Assistance for growers affected by recent weather events

Growcom is currently leading efforts to assess damage to growers in the wake of ex-Tropical Cyclone Debbie. Category B disaster support has already been announced and Growcom will be advocating for further assistance. In order to do this, Growcom requires solid data provided by growers for damage estimates, to then present a case to Government.

To enable Growcom to advocate for disaster relief in the most effective way possible, it is imperative that growers provide as much information as possible. Growers can submit damage assessments using Growcom’s damage assessment form or by contacting Growcom on 07 3620 3844.

Growcom has produced a range of documents to help growers prepare for and respond to severe weather events:

More information can be found at the Queensland Farmers’ Federation’s Farmer Disaster Support website, or by contacting Growcom on 07 3620 3844 or

There are also growers facing severe hardship in New South Wales due to severe floods. AUSVEG sends our thoughts and well-wishes to all those affected by ex-Tropical Cyclone Debbie, the floods in New South Wales and the related extreme weather events.

If anyone is suffering from any distress as a result of the Cyclone, please seek help from any of the below resources:
Lifeline: 13 11 14 or
beyondblue: 1300 22 4636 or
MensLine Australia: 1300 78 99 78 or
Suicide Call Back Service: 1300 659 467 or


EnviroVeg Technical Panel – Applications open

Who should apply: Researchers and industry experts who can guide the development of EnviroVeg program resources with connections to R&D

EnviroVeg is the environmental assurance program for Australian vegetable growers. This levy funded R&D project is seeking applications for a technical panel of experts and researchers to provide comment on the update of program resources through chaired teleconferences and face-to-face workshops.

A new project has recently been launched and is updating a number of program resources, including grower assessments and an on-farm manual, to ensure that they are underpinned by robust research and development.

Resources will link to the environmental certification requirements of the Freshcare Environmental program and capture data on changes made by Australian vegetable growers to their environmental best management practices. The Technical Panel will ensure that reports to growers, generated from assessments, are informative and useful for grower participants.

There are four positions available for the panel. Successful applicants will be required to attend a one day workshop, one day of manual review preceding the workshop, two teleconferences in the first year of the project (2017) and one manual and assessment review in the third year of the project. Disbursement and coverage of expenses will be made for panel members.

For further information and criteria for technical panel applicants, see the application form. Completed application forms can be returned to

EnviroVeg is funded by Horticulture Innovation Australia Limited using the research and development National Vegetable Levy and funds from the Australian Government.

Managing white mold in potatoes in the United States

Sclerotinia stem rot (Sclerotinia sclerotiorum), also known as white mold, is a widespread disease in sprinkler-irrigated potato fields in the Columbia Basin of Washington and Oregon, and in the Snake River Valley of southern Idaho in the United States. The disease is labelled as critical in the Columbia Basin in Washington and Oregon states, which also have the highest potato yields in the country.

To assist United States growers in the fight against white mold, Washington State University Professor of Plant Pathology Dr Dennis Johnson has released a web presentation on the Plant Management Network entitled Epidemiology and Management of Potato White Mold. The presentation explains how potato plants become infected by the white mold fungus and how the disease is most effectively managed.

Dr Johnson believes that the work undertaken to research white mold in the Columbia Basin by Washington State University can apply to other regions, including Australia, due to the crop and pathogens responding similarly in similar environments.

For a more detailed look at this presentation and the management of white mold, please see page 26 of the latest Potatoes Australia.

Potatoes Australia is funded by Horticulture Innovation Australia Limited using the research and development National Fresh Potato Levy and funds from the Australian Government.


Horticulture Code of Conduct revisions implemented

Revisions to the Horticulture Code of Conduct were implemented on Saturday 1 April 2017.

The new Code includes a set of rights and obligations that apply between people trading in horticulture produce, including a requirement to have a written contract.

Much of the Code remains unchanged; however, there are several important changes:

  • Agreements made before 15 December 2006 are no longer exempt from the Code;
  • There are financial penalties for non-compliance with the Code;
  • All parties must act in good faith;
  • You need to keep certain written records for at least six years;
  • You can use a formula or method to determine your pricing; and
  • You no longer have to sign a horticulture produce agreement to accept it. Written acceptance (such as an email) is enough.

You will have until 1 April 2018 (12 months) to make your existing horticulture produce agreements compliant with the Code. If you renew or enter into a new agreement before 1 April 2018, it must be compliant with the Code immediately.

This information was provided by the ACCC. For more information about the changes to the Code, please see the ACCC’s website.


Horticulture Innovation Australian renews as Convention Partner

AUSVEG is proud to announce Horticulture Innovation Australia (Hort Innovation) as a Convention Partner for 2017. AUSVEG works closely with Hort Innovation to deliver its projects, and looks forward to working with Hort Innovation during the course of Hort Connections 2017.

