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.
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