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Cost-effective technologies for improving protected cropping structures with Ross Pirrone

Publication date: 5 July 2019


Podcast #6 from Growing Matters podcast series pilot

If you're interested in protected cropping but have not yet taken the plunge, or want to take your practices a step further, listen to this podcast. Find out about cost-effective and more advanced growing structures and systems, especially for tropical and sub-tropical growing regions.

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This research was supported by the Hort Frontiers Leadership Fund through the project Horticulture Nuffield Scholarships 2016 (LP15000).

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About the speaker

Ross Pirrone
Ayr, QLD

Ross Pirrone received a Nuffield Scholarship in 2016 to study advanced and cost-effective horticultural growing systems, with an emphasis on tropical and sub-tropical protected cropping technology.

With a background in high performance automotive engineering and broadacre, cattle and horticultural production and marketing, Ross was ideally placed to undertake this research.

He is involved in his family’s business, which has an annual production of 30–40,000 tonnes of sugar cane; 80 hectares of grains, legumes and rice; 50–100-head of cattle for the live export trade; 3000–5000 bales of hay and fodder; and a horticulture enterprise comprising 150–160,000 kilograms of cucumbers and 500,000 kilograms of pumpkin sold each year.

Through his scholarship, Ross looked at protected cropping systems for horticulture that use the most advanced, cost-efficient technologies available across the world.

“With extreme market forces putting pressure on our profit margins and erratic weather putting us under environmental stress, I can see big opportunities in the development of highly flexible and resilient greenhouses in our part of the world,” Ross says.

“This may allow us to take advantage of high commodity prices in the wake of weather events affecting field-grown crops and pave the way for year-round consistent supply of high-quality produce. There may also be capacity to grow niche, high-value lines that are too risky to plant in the field.”

Podcast transcript

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About the Growing Matters pilot podcast series 

Hort Innovation's Growing Matters is a podcast series bringing you tangible information through easy-to-access audio that aims to help you on farm and to grow your business.

In the pilot series, growers, Nuffield Scholars, researchers and subject matter experts talk about protected cropping, waste management and sustainability.