Global Innovations in Horticulture Seminar presentations now online

The 2016 Global Innovations in Horticulture Seminar brought together expert speakers from around the world to address Australian vegetable growers and industry members at the event, held prior to the 2016 National Horticulture Convention in June at RACV Royal Pines.
Highlight speakers included Mr Fred Ziari speaking on how to maximise efficiency of on-farm resource use through irrigation technology, Mr David Ireland speaking on innovation and innovative thinking in agriculture, and Mr Marco Azzaretti speaking on using digital sorting technology to maximise yield and product quality.
Other speakers included Professor Richard Visser on breeding climate-resilient crops, Dr Joseph Guenthner on enhancing productivity with technology, and Dr Gert Kootstra on automating the food packaging process.
All presentations from the Seminar are now available to view on the AUSVEG YouTube channel. For biographies and more information on any of the speakers, please click here to access the speaker list for the Seminar.

The 2016 Global Innovations in Horticulture Seminar was funded by Horticulture Innovation Australia using the National Vegetable Levy and funds from the Australian Government.


State-of-the-art AgriBio facility working for benefit of potato industry

AgriBio, a joint initiative of the Victorian Government through Agriculture Victoria and La Trobe University, is a cutting-edge centre for research and development in the agricultural agrosciences sector located at La Trobe University’s Bundoora campus in Victoria.
The facility houses 400 scientists and support staff, providing researchers with purpose-built facilities to conduct their work in animal and plant research – from high-end pre-breeding programs, genomics and metabolomics to pest and disease management. This work includes potato breeding and fee-for-service work for potato seed certification bodies.
AgriBio also helps in the fight to maintain Australia’s biosecurity through diagnostic testing to support quarantine, with estimates suggesting that the facility has tested approximately one million tomato and capsicum seeds for Potato spindle tuber viroid in the last 12 months.
A full profile on the AgriBio facility, including interviews with senior researchers, is available in the latest edition of Potatoes Australia magazine. To read this edition, please click here. To access 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.


AUSVEG grower biosecurity workshop

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

  • Dr Gordon Rogers (Principal, Applied Horticultural Research)
  • Len Tesoriero (Plant Pathologist (Vegetable Diseases), NSW Department of Primary Industries)
  • Andy Ryland (Associate Scientist, Quantal Bioscience)
  • Dr Jessica Lye (National Manager – Scientific Affairs, AUSVEG)
  • Callum Fletcher (Biosecurity and Special Projects Coordinator, 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 e-mail or call (03) 9882 0277 by 14 September 2016.


2016 Women’s Industry Leadership & Development Mission to the USA & Canada

Expressions of interest are now open for the 2016 Women’s Industry Leadersihp & Development Mission, visiting the USA and Canada from 10 – 24 October 2016! Expressions of interest can be sent to or call (03) 9882 0277.
This tour is only open to Australian Vegetable Levy paying growers. The cost for the tour is $2,500 (inct. GST), which includes air and land travel, single room accommodation and most meals. Itinerary and dates are subject to change.

Pending approval and participant quotas being met, participation on the 2016 Women’s Industry Leadership and Development Mission will be funded by Horticulture Innovation Australia Limited using the National Vegetable Levy, contributions from Australian vegetable growing businesses and funds from the Australian Government.


Working holiday maker visa review

The Australian Government is conducting a review of the broad range of issues affecting the supply and taxation of labour performed by working holiday maker visa holders, commonly known as “backpackers”.
This review follows widespread industry opposition to the introduction of the “backpacker tax”, which would tax working holiday makers at a rate of 32.5 per cent from the first dollar earned. However, the Government has broaded the scope of this review to include the visa labour needs of the agricultural and tourism sectors, relevant unemployment policies, and protections for vulnerable workers.
Submissions to the review close on Friday 2 September 2016. For more information on the review, including its Terms of Reference and information on how to make a submission, please click here.


New Zealand experts to help combat Varroa mite threat

Horticulture Innovation Australia has joined with Plant & Food Research New Zealand to strengthen Australia’s defences against Varroa mite and enhance crop pollination through a $5 million targeted research project.
With Varroa jacobsoni mite recently discovered in Queensland, it is vital that Australia protects itself against the threat of further incursions (including incursions of the more damaging Varroa destructor mite) and prepares for how to respond if an incursion does occur.
This five-year research project looks to identify ways to improve pollination practices in Australia, and how to prepare for any changes to these practices which may be needed if Varroa mites arrive in the country.
It will also determine current pollination requirements for specific fruit, vegetable and nut species which have not previously been established, and provide honey bee stocking rate recommendations with partners Plant Health Australia.
For more information, contact Kelly Vorst-Parkes at Horticulture Innovation Australia on 0447 304 255 or at

This program is funded by Horticulture Innovation Australia using levy funds and funds from the Australian Government.


2016 National Horticulture Convention Speaker Sessions now online

The Speaker Sessions at the 2016 National Horticulture Convention, held in June at RACV Royal Pines on the Gold Coast, brought together local and international speakers to address Australian growers and other horticulture industry members and stakeholders.
Held on Friday 24 June and Saturday 25 June, the Speaker Sessions included 19 expert presentations on topics ranging from the potential to increase fresh produce consumption through snacking opportunities to global activism against GMO crops and practical approaches to resistance management for plant pests and diseases.
All presentations from the Speaker Sessions are now available to view on the AUSVEG YouTube channel. To view the Friday Speaker Sessions, please click here. To view the Saturday Speaker Sessions, please click here.


