Located about 60km out of Darwin, our Coastal Plain site is in the heart of the Top End's horticulture district. With support from NT Farmers, NT Department of Primary Industries and two local growers, Chris Phan and Kevin Huong, we'll be exploring some key issues including Integrated Pest Management (IPM) in vegetables and the value of cover crops over the wet season.
The Coastal Plains Research farm is investigating the use of IPM in vegetable production in a trial comparing IPM to conventional insecticides in a range of vegetables. Major pests include mites, aphids, bean fly, green vegetable bug and cluster caterpillar. Chris and Kevin have used insights from this trial to implement IPM on their farms and noticed a 75% reduction in damage in their cucumber and okra crops after reducing hard chemicals and implementing other complementary cultural practices.
Both the research station and Chris will look at different cover crop species over Darwin’s wet season to protect the soils from heavy rainfall over the summer. These crops will also act as a green manure that will boost soil carbon and provide nutrients for the coming year's cash crop.