Spinach growers plug in to global industry at International Spinach Conference
Australian spinach growers, agronomists and researchers have made vital linkages with the global industry and accessed international research and development through a study tour to the International Spinach Conference in Murcia, Spain.
Coordinated by the team behind the East Gippsland Vegetable Innovation Days (EGVID) and made possible through a strategic levy investment under the Hort Innovation Vegetable Fund, the study tour ran from 10 February to 18 February and was led by 2017 Australian Farmer of the Year Andrew Bulmer and agronomist Stuart Grigg (Stuart Grigg Ag-Hort Consulting).
As well as attending the International Spinach Conference, the group of 14 participants also visited industry sites, including:
- British growers producing spinach and other crops in Spain counter-seasonally to the British growing season at G’s España SL, Intercrop and Emmett; and
- Extensive seed company trials at Rijk Zwaan, Enza Zaden (marketed in Australia by South Pacific Seeds), Pop Vriend (marketed in Australia by Lefroy Valley), and Bayer (under the Nunhems brand).
As well as these site visits, there were many other highlights from the tour. The group gained close-up experience of bulk-harvested baby spinach in the field, learned about production challenges in the harsh southern Spanish climate, visited trials of new and exciting spinach varieties including many new varieties with resistance to all currently named races of Perinospora effusa (downy mildew) 1-16, and listened to over 30 scientific and agronomic presentations specifically focused on spinach breeding and production.
Growers interested in seeing some snapshots of the tour can look at the image gallery below or check out the live tweets posted during the mission at the EGVID Twitter (@2017EGVID).
As part of the project, an extensive report will be compiled in coming months and be made available to industry, so keep an eye out for more information.