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Collaborative farming

KEY TO GROWING SUCCESS

FUTUR

industrFING y E - P RO O

VOLUME 16 ISSUE 3 AUGUST 2020 | CRITICAL PROJECTS BOOST INDUSTRY RESEARCH INTO DRIED GRAPE BENEFITS | EXPORT SEASON SNAPSHOT


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Contents 4

Cover story Collaborative farming

29 Biosecurity Spotted wing drosophila

8

News Future-proofing industry

30 News PHA welcomes new CEO

11 News Minimum wage set for staggered increase

31 News Dolores farewells dried fruits “family”

12 DFA chair & CEO news

32 Processing & marketing APDF

13 ATGA acting chair & CEO news

33 Processing & marketing Sunbeam Foods

14 Dried grape news

34 Processing & marketing MRO

16 Table grape news

35 Marketing New website, enhancing impressions

18 Prune news Social media strength

36 Technology Podcasts for the modern farmer

20 News Productive, profitable & sustainable

38 Profile David Smith

22 Resarch Healthy dried grapes

39 Community Notice board

23 Tribute Keith Leamon

39 Board members

24 Best practice Frost prevention 26 Best practice Chlormequat trial results 28 News Rights group expands to table grapes

The Vine is a joint publication of the Australian table grape and dried fruits industries. For editorial and advertising enquiries, contact: Dried Fruits Australia T: (03) 5023 5174 E: enquiries@driedfruitsaustralia.org.au W: www.driedfruitsaustralia.org.au Australian Table Grape Association T: (03) 5021 5718 E: enquiries@atga.net.au W: www.australiangrapes.com.au Editorial committee: Anne Mansell, Lauren Roden (DFA), Jeff Scott, Terryn Milner (ATGA), Megan Frankel-Vaughan Design: Kylie Norton Design Printing: Sunnyland Press Cover photo: Dried grape growers Warren Lloyd and Ashley Johnstone © Horticulture Innovation Australia Limited 2020 This publication has been funded by Hort Innovation using the table grape and dried grape levies and funds from the Australian Government. Wherever you see a Hort Innovation logo, the initiative is part of the Table Grape, Dried Grape, Dried Tree Fruit or Prune Fund. Some projects also involve funding from additional sources.

For further publication details, see page 39

Table Grapes

Dried Grapes

Combined Industries

Dried Prunes

Budding future There’s nothing quite like the arrival of buds on the vines, like the calming of the storm. While it’s been a challenging year for many, those little buds bring with them new hope: hope for the season ahead, despite apprehension about the future. One thing is constant – the lifecycle of a vine does not change, and there are things we can predict, though there are many uncertainties. This Vine magazine looks at the future of collaborative farming, critical projects aimed to increase industry sustainability, frost prevention, podcasts to tune into and much more. – from the team


Stronger together C OL L A BORAT I ON K EY TO G ROW I N G S U C C ES S They say many hands make light work. And for Irymple dried grape growers Ashley Johnstone and Warren Lloyd, this couldn’t be more true.

In addition to managing his property,

For the past two seasons, the

goes over to Warren’s property and

experienced producers have taken

vice versa – I get them back and they

a fresh approach to managing their

stay in the system,” Ashley said.

vineyards and, instead of going it alone, have joined forces. The idea to collaborate was born out of necessity.

Ashley is also in the business of contract harvesting and said this side of his business opened the door to sharing labour. “Some of the casual labour I employ

Labour is shared primarily for pruning, however, during harvest the pair help out on each other’s blocks. With an already established pool

When Warren bought a twin-row

of equipment between them, the

fungicide unit and found it couldn’t

collaboration meant working together

be effectively towed by his tractor,

to find a process that worked best.

Ashley stepped in.

“Some bits of equipment Warren will

“I said to Warren, ‘I’ve got a solution

have and some bits of the equipment

to that problem – my tractor can

I’ll have – we just share it around,”

tow it and we can have a shared

Ashley said.

arrangement’,” Ashley explained.

