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TAS Country : October 7th 2010
Friday, October 8, 2010 Tasmanian Country 3 News Dud spud price expected KAROLIN MacGREGOR THE wait is almost over for Simplot potato growers, who will find out on Monday night what price the com- pany is offering this season. The negotiations have been long and drawn-out. Finally, a meeting at Deloraine on Monday will hear the result. Simplot potato growers committee chairman Trevor Hall said while he could not reveal the price offer, the prices being offered by both McCain and Simplot this season would put growers under financial pressure. Simplot indicated to its grower committee last month that it would not make a price offer until rival processor McCain completed its price negotiations. McCain has cut this year's price by $26.50 a tonne and there are fears Simplot may be seek- ing a similar price reduction. Mr Hall said the price offer that had been negotiated with Simplot was the best growers could hope for this season. ''It's a pretty terrible situation,'' he said. ''Depending on what mother nature throws at us, these prices we're looking at now could make potatoes a break-even crop or a very small margin, but if the weather is bad there could be a lot of money lost on them.'' The Simplot price offer will be put to growers at Monday's meeting and Mr Hall said he was not sure what the response would be. He said there were some indi- cations that a surplus supply of potato products on the world market was putting downward pressure on prices. Mr Hall said that, combined with the high Australian dollar was not good news for Tasmanian growers. He said this season's prices may see some growers reconsider growing potatoes this season. ''Without doubt a lot will be having a close look at it,'' Mr Hall said. ''They're a very high-risk crop to grow. ''And if the weather's not right there's the potential to lose a lot of money.'' The grower meeting will be held at the Deloraine Community Complex at 7.30pm on Monday. RUSH: Preparing seed potatoes at J.G. Broun of Spreyton are, from left, Tony Spillane, Peter Braun, Mark Raynor and Sean Clark. Picture: CHRIS KIDD Busy time for seed potato producer KAROLIN MacGREGOR AS potato growers prepare their paddocks, work is also in full swing at one of the state's largest seed potato processing factories. Each year the staff at J.G. Broun at Spreyton cut about 5000 tonnes of seed potatoes for growers across the state. Business owner Peter Broun said the next couple of months was the busiest time at the factory, as potatoes are bought out of cool storage ready for planting. The Broun family have a long involvement with the seed potato industry and were one of the first to trial cool storage of seed for what was then the Edgells processing company in 1957. Mr Broun said the family, which was a major apple grower, started storing potatoes as a way of making more use of their cold storage facilities during the off season. These days, while they still have a small orchard operation, potatoes are their main business. Each year they store about 8000 tonnes of seed potatoes. Huge cool store sheds mean they can store about 4500 tonnes on site at Spreyton and the rest are stored in off- site cool stores and bought back for cutting and processing. Mr Broun said the main idea behind cool storage of seed potatoes was to manipulate their growth so that it could be timed to coincide with planting. Putting the potatoes into cool storage at about 2C-3C makes them dormant, which is what would normally happen during winter. The potatoes are brought out of storage a couple of weeks before planting to be warmed up and cut, prompting them to start putting out shoots ready for spring. Once cut, the potatoes are allowed to heal or suberise, when the potato cells form a protective layer over the inside flesh. They are then loaded on to trucks ready to be transported to the paddocks where they will be planted. ''A lot of people don't realise it but Continued Page 11 1300 654 142 www.polarisindustries.com.au BUY ONE GET ONE FREE# #Conditions apply. See www.polarisindustries.com.au for details. Offer ends 31/12/10 or while stocks last at participating Australian Polaris dealers. Excludes Fleet Buyers. Not valid with any other offer (except 2010 Ranger 500). For a limited time only, when you purchase a new Polaris ATV 549cc & above or Ranger 498cc & above at a participating dealer, you ll get an Outlaw 50 (value $2,395) for the kids FREE! If you don t want the Outlaw 50, take $2,395 off the price of any additional new Polaris vehicle.#
September 30th 2010
October 14th 2010