Australia: Tas climate unique for caps and cucumbers

The Tasmanian climate has provided a mixed bag of blessings for capsicums and cucumbers, as Kapiris Bros extends its production to the area. “For capsicums our yield to date is down on where we wanted it to be in Tassie, due to the much colder winter and cooler spring. We planted earlier, but started harvesting two weeks later,” says Managing Director Harry Kapiris. “It’s not all bad news, however, as the fruit has sat on the plant longer, we’ve achieved excellent quality and better size.”

Although glasshouse growing is providing some protection, the area is not immune to the effects of drought, Mr Kapiris says. There are mechanisms to address the usual challenges such as heat and humidity, providing a longer growing season, but as South Australia coming into production, and with an extended season in Queensland, there is some pressure on prices, keeping them similar to 2014 levels. Interestingly the more ‘perfect’ looking produce is being viewed as less natural and less tasty by consumers, according to him. 

“If some look absolutely perfect it just doesn’t sit right with some segments of consumers. Imperfection equals naturally grown, equals flavour and goodness,” says Mr Kapiris. “Other people are now preferring smaller produce. They would rather use a whole small capsicum than half a large one.”

To counter some of the challenges with capsicums, Kapiris Bros now rotates a crop with a shorter growing season, cucumbers. “We rotate four sections with three crops of cucumbers over 12 months,” says Mr Kapiris. “Market demand led to an attempt to diversify, and each cucumber crop has a turnaround of 8 weeks from sowing to production, as opposed to 18 weeks with capsicums.”

Kapiris Bros expects to produce around 500,000 cucumbers this year, with no presence of Cucumber Green Mottle Mosaic Virus, which has affected curcubits including cucumbers, watermelons, pumpkins, zucchinis and squash varieties in the Northern Territory and Queensland this year. “Higher light levels during summer should help achieve a higher yield, and blue leaf varieties might be more resistant to pests and diseases,” says Mr Kapiris.

For more information
Harry Kapiris, Managing Director
Kapiris Bros
Phone: +61384011000

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