Forum on growing protected crops

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Looking at opportunities to diversify horticultural production in WA will be the focus of the Protected Horticulture in WA forum later this month. Picture: DPIRD

GINGIN and Yanchep fruit and vegetable growers can learn about the benefits of growing crops in controlled, sheltered environments to boost food production later this month.

The Protected Horticulture in WA forum on May 29 is being hosted by the Department of Primary Industries and Regional Development and the Peel Development Commission, as part of the State Government’s Transform Peel initiative.

Department senior researcher Heather Percy said the forum was a great opportunity for all aspects of the industry to come together with researchers and government planners and regulators to learn about innovative approaches to farming and food production in Western Australia.

The forum is open to all interested members of the community.

Ms Percy said protected cropping was a prime example of how new technologies could be used to grow and diversify horticultural production.

“Protected cropping is basically the production of fruit and vegetables using a sheltered structure such as a glasshouse to modify growing conditions and protect crops from pests and adverse weather,’’ she said.

“This concept also includes soil-less environments such as hydroponics and aquaponics, controlled LED lighting that can reduce growing time and increase nutrient content of the produce, and vertical farming to further reduce the environmental footprint.”

Ms Percy said participants would hear from growers with experience in protected cropping and be invited to contribute ideas about the opportunities and ways to overcome the challenges to protected cropping in WA.

To register to attend the forum on May 29 in Mandurah visit the department’s website www.agric.wa.gov.au