In this edition

  • Factsheets: The nature, origins, volume and value of vegetable imports
  • Industry update: Management plan for Dickeya dianthicola
  • Trade mission: World of Perishables Dubai – Last chance to apply!
  • Resource: VegInnovations InfoVeg TV episode now available
  • Factsheet: Making the most of your nitrogen
  • Webinar recording: Pesticides and insect pest control in vegetables
  • Survey: AUSVEG economic confidence survey – September quarter 2017
  • Project update: Vegetable agrichemical pest management needs and priorities
  • Resource: ABARES vegetable farm financial survey results
  • Workshop: Surveillance strategies for wind-dispersed pests and diseases (Attwood, VIC)
  • Workshops: NSW Farmers Horticulture Roadshow (NSW)
  • Resource: New edition of Potatoes Australia now available online
  • Project update: 2017 Young Grower Leadership and Development Mission
  • Event: ABARES Regional Outlook Conference (Tamworth, NSW)
  • SPONSORED: Solargain helping veg growers turn their roof into revenue
  • Industry update: $130 million secured for fire ant eradication contracts in Queensland
  • Resource: FSANZ annual report
  • Survey: Crop insurance for North Queensland growers
  • Hort Innovation project opportunities
  • The week’s top stories
  • AUSVEG in the media

Vegetable feature article

Factsheets: The nature, origins, volume and value of vegetable imports

The strategic levy investment project Understanding the nature, origins, volume and value of vegetable imports (VG12083) is part of the Hort Innovation Vegetable Fund. The project has recently published factsheets with new data and information on five key categories of vegetable imports, along with a full supplementary report.

The factsheets cover beans, capsicum, peas, sweet corn and the ‘other and mixed vegetables’ trade category, and provide insights into price and volume history, countries of origin for imports and the reasons why particular commodities are imported into Australia.

To read these factsheets, please go to the Hort Innovation website.


Potato feature article

Industry update: Management plan for Dickeya dianthicola

The Western Australian Department of Primary Industries and Regional Development (DPIRD) is working with the state’s horticulture industries to manage the Dickeya dianthicola bacteria, following a national decision that it is not technically feasible to eradicate.

Dickeya dianthicola has been found in dahlia tubers in Western Australia and freesia bulbs imported from Victoria. The bacterium has also been detected on dahlia tubers grown on a commercial property in Victoria. Dickeya dianthicola can cause blackleg and soft rot diseases in potatoes, and can affect other horticultural crops including some ornamental varieties, chicory and globe artichoke.

All potato, vegetable and flower growers, as well as production nurseries, need to be vigilant for signs of this pest in their crops. If you think your plants may be affected, call the Exotic Plant Pest Hotline on 1800 084 881.

For more information on management efforts in Western Australia, please see the vegetablesWA website or the DPIRD media release.

Trade mission: World of Perishables Dubai – Last chance to apply!

This week is the last chance for exporting vegetable growers to apply to attend the premier fresh produce tradeshow in the Middle East, World of Perishables Dubai.

Date: 5–7 December 2017
Location: Dubai World Trade Centre

About this trade mission

The UAE and Middle Eastern markets are characterised by high disposable incomes and high import reliance. This provides an opportunity for Australian vegetable growers to build on the success of existing fresh produce trade into the UAE and various Middle Eastern markets.

The anticipated travel dates for successful participants will be 1–8 December 2017 and the program will involve the following opportunities:

  • Exhibit and showcase your products at World of Perishables to fresh produce buyers from the Middle East region
  • Participate in an in-market study tour to Kuwait directly prior to World of Perishables
  • Participate in an in-market supply chain visit in Dubai
  • Access a range of business development opportunities in Dubai

How to apply

AUSVEG has a limited number of funded positions available for levy-paying vegetable growers to exhibit at the 2017 World of Perishables tradeshow. If you are interested in exhibiting and being part of the AUSVEG delegation for this trade event, please contact AUSVEG on 03 9882 0277 to discuss the options available.

