In this edition: New trade show visit, new SIP for vegetable growers, new R&D projects and more!

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Vegetable feature article

Trade show visit: Gulfood 2018 – Applications now open!

Exporting vegetable growers are invited to apply to attend the world’s largest food trade event. Held in Dubai, Gulfood 2018 will involve 5,000 exhibitors showcasing products from across eight primary market sectors.

Date: 18–22 February 2018
Venue: Dubai World Trade Centre

The anticipated travel dates for successful participants will be 16–22 February 2018. The program will involve the following opportunities:

  • Exhibit and showcase your products at Gulfood to fresh produce buyers from across the Middle East region;
  • Build your knowledge of the supply chain in the United Arab Emirates and wider region; and
  • Gain introductions to various Middle Eastern retailers and wholesalers.

AUSVEG has a limited number of funded positions available for levy-paying vegetable growers to exhibit at the Gulfood 2018 trade show. If you are interested in exhibiting and being part of the AUSVEG delegation for this trade event, please contact AUSVEG on (03) 9882 0277 to discuss the options available.

To download the application form, please click here. Applications must be submitted to AUSVEG via e-mail to

Potato feature article

Industry update: Potential benefits of urban biosecurity for potato industry

In Australia, biosecurity measures are implemented in production regions to prevent the establishment and spread of plant pests. Urban biosecurity differs in that it addresses the implications of urban population growth and potential pathways for pests entering the urban landscape.

The strong link between pest transmission and international trade, combined with growing numbers of visitors moving through our airports each year, makes it important to review biosecurity measures currently in place in urban settings and find opportunities to further bolster biosecurity in these zones.

In the United States, urban plant biosecurity is practiced widely and encourages public responsibility. There are a range of initiatives that train the community in recognising and reporting exotic pests, and teach urban dwellers to understand pesticide use and chemistry rotation.

The December 2017/January 2018 edition of AUSVEG’s Potatoes Australia magazine includes a detailed look at how urban biosecurity could provide benefits to the Australian potato industry. This edition is available online now, so go to the AUSVEG website and have a read! The Farm Biosecurity Program also has an article available about how you can be biosecurity-aware this holiday season.

If you’d like to receive hard-copy editions of Potatoes Australia sent to you for free, please contact AUSVEG at

Other industry news

Industry update: The HiveXchange comes on board to support vegetable industry

AUSVEG is excited to announce that the HiveXchange has signed up as a Strategic Partner to support the Australian vegetable industry.

The HiveXchange is an independent digital marketplace that aims to help growers, co-ops and pack houses to diversify their sales and marketing channels, generate better returns and ultimately grow their businesses.

The HiveXchange is free to join, fully online and accessible from any internet browser, providing growers with secure trade facilitation, real-time pricing, automated contracts, levy management and integrated freight services direct from the farm. For more information, see the HiveXchange website.

Through this partnership, the HiveXchange is supporting the industry by helping AUSVEG advocate for growers’ interests in the public sphere. They are also the exclusive sponsor of the official app for Hort Connections 2018, which will connect delegates with all the most useful information about the biggest event in Australian horticulture.

Resource: Strategic Investment Plan for vegetable growers released by Hort Innovation

The Strategic Investment Plan (SIP) for vegetable growers will help guide Hort Innovation’s management of investment programs for the industry for the next five years. It lays the foundation for decision-making in levy investments and represents the balanced interest of the industry. The very important function of the SIP is to ensure levy investment decisions in the Hort Innovation Vegetable Fund align with industry priorities.

The SIP was developed through a process of consultation, drafting, validation, and stakeholder feedback, as well as final approval by Hort Innovation’s Board. The process involved consultation meetings and online validation, giving vegetable growers the opportunity to provide input and feedback.

Have a quick look at the handy ‘at a glance’ version or download the full document on Hort Innovation’s Vegetable Fund page.

If you have an idea for a project using funds from any horticulture industry levy, including those from vegetables or fresh potatoes, submit it to Hort Innovation using the online Concept Portal.

AUSVEG update: Christmas office closure

AUSVEG would like to wish everyone in the industry a merry Christmas and a happy new year!

The AUSVEG office in Melbourne will be closed over the holiday period. The office will be closed from close-of-business on Friday 22 December 2017, and will re-open on Monday 8 January 2018.

We look forward to continuing to work with all industry members in 2018 to grow a more productive vegetable industry!

