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Irrigation

Water is a major input resource in all horticultural operations. Irrigation management practices have the potential to strongly influence both the quantity and quality of crop produced. In many cases, water is both a limited and limiting resource to horticultural production. However, the ability to irrigate does not automatically guarantee profitability and long term sustainability of horticultural farms. Inappropriate or inefficient irrigation practices may lead to crop stress, disease and / or loss, as well as groundwater and surface water contamination, erosion or salinity problems.

Infield Application
Irrigation Infrastructure
Irrigation Management
Irrigation Sustainability
Water Reuse
Water Supply
Crop Water Use Efficiency Benchmarking

Waste

Farm waste management involves the responsible storage, collection and disposal of all farm waste and the preparation and implementation of a farm waste management plan.

Waste in horticulture represents the by-products of production. The best way to manage waste is to use resources efficiently. For instance optimal use of water, nutrients and energy limit the waste of water, nutrients or energy inputs used in the production of the crop.

Through the Hort360 Waste module you will come to understand where in your production systems waste is occurring and build action plans to address these issues.

Pesticide

Agricultural chemicals have an important role in the production of food, protecting plants from the damage caused by insect pets, weeds or disease. Many of these chemicals, however, can be hazardous and present risks not only to human health but also the environment and animal health if not used appropriately.

To manage these risks, the Hort360 Pesticide module helps you to identify areas of concern on-farm and provides the necessary resources to help growers manage chemicals safely.

Through the Hort360 Pesticide Management program, facilitators work with you to help you understand your legal and social obligations with regards to the application of chemicals, management and safety, monitoring and record keeping.

Application
Chemicals
Management & Safety
Monitoring & Recording
Resistance
Production

Energy

The cost of energy and the efficiency of its use have become major factors in operating any business. As the cost of doing business continues to climb, energy efficiency is a simple and effective way to improve your businesses productivity and maintain competitiveness.

Improving your energy efficiency is not only an effective way to reduce on-farm costs but can also impact positively on the environment.

The Hort360 Energy module can help you understand how energy is consumed in your business and identify improvements to reduce your energy costs. Your tailored report can offer suggestions that will allow you to reduce your overheads, save money, and gain a competitive edge over your competition.

Lighting
Machinery Tractors
Management
Packing Sheds and Cool Rooms
Workshops and Office

Biodiversity

Biodiversity as it refers to the broad mix of species that occurs in any given area can benefit growers in several ways. For example:

  • Vegetation helps to clean air and water, and regulate the local climate.
  • Fungi, worms and bacteria help break down plant material to make fertile and well-structured soil. They are crucial for cycling of nutrients within soil into forms that are available to crops.
  • Many plants depend upon insects to pollinate them, and birds and insects to keep pests away or to keep their numbers under control.
  • Native vegetation along waterways traps contaminants before they can reach the water, strengthens stream banks to reduce erosion, gives shade and food inputs to in-stream life, and provides habitat (homes) for wildlife, insects and other organisms.
  • Vegetation provides shade, shelter, noise barriers and privacy. The use of native vegetation as wind breaks can also reduce moisture loss through evaporation, be a tool to manage salinity, and increase the distribution uniformity of irrigation.
  • Maintaining native vegetation contributes to the unique character of the Australian landscape and the reputation of the horticultural industry, as well as a special part of the farm for family recreation and sense of place.
  • Biodiversity on farm can help to combat pest and disease incursions by limiting available habitat for invading species and controlling their numbers.
  • Biodiversity can increase system resilience to major problems such as high winds and flooding since deep-rooted native vegetation slows both wind and water and can help protect against erosion.

The maintenance of biodiversity will eventually become an ecosystem service that may be valued through incentive payments in the future.

Workplace Safety

As an employer, you carry significant legal responsibility and liability for ensuring the health and safety of your workers under the Work Health and Safety and Other Legislation. As a horticulture employer, your responsibilities are heightened due to the nature of our industry, and the range of potential hazards and risks on a farm.

Creating a safe work environment is essential to the overall success of your business, and is one of the best ways to retain staff and maximise productivity and profitability. Although there are some costs associated with implementing safe workplace practices, taking no action can be serious and expensive – for you and your workers.

The Hort360 Workplace Safety module can help you understanding Workplace Health and Safety (WHS) laws and avoid unnecessary costs and damage to your business caused by workplace injury or illness. It will also provide your business with a strong foundation to achieve long-term success.

By completing the risk assessment you will gain a better understanding of where you currently sit in relation to matters of compliance and best practice and be provided with suggestions to help fix any problem areas.

Communication Consultation
Management Committment
Reporting
Safe Work Procedures
Specific Procedures for Farm
Training Supervision
Workcover Return to Work

Soil

The quality of soil changes rapidly under human activity. Farming practices can change soil quality for the better or for the worse. Soil health is determined by its capacity to function within ecosystem boundaries to sustain biological productivity, maintain environmental quality, and promote plant and animal health.

Deterioration is mainly caused through erosion by wind and water, loss of organic matter and biological activity, breakdown of soil structure, salinisation, net loss of nutrients, and chemical contamination. The consequences of soil health deterioration are declining soil fertility and productivity.

The Hort360 Soil module aims to help you better understand your soil with the aim of increasing yields and reducing unnecessary expenses. It provides guidance on how to achieve optimal soil health and therefore prevent decline in productivity. It also aims to prevent erosion and loss of valuable soil from farm land.

Chemistry
Management
Mapping

Climate

Many growers are re-thinking their climate risk management strategies following more than a decade of severe natural disasters that have affected Queensland’s horticulture industry.

