In this edition: TPP update workshops, new scholarship opportunities, the National Pest Survey, updates on R&D projects and more!

Note: Click on any story heading to expand the story. Once you’ve finished reading, you can collapse the story by clicking the heading again.

Vegetable feature article

Project update: Help AUSVEG develop pest, disease and weed solutions through the National Pest Survey

To ensure that the agrichemical needs of the vegetable sector are accurately recorded and understood, AUSVEG is coordinating the Vegetable Agrichemical Pest Management Needs and Priorities (VG16060) project, a strategic levy investment under the Hort Innovation Vegetable Fund.

The project’s objective is to coordinate vegetable industry agrichemical pest needs by identifying and prioritising potential gaps through implementation of an effective prioritisation process for the vegetable industry.

As part of this project, a National Pest Survey has been developed by AUSVEG and Hort Innovation to capture the vegetable industry’s main pests, disease and weed issues per crop and region. We ask growers and agronomists to get involved and to please take the time to fill in these crop-specific surveys.

The priority agrichemical gaps identified will inform industry actions at the annual AgChem Collaborative Forum, aid in updating industry Strategic Agrichemical Review Process documents (SARPs) and identify potential solutions to address these gaps.

Please click on the banner below to choose from the list of crop-specific surveys.

Potato feature article

Workshops: TPP update for growers (VIC)

To help Victorian growers find out more about the behaviour, management and current situation of the recent tomato potato psyllid incursion in Western Australia, AUSVEG is partnering with a range of other industry organisations to deliver two workshops in major Victorian potato-growing regions. The event is open to all vegetable and potato growers and any other interested stakeholders.

These workshops have been coordinated with Agriculture Victoria, the Tasmanian Institute of Agriculture and ViCSPA, with support from Plant Health Australia and Hort Innovation. A collection of speakers will help growers understand how the incursion impacts on the Victorian growing industry, and will include international expert Dr Steve Johnson, a potato crop specialist visiting ViCSPA from the University of Maine.

Time/date: 7:00pm–8:30pm, Tuesday 19 December 2017
Location: Bungaree Community Centre, Bungaree-Creswick Road, Creswick VIC

Time/date: 7:00pm–8:30pm, Wednesday 20 December 2017
Location: Thorpdale Bowling Club, Council Road, Thorpdale VIC

A free BBQ dinner and drinks will be provided following these workshops.

To RSVP for either of these events, please contact ViCSPA on 03 5962 0000 or at For more information, please see the event flyer.

Urgent industry update

Notification of intent to increase the Vegetable and Fresh Potato Industry Emergency Plant Pest Response (EPPR) levies for contributions to the Tomato potato psyllid Response

The vegetable and fresh potato industries have Emergency Plant Pest Response (“EPPR”) levies set at the rate of zero per cent for vegetables and zero cents per tonne for fresh potatoes, which were put in place in 2012 following extensive industry consultation.

The EPPR levies provide a mechanism for the vegetable and fresh potato industries to fund preparedness and eradication activities to reduce the threat of exotic plant pests.

AUSVEG intends to request that the Minister for Agriculture and Water Resources (“the Minister”):

  • increase the vegetable EPPR levy from zero per cent to a positive rate of 0.01 per cent of the value at the point of sale; and
  • increase the fresh potato EPPR levy from zero cents per tonne to a positive rate of 10 cents per tonne at the point of sale.

If successfully increased it is intended that funds accrued by the EPPR levies will contribute to paying costs relating to TPP eradication activities, and a 12 month Transition to Management (T2M) program.

A T2M program is a structured way of winding down an eradication response and handing management of the pest to industry in order to ensure that it has the tools and resources it needs to effectively manage the pest.

On completion of the T2M phase:

  • We will know if Candidatus Liberibacter solanacearum (CLso) is carried by our TPP population;
  • We will have guidance material to manage TPP at a farm level;
  • We will have a national plan to guide management of TPP now, and into the future;
  • We will have interstate compliance protocols for produce grown in affected regions; and
  • We will have begun Australian research on the biology and management of our endemic population.

It is AUSVEG’s intent that the EPPR levies run at the above rates for approximately three years. As soon as possible after costs are repaid to the Federal Government, the levies will be reduced to zero per cent for vegetables and zero cents per tonne for fresh potatoes.

