Webinar: Biofumigation cover crops in vegetable production
Cover crops are being rediscovered by vegetable growers as practical ways of improving soil productivity and health. However, while cover cropping is a simple concept, it can be complex to implement in today’s intensive production systems.

Growers can join Julie Finnigan, technical Agronomist with Serve-Ag in Tasmania, for a webinar update on using biofumigant cover crops in vegetable production, coordinated by the Soil Wealth team.

This follows an earlier webinar that looked at making sure there is a clear objective for the cover crop, identifying what cover crop to use to achieve this objective and how to integrate cover crops into vegetable production.

Date: Tuesday 31 January 2017
Time: 12:30pm – 1:30pm AEDT

For more information or to register for the webinar click here.

For more on Soil Wealth and ICP projects, you can visit the website, or join the Community of Practice online. You can also follow Soil Wealth and Protecting Crops on Twitter.

Soil Wealth is funded by Horticulture Innovation Australia Limited using the National Vegetable Levy and funds from the Australian Government.


Beekeepers and farmers encouraged to use technology to communicate this season

Late last year, the Australian Honey Bee Industry Council (AHBIC) and Cotton Australia called on all farmers and beekeepers to use online tools to better communicate with each other to protect bees and crops. This also applies to all horticulture growers, especially those in the vegetable industry.

The BeeConnected app allows for simple communication between growers and beekeepers, ensuring crop protection is conducted safely, responsibly and according to label requirements.

The app means that crucial two-way communication between beekeepers, growers, consultants and spray contractors can be undertaken with ease.

Growers and beekeepers should:

  • Plan ahead: Register your farm or hives on BeeConnected to alert and communicate with local growers and beekeepers in your area.
  • Log activities: The app allows growers, consultants and spray applicators to log upcoming crop protection activities.
  • Communicate and cooperate: Users can use BeeConnected’s built-in messaging service to coordinate activities or privately share relevant information.

BeeConnected is available for free on smartphones and desktop computers, and is run by CropLife Australia in partnership with AHBIC. For more information, please click here.


Growers on the front line: Trapping to protect Australia’s borders
Tomato-potato psyllid (TPP) is categorised as an extreme biosecurity threat in Australia. Given the high likelihood that the pest could reach our shores through natural pathways, a trapping program has been established by the Tasmanian Institute of Agriculture as a preparedness measure for growers.

TPP is a winged insect that is black with a white stripe on its back and is about twice the size of an aphid. It primarily feeds on potatoes, tomatoes and capsicums but can live off, or at least shelter on, a large number of other plants (approximately 20 plant families).

TPP is also a natural vector of the bacterium Candidatus Liberibacter solanacearum which can cause Zebra chip in potatoes. On top of the feeding damage caused by the psyllid, Zebra chip is a major problem for potato growers, including the possibility for financial losses through crop rejections.

Along with border security and quarantine measures, an important way to combat the spread of the psyllid is to use trapping methods. Detecting a TPP population through trapping increases the chance that it could be eradicated quickly.

Each growing season, a group of researchers and growers deploy over 300 traps in a variety of locations. All of the various types of psyllid that are found on each trap are identified to make sure they are not TPP. While thousands of psyllids are detected in the traps each year, no TPP has ever been found in any trap over the five years that the surveillance has been in place.

The efforts of industry in this project, and the support of researchers, have contributed to Australia’s biosecurity by providing regular trapping data that supports the claim of continuing freedom from this destructive exotic pest. Funding for the trapping project is expected to continue until mid-2017.

More information on this topic can be found in the latest edition of Potatoes Australia magazine.

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


Producers head online to grow the farm

A national e-commerce platform called the HiveXchange is offering growers the ability to establish direct trade relationships with wholesale buyers.

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 business.

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.

To register to use the HiveXchange or for more information, please click here.


Cucumber green mottle mosaic virus workshops

The Department of Agriculture and Food, Western Australia (DAFWA) is organising two workshops on Cucumber green mottle mosaic virus (CGMMV) for cucurbit growers in WA.

Growers will be able to learn more about CGMMV and the on-farm biosecurity measures they can take to safeguard their property.

Workshops will be held:

  • 16 January 2017 (3:00pm – 4:30pm) Harvey Agricultural Collage Mornington Road, Wokalup
  • 17 January 2017 (3:00pm – 4:30pm) Manjimup Horticultural Research Centre, 28527 South West Highway, Manjimup

To RSVP to the workshops, please contact James Dee from DAFWA on (08) 9780 6285.


AUSVEG in the media

Levy-funded R&D was covered over the festive season, with AUSVEG National Manager – Communications Shaun Lindhe appeared on radio on Christmas Eve discussing the health benefits of vegetables. He stated that vegetables with high levels of vitamin A have been proven to boost vision, and reminded families to stock up on veggies for the festive season, including carrots to feed Santa’s reindeer.

Mr Lindhe also appeared in print media discussing the vegetable education resource, a joint measure by CSIRO and Hort Innovation. Mr Lindhe stated that the kit not only teaches kids about vegetables, but also lets them undertake hands-on activities, such as creating their own sandwiches, salads and juices.

AUSVEG Senior Communications Officer Dimi Kyriakou appeared in print media discussing the versatility of vegetables, stating that Australians can easily boost their vegetable intake by trying new dishes such as beetroot brownies or capsicum sorbet.

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.