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Inta-Ag Research Trip to Tasmania - October 2018

23 November 2018

By Dean McMiken, Agronomist

During late October before our busy season kicked in, Shane, Mike and I travelled to Tasmania to visit Serve Ag.  Serve Ag is similar to Inta-Ag providing agronomic services to growers and also supplies fertilisers and agchem.

Our trip started in the North of the Island in Launceston and Devonport.  Here we visited onion and potato crops and discussed with our hosts what issues are faced in Tasmania, in particular how the programmes differ from ours.

Of interest was the onion herbicide programme and in particular the lack of products they have available to them.  For example, they don't have access to Chloronion, Cipc or Frontier to name a few, and their main progamme revolves around using Baron Wg.

Potato growers use contractors for all the goundwork and planting of the crops which is all done via GPS with some very impressive machinery.  The majority of the potatoes are used for processing, and Amistar is the main in-furrow treatment used for Rhizoctonia.  The soils vary greatly in this area with some soils replicating those of Pukekohe or Bombay Hill, then merely 200m away you move into really light soils.  Irrigation is supplied mainly by centre pivot and they certainly aren't afraid of operating these on very steep slopes.

Other crops of interest were Poppies used for the pharmaceutical companies to make Codeine and Morphine and Natural Pyrethrum which is grown over 2 years and harvested to extract the natural insecticide.  These crops still share common issues that onions and potatoes have, like Sclerotinia and Mildew.

During our trip we also had the opportunity to sit down with Serve Ag's team of agronomists for knowledge sharing discusions and also shared time with a visiting USA expert on onion white rot management, which also proved beneficial to bounce ideas around.

If you have any questions or queries or are interested in learning more about our findings on the trip, please do not hesitate to get in contact with Shane, Mike or myself.