Hort Innovation will sponsor the Plenary speaker sessions, as well as hosting an R&D stream on Wednesday 17 May. For more information about Hort Connections 2017, please contact AUSVEG on 03 9882 0277, email or visit the Hort Connections 2017 website.

For more information about Hort Innovation, please visit its website here.


2017 Reverse Trade Mission – Produce Display applications closing 14 April

All export-ready vegetable growers are invited to register with AUSVEG to display their produce to 40 international fresh produce buyers at Hort Connections in Adelaide as part of the 2017 Reverse Trade Mission.
AUSVEG will be bringing delegates from across Asia and the Middle East to Australia to participate in a range of farm visits in Western Australia to showcase the Australian vegetable industry. These delegates will then attend Hort Connections 2017 in Adelaide, culminating in the Produce Display event.

The event will be held on Tuesday 16 May from 9:00am – 1:00pm, giving growers from across the country the opportunity to display their produce to these leading international buyers.

Register now to participate in this exciting event by returning the registration form by Friday 14 April to or call 03 9882 0277 for further information.

The 2017 Reverse Trade Mission is funded by Horticulture Innovation Australia Limited using the research and development National Vegetable Levy and funds from the Australian Government.


New scholarships on offer for horticulture industry managers

Horticulture Innovation Australia is encouraging middle and high-level vegetable industry managers to apply for one of three funded opportunities to attend the 2017 PMA A-NZ Produce Executive Program.

Held from 7 – 12 May on Victoria’s Mornington Peninsula, the fully-residential program offers a unique combination of personal and professional development, skill enhancement, industry forum and practical application of learning.

It provides a rare opportunity to access knowledge and insights across the supply chain by networking with industry peers and through interactive discussions with industry leaders.

Interactive sessions with senior produce executives, from leading suppliers and retailers will be conducted, and the merits of collaboration, innovation, and alternative marketing channels will be explored.

The program is designed to facilitate the integration of course content into the participant’s business. It also provides a specific opportunity for delegates to generate ideas for their business and to get the input, thoughts and ideas of others in a professionally moderated workshop.

The Hort Innovation scholarship will cover the Program registration fee (which includes instruction, accommodation, all meals, books and supplies); however participants must fund their own travel expenses to and from the venue.

This project has been funded by Horticulture Innovation Australia Limited using the research and development National Vegetable Levy and funds from the Australian Government.


New Nielsen consumer research available

Nielsen’s Homescan service records the vegetable purchases of 10,000 Australian households, with the data on these purchases then collated into reports which can help the vegetable industry deliver products that best meet consumers’ needs.

New reports have been uploaded onto InfoVeg for the year ending December 2016. A wide range of vegetable commodities are covered by these reports, including Asian vegetable varieties, beans, broccoli, cabbage, capsicum, carrots, cauliflower, celery, cucumber, fresh salad, lettuce, pumpkin, sweet corn, sweetpotato and zucchini.

All Nielsen reports are available for registered users of the InfoVeg database. Please click here to read the reports from February 2017, or here to read all reports from 2017.

Nielsen Homescan data for the Australian vegetable industry is funded by Horticulture Innovation Australia Limited using the research and development National Vegetable Levy and funds from the Australian Government.


Celebrate women in horticulture at Hort Connections 2017!

The ever-popular Women in Horticulture networking event will once again return to Hort Connections 2017. The event is open to all delegates at Hort Connections, providing a chance to acknowledge and celebrate the integral role that women play in the industry.

The event will be held at the InterContinental Adelaide on Wednesday 17 May from 2:00pm to 4:30pm. This year’s theme will focus on getting involved and adding value to your business.

Assistant Minister for Agriculture and Water Resources Senator the Hon. Anne Ruston will be headlining the guest speakers, while ABC presenter Tonya Roberts will emcee the event. The Ideas Catalyst founder Susie White will speak on new product and packaging innovations and introduce some hands-on creativity techniques to generate new product ideas.

Celebrity chef Geoff Jansz will perform a cooking demonstration with local produce and a discussion will be held on a levy-funded community garden project.

The event will conclude with the announcement of the 2017 Women in Horticulture award winner.

For more information or to RSVP, please visit or call AUSVEG on 03 9882 0277.


Vegetable & Potato Biosecurity Implementation Committees – Call for interested participants

AUSVEG is excited to announce the inaugural meetings of the Vegetable and Potato Biosecurity Implementation Committees, which are to be held directly after Hort Connections.

Date: 18 May 2017
Vegetable BIC: 9.00am – 12.30pm
Potato BIC: 1.00pm – 4.30pm
Venue: Adelaide Convention Centre

These committees will provide important input in guiding biosecurity activities for industry and government over the next five years and will meet at one workshop per year for the duration of the Plant Health Australia run projects VG15065: Review of the National Biosecurity Plan for the Vegetable Industry and PT16004: Review of the National Biosecurity Plan for the Potato Industry and development of a biosecurity manual for potato producers.