Resources: New Soil Wealth and ICP fact sheet, webinar recording and case study

A range of useful new resources have been developed and delivered by the Soil Wealth and Integrated Crop Protection projects (delivered by RMCG and AHR), which are strategic levy investments under the Hort Innovation Vegetable Fund.

Fact sheet: Spinach crown mite

Spinach crown mites live in the topsoil, and thrive in a cool, moist environment, feeding mainly on partially decomposed organic material and on fungi living off decomposing material. However, they also feed on young spinach leaves which are close to the soil’s surface, distorting the leaves and reducing the marketability of the crop. Learn about the risk factors, symptoms of mite presence in your crop, how to identify mites and what actions you can take – click here to read the fact sheet!

Webinar recording: Fusarium wilt management in vegetables

Learn about the latest techniques in managing the soilborne disease fusarium wilt in vegetable crops, including solanaceous vegetables, legumes, cucurbits and sweetpotatoes. Leading vegetable pathologist Dr Len Tesoriero presented this webinar to help growers understand the latest ways of managing this disease to keep their plants in production for longer and to improve yield and pack-out rates. Click here to watch the webinar!

Case study: Trialling cover crops

The Schreurs family has been farming on the Koo Wee Rup swamps in Gippsland, Victoria since 1963. After noticing a decline in soil condition resulting in waterlogging and an increase in weed and disease pressure, the Schreurs partnered with the Soil Wealth and ICP team to trial a range of different cover crops to improve the overall quality and productivity of the farm from 2014 to 2017. Schreurs & Sons farm, run by Adam, Ben and Chris Schreurs, produces a variety of different products including celery, leeks and baby leaf spinach. Click here to read a case study on their experience.

Project update: Hort Innovation launch project investigating native bees as pollinators

Hort Innovation and Western Sydney University have launched a project to investigate native stingless bees as pollinators in an effort to help safeguard Australia’s fruit, nut, vegetable and cut flower supply.

The project aims to ease Australia’s dependency on the European honeybee, a pollinator that is vulnerable to threats, particularly varroa mite. Stingless bees are great candidates because as not only do they not sting, they also live in large colonies like honeybees, pollinate a wide variety of plants and can be kept in managed hives.

The project will commence with experimental studies on a range of fruit and vegetable crops to test if the bees visit the flowers and transport crop pollen, and then move to investigating the overall effectiveness of this pollination. For more information, see the Hort Innovation website, or read this article covering the project from Queensland Country Life.

The project Stingless Bees Effective Managed Pollinators for Australian Horticulture is funded by the Hort Frontiers Pollination Fund, part of the Hort Frontiers strategic partnership initiative developed by Hort Innovation, with co-investment from Western Sydney University and contributions from the Australian Government.


Industry update: FMC sign up with support for vegetable industry

FMC Australia, one of the leading global chemical companies serving agriculture with innovative solutions, applications and quality products has signed up to support the Australian vegetable industry through a Strategic Partnership with AUSVEG.

FMC has operations in 50 countries, with 12 manufacturing facilities and nine research and development facilities. It delivers products through its local manufacturing and distribution facilities, supported by the knowledge of a dedicated local sales team. With this combination of international expertise and local knowledge, FMC aims to give Australian farmers the confidence that comes from the best in global crop protection.

By signing up as an AUSVEG Strategic Partner, FMC is supporting AUSVEG’s representation of the Australian vegetable industry in the public eye and helping us deliver high-quality services for the Australian vegetable industry. For more information on FMC, see its website.

Event recap: RIPPA spearheads robotics field day (Richmond, NSW)

The RIPPA (Robot for Intelligent Perception and Precision Application) was the main event at the recent Robotics Field Day in Richmond NSW, backing up a similar event at the Riverina Vegetable Innovation Field Day in Griffith NSW earlier in the year.

At the field day, hosted by Greater Sydney Local Land Services as part of the VegNET program being delivered in New South Wales, RIPPA tested and demonstrated its autonomous row following, weed detection and mechanical weeding capabilities.

For a full recap of the event, including shots of RIPPA in action and a view from ‘on-board’ RIPPA’s weed detection system, please see this detailed event recap. RIPPA and the VegNET program are strategic levy investments under the Hort Innovation Vegetable Fund.

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.

Creswick (tonight)
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.

Vegetable grower case study: Focus on weeds reaps rewards for Loose Leaf lettuce Company

Making weed management a key on-farm priority has already resulted in benefits for Western Australian vegetable growers at the Loose Leaf Lettuce Company.

