Workshop: Negotiations and influencing course – Bundaberg, QLD

The VegPRO project, a strategic levy investment by Hort Innovation as part of the Vegetable Fund, is coordinating a course on managing negotiations and influencing people for vegetable industry members.

This course is suitable for anyone that deals with staff, suppliers or logistics companies on a daily basis. Topics covered in the workshop will include identifying tactical manoeuvres, managing emotional atmospherics, controlling the sequence of the influencing process and breaking deadlocks creatively.

Time/date: 8:30am – 5:30pm, Wednesday 13 and Thursday 14 September
Location: Bert Hinkler Motor Inn, 36 Warrell Street (cnr of Takalyn Street), Bundaberg QLD 4670

For more information on the course, contact VegPRO via or on 0426 200 996. To register to attend the course, please click here (please note that registrations close COB on Friday 8 September).


New project to drive potato industry productivity and profitability

Soil health has long been identified as the foundation of productivity in much of the potato industry’s growing practices. To reflect this, the Tasmanian Institute of Agriculture (TIA) has commenced a one-year project which will develop extension materials and identify the priorities for future research, development and extension in soil management practices. The project, Navigating the wealth of soil health information and identification opportunities (PT16003), is a strategic levy investment under both the Hort Innovation Fresh and Processing Potato funds. TIA has also contributed funds to this project.

The project’s objective is to provide a comprehensive review of the current knowledge of factors that influence soil health. The project will initially be conducted as a desktop study, with literature sourced from Australia and overseas. The study will examine areas that have been associated with soil health and the factors that have contributed to the profitability and sustainability of the potato industry. As part of the study, there will be an interactive academic workshop where experts will discuss soil health.

For a detailed profile on the project and its goals, including an interview with TIA Research Fellow and project lead Dr Robert Tegg, read the latest edition of Potatoes Australia magazine. This edition, and all other editions of the magazine, are available on the AUSVEG website.

To subscribe to receiving hard copies of Potatoes Australia, please contact AUSVEG at

This project is funded by Hort Innovation using the fresh and processing potato research and development levies, co-investment from the Tasmanian Institute of Agriculture and contributions from the Australian Government. Hort Innovation is the grower-owned, not-for-profit research and development corporation for Australian horticulture.

Mental health resources available for industry members

Mental health conditions are prevalent in many regional and rural communities, including in the agriculture industry, yet many people are still hesitant to openly discuss them with family, friends, employers and their communities. The nature of the agriculture industry can result in factors that lead to increased risk of experiencing mental health issues, including isolation, environmental factors such as natural disasters and ongoing drought and the stresses associated with tough economic conditions. These stressors, combined with the stigma associated with discussing these mental health conditions, can have disastrous effects on an individual’s mental health.

Mental health issues and their impact on individuals and communities in regional Australia were a topic of great discussion at Hort Connections 2017. Then-Chairman of beyondblue, Jeff Kennett, discussed the prevalence of depression in rural areas of Australia and tactics to help assist those who are struggling, while a Mental Health Panel also took place contributing to ongoing industry efforts to break the stigma of mental health issues. Videos of these discussions can be found on the AUSVEG YouTube page.

To further industry’s efforts to improve awareness of mental health issues within our industry and within regional and rural communities, the AUSVEG website now hosts a range of information about organisations that can help with mental health conditions and statistics on the prevalence within the agriculture industry. The mental health resources are aimed at helping you find assistance if your mental health, or that of your friend, family member or any other person in your life, becomes a concern for you at any point in time.

While visiting your GP is always the recommended first step, there are a number of services which provide online, over-the-phone and face-to-face support and counselling. To view these services, please click here.

Webinar: Nematodes in vegetable soils

Join nematode specialist Dr Sarah Collins from the Western Australia Department of Primary Industries and Regional Development for an 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.


Economic update: ‘Click-plate’ – Seeing more food

Each minute, 16 new #food images are uploaded onto Instagram, adding to the grand total of 232,431,168 posts (and counting) already on the platform. With almost 60 per cent of Freshlogic’s MealpulseTM consumer research panellists interested in sharing and trying new food ideas, online communities are fuelling a new level of exposure for food. Below, Freshlogic shares some key online trends affecting the role food plays in consumers’ lives.

The camera eats first: The role of food has expanded from being eaten and tasting good to now also being seen in photos and looking good. When consumed as an image, meals are increasingly being compared and judged on appearance instead of flavour. This has elevated the importance of visual elements such as plating technique and colour. Unusual or aesthetically pleasing ingredients are also well received, as long as they are easily identifiable in the photo.

Technology has been a key enabler: Smartphones and online social networks allow users to easily share and compare food-centric content. Australia has the world’s sixth-most concentrated smartphone market, and camera features have been identified as the most important consideration when buying a smartphone. As smartphone camera capabilities improve and in-app filters make manipulation simpler, consumers are taking more photos that are of a higher quality.

