In this edition

  • Resource: Product development and innovation edition of InfoVeg Radio now available!
  • Potato grower case study: John McKenna laying the groundwork for controlled traffic farming
  • REMINDER: Vegetable Strategic Investment Plan available for comment
  • Nielsen data highlight: Cauliflower
  • Industry update: FSANZ decision on food derived from potato lines F10, J3, W8, X17 & Y9
  • Workshops: Horticulture Code of Conduct information sessions (WA)
  • Project update: Call for participants in TPP surveillance
  • Resource: Mental health profile – beyondblue
  • Workshop: Horticulture Code of Conduct (Somerville, VIC)
  • Economic update: Vegetable retail exposure
  • Webinar: Nematodes in vegetable soils
  • Webinar: Pesticides and insect pest control in vegetables
  • Industry update: Barry Nicol Honours Scholarship for Horticulture launched
  • Scholarship opportunities: University of Tasmania agriculture scholarships
  • Hort Innovation project opportunities
  • The week’s top stories
  • AUSVEG in the media

Vegetable feature article

Resource: Product development and innovation edition of InfoVeg Radio now available!

A new edition of InfoVeg Radio, the R&D podcast for the vegetable industry, has been released. This edition focuses on product innovation, and how businesses can improve their sustainability and profitability through new product development. The episode features three interviewees:

  • Denise Hamblin, from Colmar Brunton, who discussed how understanding consumer trends can assist with product development;
  • Gilad Sadan, from N.A.V.I. Co. Global, who discussed how innovative packaging can capture consumer attention; and
  • Angela Child, from Inpact Innovation, who discussed the importance of understanding consumers’ needs and tailoring packaging accordingly.

These interviewees also gave presentations at the Developing valued, visible vegetable products: How to stand out from the crowd workshop, delivered through the VegPRO project as part of a strategic levy investment under the Hort Innovation Vegetable Fund.

Previous editions of the podcast have covered postharvest management, food safety, on-farm energy usage, ways to increase consumption of vegetables and more. To listen to the latest edition of the podcast, or any previous edition, please click here.


Potato feature article

Potato grower case study: John McKenna laying the groundwork for controlled traffic farming

Less field work, better soil structure and more efficient processing are just some of the benefits Tasmanian grower John McKenna has observed since implementing controlled traffic farming (CTF) in his potato, onion, carrot and poppy growing operation.

In 2007, John set up a trial on his farm to investigate and demonstrate the feasibility of growing vegetables on a commercial scale using CTF, later moving into trialling CTF with potatoes. These activities were conducted as part of MT09040 Development and demonstration of controlled traffic farming techniques for production of potatoes and other vegetables, a strategic levy investment building on project VG07058 Controlled traffic farming systems for the Tasmanian vegetable industry.

John says the project demonstrated that even if full CTF was difficult to implement with his existing machine configuration, there was merit to converting to seasonal CTF. Sticking to existing wheel tracks has helped to minimise soil compaction, and minimising the operation’s ground work has meant that his farm is able to get crops in quicker.

To read a summary of John’s experience in his own words, first presented at the 2008 Australian Controlled Traffic Farming Conference, please see the conference’s website. John’s experiences in implementing CTF were also profiled in the 2016 edition of Grower Success Stories: Real results from the potato R&D levy.

Communication of levy-funded R&D 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.

REMINDER: Vegetable Strategic Investment Plan available for comment

The Strategic Investment Plan (SIP) for the vegetable industry is almost done! The final draft of the document has been published online by Hort Innovation, and you have until COB Monday 16 October 2017 to provide final feedback.

To read the final draft SIP and use the simple online form to provide your feedback, visit Hort Innovation’s Vegetable Fund page.

You can also provide direct feedback to Hort Innovation’s Relationship Managers for the vegetable industry:

The final industry SIP will be used to help guide Hort Innovation’s strategic investment of the vegetable levy, ensuring that levy investment decisions align with industry priorities. It outlines these industry priorities and the core industry outcomes required by investments. The SIP is designed to represent the balanced interests of the vegetable industry, and the draft has been created in close consultation with growers and other industry stakeholders.