To download the application form, please click here. Applications must be submitted to AUSVEG by 5:00pm on Friday 27 October 2017 via email to


Resource: VegInnovations InfoVeg TV episode now available

The latest edition of InfoVeg TV is now available, featuring a look at how growers can develop innovative new products!

This episode focusses on the VegInnovations Day held in August at Monash University in Victoria, and looks into how growers can develop innovative, value-added vegetable and potato products.

The episode features interviews with Susie White of Eat.Drink.Innovate, who discussed why growers should consider developing innovative new products; potato grower Susie Daly from Daly Gourmet Potatoes, who discussed how value-adding has improved her family’s business; and Hazel MacTavish-West, from MacTavish West Pty Ltd, who facilitated the event and discussed how growers can begin developing new products.

To view the episode, or all previous episodes of InfoVeg TV, please click here.


Factsheet: Making the most of your nitrogen

Nitrogen (N) is an essential nutrient for plant growth, development and reproduction, so it’s important to ensure your crops have enough! However, you also want to avoid applying too much nitrogen, as this increases production costs and can result in leaching and run-off.

So how do you make sure you apply the right amount?

Nitrogen fertiliser rates are influenced by the crop to be grown, yield goal, weather and quantity of nitrogen provided by the soil.

A new factsheet produced by the Soil Wealth project, which is a strategic levy investment under the Hort Innovation Vegetable Fund, provides guidelines to assist you in making site-specific decisions about applying nitrogen fertiliser. To view the factsheet, please click here.


Webinar recording: Pesticides and insect pest control in vegetables

Chemicals have different modes of action that can affect both insect pests 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).

A recent webinar facilitated by Integrated Crop Protection featured several key take-home messages about pesticides and insect pest control, including:

  • Know your chemical mode of action (MoA) groups.
  • Get familiar with beneficial insect species relevant to your pests and cash crop.
  • Don’t spray unless you need to, and use monitoring, correct identification and economic thresholds to inform your spraying decisions.

Click here to watch the recording of this interactive session with Dr Siobhan de Little and James Maino from cesar, facilitated by Carl Larsen from RMCG and delivered as part of the Integrated Crop Protection extension project, which is a strategic levy investment under the Hort Innovation Vegetable Fund.


Survey: AUSVEG economic confidence survey – September quarter 2017

AUSVEG conducts a quarterly economic confidence survey to understand and then communicate the impacts of various economic factors on the business operations of vegetable growers. This survey helps AUSVEG identify the current business conditions that vegetable growers face and track grower sentiment of these economic factors over time.

Information from the survey will be collated in aggregate form and used as a guide to inform industry at various forums, including the media, and in regular articles providing commentary on such matters.

This quarter’s survey closes on Friday 10 November 2017. To add your voice before the survey closes, please click here. This short survey will take approximately three minutes to complete.


Project update: Vegetable agrichemical pest management needs and priorities

Patrick Arratia, AUSVEG Project Coordinator – Agrichemical Pest Management Needs and Priorities, has released his first quarterly industry update on the work he’s undertaking as part of the strategic levy investment VG16060 Vegetable agrichemical pest management needs and priorities. This update includes a list of past and future workshops that are being coordinated to engage and consult with industry members about their pest priorities.

The VegNET program being delivered in South Australia by AUSVEG SA has also produced a factsheet profiling the project, which provides a background on why the project has been funded under the Hort Innovation Vegetable Fund and what benefits it will deliver the Australian vegetable industry. To read the factsheet, please click here.

For more information on Patrick’s project, or to discuss your agrichemical pest management needs and priorities, contact him at or by phone at 03 9882 0277. For more information on the VegNET project being delivered in South Australia, please see this video produced by AHR, which is overseeing the national delivery of the VegNET project.


Resource: ABARES vegetable farm financial survey results

The Australian Bureau of Agricultural and Resource Economics and Sciences (ABARES) has released the first chapter of findings from its survey of Australian vegetable-growing farms and their financial characteristics, which is funded through a strategic levy investment under the Hort Innovation Vegetable Fund.