Farm Biosecurity 2016 – workshop and lecture series

Farm Biosecurity 2016, a practical and informative series of workshops and lectures hosted by Box Hill Institute at its Lilydale campus, has been designed for primary producers and organisations with a biosecurity responsibility.
The line-up of expert speakers will ensure that attendees are aware of emerging threats and what they can do to minimise the likelihood of an outbreak. The day’s program includes:


  • Implementing a farm bisoecurity plan – Dr Jessica Lye, AUSVEG
  • Phylloxera under the microscope – Dr Kevin Powell, Department of Economic Development, Jobs, Transport and Resources (DEDJTR)
  • Apiary inspection – Jessica Hartland, DEDJTR

Keynote speakers

  • Dr Simone Warner – Research Director Microbial Sciences, Pests & Diseases, Biosciences Research Division
  • Dr Andrea Magiafoglou – 360AgSolutions on behalf of Cherry Growers Australia
  • Dr Cathy Robinson – Principal Research Scientist, CSIRO
  • Dr Brendan Rodoni – Principal Research Scientist, Microbiology, Biosciences Research Division

Farm Biosecurity 2016 will be held on Tuesday 8 November 2016 from 9:00am – 4:30pm at the Box Hill Institute’s Lilydale Campus (1 Jarlo Drive, Lilydale VIC 3140). For more information on the event, please click here.


2016 Nuffield Australia National Conference

The Nuffield Australia National Conference, held annually, brings together over 300 primary producers from a wide cross section of industries and regions from Australia and overseas.
The 2016 Conference will be held in Adelaide, South Australia, from Wednesday 14 September to Friday 16 September, and will include presentations from more than 25 Nuffield Scholars presenting the findings of their research projects. Themes from these scholars include:

  • How farmers can manage urban encroachment, unfavourable public perception and legislative change – Bernadette Mortensen, NSW
  • Sustainable high yields from continuous double cropping with centre pivot irrigation — turning water into cashflow – Adam McVeigh, QLD
  • Communication technology solutions for farm enterprises (to provide high-speed internet and better communications to users) – Jock Graham, NSW
  • Variety selection and soil amendments during conversion from conventional to certified organic farming – Nathan Free, VIC
  • Brand of origin: The benefits and challenges of provenance marketing for producers – Abby McKibben, TAS

The Conference will also feature a range of expert keynote speakers from major agricultural researchers and service providers, including CSIRO, Rabobank, Deere & CO and Bayer CropScience Australia & New Zealand.

For more information and to register for the 2016 Nuffield Australia National Conference, please click here.

Hort Innovation provides funding for Nuffield Scholarships with industry levies and matched funds from the Australian Government.


Could worms work for you?

A new three-year project commissioned by Horticulture Innovation Australia, Optimising the benefits of vermiculture in commercial-scale vegetable growing, will identify practical and cost-effective ways vegetable growers can use earthworms and vermiculture products in their growing systems.
The project is seeking vegetable growers interested in using earthworms and worm (vermiculture) products to boost soil health and productivity. Vegetable growers at sites across Australia will be involved in field research over the next three years, and the project managers would like to hear from interested growers.
The project will work to identify the most cost-efficient practices and provide guides on how to boost productivity using vermiculture. In addition to being an indicator of healthy soil, earthworms can also contribute to soil fertility, structure, porosity, soil carbon, drainage and active soil biology. Vermiculture products such as vermi-casts and liquid additives can also boost productivity and soil health.
If you are interested in, or are already using, earthworms or vermiculture products, or would like more information about the project, please contact the project manager Bill Grant on 0407 88 2070 or

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


AUSVEG VIC memberships due for renewal

AUSVEG VIC would like to remind Victorian vegetable and potato growers that AUSVEG VIC memberships are due for renewal.
Membership fees are due by 31 August 2016, and will help to fund AUSVEG VIC’s work in advocating for Victorian vegetable and potato growers, including representing their needs and concerns to all levels of government.
AUSVEG VIC is run by growers for growers, and is guided by its Executive Committee, which currently includes 12 dedicated growers who represent a broad cross-section of experience and expertise.
For more information on renewing membership or about AUSVEG VIC in general, please contact AUSVEG VIC State Manager Kurt Hermann at Please click here to download a 2016/17 AUSVEG VIC membership form.


AUSVEG in the media

AUSVEG National Manager – Public Affairs Jordan Brooke-Barnett appeared across print and broadcast media this week commenting on the Australian Government’s review into the working holiday maker visa, saying that the Government needs to listen to industry’s concerns about the damage the backpacker tax could have on the availability of backpackers as a source of labour.
AUSVEG National Manager – Communications Shaun Lindhe appeared in print and on radio this week discussing the results of the latest AUSVEG Economic Confidence Survey, commenting on the survey’s findings that grower confidence increased in the June 2016 quarter, driven by increased grower confidence in domestic and export markets.
AUSVEG also made public comment in the media this week on a predicted rise in imports of frozen and processed potatoes into Australia, and on recommended reforms to the Horticulture Code of Conduct.

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.