Nielsen data presentations roadshow

As part of Hort Innovation’s research project VG15019 Baseline Demographic Research for the Vegetable Industry, also known as Nielsen Homescan data, a series of presentations has been organised with the assistance of the National Vegetable Extension Network.
These presentations will briefly explain the project, its data and the resulting analysis to those unfamiliar with the data, with case studies of how the analysis could be applied to a growing operation, focusing on the commodities grown in the regions in which the presentations are being held. There will also be a brief opportunity for any interested growers to speak with the Nielsen data team one-on-one.
Please see below for details of the presentations:

Location Date/time RSVP contact More information
Stanthorpe/DAF Applethorpe Research Station 4:15pm
Wednesday 5 October
Clinton McGrath
0428 102 319
Part of regular growers meeting, with overview of data project using examples of commodities grown in the Granite Belt area: capsicum, broccoli and lettuce.
Toowoomba West Wellcamp Airport 1:00pm
Thursday 6 October
Clinton McGrath
0428 102 319
Part of regular growers meeting, with overview of data project using examples of commodities grown in the Darling Downs area: lettuce, carrots, broccoli, onions and corn.
Gatton DAF Research Facility/Lockyer Valley Growers
Opposite UQ Gatton, off Warrego Highway
Thursday 6 October
E-mail – click here Part of regular growers meeting, with overview of data project using examples of commodities grown in Lockyer Valley: lettuce, beans, corn, broccoli, cauliflower and carrots.
Leppington Progress Hall, 123 Ingleburn Road, Leppington 10:00am – 12:00 noon
Tuesday 11 October
E-mail – click here Note: this is a meeting of Chinese growers, with a translator present.

Interested growers can RSVP to the listed contact for each presentation. Please note that more presentations are being confirmed for October and November 2016.

All Nielsen Homescan data provided for the Australian vegetable industry is available on the levy-funded InfoVeg database. To view all Nielsen reports from 2016, including the latest reports using data from August 2016, please click here.

Nielsen Homescan data for the vegetable industry and the National Vegetable Extension Network are funded by Horticulture Innovation Australia using the National Vegetable Levy and funds from the Australian Government.


Bacterial wilt under the microscope

Bacterial wilt is one of the most destructive diseases of potato crops, as it can cause total crop loss and prevent the use of land for potato production for several years afterwards.
Bacterial wilt is caused by the bacterium Ralstonia solanacearum, which enters the root system of plants at points of injury. The disease causes wilting, yellowing and the in-rolling of leaves, which eventually die from the base of the stem upwards.
Wilting is first seen as a dropping of the tip of some of the lower leaves of the plant, while stunting of plants is also common. Tuber symptoms include brown-grey areas on the outside and when cut, a white to brown pus may appear and exude from the eyes of the potato as the disease advances.
The wilt bacterium can survive for up to two to three years in bare fallow soils, and for longer periods in soils cropped to non-Solanaceous crops. It can also be spread through infected seed or a contaminated seed cutter, as well as second-hand bags or bins that have stored infected potatoes.
A full profile on bacterial wilt, including advice on disease management and spread minimisation, is available in the latest edition of Potatoes Australia magazine. The content for this profile was sourced from Agriculture Victoria. To read this edition, please click here. To read all previous editions of Potatoes Australia, please click here.

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


World of Perishables Dubai – applications now open

Levy-paying growers who are currently exporting are invited to attend and exhibit at the World of Perishables tradeshow in Dubai. Funded attendance will give growers the chance to participate in the key fresh produce tradeshow in the Middle East, gain an understanding of the Dubai market and establish new business contacts in the Middle East.
The World of Perishables tradeshow will be held from 13 – 15 November 2016, with anticipated travel dates for participants being 11 – 16 November 2016. To download the application form, please click here. This form can be returned to AUSVEG at or via fax on (03) 9882 6722.

Export and market development activities for the vegetable industry are funded by Horticulture Innovation Australia using the National Vegetable Levy and funds from the Australian Government.