Nielsen data highlight: Cauliflower

Hort Innovation has engaged Nielsen to carry out consumer research to allow the Australian vegetable industry to better understand the shopping habits of Australians. The results aim to assist growers to better understand consumer preferences and deliver products that best meet their needs.

Reports including data up to August 2017 are now available for levy-paying vegetable growers! These reports offer detailed, in-depth sales information about a range of vegetables, including Asian vegetables, beans, broccoli, cabbage, capsicum, carrots, cauliflower, celery, cucumber, eggplant, fresh salad, lettuce, pumpkin, sweet corn, sweetpotato, and zucchini. 

A key highlight from the latest dataset about cauliflower:

  • Historically, senior couples have been the key volume driver for this category, but signs indicate this may be changing. Families may be challenging the status quo, with cauliflower growing in popularity among scale families and bustling families.

Nielsen Homescan electronically records 10,000 demographically and geographically representative Australian households’ purchases of all take-home grocery goods (fresh and packaged).

Growers interested in any or all of these reports can contact AUSVEG via e-mail at

Industry update: FSANZ decision on food derived from potato lines F10, J3, W8, X17 & Y9

Food Standards Australia New Zealand (FSANZ) has assessed an application made by Simplot Plant Sciences International Inc to seek approval for food derived from genetically modified (GM) potato lines W8, X17 and Y9, which have disease resistance, low acrylamide potential and reduced browning and from GM lines F10 and J3, with reduced acrylamide potential and reduced browning only.

On 26 May 2017, FSANZ sought submissions on a draft variation to Schedule 26 to list food derived from these potato lines as approved, and published an associated report. FSANZ received 58 submissions. FSANZ approved the draft variation on 14 September 2017. The Australia and New Zealand Ministerial Forum on Food Regulation was notified of FSANZ’s decision on 28 September 2017.

To read the full approval report, please see the FSANZ website.

Workshops: Horticulture Code of Conduct information sessions (WA)

As part of the VegNET program being delivered in Western Australia, vegetablesWA is coordinating a series of free information sessions about the new Horticulture Code of Conduct and what it means for vegetable growers.

In these workshops, which are part of a strategic levy investment under the Hort Innovation Vegetable Fund, vegetablesWA CEO John Shannon will explain some of the important details of the Code and a Vietnamese translation will be delivered by vegetablesWA Industry Extension Officer Truyen Vo.

Time/date: 4:30pm–6:30pm, Wednesday 4 October 2017
Location: Crooked Carrot, Forrest Highway, Myalup WA
Event flyer

Time/date: 4:30pm–6:30pm, Monday 9 October 2017
Location: DPIRD Carnarvon (Bomb Shelter), Carnarvon WA
Event flyer

Time/date: 3:00pm–6:30pm, Tuesday 10 October 2017
Location: DPIRD Geraldton, 20 Gregory St, Geraldton WA
Event flyer

For more information, or to RSVP for a workshop, please contact vegetablesWA Industry Extension Officer Sam Grubisa on 0427 373 037 or at


Project update: Call for participants in TPP surveillance

The Tasmanian Institute of Agriculture (TIA) is coordinating a national surveillance program for tomato potato psyllid (TPP), which was discovered in Western Australia in February 2017, as part of the levy-funded project MT16016 Surveillance of tomato potato psyllid in the eastern states and South Australia.

TIA has been operating a surveillance program for adult TPP in processing potato crops in eastern Australia since 2011 using yellow sticky traps. This program is being intensified in the 2017/18 growing season to encompass all host crops in the Solanaceae family across the nation. This surveillance will tie into state-based surveillance measures and will help to support state requirements in providing evidence of area freedom of this pest to preserve export markets, as well as support market access now and into the future.

