Bradey Davis is a 29-year-old grower from Little Bowerbank in Deloraine in Tasmania. We profiled him in the February/March 2017 edition of Potatoes Australia magazine.

Fast facts

Name: Bradey Davis
Location: Deloraine, Tasmania
Works: Little Bowerbank
Grows: Potatoes, carrots, poppies, cereals, onions

How did you first become involved in the potato industry?

I grew a five hectare crop of Russet Burbank potatoes in 2008. It was a monster crop. Previously, I knew nothing about potatoes – only that I liked them mashed.

What does your role in the business involve, and what are your responsibilities?

I run the business. Thankfully I have help with the physical day-to-day running from employees and my younger brother, which allows me time to organise everything from crop rotations, timing of jobs, contract work, crunching numbers to ensure crops which are being grown remain viable or whether better alternatives are available, organise irrigation, fertiliser etc. It’s a lot of organising and forward-planning basically.

What do you enjoy most about working in the potato industry and how do you maintain your enthusiasm?

The people I deal with in the industry are great and I enjoy growing the crop. I have a natural enthusiasm and I enjoy what I do. Whenever I get to a point where I’m not enjoying something, I will identify the reason and fix it or change something in the business, therefore enthusiasm is easy to maintain.

What are the biggest challenges you face working in the industry, and how do you overcome them?

Horrendous weather is always a challenge. It’s mainly heavy rainfall that makes planting and/or harvesting difficult.

Where do you receive your on-farm practice advice and information from?

An agronomist with extensive experience relative to our business.

In your opinion, what areas of research are important to the potato industry and your business?

For my business specifically, it is variety research on more profitable, robust varieties. For the potato industry as a whole, maybe research on what consumers want in order to remain relevant.

"I first grew a five hectare crop of Russet Burbank potatoes in 2008. It was a monster crop. Previously, I knew nothing about potatoes - only that I liked them mashed."

What new innovations, research and/or practices has your business implemented recently?

Nothing new recently.

Where do you see opportunities for growth in the Australian potato industry?

I think we should advertise chips and gravy more. It’s simple, but it’s a winner – instant growth for sure.

I don’t have much knowledge of the broader industry, but to me growth means increased volume or increased profitability so maybe new value-added products to generate sales and interest in potatoes.

As a potato grower, what is your biggest achievement so far?

Receiving the Rabobank Simplot Young Potato Grower of the Year award in 2012.

As a result of receiving the award, you attended Rabobank’s Farm Managers Program (FMP). How did attending the program benefit you as a grower running your own farm operation?

I felt the program was perfect for me and where I was in relation to business understanding. Along with gaining knowledge of how to operate a small business, I also took a lot away from a management perspective in terms of managing my time, co-workers and industry personnel, and also managing myself. The FMP gave me tools to have a clearer outlook on my business and I have been enjoying it ever since.

Where do you see yourself in five years?

Still doing what I am doing with no major adjustments business-wise. However, I hope to have implemented more changes to make day-to-day running easier, simpler and quicker.

What is your vision of the Australian potato industry in the future?

I think it will remain strong. A growing population needs food.

How do you think more young people could be encouraged to study and take up jobs in the potato industry?

I think there are a solid number of young people in the industry at the moment so whatever has been happening is working. I also think that with more technology entering the industry, young people will follow in different capacities.

This grower profile first appeared in the leading magazine for the Australian potato industry, Potatoes Australia. If you’d like to subscribe to receive a new edition of Potatoes Australia in your mailbox every two months, use our online subscription form!

Photo credit: Heath Holden