Agriculture is an economic and culturally important part of life in Australia. Many Australians are directly and indirectly associated with agriculture. Even for those Australians who are not connected with agriculture, there will still be links with the country’s rural and agrarian-economic history.
A brief overview of the history of agriculture in Australia
In the first few decades after European settlers arrived in Australia, farms developed mainly around early settlements. These farms mainly raised grain crops (wheat) and raised sheep, which were originally brought from Europe.
Agriculture in the 1800s
The government encouraged research and development of new plots of land and provided material support to this cause, and in the 1800s, farmers and settlers gradually began to move inland and occupy vast areas for grazing and growing crops.
The creation of railways from the 1850s greatly facilitated the delivery of products from remote farms to the markets of large cities.
Huge areas, previously overgrown with forests and shrubs have now been cleared for pasture along the coast of Australia and inland.
The dry climate and poor soil of Australia first presented problems for farmers, but they quickly solved this problem, the solution was the production of high-quality wool. Wool has become the cornerstone of Australian agriculture, and Australia, as is often said, “went on the back of the sheep” during the first years of its economic development.
Still, the key problems for farmers in most parts of Australia were drought and the issue of irrigation. After the construction of irrigation systems, new agricultural methods became viable.
In 1900, wool and wheat still dominated Australian agriculture, but cattle rearing was becoming more widespread, helped by a rich market for grains, fruits, and vegetable crops.
First, most of the crops were grown in the Eastern States, but then, Western Australia became the main grain producer by 1905. The production of sugar beet in Queensland and the cultivation of grapes in the Riverline region of New South Wales were also well developed by the beginning of the 20th century.
In 1901, the population census revealed that approximately fourteen percent of the total Australian population is employed in agricultural industries.
Enemies of australian farmers
During World War I, rabbits became the main enemy of Australian farmers. Rabbits spread north from Geelong in Victoria, and seriously reduced the productivity of Australian agriculture. Rabbit control is still the main problem for farmers and the government today.
Australia’s agriculture in the 20th century
In the 20th century, Australian agricultural production grew rapidly and produced a lot of products, which fully satisfied and even exceeded the needs of the Australian population. This increase in production has forced Australia to become one of the top food exporters in the world.
At the beginning of the 20th century, the Australian government provided assistance to Vermer and primary producers in order to communicate production, employment and exports. The government also increased duties on certain goods to discourage imports. Despite the enormous damage from the Great Depression and the two world wars, Australian agriculture continued to grow steadily in the first half of the 20th century.
The importance of agriculture in the Australian economy declined by the second half of the 20th century. Only three percent of the country’s population is now hired in agriculture. Government aid was reduced, and wool became a less important and valuable commodity. Farmers were forced to innovate and diversify in order to survive.
Agriculture in Australia today
The Economic Importance of Agriculture in Australia
Agriculture is an important sector of the Australian economy that generates up to $ 39 billion in profits every year.
Australia’s agriculture employs approximately 370,000 people.
Although agricultural production is not as extensive as at its peak in the mid-1970s, farms still occupy about sixty percent of all land in Australia.
Farms in Australia have traditionally been family-owned firms that have passed from generation to generation. However, since the 1950s, international economic factors and changes in agriculture have led to the expediency of organizing large farms, which are more economically viable than small ones. The number of families engaged in farming has decreased, but the average farm size has increased.
Many modern farmers report that they are struggling to make a profit, and some of them have to admit that additional work from the farm adds income to the family budget.
Types of agriculture in Australia
Different types of agriculture are mainly concentrated in the areas that satisfy them best, depending on irrigation suitability and climatic conditions.
Livestock, mainly sheep and cattle, occupy most of the land in Australian agriculture. Sheep are found in New South Wales, Western Australia and Victoria.
Approximately ninety percent of all cattle are used to produce beef. Queensland and New South Wales are the main beef cattle producers in Australia.
Most dairy cattle nakoditsya in the southern regions of the country, mainly in Victoria.
Wheat and other grains are equally distributed in New South Wales, South Australia, Victoria, Western Australia and Queensland.
