Skip to main content
Growers Help your business grow Research reports, publications, fact sheets and more Grower Resources Grower case studies Smart technology helping Golden Grove Nursery to optimise their efficiency

Smart technology helping Golden Grove Nursery to optimise their efficiency

Publication date: 14 November 2022

In October 2019, Hort Innovation secured a $2.9 million grant through Landcare’s Smart Farming Partnerships program, supported by the Australian Government. Together with some nursery levy contributions, the funding is allowing us to work with partners to raise the horticulture sector’s environmental performance.

The Digital remote monitoring to improve horticulture’s environmental performance (ST19024) project involves collaborators including Hort Innovation, Applied Horticultural Research, Freshcare, Hitachi Consulting, Landcare and industry bodies Greenlife Industry Australia, AUSVEG, the Australian Banana Growers’ Council, the Australian Macadamia Society and Growcom.

With a focus on protecting ecosystems in horticulture growing regions, it’s establishing four demonstration ‘smart farms’ in the Great Barrier Reef catchment area. Here, remote technology will be used in the continuous monitoring of environmental indicators such as nutrient leaching, sediment run-off, water and energy use efficiency and more.

The demonstration sites will be used to help growers understand digital environmental monitoring and its use in business decision making and good environmental stewardship.

Meet Wayne Parr from Golden Grove Nursery

Golden Grove Nursery is one of Australia’s leading citrus production nurseries, providing commercial citrus growers with exceptional quality products at affordable prices.

Golden Grove Nursery must continuously be at the forefront of new technology trends and invest in innovation to maintain this position. That’s according to Wayne Parr, Director of Golden Grove Queensland Pty Ltd, a fourth-generation citrus grower with vast practical experience spanning over 40 years as a commercial grower of horticultural and agriculture crops.

The production nursery currently supplies over 200,000 nursery trees per year (with the capacity to provide 240,000 nursery trees) into the Queensland citrus industry and other fruit tree industries.

Owing to its dedication to innovation, Golden Grove Nursery has been an ideal participant in the strategic levy-funded project Digital remote monitoring to improve horticulture’s environmental performance(ST19024). The project has identified and supported Golden Grove Nursery in implementing a new innovative irrigation control system, installing new environmental measuring devices, and redesigning growing media for horticultural tree stock.

“With a firm focus on innovation, we are incredibly excited to be a part of this project. It will provide Golden Grove Nursery with the tools and knowledge to implement the latest technology and trendsetting ideas to transform our growing processes,” Wayne said.

“A key goal for this project is to improve our water management processes, reduce the overheads of water usage and decrease the environmental impact through runoff catchment and recycling.

“Improving labour efficiency is another critical area of focus; by adopting innovative technology, we hope to create more streamlined nursery operations and growing practices.

“These new processes will help to reduce crop growth cycle times and provide commercial growers with a higher quality uniform crop.”

“Since starting this project, we have already made big changes. We installed a free-standing weather station within the shade house to monitor the microclimate. There are pH, EC and Redox sensors installed in the dam and drain to monitor water quality. We’ve also installed four networked cameras to monitor dam overflow, pest activity via sticky traps, stem length and crop growth. Another significant change was the installation of a leachate monitor to identify nutrient runoff, weight scales and soil moisture sensors to measure the growing media moisture content and the crop water use.”

“Since incorporating new information and communication technology into our day-to-day processes, we have begun to optimise our productivity and labour efficiency,” Wayne said.

“With the help of smart technology, data is now uploaded to the cloud using modern communication technologies and presented live on a screen in the office, which removes the need to manually record the data in spreadsheets.”

“We’ve also found the monitoring sensors are starting to give the nursery staff a good overview of the crop requirements through the different growth stages and weather events.

“As a result of this project, we have reimagined our entire business operation and are incredibly excited to reap the rewards of investing in innovative technology, creating a thriving, sustainable business.” Wayne Parr, nursery grower