While the sharing of physical assets

“That’s how things kicked off and it’s

and equipment had been a boon

grown from there.”

for the pair, another benefit was

Warren said that moment was an example of how the growers could increase their efficiency by working together. “Right from the outset it was easy to coordinate,” he said. “We worked out a plan for each property and it just worked. It didn’t require a lot of refinement.” Warren and Ashley manage nearby blocks – totalling about 60 hectares – and their partnership has grown

the sharing of ideas, which Ashley said had a huge impact on vineyard operation. Not only are the properties close by, which makes for more straightforward collaboration, they also operate with the same swingarm trellis system and the growers say they share similar philosophies for growing. Ashley explained one of the “big leaps” the partnership had made was in the way they prune their vines.

to include the sharing of equipment,

Both he and Warren have converted to

labour, skills and ideas.

a minimal pruning system, which has

4 VINE MAGAZINE


COVER STORY

VINE MAGAZINE 5


COVER STORY

“If you’ve got a way of working with others to make it easier to get the end product, then there’s huge benefits for the whole industry.”

simplified the task and allowed more

“Through my role at SuniTAFE, I can

casual labour to undertake pruning.

introduce Ashley to new technology

“We’ve changed it so that we lock the wire, tip the trellis and prune basically what sticks up off the cordon, which is quite straightforward,” Ashley said. The collaborative approach has meant

work health and safety. It gives me greater exposure into what’s going on in other industries.” The collaborative approach to farming

spraying and harvesting is more

is not a new one.

efficient and pruning is finished

Ashley and DFA field officer Stuart

much earlier – in mid-June instead of in August.

Putland travelled to Adelaide several years ago for a collaborative

At its core, the arrangement is all about

farming expo, which explored the

efficiency and combining each of the

different kinds of collaborations

growers’ strengths – Warren sharing his

that were possible.

newly-acquired knowledge through his role at SuniTAFE and Ashley sharing his farm management experience.

6 VINE MAGAZINE

and things that are out there, including

“There’s joint venture you can get into, or you can sell up assets and start a new entity together, you can have a

“Ashley’s farm management is far

contractual arrangement – there’s

stronger than mine, so decisions he

all sorts of ways you can collaborate,

helps me with have shown benefit to

it’s just finding the right one for you,”

our operation,” Warren said.

Ashley said.


COVER STORY

“It’s easy to become an island as a farmer. There’s a lot of benefits to seeing what else is out there – it’s very exciting.”

Warren said it was time the dried

“One of the exciting things for me is

Warren said there had long been a

fruits industry caught up with

that the options are endless,”

culture and acceptance of the hard

other industries when it came

Warren said.

work involved in producing dried fruit.

“We can really have a look and see

“It’s easy to become an island as

“We’ve got challenges, but I think

at the various cooperative farming

a farmer,” he said. “There’s a lot of

collaboration is one of the ways to

arrangements that exist in other

benefits to seeing what else is out

make it succeed,” he said.

commodities and work out the best

there – it’s very exciting.”

to collaboration.

“As an industry, we had a season in

ones that suits our needs.

“Working with Ashley has really

which overall tonnage was reduced

“If you’ve got a way of working with

opened my eyes about efficiency and

by 20 per cent, but my personal

others to make it easier to get the end

how to get to that end product in the

experience has been the opposite.

product, then there’s huge benefits for

quickest, easiest manner whilst also

the whole industry.”

maintaining high quality fruit. That’s

“We’ve had an increased tonnage to last year and we produced it easier than what we did last year – and that’s

Ashley agreed and said their

where the huge benefits are.” v

partnership could become a prototype

through collaboration. Our combined

for other growers.

2020 harvest crop totalled more than

“There’s no reason why others can’t

500 tonnes.”

pick up on the same thing,” he said.

Both Warren and Ashley were excited

“You see more and more collaboration

by what collaboration could mean for

through other areas of farming – I think

the future of the industry.

dried fruit has just got to catch up.”

VINE MAGAZINE 7


NEWS

Future-proofing industry

Table grape growers Australia-wide will soon have access to a national extension service.

greater information-sharing across the

Alison said the role of an IDO would

industry.

provide an essential representation

ATGA CEO Jeff Scott said the project

for Australian table grape growers on

The Australian Table Grape Association

announcement was “exciting news” for

practical issues.

the industry, and looked forward to

“The Australian table grape industry

the project kicking off formally when,

has secured the first major Australia-

has been incredibly successful in

it is anticipated, events could be held

wide extension project for the industry,

developing export markets, ensuring

in-person, in early 2021.

quality of fruit and introducing and

“These sessions will be very similar to

adopting new varieties,” Alison said.

the very successful InnoGrape program

“With that increasing focus on export

which will assist with the adoption of industry best practice, innovation for production and post-harvest capabilities for table grape growers in all major growing regions.

the ATGA conducted a few years ago,” Jeff said. “It is hoped to provide industry with best practice and innovation

The three-year project, Extension of

for production and post-harvest

technologies and best management

capabilities for all table grape growers.

practice to the Australian table grape

In turn this will drive domestic and

industry, was funded by Hort Innovation

export market development and access

using the table grape research and

through increased industry knowledge

development levy and funds from the

and awareness.

