Mulgowie Farming Company (Mulgowie) is one of Australia’s largest vegetable producers. The Mulgowie team, work in a dynamic growing, packaging, and marketing system with the additional complexity of multiple farming locations along the eastern seaboard of Australia. Mulgowie Farming Company supply green beans in fresh loose, bagged, and semi-processed formats to Australian supermarkets, market agents and the foodservice industry daily, as well as targeting lucrative export markets.
Mulgowie’s agronomists and the supply chain team must make fast crop management decisions every day in order to match supply volume with green bean customer demand and retain customer confidence, plan for in-store promotions and ensure quality. Daily weather variability throughout all seasons and locations is the main driver of fluctuations in planned supply. Mulgowie’s customers demand quality product delivered on-time and on schedule.
This CRC collaboration project aimed to develop and evaluate a commercial (in-house) green bean crop maturity model that could track and predict the maturity of sequentially planted green bean crops using historical Mulgowie crop development and yield records. These records (from multiple production sites) were analysed by Queensland University of Technology (QUT) data specialists. The historical data was combined with, and enhanced by, published green bean crop physiology data and field observation studies completed by Mulgowie, QUT and Department of Agriculture and Fisheries (DAF) project staff.
Green bean crop development phases were measured under local growing conditions and the crop maturity changes and associated weather (temperature) drivers were recorded and used to devise and refine a green bean crop growth model. Detailed crop physiology research, local observations and commercial crop data were combined in a complex growth model (Grena-Bena) to enhance commercial cropping and sales decision making.