The make-up of both committees are yet to be determined; however, places are limited. AUSVEG is calling for expressions of interest from growers who are interested in joining either the potato or vegetable committees.

For further information, or to express your interest, please contact Dr Jessica Lye on 03 9882 0277 or

This project has been funded by Horticulture Innovation Australia Limited using the research and development National Vegetable Levy and funds from the Australian Government.


AUSVEG seeking Biosecurity Officer

AUSVEG is seeking a Biosecurity Officer to work on the Vegetable and Potato Biosecurity Program.

The successful candidate will report to the AUSVEG National Manager – Science and Extension, and will be responsible for coordinating the Biosecurity program. The role has a strong communication element and involves liaising with vegetable and potato growers, government departments and other industry groups.

For more information, please refer to the job advertisement. Please email to request a full Position Description.


Hort Connections 2017 – NexGen Young Grower event

The annual NexGen Young Grower event will take place at Hort Connections 2017. The event will offer participants a once-in-a-lifetime experience of climbing the newly constructed Adelaide Oval Roof, with food and refreshments provided afterwards. This event is free and available only to those who have registered for Hort Connections 2017.

Date: Wednesday 17 May
Time: 2:00 – 5:30pm
Location: Adelaide Oval
Cost: Free for those attending Hort Connections 2017.

Please express your interest by emailing, as numbers must be secured for the event.


Port of Melbourne export facility tour – tomorrow!

The Port of Melbourne is an international gateway to export markets, with more than 21 direct shipping services every week connecting Australian products to key export markets in Asia, North America and Europe. Around 100,000 tonnes of fresh and frozen vegetables are exported each year from the Port to major destinations including Belgium, Japan and Korea.

As part of the National Vegetable Extension Network, RMCG is conducting a tour of the Melbourne Port facility for growers with an interest in accessing exports. This behind-the-scenes tour will give participants an opportunity to learn more about the facility by having a first-hand look at the Port of Melbourne’s role in the export supply chain.

Date: Wednesday 5 April 2017
Time: 2:00 – 4:00pm
Location: Dock 5, Victoria Harbour Promenade, Docklands, Melbourne VIC

This tour is free for levy payers. Spots are still available, so please RSVP if you wish to attend. To find out more about the tour or to RSVP, please click here to view the full flyer for the event.

The National Vegetable Extension Network (VegNET) Project is delivered locally in the Northern, Western and South-Eastern regions of Victoria by RMCG through VG15048, and is funded by Horticulture Innovation Australia Limited using the research and development National Vegetable Levy and funds from the Australian Government.


Expressions of interest for attendance at the 2017 Horticulture Field Day

Hort Connections 2017 will be preceded by the annual Horticulture Field Day. This year, the field day will focus on pest and disease detection and management. The event is free and available only to those who have registered for Hort Connections 2017.

Date: Monday 15 May
Time: 8:15am – 5:30pm
Location: Adelaide and surrounds

An agenda for the day will be publicised in early April. Spaces are strictly limited so be sure to register your interest with AUSVEG promptly. Breakfast and lunch will be provided for attendees.

To express your interest in attending this field day, please email


Export Cost Recovery Review

On 1 December 2015, new charges came into effect for grain and seed exports. On 2 November 2015, the Minister for Agriculture and Water Resources announced an independent review of the costs associated with plant exports. The review, conducted by PricewaterhouseCoopers (PwC), found that the costs recovered are appropriate and that the approach used was consistent with the Australian Government Cost Recovery Guidelines.

The review also made eleven recommendations, of which Government agreed to seven. For the horticulture sector, Government did not agree to:

  • recovering prior year losses from the horticulture sector, as this would unfairly impact current exporters;
  • the recovery of overheads through charges for direct services, as it considers it is better to recover these through a combination of upfront and throughput levies;
  • the development of charging models to suit individual commodities, exporters or business models, as there are over 1,300 commodities and the costs would outweigh benefits; and
  • charging for travelling to remote locations, as this would unfairly impact rural and regional exporters.

Government agreed to the PwC recommendation to re-allocate program and corporate support costs between the grain and horticulture sectors. The PwC review indicated that this would increase costs allocated to the horticulture sector. The Department of Agriculture and Water Resources will release a draft cost recovery implementation statement (CRIS) for public consultation in April 2017.

For further information contact AUSVEG via email or 03 9882 0277.


