AUSVEG announces James Whiteside as new CEO

AUSVEG has announced the appointment of James Whiteside as its new Chief Executive Officer (CEO), effective Friday 9 December 2016. Mr Whiteside has an extensive background in agriculture and agribusiness, having served as Chief Operating Officer for Incitec Pivot Fertilisers, and he brings a high level of enthusiasm, industry knowledge and expertise to the role.
AUSVEG CEO James Whiteside
AUSVEG Chair Geoff Moar said the appointment of Mr Whiteside to the role of CEO was a significant step forward for the vegetable and potato industries due to his proven experience in agribusiness and corporate leadership.

Mr Moar also paid tribute to Interim CEO Simon Bolles, saying he had been an effective leader through a significant period of transition for the organisation.

“Simon has acted with astute diligence and professionalism during his time in the role of Interim CEO, particularly in the midst of the tumultuous backpacker tax debate last month,” said Mr Moar.

“I am confident the appointment of Mr Whiteside as CEO will be an important and exciting step forward for the industry as we work towards securing a more successful and profitable future for the country’s hard-working vegetable and potato growers.”


Syngenta renews as Leading Strategic Partner
Syngenta, one of the world’s leading agricultural companies, has renewed its strategic partnership with AUSVEG and will have a strong presence at Hort Connections 2017.

AUSVEG’s relationship with Syngenta has continued to strengthen over many years as both organisations provide support to Australia’s vegetable and potato growers.

AUSVEG works closely with Syngenta to assist growers in learning about new crop protection technologies, and Syngenta’s presence at Hort Connections 2017 will be a major part of the coming year’s collaborations.

Additionally, a delegation of growers who are attending Berlin Fruit Logistica next year as part of the 2017 European Industry Leadership and Development Mission will be hosted by Syngenta at an industry networking event.

AUSVEG welcomes Syngenta’s ongoing involvement in the industry and looks forward to working closely with their team in the years ahead.

For more information on Syngenta, please click here.


Early bird registration now open for Hort Connections 2017!

Registrations are now open for Hort Connections 2017, the premier event bringing together the entire horticulture supply chain. It will be co-hosted by AUSVEG and PMA Australia-New Zealand, alongside Australian Organic, Onions Australia and Irrigation Australia.

Hort Connections 2017 will be held at the Adelaide Convention Centre from 15-17 May 2017, and Early Bird rates are available for any industry member who registers before midnight on 28 February 2017, with further discounts available to members of any of the host organisations.

Hort Connections combines the National Horticulture Convention and PMA Fresh Connections, and this event offers a not-to-be-missed opportunity for delegates to network with their peers from across horticulture, benefit from expert speaker sessions and visit over 250 exhibitors at the extensive Trade Show.

To register for Hort Connections 2017, please click here.


Vegetable Strategic Investment Plan: Online survey available for comment
As part of the process for producing a new Strategic Investment Plan (SIP) for the vegetable industry, Horticulture Innovation Australia has engaged specialist consulting firm Consulting & Implementation Services (CIS). As part of this process, CIS will seek industry feedback to ensure the SIP accurately reflects how to best spend the vegetable R&D levy to maximise the industry’s funding priorities for the next five years.

As well as hosting grower workshops around the country, CIS has developed a short online survey for growers and industry members to provide feedback on what they think the opportunities are for the vegetable industry in the next five years (it only takes about 10 minutes to complete).

It is important that a wide range of feedback is gathered, so please complete this survey and have your say on the industry’s funding priorities for the R&D levy.

To complete this survey and have your say on the future of investment in the vegetable industry please click here.

This consultation is funded by Horticulture Innovation Australia using the National Vegetable Levy and funds from the Australian Government.


2017 Growing Leaders applications now open!

Applications are now open for the 2017 Growing Leaders program. Funded by Horticulture Innovation Australia, Growing Leaders is the only national leadership and development program tailored for the vegetable industry. The program aims to develop skills that can be applied at three main levels: personal, business and national industry.

As part of the 2016 Growing Leaders program, participants developed a collection of initiatives focused on the future sustainability of the Australian vegetable industry, including community engagement and minimising food wastage, to help the industry continue to grow into the future. Participants also took part in three residentials: visiting Melbourne, attending the 2016 National Horticulture Convention on the Gold Coast and completing a series of leadership activities in Canberra.

Applications for the 2017 program are open until 13 January 2017. For more information, or to apply for the 2017 Growing Leaders program, please visit the Rural Training Initiatives website.

Growing Leaders 2017 is funded by Horticulture Innovation Australia using the National Vegetable Levy and funds from the Australian Government.


Putting soil first in Tasmania
Tasmanian potato grower Darren Long has been trialling various on-farm practices for more than 10 years. As part of these trials, Mr Long has found that when he utilises biofumigation methods, the health of his soil significantly improves, along with its water-holding and nutrient-holding capacity.

After feeling isolated in his use of biofumigation practices, Mr Long established Soil First Tasmania, a collection of social media pages aimed at providing growers with a platform to start a conversation about soil health.

Now, he is using social media to connect with other growers and challenge their thinking.

Mr Long created the pages alongside flower growers Dave Roberts-Thompson and Jeremy Robinson, and Serve-Ag’s Julie Finnigan.

Soil First Tasmania’s social media pages allow growers to share ideas and techniques to help to improve their soil health. Their long-term goal is to keep challenging people to improve their own soil health.