AUSVEG heads to Canberra to take up the fight on the backpacker tax

The AUSVEG Public Affairs Team, AUSVEG Chair Geoff Moar and AUSVEG Interim CEO Simon Bolles last week travelled to Canberra to take up industry issues with federal politicians, including the controversial and potentially damaging “backpacker tax”.
AUSVEG conducted an extensive series of meetings over the past week with representatives from every side of politics, as well as with key Department of Agriculture and Water Resources contacts. The contentious backpacker tax was front and centre at many of these meetings, with AUSVEG fighting for our growers and State Members on this and other key issues.
AUSVEG meets with Minister for Small Business, the Hon. Michael McCormack MP.
Key meetings:

  • Senator the Hon. Anne Ruston, Assistant Minister for Agriculture and Water Resources, Liberal Party of Australia
  • Andrew Broad MP, Member for Mallee, the Nationals
  • The Hon. Joel Fitzgibbon MP, Shadow Minister for Agriculture, Labor Party
  • Senator Jacqui Lambie, Independent
  • Senator Janet Rice, Greens
  • The Hon. Michael McCormack MP, Minister for Small Business, the Nationals
  • Keith Pitt MP, Member for Hinkler, Liberal National Party
  • The Hon. Luke Hartsuyker MP, Assistant Minister to the Deputy Prime Minister, the Nationals
  • Advisors to the Hon. Barnaby Joyce MP, Deputy Prime Minister and Minister for Agriculture and Water Resources, the Nationals
  • Senior Management and Board Members of the National Farmers’ Federation
  • Daryl Quinlivan, Secretary of the Department of Agriculture and Water Resources

Discussions and outcomes:

  • AUSVEG had a productive and informative discussion about the backpacker tax with Luke Hartsuyker, who is heading the Australian Government’s review of the working holiday maker visa program (including the tax status of backpackers).
  • AUSVEG worked with key crossbenchers Senator Jacqui Lambie (Independent) and Senator Janet Rice (Greens) to put pressure on the Australian Government to ensure a quick resolution on the backpacker tax issue to give confidence to growers in the coming harvest periods throughout Australia. Senator Lambie had moved a motion in the Senate calling on the Government to listen to industry over the tax, and has since released a media statement discussing the backpacker tax and AUSVEG. Senator Rice also pursued the Government during Senate question time about the backpacker tax.
  • AUSVEG had positive discussions with the National Farmers’ Federation to discuss greater cooperation in policy discussions, and potential opportunities to combine our resources on key campaign issues such as the backpacker tax and our campaign for greater oversight and regulation of the labour hire contracting sector.

Have your say on current campaigns

AUSVEG is passionate about supporting the Australian vegetable and potato industry through our public affairs and media campaign work and fighting on key issues.

Interested growers are always welcome to call the National Manager – Public Affairs on 0404 772 308 if they would like to discuss our current campaigns or bring emerging issues to our attention.


Extension Program for the Australian Potato Industry 2016-2019

National agribusiness consultancy Arris Pty Ltd, based in South Australia, has been contracted by Horticulture Innovation Australia to coordinate the delivery of R&D extension services to the Australian potato industry across all sectors for the next three years (2016 – 19). Arris Managing Director Jim Kelly and Arris Project Manager Adrian Dahlenburg are supported by a large consortium of industry representatives from all over Australia for the development of industry-endorsed extension activities over the next three years.
Throughout the project, Arris will review and determine industry extension needs and priorities based on strong engagement with all industry regions and sectors. To facilitate the best possible delivery of extension activities, Arris will build a database of Australian and international experts in both extension and research and use this to source providers for extension activities.
Extension delivery personnel and researchers who would like to be considered for a part of the delivery of the extension program are requested to please register using the on-line extension registration tool found here. Persons or organisations that may only have expertise in a small component of the potato industry, anywhere from paddock to plate, are encouraged to register.

This project has been funded by Horticulture Innovation Australia Limited using the Potato Industry Levies (Fresh and Processing) and funds from the Australian Government.


AUSVEG Board update

The AUSVEG Board convened for a successful and productive meeting on Monday 19 September at the AUSVEG offices in Camberwell, Victoria.
Several discussions were held covering key issues and topics of importance to the future development of the Australian vegetable and potato industries, including the new initiative to benchmark the Freshcare Food Safety and Quality Standard against the GLOBALG.A.P Standard.

