A special potato research and development (R&D) workshop is being held in Warragul this week, with local growers set to be presented results from industry-levy funded projects.

Held as part of AUSVEG’s Potato Industry Extension Program, the R&D workshop will take place on Thursday 20 November from 6:00pm – 9:00pm at the Warragul Country Club. Participants will include potato growers, processors, agronomists and researchers.

“The workshop will feature specialist presenters who will discuss ongoing levy-funded R&D projects, with a focus on current results and providing growers with the outcomes and implementations,” said AUSVEG Special Projects Coordinator, Alexander Miller.

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

“The Warragul region is one of Victoria’s most prominent fresh potato growing areas. The themes of the workshop have been tailored specifically to suit this, addressing issues that Warragul growers deal with,” said Mr Miller.

Speaking at the event will be the Managing Director of market research firm Colmar Brunton, Ms Jenny Witham. Ms Witham will present findings from ‘Potato Tracker’, an industry project that has been developed to gauge consumer perceptions and behaviour in relation to fresh potatoes. Key insights to be discussed will include beliefs on the healthiness of potatoes, as well as drivers of purchase and consumption.

Soil-borne diseases will be discussed with Mr Michael Rettke, Research Scientist at the South Australian Research and Development Institute (SARDI), who will be presenting on PreDicta Pt, a soil testing service that has been developed to indicate the likelihood of disease in crops.

“The workshop will provide a diverse discussion on R&D that can assist growers in planning for new potato crops and maintaining them right through the season,” said Mr Miller. 

Also presenting at the workshop will be Mr Keith Fallow from crop nutrition organisation Yara, who will present on management techniques to enhance potato skin and tuber quality. Dow AgroSciences will also feature at the workshop, with Researcher Mr Robert Annetts speaking on methods of control for Green peach aphids in potatoes.

“The workshop will give growers face-to-face contact with researchers and experts, allowing for easy and direct transfer of information,” said Mr Miller.

The workshop is free to attend for all potato levy payers and other industry stakeholders, with dinner and refreshments to be provided. Growers are encouraged to register their attendance with AUSVEG on (03) 9882 0277 or at info@ausveg.com.au.

The Potato Industry Extension Program aims to raise awareness of R&D findings and agronomic activities that could deliver strong benefits to growers and processors. The program has been funded by HAL using the National Potato Levies and matched funds from the Australian Government.

MEDIA CONTACT: Alexander Miller, AUSVEG Special Projects Coordinator, Phone: (03) 9882 0277, Mobile: 0418 480 432, Email: alexander.miller@ausveg.com.au.