Introduction to the Demonstrating Next-Generation Resilient Orchard Production Systems for Tropical Crops project
The Next-Generation Resilient Orchards project will investigate the use of both high-density and trellis planting systems to examine their production capacity, profitability and resilience to cyclones.
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.
Jackfruit will be used as a model tree crop for the project for this project, with high-density orchards developed at multiple trial sites across Northern Australia. Each trial site will use a site-specific planting density and a mixture of seedlings, grafted trees, cuttings and marcotts planted under both free standing and supported (trellis) arrangements.
Data on growth rates, fertiliser and irrigation inputs, pest and disease issues canopy development, flowering and harvest dates, yield and fruit aril (flesh) recovery will be collected. Various economic assessments and guidance materials will be developed to aid growers to adopt the “Next Gen Orchard” system.
The three-year project is funded through the CRCNA as part of the Commonwealth Government’s CRC Program and 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, Aus-Ex Fruit, Northern Territory Farmers Association (NT Farmers) and Growcom.