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Bringing the latest research and information to pistachio growers

Publication date: 14 November 2022

The pistachio industry invests their levy into ensuring growers have access to the information they need to run and grow their businesses

The investment Supporting the adoption of best management practices for pistachio growers (PS20000) is all about bringing the latest in Australian and international research, best practice and technical information to the nation’s pistachio growers. The project delivers a range of activities and resources for pistachio growers that will assist them to adopt best management practices, leading to increased yield, quality and profitability.

Delivered by the Pistachio Growers’ Association, project activities include:

  • Maintaining and expanding the pistachio industry’s regional ‘Tech Groups’ Facilitating field days and farm walks throughout each year in the country’s major pistachio growing regions, with involvement of Australian and international experts
  • Compiling technical information from Australia and overseas into resources for growers, including presentations, ‘Seasonal Notes’ that are distributed quarterly, e-bulletins and more
  • Updating of the industry website with new information
  • Workshops for new entrants to the industry.

Meet Ian McFarlane, pistachio grower from Cobdogla, South Australia

Ian McFarlane grows pistachios and wine grapes in Cobdogla, in the Riverland region of South Australia. He began growing pistachios on his 15-hectare property about five years ago to diversify his income stream, and he’s looking to expand his current operations.

What are the main challenges you face?

“Pistachios have a significant lead time from when they are planted until you harvest nuts and develop an income stream. Once you get to this stage however, the returns are worth the wait. This is the main challenge that I’ve faced, although this can also be a benefit as it can act as a barrier to entry into the industry and reduce the risks of oversupplying the market.”

How has being involved in the project helped?

“The PIT groups (Pistachio Information and Technology Groups) have helped with providing information on how best to establish your orchard during this development phase. The industry is quite small so not a lot of research is done, so having the opportunity to get together with other growers and share information complements the more technical information provided by the Pistachio Growers’ Association. I’ve found that everyone is quite open and willing to share.”

What are some of the benefits of being involved?

“One of the key benefits to come out from the project and my involvement in the PIT groups has been learning about a new way of establishing and structuring the trees while they are young and immature and seeing how this is developing on other orchards throughout the region. These new systems are less labour intensive and are more focused towards mechanised pruning and harvesting in the future.”

Why should growers get involved?

“There are quite of lot of new developments happening within the industry and innovations from overseas with regards to training and orchard management. With most of the industry involved and actively participating, you would be doing yourself a disservice if you didn’t get involved.” Ian McFarlane, pistachio grower from Cobdogla, South Australia’