problem and suggested a spray program starting after early flowering and again at about three quarter flowering may need to be adopted.
"There could be a bee problem with that program," he said. "Shutting hives for a while and spraying at night may minimise any damage to the bees."
Mr Fuller said in orchards without spray management there could be a looming problem with lace bugs. These were a small sucking insect which had the potential to cause 60% loss, and he said in some organic orchards, losses of 90% had been reported.
Mr Fuller said this year's crop had matured in three stages and pollination by native bees had worked well.
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