Potato growers from across the country have convened in Far North Queensland, to take part in the inaugural AUSVEG Potato Field Day in the Atherton Tablelands.

The special event on Sunday 22 June, followed the 2014 AUSVEG National Convention, Trade Show and Awards for Excellence in Cairns, and included tours of three major potato operations in the Atherton Tablelands region.

“The AUSVEG Potato Field Day brought together potato growers, processors and technical experts from almost every key production area of the country. It proved to be an invaluable opportunity for industry members to establish networks, share experiences, and learn about the latest innovations in the sector,” said AUSVEG Special Projects Coordinator, Luke Raggatt.

AUSVEG is Australia’s leading horticultural body representing more than 2,000 potato growers.

Technical experts also joined the Potato Field Day to speak about a range of research and agronomic related issues, including crop management and nutrition practices, and monitoring for potato diseases.

“With the Atherton Tablelands on the cusp of a new growing season, this was an ideal time for potato producers from around the country to get together to talk about the season ahead, and to hear about new or emerging farming practices that could have strong benefits for producers Australia-wide,” said Mr Raggatt.

Plant Virologist, Ms Brenda Coutts, from the Department of Agriculture and Food Western Australia (DAFWA), also joined the event to outline some important research she has undertaken on Potato virus Y – a serious plant virus that affects potato industries worldwide.

Presentations on crop nutrition and fertiliser application practices were given by Mr Trevor Dennis, Chief Executive of Haifa Australia, and Mr Stephen Ziebarth, a Queensland-based agronomist from Yara Australia.

Haifa Australia is a leading supplier of water soluble fertilisers to the Australian market. Yara Australia is a leading provider and marketer of mineral fertiliser for agricultural and horticultural uses.

AUSVEG representatives also provided an outline of some of the industry-funded research and development projects that are currently underway, and how these are being communicated to growers through the Potato Industry Extension Program, managed by AUSVEG.

“The AUSVEG Potato Field Day was certainly educational, but it also served as a valuable networking opportunity for those attending. The day allowed growers to meet their counterparts from other production areas of Australia, discuss common issues, and establish important relationships with fellow members of the industry,” said Mr Raggatt.

This communication has been funded by HAL using the National Potato Levy and matched funds from the Australian Government.

MEDIA CONTACT: Luke Raggatt, AUSVEG Special Projects Coordinator Phone: (03) 9882 0277, Mobile: 0403 827 822, Email: luke.raggatt@ausveg.com.au