Home' Grower : August 2011 Contents 8
The South Australian Grower – August 2011
◗ Potatoes & onions
Best seed, best quality
CHOOSING the right variety of
onion to grow will reflect the end
use for the bulbs – fresh market or
export – and will be dictated by the
location of the production area.
The best variety for a particular planting
date is critical because bulb formation is
sensitive to day length and temperature.
To produce a high yielding crop planting
the right variety at the right crop density
for a particular location is required.
Onions (Allium cepa) are planted
throughout the year, depending on the
region and climatic conditions although the
usual planting period starts in February in
the lower latitudes, such as Lockyer Valley
through to early spring in Western Australia.
Seed can be planted on raised beds or
flat ground depending on irrigation
practice, soil type and available equipment.
The use of precision planters is advisable
to maximise yield.
A common plant spacing is 75
millimetres between plants in rows 300mm
apart, about 450,000 plants a hectare.
This planting density will produce the
best yields. But plant spacing can affect
disease control and the size and shape of
A uniform plant stand is required to
produce bulbs of similar shape and size.
Germination time depends on soil
temperature and can var y from 10 days up
to 28 days.
A primary requirement to obtain an ideal
plant stand will depend on using seed
which has high germination levels.
If seed is retained from previous seasons,
then an updated germination test would be
To produce a high yielding crop, planting the right variety at the right crop density for a
particular location is required.
Growers vote to increase
levies for OA marketing
THE national onion industry is about to
strengthen its resources through peak body
Onions Australia with a national agreement to
introduce additional levies.
“Growers have voted for an increase in
funding for research and development, the
introduction of an emergency pest plant
response levy and the introduction of a
marketing levy,” Onions Australia executive
officer Joanne Thomas-Ward said.
“These measures will come after a recent
review of our levies followed by a vote, which
resulted in positive support for what was
proposed to our growers.
“We are now preparing submissions to the
Federal Agriculture Minister Joe Ludwig which,
if accepted, will require complementary
legislation to be passed, authorising increases in
the growers’ levy.”
SA produces about 94,000 tonnes of onions
annually of the national total of 275,000 tonnes
– making it the major contributor – with the rest
coming from Tasmania, New South Wales,
Queensland and Western Australia.
There are about 256 growers in Australia, 75
of them in SA, with only Tasmania ahead on 98
and much smaller numbers in all other
producing states. The Onions Australia head
office is at Mount Gambier
Ms Joanne Thomas-Ward said producers
regarded their industry as ‘mature’ in that
neither the volume nor the value, put at $181
million annually, had changed much during the
past 10 years.
Onions Australia actively liaised with the
Agriculture Fisheries and Forestry Department
and was a member of the Federal Government’s
Horticulture Task Force.
“Some of our concerns and issues are country
of origin labelling, quarantine issues over
imported onions and any risks to our industry and
biosecurity for exotic disease, their categorisation
and risk analysis,” Ms Thomas-Ward said.
“We are also concerned with the labelling of
chemicals and a review of them, the question of
permits for minor use of chemicals and
resolution of a horticulture code of conduct.”
Need to know more?
Onions Australia 08 8725 8862.
■ SA produces about 94,000t annually
■ Propducers regard industry as
■ 256 growers in Australia, 75 in SA
☛ AT A GLANCE
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