Golden Grove Nursery implements new irrigation system to improve environmental performance

Tuesday, 19 October 2021

The levy funded ‘Digital remote monitoring to improve horticulture’s environmental performance’ (ST19024) project is developing tools to help Australian horticultural businesses improve nutrient, water and labour efficiency.

Funded by Hort Innovation through the National Landcare Program, the project aims to develop tools created by Applied Horticultural Research and Hitachi Vantara to help Australian horticultural businesses reduce barriers to Best Management Practice (BMP) adoption through an innovative pilot production nursery project assessing appropriate digital tools.

The project was established in response to the increasing pressure on the horticulture industry in Queensland to help manage and limit inorganic nitrogen and phosphorus loads in the environment and adjacent Great Barrier Reef lagoon.

Through the program, Golden Grove Nursery, a 2-hectare citrus tree stock production nursery in Torbanlea, Queensland, has implemented a new smart irrigation system, installed measuring devices and a redesigned growing container (pot) for horticultural tree stock.

To mitigate the impact on the surrounding environment, runoff from the nursery drains into an on-site dam, which when full, overflows into a series of dams, water storages and drains, well before flowing into Hervey Bay, approximately 100km from the Great Barrier Reef marine park. Dissolved inorganic nitrogen is notoriously difficult to measure and model, so mitigating the risk of off-site movement is critical.

Greenlife Industry Australia is a contributor to the project and the Australian Plant Production Standard EcoHort guidelines have helped guide the pilot smart production nursery and best management practice alignment to the monitoring tools installed.

A range of digital technology has been installed on the pilot smart production nursery including:

  • Weather Station
  • Smartphone and Tablet
  • Weight based irrigation system
  • Dam Monitoring (pH, temperature, depth and EC)
  • Drain and monitoring (pH and EC)
  • Pest camera
  • Leachate monitoring (volume, pH, EC and temperature)
  • Desktop photometer

Through this technology, the project aims to demonstrate that the implementation across the industry can reduce environmental impacts, business volatility and intervention from government.

Make sure you watch out for upcoming activities including field days and webinars in the coming months.

For more information contact:

Hort Innovation funded project ‘Digital remote monitoring to improve horticulture’s environmental performance’ (ST19024) using the Hort Innovation nursery products research and development levy and the Australian Government’s National Landcare Program.