Collaborative extension project set to boost tea tree industry productivity


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The productivity, resilience and sustainability of Australia’s tea tree oil industry is set to escalate with a new project funded by AgriFutures Tea Tree Oil Program.

The Enhanced extension for the Australian tea tree industry project, led by Queensland-based agronomic consultancy, Farmacist is taking a collaborative approach to extension to drive greater adoption of improved management practices.

Farmacist agronomist, Alice Moore, is taking on the lead role of Industry Extension Officer as part of the project.  For the past six years Alice has been working in Far North Queensland helping local sugarcane growers implement tailored nutrient and chemical solutions in their operations, while focusing on precision agriculture practices and technology.  This new project has given Alice the opportunity to return to her hometown of Casino in northern NSW and create change in the industry in which she grew up.

The project seeks to address a gap in extension and communication activities for tea tree growers and their advisors, which is restricting the uptake and benefits of industry research and development outcomes.

“By developing and delivering an extension service driven by collaboration and industry priorities, we hope to close this gap,” explained Alice.

“Through greater grower engagement we can accelerate the adoption of improved production techniques and drive improved economic, social and environmental benefits for the tea tree industry.”


Seeing is believing

During the three-year project, the team will establish two participatory action research (PAR) demonstration sites and hold multiple field days, walks and group learning activities each year. The project will focus on crop nutrition, pest, weed and disease management in tea tree stands.

“By undertaking regular activities on commercial-scale demonstration sites, which draw-upon local experience, we can engage growers and advisors through a ‘seeing-is-believing’ approach”, said Alice.

“This level of engagement creates connections between the extension activities and what growers can bring to their own production system and business.”

“Such interactivity with on-the-ground research and development, improves understanding and builds grower confidence to adopt new practices.”

“We know the path to adoption is hastened when stakeholders are actively engaged in the research, development and extension (RDE) pipeline.”

Farmacist will also work in partnership with the AgriFutures Tea Tree Oil Program and the Australian Tea Tree Industry Association (ATTIA), to guide growers and advisors in implementing research outcomes in their farming businesses.

Learn more:

Meet Alice - read her researcher profile Download the project overview

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