Vegetable feature article

New project tackling vegetable leafminer

As part of the Hort Innovation Vegetable and Nursery Funds, a new strategic levy investment project is helping Australia to prepare for the arrival of the vegetable leafminer into vegetable, fruit and nursery production areas.

Project partners for MT16004 RD&E program for control, eradication and preparedness for vegetable leafminer include Plant Health Australiacesar, The University of Melbourne, the Northern Australia Quarantine Strategy, and AUSVEG.

These partners will undertake a range of activities, including sticky-trapping to identify and map the location of current populations of vegetable leafminer in Australia, investigating the use of beneficial insects and pesticide options, and working with growers to raise awareness of the pest and its management.

To learn more about the project, click here to read a flyer about its activities. Interested parties can also contact:

Dr Elia Pirtle, cesar
0414 143 456

Dr Jessica Lye, AUSVEG
03 9882 0277

This project has been funded by Hort Innovation using the vegetable and nursery research and development levies and contributions from the Australian Government. Hort Innovation is the grower-owned, not-for-profit research and development corporation for Australian horticulture.

Postharvest management of vegetables workshop – Bundaberg, QLD

Good postharvest management prevents damage, limits water loss and maintains quality of vegetables from the farm to the point of retail. Bundaberg Fruit and Vegetable Growers are partnering with Applied Horticultural Research (AHR) to deliver a half-day professional development workshop for growers, packing shed managers, QA officers and vegetable supply chain businesses to optimise their handling of fresh vegetables, maximising quality while minimising losses.

Dr Jenny Ekman and Adam Goldwater from AHR are the presenters for this workshop, and will use case studies, demonstrations and activities to explain the principles of postharvest management. Participants will receive a free copy of the Postharvest management of vegetables handbook, developed through a strategic levy investment project as part of the Hort Innovation Vegetable Fund.

Time/date: 1:30pm – 5:00pm, Wednesday 16 August 2017
Location: Orora Fibre Packaging Facility, 44 Charlie Triggs Crescent, Bundaberg QLD

For further details, please click here.

Numbers are limited, so interested industry members are encouraged to book now and reserve their place. To register, contact VegNET Industry Officer at Bundaberg Fruit and Vegetable Growers, Michelle Haase, on 07 4153 3007 or at


Potato feature article

Examining Rhizoctonia solani in Australian potato crops

Rhizoctonia solani is a pathogen found in all major potato production areas of Australia, and is prevalent in the southern production areas of the country.

The fungus is spread by soil-borne and seed-borne inoculum, with visual symptoms including misshapen tubers, aerial tubers, skin defects and black scurf (which refers to small, hard lumpy black structures that develop on the skin but do not penetrate the tuber). It is well-known for its ability to cause stem canker and to burn off sprouts under the ground before they emerge.

Two main strains of Rhizoctonia solani are known to be associated with disease of potatoes in Australia: AG 3 and AG 2.1. AG 3 is the strain most commonly associated with Rhizoctonia disease symptoms in potatoes worldwide, and is the cause of black scurf, while both strains are capable of causing stem canker. Potatoes are the main host fo AG 3, while AG 2.1 has a wide range of hosts that includes brassicas and legumes.

A full profile of Rhizoctonia solani, including an interview with SARDI Researcher Michael Rettke about disease management and testing options, is available in the August/September edition of Potatoes Australia. To read previous editions of Potatoes Australia, please click here.

To receive Potatoes Australia, contact AUSVEG at


vegetablesWA Annual Grower Survey now open

AUSVEG State Member vegetablesWA would like to invite Western Australian growers to complete a short survey regarding the services it has offered over the past year.

The survey can be found online here. Any growers who would like to complete a hard-copy version of the survey can contact Sam Grubisa or Truyen Vo.

Farm biosecurity planning workshop – Clyde, VIC

As part of the VegNET program being delivered in the northern, western and south-eastern regions of Victoria, RMCG is hosting a workshop on Farm Biosecurity Planning – The what, the why and the how. Taking a ground-up approach to assessing on-farm biosecurity management planning, this hands-on workshop will provide participants with the latest industry updates in biosecurity management, as well as supporting the development of an on-farm biosecurity management plan.