TIA invites industry stakeholders to participate in the surveillance program by placing sticky traps in TPP-susceptible crops and returning them to TIA for checking the presence of the pest. TIA will provide sticky traps and identification services free of charge, and will also supply reply-paid envelopes for returning traps.

More information is available on the TIA website. Any industry members who are interested in contributing to this surveillance can contact Raylea Rowbottom, program coordinator, on 0428 745 752 or 03 6226 2638 or at Interested growers can also contact AUSVEG to get sticky traps at

This project is funded by Hort Innovation using the vegetable, fresh potato and potato processing 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.

Resource: Mental health profile – beyondblue

There are a range of mental health services available for Australians to access help at any time of day. A number of resources feature on the AUSVEG website, and over the coming months we will be profiling a handful of these organisations in the AUSVEG Weekly Update.

beyondblue is a high-profile not-for-profit working to help everyone in Australia achieve their best possible mental health, whatever their age and wherever they live.

Since beyondblue was founded in 2000 by The Hon. Jeff Kennett AC, it has formed strong partnerships with academics, governments, corporates, service providers and the community, promoting good mental health across a range of population groups and places in which people live, learn, work and play. beyondblue has expanded to offer a 24/7 Support Service staffed by trained mental health professionals.

For further information on anxiety, depression or suicide, please visit beyondblue’s website. For immediate support, please click here or contact 1300 22 46 36.

If you require emergency assistance, please contact 000.


Workshop: Horticulture Code of Conduct (Somerville, VIC)

As part of the VegNET program being delivered in the northern, western and south-eastern regions of Victoria, RMCG is hosting an introductory workshop on the Horticulture Code of Conduct prior to the AUSVEG VIC AGM.

The workshop will cover an overview of the code, outline areas of the code relevant to growers, explain the obligations of growers and traders under the code, and explain the fines, record-keeping requirements and Horticulture Produce Agreements that form part of the new code.

Time/date: 3:30pm–5:30pm, Friday 6 October 2017
Location: Gazzola Farms, 63 Bungower Road, Somerville VIC

For more information, please see the event flyer. Growers who are interested in attending this workshop, which is a strategic levy investment under Hort Innovation’s Vegetable Fund, can RSVP to Carl Larsen on 0419 622 393 or at


Economic update: Vegetable retail exposure

Retail promotional activity provides increased exposure to consumers, and therefore typically has a direct impact on retail sales.

The level of food and grocery promotional activity undertaken by major retailers has increased by 2 per cent over the 4-year period between financial year (FY) 2013 and FY 2017. In comparison, the number of vegetable ads by major retailers over that time has increased 30 per cent from 10,367 to 13,492, a reflection of the increasing emphasis placed on the ‘fresh’ food offer by retailers.

Promotional material for vegetables can be divided into three groups: canned, frozen and fresh. For the FY 2017 period, canned vegetable ads accounted for 14 per cent of total vegetable ads, while frozen accounted for 29 per cent and fresh accounted for 57 per cent. Ads for fresh vegetable products grew 93 per cent between FY 2013 and FY 2017 and have increased in share of all vegetable ads from 39 per cent to 57 per cent.

The proportion of advertised vegetable products priced by ‘the each’ is also growing, and in the year ending FY 2017 accounted for 25 per cent of all fresh vegetable adverts. This is indicative of the increasing number of prepacked vegetable products being ranged by retailers in response to consumer demand for convenience.

Promotional activity is an indicator of retail activity, and increased vegetable exposure is a positive signal for growers. It suggests that there is strong consumer and customer interest in vegetable products. It also indicates that retailers increasingly understand that a strong fresh vegetable range is an indicator to consumers of a high-quality offering. As retail competition is set to intensify, it is beneficial that vegetables are recognised as a draw-card to drive foot-traffic.

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


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 soils – managing the bad and good ones, which will now be held on Tuesday 10 October.

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. It will also touch on the beneficial free-living nematodes.

