Rambutan field walk
The Department of Industry, Tourism and Trade in partnership with the Northern Territory Farmers Association (NTFA) recently conducted a field walk through the rambutan research block at the Coastal Plains research farm in Darwin.
The event was well attended by growers who visited the recently flowered rambutan research block, observed native bee hives and participated in industry activities organised by NTFA.
Rambutans are a highly desirable fruit sought after by consumers locally and interstate, however they require great skill to propagate, establish and produce fruit commercially. The rambutan trial aims to investigate cost-effective ways of boosting rambutan propagation, including investigating the role native bees may have in pollinating rambutan flowers. Native stingless bee hives have been deployed into the block and their role in pollination has been studied as part of the trial.
The trial has also involved developing a clonal hedged orchard system established from marcotts (roots developed on a mother tree, cut and planted) vs. the standard bud or graft propagation - typical of other fruit such as mangoes. Industry has expressed a keen interest to see how this means of propagation has performed compared to the standard means of propagation.
The trial now in its sixth year, has been successful, indicating that the clonal hedged orchard system is a cost-effective means of propagating rambutans, while also delivering higher density growth and yield. The trial also found that native stingless bees are the main insect visitor to rambutan flowers and do carry rambutan pollen on their bodies, potentially providing improved pollination and fruit set in rambutan orchards.
A number of key industry issues such as economic propagation techniques and potential new orchard systems to allow production in a protected orchard design, along with the current work on the use of native stingless bees to improve pollination outcomes has been addressed by this research. This knowledge is vital to the local rambutan industry and is key to assisting local producers with improving the production of rambutans.
Find out more about the rambutan trial visit our website.