The main harvest of sugar beet falls on Queensland and New South Wales.
Fruit cultivation is common in all Australian territories, as well as the cultivation of vegetables.
Drought and other effects of the Australian climate
One of Australia’s most famous poems, called “My Country,” by Dorothea McKellaire, contains the lines “land … rains, floods and droughts …” For many people, these are warnings about the difficulties that farmers face in Australia.
Australia is the driest inhabited continent in the world; only Antarctica has less precipitation. Large tracts of land everywhere in inland Australia are prone to drought, which can last for several years.
Irrigation is a very important factor in creating agriculture that is viable in the interior of the mainland. Extensive irrigation systems, such as the Snow Scheme, have been established so that water is brought into the country for agriculture. Water is also obtained by drilling wells and storing them in dams on farms.
Australian soils need fertilizer containing superfootvat and nitrogen. Farmers also face difficulties in dealing with soil erosion and salinity.
Many cities and settlements in Australia have annual agricultural exhibitions. In these events, exhibitors representing rural producers, organizations and companies introduce people living in cities to rural life and agricultural production.
The Sydney Royal Esther Shoo is the largest annual agricultural exhibition in Australia, as well as The Royal Melbourne Shoo, are the most anticipated exhibitions of Victoria. Every year hundreds of thousands of people come to each of these exhibitions.
Sustained popularity of agricultural exhibitions –
This is evidence that farms and rural societies continue to play a huge role in the life of Australia.
The importance of technology in Australian agriculture
Technology is having a huge impact on agriculture in Australia. Scientific and technological progress has helped make Australian farmers among the world’s leaders in efficiency and productivity.
During the 1800s, agriculture mainly used manual labor, along with horses and oxen. Today, a strong and technologically advanced machine replaced most of the labor of man and the labor of animals in agriculture.
Multi-Australian inventions and technological advances helped expand agriculture in the early twentieth century. Inventions such as the “jumping over the stump” plow, the combine and the “bush mower” helped farmers make the most of the wild Australian environment.
Irrigation advances, such as the discovery and use of groundwater from the Great Artesian Basin and the development of irrigation, have helped provide much-needed water to Australian farmers.
The effectiveness of Australian agriculture has also improved with scientific discoveries in genetics, irrigation and disease control. Drought-resistant varieties of cereal crops were developed. The animals had improved the quality of their meat and wool.
The discovery and introduction of new technologies remains vital for farmers to produce products of excellent quality at a low price. Farmers use satellite technology, discovering more efficient methods of delivering water to where it is needed.
Also in recent years, the use of information technology on farms has been increased. Now most farms have computers and Internet access.
Life on an Australian farm in the 21st century
Despite all the changes over the centuries in Australian agricultural production, today there is still a strong sense of tradition and pride among Australian farmers. While technological and economic factors have a huge impact on rural existence, many of the old-fashioned values of agriculture are as strong as ever for Australian farming families.
Allan Gardy has been engaged in agriculture in the Wimmer area of West Victoria since the 1950s. He and his wife, Pat, grow wheat and maintain a farm called the man, which Allan’s father handed to him. They also grow other crops, such as lentils, which are well suited to the dry conditions of Wimmera agriculture.
Like Australian farmers for decades in front of them, the Gardie family protects nature. Often the only thing separating a good year from a bad year is the good amount of precipitation at the right time.
While some of the tools and methods of agriculture have changed, others have remained the same as before. Allan is as proud of his working dogs as his high-tech farming equipment. An Australian farm dog is a tradition that has remained in modern agriculture because it is still a very effective way to guard and graze sheep and cattle. Working dogs are highly valued, but unlike most pet dogs, they are rarely allowed to stay in the house.
Like many other Australian farmers, the Hardy family is working hard. During harvest, work can continue even at night, using the lighting device on combines.
Despite hardship and hard work, the Gardy family is an active member of the farming community. They are always ready for communication when neighbors, family and friends drop in on them. They regularly play and chat at a local golf club. When Allan celebrated his 70th birthday at a local club, there were a lot of friends and their family members.