Date: Tuesday 10 October 2017
Time: 12:30pm–1:30pm (AEDT)

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.


Webinar: Pesticides and insect pest control in vegetables

Chemicals have different modes of action that can affect both insect pest and beneficial species differently. It’s important to understand the risk profile of these modes of action, and how this influences resistance management as well as informing the implementation of Integrated Pest Management (IPM).

Join the ICP project team and guest presenter Dr Paul Umina from cesar for this interactive session.

Date: Wednesday 18 October 2017
Time: 12:30–1:30pm (AEDT)

Click here to register for the webinar, which is delivered as part of a strategic levy investment through the Hort Innovation Vegetable Fund.

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.


Industry update: Barry Nicol Honours Scholarship for Horticulture launched

The University of Adelaide and the daughter of Adelaide Plains carrot farmer Barry Nicol, Dr Julie M Nicol, have established the Barry Nicol Honours Scholarship for Horticulture to celebrate his lifetime of contributions to horticulture. The scholarship will support agricultural science students to conduct Honours research in horticulture with a view to ensuring more graduates pursue a rewarding career in our industry.

Barry Nicol was a leading grower in his region and a committed advocate for research and development throughout his 65 years of working in the industry. Barry performed many roles as a grower representative and advocate on the Horticultural Research and Development Corporation (HRDC), which later became part of Horticulture Australia Limited (HAL), the precursor to Hort Innovation. He was a passionate advocate for careers in horticulture and a vocal proponent of the need for skilled workers, such as agricultural scientists, to pursue opportunities in the industry.

The Scholarship is planned to start in 2019 and contributions are now being sought from industry members and anyone who would like to share in Barry’s vision. The Scholarship is being managed by Dr Nicol and the University of Adelaide Waite Campus, and will be valued at $5,000 per annum. Currently, the plan is to run the scholarship over at least 10 years; however, with support from the industry it is hoped that the scholarship can be granted in perpetuity.

If you are interested in contributing towards this scholarship please contact Dr Julie M Nicol on 0488 709 439 or at Alternatively, direct contributions can be made at the University of Adelaide website. Any contributions made towards the Scholarship will be acknowledged by the University of Adelaide who will issue tax receipts.

Project update: Agrichemical needs and prioritisation workshop

As part of project VG16060 Agrichemical pest management needs and priorities, a leek and celery workshop took place in Clyde at Schreurs & Sons on Thursday 28 September.

AUSVEG project coordinator Patrick Arratia met with leek and celery growers in the region to discuss their main pest, disease and weed issues. All information was recorded and will be used for the crop-specific pest, disease and weeds prioritisation process, which will help develop a better understanding of the Australian vegetable industry’s agrichemical needs and gaps.

This project will be delivering workshops in major vegetable growing regions across Australia to gain a thorough understanding of all regions’ and commodities’ agrichemical needs, so keep an eye open for more details, which will be released soon!


Scholarship opportunities: University of Tasmania agriculture scholarships

Applications for the University of Tasmania’s scholarships program for Semester 1 2018 are now open, including:

  • eight scholarships for students commencing an undergraduate degree in agriculture or agricultural science;
  • five scholarships for second- and third-year students;
  • three scholarships for Honours students; and
  • one scholarship for postgraduate students.

For more information on the scholarships available, please see the University of Tasmania website.

Hort Innovation project opportunities

Project code Project title Closing date
HN17001 Investigating the use of antimicrobial coatings in fresh produce quality and food safety chain 5pm (Sydney time)
Monday 30 October 2017
HN17000 Development of new nutrient-dense, value-added fruit and vegetable products 5pm (Sydney time)
Monday 13 November 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.

The week’s top stories

AUSVEG in the media

AUSVEG National Manager – Communications Shaun Lindhe continued to appear in print this week discussing the oversupply of carrots for the domestic market following a good growing season. Mr Lindhe reiterated the importance of Australian consumers buying locally grown vegetables to support Australian growers and the Australian industry.