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Project name Sustainably growing horticulture value in cool climate Australia
Funding bodies Hort Innovation
Lead researcher Dr Nigel Swarts
Partners Bejo, Potatoes NZ, Simplot, Premium Fresh, Scottish Society for Crop Research, Botanical Resources Australia, Reid Fruits, Hansen Orchards, Costa Group, Driscoll’s Australia, South Pacific Seeds and Fruit Growers Tasmania
Contributors Professor Dugald Close, Dr Jason Scott, Dr Robert Tegg, Professor Calum Wilson, Ms Michele Buntain and Associate Professor Alistair Gracie
Nigel Swarts in Cabbage field

Boosting the cool climate horticulture industry

The Australian horticulture industry is set to benefit from this 6.4 million multi-industry research program led by TIA.

The substantial program is a partnership between TIA, Hort Innovation and industry with a clear focus on cool climate horticulture. The research will support the sustainable growth of the value of cool climate horticulture by 20 per cent over five years.

Adapting to climate change

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.

The research team will be looking at issues including water use efficiency, nutrient use efficiency, pests and diseases that are cross-applicable to a range of cool climate horticulture producers.

It is vital that we undertake this research now to give growers the knowledge, tools, and confidence to invest and sustainably expand into the future.

Industry relevant research

The program has received significant support from national and international industry partners and will span a wide range of sectors including peas, potato, pyrethrum, vegetable seed, cherry and berry production.

The research will target risks associated with more intensive production systems and expansion into new production regions, with a focus on sustainability and improving profitability.

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.

Industry engagement

Industry partners are integral members of the team and will help define the research questions and develop the on-the-ground program design to ensure it is highly relevant for industry.

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

Through industry field demonstration days and workshops, trial sites will be accessible to growers. All project findings will be made available to the industry through resources such as fact sheets, webinars and case studies.

Find out more

Growers in cool climate regions are encouraged to get involved by contacting Dr Nigel Swarts at TIA.

This project is being delivered through Hort Innovation’s Hort Frontiers strategic partnership initiative. Hort Frontiers facilitates collaborative, transformation research and development to support horticulture to 2030, and beyond. TIA is a joint venture of the University of Tasmania and the Tasmanian Government.