AUSVEG Weekly Update


Tuesday 7 March 2017

Industry update – Tomato potato psyllid

On 4 March 2017 DAFWA released the following industry update. There have been 43 detections of Tomato potato psyllid (Bactericera cockerelli) at residential, commercial and retail properties in the Perth metropolitan area and the regional areas of Gingin, Busselton and Yarloop.

The new detections are a result of surveillance activities by the Department of Agriculture and Food, Western Australia (DAFWA).

New R&D project: The EnviroVeg Program 2017 – 22

The EnviroVeg Program 2017 – 22 is a levy-funded project jointly managed by AUSVEG, Growcom and Freshcare.

This revamped EnviroVeg program will align components from EnviroVeg, Hort360 and Freshcare Environmental to deliver a clear pathway to environmental assurance for Australian vegetable growers.

The EnviroVeg Program is the vegetable industry's own environmental program and previous EnviroVeg projects have provided resources to growers to develop and quantify their environmental practices. This new version of the program will support and improve environmental management on-farm and develop recognition and a competitive advantage for growers.

EnviroVeg has three tiers of membership, with the new program structure to include alignment with Freshcare Environmental, as well as grower support and report delivery through Hort360 and updated program resources.

For further information on the new EnviroVeg program, get in touch with EnviroVeg Program Coordinator Andrew Shaw on 03 9882 0277 or
The EnviroVeg Program 2017 – 22 is funded by Horticulture Innovation Australia Limited using the research and development National Vegetable Levy and funds from the Australian Government.

Black bean aphid: A biosecurity threat to Australia

Australia is one of only a small number of countries where Black bean aphid (BBA), also known as Black fly, is not currently present.

BBA poses a potential threat to the potato industry and other crop industries should it arrive and establish itself in Australia. While BBA is known for being a major pest on bean crops, there is a broad range of plants that it can feed on, including many common weeds and crops such as tomatoes, spinach, carrot, maize and potatoes.

The aphids are generally 1.5-3mm long, and are usually found clustered together. They secrete honeydew that causes Sooty mold, and also have the potential to transmit viruses including Potato virus Y, Potato leaf roll virus and Potato virus A.

Potato plants are not the most preferred host for the BBA – instead, they tend to feed on them just for sustenance, and then move to multiple other plants.

For a more detailed profile on Black bean aphid, please see page 22 of the latest Potatoes Australia.
Potatoes Australia magazine is funded by Horticulture Innovation Australia Limited using the research and development National Potato Levy and funds from the Australian Government.

Applied Horticultural Research renews Strategic Partnership with AUSVEG

AUSVEG is pleased to announce the continuation of its strategic partnership with Applied Horticultural Research (AHR).

AHR is a multi-disciplinary team of skilled research and communication professionals. Its research, communications and training supports innovation and sustainability in the horticultural supply chain, from farm to consumer. Working closely with growers, processors and support organisations in Australia and overseas, AHR enables the delivery of better products to consumers, and returns to growers.

AUSVEG looks forward to working with AHR to support innovation in the horticulture industry. To find out more about AHR, please click here.

Water Dynamics renews Strategic Partnership with AUSVEG

AUSVEG is pleased to announce the continuation of its strategic partnership with Water Dynamics.

Water Dynamics is the leading specialist in irrigation and water supply with a number of stores across Australia along with a team of dedicated water specialists, enabling growers to choose the irrigation that is right for them and their growing operations.

AUSVEG looks forward to working with Water Dynamics. To find out more about Water Dynamics, please click here.

Last chance to provide feedback on the potato Strategic Investment Plan

The Strategic Investment Plan (SIP) for the fresh potato industry is almost done! The final draft of the document has been published online by Hort Innovation, and you have until Monday 27 March 2017 to get in any final feedback.

To read the final draft SIP and use the simple online form to provide your feedback, visit Hort Innovation’s fresh potato grower page.

You can also provide feedback direct to Hort Innovation Relationship Manager Christian Patterson on 0433 896 753 or

What is the SIP?
The final industry SIP will be used to help guide Hort Innovation’s strategic investment of the fresh potato levy, ensuring that levy investment decisions align with industry priorities. It outlines these industry priorities and the core industry outcomes required by investments.

The SIP is designed to represent the balanced interests of the fresh potato industry.

How will it be used?
The SIP will be used like a ‘roadmap’ by the fresh potato industry Strategic Investment Advisory Panel (SIAP) in providing advice to Hort Innovation on potential levy investments.

What is the SIAP?
The fresh potato SIAP’s key function is to provide transparent and robust strategic investment advice to Hort Innovation – helping guide the way the industry levy and Australian Government contributions are put to use.

