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Growing Innovation: Issue 10, June 29, 2016

Investment to bolster Aussie nut production

Horticulture Innovation Australia was recently successful in securing a Federal Government Rural Research and Development for Profit program grant, which will go a long way toward increasing the nation’s nut production capacity.

The funding will facilitate a four-year program that will result in higher density, shorter nut trees, with high, quality yields.

Hort Innovation Chief Executive Officer John Lloyd said the Corporation worked closely with industry on the project scope, which involves advanced water and nutrient management techniques applied through trials on almond and walnut crops.

“Hort Innovation is excited to be successful in obtaining this grant,” he said. “It’s a big boost for Australian nut growers who will benefit from the time and cost efficiencies that arise through this project, and increased sustainability for the industry as a whole.”

“There will also be positive flow-on effects to local nut consumers and the potential for an increased Australian nut presence in world trade export markets.”

Mr Lloyd said the project will investigate the whole gamut of crop production techniques – from the beginning of the crop planting process, through to production and harvesting with economic modelling and continuous communication to industry.

Key areas of research include the identification of the ideal soil in which to establish a crop, improved water and fertiliser regimes and advanced tree architecture for light interception as a function of tree density.

Research will also look at orchard floor and husk waste management technologies, efficiency of ‘shake and catch’ harvesting technologies and possible alternatives, climate change risk and reduced impacts of extreme weather events.

The research will be established and demonstrated using ultra-high-density plantings of all temperate nut crops.

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