We have begun a new era at our Wamuran strawberry farm where eight hectares of polytunnels have been constructed to trial protected cropping for a portion of the 2016 winter crop.
Of the polytunnel crop, a portion will be trialed in a raised substrate system where runners are planted in a coconut coir growing medium in raised troughs. The remainder will be grow in raised beds, supported by plastic sheeting as is standard in commercial strawberry production.
The home farm has also increased the area under cultivation by 16 hectares to a total of 45 hectares. As a result of the growth in our strawberry operations, a third dam is now in use to irrigate the crop, the packing shed has been expanded to cope with an increase in production volume and more seasonal jobs will potentially be created for the duration of strawberry season from May to September.
The Wamuran trials continue what began at our Stanthorpe farm in southern Queensland last summer where we introduced polytunnel production for the first time in a quest to improve marketable yield. Fruit growing under 1.6 hectares of polytunnels at Stanthorpe escaped damage from three hail storms last summer. Another eight hectares of tunnels will be erected at Stanthorpe in time for the 2016 summer crop.