National Vegetable Protected Cropping Centre (VG17003)
What’s it all about?
Hort Innovation and Western Sydney University combined forces to launch the nation’s first state-of-the-art vegetable glasshouse-production research centre in November 2017. This project supports the running of the facility, with a range of avenues of research.
Researchers are currently manipulating inputs to understand the optimum environment to drive maximum harvest windows and overall yield for a variety of vegetables, and will share this information with Australia’s growers. They are also investigating contrasting greenhouse cladding materials relating to light, crop growth and energy balance. Smart glass technologies are being employed to test effects on productivity, and a stingless bee pollination project is also underway within the glasshouse to measure how the insects perform in protected cropping conditions.
Through the facility, industry also aims to attract new entrants to horticulture careers by offering students access to some of the most advanced technology currently available.
For more details on the National Vegetable Protected Cropping Centre, including contact details for more information, go to the Western Sydney University website here.
As interest in the National Vegetable Protected Cropping Centre grows, the project team has secured more research partnerships that will extend benefits from the new facility.
Work on developing academic qualifications for students has continued, with four core units in the Tertiary Pathway for Protected Cropping underway. The units can provide a pathway from TAFE courses to a Bachelor of Sustainable Agriculture and Food Security at Western Sydney University, boosting future capacity in the sector. Protected Cropping Australia and the Hydroponic Farmers Federation will provide industry accreditation to the units.
The first unit, Protected cropping biosecurity and pollination is currently being delivered in the autumn semester to a pilot group of students.
A new Cooperative Research Centre (CRC), the Future Food Systems CRC plans to work in conjunction with the Cropping Centre, with new opportunities arising from the partnership. The CRC has been funded for 10 years which will enable expansion of the protected cropping research program. Projects will be developed in collaboration with Hort Innovation and other funding partners like the University of New South Wales, Queensland University of Technology, University of New England and NSW Department of Primary Industries.
This project is a strategic levy investment in the Hort Innovation Vegetable Fund