Diversification of crop production in Northern Australia is crucial in developing an economically sustainable and resilient agricultural sector. Whilst there are numerous tropical tree crops which can be cultivated in the region, plantings are limited due to the susceptibility of orchards to tropical cyclones.

Through the Demonstrating Next-Generation Resilient Orchard Production Systems for Tropical Crops project being led by the Queensland Department of Agriculture & Fisheries (QDAF) and supported by the Cooperative Research Centre for Developing Northern Australia (CRCNA), a range of high-density production systems and trellis planting systems are being assessed for not only their cyclone resilience but also their production capacity and profitability.

Jackfruit is being used as a model tree crop with high-density orchards developed at multiple trial sites across Northern Australia. Each trial site uses a site-specific planting density and a mixture of seedlings, grafted trees, cuttings and marcotts planted under both free standing and supported (trellis) arrangements.

The production strategies being investigated could not only provide growers with a production methodology which mitigates the risks associate with tropical cyclones, but also enable expansion of the horticulture sector through new plantings across Northern Australia.

Whilst specific to jackfruit, the production system can be applied to a broad range of tree crops, most of which are unique to north Australia. Under the project the production systems are also being monitored on a rambutan orchard and existing trellised cocoa plantation.

If you would like to learn more about the project, visit: www.crcna.com.au/research/projects/demonstrating-next-generation-resilient-orchard-production-systems-tropical-crops

Alternatively, you can also keep up to date via the Facebook page @NextGenResilientOrchards

This three-year project is funded through the CRCNA as part of the Australian Government’s CRC Program, and is being undertaken in collaboration with the Queensland Department of Agriculture and Fisheries (DAF), Northern Territory Department of Industry, Tourism and Trade (NT DITT), Western Australia Department of Primary Industries and regional development (DPIRD), Manbulloo Limited, Zappala Tropicals, Northern Territory Farmers Association (NT Farmers) and Growcom.