In this edition: Notification of intent to increase EPPR levies, grower case studies, ACCC factsheets and more!

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Urgent industry update

Notification of intent to increase the Vegetable and Fresh Potato Industry Emergency Plant Pest Response (EPPR) levies for contributions to the Tomato potato psyllid Response

The vegetable and fresh potato industries have Emergency Plant Pest Response (“EPPR”) levies set at the rate of zero per cent for vegetables and zero cents per tonne for fresh potatoes, which were put in place in 2012 following extensive industry consultation.

The EPPR levies provide a mechanism for the vegetable and fresh potato industries to fund preparedness and eradication activities to reduce the threat of exotic plant pests.

AUSVEG intends to request that the Minister for Agriculture and Water Resources (“the Minister”):

  • increase the vegetable EPPR levy from zero per cent to a positive rate of 0.01 per cent of the value at the point of sale; and
  • increase the fresh potato EPPR levy from zero cents per tonne to a positive rate of 10 cents per tonne at the point of sale.

If successfully increased it is intended that funds accrued by the EPPR levies will contribute to paying costs relating to TPP eradication activities, and a 12 month Transition to Management (T2M) program.

A T2M program is a structured way of winding down an eradication response and handing management of the pest to industry in order to ensure that it has the tools and resources it needs to effectively manage the pest.

On completion of the T2M phase:

  • We will know if Candidatus Liberibacter solanacearum (CLso) is carried by our TPP population;
  • We will have guidance material to manage TPP at a farm level;
  • We will have a national plan to guide management of TPP now, and into the future;
  • We will have interstate compliance protocols for produce grown in affected regions; and
  • We will have begun Australian research on the biology and management of our endemic population.

It is AUSVEG’s intent that the EPPR levies run at the above rates for approximately three years. As soon as possible after costs are repaid to the Federal Government, the levies will be reduced to zero per cent for vegetables and zero cents per tonne for fresh potatoes.

Estimated costs for small, medium and large vegetable farms
Small farm ($100,000 in cash receipts) = $10.00 per year contribution
Medium farm ($450,000 in cash receipts) = $45.00 per year contribution
Large farm ($3,000,000 in cash receipts) = $300.00 per year contribution

Estimated costs for small, medium and large potato farms
Small farm (50 tonnes of potato production) = $5.00 per year contribution
Medium farm (500 tonnes of potato production) = $50.00 per year contribution
Large farm (5,000 tonnes of potato production) = $500.00 per year contribution

This notification process will be followed by an objection period. Vegetable and fresh potato industry levy payers will be notified of the 30 day objection period, during which levy payers may provide any feedback. Levy payers may lodge objections to AUSVEG or the Department of Agriculture and Water Resources.

Following the objection period AUSVEG must formally advise the Department of:

  • Any objections received;
  • How each objection was resolved, or reasons why the objection should not affect the setting of the levy at the proposed rate;
  • Or that no objections were received.

See this information sheet for further details or contact:

Phone: (03) 9882 0277

Department of Agriculture and Water Resources
Biosecurity Policy & Implementation Division
Phone: (02) 6272 2057

Vegetable feature article

Vegetable grower case study: Fresh Select grows roots in export markets

Project VG16061 (Vegetable Industry Export Program) provides growers with a range of capability building activities such as export readiness training, access to key export markets and opportunities for growers to develop export trade, with the ultimate aim of improving farm profitability.

John Said and Julien Palamara from Fresh Select in Victoria have benefited from their involvement in the program and have accessed resources, hosted international buyers through the Reverse Trade Mission and attended international fresh produce trade shows such as Foodex.

Julien says the Vegetable Industry Export Program, which is funded by a strategic levy investment under the Hort Innovation Vegetable Fund and coordinated by AUSVEG, has been invaluable in creating networking opportunities at trade events as Fresh Select continue to build their relationships in key export markets.

To learn more about John’s experience working with levy-funded export capability projects and the AUSVEG Export Development team, read the 2017 edition of Grower Success Stories: Real results from the vegetable R&D levy.


Potato feature article

Resource: How to use the InfoVeg database

As part of its InfoVeg TV series, AUSVEG has produced a video on how to use the InfoVeg database, the research and development database for the Australian vegetable and potato industries.