By being involved in the project A strategic approach to weed management for the Australian Vegetable Industry (VG15070), Farm Manager Steve Allie and part-owner Maureen Dobra were able to assess the current weeds on their property and receive advice on effective management.

Through the project, Steve and Maureen participated in workshops where they developed networks with other growers and discussed different weed management options. Managing weeds has on-farm production benefits and can lessen business costs.

For all the details on how this strategic levy investment by Hort Innovation delivered on-farm benefits for the Loose Leaf Lettuce Company, check out the latest edition of AUSVEG’s Grower Success Stories: Real results from the vegetable R&D levy.

Industry update: Plant Biosecurity Research Initiative calls for ideas from industry

The Plant Biosecurity Research Initiative (PBRI), a new biosecurity initiative formed by Australia’s research and development corporations, is calling on industry and researchers to submit ideas for pest and disease management and prevention.

As the PBRI develops its research activities to support industry biosecurity, it is calling on researchers, state agencies and producers to submit project concepts that could help to improve the nation’s understanding of the impacts of pests and diseases to help make informed decisions on their management. It is also interested in diagnostics and surveillance ideas, or capacity-building projects like scholarships, professional development, mentoring programs and industry internships.

The PBRI is a joint effort between Wine Australia, Forest Wood Products Australia, Cotton Research and Development Corporation, Grains Research and Development Corporation, AgriFutures Australia, Sugar Research Australia and Hort Innovation, together with Plant Health Australia and the Department of Agriculture and Water Resources. For more, please see information from Hort Innovation, or visit the PBRI website.

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, which cover beans and peas, beetroot, brassica leafy vegetables, brassicas, carrot, celery, cucumber, eggplant, leek, lettuce, parsley, peppers, silverbeet and spinach, snow peas and sugar snap peas, spring onions and shallots, sweet corn, sweetpotato, zucchini and other vegetables.

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.

SPONSORED: Peracto appoints Regional Manager for South Australia

The importance of contract research needs in South Australia has been recognised with the appointment of experienced agronomist and field researcher Orville Hildebrand to the Peracto team.

Peracto Managing Director Ian Macleod said the addition of Orville now ensures Peracto has the ability to offer its clients additional options in South Australia.

“Having first worked on projects with Orville 25 years ago, I am confident he will provide great results for our clients and will fit well in the Peracto team,” Mr Macleod said.

For the past 28 years, Orville has been employed in different sectors of agribusiness in South Australia with a strong emphasis on technical support, research, product development, and marketing, commencing as a Technical Officer with agrochemical manufacturer Incitec Pivot, and most recently working as a Senior Agronomist with FP Ag Rural Supplies.

Orville joins the Peracto team in February and will operate from the Adelaide area. For further information, contact Ian Macleod 0418 140 837 or Peracto Technical Director Phil Frost 0409 841 692.

Industry update: Notification of intent to raise the EPPR levy

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. These 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:

  • 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.

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.

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.

For more information on this proposal, please see the AUSVEG website, or contact:

Phone: (03) 9882 0277

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

Project update: University of Queensland creating new sweetcorn varieties

Scientists at the University of Queensland are working with Hort Innovation and the horticulture industry to develop new sweetcorn varieties that respond to the preferences of increasingly health-conscious consumers.

By using natural breeding programs to develop purple varieties of sweetcorn with high levels of specific phytonutrients, the research team is creating a new and interesting product for consumers to try that also offers benefits linked to cardio-vascular health.

For more information on the development of new sweetcorn varieties, see Hort Innovation’s article on the project. You can also read more about the Naturally Nutritious project on the Hort Innovation website.

The Naturally Nutritious project is funded by the Hort Frontiers Health, Nutrition & Food Safety Fund, part of the Hort Frontiers strategic partnership initiative developed by Hort Innovation, with co-investment from the University of Queensland and contributions from the Australian Government.


Resource: Mental health profile – Lifeline

There are a range of mental health services available for Australians to access help at any time of day. A number of resources are listed on the AUSVEG website, and profiles of these organisations will be featured in the AUSVEG Weekly Update.

Lifeline is a national charity providing all Australians experiencing a personal crisis with access to highly-skilled, compassionate and non-judgemental help.

For 24/7 crisis support and suicide prevention services call Lifeline on 13 11 14. Lifeline’s online Crisis Support Chat service is also available every night.

For more information on Lifeline, please see its website here.

If you require emergency assistance, please contact 000.

