Vegetable feature story

Workshop: Agrichemical pest management needs and priorities (Werribee South, VIC)

AUSVEG Agrichemical Pest Management Needs and Priorities Project Coordinator Patrick Arratia is working with growers and stakeholders in the Australian vegetable industry to establish a prioritisation process for agrichemical access. As part of this work, Patrick is visiting growers to discuss issues in disease, pest and weed management for vegetable crops grown in Australia.

The prioritisation process will help develop an understanding of the Australian vegetable industry’s chemical needs, which will result in a greater ability to drive more crops onto on-label use rather than minor use permits.

The first workshop for this strategic levy investment project, which is part of the Hort Innovation Vegetable Fund, will take place in the Werribee and Geelong region:

Time/date: 2:00pm, Wednesday 20 September 2017
Location: Wyndham Cache, 243 K Road, Werribee South VIC

More details will be available soon, so look out for updates!

If you would like to attend to this workshop, or if you have pest and disease issues you would like to report, please contact Patrick on 03 9882 0277 or at


Potato feature story

Taking the heat out of potato crops in Scotland

Increased temperature has been identified as a prime factor affecting the growth and yield of a potato crop. To strengthen a crop’s vulnerability to heat stress, scientists at the James Hutton Institute in Scotland have developed a technique to identify a particular version of a gene that is present in heat-tolerant potatoes.

The research team was able to identify the gene codes for a ‘heat shock protein’ – or a group of proteins that are switched on at higher temperatures to protect the cellular machinery of a plant from heat damage. The ‘good’ version of the gene is switched on more quickly and to a much higher level than other versions of the gene, meaning that it strengthens the plant’s ability to manage heat.

So far, the team has used the gene version in a test crop and in wild potato species from germplasm found within the Commonwealth Potato Collection.

A full profile on the team’s research, including an interview with project leader Dr Mark Taylor, is available in the latest edition of Potatoes Australia magazine. This edition and all previous editions of Potatoes Australia are available on the AUSVEG website.

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


Workshop: Farm biosecurity planning (Clyde, VIC)

As part of the VegNET program being delivered in the northern, western and south-eastern regions of Victoria, RMCG is hosting a workshop on Farm Biosecurity Planning – The what, the why and the how. Taking a ground-up approach to assessing on-farm biosecurity management planning, this hands-on workshop will provide participants with the latest industry updates in biosecurity management, as well as supporting the development of an on-farm biosecurity management plan.

Topics and speakers will include:

  • US Plant Biosecurity Study Tour shared lessons – Dr Jessica Lye (AUSVEG)
  • LAMP Soil Analysis – undertaking leaf or soil pathogen diagnostic using portable PCR – Dr Brendan Rodoni (Agriculture Victoria)
  • Developing an on-farm biosecurity management plan – Dr Jessica Lye (AUSVEG)

Time/date: 12:30pm – 4:30pm, Thursday 7 September 2017
Location: Schreurs & Sons, 150 Twyford Road, Clyde VIC

For more information on this workshop, which is part of a strategic levy investment under the Hort Innovation Vegetable Fund, please click here to read the event flyer. To RSVP to the event, please contact Clinton Muller (RMCG) on 0498 192 596 or at


Workshops: Workplace Essentials – WHS and people management (QLD)

The Queensland Agriculture Workforce Network (QAWN) is holding Workplace Essentials seminars for farm businesses. These valuable workshops, being held in 17 locations around Queensland, will cover workplace health and safety (WHS) essentials and people management skills.

Attendees will benefit from a short course that will enable them and their frontline staff to have a much clearer understanding of the latest WHS and industrial relations regulations, job safety assessments, incident reporting, supervisor responsibilities, performance management, and how to manage bullying and conflict constructively.

Producers from all agriculture sectors are invited to attend. For a full list of dates and locations, please see the event flyer. To find out more about the topics covered by the seminars and to register to attend, visit the QAWN website. (Please note that for catering purposes, reservations are essential.)

Economic update: Nutrition by colour

Driven by a growing interest in proactive health and wellness solutions, consumers are associating the colour of their food with different nutritional properties.