The InfoVeg database has over 1,400 reports, tools and fact sheets for vegetable and potato growers, agronomists, researchers and other industry members. These valuable resources represent the outputs of a huge range of research and development projects funded by Hort Innovation with levy investment, and have a wealth of information that can be used on-farm.

To watch the video and learn how to take advantage of this great resource, please click here.

Other industry news

Survey: Share your thoughts on the Weekly Update re-design

It’s been a little while since we launched the re-designed AUSVEG Weekly Update, and we want get your thoughts on the new layout, some of the features we’ve added, and the sort of stories you like to see!

We want to make sure that this newsletter gives you the news and information that you want to see, so we put together a feedback form so you can let us know what you think. Click here to take the quick survey.

Industry update: BASF signs up to support vegetable industry

AUSVEG is excited to announce that BASF has signed up to support Australian vegetable growers through a Strategic Partnership.

BASF creates chemistry for a sustainable future, including crop protection products. It has over 490 employees and 13 production sites across Australia and New Zealand, manufacturing agricultural solutions, performance products and functional materials and solutions. The company has been active in Australia for more than 90 years.

Through this Strategic Partnership, BASF is supporting AUSVEG in its advocacy work, including our efforts in representing the interests of Australian vegetable growers in the media and other areas of the public sphere. For more information on BASF in Australia and New Zealand, please see its website.

Project update: Mission to Berlin Fruit Logistica – Applications open now!

Expressions of interest are now open for the 2018 European Industry Leadership and Development Mission, which will visit Berlin Fruit Logistica, the world’s leading international meeting place for the fresh produce trade, as well as the global headquarters of a world-leading agribusiness!

This mission will run from 4–11 February 2018 and is a strategic levy investment under the Hort Innovation Vegetable Fund, with participation only open to vegetable levy-paying growers.

The subsidised cost of $2,500 covers air and land travel, single room accommodation and most meals on the mission. For more information, see the mission flyer, or to express your interest in attending, please contact


Resource: ACCC factsheet on unfair contract terms in agriculture

For just over a year the Australian Consumer Law has prohibited unfair contract terms in small business standard form contracts. This law seeks to address some of the power imbalances in business-to-business transactions, including in agricultural supply chains.

Over this time, the ACCC has worked with large businesses in many agricultural industries to ensure their contracts do not contain unfair terms. A number have modified their contracts to remove unfair terms, benefitting farmers and other small businesses across the sector. The ACCC is urging large businesses to review their standard form agreements with small businesses and to take appropriate action to remove any unfair contract terms.

All businesses should be aware of common types of terms which may be unfair, including:

  • automatic renewal binding the small business to subsequent contracts unless they cancel within a certain timeframe;
  • allowing a business to unilaterally increase its prices or alter the terms and conditions of the contract;
  • broadly limiting a business’s liability towards a small business;
  • requiring a small business to indemnify the other business in an unreasonably broad range of circumstances; and
  • allowing businesses to cancel or terminate an agreement without cause.

For more information about protection for small businesses from unfair contract terms, you can read the ACCC’s factsheet and or go to its website.

Survey: 2017 AUSVEG biosecurity feedback survey

The 2017 AUSVEG Biosecurity Feedback Survey forms an integral part of the Vegetable and Potato Biosecurity Program, which is co-managed by Plant Health Australia and AUSVEG.

This survey seeks to measure improvements in farm biosecurity practices among vegetable and potato growers, who play a key role in protecting Australian plant industries from pests and diseases by implementing sound biosecurity measures on the farm.

The survey is also a useful tool in measuring the level of biosecurity awareness across the country as well as providing a benchmark for industry performance over time.

AUSVEG is calling on Australian vegetable and potato growers to complete this short survey. Please click here to access the survey.

Industry update: Lindenow grower Andrew Bulmer wins Syngenta Growth Award

AUSVEG congratulates Lindenow grower Andrew Bulmer on his success in the Syngenta Growth Awards, becoming one of eight growers and advisers from Australia and New Zealand to win top honours at the 2017 Growth Awards on 30 November. Andrew’s win in the Community and People category recognises his great leadership qualities and his work to build a positive image for Australian agriculture within the wider community.

