One from one would sound a better beet

Beetroot growers in Cowra have instigated and funded a new project which aims to double beetroot production and improve quality and consistency.

Project leader, NSW Department of Primary Industries (DPI) technical officer Alan Boulton, said the growers currently produce 3000 tonnes a year.

“They plan to expand this to between six and eight thousand tonnes over the next three years but the industry is constrained by low yield and quality, due to unpredictable plant stand, since two to six plants can emerge from one seed cork,” Mr Boulton said.

“Seed batches vary but the ideal number of plants would be one,” he explained.

This project aims to carry out field and laboratory trials to determine the best possible sowing density of suitable beetroot varieties, resulting in optimum plant stand for higher root yield and quality.

“We expect to increase the percentage of beetroots sent to the processor in the desired range of 50-100 mm diameter.

“The increased yield and quality will help Cowra growers meet the expected increased demand from the processing industry,” Mr Boulton said.

Preliminary measurements will be conducted on levels of betacyanins and their variation between different beetroot varieties.

The Beetroot Stand Management project was developed with DPI at Yanco in collaboration with SPC Ardmona, the processor that buys their beetroot, the Cowra beetroot growers and the local agronomist, Greg Kocanda.