Queensland is renowned for producing fruit, vegetables and nuts of exceptional quality and taste. Innovations in plant varieties, cultural methods, management and marketing have made Queensland’s horticultural industry a world leader.
To be a successful vegetable grower, basic factors such as soil suitability, irrigation availability, and the effect of temperature on growth, production and quality must be understood.
Drainage is the most important soil factor. Soils must be capable of free drainage, especially when a significant rainfall event immediately follows an irrigation. Shallow soils (impervious subsoils within 80 cm of the surface), compacted soils (natural clay bars or machinery compaction) and uneven fields will allow waterlogging to occur.
Waterlogging significantly reduces the yield and quality of most vegetable crops. Levelling (e.g. laser levelling) and raised beds will help reduce these effects, though they will not be eliminated in poorly drained soils.
When it does rain in Queensland, significant amounts fall in summer with smaller amounts over the remainder of the year. The driest periods are winter and spring. This, together with the effects of high temperatures, has moved vegetable production away from the summer months in the majority of the production districts of Queensland. Out-of-season rainfall does occur and often adversely affects planting and harvesting schedules, product quality and yield.