Workshop: From Precision Agriculture to Decision Agriculture

Are you interested in “Big Data” and how this will impact the vegetable industry? Do you have an interest in precision agriculture? If so, you are invited to attend a Precision to Decision producer workshop in Gatton, Queensland. There is no cost to attend the workshop.

This workshop aims to understand how data, including data analytics and various data systems, is currently used and its potential to be used in future business decisions impacting on agricultural productivity and profitability. The workshop also aims to identify future needs and opportunities for industry, including any opportunity for cross-industry collaboration in supporting big data systems for Australian agriculture. The workshop will provide strategic direction for investment in big data systems and analytics.

Date/time: 9:00am – 2:00pm, Monday 5 December 2016
Location: Lockyer Valley Cultural Centre, 4 Lake Apex Drive, Gatton QLD

For more information, including details on the workshop’s agenda and objectives, please click here. The organisers welcome vegetable industry members to attend this workshop.

The workshop organisers request that participants register interest in attending by 28 November 2016. To register, please click here. Completed registration forms can be returned to or faxed to 02 6282 1219.

For further information, please contact Dr Anthony Kachenko at Hort Innovation on 0429 221 443 or at

This workshop is funded under the project Accelerating Precision Agriculture to Decision Agriculture through the Rural R&D for Profit program, the National Vegetable Levy and matched funding from the Federal Government.


2017 Hort Connections website is now live!

The official website for the 2017 Hort Connections event is now live!

The website includes information for exhibitors at the Trade Show, an introductory program for Hort Connections delegates and an overview of this exciting event. Updates will be made to the website as the event takes shape, so be sure to check in regularly to keep up-to-date with the latest developments.

To access the website, please click here.


2016 Practicalities for Exporting Vegetables Symposium – follow-up questions

Following the successful 2016 Practicalities for Exporting Vegetables Symposium which was held in conjunction with the 2016 National Horticulture Convention, AUSVEG is providing an opportunity for all delegates that attended the event to ask export-related follow-up questions to speakers that presented on the day. Please click here for information on how to submit a question.

The 2016 Practicalities for Exporting Vegetables Symposium was funded by Horticulture Innovation Australia using the National Vegetable Levy and funds from the Australian Government.


Memoranda of Understanding signed between Australian and Dutch horticultural organisations

Some of Australasia’s leading horticultural organisations signed historic Memoranda of Understanding (MoU) with leading Dutch research institutions and agribusinesses in Sydney on Thursday 3 November, in an effort to increase collaboration among some of the world’s leading horticultural producers.
L-R: AUSVEG National Marketing Manager Nathan McIntyre, Dutch Minister of Economic Affairs Mr Henk Kamp, Rijk Zwaan Export Director Jan Omvlee, Their Majesties King Willem-Alexander and Queen Máxima of the Netherlands, Rijk Zwaan Australia Managing Director Steven Roberts, and AUSVEG Chair Geoff Moar.
The ceremony was attended by Their Majesties King Willem-Alexander and Queen Máxima of the Netherlands at Cockatoo Island, off the coast of Sydney. Horticulture Innovation Australia joined the University of Tasmania and Lincoln University in the signing of an MoU with world-leading agricultural institution, the Wageningen University of the Netherlands, to mark the new partnership developed through the creation of the Masterclass in Horticultural Business.

The Masterclass in Horticultural Business is the first project of its kind in Australia. It combines the expertise of what is currently ranked the number one university in agriculture and forestry in the world, the Wageningen Academy of the Wageningen University in the Netherlands, with New Zealand’s specialist land-based Lincoln University, as well as the leading Australian horticulture university, the University of Tasmania.

On the day, AUSVEG also entered a Strategic Partnership with Rijk Zwaan. For more information on that partnership, please see below.

The Masterclass in Horticultural Business project is being delivered with co-investment from Horticulture Innovation Australia.


AUSVEG and Rijk Zwaan establish historic partnership

AUSVEG and prominent Dutch seed company Rijk Zwaan have established a Strategic Partnership, which will see the Australian vegetable industry working more closely with this major international vegetable seed production organisation.

