CATEGORY: PRODUCTIVITY (GROWER)
Four years of hard work have turned a South Australian potato business around and much of the credit goes to Chris McClarron.
The farms which are located in the Riverland, the Mallee and near Penola, South Australia, were failing, but now produce more and better-quality potatoes thanks to a dedication to doing the job right.
Chris quickly identified there were plenty of issues that needed work and once he had set a goal, he worked backwards by developing steps to achieve that goal.
“Within our business and productivity goals, we identified key elements that we needed to address, from seed, cultural practices and nutrition to knowledge base and staff skill.
“By addressing each one of these with an open mind and being open to new ideas we have been able to achieve better results.”
The farms have gone from producing 37 tonnes a hectare of poorer quality potatoes to 44 tonnes of higher quality potatoes, an increase of nearly 20 per cent in a relatively short time frame.
Now Chris is looking to technology to help him make the best use of inputs like chemicals, water and fertilisers.
Already he is using drones to monitor crop health, soil moisture monitors to make efficient use of water, and petiole testing to determine the best time to add nutrition to the crop.