A successful crop of stone fruit has been harvested in the eastern Pilbara recently. It is part of a unique proof-of-concept trial by the Department of Primary Industries and Regional Development (DPIRD). The 0.2 hectare irrigated trial was established at Martu Farm near Newman in November 2018. It encompassed 40 trees, comprising a mix of low chill peach and nectarine varieties.
The trial was undertaken as part of the department’s Transforming Agriculture in the Pilbara (TAP) project, to explore the potential for irrigated horticulture, fodder and field crop production in the region.
According to TAP project manager Chris Schelfhout the trial, which resulted in a late October harvest, produced some encouraging results: “While this was a proof-of-concept trial and more agronomic and economic analysis is required, the trial results show that low chill stone fruit can be successfully produced under irrigation in the eastern Pilbara.”
The trial is one of the many outcomes of the TAP project over the past three years, which has worked with industry partners on several irrigated systems research initiatives.