Estimated costs for small, medium and large vegetable farms
Small farm ($100,000 in cash receipts) = $10.00 per year contribution
Medium farm ($450,000 in cash receipts) = $45.00 per year contribution
Large farm ($3,000,000 in cash receipts) = $300.00 per year contribution

Estimated costs for small, medium and large potato farms
Small farm (50 tonnes of potato production) = $5.00 per year contribution
Medium farm (500 tonnes of potato production) = $50.00 per year contribution
Large farm (5,000 tonnes of potato production) = $500.00 per year contribution

This notification process will be followed by an objection period. Vegetable and fresh potato industry levy payers will be notified of the 30 day objection period, during which levy payers may provide any feedback. Levy payers may lodge objections to AUSVEG or the Department of Agriculture and Water Resources.

See this information sheet for further details or contact:

Phone: (03) 9882 0277

Department of Agriculture and Water Resources
Biosecurity Policy & Implementation Division
Phone: (02) 6272 2057

Other industry news

Resource: New Hortlink updates on levy-funded projects and activities!

Don’t miss the latest edition of Hort Innovation’s Hortlink, which provides an overview of all levy-funded activity in each levy industry, plus case studies, contacts and more. Each edition of Hortlink has detailed information for every Hort Innovation fund, including:

You can choose to browse the whole snapshot for any fund, or use the interactive project list to jump straight to the information you want. This edition of Hortlink also features new ‘ACT NOW’ tags to easily identify project resources and information that you can make use of straight away in your growing operations!

Stay in the loop with your levy by becoming a member of Hort Innovation, the grower-owned, not-for-profit research and development corporation for Australian horticulture. Paying a levy doesn’t automatically make you a member, but signing up is free at the Hort Innovation website.

Projects profiled in Hortlink are funded by Hort Innovation using industry levies and contributions from the Australian Government. Hort Innovation is the grower-owned, not-for-profit research and development corporation for Australian horticulture.

Event recap: Robotics field day (Richmond, NSW)

About 50 growers and industry representatives took part in an engaging and educational demonstration of the Robot for Intelligent Perception and Precision Application (or RIPPA) on Friday 1 December in a workshop delivered through the VegNET program.

RIPPA in action, showing the benefits of levy investment in robotics and automation. (Photo credit: Good Fruit & Vegetables)

Created through the Horticulture Innovation Centre for Robotics and Intelligent Systems in the University of Sydney’s Australian Centre for Field Robotics (ACFR), RIPPA aims to benefit the vegetable industry by undertaking a number of farming activities autonomously.

For more information and to see photos of the event (including shots of RIPPA in action), please see this story from the Good Fruit and Vegetables website.

For more information on VegNET’s activities in New South Wales, being delivered locally by Greater Sydney Local Land Services as part of a strategic levy investment under the Hort Innovation Vegetable fund, please see the VegNET NSW website.

Project update: EnviroVeg Pilot Program – Apply now!

The EnviroVeg program 2017–2022 is a strategic levy investment under the Hort Innovation Vegetable Fund that builds on the work of previous EnviroVeg projects while developing a new, collaborative and effective structure. Resources within the new program structure are currently being updated to harmonise elements from three industry environmental programs: EnviroVeg, Freshcare Environmental and Hort360.

The new project includes the EnviroVeg Pilot Program, a funded pathway through EnviroVeg to reach Freshcare Environmental certification and attain the best practice benefits of environmentally responsible, sustainable vegetable production. Pilot program applications are now open: Click here to apply now! To find out more, review the What is the EnviroVeg Pilot Program – register your interest form or e-mail

EnviroVeg is an industry-led environmental best-practice management program for vegetable production businesses. It provides resources for sustainable growing techniques and represents vegetable businesses as responsible stewards of land, water and biodiversity. To find out more about EnviroVeg, review the What is the EnviroVeg Program factsheet.

Project update: Hort Innovation encourages innovation through Churchill Fellowships

Under a new partnership with Hort Innovation, three Churchill Fellowships will be offered annually for the next four years, specifically for international research on a topic related to horticulture.

