FGV Current Projects

Future Drought Fund: Drought Resilient Soils and Landscapes Grants Program

Which grass is greener - how planting vegetation between rows improves drought resilience in orchards.

Australia’s horticulture industry is particularly drought adverse, with many tree and ground crops relying on irrigation to produce crops. This project aims to demonstrate the effectiveness of inter row plantings of vegetation across three similar landscapes in Victoria: the Goulburn Valley, Murray Valley and the Yarra Valley area. Farming techniques across the three regions are similar: soil and rainfall differ.

An additional site in the Shepparton area will also demonstrate how differing water availability will affect ground cover growth and fruit production.

The project demonstrates the drought resilience properties of healthy soil. Three distinct types of vegetation will be grown at each of three sites to show the properties and benefits of each in drought resilience. Working with Melbourne University, soil tests and fruit production monitoring will be undertaken to prove results. Regular field demonstrations at each site and regular reports will be available to industry.


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Fruit Growers Victoria (FGV) have established a trial to investigate the impact of cover crops between rows for drought resilience in orchards. The trial is at a commercial farm in Toolamba (Goulburn Valley) and will run for two years. This is supported by the Australian government's Future Drought Fund: Drought Resilient Soils and Landscapes Grants Program.

Download Factsheet No 1 below. 

pdf InfoSheet_1_-__Which_Grass_is_Greener_(002)
File Size 264.71 KB
Download 101


Tech sheet 2

Cover crops may be grown in the inter-row of an orchard for a variety of reasons. We outline some of the benefits and challenges in selecting, sowing and maintaining a cover crop in a commercial orchard setting. Download the information sheet No 2 below to find out more. 

pdf InfoSheet 2 - Which Grass is Greener
File Size 759.26 KB
Download 95


Info Sheet 3 header

 Orchards will have different irrigation requirements based on crop type, soil type and micro-climate factors. Here we cover some of the technology available used for moisture monitoring and the benefits and factors to consider. Download the information sheet No 3 below to find out more. 

pdf InfoSheet 3 - Which Grass is Greener
File Size 722.37 KB
Download 104


Cover Crop Infor Sheet 4

Implementing cover crops in an orchardinter-row will require a weed managementplan before sowing and throughout theseason. This will depend on various factors -time of the year, chemical/organic, orchardpractices, and types of dominant weeds(perennial/annual, broadleaf/grass). Herewe cover some considerations with weedcontrol when deciding to sow a cover crop - for more information download Information Fact Sheet No. 4 below. 

pdf InfoSheet 4 - Which Grass is Greener
File Size 3.26 MB
Download 98


Cover Crop Info Sheet 5

Orchardists will have different needs and wants for type of cover crops based on croptype, soil type, and micro-climate factors. Here we cover the species selected for this trial and considerations with each. For more information - download Information Factsheet No. 5. 

pdf InfoSheet 5 - Which Grass is Greener
File Size 2.12 MB
Download 98


In this short video, Anika from Fruit Growers Victoria explains the progress of the "Which Grass is Greener" Project (funded by Future Drought Funds) and the reason why interow cover cropping is beneficial in orchards- Click here to view this youtube video.

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Fruit Growers Victoria Ltd
8-10 Wheeler Street,
Shepparton Vic 3630

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