Bumper harvest of heritage maize

Seed bank replenished 100 times over with rare century-old corn


Horticulture
Seed bank replenished: Peter Conasch, Jen Dollin, Brittany Hardiman, Mario Muscat and Dr Ian Knowd with some examples of the heritage corn that was harvested on May 31. Picture: GSLLS.

Seed bank replenished: Peter Conasch, Jen Dollin, Brittany Hardiman, Mario Muscat and Dr Ian Knowd with some examples of the heritage corn that was harvested on May 31. Picture: GSLLS.

Aa

A bumper crop of rare local corn has been harvested.

Aa

STOCKS of a rare local maize variety have been boosted 100 times over after century-old seeds planted on the Richmond lowlands resulted in a bumper harvest.

The one-kilo remaining bag of Hawkesbury maize was planted earlier this year at the Greater Sydney Local Land Services' (GSLLS) demonstration farm after being discovered at the Henry Double Day Research Association (HDDRA) seedbank.

The project was hugely successful, and the May 31 harvest will see an estimated 100 kilograms of the rare seeds collected go to replenish the seedbank and fuel Western Sydney University's (WSU) student research.

RELATED READING

GSLLS farm manager, Peter Conasch, said the success of the trial crop went beyond expectations.

"What we've harvested from a tiny bag of seedlings is truly remarkable," he said.

"It's a great result for sure and our project partners given the historical significance of this particular maize variety which was developed by some of the Hawkesbury's pioneer farmers."

The project is a collaboration between GSLLS, the university, the HDDRA and Hawkesbury Harvest and Farmgate Trails (HHFT).

WSU Sustainable Futures manager Jen Dollin said the harvested seed would allow for further student projects including exploring the nutritional profile of the heirloom vegetable and research into the provenance and genetic profile.

Bumper crop: The heritage corn that was harvested during the project. Picture: GSLLS.

Bumper crop: The heritage corn that was harvested during the project. Picture: GSLLS.

"We see valuable potential for continuing this collaboration link this to our teaching programs," she said.

Hawkesbury Harvest and Farmgate Trails chief executive Dr Ian Knowd said the network would like to see a re-emergence of heritage and heirloom vegetables in the Hawkesbury region.

"This enables our local farmers to explore new commercial opportunities that could occur as a result," he said.

IN: Dr Ian Knowd and Peter Conasch inspect the heritage maize harvest.

IN: Dr Ian Knowd and Peter Conasch inspect the heritage maize harvest.

Mr Conasch hoped the success of the partnership would inspire further trials on heirloom vegetable crops.

"Collaborations like this one which not only support real research into local agriculture and its proud history in this Sydney basin, but also give local growers tangible insight into productive and sustainable farming practices is exactly what our Demonstration Farm is all about," he said.

"It's a real privilege to play a part in keep this history alive and well."

DONE: Peter Conasch, Greater Sydney Local Land Services celebrates the completion of the heritage harvest.

DONE: Peter Conasch, Greater Sydney Local Land Services celebrates the completion of the heritage harvest.

PICKING: Workers get into the swing of harvesting the heritage corn.

PICKING: Workers get into the swing of harvesting the heritage corn.

INSPECTION: Mario Muscat gets a closer look at the corn.

INSPECTION: Mario Muscat gets a closer look at the corn.

INVOLVED: Jen Dollin enjoying the experience.

INVOLVED: Jen Dollin enjoying the experience.

The story Bumper harvest of heritage maize first appeared on Good Fruit & Vegetables.

Aa

From the front page

Sponsored by