As in most farm families in Australia, when the children of Pat and Allan grew up, they began to leave the parents’ farm in the cities to find a prestigious and well-paid job. But their youngest son, Paul, has returned to the farm and is working with Allan now, successfully studying the art of agriculture. Pat and Allan are proud that their son will continue their family tradition of farm management.Read More
In Israel, more than a dozen varieties of strawberries are produced. Among them are Hadass, Tamar, Yael, Malach, Tamir, Barrack and Sirota, synthesized at the Agricultural Institute “Volcani” in Rishon Lezion, Yuval and Orly from the company Fertiseeds, as well as shaked and mouths grown on the “Meshek Yosef” farm.
And from about January all this begins to fill with color and maturity. It’s time to pick berries. You can, of course, buy them in the nearest market, but it is much nicer and more fun to get the whole family out into nature and personally collect them from the garden. At the same time you can eat from the heart. Where can this be done?
“Bag on the farm” (“Farm on the hill”) in Gedera invites you to pick strawberries grown without chemicals. The berries are clean and healthy, sweet and tasty, grow, as it should be in the name of the farm, on the hill. In case of rain or inclement weather there are beds inside the greenhouse. As an additional entertainment: a living area and the opportunity to ride through the fields on the tractor. The entrance costs 30 shekels (children up to 3 years old are free), food on the spot without restrictions, and each basket to take away – for an additional 20 shekels.
Farm Agronen, also located in Göder, produces not only fresh strawberries, but also other berries. At the beginning of January, only strawberries and raspberries are available in small quantities. The peak of ripening, according to the owners, will come on the holiday of Shavuot (this year it is May 19-20). In April, the medlar (shesek) is promised, and in June-July – blackberries, mulberries and plums. Open until only on Saturdays, but opening hours promise to expand on Friday. Entrance – 30 shekels, container for strawberries for 20.
“Bags-6” not far from Netanya in moshav Geulim invites you to one of the oldest strawberry farms in Israel, founded in the 60s of the last century. Long green beds, stretching across a huge field, daily meet guests with lots of sweet ripe berries, irrigated with well water. It is advised to come by 9 am – there are a lot of people who want it and by noon it is already full sold out. Entry costs 20 shekels. Price basket – 15.
Tal Bag is located next to Hod Hasharon and is open to the general public only on Saturdays. Here they are proud of 5 strawberry varieties (Orli, Tamar, Malach, Barrack and 295) grown using biological control methods. Berries do not even need to wash before eating. The entrance for the child costs 40, including a takeaway basket, parents can choose the option without packaging for 20 shekels. Each additional basket with a capacity of about 400 grams will cost 20 shekels. Food on site without restrictions. You can also pick oranges and carrots on the farm, but in January only strawberries are available.
You can also pick strawberries grown without chemical spraying at the Ruach She-Tut farm, at the entrance to the kibbutz Gan-Shmuel just east of Hadera. To protect against pests here use ladybugs and special bees. It is curious that part of the strawberry does not grow on the ground, but in boxes. The entrance costs 45 shekels, including unlimited strawberry eating on the spot and a 250-gram basket with them. Open daily, but pre-registration is required at the weekend.
PullGezer Farm, located near Kfar Saba, offers not only strawberries. You can pick carrots, sweet potatoes, cherry tomatoes, cucumbers, cabbage, beets, radishes, parsley, dill, mint and much more from local patches. The entrance to the vegetable part of the farm – 25 shekels, the strawberry – 35. When combining both options – a discount of 10 shekels. For the purchase of a basket of strawberries, they ask for 20 shekels, and for every kilogram of vegetables – 5. Food on site without restrictions. Open daily.
Farm “Stalbetut”, spread out at Hod Hasharon, invites you to gather strawberries only on Saturdays. The farm uses biological plant protection without the use of pesticides; here you can listen to lectures on the cultivation of strawberries and the difference in varieties. The cost of entry, unlimited eating from the garden and a small bast-basket with them is 40 shekels. If you wish, if you come with a child, an adult can choose the option without a basket for 20 shekels.
