Australian peak bodies, the Hydroponic Farmers Federation (HFF) and Protected Copping Australia (PCA), recently partnered with Chisholm Institute of TAFE, De Ruiter Seeds and Signify to present a Grower Innovation day.
The event was held at Chisholm Institute of TAFE’s Cranbourne Campus, which is also home to the National Precision Growing Centre, and over 75 delegates attended the day.
The morning sessions were dedicated to presentations by a number of key industry players. Ben Hoodless of De Ruiter informed the grower group of the latest developments in tomato variety development, whilst New Zealand grower Roelf Schroeder of Gourmet Mokai, gave some great insight as to how he is using Philips lights to enhance production on his long term tomato crop.
Roelf Schroeder of Gourmet Mokai
In relation to looking at emerging technologies, Patrick Duffy of Eagri explained how his company are embracing the concept of vertical farming and also informed the grower group about the establishment of a purpose built R&D facility at Chisholm’s Cranbourne Campus.
Marcus van Heijst of Priva gave an insightful presentation on ‘What is your licence to grow?’ which challenged the concept of how world wide food supplies will be sustainable in 2050 by only using current technologies.
Growers at the innovation event
To round off the presentations, Paul Konig of Chisholm led a session seeking answers as to how to satisfy the ongoing training needs of the wider horticultural industry.
Lunch was sponsored by De Ruiter seeds which saw the delegates having the option of gourmet burgers or gourmet pizzas which were prepared on site by external caterers in their high end food trucks.
Growers inspect the De Ruiter crop
The afternoon sessions were run as three separate events with delegates rotating around the topics. This saw Signify presenting on technical aspects of LED lighting, De Ruiter showcasing their variety trials in the Chisholm greenhouse, and E Agri giving further detail on the development of their Vertical Farming R&D site and their involvement in a potential Cooperative Research Centre grant program with Western Sydney University.
De Ruiter Tomato trial under LED Lights
The day concluded at 3pm, and provided all delegates with a great knowledge capture and networking event.