Date of visit: May 1, 2019
Type of event: Study tour
Topic: Seedling Nursery Management
Company visited: IFA Nurseries, Inc.
Location: Aurora and Canby, Oregon
Hosts: Shannon Murphy and Thomas Cushman, Nursery Managers
International Fellows: Richard Banda (Malawi), Fen-hui Chen (Taiwan), Temitope Dauda (Nigeria), Zhongyuan Ding (China), Ana Kanoppa (Brazil), Will Maiden (UK), Rodolfo Vieto (Costa Rica)
WFI Staff: Shadia Duery / International Fellowship Program Manager
On a sunny Thursday, May 2nd, 2019, the International Fellows had their first study tour of the month to IFA Nurseries in Aurora and Canby, Oregon. Since 1941, IFA Nurseries has been providing foresters and landowners with a full-service conifer seedling system that offers the following: risk diversity, custom growing, excellent facilities, and experienced management for their reforestation seedling contracts. In total, IFA Nurseries has grown over 1.5 billion seedlings since its establishment.
|Aurora IFA nursery managers with international fellows|
IFA Nurseries performs a variety of operations ranging from seed collection and treatment to the production of seedlings. Seeds are collected from orchards and wild picking. Collection is done by climbing or cutting trees and collecting cones which are mostly green because of their freshness at time of harvest. The cones are then put into a bin where they are heated until they are dry and open. They are then shaken up to remove the seeds. Each seed then goes through several processes before it is separated from the chaff and is treated to preserve its viability. Seeds are sometimes colored for easy identification. Seed collection zones are well-documented to ensure that seed species are matched with the correct planting site. Seeds from any particular zone should not be planted in a different zone.
|Greenhouses at the Aurora nursery|
If you think seedling production is easy, then think again because, despite their successes, IFA Nurseries also faces their own challenges. Such challenges include frequent weeding, which can
|Slugzilla enjoying happy hour|
To increase efficiency, some equipment at IFA Nurseries has been built from locally available resources. This has helped to reduce the cost labor. This is a positive development, especially when one’s profit margin is so narrow that acquiring the most advanced and expensive machinery is not feasible. The innovations that are being made are making efficiency attainable in the production process. At times, the forestry industry suffers from a narrow profit margin or no profit at all; therefore, there is a need to find more cost-effective alternatives to some operations.
An International Fellow’s Thoughts and Perspectives
|Richard Banda, International Fellow|
from Malawi, in his favorite jacket