Project Delivery: Wheatbelt NRM, Individual Landholder
Contact: Jo Wheeler
Website: Wheatbelt NRM Website
Start Date: 2015 End Date: 2017
Site ID: SA00353SA1
Area (Ha): 6
This trial aims to demonstrate the level of work involved in planting and maintaining a bush food project on a commercial scale, the growth and production that can be expected from different bush food species when different levels of moisture are available, marketing opportunities of bush food within domestic/international market.
A 6ha trial will be established on a small property to showcase bush food species and the agronomics of establishment of different species. This includes acacia species as host trees for quandong (Santalum acuminatum) and sandalwood (Santalum spicatum) and Acacia acuminata for wattle seed production. The trial will also plant bush tomatoes (Solanum centrale) and desert limes (Citrus glauca) and grow these with different watering regimes to show growth and fruiting ability with different levels of moisture.
Bush tomatoes are currently being harvested from wild populations and grown by some indigenous communities in desert regions. These desert communities are using water-wise irrigation systems to increase the fruiting times from two normal months in the wild to eight months (http://www.outbackpride.com.au/species/kutjera-desert-raisin). This may be achievable in desert environments and we will be testing how this occurs in a south western location.
Desert limes have been grafted onto citrus stock for years in order to produce fruits earlier and more consistently. These root stocks require the same conditions as normal citrus, by varying the water stress levels we will determine how desert limes function (http://www.dpi.nsw.gov.au/__data/assets/pdf_file/0003/99273/managing-citrus-orchards-with-less-water.pdf ).
The market for bush foods and products derived from sandalwood, quandong and wattle seed is also growing and they are increasingly being grown in the Wheatbelt. Combining the different bush foods will show how diversifying into different markets can influence the economic viability of one farm. While developing our understanding of whether the irrigation requirements in the Wheatbelt will help us to develop our knowledge of how to best integrate bush food based productions systems into Wheatbelt agricultural systems.
Project outputs will be added once the trial has been completed.