Topics and speakers will include:

  • US Plant Biosecurity Study Tour shared lessons – Dr Jessica Lye (AUSVEG)
  • LAMP Soil Analysis – undertaking leaf or soil pathogen diagnostic using portable PCR – Dr Brendan Rodoni (Agriculture Victoria)
  • Developing an on-farm biosecurity management plan – Dr Jessica Lye (AUSVEG)

Time/date: 12:30pm – 4:30pm, Thursday 7 September 2017
Location: Schreurs & Sons, 90 Twyford Road, Clyde VIC

For more information on this workshop, which is part of a strategic levy investment under the Hort Innovation Vegetable Fund, please click here to read the event flyer. To RSVP to the event, please contact Clinton Muller (RMCG) on 0498 192 596 or at

Nufarm facility tour – Laverton, VIC

Nufarm was established in Melbourne in the mid 1950s. Founder Max Fremder began selling phenoxy herbicides to professional spray applicators in regional Victoria and the company has since grown to be the largest manufacturer of crop protection products in Australia.

Join this VegNET behind-the-scenes tour of the Nufarm facility in Laverton North, free for levy payers, to learn about the philosophy of the company and look at the on-site production, dispatch and marketing of agricultural chemicals.

Time/date: 2:00pm – 4:00pm, Wednesday 30 August 2017
Location: Nufarm, 103 Pipe Road, Laverton North VIC

For more information on this tour, which is part of the strategic levy investment VegNET project under the Hort Innovation Vegetable Fund, please click here to read the event flyer. To register for this event, please contact Clinton Muller (RMCG) on 0498 192 596 or at

Implementing IPM on-farm – experiences from leading growers: Houston’s Farm, Tasmania

Houston’s Farm, in southern Tasmania, grows a range of ready to eat leafy salad products including lettuce, brassica leafy vegetables, beets and spinach.

Despite a positive experience with integrated pest management (IPM) in the control of lettuce aphid, Houston’s Farm was reluctant to adopt IPM based on only one experience. One of the biggest challenges to adopting IPM was regular monitoring, including looking for beneficial species. Now Houston’s Farm has developed its own IPM manual to train new staff, including photos of pest and beneficial species, and other information such as appropriate pesticides.

Read this practical case study to find out more.

To find out more about the strategic levy investment Soil Wealth and ICP projects, which are part of the Hort Innovation Vegetable Fund, visit the website or join the Community of Practice online. You can also follow the projects on Twitter @SoilWealth and @ProtectingCrops.

2017 Australian Women in Agriculture Conference – Registrations now open

Australian Women in Agriculture‘s national conference will be held on Brisbane from 22-24 September 2017, with the guiding theme of Securing Australian Agriculture – sustaining families, farming and our future.

Open to all women from rural, regional and remote Australia, sessions at the conference will include:

  • Sustainable and Stronger You
  • Keeping you on track when you live and work ‘Off The Track’
  • Sustainable Business and Land
  • A Sustainable and Innovative Future
  • Sustainable Food Supply and Healthy Communities

The conference will also feature a number of breakout sessions to support attendees in understanding how to apply for scholarships, get on company boards, receive grants, and manage superannuation, farm safety and workplace wellness.

Conference tickets also cover networking events, including a cocktail party and Gala Dinner. For more information, or to register for the conference, please visit the AWIA website.

Webinar: Nematodes in vegetable soils

Join nematode specialist Dr Sarah Collins from the Western Australia Department of Primary Industries and Regional Development for this engaging webinar on Nematodes in vegetable soil – managing the bad and good ones.

This webinar will initially focus on the pest nematode, outlining the life cycles of the root-knot and root-lesion nematodes and how this can be used to target control measures.

The webinar will also touch on the beneficial free-living nematodes, discussing how these can be managed and used as soil health indicators.

Date: Tuesday 19 September 2017
Time: 12:30pm – 1:30pm (AEST)

Click here to register for the webinar, which is delivered by project VG15010 A multi-faceted approach to soil borne disease management, part of the Hort Innovation Vegetable Fund.


