Home' Grower : March 2011 Contents The South Australian Grower -- March 2011
VARIETY breeders and seed producers Rijk Zwaan is a major supplier for
As well as providing seeds and varieties, the company is involved in
ongoing variety development programs with d'VineRipe. It is also trialing
"We're always trying to do better, to get better yields for the growers,"
national sales manager Steven Roberts said.
"But more and more, the focus is moving away from yields and more
onto better quality with things such as greater
flavour, different innovations and colour.
"This is a high level operation - there are not
many businesses like this in Australia."
Steven said his company focused on helping
growers be profitable and provided what
consumers wanted: taste and value.
"But of course, you also have to deliver
(disease) resistances," he said.
"So it's a combination of resistance, taste
and production that we have to balance.
"The greenhouse business is an
international market. We have to bring
the best of growing techniques and
adapt them to the challenge of
"It's a hot, dry climate, and it's
not as easy to grow tomatoes here
as it is in some of the milder
Innovative seed producers
By MALCOLM SUTTON
d'VineRipe has completed
a $30-million expansion
to its glasshouse near Two Wells,
creating a 17-hectare facility that
will produce 10,000 tonnes of
tomatoes a year.
The company officially opened
the second stage of the
construction on February 22,
adding 9ha to its 8ha glasshouse
(which was completed during the
2007 stage one development) to
The facility now includes
90,000 panes of strengthened
glass on the roof and 30,000 on
the walls -- each measuring 1.8
metres by 1.2m. They are the
largest glasshouse panels used in
d'VineRipe is a joint venture
between fresh food marketing
company Perfection Fresh and
diverse investment company The
Victor Smorgon Group.
d'VineRipe general manager
Leon Maree said stage two was
completed because of increasing
demand and high performance of
the first stage.
"Since the stage one opened,
we have become even more adept
at dealing with the specific
climatic conditions of Two Wells
and learned to control the climate
within the glasshouse, and adjust
irrigation, fertilisation and other
accordingly," he said.
"More than 100 new jobs will
be created within the glasshouse
and packing facility, taking the
total seasonal workforce to
between 180 and 200."
The facility's automated bulk
packing line can produce 25 5-
kilogram trays of tomatoes a
minute, while its pre-packing line
can process 84 packs of 500
The glasshouse produces a
number of varieties, such as baby
Roma, cherr y and truss tomatoes.
It houses about 200 kilometres
of drip house piping and 340km
of heating pipe for the
glasshouse, which is irrigated
predominantly from treated water
from the nearby Bolivar Water
The facility's significant
roofspace is also utilised -- able to
collect and store an astonishing 2
megalitres of rainwater for ever y
10 millilitres that falls.
"With stage two operating, we
require up to 520mgL of water a
year to irrigate crops and cool the
glasshouse," Mr Maree said.
"A proportion of that comes
from rainfall captured on the
"d'VineRipe now has the
capacity to store 10mgL of water
in tanks and 70mgL in dams and
its evaporative pond capacity for
wastewater spans 8ha."
Mr Maree said the company's
next objective was to investigate
biodigesting green waste as a
means to produce a gas.
In its early stages of
development, the concept would
examine ways to separate the
green waste from other materials,
such as nylon twine and plastic
clips, which -- if successful, would
replace the natural gas used in
glasshouse operations -- and could
also save up to $70,000 a year in
Glasshouse covers 17ha
200km of drip house piping
AT A GLANCE
Rijk Zwaan national sales manager
Steven Roberts says the d'VineRipe
glasshouse is a high-level operation, and
is working to develop new varieties.
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