An insight into the “farm of the future” is sure to be a drawcard for attendees at the Bundaberg leg of the Food Heroes series, to be held next week.
Part of the afternoon program includes a farm walk at the Queensland Department of Agriculture and Fisheries’ (QDAF) Ashfield Road Research Station, led by Dr John Wilkie (left).
One project underway is the long-term multi-disciplinary Small Tree High Productivity Initiative which aims to achieve higher avocado, macadamia and mango yields from smaller trees.
The research is based on “high density” apple crops in temperate climates.
Over a 30 to 40 year period, apple growers have achieved yield increases from 10-15 to 60-100 tonnes per hectare.
Dr Wilkie said one of the goals of the research is to develop cropping systems that put a greater proportion of their productive effort into fruit, rather than stems and branches.
The project covers many aspects of crop growth and fruit production from tree architecture to crop vigour, optimising canopy light distribution and crop load.
The program has field work based at QDAF field stations in Bundaberg and the Atherton Tableland.
The researchers hope the project will result in incremental productivity gains over a program time frame of up to 20 years.
The project is still in its early development stages with the first experimental crops of mangoes planted in 2013 and macadamias and avocados in 2014.
The project has the support of the Qld and NSW governments, QAAFI (a partnership between UQ and DAF), the University of Queensland and Horticulture Innovation Australia.
The story Farm walk will offer a glimpse into the “orchards of tomorrow” first appeared on Queensland Country Life.