Protected Cropping Australia is the peak industry body representing commercial hydroponic and greenhouse growers across Australia.
The Australian protected cropping industry is adapting to the changing local and global landscape. Australian growers are facing chronic labour shortages, legislative changes, and widely documented global supply chain issues and constraints. Poor weather conditions, low light levels and high humidity have been challenging for many growers on the eastern seaboard and have only contributed to tightening margins.
Despite these challenges, Australian growers are doing what they do best, adapting and innovating. New construction and business expansion continue to pick up pace as producers reap the benefits of protected cropping systems. The reduction of risk and continuity of production that glasshouse and greenhouse production systems offer are becoming more viable for producers looking to future-proof their businesses.
To help map and track the growth of the protected cropping industry in Australia, the Applied Agricultural Remote Sensing Centre based at the University of New England are midway through the development of the detailed National Map of Protected Cropping Systems. This map will contribute to the thorough understanding of Australia’s protected cropping industry’s size and scale. The information gathered by the project is invaluable to help direct education, training, research and support to the locations where it is needed most.
Protected Cropping Australia is the peak industry body representing commercial hydroponic and greenhouse growers Australia-wide, supporting this growth and development by focusing on four key advocacy areas.
Firstly, research, development and extension. Proving growers with the best local and international research is critical for the industry’s growth. PCA leverages collaborative partnerships to introduce research to growers using an innovation systems approach to extension.
The sustainability of protected cropping businesses is a second priority area for the sector. Focusing on Organic and Inorganic Waste, Energy, Water, and Business Sustainability, PCA is helping safeguard the industry’s future by addressing the key issues facing growers today and in the future.
PCA’s job number three is supporting growers to increase the capacity and capability of their businesses to make the industry better and more profitable. PCA delivers localised, targeted, collaborative education and training to members to ensure growers can access the support they need to grow their businesses.
Finally, PCA’s advocacy area spans land use planning. As greenhouse and glasshouse businesses grow and develop, there is a greater need for coordination with national and local building codes. Reducing red and green tape prohibiting the development of protected cropping structures is a key focus for PCA.
By offering targeted support for our growers, PCA aims to improve the Australian protected cropping industry’s profitability, productivity, and preparedness.
All the work of PCA and industry culminates in the Bi-Annual Protected Cropping conference. PCA is excited to host PCA2023 in Brisbane, Queensland, from July 17-20-2023. PCA2023 is the premier event for the protected cropping industry and brings together growers, researchers and allied trade to learn and network. Sponsorships and presentation opportunities are still available. If you are interested in exposing your brand to the thought leaders of the Australian horticulture industry, please reach out and email [email protected]
This article first featured in FloraCulture International, July-August 2022.