Nursery ‘tree change’

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Nursery ‘tree change’

Innovation and safety are the key drivers behind OneFortyOne’s $8m nursery redevelopment, with a new state-of-the-art undercover handling system leading a number of major upgrades for the Glencoe facility.

The two automated handling lines, designed in Europe and installed on-site will see millions of radiata pines trees sown, lifted and dispatched under controlled conditions annually, significantly increasing workforce conditions and safety.

This month, as the industry marks International Day of Forests today flags a milestone for the three year redevelopment project, as the new systems become operational.

Nursery Manager Craig Torney said the new infrastructure investment would substantially increase efficiency and signals a major shift away from traditional intensive in-field growing.

“The line has the ability to sow about 1-million trees per week, so it’s a lot cleaner and a lot more efficient,” he said.

“This work would normally be done on the back of a tractor in the elements. Now, from the time the container is introduced to the machine to the time the finished product is pushed through the wall automatically out into the nursery, there is no human intervention, apart from overseers.”

A new irrigation system is also part of the upgrades, improving efficiency at the establishment stage by decreasing water and chemical usage.

In operation since 1983, the Glencoe nursery is central to OneFortyOne’s Australian operations, growing around 7.5 million trees annually for the company and other Green Triangle forest growers.

Mr Torney said employee safety and wellbeing was at the heart of the changes, with infrastructure upgrades set to protect the predominantly outdoor workforce from the elements.

“It’s important to provide our team of people with a better work environment. The new infrastructure is entirely undercover and set to bench-top height, so workers will now enjoy a safer, more ergonomic workplace,” he said.

“We have had team members out here for 25-years plus, so the safety and long-time sustainability of the nursery’s workforce was a major factor in the decision to upgrade the facility.”

OneFortyOne Chief Executive Officer Wendy Norris said the key components of the upgrade share a strong alignment with this year’s theme for International Day of Forestry – ‘Forests and Innovation’.

“Innovation is at the centre of the upgrades, as the work will ultimately result in a better and more efficient end product for forest growers and OneFortyOne’s customer base,” she said.

“By investing in long-term safety and efficiency measures at the nursery site, which is an essential supplier of trees across the Green Triangle forestry sector, OneFortyOne demonstrates our commitment to the future of the industry, our people who have been with us for a long time, and also, our local communities.”

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