They will be awarded on the basis that the research undertaken will provide clear benefit to the Australian horticulture sector and, ultimately, to the wider community. The scholarships are available to anyone working in a registered levy-paying Australian horticulture business, including in the vegetable and potato sectors, and applications will open on 1 February 2018.

Previous participants in Churchill Fellowships from the horticulture industry include:

To find out more about the Hort Innovation Churchill Fellowships or the general Fellowship, please visit the Churchill Trust website.

Churchill Fellowships are funded by the Hort Frontiers Leadership Fund, part of the Hort Frontiers strategic partnership initiative developed by Hort Innovation, with co-investment from the Winston Churchill Memorial Foundation and contributions from the Australian Government.

Economic update: A very veggie festive season

Some retailers are creating interesting and novel festive season promotions centred on vegetables. These seek to leverage growing consumer interest in provenance and healthy eating, as well as increase engagement through social media. Some examples are outlined below:

Brussels sprout wreaths: Waitrose UK has launched sprout wreaths as a quirky door or table decoration to celebrate the traditional holiday season vegetable. The wreaths also capitalise on consumer interest in provenance, being made from sustainable foliage and including a tag that lets the customer know who made each particular wreath.

Santa’s healthier diet: French retailer Intermarché has launched an ad campaign that follows two children who are concerned that Santa won’t be able to fit down the chimney, and seek to find healthier eating options for him. Featured vegetables include artichokes, lettuce, cabbage, beetroot, capsicums, radishes, leeks, and herbs. The ad closes with the tag line ‘We all have a good reason to eat better every day’, which Intermarché has used in other advertising to promote healthy eating.

Brussels sprout snapchat lens: As part of its ‘Every Bit of Christmas’ advertising campaign, Sainsbury’s UK launched the #SingSprout Snapchat karaoke filter. The lens transforms the user’s head into a giant Brussels sprout and enables them to sing-along to the ‘Every Bit of Christmas’ jingle, karaoke-style. Snapchat has been integral to many recent Sainsbury’s advertising campaigns as it seeks to appeal to younger shoppers.

These types of promotions suggest that retailers are increasingly aware that fresh vegetables are a key driver of traffic, which is a strong and positive signal to growers. Additionally, there are many formal eating occasions during the festive season, and indications are that vegetable components are being elevated to take a more prominent feature of holiday season menus.

This article was provided by Freshlogic as part of a strategic levy investment under the Hort Innovation Vegetable Fund.

Industry update: Growcom launches Horticulture Produce Agreement templates for growers

Growcom has launched templates to assist growers in the development of their horticulture produce agreements (HPA) required under the Horticulture Code of Conduct.

The templates have been developed with significant input from solicitors, growers and grower organisations around Australia. These templates are intended to act as useful starting points for negotiations around HPAs for growers and buyers, and provide a clear and easy-to-understand outline of the responsibilities of both parties.

All growers and traders must have a HPA which complies with the new Code, and the ACCC has the power to enforce civil penalties and infringement notices on both growers and traders. The only exemptions are if you trade directly with a retailer, processor or exporter.

While these templates are publicly available, Growcom strongly recommends that growers and traders have open discussions about developing an agreement that works for all parties. For more information, or to access the templates, please see Growcom’s website.

Project update: VegPRO helps growers create innovative new products

As part of its InfoVeg TV series, AUSVEG produced a video on the VegInnovations Day held at Monash University’s Food Innovation Centre. This workshop was delivered through the levy-funded VegPRO program, which helps growers improve their businesses through training and professional development for themselves and their staff.

In the video, the InfoVeg team interviewed Dr Hazel MacTavish-West (MacTavish West Pty Ltd) and Angeline Achariya (Food Innovation Centre) to get more information on the benefits growers can see from developing innovative new products, as well as the resources and assistance available to growers looking to start innovating.

To watch the video, please click here.

Survey: 2017 Global Innovations in Horticulture feedback form

Following the success of the 2017 Global Innovations in Horticulture Seminar, industry members now have the chance to have their say on presentations from the seminar, as well as on future content for the 2018 seminar.

The 2018 seminar will take place during Hort Connections 2018, and will be held at the Brisbane Convention Centre on 20 June 2018. This seminar will feature nine of the world’s top experts on topics relating to innovative horticulture tech and science, and is delivered by AUSVEG through a strategic levy investment under Hort Innovation’s Vegetable Fund.

