Am­bi­tion to im­prove com­mer­cial ginger

Tri­als to im­prove va­ri­eties

Central and North Rural Weekly - - FRONT PAGE -

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 more­van­tage 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.

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