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Hort Innovation

Hort Innovation is the grower-owned, not-for-profit research and development corporation for Australia's horticulture industry.

As one of the nation's 15 Rural Research and Development Corporations, we're tasked with investing horticulture levies and Australian Government contributions into initiatives to help the industry be as productive and profitable as possible.

In addition to the levy-focused investment activities that are our core work, Hort Innovation also forges partnerships with a broad range of co-investors to deliver investments through our Hort Frontiers arm. Hort Frontiers was established by Hort Innovation to address a range of long-term and complex issues that are critical to the future of Australian horticulture.

Adrian Englefield standing in a vineyard smiling at the camera with an ipad in hand
Case Study

Enablers of change: A day in the life of a Regional Extension Manager

Growing up on a vineyard fuelled Adrian Englefield’s love of the land and the agriculture industry. Now as a Regional Extension Manager for Hort Innovation, Adrian gets to help the next generation embrace ideas and harness opportunities, which support a thriving sector and sustainable workforce. 

Innovation

World-first yield forecasting technology offers avocado growers 93% accuracy

The University of New England has developed an app that makes it easier for avocado growers to forecast yields – and with greater accuracy. UNE’s CropCount team is now looking for partners to help scale CropCount to bring this advantage to other tree crop producers.

  • Funded by
    Hort Innovation
  • Led by
    University of New England (UNE)
Picking

Multi-armed mango auto-harvester set to speed up picking by 90%

As it gets increasingly difficult to find reliable labour to pick acid-spurting mangoes in the tropical heat, a world-first automated harvester developed by Central Queensland University’s Fruitronics team and Hort Innovation, are now seeking commercial partnership from an agricultural equipment manufacturer.

  • Led by
    Hort Innovation
  • In collaboration with
    Central Queensland University (CQU)
Horticulture

Innovation in horticulture to benefit people, plants and the planet

The future of innovation in horticulture is bright and will underpin the production of produce that is good for Australia and the world. 

 

Hort Innovation’s Head of R&D Byron de Kock said, “We strive for balance across our Research, Development and Extension program that represents more than $400 million of investment. At one end of the spectrum, we strive to transform and revolutionise through initiatives in biotechnology and robotics. At the other end, we seek to protect current production through biosecurity, crop protection, pest and disease control investments.”

  • Led by
    Hort Innovation
  • Featuring
    Byron De Kock, Hort Innovation, Head of R&D
Urban farming

Bringing high tech horticulture to urban areas in Australia – rooftop, underground and floating farms

Hort Innovation is working with a consortium, led by agricultural consultancy RMCG in partnership with University of Technology Sydney (UTS) and global urban agriculture consultancy Agritecture, to assess the potential of emerging production technology and its application in the Australian urban landscape as part of a six-month project. 

 

The benefits to growers and Australia by use of technology such as vertical farm systems and hydroponics is food production and delivery systems that have the potential to redefine horticulture by optimising yield, quality, and supply.

  • Led by
    Hort Innovation
Genomics

Tree genomics program sequences 300 macadamia varieties to improve productivity and profitability for growers

The National Tree Genomics program is in the final stages of sequencing over 300 macadamia wild and cultivated varieties.

 

The national program harnesses cutting-edge genetic technologies for the benefit of Australian horticultural tree crop industries. New tools are currently being developed that will equip Australian plant breeders to deliver new varieties with key productivity and profitability traits. New tools will also stem from this program for growers to enhance farm productivity.

  • Led by
    Hort Innovation
New varieties

Strawberry breeding program delights tastebuds

Every strawberry season, researchers from the Australian Strawberry Breeding Program trial, taste and assess thousands of new varieties of strawberry developed through natural breeding to identify the best tasting and yielding fruit for Australia.

 

Funded by Hort Innovation in partnership with the Queensland Department of Agriculture and Fisheries, the program supports the Australian strawberry industry by giving them access to improved, locally adapted superior varieties.   

  • Led by
    Hort Innovation

Commercial opportunities

Browse all commercial opportunities
Logo for Mango auto harvester
Fruits

Mango auto harvester

Opportunity for

  • Machinery manufacturing and distribution companies interested in new products and services
  • Agronomy service companies interested in new products and services
  • Led by

    Hort Innovation

  • Opportunity type

    Licensing, Research partner, Field trial, Seeking partners

  • Readiness
    Mid (TRL 5)
    Proof of concept in the laboratory then in the field resulting in the development of a minimum viable product (MVP).

