Gurra Downs is situated in the Riverland, approximately 250km north/northeast from the coast and the city of Adelaide. The Riverland is renowned for its exportation of fresh fruit and produce world-wide. It is free from both the Mediterranean and Queensland fruit fly, and free from Red Palm Weevil.
The Riverland region has a semi-arid/Mediterranean climate with dry, hot summers and mild to cool winters. Although well known for its year round sunshine, winter, spring and autumn months have cool nights and chilly mornings.Summer is hot with plenty of sun and temperatures often in the high 30's and sometimes low 40's Celsius degrees. Average rainfall is 265mm per annum, mostly falling in winter and spring. The evaporation rate is 1800mm per year. Being in the southern hemisphere, flowering of date palms occurs around the first week of September (spring) and harvest is expected to be from mid March to mid June.
GURRA DOWNS PROPERTY
Gurra Downs is located approx Latitude 34.2 degrees S, Longitude 140.5 degrees E, on flat to slightly undulating ground and about 50metres above sea level. Our soil type on the Gurra Downs property is sandy-loam over clay and slightly-moderately alkaline at 8-10pH.
The Reilly family purchased Gurra Downs in 1990 and extended our holding with the purchase of neighboring land in 1996. We established a 10 hectare organic vineyard throughout the late 1990's, and have become a research and development facility for the production of premium table dates.
The approach we have adopted on our home property site, is to field trial as many date palm varieties as possible. Given that there are no commercial date plantations in our semi-arid district or indeed in our state, we feel it is important for us to economically evaluate a broad range of varieties to determine the most suited selections for our local environment.
In 2006, Gurra Downs purchased a nearby farm, Section 298 which was an abandoned stone fruit property. After clearing and tidying up this property, there has been the establishment of a date plantation originating from best performing varieties from the original research trial site. At this stage, this property is farmed conventionally (non-organic) however minimal chemicals are used as there are plans to convert the property to certified organic in the coming years.
Production from this property is sold as non-organic fruit which is reflected on our price list at harvest time.