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Protected cropping

Published: July 16, 2024

By dev

Protected cropping: Why is it worth the investment? 

There are a lot of challenges that have a direct impact on your production and the quality of your crops. Challenges include droughts, floods, fire ants, plant diseases, and other pests. Protected cropping helps you manage your growing conditions and maximise your production. But what is it exactly, and why is it worth the investment? 

What is Protected Cropping?

Protected Cropping is growing crops in or under a shelter or structure. The structures create a barrier between the crops and outside influences, such as weather events, pests, diseases, and wildlife. They also allow growers to control elements such as light, temperature, nutrients, humidity, and water to modify and optimise the environment for their crops. This results in premium growing conditions to maximise productivity and produce successful yields. 

Is it something new? 

In many other countries, protected cropping is a proven and trusted way of farming. Due to the diverse climate in Australia and the natural resources to grow outdoors, Australia didn’t adapt to protected cropping on the same scale as countries in colder climates. The extreme weather events from the last few years are increasingly driving our industry to embrace protected cropping. 

Why is Protected Cropping important?

In December of 2023, Cyclone Jasper left a path of devastation across Far North Queensland. Yields of mangoes, bananas and avocados were lost to the heavy rain, wind, and destruction. Although protected cropping cannot guarantee that crops are safe in extreme weather, it can minimise the effects and cost the weather event has on the yields.

But it’s not just the weather that makes protected cropping a worthwhile investment. Over the last two decades, consumer demands have changed. People expect the availability of fresh produce throughout the year. With a greenhouse, the growing conditions can be managed and optimised for longer growing seasons. 

Is it worth your investment?

Examples in Australia and other countries show the average return on investment of protected cropping. According to Protected Cropping Australia, the average return on investment is between 5% and 10%. For example, in the Netherlands, the productivity of sweet peppers over the last 25 years has improved by 90%!

How can EnviroTec help?

To ensure your investment lasts many seasons and can survive Australian challenges, you need good quality, durable structures. EnviroTec has supported food growers and nurseries across Australia with the structures for their businesses since the 1970s, from small propagation tunnels to impressive commercial structures. Some of our first structures are still standing strong. We understand what is needed to protect your crops from the outside world while maximising yield. 

Looking to start, expand or refresh your horticultural structures? Contact us for obligation-free advice. 

Sources: 

https://protectedcropping.net.au/wp-content/uploads/Australian-Protected-Cropping-Strategy-2021-2030.pdf

https://protectedcropping.net.au/wp-content/uploads/Basic-Principles-Protected-Cropping.pdf

https://www.9news.com.au/national/farmers-warn-potential-mango-shortages-after-queensland-flooding/2ee7f118-80d0-40a8-a3d7-e412f590a71a

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