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Cutting-edge blueberry research draws a crowd

A group of people standing amongst rows of potted blueberry bushes under a long, curved white canopy, listen to a woman (Dr Sophie Parks) in t shirt and hat and holding a microphone.

More than 50 growers, agronomists and other key players joined the Clean Coastal Catchments (CCC) team for the Blueberry Research Tunnels Open Day held at the Wollongbar Primary Industries Institute in April.

It was a glorious day amongst the blueberry bushes with DPI Research scientists Dr Sophie Parks (DPI Senior Research Scientist), Diana Unsworth (CCC Field Technician), and Dr Mark Bayley (Environmental Scientist) showcasing CCC’s latest research findings and experimental methods at the site.

Much of the CCC research focuses on finding ways that growers can use less fertiliser without cutting their production of sweet juicy blueberries so that farm costs go down while yields stay up!

Harriet Brickhill from North Coast Local Land Services (LLS) also shared information at the Open Day about LLS funding incentives for growers to adopt sustainable farm management strategies.

Feedback from growers and industry stakeholders was very positive with many growers interested in finding out more about strategies to better manage nitrogen run off and reduce potential fertiliser pollution in waterways.

“It was a great opportunity for interaction between agronomists, researchers and practitioners to consider social licence and environmental issues,” said horticultural consultant, Tony Bundock.

Crop science technologist, Zen Kynigos, wrote to Dr Sophie Parks with high praise, “What we found to be most refreshing was the open dialogue, willingness to share findings and your wisdom to incorporate new ideas to continually improve on your research.”

A big thank you to everyone who joined the CCC team for a stroll amongst the blueberries to learn about the project’s cutting-edge research.

Find out more at:  Wollongbar Open Day 2024 (nsw.gov.au)

The CCC Research project is delivered by the Department of Primary Industries, and funded through the Marine Estate Management Strategy, to work with growers on ways to prevent agricultural nutrient and sediment pollution from ending up in coastal waterways.

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