Australian government.

markets comes an ever-increasing need for all growers to have access to information and support. The CEO represents industry at a national and international level, but the industry also needs people on the ground, working with and representing growers on more practical issues, for example, biosecurity, MRLs, harvest labour or

Alison MacGregor, who provides

other issues where the whole industry

It will involve hiring two new ATGA staff

consultancy services to viticulture

needs to share in a solution.

members – an industry development

and also works part-time for Citrus

manager (IDM) and an industry

Australia, delivered a number of

development officer (IDO) – conducting

the well-received InnoGrape field

workshops, field days and forums, and

day sessions (pictured overleaf) in

Alison said she didn’t see the role of

producing content to help develop

2015/2016.

an IDO “overlapping” with the work of

8 VINE MAGAZINE

“Those are the issues that should be supported by an IDO.”


NEWS

privately contracted agronomists, but

help with market access issues or any

demonstrations, and interactive

instead “supporting growers on issues

other issue is invaluable.

engagement.

“(An IDM/IDO) would definitely be one

Three industry tools will be developed

of the missing links, having someone

to facilitate adoption and adaption

seeing the industry as a whole and

of research outcomes and extension

The project will be delivered by the

visiting different growers would paint

of technologies, which could be

ATGA with the support of the regional

a picture as to what is working in the

spreadsheets, manuals or videos.

table grape associations. They will

industry and what isn’t.”

that commercial agronomists don’t tend to address, and providing that support to the whole industry”.

use their local industry connections, knowledge of regional issues and established relationships to help facilitate the delivery of the project, to ensure the outcomes and benefits are tailored. Sunraysia Table Grape Growers Association president Dominic Sergi said that “any help (growers) could get would be great”.

ATGA’s communications project,

The project aligns directly with

also funded by Hort Innovation, will

outcomes of the Table Grape Strategic

link in with the extension project to

Investment Plan 2017–2021,

ensure ATGA can deliver information

particularly the overarching goal

in a timely way through a number of

of “improved capability across the

communications channels – this will

industry to implement improvement in

include technical articles written by

supply and quality”.

the IDM and IDO in the Vine and

Each year, ATGA will conduct four

Pick of the Bunch.

workshop and field day sessions

A number of new fact sheets will be

to inform growers of relevant new

developed and made available to

“Every year there are more challenges

technologies and best management

industry.

facing growers and anyone in

practices.

Videos recapping and promoting field

their corner to help with potential challenges is a huge benefit,” he said.

Regional forums will be hosted in Mildura, Robinvale, Swan Valley,

days as well as informative content will further enhance the ATGA’s delivery of information.

“We have learnt this year that the

St George, Emerald and either

world’s markets are very fragile. To

Carnarvon or Mundubbera, consisting

At a foundation level, these outputs,

have someone that could potentially

of a combination of presentations,

as well as the on-the-ground support

VINE MAGAZINE 9


NEWS

from industry development staff, aim

strategies while also maximising

workshops on audits etc., bringing

to build growers capacity to adopt best

opportunities for table grape growers

growers up to speed,” Nick said.

management practices.

to learn from each other about

On a higher level, the outcomes aim

practical production.”

“The other thing is, I think growers that need that assistance always

to facilitate greater information-

ATGA board member and Robinvale

receive that assistance more if it’s

sharing across the industry to ensure

grower Nick Muraca said the role of an

at home than if it’s at a meeting. Not

sustainability through cohesion, and

IDO will be vital for long-term industry

everybody’s confident enough to get

long-term profitability.

sustainability.

up and speak at a meeting but if you’re

“Growers learn heaps from other

“It’s a bit hard to do research into

growers, and an IDO needs to facilitate

market maintenance when you don’t

that sharing of know-how between

even know what you’ve got in the

growers,” Alison said.

ground,” Nick said.

“Prioritising the topics or issues that

Nick said while many growers were

growers want most support on is

already established and receiving

always a challenge. Some industry

practical advice from agronomists, he

members will want a quick fix on a

believed greater benefits would be

particular topic, but at the same time

in collating information for growers

there are large issues looming that will

which could be used as a tool in the

affect all growers if we are not ready

decision-making process.

with strategies in place to deal with them.

