Upcoming Vegetables Export Training Programs for growers

Released in January 2017, the Vegetable Industry Export Strategy 2020 aims to increase vegetable exports by 40 per cent to AUD$315 million and 310,000 tonnes by 2020. Horticulture production is projected to grow with rising demand from Asian and Middle Eastern markets for fresh, clean and safe Australian produce.

In light of this, AUSVEG will run a two-day Vegetable Industry Export Development Training Program during August in Victoria and Tasmania. This training is part of the Package Assisting Small Exporters (PASE) and will assist growers to develop their understanding of export documentation and procedural requirements in order to expand their export capabilities.

Time/date: 9:00am – 4:00pm, 15-16 August 2017
Location: AUSVEG office – Level 2, 273 Camberwell Road, Camberwell VIC 3124

Time/date: 9:00am – 4:00pm, 22-23 August 2017
Location: Macquarie Room, Country Club Tasmania, Launceston TAS 7250

If you are considering exporting or looking to expand your existing exports, this training program will provide you with the information and skills to do so.

To register and find out more about the training program, please call AUSVEG on 03 9882 0277 or email export@ausveg.com.au by 4 August 2017 to confirm your attendance. Vegetable research and development levy funded positions are available and numbers are limited, so register now to ensure you reserve your place.


Hort Innovation launches biggest trade drive in Australian horticulture history

Hort Innovation today launched the biggest ever trade push in Australian horticulture’s history with an ambitious plan to significantly grow exports by 2025, complementing an investment of more than $10.5M into trade activities over the next year.

Officially announced by the Assistant Minister for Agriculture and Water Resources, Senator Anne Ruston, a key component of the initiative is the new ‘Taste Australia’ in-market export activity, which will help promote premium Australian produce in current and future markets. The plan will also see more research and development to grow market access, and increased support for current and aspiring exporters.

Developed in consultation with growers, state and federal government agencies and other trade stakeholders, Taste Australia will be launched with more than 200 industry representatives (including a delegation of vegetable growers and AUSVEG market development staff) at Asia Fruit Logistica in Hong Kong next month.

As part of this export push, Hort Innovation and AUSVEG will work to increase the value of vegetable exports to $315 million by 2020, equivalent to a 40 per cent increase overall, as part of the Vegetable Industry Export Strategy published this year. This will be achieved through continuing work in the industry targeting relationship-building, supporting industry to get export-ready, boosting supply chain efficiencies and overseas activities.

For more information on Hort Innovation’s trade push, please see the Hort Innovation website. AUSVEG has welcomed the trade push in a media statement.

This trade push is funded by Hort Innovation using industry research, development and marketing levies and funds from the Australian Government with some activities supported by co-investment from research and trade partners. Hort Innovation is the grower-owned, not-for-profit research and development corporation for Australian horticulture.


Get Vegged – A Growing Leaders project

The Growing Leaders program of 2017 engages 18 developing leaders from throughout different components of the Australian vegetable industry. As part of the program, the group is working on a series of projects they believe in, based on a broader vision and mission for the industry.

One project, Get Vegged, is looking at highlighting the role of growers in a real and raw series of short video clips. The project is being undertaken by a cohort of 2017 Growing Leaders, consisting of Kaushik Mulukutla, Alexandra Keith, Rachel Archbald, Lachie Schreurs and Tayla Field, who are currently working across the vegetable industry in roles from agronomy to research.

Get Vegged aims to remove the glossy finishes from farm photos in major retailers and present consumers with growers’ stories, straight from the farm. These video clips would allow growers to take a short clip of themselves discussing why what they do is important to them, and talking about some of the challenges experienced while growing fresh food for the Australian consumer.

Any growers interested in learning more about the project, or participating in a video, can contact Tayla Field.



Vegetable feature article

New fact sheet: Damping off in spinach

Having issues with damping off in spinach thanks to a cool, wet winter? The latest fact sheet from the Soil Wealth and ICP team provides an overview of the symptoms and conditions that favour different pathogens causing damping off (such as Pythium spp, Phytophthora spp, Fusarium spp and Rhizoctonia spp). Knowing the causal pathogen can aid selection of effective management and control strategies.

The fact sheet also has handy information on how the fungi spread, susceptibility and severity, diagnosis, and how to manage damping off, including practices to keep in your ‘toolbox’.To find out more about the Soil Wealth and ICP projects visit the website, or join the Community of Practice online. You can also follow the projects on Twitter @SoilWealthand @ProtectingCrops.


