Cream of the greenhouse crop goes on show

IF INCREASED risk mitigation is the future of farming then a severe storm was the perfect display to highlight what grower Young Sang & Co's new multi-million dollar greenhouse could withstand.

Industry representatives got a look inside the 4.3ha "Brella Fields" greenhouse as it was unveiled on Thursday.

While the tomatoes in the fields beside the greenhouse looked worse for wear after Wednesday nights storm, those inside the $3 million polyethylene-roofed structure at North Gregory looked good enough to eat.

Farmers, food service and seedling representatives along with industry researchers were among those who took a tour of massive structure and CQUniversity's Head of Horticultural Science Professor Phil Brown was impressed.

"It's a very impressive production system and the technology that's supporting it," he said.

"I think it's an example of risk management that we'll see more of in sub-tropical and tropical Queensland in coming years as farmers look more closely at controlling the variables to ensure the quality and consistency that the market needs."

Cravo is the international company behind the impressive structures and Bundaberg's Hortus Technical Services CEO Jack Milbank is working with Cravo to investigate the requirements of a crop under a retractable roof.

"To give them a better understanding and what their fertilizer and irrigation requirements might be for an increased fruit loading, increased fruit density and increased growth rate," he said.

Chairman of Protective Cropping Australia and Freshzest director Robert Hayes was also in Bundaberg to see the potential of the greenhouse.

"We source a lot of products from growers in the Bundaberg region and we're interested to see what this might add to the flexibility of growing up here, extending the season and moving the quality of the product," he said.

"The crop in here is perfect; this is what protective cropping is about."



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