At Hort Connections 2018 in Brisbane, we’ll be offering a huge range of speaker sessions to suit every need – from the showcase Plenary Sessions on the morning of Tuesday 19 June to the concurrent sessions on Wednesday, where 14 different presentations will cover the big issues in horticulture.

We’ve already talked about the opportunities to learn about future food trends or make better decisions using data, which are part of the horticulture-wide concurrent sessions, but we’re also looking forward to hosting another set of speakers who are experts in the vegetable sector.

Between 1:30pm and 4:40pm on Tuesday 19 June, AUSVEG will be offering vegetable growers and other industry members a dedicated speaker stream. This stream will help you deepen your understanding of how our sector is going on a national level, and also take you through some of the latest technologies and practice changes that can help you boost your productivity and your on-farm sustainability.

Considering consumers

Over the three hours of the stream, you’ll be able to hear from a wide range of perspectives about what consumers want and need when they buy vegetable products.

A panel discussion on Innovation and Consumer Trends hosted by Coles will bring together growers who have proven experience in providing products that meet consumer demands. Matt Hood from Rugby Farms, Rocky Varapodio from Oakmoor Orchards and Natalie Bell from Mountain Blue Farms will share their insights into how their growing operations have adapted to succeed in an evolving market.

Later, Bayer and the Try For 5 campaign will host a diverse panel to talk about Boosting Vegetable Consumption Now. Lucinda Hancock from Nutrition Australia, Dr Tony Worsley from Deakin University, Fiona Baxter from Coles, Anthony Staatz from Koala Farms and Richard Dickmann from Bayer have decades of experience in the vegetable sector and will dive deep into what our industry can do to increase demand for our product.

Finally, Dr Hazel MacTavish-West will share Insights from the VegDoctor’s 2018 EuroVeg Odyssey. After a fruitful study tour as part of her Churchill Fellowship, Dr Mactavish-West has developed a massive knowledge bank about product innovation, retail trends and packaging practices in Europe. She’s sure to share plenty of ideas that could help you create your next product.

Talking technology

We’re also hosting speakers that can help you add more profitability to your business by boosting productivity, managing pests and diseases and ensuring your produce is the best quality it can be.

Dr Gordon Rogers from Applied Horticultural Research will introduce the new Soil Wealth/Integrated Crop Protection Project and its new phase of delivery. This levy-funded project has been delivering on-farm productivity benefits for growers as it trials practices that improve soil health and protect crops, with plenty of real-world case studies to prove its success.

For growers, agronomists and other industry members who are interested in crop protection, Dr Paul Horne from IPM Technologies will be breaking down why farmers should use Integrated Pest Management (IPM). Using lessons from history, Dr Horne will discuss how IPM can help you control problem pests.

Venessa Moodley from Omnia will take attendees through soil microbial indicators and the benefits of soil ameliorants for improved plant growth, in a presentation that will show you ways that can help you increase your yield and improve your productivity.

If you’re looking to improve your water use efficiency, Inge Bosconer from Toro will be discussing drip irrigation and subsurface drip irrigation in vegetable production. Increasing your water efficiency offers a raft of positive growing outcomes, from reducing input costs to increasing the sustainability of your production, and Toro’s expertise will help you on the way.

Wayne Shields from Peninsula Organics will also be presenting during the speaker sessions, sharing his experiences and insights as an organic grower.

All that will be packed into only a few hours – and over the three days of Hort Connections 2018, there’ll be a lot more on offer, including a huge schedule of networking events where you can catch up with colleagues from around the country and make business connections.

If you haven’t already signed up, register for Hort Connections online.

This post appeared in the AUSVEG Weekly Update published 12 June 2018. Subscribe to the Update using our online form to receive the latest industry news in your inbox every week!