Home' Grower : Dec 2010-Jan 2011 Contents The South Australian Grower -- December 2010/January 2011
"If you have good quality
your produce will sell, and
when it's your name on the
side of that box, you want it
to be the best quality it can
Ly Hydroponics also
operates as a conversion and
consultancy business, helping
people set up and manage
new hydroponic farms.
Hieu says conversion is a
big business at the moment,
but farmers have to be really
committed to enter the
"Because of a lack of land
and the price of setting up
high-quality establishments, it
is a very big investment. For
the older generation of
farmers in the area, growing
has been considered a
lifestyle, but it now has be
run as a business," he said.
Hieu is passionate about
the benefits of using
hydroponics, but says the
industry cannot continue to
grow without government
assistance for young growers.
"No-one is entering the
industry. Of all the farmers I
have met across the world,
most of them come from an
agricultural background", he
"The problem in the
Virginia area is that such a
high proportion of farmers
are nearing retirement and
their families aren't
'It is really important that
financial assistance is offered
to people wanting to get into
the industry, other wise
vegetable growing in the
Virginia area may disappear
Production: 5300t annually
Farmgate Value: $2.1 million
Growers: About 420, with five high-technology
hydroponic greenhouse tomato growers.
Market: Local and interstate -- fresh and supermarkets.
Location: Adelaide Plains, Riverland and Upper Murray,
AS a 2010 winner of the Nuffield Australian
Farming Scholarship, Hieu Ly (pictured)
travelled to America, France, Ukraine,
Turkey, Bahrain and the United Kingdom
earlier this year to gain a broad view of the
international agriculture industry.
He says government subsidies for
farmers were present in many of the
places visited, really highlighting the lack
of assistance the Government gives
Hieu says they have to look on the
positive side of this, however, as
subsidies often fail to motivate growers.
"If you're earning enough money without
really having to work for it, why should
you take the next step forward? In
Australia, the farmers here have to do
something different from their competition
to set themselves apart, and to stay and
be successful in the industry", he said.
In March, Hieu will embark on his
personal study tour for the Nufffield
Scholarship, spending eight weeks in
Europe, Israel, Japan, New Zealand and
He will be working in greenhouses and
supply companies, researching to prepare
a report on the industry about the reasons
farmers should convert to hydroponics.
Hieu also attended the AIS Greenworks
tour last year, visiting greenhouses and
industry in Holland for three weeks,
which has had a huge influence on his
family business, Ly Hydroponics.
"Seeing where their industry is and
what they have been able to invest in
really influenced the direction we have
taken," he said.
"The Dutch are the best at what they
do and all the technology we use is
Dutch -- being able to export that
overseas gives them a huge advantage."
Hieu's Nuffield Scholarship travels
PESTS and diseases are among the biggest
challenges for vegetable growers.
Ly Hydroponics tries to use very few
pesticides on its crops, and although not in use
at the moment, has used Integrated Pest
Management for the past two years.
Hieu Ly says it was effective up to a point, but
spray from surrounding farms seeped through
the vents into greenhouses and wiped out the
good bugs introduced.
"There were a few factors, but that was the
biggest one. It is always going to be an issue
because farms in this area are so close
together," he said.
Hieu recently attended a pest and disease
conference held by the Hydroponic Farmers
Federation in Moraitis, Victoria, which hosted
four specialists to discuss issues with
vegetables and flowers.
Hieu says the conference was successful, but
it was disappointing how few South Australians
"The conference had a big turn out -- about 90
people -- but very few were from SA. Growers
need to consider these issues of high
importance," he said.
"Looking at all the really bad pests and
diseases and the locations they are found
across the country, Virginia is one of the only
places where they are all found."
Mr Ly says the industry relies too much on
pesticides, and more education into pest and
disease management is needed.
Pest and Disease management
State industry snapshot
• Bertolini and Immovili boom and chemical pumps
• Lechler nozzles - all types including air induction
• Lechler PocketWind IV and Kestrel 3000 series weather meters
• Jetstream, Arag & Teejet sprayer components
• Topcon and Farmscan spray rate controllers
• Filters, fittings, camlocks
• Filling pumps, chemical transfer pumps and flowmeters
• Electric & manual valves
• Dosatron dosing units
• All spraying components
FREECALL: 1800 686 828
Also tractor dual kits, snap on and economy tractor, header,
owcrop rims and new and used tractor axle hubs, 8 & 10 stud,
various diameters to suit all models of tractors.
Wanting rowcrop tyres and wheels?
Cropsaver Row Crop Wheel Equipment
provide tyres and wheels for intensive market
gardening to large scale commercial growers
T&C Tyres have an extensive range available
for any operator, whether spraying inter-row
cultivation or harvesting.
Full range of
Stub Axle and
RIM CONVERSIONS ARE OUR SPECIALTY
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