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Technical annual report 2000-01



Technical annual report 2000-01


Dept. of Regional Development, Primary Industry, Fisheries and Resources technical annual report; Department of Regional Development, Primary Industry, Fisheries and Resources technical and annual report; Reports; PublicationNT; Technical bulletin (Northern Territory. Dept. of Primary Industry and Fisheries) ; no. 295




Made available via the Publications (Legal Deposit) Act 2004 (NT).






Agriculture -- Northern Territory -- Periodicals; Fisheries -- Northern Territory -- Periodicals

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Dept. of Primary Industry and Fisheries

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Technical bulletin (Northern Territory. Dept. of Primary Industry and Fisheries) ; no. 295



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Technical Annual Report 2000/01 111 PROJECT: Asian Vegetable Demonstration Plot Project Officers: G. Owens, M. Traynor, P. Hopkinson, D. Alchin and K. Bui Location: Melon Patch, Territory Produce Freight Management, Humpty Doo Objective: To demonstrate the difference in productivity that can be gained by using best practice vegetable growing methods. To create an attitude change in the Asian vegetable growers by demonstrating the ease of implementing best practice vegetable growing methods. To create an aspiration to match published production figures by adopting such practices. To change the behaviour of Asian vegetable growers adopting such practices. Introduction: On-farm demonstration plots for displaying best practice farming systems have been used in the Asian vegetable growing community for a number of years with mixed success. Those farmers near or associated with the collaborating growers gained from the trial. However, adoption was limited. In an attempt to increase the awareness of the whole group it was decided to try and locate a demonstration plot at a central location that the majority of the growers visited at least once a week in the vegetable season. A 100m2 site was selected at the Melon patch just outside Territory Produce Freight Management (TPFM) transport depot for receiving, cooling and consolidation. A crop of bitter melon was planted using local and best practice methods and the whole process was open to grower observation and comment. Method: The demonstration was set up to contrast the two methods of growing one of the major Asian vegetables. The vegetable selected was an open-pollinated local selection of bitter melon, a climbing cucurbit common throughout Asia. The plot comprised of four rows, each 30 m in length. Plants were spaced at 2-m intervals and the rows 3 m apart for vehicle access. The vines were directed up a vertical trellis constructed of star pickets, wire and nylon net. Two rows were set up to reflect an average of local growing practices. The other two were set up to a best practice system. Local practices included individual drippers at the base of the melon plants, weekly side dressing of high analysis NPK fertiliser and mounded bare soil. The best practice system included plastic mulch on the soil, drip tape and twice-weekly fertiliser injection, based on the current DPIF recommendation for fertigation of cucurbits. It was monitored weekly using petiole sap analysis. The crop was harvested at least twice a week. Yield results and fertiliser inputs were periodically updated on a white board located at the demonstration area and close to the roadway used by the growers. Results and Discussion: The difference in the growth rates of the two systems was obvious from day one. The best practice system grew much more quickly than the local practice system and covered the same size trellis in dense and lush