Sid & Joe Ridenti grow potatoes and onions on the Gawler river and at Kangaroo Flat, just north of the vast northern Adelaide plains horticultural disticrict of Virginia in South Australia. For many years their programs revolved around the old N:P:K regime with an emphasis on ammonium nitrate to grow their potatoes, with very little success.
The boys and their parents, Frank and mother Rosa, knew they had to do something to change the outcomes of their spud crops, as they were strguggling to make ends meet under their current practices. Their previous crops on 130 acres were barely achieving 10 tonnes per acre, with their 2003 harvest yielding only 1180 tonnes.
With this in mind they embarked on a mixed biological chemical regime and were stunned by the massive turnaround in production, quality and costs, to produce their 2004 crops. On 130 acres that season the crop yielded 2600 tonnes, a massive increase on previous crops, with chemical fungicide and pest sprays applied only once, where previously five sprays of each was the norm.
Not only did the crop produce more than double the previous years tonnages, the cost of production was reduced by a massive $100,000. The result speaks for itself and the increased profitability enabled them to erect a brand new production shed and packing plant for future onion crops.
Onion yields have improved dramatically over recent years where biological prescription blends have been used prior to planting. Before using prescription fertiliser blends average yields were around 28-35t:acre. The last two seasons, using FF50 Bio-Humate as a base, there has been around 6-10t:acre increase. Brown onion yields for example over the last two seasons have cropped at around 40-45t:acre with the quality.
The Ridentis are very happy with the results and are looking to expand their onion production to keep up with demand for their high quality produce.
reports supplied by Bio-Tech Organics