NT Farmers Association (NTFA) continue to build on industry relationships through engagement-focused extension activities with vegetable growers, assisted by stakeholder involvement. Earlier vegetable project contributions were essential in achieving best management practices in the Northern Territory vegetable industry.
The aim of this project is to strengthen growers’ business and agronomic models through addressing best- practice gaps and capacity requirements identified through implementation research.
A major industry priority is to improve pest and disease management in tropical vegetable crops by encouraging the establishment of IPM practices and strategies for profitable production in the NT.
Best practice on-farm biosecurity management continues across all vegetables and row crops, developed and implemented through the CGMMV incursion. This was made possible by collaboration with the NT Department of Primary Industries and Resources, NT Biosecurity staff and Molecular Biology CGMMV R&D team.
The Northern Territory is a growing region for vegetable production in Australia where significant production increases are due to predominately Vietnamese and Cambodian growers. The Territory relies on its market access to southern states during the dry season generally between May to October while the rest of southern Australia is in winter.
These growers produce predominately Asian leafy green, melons, cucurbits such as cucumbers, squash, zucchini and pumpkins, snake bean, okra, capsicums, chillies, eggplants, spring onions, tomatoes and herbs. The industry is estimated to be worth around $50 million dollars to the NT economy with a total of 11,600 tonnes produced in 2017.
The need to demonstrate best practice crop and business management is ongoing to ensure sustainable industry growth into the future. Providing support to growers allows for adoption of practice change. Through extension and R & D delivery-based information, growers can continue developing and expanding the industry in the NT. Providing grower practice change alternatives such as softer chemical use options, to spray programs combined with integrated pest management for more profitable outcomes around pest and disease management. The project also offers training for growers around biosecurity and food safety to meet certification requirements for food production.