Project to boost crops

John McVeigh
John McVeigh Bev Lacey

AGRICULTURE Minister John McVeigh has announced funding of more than $3 million over three years from Horticulture Australia for a project to boost yields from fruit and nut trees.

During a busy day in Bundaberg, during which he visited three projects, Mr McVeigh said the fruit and nut tree research was gathering pace.

He started the day at a farm on Coonarr Rd inspecting how cane farmers were introducing new crops such as peanuts as a rotational crop for sugar.

Then it was on to the Bundaberg Research Facility to inspect a commercial mandarin breeding program including new varieties that were being developed for emerging Asian markets.

And later he announced the increased funding for the "Small-Tree High Productivity" research and development project.

Mr McVeigh said the Horticulture Australia funding would add to the State Government's contribution of $800,000 over four years.

He said it demonstrated the industry's recognition of the huge potential of the project to boost production of tropical horticulture tree crops such as mangoes, avocadoes and macadamias.

"We want to get the most from every tree," he said.

"Smaller trees are m ore efficient and maximise yield through more growth in fruit and less in branches and leaves.

"It's easier and quicker to harvest small trees, which in the end means lower production costs for farmers."

Mr McVeigh said the extra funding would allow the research team to be expanded.

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