Potato feature article

Investigating Dickeya Dianthicola in the Australia potato industry

Dickeya dianthicola causes soft rot and blackleg disease, which degrade tubers and can kill potato plants. The species has the ability to move through a plant’s vascular system (stem and tissues) and to spread in latently-infected seed tubers.

Most strains of Dickeya spp thrive in tropical to subtropical climates, but in recent times they have been known to survive in cooler climates. Survival of these destructive pathogens is enhanced by poor farm hygiene, poor soil drainage, wet spring weather and inadequate ventilation during storage.

Blackleg and soft rot present symptoms which vary depending on bacterial concentrations, environmental conditions and the host plant. Typical symptoms include tuber rot, stem rot, and soft, granular and watery plant tissues and wilted leaves. Slimy, wet, black rot lesions are a characteristic symptom of blackleg in potato.

The Western Australian Department of Primary Industries and Regional Development commenced emergency response activities in June 2017 following the confirmed detection of Dickeya dianthicola in a potato crop north of Perth. A Dickeya dianthicolaweb page is available with information on symptoms and reporting options.

A full, detailed profile on Dickeya dianthicola written by AUSVEG Biosecurity Officer Madeleine Quirk will be available in the upcoming edition of Potatoes Australia magazine. To subscribe to Potatoes Australia, contact AUSVEG at communications@ausveg.com.au, use the contact form on our website, or use our online subscription form.


New AHR video – Integrated Pest Management of vegetable pests

Applied Horticultural Research (AHR) has produced a new series of videos communicating research and development outcomes and giving growers practical information about important on-farm processes as part of the strategic levy investment project VegNET, which is part of the Hort Innovation Vegetable Fund.

In AHR’s video Integrated pest management of vegetable pests: A more sustainable approach, vegetable growers Adam Schreurs (Clyde, VIC) and John Said (Werribee, VIC) explain why IPM is an important tool to manage vegetable pests in a sustainable way.

To watch this video, please click here.


Regional Horticulture Code of Conduct workshops – Queensland

Growcom, along with regional horticulture bodies, invites Queensland growers to attend free grower-specific regional workshops to help them understand how the Code protects their businesses and to make sure they meet their obligations.

These workshops are sponsored by the HiveXchange and supported by the VegNETprogram, and include an overview of the Code provided by Cynthia Tupicoff (Assistant Director – Enforcement and Compliance, ACCC), an interactive workshop led by Rachel Mackenzie (Chief Advocate, Growcom) and a session on compliance management with HiveXchange.

Workshops will be held throughout August in Bowen, Mareeba, Gayndah, Bundaberg, Gatton and Stanthorpe, and will include meals and/or refreshments for attendees.

For more information, please see the roadshow flyer. To register for one of these free workshops, please visit Growcom’s website.


RIPPA field trial and event update – July 2017

The RIPPATM (Robot for Intelligent Perception and Precision Application) was front-and-centre in Griffith NSW as part of the recent Riverina Vegetable Innovation Field Day. This was part of a week-long trial at TJM Research Development & Extension farm, following similar data collection on commercial farms in Victoria, Tasmania and Queensland over the past eight months.

Created through the Horticulture Innovation Centre for Robotics and Intelligent Systemsin the University of Sydney’s internationally-recognised Australian Centre for Field Robotics, RIPPA aims to benefit the vegetable industry by:
  • Operating autonomously 24 hours 7 days a week
  • Automatically removing weeds through a wide variety of implements
  • Autonomously detecting and removing foreign objects
  • Determining crop health and soil status
  • Conducting autonomous precision spraying on each individual plant
  • Monitoring crop growth and estimating yield through intelligent data analytics

The aim of RIPPA is to reduce farm input costs such as labour and fertiliser, as well as improve marketable yield of vegetables. Almost 100 people attended the field day to listen to a keynote address from Dr Zhe Xu, Research Fellow from the University of Sydney, before having the opportunity to see the robot in action on a trial broccoli plot with an open Q&A session with the project team – a first for this growing region.

To read a full update on RIPPA-related activities during July, including illustrations of the robot’s perception algorithms, please click here.


Soilborne disease masterclass – Devonport, TAS

The team delivering projects VG15009 and VG15010 is pleased to present the third Master Class on soilborne disease management in Tasmania.

