Collaborative approach extending the reach of potato industry R&D
The Potato Industry Extension Program, managed by AUSVEG, has ramped up its engagement with agronomists around Australia, as part of ongoing efforts to ensure that research and development (R&D) outcomes are adopted by potato growers on-farm.
“The Potato Industry Extension Program recognises the critical role that agronomists play in helping growers to implement new practices and tools that will strengthen their operations,” said AUSVEG Spokesperson Luke Raggatt.
“The program is working to build upon the rapport it has already established with the agronomy community, by further integrating agronomists into the program’s activities. This is a logical step towards increasing potato growers’ awareness and uptake of R&D outcomes,” said Mr Raggatt.
AUSVEG is the National Peak Industry Body representing Australia’s 2,000 potato growers.
This year, a number of leading agronomists have joined the R&D Field Days and workshops held by the program across the country to discuss a range of practical information relating to crop nutrition, field trials on new fertiliser applications, and novel ways to increase potato yields.
With the Australian potato industry continuing to invest heavily in a broad range of R&D projects, the Potato Industry Extension Program is encouraging agronomists to become familiar with these projects and to consider how their outcomes can be applied by the potato growers they work with.
“There is a strong need in our industry to increase the link between the R&D that is conducted, and its on-farm implementation. Agronomists are well-versed in many of the complex scientific areas of agriculture, but are also able to see these things from a practical viewpoint. This is a valuable combination of skills that can play a big role in facilitating this process,” said Mr Raggatt.
The development of a DNA diagnostic testing service, which involves sampling for soil-borne pathogens that can lead to several major potato diseases, is one R&D project that is close to the implementation stage. Funded by the Australian processed potato sector, the development of the testing service is expected to deliver significant benefits to the industry, by helping growers make more informed decisions at the pre-planting phase.
“Agronomists will be pivotal to the actual roll-out of this testing service, which to deliver effectively, will require knowledge of soil sampling techniques, as well as how to interpret the results that the tests produce,” said Mr Raggatt.
“By further collaborating with agronomists working in key potato growing regions of Australia, the Potato Industry Extension Program is helping to increase growers’ and processors’ access to beneficial information on innovative farm practices and technologies, as well as providing them with a clearer picture of how this information can be adopted practically.”
“This is an important initiative being undertaken by AUSVEG and is another example of the Potato Industry Extension Program steering the Australian potato industry towards a more sustainable and competitive future,” 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 Spokesperson
Phone: (03) 9822 0388, Mobile: 0403 827 822, Email: firstname.lastname@example.org