For more information on Soil First Tasmania, please visit the Facebook or Twitter pages.

This communication was funded by Horticulture Innovation Australia using the National Potato Levies and funds from the Australian Government.


New Nielsen consumer research available

New reports from Nielsen consumer research into the fresh vegetable market are now available on InfoVeg. The results are for the year ending November 2016, including regular analyses and reports.

Nielsen’s Homescan service records the vegetable purchases of 10,000 Australian households, with the data on these purchases then collated into monthly reports which can help the vegetable industry deliver products that best meet consumers’ needs.

A wide range of vegetable commodities are covered by these reports, including Asian vegetable varieties, beans, broccoli, cabbage, capsicum, carrots, cauliflower, celery, cucumber, lettuce, pumpkin, sweet corn, sweetpotato and zucchini.

The reports are available for registered users of the InfoVeg database. Please click here to view the reports from November 2016. Please click here to read all reports from 2016.

Nielsen consumer research for the vegetable industry is funded by Horticulture Innovation Australia using the National Vegetable Levy and funds from the Australian Government.


Economic update – GDP sees surprising decline

Gross Domestic Product (GDP) fell by 0.5 per cent in the September quarter in the largest decline since the Global Financial Crisis in 2008, according to the National Accounts released on 7 December.

The extent of the decline took analysts and authorities by surprise, with most expecting the economy to remain broadly unchanged in the quarter. New South Wales, Queensland and South Australia’s economies all grew modestly, while Western Australia’s economy fell by 3.8 per cent.

Western Australia’s growth has now declined for the fifth straight quarter. Investment in the mining sector has now been in decline for the past three years and this has seen the mining sector contract again in the quarter.

Investment in the non-mining sector has been trending higher now since March 2014, growing by 4.8 per cent in the September quarter. Output in the rural sector, including horticulture, grew by a solid 8.1 per cent and households continued to spend with consumption growing by 0.4 per cent.

These mixed results illustrate an economy in transition from the investment-fuelled mining boom towards the non-mining sectors. The lower dollar has supported growth in exports, which are now six per cent higher than a year earlier.

Indicators for the December quarter are pointing towards a positive result, suggesting the current weak growth is more an issue of a convergence of negatives in the current quarter, rather than a sign of a weak underlying economy.

Economic activities in the vegetable industry are funded by Horticulture Innovation Australia using the National Vegetable Levy and funds from the Australian Government.


Are you still paying super by cheque? Time is up to go digital

The Australian Taxation Office is reminding fruit, vegetable and floristry business owners that employ 19 or fewer employees that they now need to pay their superannuation obligations via SuperStream instead of older manual methods like cheque or direct deposit.

SuperStream is the new standard for all businesses nation-wide that involves making super contributions electronically, saving time and money. Those paying superannuation on behalf of fruit, vegetable and floristry employees will now be able to pay contributions to multiple super funds in one transaction.

Fruit, vegetable and floristry businesses were required to implement SuperStream by 31 October 2016, meaning their next super guarantee payment should be through a SuperStream compliant option.

For those who haven’t yet finalised their transition, they need to choose an option that best fits their business, such as upgrading payroll software, engaging with their tax agent or bookkeeper, or using a clearing house. Super funds will also have a range of ways they can help employers make the change.

For more information, please click here.


New Minor Use permits

Permit ID Description Date Issued Expiry Date Permit Holder States
PER13154 V2 Actives: S-Metolachlor
Crop: Brassica leafy vegetables
Pest: Selected broadleaf and grass weeds
20-Feb-2012 31-Mar-2022 Horticulture Innovation Australia Limited All States
PER13441 V2 Actives: Permethrin
Crop: Rhubarb
Pest: Green peach aphid, Green looper, Light brown apple moth and Native budworm
11-Apr-2012 31-Mar-2027 Horticulture Innovation Australia Limited ACT, NSW, QLD, SA, TAS, NT and WA only
PER14351 V3 Actives: Petroleum oil
Crop: Lettuce
Pest: Leafhoppers, Green vegetable bug, Grey cluster bug, Rutherglen bug and Green mirid
24-Dec-2013 31-Mar-2021 Horticulture Innovation Australia Limited All States (excluding Victoria)

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.

Minor use plays an integral role in the Australian vegetable industry. Please register your details on the Minor Use Database.

This communication has been funded by funded by Horticulture Innovation Australia using the National Vegetable Levy and funds from the Australian Government.



AUSVEG in the media

AUSVEG CEO James Whiteside appeared extensively on radio this week discussing his new role. Mr Whiteside discussed his background in agribusiness and his understanding of contemporary agriculture issues, and emphasised AUSVEG’s position on worker mistreatment, stating that all organisations must comply with the law.

Former Interim CEO Simon Bolles continued to appear in print media last week discussing the ongoing effect of the backpacker tax debate. He stated that while AUSVEG was happy a result was reached, the issue should have been resolved sooner. He also reiterated that governments should involve industry more in policy development.

AUSVEG SA State Manager – South Australia Jordan Brooke-Barnett appeared in print media last week discussing the results of the AUSVEG SA and SA Produce Market flood appeal, following October’s flooding of the Gawler River. He noted that the fundraiser raised almost $100,000, but emphasised the need for assistance from federal and state governments for flood-affected growers.

Communication of levy funded R&D activities is funded by Horticulture Innovation Australia using the National Vegetable Levy, National Potato Levy and funds from the Australian Government.