Research projects

Other research projects
Logo for CT20009 - Integrated disease management of citrus black spot and 'Emperor' brown spot
Fruits

CT20009 - Integrated disease management of citrus black spot and 'Emperor' brown spot

The Australian citrus industry has a strong export focus and must manage pesticide use carefully to ensure it meets Maximum Residue Limits (MRLs) that vary in each overseas market. This project aims to identify complementary Integrated Disease Management (IDM) tools to assist growers to manage citrus black spot, 'Emperor' brown spot and citrus black core rot, in ways that ensure it complies with MRLs.
  • Funded by

    Hort Innovation

  • Project date

    10 Jul 2021 - 31 Oct 2025

  • Research organisation

    Queensland Department of Agriculture and Fisheries (QDAF)

Logo for Development of regional disease risk models for fungal diseases of pyrethrum
Other rural industries

Development of regional disease risk models for fungal diseases of pyrethrum

Pyrethrum is a type of chrysanthemum which produces one of the most commonly used non-synthetic insecticides. Diseases such as ray blight and tan spot represent a major risk to yield of pyrethrum in Australia, and this project intends to develop a framework for treatment of the diseases in specific regions.
  • Funded by

    Hort Innovation

  • Project date

    21 Sep 2021 - 30 Sep 2023

  • Research organisation

    University of Tasmania (UTAS)

Logo for Innovation at Work
Multiple industries

Innovation at Work

This project is exploring innovative ways to deliver RD&E within horticultural industries in Australia through collaborating with private sector agribusiness advisers, who are often a trusted ally of their grower clients. A range of activities has been designed to enhance adviser and grower awareness of relevant R&D and best management practices, with the aim of achieving on-farm practice change.
  • Funded by

    Hort Innovation

  • Project date

    6 Oct 2021 - 31 Oct 2024

Logo for National Bee Pest Surveillance Program: Transition Program
Multiple industries

National Bee Pest Surveillance Program: Transition Program

This project will continue the delivery of a national surveillance program for 13 pests (mites and beetles) and pest bees that could carry parasites or cause damage to honey-bee and pollinator-dependent industries in Australia. It is designed to ensure the early detection of high-priority pest incursions, which provides the best opportunity for successful pest eradication.
  • Funded by

    Hort Innovation

  • Project date

    3 Dec 2021 - 15 Dec 2024

  • Research organisation

    Plant Health Australia (PHA)

Logo for VegNET 3.0
Vegetables

VegNET 3.0

  • Funded by

    Hort Innovation

  • Project date

    16 Sep 2021 - 1 Oct 2026

  • Research organisation

    AUSVEG

Logo for Demonstrating the benefits of building capability and capacity in extension delivery in the vegetable industry
Vegetables

Demonstrating the benefits of building capability and capacity in extension delivery in the vegetable industry

This project focuses on identifying what support extension officers require to help them develop the necessary skills, knowledge and experience to deliver effective extension to vegetable growers. It will also identify which avenues and networks vegetable growers prefer to use to gain knowledge and skills.
  • Funded by

    Hort Innovation

  • Project date

    11 Jan 2022 - 12 Jul 2026

  • Research organisation

    The University of Melbourne

Logo for Effective control of Listeria on rockmelons through alternative post-harvest treatment methods
Fruits

Effective control of Listeria on rockmelons through alternative post-harvest treatment methods

This project is determining the optimum postharvest strategies to reduce the risk of rockmelons being contaminated by listeria, a bacteria found widely in soil, water and vegetation that can cause the disease, listeriosis. Trials will evaluate the effectiveness of five common sanitisers against listeria and make best practice recommendations for growers.
  • Funded by

    Hort Innovation

  • Project date

    25 Oct 2021 - 1 Nov 2022

  • Research organisation

    Applied Horticultural Research (AHR)

Logo for Identifying new resistance genes for Panama Tropical Race 4
Fruits

Identifying new resistance genes for Panama Tropical Race 4

This project will identify new genetic material associated with resistance to the banana disease Panama Tropical Race 4, with the aim of developing a range of molecular markers. These will be used to screen germplasm in international breeding programs to identify lines and varieties that will ultimately be used by Australian banana growers.
  • Funded by

    Hort Innovation

  • Project date

    3 Feb 2022 - 30 Nov 2024

  • Research organisation

    The University of Queensland (UQ)

Logo for Study to review automation of banana de-handing
Fruits

Study to review automation of banana de-handing

This project is examining whether it is feasible to automate de-handing of bananas. The research team will conduct a time and motion study of banana processing in an operational processing facility and produce a feasibility report into the challenges and immediate opportunities around integrating robotics into de-handing.
  • Funded by

    Hort Innovation

  • Project date

    2 Dec 2021 - 30 Apr 2022

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