Andrew heads up a massive salad leaf, baby spinach, lettuce and baby broccoli farm in East Gippsland, Victoria. One of the biggest challenges is labour – both sourcing workers and ensuring they are paid fairly and trained to carry out the job competently and safely. Bulmer Farms actively promotes career pathways within horticulture, employing many local people within the business as well as a employing a team of 70 people from Timor-Leste.

Andrew also has his eyes on the future and has committed to an apprenticeship program. He is one of the few production horticulture businesses that has made this commitment and now has three apprentices in production horticulture, one in warehousing and has plans for a diesel mechanic apprentice next year.

For more information on Andrew, see his profile on the Syngenta website. For more information on the Syngenta Growth Awards, please click here.

Case study: Reducing tillage in vegetable crops

Reduced tillage can produce similar or better yields than more aggressive conventional tillage, and opens the door to improving soil health.

This case study produced by the Soil Wealth team as part of a strategic levy investment under the Hort Innovation Vegetable Fund outlines the pros and cons of reducing the intensity of cultivation in vegetable production systems.

It is based on lessons learnt from three demonstration sites conducted as part of the Soil Wealth and Integrated Crop Protection (ICP) projects (2014 – 2016).

To read the full case study, see the Soil Wealth website.

Resource: Comparison of labour sources in Australian and NZ horticulture

The Devpolicy Blog run by the Development Policy Centre at The Australian National University has published a summary of the Centre’s latest analysis of labour sources in Australian and New Zealand horticulture. The blog post, based on a discussion paper by researchers from the Centre, investigates the different employment of backpackers and seasonal workers in the countries’ horticulture industries.

In New Zealand, for every 1,000 backpackers picking fruit and vegetables there are about 2,600 seasonal workers, mainly from the Pacific. In Australia, however, for every 1,000 backpackers there are only about 130 Pacific seasonal workers. The researchers suggest five factors which explain the higher popularity of seasonal workers in New Zealand, including the design and history of New Zealand’s seasonal worker program, different market factors, and Australia’s overall higher number of backpackers coming to the country.

To read the blog, please click here. To access the discussion paper online, please click here.

Webinar: Fusarium wilt management in vegetables

Learn about the latest techniques in managing the soilborne disease fusarium wilt in vegetable crops, including solanaceous vegetables, legumes, cucurbits and sweetpotatoes. Interact with leading vegetable pathologist Dr Len Tesoriero to understand the latest ways of managing this disease to keep your plants in production for longer and to improve yield and pack-out rates.

Date: Thursday 7 December 2017
Time: 12:30pm–1:30pm (AEDT)

For more information on this webinar, please click here. To register for the webinar, please click here. This session is being facilitated through the Soil Wealth and Integrated Crop Protection projects (delivered by RMCG and AHR), which are strategic levy investments under the Hort Innovation Vegetable Fund.

AUSVEG service provision: QA trainer function

Need staff training for adherence with a quality assurance scheme? Contact AUSVEG and we can facilitate.

If you have training requirements in quality assurance, food safety, environmental assurance or another area, get in touch with us and express your interest through the AUSVEG Quality Assurance Training page.

The AUSVEG Food Safety and Quality Assurance resources page contains industry resources and information on compliance requirements and details the role AUSVEG plays in a number of important food safety and quality assurance areas.

An example of AUSVEG’s commitment to strengthening collaboration on the critical issue of food safety in the fresh produce industry is its support of the Fresh Produce Safety Centre, an industry-led, not-for-profit company established to enhance fresh produce food safety across Australia and New Zealand through research, outreach and education.

For more information, please e-mail

Project update: Gippsland Women in Horticulture Advance recap

The first-ever conference for Gippsland Women in Horticulture was held on Thursday 23 November at Ellinbank, where around 40 women from all facets of the horticulture industry gathered to discuss three dimensions of horticultural production: water, waste and wellness.

Opening with the ‘cracking of the capsicum’, the morning session was devoted to individual speakers addressing the whole conference on issues of leadership, wellness and collaboration. Presenters included:

  • AUSVEG National Manager – Science and Extension Dr Jessica Lye speaking about current challenges for Australian plant biosecurity;
  • Jill Briggs from Rural Training Initiatives speaking about leadership and what makes a great leader;
  • Nicole Griffin from Gippsland Water providing the keynote address on ‘Waste, Water, Wellness’;
  • East Gippsland Food Cluster Executive Officer Dr Nicola Watts speaking about the importance of collaboration; and
  • ReActivate Latrobe Valley Co-Director Emma Lewis speaking about ‘Get Stuffed’, an initiative which uses the region’s food network to strengthen the economy, create jobs and improve community health.

