Environmental Assurance project gives SA veggie grower a fresh outlook
The Horticulture for Tomorrow Environmental Assurance Project has provided South
Australian vegetable grower, Graeme Pitchford with a fresh approach to his business.
When Graeme first acquired his 100-hectare property at Currency Creek near Goolwa,
there were a number of environmental issues that needed to be addressed including
free-range pigs, rubbish in the waterways, soil degradation and nutrient leaching.
Participation in the Horticulture for Tomorrow Environmental Assurance Project grower
trials for the Draft Guidelines for Environmental Assurance in Australian Horticulture
has inspired Graeme to investigate a range of activities and actions such as installing
intercept drains and changing planting patterns to integrate better with soil type.
The guidelines have been designed to help growers link production targets to their
care for the environment as an integral part of daily business management, and since
the launch of the Environmental Assurance Project in 2005, more than 160 horticulturists
have been involved in the trials along with 40 stakeholders and 20 non-funded growers.
Graeme grows broccolini, baby cos lettuce, iceberg lettuce, celeriac, purple dutch carrots
on his vegetable property and said water efficiency and soil health were two aspects
that he closely monitored on his property.
“Making sure there is no water run-off into the nearby creek and organising paddocks
to encourage water flow along a drain to a low spot, use of pressure compensating
sprinklers to get even watering and recently has started using T tape irrigation
to save wasted over spray, reduced evaporation and to provide a more efficient fertigation
are all practises Graeme is now utilising ”
According to the guidelines, inefficient use of water resources can result in the
rising of the watertable, which in turn increases soil salinity, along with nutrient
leaching, contamination of land and waterways from run-off water and a general reduction
in water quality.
The inappropriate rate of application or quality of irrigation water can also cause
a reduction of arable land, soil erosion and waterlogging.
Graeme said the guidelines and grower trials were beneficial because they continually
reminded growers of what they needed to work towards, while also allowing growers
to share ideas and expertise.
“Greme believe that many people think vegetable growers use a lot of harmful pesticides and this is
a perception that is hard to change on a small scale, but if all growers had to
adhere to a set of environmental standards the general public’s opinion could be
“Providing environmental assurance is also important because it ensures the long-term
viability of a property and it is beneficial for growers to look after and maintain
For more information about the project please contact Alison Turnbull at HAL on (02)
8295 2317. Information is also available via www.horticulturefortomorrow.com.au
For further media information or to arrange an interview, please contact Alex Taylor
on (08) 8272 8699 or 0438 308 361.
High resolution photos are available by contacting Emma Angus at Porter Novelli on
(08) 8272 8699 or by e-mailing firstname.lastname@example.org
The Enviroveg web site : http://ausveg.com.au/enviroveg/programs.htm
Caption: South Australian vegetable grower, Graeme Pitchford with his broccolini
crop at Currency Creek.