Written by Terry Daley, Director Daleys Turf
Daleys Turf is a beautiful boutique turf farm in Bells Creek Queensland on the Sunshine Coast. Daleys Turf grow and supply a range of turf varieties suited for the East Queensland climate. What makes Daleys Turf so unique is their attention to detail in all facets of production, things that could impact on the quality of the turf produced or the genetic purity of their varieties. Daleys Turf leave no stone left unturned and are leading the industry in this area, not just in Australia, but right across the world.
In the late 80’s, turf on the Sunshine Coast (QLD) was in very short supply. This gave our parents the idea to start a turf farm. It wasn’t until October 1991 that the land was purchased for the purpose of building a turf farm. At the time my brother Joe and I were working between the Sunshine Coast and the Kimberley’s in WA, so this was a way for us to get back to the coast to start a family run business.
Unfortunately, our Dad passed away before the business got off the ground. We took a while to decide whether we would continue with his idea, before pressing ahead.
Farming commenced in February 1993 on 35 acres which was previously farmed for small crops. An irrigation system was installed, paddocks were cultivated and levelled, machinery sheds built, equipment purchased, and roads installed. We purchased our first tractor-based harvester in 1997 and our first truck later that year.
Our first turf sale was in June 1994. It was a very slow start, neither of us had any turf experience and very little farming experience. Lucky for us a couple of prominent local business people encouraged us to proceed, providing us with a lot of advice and support in those early months.
Wintergreen Couch was new to the market, so that was our first turf variety grown, followed by Greenlees Park, QLD Blue Couch, ST-91, ST-85, followed by many others.
We were the first turf farm to introduce palletised turf deliveries here on the Coast. We were hiring a crane truck for our deliveries until we could afford our own truck and forklift system. We then later improved that system to pallet-less deliveries.
The Sunshine Coast had, and still does to this day, the most turf farms per capita than anywhere else in Australia. In the year 2000 there were at least 26 turf farms supplying our area. For this reason, we decided we had to move away from the mainstream turf varieties and look for something better. That’s when we discovered soft leaf buffalo.
The real game changer for us was when Daleys Turf accepted an offer to supply Sir Walter and we never looked back!
The introduction of Sir Walter to our product offering led to our business growing and we hired staff, purchased trucks and tractors, a harvester, and we had new sheds and an office built. Our farming land increased to 65 acres, and a new dam was built to meet our growing needs.
Our sister, Carmel joined the business in 2001, then later in 2007 Rose, another sister, also joined us to work at the farm, making it a true family business.
We currently have 8 employees, the longest serving has been with us for 21 years, and we had a trainee join the team in early February.
We have a fantastic in-house installation team which gives us greater control of our business. This, along with the new turf varieties, is what sets us apart from our competitors.
The Daleys Turf team are always active in research and want to be involved in all sort of trial opportunities – fertiliser, new grasses, cutting height evaluations.
In 2017 we were appointed Lawn Solutions Australia (LSA) Foundation Farm for QLD. We also received the contract to supply and install Sir Grange Zoysia at Teven Valley Golf Course in NSW.
Daleys Turf has plots of the original turf material to ensure genetic purity and maintain certified paddocks for harvest to other licenced LSA members through the expansion program.
Turf quality and purity are taken extremely seriously at Daleys Turf. Being a foundation farm means that we need to keep original stock in a separate area away from all possible contaminants for the life of the variety. All foundation stock sold is recorded and documented so everything can be traced back to the specific paddock it came from. Access is restricted to these foundation paddocks to limit the possibility of contamination.
Each turf variety has its own dedicated machinery – tractor, mowers and turf harvesters. This machinery is blown down with air and washed at the end of each day. Each variety also has its own pallets to ensure there is no cross contamination between any of the varieties.
Daleys Turf prides itself on being known as an industry leader in ensuring the genetic purity of our turf. To ensure our varieties stay true-to-type we undertake DNA testing and regular paddock checks conducted by AusGAP, the Australian Turf Certification Program. This ensures that we are providing the genuine article to our customers.