Understanding and communicating what colours mean is key to capitalising on this trend. The pigments that give vegetables their colour are being lauded for their unique health benefits. Colour and nutrition combinations include:

  • Red is created by antioxidants such as lycopene, anthocyanins and ellagic acid. These have neurological benefits and lowes blood pressure.
  • Orange is created by carotenoids such as beta-carotene. This supports eye health and vision.
  • Yellow contains beta-cryptoxanthin, an antioxidant known to reduce inflammation.
  • Green vegetables contain a range of phytochemicals that support the immune system, and are high in fibre and folate.
  • Brown and white vegetables are lauded for their anti-viral and anti-bacterial properties, as well as for speeding up metabolism.
  • Purple pigmentation indicates anthocyanin, which is recognised as a digestion aid and as an aid in preventing cell damage.

Food service trends are currently dominated by purple fruit and vegetables, leveraging growing consumer interest in colour and functional foods. Food service has picked up on this trend because the vibrant colour of this produce makes it attractive to consumers, and eye-catching meals can be created through striking contrasts or artistic designs. Food service is typically a precursor to retail demand, as consumers seek to replicate at home what they try dining out.

These trends amplify the benefits of vegetables’ natural attributes. The drive for new content has created another benefit associated with vegetables, which will encourage people to increase their vegetable consumption. This new recognition for vegetables based on colour and nutrition aligns with other current consumer trends, as it provides a simple way for consumers to identify gaps and customise their diet to suit their health considerations.

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


Flow Power continue support for the Australian vegetable industry

AUSVEG is proud to announce that Flow Power will continue to support the Australian vegetable industry into 2018 through its Strategic Partnership with AUSVEG.

Flow Power is a 100 per cent Australian-owned business, created in 2008 by an energy management specialist who saw an opportunity to help businesses manage their load and reduce their power bills.

Flow Power was a partner at Hort Connections 2017, supporting the post-event hospitality for the Global Innovations in Horticulture Seminar, and its Strategic Partnership reflects its valued support for our industry.

For more information on Flow Power, please visit its website.

Grant opportunity: 2018 Science and Innovation Awards

Grant applications are now open for the 2018 Science and Innovation Awards for Young People in Agriculture, Fisheries and Forestry. Grants of up to $22,000 are available to fund projects by researchers aged 18-35 covering an innovative or emerging scientific issue that will benefit Australia’s primary industries.

There are 11 industry categories open for applications: cotton; dairy; established, new and emerging rural industries; fisheries and aquaculture; grains; health and biosecurity; meat and livestock; pork; red meat processing; viticulture and oenology; and wool. Each category includes a $22,000 grant and is supported by Australian research and development corporations and industry organisations.

Winners of the industry category Science Awards are then invited to apply for the Minister for Agriculture and Water Resources’ Award, which provides additional funding for an extended research project.

Applications close at 5:00pm on Friday 13 October 2017. For more information on the awards, including how to apply, please see the Department of Agriculture and Water Resources’ website.

Nuffield Australia National Conference 2017 (Darwin, NT)

In 2017, the Nuffield Australia National Conference will be held in the Northern Territory for the first time, providing in-depth insights into agriculture and production in Northern Australia.

Key speakers at the conference will include Gina Rinehart (Hancock Prospecting), Kylie Gracey (Northern Territory Cattlemen’s Association) and Major Wade Cooper (Royal Australian Artillery). The conference will also offer a huge range of other presentations and events, including presentations from 2016 Nuffield Scholars covering the latest global agricultural research, the announcement of the 2018 Nuffield Scholars (including a scholarship for the vegetable industry funded by Hort Innovation), and a variety of networking functions.

A draft program is available here. For more information on the conference, or to register to attend, please visit the event website.

SPONSORED: Keeping your working environment and your employees safe – know your WHS risk

The cost of failing to comply with Work Health and Safety (WHS) regulation can put everything you’ve worked hard for in serious jeopardy. Statistics show that workers in agriculture are more susceptible to a work-related fatality than any other industry in Australia. Don’t leave it too late – take action NOW.

Business owners must provide a working environment that is safe and without risk to health, but implementing and maintaining a safe system of work may seem overwhelming. Safe Ag Systems can help you take the first steps forward with technology solutions designed by farmers for farmers.

Learn more about how Safe Ag Systems helps you to better manage WHS compliance and reduce the risks of worker injury and fatality by watching this short video. For more information, contact Safe Ag Systems on 08 8490 0939 or visit the Safe Ag Systems website.

