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Ross Pirrone

Nuffield Australia 2016 Scholarship winner

Ross Pirrone, from Ayr in Queensland’s Burdekin region, received a Nuffield Scholarship supported by Horticulture Innovation Australia and the Sylvia and Charles Viertel Charitable Foundation.

He studied advanced and cost-effective horticultural growing systems, with an emphasis on tropical and sub-tropical protected cropping technology.

With a background in high performance automotive engineering and broadacre, cattle and horticultural production and marketing, Ross was ideally placed to undertake this research.

He is involved in his family’s business, which has an annual production of 30–40,000 tonnes of sugar cane; 80 hectares of grains, legumes and rice; 50–100-head of cattle for the live export trade; 3000–5000 bales of hay and fodder; and a horticulture enterprise comprising 150–160,000 kilograms of cucumbers and 500,000 kilograms of pumpkin sold each year.

Through his scholarship, Ross looked at protected cropping systems for horticulture that use the most advanced, cost-efficient technologies available across the world.

“With extreme market forces putting pressure on our profit margins and erratic weather putting us under environmental stress, I can see big opportunities in the development of highly flexible and resilient greenhouses in our part of the world,” he says.

“This may allow us to take advantage of high commodity prices in the wake of weather events affecting field-grown crops and pave the way for year-round consistent supply of high quality produce. There may also be capacity to grow niche, high-value lines that are too risky to plant in the field.”

Ross visited Israel, Mexico, Spain, Turkey and the USA through his scholarship.

Location: Ayr, Queensland
Mobile: 0438 340 040
Scholarship report: click here
Returning Scholar presentation: Watch video

Ross Pirrone is supported by:

Viertel Charitable Foundation logo

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