Economic Update – ABARES Australian Vegetable Growing Farms: An Economic Survey

The Australian Bureau of Agricultural and Resource Economics and Sciences (ABARES) has released the ninth annual survey of Australian Vegetable-Growing Farms: An Economic Survey, 2014-15 and 2015-16 in February 2017. The surveys are co-funded by the Department of Agriculture and Water Resources and Horticulture Innovation Australia and aim to provide important information to the $3.4 billion vegetable industry. They provide a unique time-series that can be used in evidence-based decision making and to monitor changes in the industry. This note summarises the key points.

Key points:

  • Vegetable growing is the fifth largest agricultural sector, by value, after cattle, wheat, milk and fruit and nut. It accounts for over 6 per cent of the total value, worth around $3.4 billion.
  • Across Australia, average farm income grew to around $249,000 in 2015-16, with increases in all states except SA and WA.
  • The increase in average farm income is a sum of average total cash receipts less average total cash costs. Both of these categories have risen, reflecting an increase in average farm size as the industry continues to consolidate.
  • Potatoes were the largest vegetable category by value ($620 million, 16%), followed by tomatoes ($311 million, 9%).

For a more detailed look into the survey, please click here. For more information, please contact AUSVEG Industry Economist Dominic Regan on 03 9882 0277 or at

AUSVEG economic activities are funded by Horticulture Innovation Australia Limited using the research and development National Vegetable Levy and funds from the Australian Government.

2017 Global Innovations in Horticulture Seminar: Registrations for funded positions now open!

Following the success of the 2016 Global Innovations in Horticulture Seminar, Australian levy-paying vegetable growers will once again have the chance to listen to presentations from the world’s leading innovation experts at the 2017 Global Innovations in Horticulture Seminar.

The Seminar will take place during Hort Connections 2017, and will be held at the Adelaide Convention Centre on Tuesday 16 May.

The seminar will feature nine expert speakers from around the world on topics ranging from precision agriculture to processing machinery. Previous seminars have been very well received by growers, so don’t miss out on the opportunity to benefit from the expertise of the leading thinkers in global horticulture.

Funded positions are available for levy-paying growers to attend this event. Growers interested in attending or looking for further details can contact AUSVEG on 03 9882 0277, by fax at 03 9882 6722 or via the contact form here.

The 2017 Global Innovations in Horticulture Seminar is funded by Horticulture Innovation Australia Limited using the research and development National Vegetable Levy and funds from the Australian Government.


Victorian students learn about veg production

AUSVEG would like to thank Class 2L at Viewbank Primary School in Victoria for hosting us on Friday to talk about Australian vegetable production.

After receiving letters last week from students concerned about water usage in vegetable production, AUSVEG Environment Coordinator Andrew Shaw gave the class a presentation on how vegetables are grown and how water is used in vegetable production, and answered lots of questions from the students about vegetables.

The class also took a poll about which vegetables were their favourites, with corn and cucumber coming in as the winners.

With such smart students taking an interest in vegetable production, the future looks bright for our industry. Thanks again to everyone in Class 2L!

The EnviroVeg program is funded by Horticulture Innovation Australia Limited using the research and development National Vegetable Levy and funds from the Australian Government.


Current project opportunities with Hort Innovation

Hort Innovation advertises opportunities to become a delivery partner on research, development and marketing projects for Australian horticulture on its website and on

Join Hort Innovation’s delivery partner mailing list to receive email notifications of new opportunities by registering through its delivery partner registration form.

The relevant documentation for each opportunity is available on To access this information, you will need to become a member by registering on the registration page.

Please find below a table of current project opportunities directly related to the Australian vegetable and potato industries. For more details on any of the projects, or for information on other project opportunities across horticulture, please visit

Type Title Closing date
Request for proposal Tomato potato psyllid (TPP) National Program Coordinator 5pm (Sydney time)
Friday 21 April 2017


Communication of levy-funded R&D is funded by Horticulture Innovation Australia Limited using the research and development National Vegetable Levy, research and development National Fresh Potato Levy and funds from the Australian Government.


AUSVEG in the media

AUSVEG CEO James Whiteside appeared in print media this week reaffirming AUSVEG’s commitment to vegetable growers. Mr Whiteside assured growers that AUSVEG will continue to advocate on their behalf.

AUSVEG National Manager – Communications Shaun Lindhe appeared on radio this week discussing the increased use of automation within the vegetable industry. Mr Lindhe stated that increased use of technology will enable growers to become more efficient and productive.

AUSVEG National Manager – Public Affairs Jordan Brooke-Barnett appeared on radio this week discussing the changes to the Horticulture Code of Conduct. Mr Brooke-Barnett stated that the changes may encourage growers to use standard horticulture produce agreements, and fair price amendments.

Communication of levy funded R&D activities is funded by Horticulture Innovation Australia Limited using the research and development National Vegetable Levy and National Potato Levy and funds from the Australian Government.