Developing Australian Barhee Date Industry

Summary

The Australian date palm industry is still in its infancy, despite a suitable climate and a long history of growing dates. The industry shows great promise and could easily exceed AUD$ $10M, with current plantings. Based on market demand the area under cultivation could increase five fold or more. Potentially there are very high returns of over $200,000 per hectare and $15,000 per megalitre of applied irrigation water. However, Australian Barhee date farmers are currently experiencing variable fruit setting. This is similar to that experienced by many overseas date growers some 15 to 20 years ago. This project aims to address this issue by completing the following activities; Supporting expert travel to bring overseas experiences to Australian growers. Undertaking an extensive date palm data collection exercise. Developing a breeding and selection program to select elite plant stock that is best suited to each growing region. Implementing date pollen viability testing protocol to ensure growers are using viable pollen. The aim is for growers to improve an understanding of the appropriateness of climate to fruit setting leading to: (a) improvements in yields, (b) increased production and (c) improved consistency and quality for the consumers in order to build a highquality ongoing market reputation.

Program

New and Emerging Industries

Research Organisation

Australian Date Growers Association Inc

Objective Summary

The primary objective of this project is to identify the cause(s) of appropriateness of climate to fruit setting with Barhee dates that is currently being experienced by Australian growers and identify appropriate management actions. The findings will be applicable to other date varieties and produce a significant and measurable improvements in Australian date production. Primarily these will focus on the appropriateness of climate to fruit setting of Barhee variety and more specific production issues such as; o Best pollen varieties, o Optimum temperature range for pollination, o Optimum pollination method, o Nutrient and irrigation requirements, o Tissue culture palms and methods to reduce the risk of palm abnormalities. o Management methods to identify palm genetic variability, o Management methods for low or nonproducing palms. Identifying possible patterns and causes of poor fruit setting through the development of an extensive database on the Australian date palm industry that includes the agronomic, climate and management factors that influence fruit setting. Developing a selection and testing program to identify ‘elite’ palms for pollen production, tissue culture and adaptability to different Australian production locations. Implementing a range of improved management approaches for date growers in all areas. The aim is for growers to understand the role of climate improve fruit setting leading to (a) improvements in yields, (b) increased production and (c) improved consistency and quality for the consumers in order to build a highquality ongoing market reputation.

Project Code

PRJ-012293

Project Stage

Current

Project Start Date

Friday, June 26, 2020

Project Completion Date

Friday, May 28, 2021

Journal Articles From Project

Not Available

National Priority

Frontier technologies for building and transforming Australian industries

National Priority

Soil, water and managing natural resources

National Priority

NEI - New and Emerging Industries - M1

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