Project VG16060 Vegetable Agrichemical Pest Management Needs and Priorities was designed to employ a Project Coordinator to undertake a range of engagement and communication activities that would engage growers and agronomists to identify insect, disease and weed priorities for the vegetable industry. VG16060 coordinated the vegetable industry agrichemical pest needs by identifying and prioritising pest issues and potential agchem gaps through implementation of an effective prioritisation process for the industry. The central contact point is referred to in this project as the Vegetable Agrichemical Pest Management Needs and Priorities – Project Coordinator, or simply the Project Coordinator. The Project Coordinator interacted directly with growers and agronomists to ensure that the pest priorities and agrichemical needs for the vegetable industry were accurately recorded and understood. Utilising the existing 2014 Strategic Agrichemical Review Process (SARP) pest priorities, in conjunction with regional Industry Development Officers (IDOs), the consultations were done on a regional basis by commodity and pest.

VG16060 ran from July 2017 to 2 July 2020 and it involved engagement and consultation primarily with members of the vegetable industry, specifically growers and agronomists, relevant personnel at Horticulture Innovation Australia Ltd. (Hort Innovation), and other relevant stakeholders, such as entomologists, researchers and chemical registrants.

A total of thirty regional crop specific workshops were completed, where pest priority issues for vegetable growers were recorded and understood. Regional crop specific workshops were complemented with one-on-one grower and agronomist consultation. Additionally, in conjunction with the Hort Innovation R&D Manager, the VG16060 Project Coordinator developed the AUSVEG Online Crop Specific Pest Survey. These online crop specific pest surveys were developed as another platform to capture and rank the vegetable industry’s insect, disease and weed issues of concern, and to capture feedback from growers and agronomists that were not directly consulted via workshops nor via one-on-one consultation. Identified pest priorities, agrichemical gaps and potential solutions informed industry actions at the annual AgChem Priority Access Forum.

Pest priorities gathered during industry were utilised to produce crop specific reports for thirty five vegetable crops that will aid in the update and development of the vegetable industry SARP documents, which will give the vegetable industry a clear outlook of priority pests and potential gaps in existing agrichemical pest control options. Broader outcomes of the project are to inform and direct R&D funding for crop protection purposes and to increase the number of Agchem options for managing relevant pest priority issues.

When needed by the industry, the VG16060 Project Coordinator, with the Hort Innovation R&D Manager, assisted growers and agronomists with requests for Minor Use Permits. Minor Use Permit Requestsreceived by the VG16060 Project Coordinator were reviewed, processed and then submitted by the Hort Innovation R&D Manager to the APVMA to assist vegetable growers to improve agrichemical access for managing pest priority issues of concern, where there are limited or no agchem options.