This chapter is available on the ABARES website and provides an overview of the Australian vegetable industry in 2015-16, including key physical characteristics of vegetable-growing farms (like area planted to vegetables), information on yield and value of production for major vegetable commodities, and recent trends and changes in these areas.

Upcoming releases will cover the financial performance of Australian vegetable-growing farms, investment and debt, and specific data on the performance of farms that pay the vegetable research and development levy.


Workshop: Surveillance strategies for wind-dispersed pests and diseases (Attwood, VIC)

The Department of Economic Development, Jobs, Transport and Resources (DEDJTR) is coordinating a workshop on new surveillance strategies for wind-dispersed pests and diseases, including an in-depth analysis of wind-dispersed threats to potato crops.

The workshop will also discuss the potential for pests and diseases to enter south-east Australia by long-distance wind dispersal, new strategies for surveillance activities, new molecular tools for identifying exotic pests and diseases, and the new National Plant Surveillance Network, as well as provide demonstrations of alternative trapping techniques for surveillance.

Time/date: 9:30am–2:00pm, Monday 30 October 2017
Location: DEDJTR – 475 Mickleham Road, Attwood VIC 3049

Speakers will include John Weiss (DEDJTR), Kyla Finlay (DEDJTR), Mark Blackett (DEDJTR), Les Zeller (University of Southern Queensland), and Callum Fletcher (AUSVEG).

For more information, see the event flyer. For catering purposes, DEDJTR asks that attendees RSVP to Kyla Finlay at

Workshops: NSW Farmers Horticulture Roadshow (NSW)

NSW Farmers will be undertaking a Horticulture Roadshow in late October and early November to touch base with growers before the end of the year, as well as to cover off on topics including employment relations, energy, market access and the new Horticulture Code of Conduct.

These workshops will be held in Griffith, Berrigan, Batlow and Cowra, and will feature a variety of speakers across the four events. The workshops will also include a Q&A session for growers to give feedback to NSW Farmers.

Participation is free and is not limited to members of NSW Farmers, so all interested industry members are encouraged to attend. To RSVP for any of the events, please visit the NSW Farmers website.

Resource: New edition of Potatoes Australia now available online

The October/November 2017 edition of Potatoes Australia magazine is now available!

In this issue, we profile Olivia Ryan, an agronomist for McCain Foods in Ballarat, Victoria. We also talk to Troy ‘Fred’ Bensley, who runs Stillbrook Potato and Pastoral Company, a certified seed growing operation in Crookwell, NSW.

The edition also features a look at how the Australian seed potato industry is building capacity in the Ethiopian industry, a discussion with the new National TPP Coordinator Alan Nankivell (funded through strategic levy investment MT16018 Tomato potato psyllid (TPP) National Program Coordinator), and a huge range of other R&D content and industry news.

To read the issue online, please click here. To read previous editions of Potatoes Australia, please click here. To subscribe to receive hard copies of the magazine, please email

Project update: 2017 Young Grower Leadership and Development Mission

The 2017 Young Grower Leadership and Development Mission has now concluded following a series of visits to vegetable industry locations in Germany, the Netherlands and Belgium. The delegation took part in the visits through a strategic levy investment under the Hort Innovation Vegetable Fund, giving them first-hand encounters with major overseas industry operations and letting them see how these industries are tackling some of the same challenges we face in Australia.

Highlights from the mission included:

  • seeing Koppert Cress, an incredibly innovative Dutch growing operation using cutting-edge technology and practices;
  • attending Rijk Zwaan trial sites in the Netherlands to see their vegetable breeding and research and development in action; and
  • an educational visit to the farm of Peter Steegmüller, a German grower whose operation shared many similarities with Australian farms and who provided a great look at how overseas growers manage their businesses.

For some photos from the mission, keep an eye on AUSVEG’s Facebook page for our upcoming post, or check out tweets from Harvest Moon (whose factory manager Adam Smith participated in the mission) here and here.

AUSVEG will also be developing case studies on some of the attendees on this mission, as well as previous missions, to showcase their learnings from these levy-funded projects.