Rising temperatures, variations in rainfall and more frequent extreme weather events pose increasing risk to the horticulture industry. Being pro-active about climate risks rather than reactive can make significant difference to the vulnerability or sustainably of your farm business.

The Hort360 Climate Risk Management module can help you assess climate hazards, identify the risks these pose to your business, and develop management strategies to mitigate those risks. Helping you understand how climate hazards are changing is integral to supporting successful climate adaptation in the industry.

Here is a quick and easy way to get your head around what’s involved in preparing your farm business for natural disasters.

The seven webinars below cover the basics of how to be prepared for extreme weather events and what actions you can take to help you recover quickly if your farm business is affected by a natural disaster.

  1. Lessons learned from a decade of disasters in Queensland’s horticulture
  2. A framework for disaster risk management in farm businesses
  3. Tips for re-assessing climate risks in farm businesses
  4. Preventing (or reducing) impacts from extreme weather events in your farm business
  5. Preparing for extreme weather and natural disaster in your farm business
  6. Responding to a severe weather event in your farm business
  7. Recovering from a natural disaster – tips for farm businesses

Runoff

Run-off from intensively farmed areas can not only cause increased soil erosion and loss of productivity but result in increased agricultural chemical contamination in local water ways. In addition, any water flowing from a property onto riparian areas that are not carefully managed can cause degradation of those areas and erosion of stream banks.

The Hort360 Run-off module can help you understand the impacts of run-off on your farming property and provide you with solutions to help reduce those impacts. Hort360 will help you understand how run-off can be controlled in-field by adopting appropriate tillage practices and maintain soil cover. Off-field strategies can also be utilised including buffer zones and collection sumps.

Buffer Riparian
Control Measures
Farm Runoff
Infield Runoff

Air

When planning a new farm, crop or operational layout, there are a growing number of tools and techniques that can be used to reduce the sources and spread of air pollutants.

In the planning stages of the cropping operation, it may be easier to divide the farm practices by process. Processes like tillage and harvest have different potential for generating air pollutants than activities that maintain cropland during the growth phase or that occur on non-cropland during other farm operations.

All horticultural enterprises will produce noise whilst going about their business. Whilst noise reduction is important, it is even more important to manage the impact of that noise. A number of actions can be taken to reduce the impact of noise.

The first point of prevention is in planning new or seasonal operations and infrastructure to minimise noise effects for employees and off-farm. If possible involving neighbours at planning stages is advisable for short term occurrences of noise at night, for instance during a harvest period. Informing neighbours about the timing and duration of such events allows some level of predictability for the neighbour that reduces the occurrence of complaints. Providing a number to call for local residents to complain directly allows a sense of control that also reduces the overall amount of outrage and reduces the occurrence of complaints.

Noise has a subjective nature and does not affect all people equally. People may be more sensitive to certain types of noise or the noise may be considered unpleasant simply because it occurs at a certain time or place.

Better Business

Understanding how your farm business finances are performing is integral to being able to make smart decisions relating to the activities that you carry out in your farming operation. While the profit and loss statements and balance sheets included in your tax return provide important figures for the operation of your farm business, the financial data that they provide can be broken down even further to provide more meaningful information which can be used to assess the performance of your farm business finances over time.

Growers generally have an idea as to where their business is heading however this vision or concept is often not shared, verbalised or documented. The Hort360 Better Business module provides you with a business plan that will enable you to bring all concerned to the same page while providing a platform for future development.

Finance
Management
Selling

Nutrient

Nutrients are an important input for optimising crop yield and maintaining the productive capacity of your paddock. Nutrition management practices have the potential to strongly influence both the quantity and quality of crop produced as well as minimising the risk of land degradation and improving the natural productivity of the soil.

Getting the soil and nutrients balanced correctly is a constantly changing operation with adaptive management the key to achieving a good result. Inappropriate or inefficient practices can lead to a higher risk of crop failure due to salinity, sodicity, acidic soils, groundwater and surface water contamination, erosion and involves wasting money and resources among others.

The Hort360 Nutrient module aims to help you maximise your yield whilst reducing unnecessary inputs. Hort360 will show you the risks you face on your farm from sub-optimal nutrient management and how tackling these issues can lead to greater profitability.

Application
Decision
Management

Biosecurity

Biosecurity is a general description for a series of measures designed to protect the plant industry from the threats posed by insects and diseases. These pests may originate in other countries (exotic) or within other regions of Australia (endemic). Good biosecurity systems are critical for ensuring Australia’s food security and safety, protect productivity, grower livelihood and market access.

Biosecurity is important for everyone and it is up to industry, government and the community to be responsible and maintain Australia’s pant health status. Biosecurity is important for everyone and it is up to industry, government and the community to be responsible and maintain Australia’s pant health status.

Here are six simple things you can do to reduce the risk of pests from entering and establishing on your farm. Here are six simple things you can do to reduce the risk of pests from entering and establishing on your farm.

    1. Be aware of biosecurity threats: make sure you and your farm workers are familiar with the most important pests per crop grown.
    2. Use clean planting material: ensure all planting material and other farm inputs are pest free.
    3. Keep it clean: take care to prevent the entry and movement of pests on your farm. Farm hygiene is a very effective preventative measure. Ensure that workers, visitors, vehicles and equipment are decontaminated before they enter and leave your farm.
    4. Check your crop: checking your crops frequently for pests will help you and your staff to notice anything new or unusual.
    5. Report anything unusual: if you suspect a new pest report it immediately.
    6. Abide by the law: be aware of legislative regulations established to protect the plant industry from biosecurity threats.
Access
Management