In this column, VegNET – Tasmania Regional Development Officer Ossie Lang provides an update on industry activities across the Apple Isle. These include workshops – co-hosted with several other horticultural industries – and the Walker Ag Forum, which is coordinated by Tasmanian agronomist Tim Walker.

Tackling herbicide resistance: Understanding the risks

One of the focus areas for VegNET – Tasmania is weed management and minimising the risks of herbicide resistance.

Fortunately, growers in Tasmania have a uniquely wide range of crop options, including vegetables, potatoes, onions, pyrethrum, poppies, hemp, cereals, along with pasture seed and vegetable seed crops. While this has helped the industry delay herbicide resistance, it was identified– when considering how to manage the risks – that a cross-industry approach would be required to achieve success with this issue.

After some earlier industry engagement, VegNET hosted a cross-industry workshop in late July. The day was successful in bringing together agronomists, field officers and growers from a range of Tasmanian cropping industries.

While these groups often work in silos, the collaborative discussion identified several priority areas that need further investigation and follow-up opportunities for VegNET, which will focus on upskilling growers and contractors.

We were also fortunate to have two excellent speakers join us virtually on the day. Firstly, Liam Hescock from Growave explained the work that his company is undertaking to develop a microwave weed control technology.

Dr Peter Boutsalis from Plant Science Consulting then discussed the mechanisms of resistance, what to look for in identifying resistance, how to get testing completed, and tips on how to maximise efficacy of herbicides.

One of the key items from Peter’s discussion was that pollen spread from ryegrass and wild radish can quickly transfer resistant genetics across a property and area. This helped a number of participants in the room understand how they could see resistance issues arise in areas where it shouldn’t be and how well-managed paddocks can still see herbicide resistant weeds creep in from surrounding areas.

Learning from experts and leaders

VegNET was also fortunate to be able to support this year’s Walker Ag Industry Forum. The forum brought together around 80 growers, agronomists, field officers and suppliers to hear about a range of topics that impact the Tasmanian vegetable and cropping industry.

Event organiser and agronomist, Tim Walker, explained why he hosts these events.

“The forum fills a gap and gives an opportunity for the cropping industry in north-western Tasmania to come together and learn about the latest in best practice,” Tim said.

This year’s program boasted a wide range of speakers covering topics including biosecurity, education, training, crop nutrition, pesticides, new seed varieties, soil health, erosion control and truffle farming.

Speakers were supported by a expansive trade show, which included the latest in potato seeding equipment and lightweight machinery for crop management.

This was second Walker Ag Forum, and it was a tremendous success. The huge range of topics covered meant that everyone left with something to reconsider for the upcoming season, even something as simple as a better understanding of the benefits of liquid fertilisers, or a new option to consider for employing their next staff member.

For further details about upcoming events, be sure to follow VegNET – Tasmania on Facebook or Twitter, or get in touch with myself via the details below to subscribe to our e-newsletter mailing list.

Find out more

Please contact Ossie Lang on or 0430 380 414.

Follow us on social media: Facebook: @VegNET.Tas and Twitter: @VegNET_Tas.

VegNET – Tasmania is a strategic levy investment under the Hort Innovation Vegetable Fund.

This project has been funded by Hort Innovation using the vegetable research and development levy and contributions from the Australian Government.

Project Number: VG19014

Cover image: Walker Ag Industry Forum host Tim Walker pictured welcoming attendees.