Crop management tools for the french fry industry in the south east of South Australia (PT01041)
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What was it all about?
This project had a focus on producing grower friendly crop management tools for the French Fry potato growers in South East of South Australia.
Key project components included;
- The collection and adaptation of crop management technologies and tools to improve the quality, yields and production efficiencies of Russet Burbank crops
- Crop monitoring tools were produced that would take the format of Checklists and measurement-recording pages to be presented in a folder format
- Project outcomes that would increase yields, improve the quality of product from the paddock that was in the optimum size and weight range with reduced numbers of ‘smalls’
Many crop management tools were produced in Australia and Internationally that reflected regional climate, soil types, variety and industry segment. This project evaluated some of these tools to assess their contents and methodology and referred positive concepts from them to the Project Management Team for consideration.
A large database of historical agronomic and crop management information that had been collected by the industry and growers over five years was analysed to detail trends and challenges that it may have provided.
A key success to this project was that the potato growers and industry had a real enthusiasm and interest in exploring what outcomes maybe achieved by analysing the database and using this information to develop a crop management tool they could use to improve their crop management planning.
Most industries operate in the various phases of expansion, renewal, innovation and growth. The processing industry in the South East region of South Australia had an expansion phase during the 1990’s that included the development and application in the field of a crop monitoring service to support this phase with up to date technical crop management information. This project built on these experiences and the project output of a Checklist system for paddock recording provided the opportunity for the growers to actively record and mange their experiences.
The summary from the detailed database analysis indicated that in general the crop management strategies at the time were sound so this project outputs focused on monitoring and improving small incremental steps of management, rather than wholesale changes to management systems. The analysis of the crop management database provided key concepts that the Project Management Team recognised as being priority issues and these were nitrogen application rate determination, budgeting and general management.
Growers and key industry personnel were contacted to identify their key concerns, knowledge and experiences regarding the application of crop monitoring tools. Several demonstration versions were produced and reviewed by the growers and industry mentioned above.
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This project was funded by Hort Innovation (then Horticulture Australia Limited) with the financial support of South Australian Potato Industry Trust and South East Potato Growers.
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