The Australian horticulture industry has been left inspired and excited by the 2018 Global Innovations in Horticulture Seminar, a strategic levy investment using the Hort Innovation Vegetable Fund, which was held on Wednesday 20 June in Brisbane alongside the Hort Connections 2018 conference.

Over 150 attendees heard from international experts about technologies and practices in global horticulture that can help local growers tackle production challenges and satisfy evolving consumer preferences.

This year’s headline speaker was Erik Pekkeriet, from leading international agricultural university Wageningen University, speaking about new technologies in horticulture that are helping to feed the world. Mr Pekkeriet was joined by a collection of other speakers, including Nicolas Tsurukawa detailing innovations in vertical farming, Sandon Adams discussing scientific traceability in fresh produce, and a panel featuring robotics experts showcasing the latest developments in horticultural automation.

“Our industry is grappling with global changes and domestic issues that we need to manage to ensure we meet consumer expectations while scaling production to match a growing market,” said AUSVEG CEO James Whiteside.

“This seminar brought together international experts to show our industry how innovative technology and practices can help us manage these issues – such as using agricultural robots for weeding, spraying and harvesting to minimise labour costs while ensuring consistent delivery of high-quality produce.

“Sustainable resource use is becoming more and more important in a changing climate, and we’re selling to more environmentally conscious consumers. Connecting our industry with global efforts to grow more with less, including innovative techniques like vertical farming, helps our growers understand new methods of sustainable vegetable production.

“New technology is enabling better traceability for fresh produce, which means that our growers can provide consumers with peace of mind about food safety and quality, so it was great to hear about how traceability can help prove origin and protect reputations.”

AUSVEG is the leading body representing Australia’s vegetable and potato growers, and has joined other leading industry organisations to deliver Hort Connections 2018, the premier event in Australian horticulture.

“It was fantastic to see so many growers attend this year’s seminar – it’s a great reflection of our industry’s commitment to continuous improvement and growth, both on an individual level and as a whole sector,” said Mr Whiteside.

“We deliver this seminar every year to present growers with the latest information and fresh perspectives on our sector, and we’re proud that it continues to make its mark on our industry.”

Shaun Lindhe, AUSVEG Manager – Communications
Phone: 03 9882 0277, Mobile: 0405 977 789, Email:


  1. Salah Sukkarieh talked to delegates about groundbreaking developments in robotics at the 2018 Global Innovations in Horticulture Seminar
  2. (L-R:) Erek Pekkeriet, Nicolas Tsurukawa and Kevin Walsh take part in a panel discussion at the 2018 Global Innovations in Horticulture Seminar
  3. Sandon Adams talks about scientific traceability at the 2018 Global Innovations in Horticulture Seminar


Greg Fraser – Plant Health Australia

Erik Pekkeriet – Wageningen UR
New technologies in horticulture to feed the world

Kevin Walsh – Monsanto Company
Innovation in Vegetable seeds; Why labour saving traits can help your business

Nicolas Tsurukawa – Urban Crop Solutions
What makes a vertical indoor farming project profitable?

Maarten van Ham – Multi Tool Trac
Multi Tool Trac: The innovative tractor to meet the high demands of the best growers in the world

Sandon Adams – Oritain
Scientific Traceability – Proving Origin, Protecting Reputations

Michael Manion – Keon Research
Creating opportunities through prolific invention

Salah Sukkarieh – The Australian Centre for Field Robotics
Peyman Moghadam – CSIRO Data61
Jesse Reader – Bosch
AgRobotics Panel