In­vest­ments the seed of boost to pro­duc­tiv­ity

Tasmanian Country - - NEWS -

each year, but this is the best re­sult so far.”

Agron­ico is the coun­try’s largest seed potato pro­ducer and grows about 10,000 tonnes an­nu­ally.

The busi­ness was started in 1985 and has pi­o­neered the use of hy­dro­ponic grow­ing sys­tems for mini tu­ber pro­duc­tion.

The new cool­store fa­cil­ity has the ca­pac­ity to store about 8000 tonnes of pota­toes.

Com­puter-op­er­ated vent­ing and hu­mid­ity con­trol means the pota­toes can be kept in op­ti­mum con­di­tions and car­bon-diox­ide lev­els can be care­fully mon­i­tored.

The com­pany has about 150 potato va­ri­eties in its col­lec­tion and com­mer­cially pro­duces about 28.

Mr Gra­ham said the in­vest­ment in a four-row planter had also pro­vided other ben­e­fits.

“At each stage of the process our ef­fi­ciency is im­prov­ing; har­vest is quicker be­cause of a com­bi­na­tion of fac­tors,” he said.

“The four-row planter was used to plant 80 per cent of the seed pota­toes. We have more con­sis­tent plant­ing with less soil com­paction, lead­ing to in­creased yields and tu­ber uni­for­mity, as well as faster har­vest­ing.”

Mr Gra­ham said the new cov­ered hop­pers acted as a buf­fer so the seeds were pro­tected.

He said this al­lowed har­vest­ing in all weather and they could get the pota­toes from har­vest to grad­ing and stor­age with less down­time.

Agron­ico sells seed pota­toes to grow­ers and com­pa­nies across the coun­try.

“In­creas­ing the pro­duc­tion of pota­toes cre­ates a flow-on ef­fect for farm­ers and con­trac­tors around the state and on the main­land,” he said.

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