Ambition to improve commercial ginger
Trials to improve varieties
BUNDABERG Brewed Drinks could be set to grow commercial ginger if current trials are successful.
The beverage company has been working on improving the yield, root systems and flavour of their ginger.
Head of farming Ross Maxwell said they currently grew 10,000 plants hydroponically, which received daily monitoring, on their land south of Bundy.
The business goes through 800 tonnes of fresh ginger every year.
“We’re looking at how we can preserve the supply chain by making sure we always have ginger coming through,” he said.
“The real purpose is seeing how we can preserve the seed stock so we can work with farmers in the region to grow more (ginger) for us.
“Not all of it is equal, so we’re looking at how we can get a bigger rhizome (root system) with more flavour.”
Mr McLean said they could be close to giving improved varieties to ginger growers.
“We’ll see how the crop goes when we harvest early next year,” he said.
“We will take the results to the board and we might decide to keep going and try changing something else with it.
“The next stage after that will be taking it to the farmer and growing it in the ground because it’s different to growing it in a bag.”
Mr Maxwell said each day they checked the ginger to record its growth.
“We also record the PH and we record the EC, which is how much fertiliser we have in the irrigation,” he said.
“Then we’ll come back, say ‘OK we might increase the water because they didn’t get enough last night’.”
Varieties grown include the Queensland Gold and the Canton.
Mr Maxwell said plants being used in this year’s trial had the best results during testing last year.
“Some of them were yielding up to 7kg, which was outstanding,” he said.
“We said we’d take those rhizomes and plant them again, so we marked them to see if they would consistently do better than the others.
“On average we got about 4kg per bag.”
Mr Maxwell said they chose to grow the spice hydroponically, so they could stay in control of their plant.
“It eliminates the possibility of something like an animal bringing something in,” he said.
“We control the amount of water we put on them, the temperatures, the soils, everything.
“For example, if our PH is too high and we want to bring that back, we could use our irrigation system to inject some acid or do whatever we have to do.”
He said one of the most important things they did on the farm was record absolutely everything.
“We are pushing these crops all the time,” Mr Maxwell said.
“Sometimes when you are doing something you have a funny feeling it should work
but that doesn’t always happen.”
Mr Maxwell said another about 15 tonnes to an acre, we’re doing about 160,” he said.
❝ We are pushing these crops all the time. — Ross Maxwell
FULL OF FLAVOUR: Bundaberg Brewed Drinks head of farming Ross Maxwell and chief executive John McLean inside one of the greenhouses growing their crucial ingredient, ginger. PHOTOS: GEORDI OFFORD
For the last five years Bundaberg Brewed Drinks has been doing trials to get a better product with more flavour.advantage of the growing system was a high yield.“In the field the standard is
The ginger is checked daily, with growth progress and PH levels recorded.