Queensland government and company commit $9 million to development of new greenhouse farm

Australia's fast-growing agricultural sector will benefit from a $9 million investment, with which the Gatton Smart Farm will be built in Queensland's Lockyer Valley. This greenhouse farm will contribute $450 million to the horticultural sector each year.

"The Gatton Smart Farm aims to help growers de-risk agtech by enabling them to select and experience the latest technologies firsthand and understand the costs and benefits of adoption. The Gatton Smart Farm stands to benefit growers at a local level, no matter where they are in Australia, with all research outcomes to be shared nationally through this project," Hort Innovation head of extension Jane Wightman said.

The facility is being funded by the Queensland government and Hort Innovation. It will include a climate-controlled, multi-bay glasshouse, a retractable roof, a protected cropping facility, and a post-harvest facility.

Ian Layden, the vegetables, systems, and supply chains RD&E director within the Queensland Department of Agriculture and Fisheries,  said the climate-controlled glasshouse would allow work regarding pathology, virus management, entomology, and screening of different cultivars under different climatic conditions to take place.

The protected cropping facility would be used to look at what crops can be grown year-round as well as serve as a demonstration site for growers. The final piece of the system is the post-harvest facility. Mr. Layden said this facility would be used to conduct tests on different packaging techniques and controlled atmosphere storage within cold rooms, and assess shelf-life.

Read the complete article at www.queenslandcountrylife.com.au.

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