Grower, Windhum Farms, BUNDABERG NORTH QLD
When you’re sending 100 pallets of sweet potatoes across Australia each week, it’s easy to understand why grower Darren Zunker is all about productivity.
Darren and his wife Linda established Windhum Farms, a sweet potato enterprise in a town better known for its rum. Hard work by the Zunkers to promote their produce mean their sweet potato brand Bundaberg Gold is recognised and in demand in markets across Australia.
It was a big step to move to sweet potatoes 16 years ago for the former sugar cane farmers. Despite making efficiency gains at every stage of their production, Darren and Linda had to look to another crop when their sugar enterprise was not making ends meet.
Their productivity with sweet potatoes is never at the expense of sustainable farming practices, quality farm management or inputs.
Darren has taken the same efficiency approach he had in sugar to sweet potatoes and after starting out with less than 2ha about a decade ago, now grows 65ha a year.
The use of variable rate spreading technology, efficient irrigation methods, careful selection of varieties and a rotation that sees paddocks given an 18-month break between sweet potato crops is a recipe that has built a strong business.