Are you considering buying a piece of land or an established farm to grow fruit trees? The following is the result of a brainstorming session by members of the Townsville/Thuringowa branch to assist a member who wants to buy a farm.

Following are some of the points raised that might influence you if you face a similar situation. Be aware that this list is not comprehensive and that we are looking at our own area which has an average rainfall of approximately 1100 mm a year.

Land Access
Contour maps of area.
Land / area subject to flooding?
Council regulations / requirements
Size of holding, large enough for future expansion
Holdings able to be expanded
Restrictions on usage of land
Problems with prior usage of land
Land cleared or timbered
Conservation / heritage values
Listed Easements (present and future proposals)
Future planning for area (DPI, Council, developers)
Residential / rural zoning (present and future)
Rates and charges
Fences and condition
 Fire hazards
Distance to major towns
Distance to shops
Distance to suppliers
Distance to markets
Labour pool for picking
Local gossip / knowledge
Road access- all weather roads ?
- dirt
- gravel
- wash-aways
- culverts
- creek flooding
 Access to town/marketsin all conditions
Phone/Fax/Modem- already available ?
- already connected?
- costs of connection
 Power availability- already available?
- already connected?
- costs of connection
Sogginess in the "Wet"   Soil Test- quality
- fertility
- problems
- costs
- previous results
- improvements
Water now in "dry"- should always have water
- running creek desirable
 Creeks- should always have water
- running creek desirable
Dams - present
- allowable
- licensed
- position
- size
- number
- condition
- depth
 Bores - present
- allowable
- licensed
- test for
- flow
- quality
- salinity
- number
- size
- condition
- depth
- type of pump
- jet
- submersible
- windmill
Pumping from- creeks
- streams
- wells, etc.
- license fees
- other costs
Power SourcesPower already available?
Cost of electricity connection
Electricity guarantee charges
 Solar PowerPossibility of solar power?
Cost of solar power connection
Crops / Trees / Best Usage?
Prior/current DPI research into- trees
- crops
- best usage for area
- soils
- pests
- problems
 Hydroponics- start up costs
- problems
- water
- specialised knowledge required
- labour intensive
Organic or spraying- decide before anything is done Fruit fly fruit area- dipping or non-dipping
Star apples- too cold in Townsville
- smaller fruit
- wrong type planted
 Longans- type suitable
- timing of fruiting (Chinese New Year)
- size of fruit / seed
Papaya- nematodes
- fruit fly problems and costs
- quarantine area
 Strawberries- possible new industry?
- pick them yourselves
- labour intensive
Mangoes- oversupply in future
- current marketing practices
- additional 1 million trees in production within 5 years
- speciality markets a possibility
- too small to compete
- swamped by "named" brands
 Prickly pear / Flowering cacti- easy to grow
- massive under-supplied markets in Melbourne
- no pests
- diseases
- trellises / rocks / support required
Bananas- overseas competition
- no good prospects
 Sweet potatoes- growing market
- easy to grow
Herbs- winter crop
- seedlings
 Asian vegetables- too specialised
- Non-Asian problems (including language, cultural)
Pumpkins- easy to grow
- year round crops
- water root area and forget
 Bush tucker- Wattle seeds
- Tea tree
- Quandongs
- Other
Tomatoes- Roma (egg) tomatoes, best possibility
- constant prices (year round)
 Dried Tomatoes- market supplied from south
- too small
- value-adding
Dried Fruits- market supplied from south
- too small
- value-adding
 Beans/other sprouts- growing market
- small land size required
- small start up costs required
- current shortage
Cut flowers- Mother's Day carnations
- Australian Natives
Capital Inputs Marketing
Plant and equipment
Sheds / barns / machinery sheds / other buildings
Training required
Market research
Stock and seedlings
Specialised tools
Irrigation systems
- pumps
- bores
- dams
- licence
- permits
-land, water, power, phone,
-pasture improvement, housing.
 Market analysis
Market forecasts
- Sydney / Melbourne / Brisbane fruit markets
Business plan
Sharefarming options
Picking options
Financing Arrangements Banking / finance loansState Govt Grants
DSS Support
 Planning5-year business plan
Identification of markets
TrainingTAFE courses
Australian Correspondence School
Work experience
Contributed by Kath Fox

DATE: July 1996

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