In “Sacks-77” near Netivot, not far from Beersheba in the western Negev, strawberry picking is open exclusively on Fridays. It is said that the berries are big, red, juicy and tasty. Here the entrance with unlimited eating on the spot and a basket of 250 grams costs 15 shekels, with a basket per half a kilo is 25 and with a basket per kilogram is 40. For an additional 10 shekels, you can make a tour of the farm on a tractor.
The Sadot farm, located at the entrance to the kibbutz Mishmar Hasharon, just northeast of Netanya, offers guests a strawberry field with 4 varieties to choose from: tamar, rotem, shaked and malach. The entrance with unlimited absorption of berries on the spot costs 22 shekels, and for another 15 shekels you can carry with you a basket, which, according to rumors, includes about a kilogram. Also on site you can do collecting anemones.
The Uri Tutim farm, located in Yesha moshav in the Western Negev, between Beersheba and the Gaza Strip, invites all southerners to pick strawberries growing in greenhouses not on the ground, but at the level of human growth. Here, for growing berries, a special hanging strawberry method is used, which makes it possible to do without soil, reduces the number of pests and improves plant health. Admission is only 10 shekels, a container for collecting with you – 25. Open from 8 am to 2 pm on Fridays and Saturdays.
The farm “Here Gil” in Petahia moshav in the regional council Gezer (about which we wrote a little earlier) grows delicious cherry tomatoes in the summer, and in winter opens the season of picking strawberries grown in greenhouses by the hanging method without pesticides. Here, among other things, you will hear interesting stories from the owner of the farm about strawberries, about how to collect and choose the right one. Open on Fridays from 9:00 to 15:30. Entrance fee – 30 shekels. Picked berries are paid by weight.
The Ariel strawberry farm in the moshav of Kadima north of Kfar Saba is not satisfied with the general harvest of its berries and sells strawberries at 30 shekels per kilogram. However, according to the owners, in the very near future it is worth waiting for the announcement of the free collection of products. This place is considered one of the favorite among many residents of not only Gush Dan, but also in other parts of the country.
That’s probably all for now. The largest strawberry farm in Israel is “Yosef Bag” in Hod Hasharon, but, alas, it does not suit the “national harvest”, supplying all products to supermarkets and grocery stores in the country.
It should be added that it is desirable to come to each of the listed or any other places early and call in advance – you never know: rain, floods, a strike, a clean-up day, or all were destroyed by visitors yesterday. Published prices are valid at the beginning of January 2018 and may vary depending on the season.
Growing garden strawberry or strawberry is a highly profitable sector of farming industry. In case of year-round growing in a greenhouse the profitability is 70-100% with payback during the very first season.
Different natural factors such as stone land, desertification of 60% of the territory, scanty rainfall and lack of fresh water, complicate the development of the farming industry in Israel. Nowadays the farming industry produces enough crop to provide the local population with required products. Also it enables export to other countries and continents. In fact, one of the main reasons is considerable government financing of scientific researches and developments. That is done along with rapid manufacturing application of innovations.
Growing strawberry in Israel
Farmers in Israel mostly grow strawberry in greenhouses that occupy a territory of 400 hectares. In 2017 the total harvest was 30,000 tons. Harvesting and sales are done during the winter period from November to May. That is because the most favorable temperature for strawberries is in winter. Farms are working on mastering technologies for growing strawberries in summer. In mountain kibbutzes (agricultural communes) Merom Golan and Ramat Rachel they practice year-round growing.
Garden strawberry mostly grows in the Sharon region. Surprisingly, the best harvest of garden strawberry is collected in greenhouses in the very heart of the Arava desert. Since 2000, ecologically clean production without the use of pesticides has been promoted. So you can be sure that Israeli strawberries are safe for health. Besides, each tourist can visit a greenhouse or a plantation and eat as many berries as he can right from the bush.
