Australia: Simplot’s top potato grower of the year believes in quality over quantity

Quality over quantity: Simplot potato grower of the year winner Ian Page on his property in Lapoinya in the state’s North-West. Picture: Karolin MacGregor, The Weekly Times

Keepng things simple but doing it well has proved a winning strategy for potato grower Ian Page. Mr Page was named Simplot’s top potato grower of the year at the company’s annual awards dinner. Potatoes are an important part of Mr Page’s operation on his 110ha property at Lapoinya. He first started growing potatoes about 27 years ago and has stuck to a simple system that includes long pasture phases between crops. “I was a bit surprised to win because the yields have been up around that sort of 65 to 70 tonnes for a while,” he said. Good ground preparation is one thing Mr Page focuses on and he likes to start working on the paddock fairly early. “The longer fallow time you can have the better the soil breaks down and seems to hold the moisture better too.” Most of the time he uses a rotation of about eight years between potato crops. He said this helped to prevent diseases and reduce issues with compaction and soil health. More