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Australia: Victorian growers gather at HFF spring meeting

The Victorian based Hydroponic Farmers Federation held their spring grower day as a partnership arrangement in conjunction with Yara Fertilizers and Chisholm Institute of TAFE, at Chisholm Institute’s National Precision Growing Centre at the Cranbourne Campus.

The event allowed for the HFF members to conduct their usual business meeting, as well as participating in a technical seminar delivered by international speaker Peter de Vries. Peter is one of Yara’s lead agronomists in the Netherlands and his visit to Australia provided a timely opportunity for the HFF members to ‘learn from the master’.

Peter delivered a program entitled ‘The important of a balanced nutrient program’ which covered both the fundamentals and advanced considerations for a developing a hydroponic based nutrient recipe.

Peter de Vries

Over 40 HFF members and allied traders attended the event which had something for everyone, no matter what their prior experience level was.

HFF members gaining information from Peter de Vries

The fertilizer seminar was conducted in two parts with the formal seminar session being held in Chisholm Institute’s auditorium, followed by a practical session on fertiliser calculations at the adjacent National Precision Growing Centre greenhouse. This allowed the participants to put the theory of the earlier session into practice and also build confidence in their fertiliser calculation processes. Staff members for YARA were also on hand to guide the growers in the process.

Back to school for growers!

In general the day was a great opportunity for growers to learn new skills as well as building on existing knowledge that could be translated to their own crops when they returned home.

The day also allowed for the HFF members to have a look at the latest De Ruiter Tomato varieties that are grown as a trial within the greenhouse area.

De Ruiter’s Aart Slobbe explains the differences in varieties

The trials are well established and are forming a major part of the De Ruiter Tomato Experience day that will be held in November.

Also of interest at Chisholm was the establishment of an LED Interlighting trial in Tomatoes that is being initiated by Philips and Powerplants Australia.

Philips LED Interlights

Much of the LED research has been developed in the Northern hemisphere, and the lighting trial is being established to allow Australian growers to see the benefits of LED lighting in true Australian conditions. The trial will also see Chisholm Institute students undertaking the crop registration process to fully evaluate the benefits of the lighting process.

The final part of the day was spent informing the HFF members of the potential to attend a proposed study tour to South Korea. HFF Committee member Michael Tran is organising the tour that will see 20 HFF delegates tour a number of key horticultural sites in South Korea between the 30th April and 7th May 2017.

Joint Tour leaders Michael Tran and Jung Kim explain the tour details

The tour will be fast paced but will allow growers a unique opportunity to observe the Horticultural industry in South Korea. At this stage there are limited places which will be offered to HFF members first.

At the end of the day, HFF President gave formal thanks on behalf of the HFF to Colin Bednarz from Chisholm Institute for facilitating the event. The HFF has worked closely with Chisholm in the past to assist the Institute in being one of the fore runners in the delivery of quality horticultural training programs.

HFF President John Elford thanks Chisholm Institute’s Colin Bednarz with a small token of appreciation

For further details of the activities of the Hydroponic Farmers Federation, Chisholm Institute and Yara Fertilisers, please visit their respective web sites:

Hydroponic Farmers Federation

Chisholm Institute if TAFE

Yara Fertilisers
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