Hi and Welcome to Solan’s First Quarterly Newsletter – March 2015!
2014- 2015 has been a busy period at Solan as we continue to embark on new projects enabling us to offer more services to our clients.
Two projects which have been running alongside each other are the new Solan Website www.solan.com.au and a new cool store facility built to house mini tubers produced in the production nursery until required by growers.
The website will provide you with an overview of the onsite facility, the services we offer and our contact details. We will continue to build and update the web pages to provide an informative site and linkages to other industry groups. We hope this becomes a useful tool for clients as we develop this further.
Solan’s fit in the Australian Potato Industry: Where are we?
We have been looking at Solan’s role in relation to the whole supply chain of the Australian Potato Industry with the aim of clarifying our position for other stakeholders.
We have just added a flow chart to the website under the About Us tab – Industry Position with an explanation of the supply chain in relation to Solan and the stakeholders throughout our network. This is aimed at demonstrating the flow of material and information between the various groups Solan interacts with. We hope you find this informative and gain further insight into how to the industry operates at this level.
The Cool Store Facility:
Investment in an onsite storage facility has been desired for some time and we are very pleased to say this is a reality! It now provides Solan with complete control over the stock it produces and subsequently holds on behalf of clients from the time it is harvested, graded and counted, to the time it leaves the premises at dispatch to growers, starting around October each year. This means some tubers will be held for up to 10 months prior to dispatch and it is imperative that the conditions in which tubers are held, are strictly managed maintain viability and quality. The cool store has been developed to meet the specific storage requirements of potato mini tubers and we are very happy with the way the facility is performing.
Current Season – Crop 25 2014-2015:
The current season is progressing well in the mini tuber nursery with the majority of the orders planted and a significant portion of harvesting complete. Work in the tissue culture laboratory is winding down for the multiplication of plantlets for mini tuber production purposes, whilst servicing of the potato germplasm in the Genetic Resource Centre held here on behalf of PBR Holders continues. This ensures the ongoing health and vigour of the in-vitro tissue housed within the Genetic Resource Centre.
Timing of order receival is becoming crucial for Solan as order requirements steadily increase, and we aim to match the timing of field ready tubers as requested by clients. This involves some considerable planning from the early production stages in the laboratory, through to release to the production nursery and consideration of dormancy for each of the various cultivars produced. Grouping orders for particular cultivars for processing in the laboratory to a minimal number of batches for release to the nursery is extremely important. This allows an efficient scheduling which results in a reduced number of harvesting dates, keeping the age of mini tubers harvested to minimal differences within cultivars. This in turn assists growers at the field level to receive tubers of the same cultivar at the same age where possible and minimizes dormancy issues. Some clients are beginning to specify the time they wish for their mini tubers to be harvested and we can accommodate this with sufficient notice.
Tuber Production Timing Process Explained:
The Genetic Resource Centre – GRC (dedicated fridge which houses the in-vitro tissue and which orders are generated from) consists of a bank of 10 plants per cultivar. To generate the number of plants required to fill an order of e.g. 8000 mini tubers, the time frame is about 20 weeks.
There is approximately 21 days per growth cycle when processing plantlets in the laboratory between cuts. A mini tuber order of 8000 mini tubers requires the generation of approximately 2560 plantlets. The time required to grow this quantity of plantlets is about 9 weeks, remembering when starting we only have the ten plantlets from the GRC.
Once mature, these plants move to the production nursery and are harvested 80 days after planting to potting medium. In total, this equates to 20 weeks from the beginning of production in the laboratory to harvesting the tubers.
Mid August is the earliest we start moving plantlets to the nursery. Any earlier than this and it is too cold for production. Planting to the nursery is finalized in April. We have tried extending planting later than April however production suffers in terms of insufficient tuber numbers and size.
Harvesting continues through to the end of July which allows time to clean the nursery thoroughly and be ready to commence planting the new crop in mid August.
Next Season – Crop 26 2015-2016
Orders for crop 26 – the upcoming crop 26 (for growers planting to the field commencing October 2016 onwards) should start being considered now.
It appears a long way off, however production for orders commences in the laboratory in June 2015 and for us to cater to client requests it is very important we know what your mini tuber order will be and schedule it accordingly to meet your planting window, minimize harvesting times out of the nursery and allow for dormancy. If requests for orders are received too late, we cannot schedule them in as the plants do not produce.
We ask for orders to be submitted to us by 30th June to allow scheduling and meet timing requests by clients.
All the best for the remainder of the season, we hope it is going well and finishes on a positive note!
Feel free to contact us with questions you may have and we will do our best to assist you. Details can be found on the Contact Us page.