The purpose of the Advanced Production Systems Fund is to increase farm productivity and profitability of the Australian horticulture industry by helping deliver “future smart farming” systems.


To remain globally competitive, Australian horticultural farms need to
significantly increase farm productivity through crop intensification,
protection and disruption. Future smart farms will offer state-of-the-art
cropping systems, including ultra-high density plantings and protected
cropping; deployment of a plethora of sensor technologies to better manage
the input resources, and assist growers in the decision making for on farm
operations such as fertilisation, irrigation, nutrition and harvest.

Farm automation including autonomous tools will be key to improve
efficiency and reduce labour requirements. Superior planting materials
backed by next-gen innovative genetics and other technologies will lay the
foundation of future smart farms.

If you’ve got an idea for research and development in the farming technology space, we’d love to hear from you. To make sure your concept is eligible, please read the Strategic Intent Document



Each Hort Frontiers Fund is guided by an Expert Advisory Panel (EAP). The EAP for the Advanced Production Systems Fund is:

Ingrid Roth, Roth Rural & Regional; David Bell, Hidden Valley Plantations; David Cliffe, Narromine Transplants; Edward Fagan, Mulyan Pty Ltd; Lachlan Donovan, The Avolution; Mark Uebrergang, Agromillora; Ian Bally, DAF Qld; Grant Thorpe, Plant & Food Research Australia; and  Alok Kumar, Hort Innovation.


Project Summary:

Advances in genomic sciences have benefitted many agricultural industries, but they haven’t fully extended into the horticultural industries in the same way they have impacted on field crops.

This longitudinal research project will apply the latest techniques in plant genomics to provide a technology platform to improve the production of major tree crops in Australia. This project will work across the 5 major horticulture tree crops grown nationally – Mango, Avocado, Citrus, Almond and Macadamia. This represents 80% of the total value of horticultural tree crop production in Australia.

Key Project Outcome:

To find the genomic tools needed to breed tree crops more rapidly. Tree crop breeding is slow due to the generation time of a tree. Researchers aim to use genomic technology to accelerate the selection of varieties with new attributes – such as flowering time, maturity and yield.

Project 1 – Genotype Prediction (Led by Professor Roger Hellens/ QUT)

This project proposes a multidisciplinary National Horticultural Tree Genomics Program (NHTGP) that cumulatively will develop genomic technologies. Outputs delivered by this platform will have a major impact on Australian horticulture through improved management systems and more efficiently developed elite cultivars.

This Program will be delivered through an integrated application of the three heavily interrelated research Toolboxes:  Genomics, Genotype Prediction and Phenotype Prediction. This Toolbox, which includes QUT, UQ, WSU and Jain Irrigation, will undertake highly prioritized stakeholder‐driven genomic research across five case study crops: mango, macadamia, avocado, almond and citrus.

Project 2 – Phenotype Prediction (Led by Dr Craig Hardner/ UQ)

The Phenotype prediction toolbox will deliver tools and technology that enable downstream breeding and management research and development projects to better exploit interaction between phenotype and gene expression due to external stimuli, genetic variation or both.

Project 3 – Genomics Toolbox (Led by Professor Roger Henry/ QAAFI)

The genomics toolbox aims to establish reference genome and transcriptome sequencing and assembly, germplasm re-sequencing; and RNA sequencing of key tissue types to support the other concurrently proposed, interrelated research toolboxes.


This project is funded by Hort Innovation through the Advanced Production Systems Fund, part of its Hort Frontiers strategic partnership Initiative, with co-investment from the Australian Government and the following partners: Queensland Alliance for Agriculture and Food Innovation (QAAFI), Queensland University of Technology (QUT), University of Queensland, Western Sydney University, Queensland Department Agriculture and Fisheries (DAF), Jain Irrigation, Genomics Hub, Genomics Hub, and BGI.