Daikon in Australia
Daikon (Raphanus sativus L.), also known as Japanese radish, has until recently been grown in a few locations in Australia, in particular the Sydney Basin of New South Wales (NSW), by growers of Chinese background. Opportunity to export has promoted some large-scale growers in Victoria, Western Australia (WA) and NSW to produce according to the importers’ requirements. Trials undertaken within the project, in part funded by RIRDC, Horticulture Australia Limited and State Departments of Agriculture, in WA and NSW were set up to focus mainly upon export to the Japanese market, but also to enhance production methods, and varietal suitability, for the domestic market. Given the distance to overseas markets, and the bulky nature of the commodity, post-harvest storage trials were also undertaken.
Yields were greater in WA than NSW, although yields in both states exceeded those reported for other countries. Where average monthly maximum temperatures are 20-25oC there is potential to successfully grow quality daikon. Based upon the trials reported here, recommended cultivars for southern Western Australia include Narumi, Tarumi Sobutori, Radish F1 NO’s 14 and 16, Kurazukuri F1 depending on season and site. Recommended cultivars for the central coast of New South Wales also included Narumi and some other cultivars, which were trialed more than 10 years ago. The seed companies identified in this report can advise on suggestions for best cultivars for other locations.
Post-harvest trials, run at 1oC and 1.7oC, suggest that sealed low density polyethylene bags would maintain root quality, even up to the 28 or 36 days of storage in each trial. The high cost of modified atmosphere packaging may make export too costly, and cost benefit analyses are required to answer this.