The fresh potato SIAP is made up of panellists from the fresh potato industry. Most panellists are levy-paying growers, with appointments made based on skills criteria and considering geographic and sectorial diversity. The SIAP also has a chair, appointed at the end of 2016.

To see the list of panellists and to access summary notes from the fresh potato SIAP’s meetings to date, please click here.

How do ideas get to the SIAP?
Anyone is welcome to submit an idea for a potential industry project. To submit an idea, use Hort Innovation’s Concept Proposal Form.

To learn more about the innovation process at Hort Innovation, please click here.

Any questions?
Contact Christian Patterson at Hort Innovation on 0433 896 753 or
This consultation has been funded by Horticulture Innovation Australia Limited using the research and development National Potato levy and funds from the Australian Government.

Speaker program launches for Hort Connections 2017

The speaker program for Hort Connections 2017 has been released, with growers and supply chain members sure to benefit from the vast array of knowledge and expertise on offer from 15-17 May.

Keynote speakers include Assistant Minister for Agriculture and Water Resources, Senator the Hon. Anne Ruston and beyondblue Chairman and former Victorian Premier The Hon. Jeff Kennett AC.

Early bird registrations for Hort Connections 2017 close on 17 March. To view the speaker list and the full Hort Connections 2017 program, please click here.

Australian vegetable industry represented at Gulfood 2017

Last week, a group of delegates returned to Australia after attending Gulfood 2017 food exhibition in Dubai, where they highlighted the high quality and freshness of Australian vegetables.

The delegates attended the conference as part of the Australia Fresh group, coordinated by Horticulture Innovation Australia.

Australia Fresh at Gulfood, Dubai.

Gulfood is the largest food and beverage exhibition in the world, attracting those in the industries from all corners of the globe.

The trade show holds displays from more than 120 countries annually, enabling 5,000 providers of raw materials and ingredients to exhibit their goods.

While in Dubai, the delegation also made site visits to key Dubai retailers, and were able to meet those in the industry to expand their networks.
Participation in the 2017 Gulfood Mission was 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 January 2017. 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 January 2017.
Nielsen consumer research for the vegetable industry is funded by Horticulture Innovation Australia using the research and development National Vegetable levy and funds from the Australian Government.

Growcom announces workplace relations symposium at Hort Connections 2017

Growcom will be hosting a workplace relations symposium at Hort Connections 2017. The symposium, which is open to all Hort Connections attendees, will provide an update on the new Horticulture Award as well as practical advice to growers on how they can manage their risk.

The workplace relations symposium forms part of the Fair Farms Initiative, to be rolled out nationally in an effort to improve the reputation of the horticulture industry in relation to the treatment of workers. The initiative will also give growers the opportunity and tools to prove they are fair employers.

The initiative will officially be launched at Hort Connections 2017, during the workplace relations symposium. Growcom will also have a workplace relations hub in the trade show so growers and industry members can drop in and have their workplace relations questions answered.

While Growcom recognises that the majority of growers do the right thing and treat their workers fairly, they believe the actions of those few who do not are having a significant and negative effect on the industry as a whole.

The Fair Farms Initiative has five main components:
  • The roll out of the Hort360 Workplace Relations best management practice module nationally, over the next four years, to enable growers to do a confidential risk assessment of their current practice and identify areas for improvement.
  • Targeted regional seminars throughout Australia focusing on key areas of non-compliance.
  • The development, through Freshcare, of a voluntary third-party Audited Certification for growers to enable them to demonstrate compliance.
  • Development of a pathway to qualifications in Human Resources for interested growers.
  • A series of information articles on key workplace relations issues for publication in an array of industry magazines including Fruit and Vegetable News, Vegetables Australia and other regional and industry publications.
For more information on the initiative and to register for the symposium, please visit Growcom’s website.

P2D Cross-industry survey

The P2D (Accelerating Precision Agriculture to Decision Agriculture) project survey is supported by funding from the Australian Government Department of Agriculture and Water Resources as part of its Rural R&D for Profit program. The P2D project involves all Rural Research and Development Corporations, and is focused on three main aims:
  • Facilitating the development of digital technology in Australian agriculture.
  • Fostering the establishment of appropriate legal frameworks, data systems and access to critical datasets.
  • Identifying the data communications systems required to deliver the benefits of digital agriculture to the Australia farm and agribusiness sectors.
A national survey is being conducted to better understand the needs and issues facing Australian producers in relation to using digital technology and agricultural data.

Digital technologies in agriculture have presented great opportunities for productivity growth and farm profitability. This survey aims to understand producers’ needs and issues in relation to using agricultural data. Such understanding will facilitate policy development in supporting producers to fully take advantage of the opportunities offered by digital technologies.