This two-day Master Class will explore the latest biological, cultural and chemical options for managing soilborne disease in vegetable crops and, most importantly, provide tools for implementing these options within a risk-based approach on-farm.

Watch the video to hear vegetable growers and advisors from the 2015 Master Class discuss how they have changed the way they manage soilborne diseases and influenced their business.

The Master Class will be held on 30 and 31 August in Tasmania at the Devonport Convention Centre.

With only 30 places available, please register your interest early with Sandra Marques on 02 8627 1040 or at sandra.marques@ahr.com.au.

To find out more about the Soil Wealth and ICP projects visit the website, or join the Community of Practice online. You can also follow the projects on Twitter @SoilWealthand @ProtectingCrops.


Webinar: Precision agriculture technology in vegetable production systems

Precision agriculture (or PA) uses a combination of new technology and existing agronomic knowledge to maximise farm efficiency.

There are many PA tools available to growers, but all require initial information to be gathered on the characteristics of the fields where the crops are grown. A range of sensor options are available to growers, such as Global Navigation Satellite Systems, soil and topography monitoring, yield monitoring and quality monitoring.

This webinar will explore current and future precision agriculture technology in the horticulture sector, and more specifically, how these relate to vegetable production systems. Guest presenters include the Queensland DAF, Tasmanian Institute of Agriculture and ag-tech company The Yield.

Join us for this one-hour interactive session facilitated by the National Vegetable Extension Network (VegNET) in Victoria (north, west, and south-east regions) and Tasmania. Free to all levy-paying vegetable growers and associated service providers in Australia.

Click here to register for the webinar.


Nutrition Australia calls for fresh produce partners for Try For 5 campaign

Nutrition Australia is calling for partners in the vegetable industry, and in the broader fresh produce supply chain, to help ramp up their Try for 5 campaign as part of National Nutrition Week 2017.

During National Nutrition Week 2017 (15-21 October 2017), Nutrition Australia will be encouraging Australians to increase their vegetable consumption to the recommended five serves per day.

Nutrition Australia is looking to partner with members of the vegetable industry, including growers, wholesalers, retailers and associated fresh produce businesses. Any growers interested in promoting vegetable consumption can get in touch using the Nutrition Australia website.

For more information on National Nutrition Week 2017, please see Nutrition Australia’s website. Interested industry members can also read a related article in Good Fruit & Vegetables.

ACCC releases small business in focus report

The Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC) has released the fourteenth edition of its Small Business in Focus report, providing an update on the ACCC’s activities in the small business, agriculture and franchising sectors. The full report is available on the ACCC’s website.

This report features guidance on the new Horticulture Code, including fact sheets about how the horticulture code can help you and enforcement of the Code. With the ACCC recently announcing that it will begin compliance checks, growers are advised to be aware of their rights and obligations under the new Horticulture Code.

Growers interested in learning more about their rights and obligations as small businesses can call the ACCC’s small business helpline on 1300 302 021. The ACCC also maintains a dedicated database about competition and fair trading in agriculture on its website.

AUSVEG economic confidence survey – June quarter 2017

AUSVEG conducts a quarterly economic confidence survey to understand and then communicate the impacts of various economic factors on the business operations of vegetable growers. This survey helps AUSVEG identify the current business conditions that vegetable growers face and track grower sentiment of these economic factors over time.

Information from the survey will be collated in aggregate form and used to advocate strongly on behalf of the industry in various forums, including the media, and in regular articles providing commentary on such matters.

This quarter’s survey closes on Wednesday 9 August 2017. To add your voice before the survey closes, please click here. This short survey will take approximately three minutes to complete.


Biosecurity Council of WA reports on response to TPP incursion

The Biosecurity Council of Western Australia has delivered its report on the effectiveness of the then-Department of Agriculture and Food’s response to secure market access for the state’s produce following the discovery of tomato-potato psyllid (TPP) in February 2017.

The Council’s report identified a number of areas that need addressing to improve the Department’s ability to respond to biosecurity issues, including response structure, staffing, industry communications and handling national complexities when it comes to high risk pests and diseases.

To read the summary report, please see the Department of Primary Industries and Regional Development’s website (report available in the ‘Documents’ column on the right side of the page).

AUSVEG has welcomed the Western Australian government’s recognition of the need for action on biosecurity. To read AUSVEG’s full statement, please see the AUSVEG website.

