CATEGORY: PRODUCTIVITY (ADVISOR)
As an agronomist for Tasmanian potato growers, Les Murdoch understands the pressures they go through.
Chief amongst those is the ability to be profitable and his work is a quest to find the best ways to increase productivity on their farms.
Les, who has worked in vegetable production for his whole career, uses a mix of technology, better varieties and precision agriculture to help growers boost their bottom line.
His thirst for information takes him across the country and overseas as he looks for new and innovative ways to boost productivity.
At the same time, he is always aware that what he brings back must be practical.
Variable rate technology – for fertiliser and water – is one of the methods he is looking at to try to even out potato yields across paddocks, which can vary from 30 tonnes to 95 tonnes.
“There can be a 300 per cent variation in yield across a paddock. We try to smooth that out by identifying the things that are wrong in the different areas of the paddock,” Les says.
“Yield mapping and then soil testing the areas that aren’t performing can allow us to identify what soil amendments are required to enable a better crop during the next rotation.”
He also knows that using the best and latest chemistry has a crucial role in quality and quantity, and to that end was involved in the development of Potato Partners, a Syngenta program which allows producers to use chemicals and then pay for them at harvest.