A long term strategy to grow crops under protected shelters has been launched

The Implementation of the Strategy will be led by Hort Innovation Australia and Protected Cropping Australia and is expected to provide direction and support for crops grown under shelter.

Many believe the Australian Protected Cropping Strategy 2021-2030 is a pathway for the industry to develop at a far greater pace than at present.

Protected cropping is a very broad term but basically it refers to crops grown within or under a structure, meaning crops can be grown with protection from the elements.

The strategy will look to increase knowledge and the capacity of industry to adopt and take advantage of protected cropping systems. With these systems we can look at developing new markets, both domestically and internationally.

There is huge potential for protected cropping, and once implemented the next decade could see a doubling of production.

Hort Innovation Australia Chief Executive Officer Matt Brand said protected cropping-based horticultural production is tipped to grow considerably.

“Because protected cropping provides control over growing conditions, a dedicated strategy is vital,” Mr Brand said.

“From high-tech glass houses to basic covers and nets, protected cropping is becoming a popular choice for Australian horticulture.

“With input from industry, this strategy provides an important roadmap to drive innovation and competitiveness in the horticulture sector.”

Covering crops for safer returns

·         The Australian Protected Cropping Strategy 2021-2030 was funded through the Hort Frontiers Advanced Production Systems Fund through Horticulture Innovation Australia.

·         Protected cropping is typically used for horticultural crops: vegetables, berries, nursery plants, flowers, herbs and fruit trees.

·         The protected cropping industry is estimated to be worth $1.5 billion in Australia.