Industry update: AUSVEG SA relocates office to SA Produce Market

AUSVEG SA has moved to a new location at the South Australian Produce Market. The new office is located near the entry gate next to the market operations centre and AUSVEG SA encourages growers to drop in and say hello to the team.

The address and details for the new AUSVEG SA office are as follows:

Physical address: Next to the South Australian Produce Market Operations Centre near the front gate entry.
Postal address: AUSVEG SA, South Australian Produce Market, Burma Road, Pooraka SA 5095
Office phone: 08 8221 5220

(Please note that this phone number will not be available the week of 18 December; however, it will be operational from January 2018. The AUSVEG SA State Manager will be available at anytime on 0404 772 308 during the move.)

The team is excited about its new location close to growers in South Australia’s fresh produce hub, and AUSVEG SA will be significantly ramping up its activities in 2018!

Christmas office closure
In addition to the move, the AUSVEG SA Office will be closed for a short period over Christmas, closing on Friday 22 December and re-opening again on Monday 8 January 2018.

Industry update: Apply to sit on the ACCC's Agriculture Consultative Committee

If you represent an agriculture-related organisation, you may be interested in applying for membership of the Agriculture Consultative Committee, a forum created by the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC).

The consultative committee was established to provide a forum for members to raise concerns on behalf of their organisation, provide feedback on specific issues, seek information directly from the ACCC, and hear about work done by the ACCC that is of relevance to the agriculture sector. The ACCC is seeking expressions of interest for appointment for a two-year term covering 2018 and 2019.

Committee members are expected to attend and contribute to two meetings a year. These meetings are chaired by the ACCC’s Commissioner with expertise in agriculture, Mick Keogh. For more information and to submit an application, please go to the ACCC’s website.

Event: Women on Farms Gathering 2018 (Rosebud, VIC)

The first Women on Farms Gathering was held in Warragul in 1990. Since then the gathering has been hosted annually across many of Victoria’s regional shires, and in 2018, it will be hosted on the Mornington Peninsula.

The Gathering aims to provide opportunities for women to come together to network, share experiences, develop skills and undergo personal development and growth, and also aims to acknowledge and promote the contribution of women on the farm and in our rural communities. The goal of the 2018 Gathering is to attract the next generation of women who are returning to their farming communities, revitalising agriculture and enjoying the rewarding challenges of rural life.

The 2018 Gathering will be held from 16–18 March 2018, with more details about the program to be released closer to the date. For more information, see the event website.

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.

Event: ABARES Outlook 2018 registrations now open (Canberra, ACT)

The ABARES Outlook 2018 theme of Creating value in an increasingly connected world is focused on Australia’s agriculture sector, including the complex influences that will shape international markets and demand for Australian produce over the coming decade.

Across the sessions of the conference, delegates will hear about the growth opportunities for Australian commodities and the challenges and opportunities for exporters in a globally competitive and evolving market. These sessions will include presentations from a range of leading national and international speakers and producers.

Attendees will also benefit from networking with speakers and delegates, as well as accessing the latest forecasts and industry analysis. For more information, e-mail or see the event website.

Survey: Regional Wellbeing Survey closes soon

Each year the University of Canberra asks people about the quality of life in their community, their wellbeing, and their views about a number of issues affecting rural and regional communities.

This year involves a ‘pulse check’ survey: it’s shorter than previous years, but still tracks how quality of life is changing across Australia.

The survey is voluntary, confidential and anonymous, and closes at midnight on 21 December 2017. To take part in the survey, please click here. If you’d prefer to be mailed a paper copy of the survey, contact the University of Canberra on 1800 981 499.

Weekly round-up

Minor Use permits

Permit ID Description Dates in operation Permit holder States
PER14046 V2 Active: Mancozeb
Crop: Cucumbers
Pest: Botrytis grey mould
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 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
MT17005 Improving the biosecurity preparedness of Australian horticulture for the exotic spotted wing drosophila (drosophila suzukii) 5pm (Sydney time)
Thursday 25 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.

AUSVEG in the media

AUSVEG Chair Bill Bulmer appeared in print media this week discussing his vision for the future of the Australian vegetable industry. With AUSVEG increasing its advocacy work in the new year, particularly through the appointment of a new national public affairs manager, Mr Bulmer said he looks forward to working to help the vegetable and horticulture industries enter a prosperous and productive new era. Click here to read his full column.

AUSVEG CEO James Whiteside continued to appear in print media 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. For more information on this proposal, please see the AUSVEG website.