Rijk Zwaan is one of the world’s leading developers of vegetable varieties, with its head office located in the Netherlands. Its seeds are sold in more than 100 different countries through its 30 locally operating sales subsidiaries and many distributors.

This agreement formalises a strong relationship between the two companies and their respective industries, and AUSVEG looks forward to ensuring this partnership delivers ongoing benefits to the Australian vegetable industry.

For more information on Rijk Zwaan, please click here to visit its website.


Nitrous oxide emissions from vegetable soils: What’s all the fuss about?

Nitrogen is a key input into vegetable production. Applying high levels of nitrogen, either as fertiliser, compost or amendments is necessary to achieve high yields, but it can also result in nitrous oxide gas being released into the atmosphere.

Nitrous oxide is a powerful greenhouse gas and is responsible for the majority of emissions from the Australian vegetable industry after carbon dioxide, which is associated with electricity production for cooling and pumping. Soil temperature has a major impact on the activity of soil bacteria, which produce nitrous oxide emissions – so this issue is more prevalent in summer months.

This fact sheet provides useful information on the loss of plant available nitrogen, reducing nitrous oxide emissions, nitrogen management (“the 4 ‘R’s”) and keeping informed through soil testing. Click here to download the fact sheet.

To find out more about the Soil Wealth project, or managing your soil, visit the website, or follow one of the demonstration sites in your region online. You can also follow the projects on Twitter @SoilWealth and @ProtectingCrops.

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


AgFutures – new speakers confirmed

The AgFutures – Innovation and Investment Conference, hosted by the Queensland Department of Agriculture and Fisheries, will be held in Brisbane from 22-23 November 2016.

With an outstanding line-up of national and international speakers, this conference will showcase two critically-important areas driving industry development and expansion – agri-tech opportunities and global investment within the sector.

AgFutures 2016 has recently announced the addition of several new speakers to the conference program, including:

  • Alexandra Gartmann, CEO and Managing Director – Rural Bank
  • Dr Hugh Bradlow, Chief Scientist – Telstra Corporation
  • Sam Tretheway, General Manager – Sprout X
  • Kim Morison – Blue Sky Water Partners

For more details on AgFutures 2016, including the conference program and information on how to book tickets, please click here.


Consultation for Vegetable Strategic Investment Plan

As part of the process for producing a new Strategic Investment Plan (SIP) for the vegetable industry, Hort Innovation has engaged specialist consulting firm Consulting & Implementation Services (CIS). During this process they will meet with growers and industry to ensure the SIP accurately reflects how to best spend the R&D levy to maximise the industry’s funding priorities for the next five years.

The locations for the Western Australia consultations have now been confirmed. Please note that the time and location of the workshop to be held on Wednesday 16 November 2016 have been changed to align with the Soil Wealth workshop being held on the same day. Workshops will be held in these areas:

Western Australia:
Carnarvon Motel
34 David Brand Drive, Carnarvon WA 6701
3:00pm – 5:00pm, Friday 11 November

Wanneroo Villa Tavern
18 Dundebar Road, Wanneroo WA 6065
4:00pm – 6:00pm, Monday 14 November

Manijmup Horticultural Research Institute
28527 South West Highway, Manjimup WA 6258
4:00pm – 6:00pm, Tuesday 15 November

C-Wise Facility Meeting Room
139 Nambeelup Road, Nambeelup WA 6207
11:00am – 12:30pm, Wednesday 16 November

RSVPs can be sent to

Growers are encouraged to attend their local workshop so that they can have their say on where levy funding should be spent. These workshops provide one of the best opportunities available over the next five years to guide levy investment for the vegetable industry, and any grower interested in how their levy is spent is strongly encouraged to attend. The workshops will also provide a great opportunity to catch up with colleagues and hear about developments in the vegetable industry.

This consultation is funded by Horticulture Innovation Australia using the National Vegetable Levy and funds from the Australian Government.

