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Fortune Agribusiness

14 September 2021

Singleton Horticulture Project

Small Scale Crop Trials

 

Fortune Agribusiness (FA) has been developing a detailed plan for a horticulture project on Singleton Station since 2015. The site was chosen by FA because it has immediate access to key infrastructure such as power, road and rail and overlies suitable groundwater resources. The region is also relatively free of pests and diseases and has favourable soils and climate for many crops. 

A detailed analysis of crop and market distribution options for horticultural production at Singleton has led to a current shortlist of crops.  The shortlist includes permanent crops such as citrus, grapes, avocados and jujube while annual crops include onions, muskmelons and carrots among others.

Whilst the soil, water and climate parameters are favourable for many crops, there is very limited commercial production in the region at present.  Trialling of different commodities, and different varieties within those commodities, will provide valuable data to enable the optimum selection of crops. 

We were recently granted a Water Extraction Licence (WEL) for the project which is subject to the Company fulfilling a number of licence conditions before being eligible to access water, including obtaining all relevant government and EPA approvals.   The outcome of these processes may not be known until well into 2022 and the WEL decision is also currently subject to Ministerial review.

In the meantime however FA is permitted to access up to 5 ML per year under a provision in Section 47 of the Water Act.  It is intended to use this small quantity of water to trial various crops under conditions similar to those expected for a future larger scale horticulture project.  The area for these initial trials will be limited to approximately 0.4 Ha.

This R&D exercise will be conducted with technical support from the NT Government’s Plant Industries team and the outcomes will complement a number of other R&D projects being undertaken by NTG in the Western Davenport region in collaboration with nearby land holders.  The results will be available to any interested party who may be considering horticulture development in the Western Davenport area.  

In this context, if any nearby land owner would like specific commodities included in this trial they should contact us as soon as possible so that plants can be sought and planted to suit the upcoming seasons.

In due course, surplus fruit and vegetable produce from this trial plot can be made available to local communities. 

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