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“Dryland Farming” is synonymous with “Rainfed Tree Crops” or “Rainfed Rice”. Irrespective of your annual rainfall all dryland crops are grown on rainfall alone without irrigation. Rainfed Tree Food Crops are something of a rarity in Australia. Yet there are a few that will persist and prosper in our 650mm rainfall zone. High water holding soils are an advantage for some but not all rainfed species. Some prefer lighter loam or sand. You can also obtain an advantage with strategic placements eg: plant at base of hill or in shade of another tree. Constructed earthworks can provide an advantage. Date Palms grow well here on the edge of waterholes – and only on the edge of waterholes – that is the nature of dates. Quince has also persisted here on the edge of a waterhole – offers a lot of potential with some applied water in orchards. Quince is a fruit you cook.           

TOP 3 Proven to Grow on The Darling Downs 600 mm Rainfall Zone = Pitaya + Bunya + Carob with dryland potential for Quince and more yet to be discovered.


Pitaya Cactus originates from South America + is a commercial crop in Israel. These are 8 months old at 600 mm tall and will grow to about 2 metres plus. Planted here as a hedge for shade in this food crop garden. Fruit is smooth and free of spikes. Extra special flavour = sweet + crunchy. Skin is edible. Induce fruit set twice per annum with applied water. Long lived 30 years plus. Easy to propagate from suckers + cuttings. All cactus for sale grown from seed.

bunya pine

Bunya Pine is a dominate rainforest tree only 40 km east of Janahn Forest in The Bunya Mountain Rainforest 1100 metres above sea level. Takes time to establish in this lower rainfall –  will persist best on red loam soils. Planted at Janahn Forest as part of New Forest with Grazing.


Foliage of Carob is typical dryland adapted with thick leaves and reflective underside. Same tree below.


  Self Pollinating Carob planted 2010 has been left unattended on red gravel loam almost since the day it was planted. Now producing pods. Tree size has doubled last 12 months on above average annual rainfall. Date of Photo: June 2023


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