Irrigated agriculture has been undertaken along the banks of the lower Gascoyne River since the early 1900s. Originally producing bananas and vegetables, production has expanded to many different tropical and temperate crop species. In 2012 the value of production exceeded $103 million.
The Gascoyne Horticulture Development project supports the horticultural industries in the Carnarvon district. The project has three main strategies:
- to explore new horticultural opportunities for the Gascoyne
- to investigate sustainable production systems
- to gather industry intelligence and support industry development.
New horticultural opportunities
This work aims to identify new crops that have not historically been grown on a commercial scale in Carnarvon. We are currently investigating:
- tropical fruits: lychee and longan
- temperate crop: pomegranate
- ground crops: preliminary investigations in ginger and galangal.
Sustainable production systems
We are investigating improvements to crop agronomy and other pre-farm gate production. This includes areas of research and development such as improved pesticide programs, integrated pest management (IPM), virus disease management, crop nutrition, protected cultivation and irrigation management.
We have recently investigated:
- insect-proof netting for control of vegetable viruses.
- integration of cover crops into vegetable cropping systems
- irrigation management of tomatoes.
Industry intelligence and development
This component focuses on collection and dissemination of information about the industry and working with growers to develop their business skills and practice. It often ties in with the research. It includes liaison with other government agencies and industry bodies to exchange information and ideas.
We are currently working on:
- delivery of the Carnarvon annual production statistics
- developing a method to conduct a Carnarvon Annual Cropping Survey
- identification of Carnarvon-specific market opportunities
- Development of publications on crop production and practices.
Who we work with
A number of stakeholders are important in the decision-making processed. Some include, but are not limited to:
- individual growers in Carnarvon
- Carnarvon Growers Association
- The Sweeter Banana Co-operative
- Horticulture Australia Ltd.
- Fruit West
- Department of Water and Environmental Regulation
- and many of the seed, chemical and fertiliser companies that service the industry.
For more specific information on a particular crop, please search this website or use the contacts listed.