Creating a prosperous, sustainable and healthy Northern Australia

Water Productivity, efficiency and sustainability in tropical horticulture

Water Productivity, efficiency  and sustainability in tropical horticulture
  • Reference # A.1.2021074
  • Timeframe 3 years
  • Project Status Current
  • Location Greater Darwin, Marrakai, Katherine, Mareeba, Townsville, Burdekin, Kununurra, Carnarvon
  • Total project value $1,059,437.00
  • Project manager Anthony Curro
  • Research Programs 1. Building potential in Northern Australia
  • Horticulture
  • Agriculture
  • Water


The project will test the hypothesis that horticulture producers in the tropics are using significantly less irrigation water than is currently being allocated with little or no negative impact on productivity and profitability. This research project will establish sites within existing commercial production systems and use cutting-edge soil moisture monitoring and interpretation irrigation technology and scheduling programs to determine optimum irrigation inputs for key horticultural crops in the tropics. The empirical data for differing crops and systems will then identify the range of irrigation inputs required per crop per situation and establish agreed benchmarks for water allocation determinations.

Expected outcomes

Water allocation is currently a limiting factor for expansion and development in the Top End, any increase in water use efficiency can be directly attributed to increased production.

NTFA estimates a 10% increase in water use efficiency for mangoes and vegetable crops grown in the NT would result in an increase in production of $4,430/ML, which would equate to increased value of production to $210M from the same resource. That is $19M preseason that could be directly invested back into the mango and vegetable regions of the Top End. Similar outcomes would be expected in other water limited areas such as the Carnarvon region in Western  Australia and the Burdekin Region in Queensland.


10 January 2022

Introduction to soil moisture probes

Type: Video

Industry: Horticulture, Supply chain development