14 January 2000

Spud seed by hydroponics

HYDROPONICS is helping Angus-based seed potato specialist Agrolon cut the cost of producing minitubers.

The technique means each plant produces 50-100 minitubers instead of the four to six achieved by conventional methods, and allows the company to produce commercial stocks in just three generations, says manager Vincent Lumb.

The Tasmanian process, developed by Sunrise Seed Potatoes, is 75% cheaper than conventional production methods, he adds.

The 900 sq m polytunnel facility at Wester Meathie, Forfar means big savings in the total production area can be made with far fewer tissue culture plantlets being required, he explains.

"This creates the potential for improved hygiene, enabling commercial seed to be produced in fewer field generations which, in turn, reduces the risk of exposure to soil-borne pathogens."

Agrolons Vincent Lumb checks the new lower-cost hydroponic facility at Forfar which is set to provide cheaper, cleaner spud seed.