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.
Key Findings :
for immediate production, with more orders expected in the near future.
Tour Participants :
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)
The Australian Government provides matched funding for all HAL’s R&D activities.