Knowledge harvest: Potato growers reap benefits of R&D seeds sown
Key research and development (R&D) information was taken directly to hundreds of potato growers and other industry members across Australia in 2013, in a successful year of R&D related activities arranged by AUSVEG as part of the Potato Industry Extension Program.
“In what is a challenging time for the Australian potato industry, the high level of support that the Potato Industry Extension Program has received throughout the year demonstrates growers’ eagerness to learn about new R&D findings that could help to boost their productivity and competitiveness,” said AUSVEG Special Projects Coordinator, Luke Raggatt.
AUSVEG is Australia’s leading horticultural body representing more than 2,000 potato growers.
“Support for this important initiative has continued to climb this year, with the R&D workshops and field days held across the country proving a particular hit,” said Mr Raggatt.
In 2013, AUSVEG hosted nine potato R&D workshops and field days across Australia as part of the program’s activities, and produced a raft of material including fact sheets, e-Newsletters and articles for Potatoes Australia magazine. Key potato R&D information was also showcased at several industry events, including the AUSVEG National Convention and the Simplot Potato Futures workshops held in Tasmania.
“More than 500 industry members have now taken part in the various potato R&D events that have been held since the Program commenced in January 2012, indicating a strong appetite for new R&D information that will produce practical benefits,” said Mr Raggatt.
Leading potato experts from around Australia and abroad have engaged in this year’s activities, discussing key production issues such as crop nutrition and fertiliser application, pest and disease management strategies, alternative farming practices and emerging technologies.
Regular feedback from Australian potato growers and agronomists, obtained by AUSVEG, suggests that knowledge and uptake of beneficial R&D findings is rising as a result of the Program, which is seen as a vital source of new information within the industry.
“More and more growers are getting on board with the Program’s activities to enhance their understanding of new farming approaches. This is extremely positive, as it will help keep the Australian potato industry at the forefront of 21st century potato production,” said Mr Raggatt.
“With a new potato growing season underway, AUSVEG will continue to extend the reach of potato R&D information, to ensure that potato producers are in a strong position to tackle some of the key challenges they face,” said Mr Raggatt.
This communication has been funded by HAL using the National Potato Levies and matched funds from the Australian Government.
MEDIA CONTACT: Luke Raggatt, AUSVEG Special Projects Coordinator
Phone: (03) 9882 0277, Mobile: 0403 827 822, Email: firstname.lastname@example.org