Territory Stories

Plant Industries NT newsletter



Plant Industries NT newsletter

Other title

PINT newsletter


Northern Territory. Department of Primary Industries and Fisheries, Plant Industries Division


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Made available via the Publications (Legal Deposit) Act 2004 (NT).; This publication contains may contain links to external sites. These external sites may no longer be active.




Horticulture industry; Agriculture; Rangelands; Management; Northern Territory; Periodicals; Cattle industry

Publisher name

Northern Territory Government

Place of publication



Plant Industries NT newsletter


Newsletter, February 2012

File type



Attribution International 4.0 (CC BY 4.0)

Copyright owner

Northern Territory Government



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2 The Australian date industry is still in its infancy despite date palms being introduced more than a century ago. Dates need hot dry conditions to thrive and are amongst the most salt tolerant horticultural crops known. There are only a few commercial producers in the country, with approximately 50 hectares of land under trees, and an annual production of approximately 500 tonnes. Importation is required to meet the Australian domestic demand of around 7000 tonnes. This provides an opportunity for those who are involved in the industry to increase their productivity and expand to meet an established market demand. Figure 1. A date palm with good bunches of developing fruits in kimri stage Whats our strength? Australia has accumulated a wealth of date palm germplasm through several importations of offshoots and tissue cultured plants of known varieties, from different sources all over the world. Most of this material is located in Central Australia and South Australia. Currently the research farm at Alice Springs has 151 palms representing nearly 50 female varieties, the majority of which are common in commercial plantations internationally. There are also 31 male palms of three known varieties (Fard #4, Jarvis#1 & Boyer #1), Pheonix sylvestris (Indian sugar palm) and of some local selections all at the right age for production and suitable for testing. What was done during 2011 spring? A maintenance program has been implemented to resurrect the valuable resource of date palm genetic material at AZRI. This commenced in August 2011 with tidying up the plantation by trimming (Figures 2a & 2b), followed by rotary hoeing around the tree lines to incorporate the weedy grasses and create circular basins of approximately two metre radius from the base of the trunk to facilitate the nutrition and irrigation of every palm ( Figure 3). The trees were fed with an initial dose of combined fertiliser mixtures to provide potassium, nitrogen, phosphorous, along with calcium in the form of gypsum. Pruned fronds were chipped and incorporated along with horse and cattle manure around the trees as mulch to increase the soil organic content and help

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