Farm Practices


It can be hot and laborious to keep the water pumping to the palms!
It can be hot and laborious to keep the water pumping to the palms!

Although dates are very drought tolerant, they require a lot of water to fruit at a commercial rate. We use drip irrigation around the base of each palm which is pumped from our bore using a diesel generator. Ultimately, we would like to redesign our irrigation system to enable us to use a solar array to pump water – stay tuned for updates!

This year, we have created basins around the palms to ensure that irrigation water remains in the root zone of the palms and is not lost flowing onto inter-rows. Catching water in the basins also helps water penetrate deeper into the soil rather than remaining on the surface and assists us in monitoring surface salts which occur when evaporation is high.

Soils and fertiliser

Every year, we remove tonnes of organic material, nutrient and carbon from our soils and palms in the form of dates and dead foliage. A basic level of orchard sustainability requires that what is removed is replaced. This year we used gypsum to promote root development and unlock more nutrients for the palms, fish emulsion to provide a nitrogen and micro nutrient boost for the palms and potassium sulphate to promote healthy flower growth.  We are experimenting with mixtures of compost teas, rock dust, mulch and humus.


Palm fronds badly infested with scale

Unfortunately we have a leaf scale in our orchard called parlatoria scale. This is the only major pest we face in the Northern Territory date industry.  Scales are insects which suck sap from plant leaves, robbing them of essential nutrients and reducing the overall health of the plant. We try to minimise the impact of scale by spraying the palms each winter before the date flowers emerge, with a organically approved white oil.  The white oil basically smothers the scale and limits their growth.  We are also trialling selected nutrients to feed the palms to strengthen their internal resistance to parlatoria.

Organic Certification

We are not currently certified organic. However, we are 100% committed to  sustainable, biological, organic farming and improving the life of our soils for the long term.
We will be seeking to gain certification from the relevant organic bodies in the near future!


6 thoughts on “Farm Practices”

  1. try looking into Bio Char it fixes carbon into the soil, also Aloe vera sprays can be effective against sucking insects, im not sure if you can get ladybirds to live in the climate but could be worth looking into

  2. hello, please try to find another alternative to fish emulsion and animal products on your trees… Vegan here and love dates


  3. Hello. I’m a date grower in Coachella Valley Indio CA USA since 1977. We had a scale problem in Coachella Valley in the early days of date growing. It has been completely eradicated. We would dust the palms with pure element sulfur. Don’t know what your regulations allow. hope that helps.
    Arthur Futterman

  4. Do you compost the organic left-overs – prunings (after running them through a chipper, of course), unusable fruit, weeds, etc? Perhaps you could make a deal with the camel and kangaroo operations to collect manure to add to the composting? The finished compost could be added to the soil to further improve its structure.

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