Strawberry harvest in Israel reaches 200 tons per hectare. Advanced farms install automated greenhouses and eliminate the influence of natural factors.
Popular cultivars of Israeli strawberries: Tamar, Yael, Sheik, Orly, Rocky, Ruthhey, Herut, Hadas, Barak, Yuval. Breeders are trying to improve taste, transportability, crop yield, marketability (shape, size and aroma) and adaptive properties in hot climate.
Features of strawberry growing technology
The Israeli technology of strawberry growing is based on hydroponics. This method implies dosated plant nutrition with fertilizers through a system of drip irrigation.
Plant roots are in an airy, inert sterile substrate. Thereby the substrate solves two problems: it provides good aeration of roots and reduces risk of fungal diseases.
Farmers install a metal frame in the greenhouse and after that they attach the plastic channels for the substrate at a height of 1 – 1.5 meters.
Attributes of Israeli technology:
- the use of everbearing strawberries;
- processes automation: control over microclimate parameters, calculation and preparation of nutrient solution, drip irrigation, light intensity;
- hydroponics with the use of coco coir substrate;
- introduction of a biological method in pest control;
- raising beds for better ventilation and easier harvest.
Strawberry harvest in Israel is semi-automatic. The workers move along the aisles in a special transport. They manually collect and put berries into containers ready for sale. Thus improving keeping capacity and transportability. After collecting they cool down the berries.
Some people believe that strawberry grown according to the Israeli technology is watery and tasteless. Moreover skeptics even believe it to be a source of toxins and chemicals. These delusions are easy to refute.
Taste of hydroponically grown berries differs from the taste of strawberries grown on soil due to the features of everbearing varieties. Considering rapid growth and multiple bearing, the berries just don’t have time to accumulate a lot of sugar. For example, if you eat a remontant berry grown on soil you can feel the difference in taste with the regular one. Though they grow in the same conditions, the sugar content is different.
When breeding industrial varieties Israeli breeders focus on:
- transportability: berries are more dense;
- early maturity: fast yielding ability;
- crop capacity: increasing amount and size of berries;
- decreased sensitivity to daylight hours duration;
- resistance to diseases: gray rot and spot disease.
Over the past 5 years, taste requirements are increasing and farmers claim that you will never find a strawberry sweeter than theirs.
The statement about mineral fertilizers overfeeding is also unfair. Strawberry is not a cucumber and it doesn’t require nitrate nitrogen to grow. Imbalance will have an opposite effect. Besides, such fertilizers cost a lot, so no one will excessively use them to feed the plants.
Another myth – chemicals in berries. Considering that bumblebees are used for garden strawberry pollination, usage of pesticides is strongly bounded. Israeli farmers prefer the biological method of pest control. To reduce the development of diseases they apply different agricultural methods. However, all garden strawberry diseases are a consequence of overwetting and contact with infected soil. The Israeli strawberry greenhouse is equipped with a moisture control system. Thanks to that nematode worms and fungi spores will not appear in the substrate. Seedlings growing technology excludes possibility of viral diseases.
Main manufacturers and exchange of experience
Each farmer or a holding company specialist can come and see himself the process of strawberry growing in Israel. Israeli scientists and farmers gladly share their experience. Also they offer their help in supporting business. The Alecon company arranges on-site training courses and seminars for foreign farmers.
You can order a turnkey greenhouse directly from the manufacturer. Israeli technology requires significant financing at first, but 100% profitability compensates it.
Strawberry is grown in the following kibbutzes: Kadima, Ein Yahav, Geulim, Gan Shmuel, Mishmar HaSharon, Yesha.
The largest strawberry farm is Joseph Farm.
In addition, there are open for visitors plantations. In case of interest tourists can see how strawberries are grown in Israel. The following farms offer such kind of excursion: Meshek Bagiva, Agronen, Meshek-6, Meshek Tal, Ruach Shtut, Stalbetut, Sadot, Uri Tutim Farm, Ariel, Tut Gil.
You can see large ripe berries of Israel strawberries in the photos taken by people who already visited the plantations.Read More