Final Report – Potato Industry Extension Program
The Potato Industry Extension Program (PT11004) was the Australian potato industry’s key source of R&D information. Aimed specifically at growers, agronomists and processors, the program aimed to bridge the gap between R&D outcomes and these key stakeholders. The program used a number of different extension methods to do this, including modern and traditional platforms, such as email newsletters, media, magazine articles and podcasts. A hugely successful element of the program were R&D workshops that brought industry researchers to growing regions to discuss their work face-to-face with growers. The R&D workshops achieved large participation numbers and were known amongst growers as excellent opportunities to increase knowledge and build networks. Face to face farm visits were also a cornerstone component of the program. The program was extremely successful in improving growers’ knowledge of R&D outcomes, with 90% of respondents finding that the program helped to increase their awareness of beneficial R&D information. APRP2 was important to the program and a lot of information extended was resultant of APRP2. A leading outcome was PreDicta Pt, a DNA soil test developed by the South Australian Research and Development Institute (SARDI). This outcome was recognised as a beneficial development by growers and has been used increasingly by growers in regions with suitable soils. The Potato Industry Extension Program coordinator was a key contact for industry stakeholders seeking R&D information. As the only national extension officer in the industry, the program coordinator kept abreast of issues affecting each potato growing region and was able to ensure that necessary and beneficial information was communicated to growers, agronomists and processors.