Plant industries development

The Katherine Research Station commercial cotton trails commenced in 2018 with both rainfed and irrigated methods investigated. The Department of Industry, Tourism and Trade conducted commercial crop establishment and machinery configuration trials at Douglas Daly Research Farm for demonstration and working closely with commercial properties as the industry grows.

Read more about cotton research.

The Northern Territory (NT) is renowned for growing mangoes and melons. It supplies more than half the mangoes and over one third of melons produced in Australia. The NT also grows a range of tropical, sub-tropical and temperate fruit, vegetables, flowers, stock feed and forestry products.

There is significant potential for further development of plant industries in the NT to grow food, fibre and foliage.

For information on the growing conditions in the NT, potential commercial crops and export markets, read opportunities for plant industries in the NT PDF (1.6 MB).

Central Australia offers a unique combination of sunshine, low humidity, cool winter temperatures and freedom from most pests and diseases. These conditions are ideal for many crops.

Extensive commercial production already exists for a wide variety of crops including table grapes, dates, melons, mangoes, figs, olives, bush foods (from Australia’s native plants) and vegetables. Fodder is also grown to support the local cattle industry.

Research by the Northern Territory Government and its partners has identified the potential for production of a diverse range of other crops including - stone fruit, nuts, temperate and subtropical fruits and ornamental flowers.

Find out more about the Western Davenport region.

Agave originates from Mexico and is used for syrups, spirits, fibre and fodder.

The agave industry is an emerging industry in Australia. There is currently no commercial cultivation in the Northern Territory.

Agave takes 6 to 8 years to grow to maturity, during that time researchers will assess the growth of the plants and collect data on their performance.

The department engaged the commercial growers interested in participating in a trial looking at the suitability of agave as a crop for the Katherine and Central Australian regions.

Participating growers were supplied with 30 free plants (approximately 20 square metres under cultivation) to trial on-farm.

This trial is being funded under the Australian Government’s Future Drought Fund Natural Resource Management (NRM) Drought Resilience Program grants.

For more information about the Australian Government’s Future Drought Fund, go to the Australian Government Department of Agriculture, Fisheries and Forestry website.

Last updated: 16 August 2022

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