Following a lunch with fresh, local produce, the afternoon session saw the women break off into groups to talk about key areas of interest including irrigation, organics, biosecurity, mental health, industry leadership, innovation and the new generation of horticulture. The results from these discussions were then presented in three minutes to the whole group, with plenty of takeaway messages and a wealth of knowledge generated for the entire room.

A full recap of the event, which was delivered by VegNET East Gippsland as part of a strategic levy investment under the Hort Innovation Vegetable Fund, will be available in the upcoming January/February 2018 edition of Vegetables Australia magazine. To read the November/December 2017 edition of Vegetables Australia, or any other AUSVEG publication, please see the AUSVEG website. To subscribe to receiving hard copies of Vegetables Australia, please contact AUSVEG at with your preferred mailing address.

Project update: 2018 Growing Leaders program applications now open

Applications are now open for the 2018 Growing Leaders program!

Funded by Hort Innovation through a strategic levy investment under the Hort Innovation Vegetable Fund, Growing Leaders is the only national leadership and development program tailored for the vegetable industry. Participants will be involved in a nationally strategic project, and outcomes for participants focus on personal, business and industry change and management.

Applications for the 2018 program are open until 15 January 2018. For more information, or to apply for the 2018 Growing Leaders program, please visit the Rural Training Initiatives website.


Resource: TPP update from vegetablesWA

vegetablesWA has published an update with a range of useful information about the tomato potato psyllid (TPP) incursion in Western Australia, including the current Quarantine Area, alternative approved treatments, and chemical control options (including a full list of APVMA permits for treatment of TPP).

To read the update, please see the vegetablesWA website.

Grant opportunity: Potato Industry Assistance Grants applications now open (WA)

Applications are now open for the Potato Industry Assistance Grants program to support growth opportunities for the Western Australian potato industry.

The grants are part of a broader Horticulture Recovery Research Fund established to help Western Australian vegetable growers find new opportunities in international and domestic markets and food processing.

Applications are now open for the $500,000 grants program and will close at 12 noon (WST) on Wednesday 31 January 2018. Individual grants of between $50,000 and $200,000 are available.

For more information on the PIAG program, please see the website of the Western Australian Department of Primary Industries and Regional Development.

Resource: Export seminar follow-up Q&A now available

Following the successful Australian Vegetable Export Seminar 2017 which was held in conjunction with Hort Connections 2017, AUSVEG provided the opportunity for growers who attended the seminar to ask any export related follow-up questions. The AUSVEG Export Development team has compiled the questions and prepared answers in a document which can be a useful export resource for growers. To view the final Q&A please click here.

Grant application: Smart Farms Small Grants first round closing soon!

The Australian Government has allocated $134 million to support the development and uptake of best practice, tools and technologies that help farmers, fishers, foresters and regional communities improve the protection, resilience and productive capacity of our soils, water and vegetation, in turn supporting successful primary industries and regional communities.

The Smart Farms Program will run over six years from 2017–18. One of the three core elements of the program is the Smart Farms Small Grants program, a $50 million grants program to support the adoption of on‑ground innovative practices that improve the management and quality of our natural resources and increase on-farm productivity. Individual grants will range between $5,000 and $100,000.

Applications for the first round of Smart Farms Small Grants close on 7 December 2017. For more information on the program, please see the GrantConnect website.

Weekly round-up

Minor Use permits

Permit ID Description Dates in operation Permit holder States
PER14045 V3 Actives: Mancozeb + metalaxyl-M
Crops: Beetroot, brassica leafy vegetables, broccoli, Brussels sprouts, cauliflower, chicory, endive, radicchio, rocket, carrot, and parsnip
Pests: Various fungal diseases
Hort Innovation All states except VIC
PER83592 Active: Pyrethrin
Crops: Organic flowerhead brassica, including broccoli and cauliflower
Pests: Diamondback moth
Note: Only growers of organic flowerhead brassica can use the product under this new permit.
Hort Innovation All states

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.

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