Event: ABARES Regional Outlook Conference (Tamworth, NSW)

ABARES holds a series of Regional Outlook conferences each year to meet directly with regional communities and share commodity forecasts and research results. The next conference will be held in Tamworth, with local producers, industry leaders and ABARES speakers exploring the themes of Innovation in agriculture – capturing the opportunities, Innovation in livestock enterprises and Growing crops and collaboration in a changing environment.

ABARES Regional Outlook conferences are great opportunities to update your industry knowledge, network with delegates and industry experts, and discuss regional trends and opportunities, as well as to access the latest ABARES commodity forecasts and economic data.

Time/date: 8:30am onwards, Wednesday 15 November 2017
Location: Ibis Styles Tamworth, 80-90 Ebsworth Street, Tamworth NSW 2340

This one-day conference is free to attend, but pre-event registration is essential. For more information, and to register to attend the conference, please visit the ABARES website. Enquiries can also be made to the ABARES events team at, or by phone on 02 6272 2303 or 02 6272 2260.

SPONSORED: Solargain helping veg growers turn their roof into revenue

For over 10 years, Solargain has helped many growers turn their roof into revenue thanks to solar energy.

“Solargain has installed our first solar PV system (100 kW) in 2014 and our second (40 kW) in 2015. We have been so pleased with the savings that these systems have generated that we are now looking at adding a third Solargain system.” – Peter Dobra, The Loose Leaf Lettuce Company

“We track our energy consumption through a computerised system which shows how much energy we’ve used and when we use it. After our solar installation, we’ve never seen it so low before! The system looks great.” – Danny Trandos, Trandos Hydroponics

You too can watch your profits grow when you power your business with Solargain.

For an obligation-free site assessment and feasibility study, please contact:

WA, SA: Keith Lynch on 0458 600 566 or Chris Harvey on 0409 085 382
VIC, NSW, ACT, QLD: Jusuf Tekesic on 0478 020 851 or Brad McPherson on 0458 633 006

To find out more about Solargain, please visit its website.

Industry update: $130 million secured for fire ant eradication contracts in Queensland

The Queensland Government has announced the approval of $130 million for major service contracts as part of the National Red Imported Fire Ant Eradication Program.

This funding will be allocated from the $411.4 million endorsed for the eradication program by Australia’s state, territory and federal agriculture ministers in July, and will be put towards long-term contracts with bait, labour and air charter suppliers to boost the program’s treatment capacity.

For more information, see the media release by the Acting Minister for Agriculture and Fisheries and Minister for Rural Economic Development, the Hon Dr Anthony Lynham. For more information on red imported fire ant eradication efforts in Queensland, please click here.

Resource: FSANZ annual report

Food Standards Australia New Zealand (FSANZ) has released its annual report for 2016-17, covering the activities of the organisation for the financial year in the areas of developing regulatory standards, coordinating national responses and monitoring, and collecting and providing food-related information and providing food-related advice.

To read the annual report, please see the FSANZ website.

Survey: Crop insurance for North Queensland growers

The Queensland Department of Agriculture and Fisheries is conducting a survey of North Queensland growers to better understand the issues associated with crop insurance needs in the region, with particular regard to the impacts of tropical cyclones.

For the purposes of the survey, ‘North Queensland’ is defined as the broad region encompassing the Bowen-Gumlu-Burdekin regions in the south, stretching to Cook Shire Council in the north and to the Northern Territory border in the west. All responses will remain anonymous, and only aggregated results will be presented in the final analysis.

To take the survey, please click here.

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 CEO James Whiteside appeared in print media this week talking about Australian acceptance of genetically modified (GM) fruit and vegetable crops. Mr Whiteside noted that farmers have been genetically modifying crops in one form or another for centuries, and that much of the opposition to GM crops was primarily because industry had not effectively guided consumers through the benefits. To read the full article, click here.

Mr Whiteside also appeared in print discussing AUSVEG’s appointment of Alan Nankivell as National TPP Coordinator. Mr Whiteside said that having Alan on board to help coordinate the national response to the psyllid will be hugely beneficial to ensure our industries can effectively manage this pest. To read the full article, click here.