South Queensland Industry Development Officer – Position advertisement

The Lockyer Valley Growers Inc (LVG) Southern Queensland Industry Development Officer (IDO) is funded by Horticulture Innovation Australia as part of the National Vegetable Extension Network (project VG15041). The fixed-term, full-time position will provide extension and industry development services to the vegetable growers throughout Southern Queensland, with a focus on the Lockyer Valley, Darling Downs, Granite Belt, Fassifern Valley and Greenbank/Logan areas. Specific project objectives and key performance indicators are identified in the project and annually include:

  • Implementation of six workshops or seminars throughout the region;
  • Publication of four newsletters and distribution to vegetable growers throughout the region; and
  • Development of fact sheets and other extension material for vegetable growers.

The LVG was formally established in December 2013 as a means for the fruit and vegetable growers in the area to unite and work together. They aim to support initiatives and projects which benefit the growers of the Lockyer and provide a united voice for horticulture in the region. The LVG also aims to create opportunities for social interactions, networking and promote education and training programs. The group is open to all fruit and vegetable producers growing produce in the Lockyer Valley and is managed on a day-to-day basis by a 100 per cent voluntary committee.

For more information on this role, please see the full job advertisement or e-mail

The National Vegetable Extension Network is funded by Horticulture Innovation Australia Limited using the National Vegetable Levy and funds from the Australian Government.


Hort Innovation announces eight candidates for Board positions

In the lead up to its Annual General Meeting on Friday 25 November, Horticulture Innovation Australia (Hort Innovation) has announced that eight candidates are in the running to fill five new Board positions.
The Hort Innovation Director Nomination Committee, chaired by Hort Innovation Deputy Chairman Mark Napper and including two independent third parties, has nominated the following eight candidates for election or appointment as a Board Director in 2016:

  • Renata Brooks
  • Professor Rob Clark
  • Paul Harker
  • Jenny Margetts
  • Dr Lesley McLeod
  • Fran Raymond
  • Selwyn Snell
  • Peter Wauchope

Two of these eight candidates will be elected as Directors by voting members at the AGM in the Sydney CBD on Friday 25 November. Three further candidates will then be appointed as Directors by the continuing Hort Innovation Board members (those who were elected / appointed in 2015). More information about each of the candidates will be provided to Members with the Notice of AGM next month, along with proxy voting details.
Levy-paying members of Hort Innovation are encouraged to complete and return their Annual Levy Return Forms by the cut-off date of Friday 30 September to be eligible to vote at the AGM. Any levy-payers who are not current members of Hort Innovation may submit a Member Application Form and have the opportunity to complete an Annual Levy Return Form by the end of the month to secure their voting entitlement.


RIRDC Rural Women’s Award

The Rural Industries Research and Development Corporation (RIRDC) Rural Women’s Award is Australia’s preeminent award for rural women. It recognises and supports emerging women leaders who have the potential to make a greater contribution to the primary industries and rural communities across the country, and offers a $10,000 bursary to each state and territory winner to bring to life a project or initiative that will benefit rural industries and communities.
AUSVEG congratulates the New South Wales winner of the 2016 Rural Women’s Award and 2016 Rural Woman of the Year, Sophie Hansen of Orange, New South Wales. Ms Hansen’s focus on increasing farmers’ capacity to use social media to engage with the public, as well as to build support networks and communities in the industry, will help to bring together the Australian agriculture industry and tell its story to consumers.
AUSVEG would also like to extend congratulations to Dr Jessica Lye, Victorian winner of the 2016 Rural Women’s Award and AUSVEG National Manager – Science and Extension. Dr Lye’s work for the Australian vegetable and potato industries and her expertise in biosecurity across many horticultural commodities has helped protect Australia’s biosecurity and ensure that key domestic and export markets remain open to our produce.
AUSVEG also congratulates all other state and territory winners of the 2016 Rural Women’s award:

  • Martina Matzner (NT)
  • Emma Robinson (QLD)
  • Robbie Davis (SA)
  • Rebecca Duffy (TAS)
  • Kalyn Fletcher (WA)

Applications for the 2017 RIRDC Rural Women’s Award are now open. For more information, please click here to visit the RIRDC’s website.