Information sessions: Seasonal Work Incentives Trial (QLD, VIC, NSW, SA, TAS and WA)

Growers are invited to attend a series of information sessions regarding on the Australian Government’s Seasonal Work Incentives Trial, which commenced on 1 July 2017.

The Trial offers financial incentives to encourage unemployed people to take up short-term seasonal work opportunities in the horticultural industry to help address the seasonal labour demands of horticultural growers.

The Department of Employment previously provided information sessions about the Trial between May to July 2017. The same information sessions are now being delivered between September to October 2017 in a range of new locations:

  • Queensland: Townsville, Ingham, Ayr, Bowen
  • Victoria: Yarra Valley, Swan Hill, Cobram
  • New South Wales: Coffs Harbour, Batlow, Griffith
  • South Australia: Mt Gambier, Naracoorte, Murray Bridge
  • Tasmania: Richmond, Huonville, Burnie, Elizabeth Town
  • Western Australia: TBC

For a full schedule of workshop locations, dates and times, please click here. For more information on the Seasonal Work Incentives Trial, please see this fact sheet, or visit the Department of Employment’s website.

Growers who are interested in attending a workshop can register their interest by email at

2016 Syngenta Growth Awards profile – Allan Fong

Allan Fong is a first generation New Zealand-born Chinese grower, cropping 500 acres of mixed vegetables out of Pukekohe, New Zealand. Allan owns and operates The Fresh Grower, which is a highly diverse operation incorporating both supermarket supply and end-to-end retail in both New Zealand and Hong Kong. Born to Chinese immigrant parents, Allan credits hard work for his achievements, which have included owning and operating several businesses – ranging from a large growing operation, supplying 12 million head of iceberg lettuce per year to the NZ fast food industry, through to a bagged salad processing business.

The Fresh Grower began as a fledgling business eight years ago, supplying baby broccoli and cos lettuce to the food service industry. It is now a nationwide high-end vegetable business growing 20 different niche lines.

Allan has achieved this through foresight, hard work and a constant focus on business productivity. Customer marketing, improvements in product packaging, brand quality, and a constant push for greater shelf life and a better customer experience with his product has earned Allan a well-known brand and reputation within the New Zealand restaurant and supermarket industry.

Allan’s hard work and dedication to productivity was celebrated last year as he won a coveted 2016 Syngenta Growth Award. For more information on Allan and his story, please see the Syngenta website.

Workshops: Safe Work October 2017 (WA)

WorkSafe, the Western Australian Government agency responsible for occupational health and safety (OHS), is presenting a series of workshops which are designed to benefit business owners, employers, managers, supervisors, safety and health representatives and OHS managers.

Attendees will hear and learn from presenters with a wealth of OHS industry experience and expertise, as well as gaining tools, techniques and strategies to take back to their workplace.

These workshops, being held as part of Safe Work October 2017, will cover key aspects of on-farm safety, including fatigue management, managing human reliability in the workplace, and the impact of psychosocial hazards on workplace safety.

For more information on these workshops, please click here.

Minor use permits

Permit ID Description Dates in operation Permit holder States
PER13695 V2 Active: Potassium bicarbonate
Crops: Parsnip, radish, swede, turnip, snow and sugar snap peas, silverbeet, cucumber, peppers, tomatoes, lettuce, herbs, brassica leafy vegetables
Disease: Powdery mildew
Hort Innovation All states except VIC
PER12221 V3 Active: Petroleum oil
Crops: Alliums, brassica vegetables, celery, cucurbits, eggplant, leafy vegetables, lettuce, okra, peppers, snow and sugar snap peas, rocket, parsley
Pests: Specified insect pests
Hort Innovation All states except VIC

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.

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
ST16009 Investigate the use of smart traps in fruit fly surveillance 5pm (Sydney time)
Thursday 14 September 2017
HN17001 Investigating the use of antimicrobial coatings in fresh produce quality and food safety chain 12am (Sydney time) Monday 30 October 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 Environmental Coordinator Andrew Shaw appeared on radio this week urging all direct suppliers to Australia’s major retailers (including growers) to ensure they comply with the new Harmonised Australian Retailer Produce Scheme (HARPS) before 2018. HARPS is an industry-funded initiative to align the food safety requirements of Australia’s major retailers, and is recognised by ALDI, Coles, Costco, Metcash (IGA) and Woolworths. For more information on the rollout of HARPS, please see AUSVEG’s media release, or visit the HARPS website.