Webinar: Green peach aphid resistance management

Green peach aphids (GPA) are an important pest of vegetables, causing damage by feeding and transmitting viruses.

High levels of resistance to carbamates, pyrethroids and organophosphates are found across Australia. Low levels of resistance to neonicotinoids have also been observed in some GPA populations.

This webinar will outline a strategy to manage insecticide resistance in GPA populations for vegetable growers, which involves rotating different chemical groups, and using alternative methods (such as IPM) to manage pest and virus loads.

Join the ICP project team and guest presenter Dr Siobhan de Little from cesar for this interactive session.

Date: Thursday 24 August 2017
Time: 12:30pm – 1:30pm (AEST)

Click here to register for the webinar.

To find out more about the Soil Wealth and ICP projects, which are part of the Hort Innovation Vegetable Fund, visit the website, or join the Community of Practice online. You can also follow the projects on Twitter @SoilWealth and @ProtectingCrops. These projects are strategic levy investments under the Hort Innovation Vegetable Fund.


Spray application workshops – Victoria

Two spray application and efficacy workshops will be held in Victoria during August by Syngenta and the VegNET projects, which are strategic levy investments under the Hort Innovation Vegetable Fund.

The workshops will provide the latest advice and information on spray equipment and chemical application to get the most out of your chemicals.

Date: Wednesday 16 August
Time: 4:00pm – 6:30pm (AEST)
For further information, see the event flyer. To RSVP, contact Shayne Hyman at

Date: Thursday 17 August
Time: 4:00pm – 7:00pm (AEST)
For further information, see the event flyer. To RSVP, contact Carl Larsen at

Hear from Scott Mathew (Senior Solutions Development Lead with Syngenta Australia) during these interactive sessions, which include field demonstrations and a free BBQ dinner. There are limited places, so secure your registration today!


2017 Farm Biosecurity Awareness Survey results released

As part of their partnership in the Farm Biosecurity Program, Animal Health Australia and Plant Health Australia undertake regular producer surveys to track trends in attitudes towards farm biosecurity and measure produce awareness of the program. Results from the 2017 survey are now available.

According to the survey, the overall level of understanding of biosecurity among Australian producers has increased, with 56 per cent of producers surveyed saying that ‘controlling diseases, pests and weeds’ related to biosecurity (an increase from 47 per cent in 2013 and 37 per cent in 2010).

Producer respondents also called for more information on identifying pest and disease types and symptoms, biosecurity warnings and alerts, and solutions or practices to reduce risk and prevent disease.

To read a full summary of the results on the Farm Biosecurity Program website, please click here.


Clean Energy Finance Corporation investment in agriculture

The Clean Energy Finance Corporation (CEFC) is an independent Australian Government agency working to increase commercial investment in energy efficiency, renewable energy and low emissions technologies. The CEFC directly invests in large projects and, for smaller projects, works with Australia’s major banks and other co-financiers to provide eligible farmers and agribusinesses with access to discounted and tailored finance arrangements.???

The CEFC has previously provided co-financing for agribusinesses for a diverse range of projects, including on-site power generation using biogas, installation of solar PV units, and new refrigeration units and other equipment upgrades.

For more information about the CEFC’s work with agribusinesses, including opportunities for agribusinesses to improve their energy efficiency, please see its flyer on transforming Australian agribusiness with clean energy technology. General information on CEFC opportunities is available on the CEFC website.


Hort Innovation project opportunities

Project code Project title Closing date
VG17002 Foodservice education around vegetable usage in older adult populations 5pm (Sydney time)
Thursday 31 August 2017

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 media this week discussing the challenge of helping Australians to eat five serves of vegetables every day. Mr Whiteside noted that industry has to find a way to make it easier for vegetables to be eaten in ways and locations that are convenient for consumers.

AUSVEG Director Michael Nixon appeared on radio this week discussing the Gascoyne Food Festival and the visit to the Festival by a group of buyers from markets in Hong Kong, Thailand and Japan. Mr Nixon thanked Hort Innovation and AUSVEG for their assistance in creating opportunities for Gascoyne producers to develop relationships that could increase trade into export markets.