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Dave is the Managing Director of Gurra Downs Date Company Pty Ltd,
Co-owner of the Gurra Downs horticultural property and a Director of Gurra

Wet Pty Ltd

Dave’s primary roles are to further commercialise the Australian date industry and oversee grape production and wine sales.

His duties include:

  • Promotion and marketing of the Australian date industry (including fruit sales)

  • Identification, selection and obtainment of desirable date palm varieties

  • Establishment/development of date plantings both at the Gurra Downs home
    property and for customers.

  • Evaluating the Research and Development results from date palm trial sites

  • Oversee production from vineyard

Dave Reilly Gurra Downs

Dave has lived and travelled throughout much of inland Australia.  He completed his secondary schooling in Alice Springs (Central Australia) before graduating from the Northern Territory Agricultural College in Katherine.  Dave then worked for stock and station firm Dalgety Bennetts Farmers where he had the opportunity to experience the wide diversity of the Northern Territory and South Australian agricultural industry.  During his posting to Loxton Dave met Anita.  They decided to marry and settle in the Riverland.  In 1990 they purchased Gurra Downs and began establishing their horticultural property.

In recent years Dave and Anita have continued to travel extensively to assess suitable date growing regions and to visit the network of other growers.  Travels have taken them to Queensland, New South Wales, Victoria, Western Australia and throughout South Australia. After being awarded a Nuffield Australia Scholarship in 2012, Dave travelled in a study group for 7 weeks throughout New Zealand, the Netherlands, the UK, Canada, Mexico, and Brazil. Later, Dave travelled for 10 weeks on an individual study tour where he travelled to the U.S. and Mexico with Anita and their youngest son Jonte. Dave also visited Kuwait, India, UAE, Oman, France, Spain and Egypt to learn more about techniques used in different date growing regions to improve and expand their operations. Throughout his time overseas, Dave wrote an online blog which can be viewed by clicking on the link provided below. 

Over the past couple of years Dave and Anita have undertaken many international visits particularly to the UAE where they have attended the International Date Palm Conference on multiple occasions. Dave has also been to Thailand as a consultant.

Dave holds a long-term interest in regional infrastructure and natural resource management.  He also places much importance on environmental management and sustainable agricultural practises.  He assisted in the formation of Gurra Wet Pty Ltd which has been involved in local rehabilitation projects.  Dave is a current member of the Loxton District Landcare Committee, previously serving a term as chairman.  He served  5 years (2 terms) on the state government’s South Australia Murray Darling Basin Natural Resource Management Board Riverland Group.

In 2009 Dave received his Diploma in Production Horticulture and in 2012 received an Advanced Diploma of Agriculture. He also holds a Certificate 4 in Training and Assessing, a qualification which helps facilitate training of other farmers/students in date palm management practises.

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