New test for viruses in horticultural seed

New seed testing protocols to detect viruses and viroids in seed have been established and verified by researchers from the Plant Biosecurity Cooperative Research Centre(PBCRC) in research based at the AgriBio facility at La Trobe University.

The research specifically looked for improved and validated testing for viroids and viruses in solanaceous and cucurbit seeds to help Australian producers fight the spread of these diseases, including cucumber green mottle mosaic virus (CGMMV), through contaminated seed.

CGMMV was first detected in Australia on watermelon farms in the Northern Territory in September 2014 and has now been detected on commercial cucurbit properties in Kununurra, Carnarvon, Geraldton and Perth.

For more information on this research, please see the PBCRC’s media release or access the final report summary.

Fresh Produce Safety Centre Conference – Sydney, NSW

The Fresh Produce Safety Centre Australia & New Zealand will hold its annual conference on Wednesday 9 August at the University of Sydney.

Focusing on the theme Science + Culture = Safe Food, the conference will feature a range of presentations, with topics including food safety culture, global food regulation and upskilling industry.

Time/date: 8:15am – 4:15pm, Wednesday 9 August
Location: Refectory, Holme Building, University of Sydney, NSW

To register for the conference or to view a full program, please visit the conference website.

For a detailed look into the importance of food safety in the vegetable industry, try listening to InfoVeg Radio Episode 10, which focusses on food safety and how growers can improve their on-farm food safety processes.

Minor use permits

Permit ID Description Dates in operation Permit holder States
PER82460 (replacing PER13304, PER14725 and PER13899) Active: Etoxazole
Crops: Cucurbits (pumpkin, cucumber, zucchini, squash, chayote [except for root production]), Asian cucurbits (balsam pear, bottle gourd, smooth loofah, angled loofah, snake gourd, wax gourd, pointed gourd, ivy gourd), snow peas, sugar snap peas, capsicums, tomatoes
Pests: Two-spotted mite, tomato red spider mite
Hort Innovation All states except VIC

All efforts have been made to provide the most current, complete and accurate information on permits. However, AUSVEG recommends that you confirm the details of any permits at the APVMA website.

Users are advised that while the pesticide can be applied legally under the APVMA minor use permit, there can be a significant delay until the maximum residue limit (MRL) gazetted by the APVMA is adopted in the Australia New Zealand Food Standards Code.

Until this occurs the MRL may not be recognised and a zero tolerance may be imposed for residues of the pesticide resulting from its use according to the APVMA permit.

Please be aware that in the absence of a MRL in the Food Standards Code, the use of the pesticide according to the permit may result in the suspension of the produce in the marketplace. Please check the FSANZ website or the Australian Government ComLaw website to confirm if there are MRLs established by the Australia New Zealand Food Standards Code.

Please consult APVMA documentation before applying any product to your crop. For more information contact the APVMA on (02) 6210 4701 or Growcom on (07) 3620 3880.

If an adverse experience occurs as a result of using the permit, please fill out a Non-Performance Reporting Form for Horticultural Pesticides and return to jodie.pedrana@horticulture.com.au. To download a Non-Performance Reporting Form for Horticultural Pesticides, please click here.


Hort Innovation project opportunities

Project code Project title Closing date
VG17000 Vegetable business benchmarking 5pm (Sydney time)
Thursday 3 August 2017
VG17002 Foodservice education around vegetable usage in older adult populations 5pm (Sydney time)
Wednesday 16 August 2017
AM16012 Study of airfreight capacity for Australian horticulture exports to Asia and the Middle East 5pm (Sydney time)
Friday 29 September 2017

Hort Innovation advertises opportunities to become a delivery partner on research, development and marketing projects for Australian horticulture on its website and on tenders.net.

Join Hort Innovation’s delivery partner mailing list to receive email notifications of new opportunities by registering through its Delivery partner registration form.

The relevant documentation for each opportunity is available on tenders.net. To access this information, you will need to become a member by registering on the tenders.net registration page.

The week’s top stories

AUSVEG in the media

AUSVEG National Manager – Communications Shaun Lindhe appeared on radio this week discussing the Western Australian government’s response to a report on the effectiveness of its response to the incursion of tomato-potato psyllid in February 2017. Mr Lindhe said that AUSVEG welcomes the recognition of the importance of increased investment in maintaining Australia’s biosecurity practices.

Fact of the week

Around one-fifth of consumers want more knowledge on how to use the parts of vegetables that they usually discard. (Source)