Josh Langmaid: Young grower on the rise
Josh Langmaid is a 32-year-old grower from Langmaid Harvesting in Forth, Tasmania. We profiled him in the Spring 2019 edition of Vegetables Australia magazine.
Name: Josh Langmaid
Location: Forth, TAS
Works: Langmaid Harvesting
Grows: Potato, cauliflower, peas, beans, pyrethrum, poppies, carrot (seed), cabbage (seed), parsley (seed), onions
How did you first become involved in the vegetable industry?
I work on the family farm, and now lease the farm and have bought land beside the property. I spent a lot of time on the farm prior to deciding to offically making it my career.
What does your role in the business involve, and what are your responsibilities?
The primary focus is vegetables, poppies, pyrethrum and seed crops. I’m involved in every element possible from decision making to planting, to husbandry and harvest.
There are 160 breeding ewes too.
Employed labour has been until now limited to sheep shearing, planting and hand harvesting activites. As my schedule has increased in demand, I’ve had a young man doing work around the farm.
What do you enjoy most about working in the vegetable industry and how do you maintain your enthusiasm?
The ability to have make a range of decisions and changes to achieve and improve the crop each year. There is a lot of satisfaction in producing your own crop, especially when the results are good. Also, I enjoy the farming lifestyle. It’s exciting to implement new technologies, such as GPS to get things looking the best they can and squeeze an extra one percent in rewards. There is always new technology and ideas to keep things interesting.
What are the biggest challenges you face working in the industry, and how do you overcome them?
Again, the lifestyle. It’s not always a good thing. If you want to succeed, sometimes you are torn from what you would like to do and what you have to do. The livelihood depends on this and it can’t be treated as a 9-5 job.
Another challenge is a push for larger yields and quality in an expense-increasing industry. This is managed by implementing the right people in the sector to aid in making the right choices. The rest could be luck.
"My advice is to focus on the lifestyle of the industry, and also the reward and challenge of striving for an exceptional crop."
Where do you receive your on-farm practice advice and information from?
Mainly my agronomist, Tim Walker from Walker Ag Consultancy. I got to know Tim well in the past in his previous agronomy roles while working on the farm. Since I’ve been growing myself, Tim has also branched out in his own business. Tim’s knowledge is very valuable in assuring products are applied correctly and timely. Tim also recommends a fertiliser program based on the soil tests that he conducts.
What new innovations, research and/or practices has your business implemented recently? What are you doing differently to other grower operations?
I’ve just installed centre pivot irrigation. This is very exciting for me as everything is currently under soft hose irrigation, which is very labour-intensive.
I conduct my own trial work regarding fertilisers and chemistry and set out to trial something of my choice each year, based on attending events displaying new techniques and products. I’ve conducted fertiliser trials in potatoes and biological products on onions.
Where do you see yourself in five years?
Hopefully doing the same job. I can’t complain with recent results and it would be great to further upgrade irrigation systems, potentially including solar systems to assist with pumping costs.
I also run three combine harvesters, and there will definitely be upgrades soon. I would like to expand further on the precision side of things, and this would include machinery such as fertiliser spreading with automation and scales.
How do you think more young people and women could be encouraged to study and take up jobs in the vegetable industry?
This is hard because it can be hard and potentially unrewarding. Risk and investment is a headache in an underpaid industry. My advice is to focus on the lifestyle of the industry, and also the reward and challenge of striving for an exceptional crop.
You were nominated for the Corteva Young Grower of the Year award at Hort Connections this year. What does this recognition mean to you?
It’s great to be recognised for all the midnight irrigation shifts, stresses and challenges. It was an honour to be nominated. Hort Connections in general was amazing. The trade show was incredibly eye-opening. The awards night was elaborate and it was exciting to be a part of the awards section.
This grower profile first appeared in the leading magazine for the Australian vegetable industry, Vegetables Australia. If you’d like to subscribe to receive a new edition of Vegetables Australia in your mailbox every two months, use our online subscription form!
Photography credit: Tamara Langmaid Photography