Click here to have your say on the topics covered in the 2017 seminar and contribute to the future direction of the seminar.

Funded positions are available for vegetable levy paying growers to attend the event in 2018. Growers who are interested in attending or who are looking for further details can e-mail to express their interest in receiving a funded position.

Event: Thriving Women 2018 (Hahndorf, SA)

Thriving Women 2018 is a two-day conference that aims to connect and advance women in agriculture. The conference will enable women to meet in a stimulating and supportive environment that encourages the development of networks, knowledge, and skills through participation and contact with other women.

This event, which will be held from 19–20 February 2018 at the Adelaide Hills Convention Centre, will link agri-women from rural and urban backgrounds with members of formal and informal networks and provide easy access to opportunities for professional development and self-expression.

For more information on the conference, and to learn how to participate as a delegate or promote your business/organisation to attendees, please see the event website.

Resource: Export seminar follow-up Q&A now available

Following the successful Australian Vegetable Export Seminar 2017 which was held in conjunction with Hort Connections 2017, AUSVEG provided the opportunity for growers who attended the seminar to ask any export related follow-up questions. The AUSVEG Export Development team has compiled the questions and prepared answers in a document which can be a useful export resource for growers. To view the final Q&A please click here.

Resource: Biosecurity awareness for school students

In a joint collaboration between the Plant Biosecurity CRC, the NSW Department of Primary Industries and South Australian Research and Development Institute, a suite of biosecurity teaching packages have been developed for secondary school students.

These teaching materials focus on biosecurity for the grains and citrus industries, with some information relevant to pests specific to those industries. However, much of the material (including how to lay sticky traps and pitfall traps) can be applied in other cropping industries, including the vegetable industry.

To have a look at these materials, please click here.

Project update: 2018 Growing Leaders program applications now open

Applications are now open for the 2018 Growing Leaders program!

Funded by Hort Innovation through a strategic levy investment under the Hort Innovation Vegetable Fund, Growing Leaders is the only national leadership and development program tailored for the vegetable industry. Participants will be involved in a nationally strategic project, and outcomes for participants focus on personal, business and industry change and management.

Applications for the 2018 program are open until 15 January 2018. For more information, or to apply for the 2018 Growing Leaders program, please visit the Rural Training Initiatives website.

Weekly round-up

Minor Use permits

Permit ID Description Dates in operation Permit holder States
PER14958 V2 Actives: Mancozeb + dimethomorph
Crops: Brassica leafy vegetables, silverbeet, spinach, leafy lettuce, beetroot, chicory, endive, parsley, radicchio, radish, rocket
Pests: Downy mildew, Alternaria leaf spots + white blister
Hort Innovation All states except VIC
PER84805 Active: Cyantraniliprole
Crops: Fruiting vegetables including peppers, tomatoes and eggplants (except sweet corn), potatoes and sweetpotatoes
Pest: Tomato potato psyllid
Hort Innovation All states
PER14212 V2 Active: Imidacloprid
Crop: Rhubarb
Pests: Aphids
Hort Innovation All states

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 To download a Non-Performance Reporting Form for Horticultural Pesticides, please click here.

Hort Innovation project opportunities

Project code Project title Closing date
VG15028 Vegetable pest and disease basic skills workshops 5pm (Sydney time)
Thursday 21 December 2017
VG15028 Chemical handling for vegetable crops 5pm (Sydney time)
Friday 22 December 2017
VG16074 Consumer data roadshow (one part of the Vegetable Consumer Insights Program) 5pm (Sydney time)
Monday 15 January 2018

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

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 To access this information, you will need to become a member by registering on the registration page.

The week's top stories

AUSVEG in the media

AUSVEG CEO James Whiteside appeared in print this week discussing AUSVEG’s intent to raise the EPPR levies to contribute to paying costs relating to tomato potato psyllid eradication activities and the Transition to Management program. Mr Whiteside noted that federal and state governments were also contributing to the response. For more, see the full story here.

AUSVEG National Manager – Science and Extension Dr Jessica Lye also featured on radio on the same topic, saying that the EPPR levies are the industry’s most important means of contributing to emergency plant pest responses.