From meal to meal prep: The continual desire for new images and fresh content has gone beyond the meal to now include the preparation stage. There are currently 5,910,345 #mealprep posts, depicting consumers preparing (and then portioning) meals for later consumption. This trend has been applauded by wellness, finance and environmental groups as it encourages healthy eating, budgeting and reducing waste.

Vegetables are well placed to capitalise on this movement, being visually appealing, colourful, nutritious and versatile. Consumers appear to be welcoming of products that are taken closer to an Instragrammable form.

This article was provided by Freshlogic as part of a strategic levy investment under the Hort Innovation Vegetable Fund.


Hort Innovation Strategic Investment Advisory Panel meetings

Over the past week, two Strategic Investment Advisory Panels met to discuss strategic levy investments by Hort Innovation as part of the Vegetable Fund.

The Consumer Alignment panel met on the Gold Coast to provide grower input into potential levy-funded projects looking to align vegetable industry products with consumer preferences. The panel also took part in a guided tour of Coastal Hydroponics, including a look at the operation’s washing, drying and packing machinery. For more information and photos from the tour, please see the AUSVEG Facebook page.

The Farm Productivity, Resource Use & Management panel met at the Bureau of Meteorology offices in Melbourne to discuss projects being undertaken to increase on-farm productivity and efficient resource use. The panel heard about work being done by the Bureau for Hort Innovation to tailor its information to horticulture growers.

For more information on the Strategic Investment Advisory Panels for Hort Innovation’s Vegetable Fund, please click here.


New R&D report available on InfoVeg


InfoVeg is a comprehensive database that has been designed to bridge the gap between researchers and growers. It acts as a resource for growers to easily access technical information and research funded by strategic investment of the vegetable and potato research and development levies.

The following report has been published recently on the InfoVeg database:

  • PT14001 – Monitoring psyllids and psyllid predators in Australian potato crops

Please click here to access the InfoVeg database.

The InfoVeg database is funded by Hort Innovation using the vegetable and fresh potato 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.

New information on the Hort Code from the ACCC

On 1 April 2017, the new Horticulture Code of Conduct came into effect. The Code replaces the old mandatory Horticulture Code and is regulated by the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC).

If you trade in horticulture produce, you must comply with the terms of the new Code. AUSVEG strongly urges Australian growers and packers to familiarise themselves with their requirements under the new Code. Penalties and fines of up to $63,000 could apply for major breaches of the Code, as well as fines of up to $10,500 for smaller breaches.

The ACCC has added further material on the Code to its website, including explanations and examples of what constitutes ‘unprocessed’ produce, the obligation for all parties to deal in good faith, and the statements that traders must provide about how they deal with growers’ produce.

You can find a comprehensive range of information on the new Code on the ACCC’s website. If you have specific questions, please contact the ACCC using the numbers listed below.

ACCC Infocentre: 1300 302 502
Small business help line: 1300 302 021

TPP market access update – 23 August 2017

The Western Australian Department of Primary Industries and Regional Development (DPIRD) has released an update with information specific to tomato-potato psyllid (TPP) and Candidatus Liberibacter solanacearum (CLso) interstate movement conditions.

As of 23 August 2017, DPIRD had not been informed of any recent changes to interstate movement conditions. The update contains a snapshot of current TPP and CLso movement conditions, but does not include entry conditions for other pests.

To view the update, please click here.

2016 Syngenta Growth Awards profile – Tommy Le

Tommy Le is a vegetable grower, small business owner and agronomist with E.E. Muir and Sons in southern Queensland. Tommy arrived as a child refugee with his family in Australia in 1987 having spent two years in a refugee camp in Thailand after fleeing Vietnam by boat, and it’s due to those experiences during his early years and his thankfulness for the opportunities he’s had in Australia that he describes coming to Australia as his “second chance at life”.

Tommy’s career in horticulture began with growing tomatoes in South Australia, before moving to Brisbane in 2003 where he and his wife Lilly began growing continental cucumbers. The following year they started LT Fresh, a greenhouse supplies and service business, as well as selling seed to growers. In 2011, he joined E.E. Muir and Sons in the Lockyer Valley.

Building a positive image for the Vietnamese farming community is important for Tommy, and he is trying to develop a brand for them across both the Australian agricultural industry and the Australian consumer networks. Tommy has worked tirelessly developing and marketing a new niche tribal cucumber variety, which is delivering premium returns for his growers. He worked closely with Syngenta in the seed development process and now is building capacity amongst his growers.

Tommy’s commitment to his community was celebrated last year as he won the Syngenta Growth Award for Community and People. For more information on Tommy and his story, please see the Syngenta website.

