10 December 2014 – Cedar Hill Plantations announced as the winner of the 2014 AFI Magazine Award of Excellence for Cut Flower & Foliage Sustainable Production
An innovative production system and the use of technology to successfully cultivate an Australian native plant have won Cedar Hill Plantations the prestigious Award of Excellence for Cut Flower & Foliage Sustainable Production. The award is sponsored by Auzion Sustainable Solutions and is an initiative of the Australian Flower Industry magazine, a quarterly publication and primary method of communication for the national cut flower and foliage industry. The award recognises businesses that have achieved excellence in sustainable flower production and encourages other growers to strive for new standards for the overall betterment of the industry.
Cedar Hill Plantations is based at Woombye on the Sunshine Coast and has developed a world-first program for umbrella fern cultivation under protected cropping, following years of research and development. The umbrella fern is an attractive cut foliage plant that provides a unique high-end product in Australian domestic and export floriculture markets. It is currently bush-harvested, but this practice is being discontinued as sites are converted to national parks. Current levels of harvesting from natural populations are also limited by legislative harvesting limits, the condition of plants in the wild, weather conditions and climate trends. By propagating and cultivating this valuable species, there is improved potential for keeping up with product demand, increasing foliage yields, lowering production costs and improving product quality.
The award-winning production system involves growing the plants in raised beds composed of recycled green waste materials sourced from the local region. Soil moisture sensors are used to adjust irrigation according to crop requirements. The use of solar panels, shade screens and integrated pest management (IPM) also contribute to the sustainability and environmental friendliness of the production system. The award win will provide Cedar Hill Plantations with new opportunities to promote the benefits of the system and the sustainability of the business.