The survey will be conducted by the CSIRO in collaboration with the agricultural research company KG2, who will invite a broad cross section of Australian producers to take part in the phone survey. If you agree to participate, you will be asked about your experience with using digital technology and agricultural data. The phone survey will take about 20 minutes to complete. All responses will be strictly confidential.

If you are interested in taking part in the survey, please call 02 9191 9844 or email KG2 and the survey company will contact you. Please provide your name and phone number, the type of farming operation you are involved in and specify the preferred time of day to participate in the survey.

For more information about the P2D project, please click here.

Plant Health Australia: Emergency Preparedness and Response Project Officer position

Plant Health Australia (PHA) is seeking a Project Officer for Emergency Preparedness and Response. As the lead national coordinating body for plant biosecurity in Australia, PHA works in partnership with industry, governments, researchers and others to facilitate and manage improvements in biosecurity policy and practice.

The Project Officer will support delivery of a range of outcomes that improve Australia’s capacity to responds to pest incursions. The successful candidate will be involved in an array of activities including, but not limited to:
  • Development and delivery of biosecurity training materials, including e-learning courses and simulation exercises.
  • Supporting administration and management of the EPPRD, including facilitating resolution among signatories to complex and polarising policy issues.
  • Development of guidance material to facilitate implementation of the EPPRD.
  • The regular development of plant biosecurity awareness material, issues papers and PHA review submissions.
  • Input into the development of national plant biosecurity strategies, status reports and policy initiatives in plant biosecurity and emergency management.
For more information on the role, please see Plant Health Australia’s website.

Vegetable and Potato Industry Communications Survey

As part of levy-funded projects VG15027 and PT15007, AUSVEG delivers communications for the vegetable and potato industries about levy-funded R&D.

These communications include Vegetables Australia and Potatoes Australia magazines, the Weekly Update e-newsletter, the Vegenotes series, InfoVeg services and other communications.

AUSVEG is conducting a brief, 10-minute survey about these communications to ensure they are tailored to the industry's needs. Levy-paying growers and industry members who take part in the survey can go in the running to win a pack of four John Deere wrench and socket sets with a combined value of over $1,000!

To take the survey and help ensure these communications deliver value for the industry, please click here.
This project has been funded by Horticulture Innovation Australia Limited using the research and development National Vegetable Levy and funds from the Australian Government.

CSIRO: Divide and concentrate workshop

CSIRO will run a workshop on the separation and concentration processing for functional food ingredients and products on 29 March in Werribee, Victoria.

The workshop will provide an opportunity for companies to learn how separation and concentration technology could add value to their business.

For more information, please see CSIRO’s website.


Vegetable Strategic Investment Plan: Workshop locations and survey

Venues have now been booked for all Queensland, Victoria and New South Wales consultations for the vegetable industry’s Strategic Investment Plan. Vegetable growers are encouraged to attend these consultations and meet with Consulting & Implementation Services (CIS) to have their say. This will ensure the SIP accurately reflects how to best spend the R&D levy to maximise the benefits from industry’s funding priorities for the next five years, with the value of these investments estimated to be worth over $100 million.

Wednesday 8 March – Werribee
Location: Fresh Select
Address: 610 Duncans Road, Werribee South
Time: 4:00pm – 6:00pm

Thursday 9 March – Gippsland
Location: Criterion Hotel (upstairs)
Address: Corner York and Macalister Streets, Sale
Time: 2:00pm – 5:30pm

Wednesday 15 March – Lockyer
Location: Four Hearts Brewing
Address: 88 Limestone Street, Ipswich
Time: 4:30pm – 6:00pm
RSVPs can be sent to

CIS has developed a short online survey for growers and industry members to provide feedback on what they think the opportunities are for the vegetable industry in the next five years (it only takes about 10 minutes to complete).

Just by filling out the survey you go into the draw to win a $350 R.M. Williams voucher.

To complete this survey and have your say on the future of investment in the vegetable industry please click here.
This consultation has been funded by Horticulture Innovation Australia Limited using the research and development National Vegetable Levy and funds from the Australian Government.

AUSVEG in the media
AUSVEG National Manager – Science and Extension Dr Jessica Lye appeared on radio this week discussing the detection of Tomato potato psyllid in Western Australia, and noted the restrictions put in place by states in relation to potato trade. Dr Lye also discussed the detection of Cucumber green mottle mosaic virus in Bundaberg, noting that a national management plan is in place.
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.

Weather Forecast – Wednesday 8 March

Please find below a weather forecast for Wednesday 8 March for key growing regions around Australia. To see a detailed forecast, please click the image.
This project has been funded by Horticulture Innovation Australia Limited using the research and development National Vegetable Levy and National Potato Levy and funds from the Australian Government.