Webinar recording: Green peach aphid resistance management with Dr Siobhan de Little

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

Watch the recording of this interactive session with guest presenter Dr Siobhan de Little from cesar, facilitated by Carl Larsen from RMCG.

You can also download the accompanying presentation, as well as access other great resources such as the Resistance Management Strategy for GPA and fact sheet on managing pesticide resistance.

To find out more about the Soil Wealth and ICP projects visit the website, or join the Community of Practice online. You can also follow the projects on Twitter @SoilWealth and @ProtectingCrops.


Booklet: Smartphone Apps for Smart Farmers

The widespread use of smartphones has seen the development of a plethora of different apps that are useful or relevant to farming. The Ag Excellence Alliance has developed a booklet to provide farmers with information about what apps are available and how the use of these could benefit them. Wherever possible, the apps in the publication have been downloaded and road-tested.

For more information on this useful resource, and to download the full booklet, please click here. Please note that while the booklet was published in 2014, and many of the apps listed are specific to broadacre or livestock applications, there are a number of apps within the booklet that may be of interest to hort businesses.

Survey: Department of Employment research on seasonal work

There are a range of seasonal job opportunities in the agriculture and tourism sector. However, existing research by the Australian Department of Employment has suggested that the demand for seasonal labour is generally not met by local job seekers.

As such, the Department is undertaking a survey of employers and labour hire providers regarding the mismatch of supply and demand of seasonal work in agriculture. To take part in the survey, please click here.

Please note that the survey must be started and finished in the same session, and will close on Friday 8 September.

Survey: Deakin University research on senior secondary school food literacy

The School of Exercise and Nutrition Sciences of Deakin University is conducting an online survey to explore professionals’ opinions about senior secondary school food literacy education.

As part of this survey, the University is eager to hear from growers and other horticulture industry members to gauge their views on food literacy education, including the importance and relevance of current curriculum topics, students’ activities and assessment tasks, and barriers and challenges for food literacy education.

To take part in the survey, please click here.

Nominations now open for 2017 ICM Agrifood Award

The ICM Agrifood Award is an early career award for scientists or technologists under 40 years old who have achieved substantial peer or industry recognition for their work in the past five years. The Award is sponsored by ICM Agribusiness, one of Australia’s major agribusiness groups, and administered by ATSE. The winners will be awarded at ATSE’s Oration Dinner on 24 November 2017 in Sydney.

One female and one male winner will each receive a cash prize of $5,000 in recognition of their excellence, innovation and impact in a field critical to continued improvement of the overall Australian food sector in the past five years.

For more information on nomination guidelines, and to nominate someone for this award, please visit the ATSE website.

Minor Use permits

The following permits have been issued by the Australian Pesticides and Veterinary Medicines Authority (APVMA):

  • PER7909 V2 (Crop/s: Cucumber // Pest/disease: Botrytis rot)
  • PER12565 V2 (Capsicum and lettuce //  Botrytis grey mould)
  • PER12846 V3 (Snow peas and sugar snap peas // Two-spotted mite)
  • PER13698 V3 (Lettuce, coriander, parsley, fennel and bulb vegetables // Downy mildew and root rot)
  • PER14494 V2 (Silverbeet, spinach, chicory, endive and celery // Powdery mildew, Cercospora leaf spot and Septoria leaf spot)
  • PER81271 V2 (Leeks and garlic // Grass and broadleaf weeds)
  • PER82461 (Beetroot, beetroot leaves, chicory, endive, radish, silverbeet, spinach and carrots // Sclerotinia rot and powdery mildew)
  • PER82745 (Silverbeet, spinach, chicory, endive, parsley and coriander // Powdery mildew and leaf blight)
  • PER83765 (Spinach and silverbeet // Damping off)
  • PER84426 (Green beans, carrot, spinach and silverbeet // Sclerotinia, black rot and grey mould)
  • PER84740 (Taro, rakkyo, daikon, burdock, yam, yam bean, lotus root, water chestnuts, galangal and turmeric // Grass weeds)
  • PER82895 (Consolidation of permits 81285, 13036, 14034, 11990, 14043, 11451 and 11964)
  • PER84878 (Capsicum // botrytis rot and sclerotinia rot)

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
VG17002 Foodservice education around vegetable usage in older adult populations 5pm (Sydney time)
Thursday 31 August 2017
ST16009 Investigate the use of smart traps in fruit fly surveillance 5pm (Sydney time)
Thursday 14 September 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.

Industry in the news

The week’s top stories


AUSVEG in the media

AUSVEG National Manager – Public Affairs Jordan Brooke-Barnett appeared in print media this week welcoming legislation and amendments to strengthen Australia’s competition law, including changes which will provide greater ability for the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission to take action against misuses of market power.