VG09159 Grower Study Tour- Spring Onions & Radish

The purpose of the project was to provide an opportunity for Australian vegetable growers to assess existing, new and emerging technologies in the UK and Europe that could improve the efficiency and effectiveness of Australian vegetable production.

From the outset, all participants were of a singular mindset to draw comparisons between conditions & practices that we were to be introduced to, & those currently local to us.

Although farming employs practices that have remained unchanged for decades, there is a need to meet the rapidly changing demands of the public which it supplies, and a diminishing labor force which can supply it.

European growers have been at the forefront of technology based developments in growing and it was important to learn from that wealth of information.

Upon sighting both UK & European farms, the Australian growers were quick to point out similarities & differences between conditions as these were obvious; soil type, plant varieties, ground preparation, seasonal limitations, growing without raised beds.

There was then the things that could only be communicated. Local growers were introduced to European growing methods such as; longer rows to incorporate harvesting equipment & with this a higher dependence on land levels.

No matter what the differences, there were a number of global aims that rang true. These included reducing to excluding the use of fertilisers & chemical sprays. Employing crop rotation between paddocks and with the use of livestock to enrich & rejuvenate soil.

Finally, the need to be able to employ the use of mechanical harvesters to ensure the longevity of the industry without sacrificing the quality of the produce.

Authors :
Greg Taranto

Spring Onion and Radish growers Tour of the United Kingdom and Holland 2009
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Key Findings :

  • Every day, the participants shared their experiences and what ‘take-home’ message they had discovered and would implement in their own farms. Group discussions enhanced their learning experience and improved the quality of their tour experience.

  • The Australian cropping industry suffers an acute shortage of opportunities for professional training and education in a range of technologies that are unique to the industry.

  • Overseas study is mandatory if we are to match production standards with overseas competitors as well as up-skilling the industry resulting in enhanced productivity and farm viability.

  • Despite the Australian growers ability to produce the product, they are restricted by supply and demand as we do not have the population to supply to, unlike the U.K. and European countries.

  • Growers in UK & Europe were extremely interested in sharing information with Australian growers on the tour. Whether this was as a result of them not being a direct threat to one another’s distributions, or that there was an overwhelming inspiration to communicate wasn’t important.

  • We believe that everyone on the tour was compelled to communicate for the betterment of growing in general & adoption of better growing methods.

  • The success of the tour can be measured in the knowledge that was shared amongst growers and therefore the strengthening of international relationships.

Researcher Dr. Sophie Parks
As a result of this tour, four Spring Onion Harvesters
have been ordered

for immediate production, with more orders expected in the near future.

Tour Participants :

Greg Taranto, GT Tractors Pty Ltd, Frankston, Vic

Joe Taranto, GT Tractors Pty Ltd, Mornington, Vic

Marg Lenders, GT Tractors Pty Ltd, Tooradin, Vic

Rocco Lamattina, A.D. & R. Lamattina Pty Ltd, Clyde, Vic

Craig Arnott, Arnott’s Vegetable Farms, Clyde, Vic

Phillip Cochrane, P.J. & J Cochrane Pty Ltd, Clyde, Vic

Dave Simon, Simon Farms Pty Ltd, Gatton, Qld

Rodney Dunn, Upper Mt. Gravatt, Qld

Acknowledgements :

The project leader wishes to thank the tour participants for their cooperation and punctuality. Their interest in all the agricultural aspects and the general spirit of togetherness was most satisfying. I thank them for their friendship. I specially thank them for their contribution to the information included in this report.

Recognition and appreciation is also given to the following for their welcome contribution to ensuring a successful, informative and interesting tour:

For introductions to European growers & locations Aarie Koppert For U.K. tour and support Mr. Dereck Wilkinson Manager of Sandhurst farms Pty Ltd

Mr. Phillip Garford for demonstrating the automated weeder at Kent. For European courtesies & support German Growers Area Mgr, De Ruiter Seeds 1500 lot dairy farm – Agricultural Contractors – Maas BV of Kessels Koppert Factory

Dutch Flower Market Aarie Koppert Radish producing hot houses Radish producing hot houses – bunching operations Piet Zwinkels -Radish processing and expert packaging

This grower tour was facilitated by Horticulture Australia Limited (HAL)
in partnership with AUSVEG through the National Vegetable Research and Development Levy.

The Australian Government provides matched funding for all HAL’s R&D activities.

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