AU: $6.4 million boost for cool-climate horticulture growers

Scientists are giving Australian horticulture growers in cooler climates the opportunity to participate in a $6.4M research trial program to help the industry adapt to climate change. Being delivered through Hort Innovation and led and co-funded by the Tasmanian Institute of Agriculture (TIA), with support from national and international industry partners, the five-year project aims to grow cool climate horticulture production by 20 percent.

Trial sites are being set up in Tasmania, and the research team will design experiments to be relevant across cool climate regions such as southwest Western Australia, the Adelaide Hills, South-East Victoria, and high-altitude areas of New South Wales and South-East Queensland.

Hort Innovation Chief Executive Officer Brett Fifield said the aim is to investigate what operational adjustments need to be made to farms in various regions to achieve maximum productivity in the face of unpredictable weather patterns. “This project is all about getting growers the best possible production outcomes,” he said.

“Researchers will look at fragile soil management, nutrient and water use. High-yield plants that can be picked early to maximize returns, and establishing protected cropping environments that offer stable, pest and disease-controlled growing environments are further priorities.”

TIA Horticulture Centre Leader, Dr. Nigel Swarts, said primary producers across the horticultural sector are partnering to address the critical issues and risks associated with climatic variability and extremes in temperature and rainfall.

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