The challenge to control blackleg in potatoes – an international perspective

Blackleg is a common bacterial disease in potatoes, and has been detected across all sectors in the United Kingdom (UK). Symptoms include seed or seed piece rotting before emergence (known as “blanking”), wilting and senescence of stems and plants and the classic black slimy stem rot arising from the rotting mother tuber.

The disease can be caused by a range of bacteria, including Pectobacterium atrosepticum, Pectobacterium wasabiae, Pectobacterium brasiliensis, Pectobacterium carotovorum, Dickeya solani and Dickeya dianthicola. In particular, Dickeya spp. has become a problem in the United States in the past year.

A project undertaken by the Scottish Government and the UK’s Agriculture and Horticulture Development Board has provided further insight into the disease. The findings show that there is limited likelihood of contamination of mini-tubers by blackleg bacteria initiating from P. atrosepticum and the discovery that contamination of pectolytic bacteria could not be detected until it reached a certain level.

A full profile on blackleg in potatoes in the United Kingdom can be found in the latest edition of Potatoes Australia magazine. To read this edition, please click here. To read all editions of Potatoes Australia, please click here.

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


Potato Strategic Investment Plan – survey online for industry comment

As part of the process for producing a new Strategic Investment Plan (SIP) for the potato industry, Hort Innovation has engaged specialist strategic planning consultancy McKINNA et al to meet with growers and industry to accurately reflect the industry’s funding priorities for R&D in the next five years.

A survey has been developed to let growers have their say on priority areas for levy investment in the potato industry. To take this survey online, please click here.

Interested parties can also click here to download a copy of the survey, or email to have their voices heard.

This consultation is funded by Horticulture Innovation Australia using the National Potato Levy and funds from the Australian Government.


New Nielsen consumer research and presentation dates

As part of Hort Innovation’s research project VG15019 Baseline Demographic Research for the Vegetable Industry, also known as Nielsen Homescan data, a series of presentations has been organised with the assistance of the National Vegetable Extension Network.

These presentations will briefly explain the project, its data and the resulting analysis to those unfamiliar with the data, with case studies of how the analysis could be applied to a growing operation, focusing on the commodities grown in the regions in which the presentations are being held. There will also be a brief opportunity for any interested growers to speak with the Nielsen data team one-on-one.

Location Time/date Commodities
John Cranwell’s farm
105 Murray Road, Nairne SA 5252
10:00am – 12:00 noon
Friday 18 November
Focus on broccoli/broccolini, cauliflower and value-added items.
South Australian Produce Market Boardroom
Burma Road, Pooraka SA 5095
3:00pm – 4:30pm
Friday 18 November
Focus on capsicums, cucumbers and leaf salads.

Industry members interested in attending these workshops can RSVP to

Nielsen Homescan data for the vegetable industry is funded by Horticulture Innovation Australia using the National Vegetable Levy and funds from the Australian Government.


TIA Forthside Vegetable Research Facility open day

The Tasmanian Institute of Agriculture (TIA) is holding its annual open day at its Forthside Vegetable Research Facility for interested industry members.

Visitors to the open day have the opportunity to find out about current TIA research projects, including Sensor-Smart Irrigation, the Vegetable Productivity Partnership and research into Precision Agriculture. Attendees will hear from Tasmanian vegetable industry experts about a range of topics, such as precision agriculture, the use of unmanned aircraft systems, export opportunities and sustainable business models.

The open day will also include a field walk to inspect trial plots as part of the Precision Peas project, which aims to increase the productivity and profitability of processing peas in Tasmania.

Date: Wednesday 9 November 2016
Time: 10:00am – 3:30pm
Location: 125 Forthside Road, Forthside TAS 7310

To view the program for the open day, including the full list of speakers, please click here. Industry members interested in attending are requested to RSVP by 7 November to Leonie White on 0407 865 640 or at


Soil health workshop – Western Australia

Do you want to achieve a better understanding of soil-borne disease management by benefiting from lessons learned by the Soil Wealth team? Do you want to find out more about soil-health management in leafy vegetables, carrots and brassicas? Do you want to learn about the common factors and management approaches for all vegetable crops?

