2018 Asia/Pacific Winner

E.E. Muir & Sons Pty Ltd. - Victoria, Australia

E.E. Muir & Sons does not provide application services, but the company hosts workshops to teach growers how to use products more efficiently and effectively. These sessions are held several times a year across Australia and deal with issues like resistance management, correct chemical choice, and dosage.

When Edward Eric Muir established his business in 1927 at the Victoria Market in Melbourne, he began a family enterprise whose many retail outlets now cover all of mainland Australia. E.E. Muir & Sons Pty Ltd. thrives three generations later in no small part due to its commitment to environmental sustainability.

“My father was employed by the Victorian Department of Agriculture for 21 years as a grower adviser in pest management,” the company’s Regional Director, Danny Thornton, says. “It was entrenched at an early age to me that we need to grow healthy produce to survive, and we need to look after our resources, like water and soil health, and reduce all chance for off-target damage. Education of growers is enormously important. Most growers are dealing with a range of issues on farm, and therefore our business seeks to assist them in providing the most targeted solutions that assist in both sustainable farming practices and environmental protection.

“If we can continue this message to growers who will then remain viable — and many have not been — then the E.E. Muir family business will continue its 92-year service to horticultural markets around Australia. Australian grower numbers continue to diminish, but the existing operations are becoming larger, so the impact on each farm to get things right or wrong can be enormous. Hence, it is step-by-step progress to help them along the way. It is something our business is committed to and looks forward to every day.”

To help guide grower-customers on a path of environmental stewardship, the company has contracted Matt Strmiska from Fresno, CA-based Adaptiv, to provide spray application training workshops throughout the season. The initiative has grown to the point in which some of its key R&D partners, such as Corteva, assist in lending their support to the workshops.

Strmiska’s workshops, Thornton says, greatly assist growers in providing information on many areas, including resistance management and on-target application to prevent waste and potential off-target damage or MRL issues in other crops or pastures. The education also stresses efficient application to limit fuel and machinery use, which means less compaction on soil, less dust, and less soil drift.