PPBS Case Study - Scott Base Nurseries

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Scott Base Nurseries has been a propagation nursery in Whenuapai since 1989. It is a family run business, owned and operated by Kathryn and Michael Scott, and supplies the landscape and wholesale nursery market. It has 8-10 employees.

Kathryn Scott said Scott Base Nurseries took part in the pilot scheme for a number of reasons:

  • A desire to grow better products and run a better operation within the nursery
  • An opportunity to introduce measurements to keep up with compliance, which is likely to become more commonplace in the future, and
  • The ability to give assurance to customers that they are getting a product free from pests and diseases.

The Process

Kathryn said the scheme’s supporting information was useful and thorough but it would have been helpful to have access to standard signage and forms/templates for employee training and sign-in forms.

The Nursery Manual template was very useful as a tool to create a manual step-by-step and she used the Core Standard to help determine what ‘adequate’ meant in this context.

Kathryn said John Liddle from the Plant Producers Biosecurity Scheme provided great support but the main challenge was finding time in the working week to dedicate to progressing the scheme.

The new processes that Scott Base implemented under the pilot were:

  • Crop monitoring and redefinition of hygiene practices
  • Crop traceability
  • Updated staff training
  • Creation of a nursery manual

Staff response

Kathryn said introducing the scheme was a steep learning curve for everyone at the nursery as Scott Base has been operating for 30 years and some of the staff had been there for 15 years.

“They are not so agreeable to change but know that pest and pathogen incursions can affect business so are working thought it.”

However, the new documentation processes have not streamlined systems in staff members’ eyes. Staff told Kathryn that introducing the PBBS “hasn’t changed how we grow, or made our products better, just made a lot more paperwork.”


From Kathryn’s point of view, implementing the scheme’s practices and guidelines had improved nursery’s productivity “in that we have crop monitoring in place and are able to fix problems earlier. However, this does come at the cost of more paperwork.”

In the longer term, she does anticipate that the scheme will add value and give Scott Base a competitive advantage in the marketplace.

“I believe customers will want more assurance once biosecurity becomes more of an expected level of normality, at the moment it’s not that well known to landscapers.”

Suggestions to improve the scheme

Kathryn suggested that online signage/form templates be made available or companies identified that can supply the appropriate signage.

It would also be useful to have an app that includes the Core Standard and internal audits as being able to use tablets within the nursery to complete checks like crop monitoring would be helpful.

Recommend to others?

Overall Kathryn said the pilot was a beneficial process and she would recommend it to other nurseries.

“It helped us understand the importance of plant hygiene, and as a result have healthy plants, for this reason I would suggest it to people. It’s a great scheme.”