The Soil Wealth team and C-Wise are inviting interested growers and industry members to attend a soil health workshop, including a site visit to the C-Wise facility in Nambeelup for a site visit, a Soil Wealth Seminar on soil-borne disease management, and a visit to Baldivis Farms to see soil health management in action.

Attendees will also be able to meet and speak with Dr Doris Blaesing (RMCG) and Dr Gordon Rogers (AHR) from the Soil Wealth and ICP team.

Date: Wednesday 16 November
Time: 1:00pm – 6:00pm
Location: C-Wise facility in Nambeelup, followed by a visit to Baldivis Farms

Please note that there will be a consultation workshop for the vegetable industry Strategic Investment Plan held at the facility prior to this workshop. The consultation will run from 11.00am to 12.30pm, with lunch provided for any growers interested in attending both events.

Dinner and drinks will be provided for attendees of the Soil Wealth workshop. For more information, or to register for this event, please click here.

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.

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


Hort Innovation Annual General Meeting – Nomination of proxies

The second Annual General Meeting (AGM) of Members of Horticulture Innovation Australia (Hort Innovation) will be held on 25 November 2016 in Sydney, New South Wales.

Voting Members of Hort Innovation who are unable to attend the AGM may appoint a proxy to attend and vote on their behalf at the meeting. The Notice of AGM and Proxy Form have been distributed by Hort Innovation to Voting Members this week by post and email.

An industry representative body (such as AUSVEG) may be appointed as a proxy if the Voting Member directs the body how to vote on each resolution at the AGM.

Any growers who are unable to attend the AGM may appoint AUSVEG as their proxy to ensure their votes are counted. If appointed as a proxy for any Voting Member, AUSVEG must vote on each resolution as the member directs.

For more information on the upcoming AGM, including the resolutions to be considered at the AGM, please click here.


Masterclass to give insights into value-adding for fresh produce and food safety

A masterclass will be hosted in Hobart on Wednesday 30 November 2016 by two food safety research centres – the Tasmanian Institute of Agriculture Food Safety Centre, and the Fresh Produce Safety Centre Australia & New Zealand.

This masterclass will give food safety professionals, product technologists and food product entrepreneurs insights into tools which can be used to add value to fresh products and take their products into new categories.

Date/time: 9:00am – 1:00pm, Wednesday 30 November 2016
Location: Tasmanian Institute of Agriculture – Hobart campus

For more information on the event, please click here.


Webinar: Rediscovering cover crops

Cover crops are being rediscovered by vegetable growers as practical ways of improving soil productivity and health. While cover cropping is a simple concept, it can be complex to implement in today’s intensive production systems. In this webinar, Dr Kelvin Montagu from the Soil Wealth and ICP team talks about the use of cover crops in vegetable production and the practical issues which need to be considered.

The webinar will cover:

  • What is your objective for the cover crop?
  • What cover crop to use.
  • How to integrate cover crops into vegetable production.

Date: Thursday 10 November 2016
Time: 12:30pm – 1:30pm (AEDT)

Click here to register for this webinar. For more information on this event, please click here.

In a follow-up webinar on Thursday 1 December 2016, Julie Finnigan, technical Agronomist with Serve-Ag in Tasmania, will look at the use of biofumigation cover crops in vegetable production.

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


AUSVEG in the media

AUSVEG National Manager – Communications Shaun Lindhe continued to appear on radio this week discussing supply issues with potatoes following recent adverse growing weather conditions in some parts of the country. Mr Lindhe noted that recent warm weather has seen the planting of a new batch of potatoes and that consumers should begin to see more potatoes on supermarket shelves in the coming months.

AUSVEG spokesperson Jarrod Strauch appeared in print and on radio commenting on the findings from the latest levy-funded Project Harvest research, which showed that consumers are increasingly interested in pre-prepared fresh vegetable products. Mr Strauch noted that while some consumers are concerned about the visual appeal of their produce, all Australian produce is high-quality, regardless of how it looks.

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.