Frost con­trol

North East & Goulburn Murray Farmer - - Front Page -

GV Crop Pro­tec­tion is a com­pany that can boast that it pro­vides ba­si­cally one ser­vice to its clients – to part­ner with farm­ers and or­chardists to achieve their goals.

It is a sim­ple the­ory that has had very suc­cess­ful out­comes for the past 20 years of its oper­a­tion.

GV Crop Pro­tec­tion man­ager Graeme McNeill, who has had more than 30 years’ex­pe­ri­ence in the in­dus­try, said his clients need the com­pany’s ser­vices to bet­ter man­age their farm­ing en­ter­prises, whether it is farm­ing or­chards, veg­eta­bles or broad­acre.

“We have a very down-to-earth ap­proach, ex­plain­ing to our clients the most eco friendly, cost-ef­fec­tive use of our ser­vices and prod­ucts, tak­ing into ac­count the ef­fects of prod­uct use on the ben­e­fi­cial preda­tor pop­u­la­tion in the crop en­vi­ron­ment.

“We also have five weather sta­tions, which pro­vide pest and dis­ease modelling to as­sist in the tim­ing of prod­uct and prac­tice ap­pli­ca­tion.

“Our team has a huge amount of ex­pe­ri­ence in the in­dus­try – some with Ag sci­ence de­grees,” Mr McNeill said.

Some­thing that makes the com­pany a lit­tle dif­fer­ent is that it is owned by the Plun­kett fam­ily who have very di­verse busi­ness in­ter­ests in­clud­ing or­chards, a pack­ing com­plex, mar­ket op­er­a­tions and an ap­ple cider oper­a­tion.

“Noel Plun­kett started GV Crop Pro­tec­tion in July 1994 and I was the only em­ployee,” Mr McNeill said.

“I was the man­ager and in charge of cus­tomer ser­vice, ac­counts, and de­liv­ery af­ter hours. “We now have a small team of eight. “I am still the man­ager, but not so much de­liv­ery now,” he said.

Part of the Plun­kett Or­chards team at Ard­mona is or­chard man­ager Ja­son Shields who has worked at the com­pany for the past 13 years and uses the con­nec­tion and ex­per­tise of GV Crop Pro­tec­tion to en­sure the ap­ples, pears and apri­cots he is in charge of are the best they can be.

One of the bat­tles all or­chardists face is how to fight off profit-killing frosts.

To com­bat against dam­ag­ing frosts, Mr Shields stressed the im­por­tance of or­chard hy­giene; that is keep­ing the property tidy, with short grass and healthy trees.

“Frost only be­comes a real prob­lem if there is stress on the trees al­ready,” Mr Shields said.

“Dur­ing the drought a lot of or­chardists were caught out be­cause they were try­ing to save money and not wa­ter­ing their trees as much.

“If there is mois­ture in the ground the frost won’t be as se­vere, but when it is dry, like dur­ing the drought and if you haven’t wa­tered your trees much then the dam­age is quite bad.

“We will use un­der-tree ir­ri­ga­tion and turn it on if there is a frost.

“We have prob­a­bly only been hit hard once in the past 10 years,” he said.

Mr Shields said he also uses a sea­weed prod­uct to en­sure the trees’ health, as sea­weed makes the cells in the trees stronger en­abling them to with­stand the detri­men­tal ef­fects that frost can have.

He said it has been great to work to­gether with GV Crop Pro­tec­tion for ad­vice and rec­om­men­da­tions on the chem­i­cals or fer­tilis­ers that he should be us­ing.

“The great thing is that be­cause Plun­kett’s owns GV Crop Pro­tec­tion we get to trial ev­ery new chemical and fer­tiliser be­fore any­one else knows about it and we get to work out what works and what doesn’t in a real, live work­ing en­vi­ron­ment,” Mr Shields said.

“At the end of the day we are ac­tual grow­ers, not sales­men.”

For more in­for­ma­tion con­tact GV Crop Pro­tec­tion on (03) 5821 6900.

PRO­TECT­ING FOOD: Re­search re­veals that frost pro­tec­tion strate­gies are vi­tal for or­chards.

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