Members of the Australian potato industry have shown strong support for the AUSVEG Potato Industry Extension Program over its first 12 months, with research and development (R&D) workshops held as part of the program proving a hit with both potato growers and processors.

“It is terrific to see such a positive response from the industry to this program during its first year in operation. This shows that there is a real interest amongst potato growers and processors to learn more about the important R&D activities that are underway, and how these can be utilised to the industry’s benefit,” said AUSVEG Manager – Special Projects, Mr Luke Raggatt.

Beginning in January 2012, the nation-wide program aims to raise awareness of industry R&D activities and to communicate their beneficial outcomes in clear and practical ways. The program is steered by an Advisory Committee of potato growers, to ensure that all activities are tailored to effectively meet the needs of the industry.

AUSVEG is the National Peak Industry Body representing Australia’s 2,000 potato growers.

 “The R&D workshops held this year have been an appealing part of the program. Growers are embracing the chance to hear about the R&D their levy money is investing in, which is reflected in the strong attendance numbers seen at all of these events,” said Mr Raggatt.

The three-year program has held several workshops in 2012 in key potato growing regions of Australia, including Devonport, Tasmania; Creswick, Victoria; and Murray Bridge and Mount Gambier in South Australia. It has also been involved in R&D field day events held in Busselton, Western Australia, and the Atherton Tablelands in far-north Queensland.

Leading researchers from around the country have participated in the events, to present on results from a range of industry-funded research projects relating to plant and soil health issues. Research discussed has included work on the highly destructive Zebra Chip disease and the Tomato-potato psyllid, DNA testing for soil-borne pathogens, and the development of strategies to deal with various crop diseases including Potato virus Y.

“The success of the Potato Extension Program this year is largely due to individuals from across the industry chipping in and getting involved – from the researchers speaking directly about the outcomes of their projects, to the growers and processors who have taken time out of their busy schedules to hear about this important work.”

“It is vital for the future of the industry that the practical outcomes of R&D activities are not only known about and understood, but also utilised. This program is helping with this process to ensure that the Australian potato industry can increase productivity and ultimately competitiveness, both now and in the years ahead,” said Mr Raggatt.

MEDIA CONTACT: Luke Raggatt, AUSVEG Manager – Special Projects
Phone: (03) 9822 0388, Mobile: 0403 827 822, Email:

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