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TAS Country : October 7th 2010
Friday, October 8, 2010 Tasmanian Country 11 Seed potato producer in full swing to meet demand From Page 3 they are actually still alive, so you have to make sure everything its right so when they're planted the growers get the best yields,'' Mr Broun said. ''The humble spud is not so humble, they're actually quite complicated.'' A specially designed cut- ting line allows the seed potatoes to be cut into the correct sizes for planting. Once cut they are then coated with a very fine layer of dust to stop them sticking together before they are allowed to suber- ise.Mark Rainer is in charge of the operation's day-to-day management and takes a random sam- ple from each line of seed to ensure the cutting ratios are correct, and the po- tatoes are being sliced into the right size for pieces planting. Most seed potatoes are between 35g-65g. Mr Rainer said there could be significant differ- ences between the potato varieties and seed lines. Mr Broun said traceability was a vital part of their operation. ''When you've got so many different growers and customers and so many different varieties, we have to keep track of everything,'' he said. On average, the cutting line processes about 12 tonnes of potatoes an hour. Some of the potatoes are also pre-cut at the factory then returned to cool storage. Mr Broun said this gave the growers more flexi- bility because the potatoes where then ready to go as soon as they were needed. The potatoes are stored in large one-tonne capacity wooden crates. Each crate is labelled with an individual water- proof tag which includes details such as the grower, the seed buyer, the potato variety, the paddock num- ber, where it was grown and the date it was taken into storage. While the spring plant- ing season is one of the busiest periods at the fac- tory, the autumn intake time is also very busy. Mr Broun said they star- ted receiving their first seed potatoes for the year in March and would con- tinue to take them in right though until June. He said that once they were received at the fac- tory, the seed potatoes were graded allowed to suberise and were also treated with a fungicide to prevent disease before be- ing placed into the cool stores. ''We get a bit of a break in the middle, but it's pretty busy most of the year around here,'' Mr Broun said. Because they are alive, the potatoes breathe, so the cool stores have to be aer- ated regularly to allow the carbon dioxide produced by the potatoes to escape and to allow oxygen in. During peak times there can be more than 11 staff working at the factory and Mr Broun said the oper- ation was a team effort. News CHALLENGES: Tasmanian Liberal Leader Will Hodgman. Times of change for our political leaders TFGA matters with Jan Davis FOR the TFGA to be truly effective we don't have to be political; rather, we have to maintain a meaningful dialogue with all the major political parties, of which there are now three, at both state and federal level. Our charter is to protect and promote the interests of the agricultural sector while having regard to the overall economic benefit of the state. The TFGA has developed into, arguably, one of the most influential political lobbying organisations in Tasmania for the very sound reason that so much of Tasmania's economic activity derives from primary production. We have the ability to ensure that we are heard and that we can effect change where change is needed. Of particular satisfaction to me is the increasing role that young farmers are taking within the organisation. They are not just the leaders of tomorrow; many of them are leading today. There are many other groups outside this peak farming body. They operate from a different perspective to the TFGA; they have a different and often more specialist agenda; and, in some cases, they do not have the same corporate responsibility that we have. That is why we will not always agree with them on policy, or on strategy to achieve certain outcomes. As farmers, we are often told we have to have our house in order --- and I believe that broadly we do. However, the same often cannot be said for the people we have to deal with. In last week's Tasmanian Country, Liberal Senator David Bushby made a contribution to the debate about the state of his party in Tasmania following another bad electoral performance. He acknowledged its poor performance, but denied it was in a state of despair. At the same time, we have the state Liberal Leader Will Hodgman, bent on reform but decrying the disproportionate influence of some in the party and the need for renewal. Of course, Senator Busby and Mr Hodgman are both right --- and I chose this example simply because it has been in the news recently. I could equally well have selected similar examples from other parties. There's no shortage of choice. The message is that the political system in Tasmania needs three parties that are operating at their optimum and that are not beset by internal division. I think it is also fundamental for all political parties, and those that drive them, to appreciate that the times aren't changin'; they've changed. Majority governments are going to be less common commodities. Those who seek power are going to have to lift the phone, talk and negotiate power. If they don't have the willingness or the skills to do so, then find someone who has. As I said at the beginning, the TFGA is not a political organisation, but for it to do its job properly it needs a political regime that is effective and contemporary. 2056525-101008 AIAST 2010 Symposium 'Building RD&E direction & capacity in Tasmanian agriculture' Wednesday 27th October 2010 - 9am - 4pm The Tramsheds Conference Centre, Invermay, Launceston Australian agriculture faces enormous challenges in the years ahead. Current national efforts in research, development and extension are barely keeping pace with industry needs and changing technologies. This year's symposium seeks to address the problems of a lack of overall strategy, and the need for capacity building for the future challenges facing Tasmanian agriculture. Speaking will be leading agriculturalists from some of Australia's premier agricultural RD&E organisations. For more information please go to the AIAST website at http://www.aiast.com.au and follow the links to the Tasmanian symposium page and download the program and registration form, or register by phone: (02) 6163 8122. BOOK NOW
September 30th 2010
October 14th 2010