AUSVEG grower biosecurity workshop – tomorrow

AUSVEG is coordinating a grower workshop tomorrow, Wednesday 21 September, covering the fundamentals of on-farm biosecurity and other plant pest and disease issues in the Sydney Basin area.
Speakers at the workshop will include:

  • Dr Gordon Rogers (Applied Horticultural Research)
  • Dr Len Tesoriero (NSW Department of Primary Industries)
  • Andy Ryland (IPMC)
  • Dr Jessica Lye (AUSVEG)
  • Callum Fletcher (AUSVEG)

Time/date: 21 September 2016 at 1:00pm
Location: Gate 6, Sydney Field Vegetable Demonstration Farm, Southee Road, Richmond NSW
A free barbeque lunch will be provided to attendees from 12:00 noon. For more information on the workshop, please click here to view the flyer for the event. To register your interest in attending, please email or call (03) 9882 0277.


Are you a greenhouse or protected cropping grower? We want to hear your voice

The purpose of this survey is for growers to have input and give voice to any needs, concerns and suggestions in regard to the certification, operation and information requirements about greenhouses and grow structures (G/GSs) in Australia.
Horticulture Innovation Australia, Osborn Consulting Engineers, FERM, RMCG and Doyle’s Construction Lawyers are embarking on a new project VG16004 Developing technical guidelines and best practice extension toolbox for greenhouse construction and safe operation. In Part 1 of this project the project team will develop technical guidelines for G/GSs for inclusion in the National Construction Code and Part 2 will develop and communicate relevant G/GSs information for growers in an accessible and practical format. This follows an earlier project, VG13055 Building Codes and Greenhouse Construction completed by Osborn Consulting Engineers in 2014, which developed a Code of Practice document in response to the cost of local council compliance concerns raised by growers.
This project will provide guidelines that will meet regulatory principles and the needs of growers and industry stakeholders, and to provide useful, accessible and timely information to help growers make informed decisions about the certification and operation of their G/GSs facilities through the use of the toolbox.
This short survey should take no longer than 10 minutes to complete and will be open until Friday 30 September 2016. To access the survey click here.

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



Draft National Standard for Certification of Australian Seed Potatoes available for industry comment

A draft of the revised National Standard for the Certification of Australian Seed Potatoes is now available for industry comment.
Over the past six months a small team has been consulting widely with industry to review the existing National Standard for Certification of Australian Seed Potatoes. The project will ensure that we have a Standard that meets world’s best practice. The seed certification system across Australia operates well and is well-recognised in the marketplace, and the process of review ensures that the industry stays current and up-to-date.
Consultation covered growers, processors, researchers, certification authorities and government agencies and included a substantial industry workshop.
Further industry comment is now sought. The draft National Standard can be viewed at Comments in relation to the standard can be submitted online at or simply send an email with your name and phone number and one of the consultants will be in touch.
This project is funded by the National Potato Levy and funds from the Australian Government.

Submissions on the draft standard close Friday 30 September 2016.

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


AUSVEG in the media

AUSVEG’s opposition to the controversial backpacker tax continued to feature in the media this week following the release of the Productivity Commission’s report into Australia’s migrant intake, which validated industry concerns about the proposed measure, and strong public statements against the tax by Senator Jacqui Lambie.

AUSVEG Interim CEO Simon Bolles, AUSVEG National Manager – Public Affairs Jordan Brooke-Barnett and AUSVEG spokesperson Jarrod Strauch appeared broadly in print and broadcast media during and following AUSVEG’s visit to Canberra this week, discussing the potential for the tax to damage the Australian horticulture industry and calling on the Australian Government to remove the tax at its proposed rate.

AUSVEG National Manager – Communications Shaun Lindhe appeared on national television this week discussing the news that discount retailer Aldi is planning a renewed focus on the quality and range of its fresh produce offerings. Mr Lindhe noted that if Aldi’s move leads to better returns for farmers at the farm gate, this initiative could be good news for the industry.

AUSVEG has also made public comment this week on recent calls for a sugar tax by Liberal MP Russell Broadbent.

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.