A picture says a thousand words

Posted on February 28, 2017

Have you ever wondered what happens behind the scenes at Kauri Park Nurseries and how we manage to produce such enormous volumes of plants in the time frame that we do?

Life at Kauri Park is fun and we love to share our experience with our customers. We love taking our customers on site tours of our world-leading nursery but we have also decided to bring our nursery to you through a series of photos and story about our nursery in action.

One of our international staff members recently captured the heart and hard work of our nursery through his photographer’s lens. This is a brief snapshot of ‘Life at Kauri Park’.

Our story in pictures

How do we capture a nursery in operation with a camera lens?

Meet Doran Hannes. Doran was employed by Kauri Park amongst a group of casual seasonal staff for general nursery work. He impressed us with his work ethic. One day he made the comment “I have a website you may be interested in www.doranhannes. com”. He also told us that he had previously worked in a marketing company producing material for Bayer in Leverkusen, Germany. Everybody in the plant producing world knows who Bayer is www.bayer.com

Doran was due to leave in three weeks for Mexico and a sailing trip across the Pacific. We couldn’t miss this opportunity. Doran was immediately taken off the potting machine.

We looked at the long range weather forecast and planned our next 20 days. Sunshine and a few clouds meant great photo shooting. Very cloudy and rain days were assigned to editing. We figured that if we pushed out the working hours and into the weekends we could manage 200 hours of photography and editing.

We based a photography plan around showcasing the scale and size of the nursery, the production team in action, our plant quality and our despatch process. We also made a plan to take a lot of photos of established projects that we have supplied plants to around the country. We intend to show you photos of these projects in articles in future Green News.

With the use of a drone at cloud level and hundreds of shots at eye level, we tried to capture the full extent of the layout and actual relevant size of the
nursery.

Life at Kauri Park

Most customers would know our sales staff, so this time we wanted to capture those who work behind the scenes. Behind every plant sale is a team of dedicated people working months ahead of the delivery date to ensure the plants are of the best quality and that they are ready in time.

Trying to show our production team as they are going about their daily tasks was not easy. These guys and girls are busy and humans become rather shy when a camera lens is hanging around.

It’s 6:30am and Royston (left) is setting out the plan for the day.

6:40am and Donny is loading the hopper that mixes bark, peat and fertilizer for the growing media.

The potting mix is conveyed through the planting machines into trays and then planting robots put the seedlings into each cell.

The trays are loaded onto the nursery trailers.

And taken out onto the weedmat areas in the nursery by the Kubota Squad. This is called “laying out”.

It’s game on. Millions of plants are transported to and from the nursery by the Kubota Squad. This is more impressive when considering that the bulk of planting is done in about 100 working days from 1st October and 28th February. The team works at top speed transporting the plants from the production shed out to the weedmat. These guys are super fit. They shift in excess of 50,000 plants every day.

Once the plants are on the weed mat the cycle continues for a few more months. The plants need care to enable them to be delivered to the customer in optimum condition.

Each strip of plants laid out between the nursery roads in the picture below contains around 2,400 plants. This means there is about 100,000 plants in this picture.

…and exactly 2,466,200 plants in this picture.

Our production manager is constantly monitoring shoot growth, root health, moisture content and a whole range of other factors. Each species has its own individual requirements. The production manager’s role demands a large amount of experience. You can’t go and buy a book on how to be an expert production manager. There is no substitute for the years of experience behind some of our team.

There is hardly a weed visible as the teams flush through the nursery daily removing the pesky invaders. The flow on effect of a weed free nursery benefits the customer in their future project maintenance program.

The maintenance team work full time on the infrastructure and the working parts of the nursery. Items such as irrigation, which Matt is repairing here, are paramount to having the nursery run without any glitches. One hot windy day in summer for a seedling without water, will kill the plant. Multiply this by a few million and it is easy to understand how important it is to have an efficient nursery maintenance team. The irrigation is monitored 24/7 during summer.

After a few months all of the plants return from the weedmat to be despatched into orders.

Each order is loaded onto the trolleys ready for the next day’s delivery. Each truck load has its own line of order.

The despatch team load the trucks with plants for tomorrows deliveries.

Kauri Park heading on its way with yet another delivery to a satisfied customer.

And last but not least, 24 – 18 months prior to the delivery of a load of plants, Grant and his seed collection team had gathered those many precious seeds that started the whole cycle.

Our growing success transfers to your growing success.