Agronomy

Crop scheduling for babyleaf spinach grown in Australia

baby spinach crop 1

Baby spinach grows rapidly and is normally only suitable for harvesting on a single day.  Growers supplying processors need a way to determine that ideal day.

The crop scheduling model is able to predict the harvest date, providing a useful management tool for industry.

Why study this?

Accurate prediction of time from planting to harvest is critical for baby spinach production. This is because the crop grows rapidly and is normally only suitable for harvesting on a single day. Harvesting too early reduces yield, while harvesting too late results in leaves which are larger than specification. Growers supplying processors need a planting plan to allow for a regular supply of harvested product in the face of varying weather conditions, which have a significant impact on the rate of crop development.

What was done

This project examined the relationship between planting date and the time required for babyleaf spinach to reach commercial maturity. It assumes a certain number of thermal units are required for the crop to reach maturity. Data collected from five sites in Qld, NSW and Vic were used to create a reliable harvest and sowing prediction model.

What we found

The model enables growers and processors to estimate the time required for babyleaf spinach to reach commercial maturity throughout different growing seasons and across different locations in an Excel® spreadsheet.

Where to next?

The model has a wide potential user-base, and allows for easy implementation in current farm management systems. It uses only Microsoft® Excel®. The model is able to predict the harvest date of babyleaf spinach, which is a useful management tool for industry.

Resources

Development of a crop scheduling program for babyleaf spinach

To obtain the Excel® spreadsheet model, contact Mike Titley (see below).

For more information contact

Mike Titley, Applied Horticultural Research Pty Ltd
mike@ahr.com.au

VG08167