Wayne returns to nature

Lauren CelenzaCountryman

Producing spuds in Busselton has become a biological venture for one grower.

Second-generation farmer Wayne Credaro, who operates with his wife, Denise, and daughter, Danielle, says he wants to continue phasing out chemical use from their production.

On their 365 hectares in Busselton, the Credaros’ main income comes from potatoes — they produce about 400 tonnes a year.

Their other farm interests include wool and fat lambs.

Potato varieties such as Nadine, Ruby Lou and Royal Blue are the mainstays of their crops which are harvested in November and May.

By implementing biological techniques, Wayne said they were aiming to limit chemical use so they could build up the soil’s natural defences.

“We have changed our fertiliser system to one that is more in line with what our soil needs are, ” he said.

They use compost and cover the seed with a mycorrhizal fungi powder which encourages root growth and enables the plants to better tackle fungal diseases.

“This helps us to limit some of the chemicals like Rizolex which is for fungal diseases, ” Wayne said.

“We are relying on our liquid fertilisers and the health of the soil to push past the need for pesticides.”

Wayne said they did not spray any chemical for aphids or red legged earth mites and kept chemical use to a minimum by keeping plants healthy enough to fight off the bugs.

“We are also working with our fertiliser company to develop some other products we can use, ” he said.

“We are also trying a liquid fertiliser that doesn’t have any acidity, so it doesn’t affect microbial activity.”

Wayne said the seed crop which was planted in May was looking fantastic after recent heavy rain.

“We haven’t had any hail storms or frosts, so fingers crossed for a good season, ” he said.

Wayne has been growing potatoes since he could walk to the paddock with his father, Frank.

“I farmed spuds as a kid and it has always been a part of what we do, ” he said.

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