“There is always a sense of nervousness at times when we’re

“The IDO will have to balance their

going to be audited and an IDO could

effort between working on big picture

be a conduit to run some training or

10 VINE MAGAZINE

sitting around your kitchen table or in the smoko room or down the block, it’s a different story.” Whether it’s on-farm assistance to growers, hosting field days or presentations, or facilitating information delivery through communication channels, landing the much-needed three-year project will assist in the overall plan to futureproof Australia’s table grape industry. v


NEWS

Minimum wage set for staggered increase The Fair Work Commission (FWC) announced an increase of 1.75 per cent to the minimum wage, following its annual wage review in June. While the increase and new pay guides apply to all awards, including the Horticulture Award, they won’t come into effect until 1 November 2020 – just in time for the 2020-21 season. The new rates would normally apply from 1 July each year, but the FWC’s staggered approach was based on restrictions to contain COVID-19, meaning that essential workers – such as healthcare, social assistance, teachers and childcare workers – would receive the pay rise from

1 July; agriculture, construction, manufacturing and other industries would receive the increase from 1 November; while accommodation, food services, arts, recreation, aviation, retail and tourism would not receive a pay rise until 1 February 2021. This year’s increase is well down on union advice to increase the national minimum wage by 4 per cent, but FWC president Iain Ross said a higher increase “would pose a real risk of disemployment, and of adversely affecting the employment opportunities of the low-skilled and young workers”. The pay rise will apply from the

workers participating in the “planting, picking, sorting and packing of fruit and vegetables”. The FWC advised that employers could face significant penalties for not paying employees the correct pay and entitlements. The piecework rate must allow the “average competent employee” to earn at least 15 per cent more per hour than the relevant minimum hourly rate in the Horticulture Award at the time the piecework agreement is entered into. More information is available at Fair Work Ombudsman’s Horticulture Showcase, including pay rates, hourly rates, allowances, piecework rates and tax and superannuation advice.v

first full pay period on or after 1 November 2020, and includes all

VINE MAGAZINE 11


DFA CHAIR & CEO NEWS

Life in lockdown A note from our chair What a season it’s been – heat, rain, and more rain, and water prices at their highest in many years. It all happened at the wrong time, putting harvest back many weeks. It was hard to get those last patches off – every time you thought you could harvest, rain would tumble down. Dehydrators were in full swing – running day and night – and getting gas when needed was a problem too. Fruit was still being harvested and delivered in June, which for us has never happened in all our 41 years in the industry. Yet, we had all vines cut and drying by the first week of March. We’ve been very fortunate with great drying weather the last few years, but it was a very different story this season. Overall, it looks like we will be down by 20–30 per cent on last year’s crop. On a positive note, Sunmuscat proved how good it is at holding up to the rain, showing very little damage. Sunglo did the same, although it received severe sunburn earlier in the year. Labour discussions have taken up much of my spare time, with meetings with ministers, the National Farmers’ Federation and other industry bodies on what we require going forward and

how COVID-19 could affect our requirements. One of the main issues raised was access to workers with basic training in what’s required in the job. While this was from a work-safe perspective, there was also much discussion on what was expected in terms of workers’ social behaviour on the job. There was agreement around the idea of training with the possibility of a white card to show they have training in certain areas. Who pays and how it will be implemented is the big question. Finally, I would like to thank Dolores for her work ethic and banter over the last 10 years – enjoy your retirement.

News from our CEO After being in lockdown since March, it’s great that some form of normality is starting to return. While our team has been working from home and taking it in turns to be in the office, we are gradually getting back to normal, with events being planned for on-farm instead of online. We look forward to seeing you at our upcoming field walks. COVID-19, however, remains an ongoing challenge for everyone. DFA has compiled a list of trusted resources and made it available

Mark King | Chair

12 VINE MAGAZINE

to growers in the “members only” section of our website. Please log in if you have any concerns regarding workplace requirements or other issues related to COVID-19. DFA has been actively engaged in discussions with federal and state MPs, along with government departments, on proposed changes to water availability and deliverability, particularly concerning the Goulburn to Murray trade rule review. All forms of the proposed trade rule will have serious implications for horticulture in our region, impacting downstream permanent plantings. These issues were discussed in depth with the Department of Environment, Land, Water and Planning at a meeting with horticultural commodity groups. Advocacy on this important issue will continue throughout the coming months. In this edition of the Vine, we pay tribute to Dolores Shaw-Wait who is retiring. Dolores will be greatly missed by everyone. Over her years with DFA (and formerly ADFA), Dolores provided exceptional administrative and financial support for the staff and board and cultivated great relationships with growers and processors, often being present on the barbecue at field events and helping out wherever needed. We wish Dolores all the best for the future and thank her for her dedication to the dried fruits industry. v

Anne Mansell | CEO


ATGA CHAIR & CEO NEWS

Season of change A note from our acting chair Hi everyone. I am writing this in my capacity as acting chair until the ATGA’s next annual general meeting at which time the board will elect a new chair of the ATGA. “Challenging” is a word that was thrown around quite a bit this season. The challenges of water, labour, heat and then, something we couldn’t have even predicted – COVID-19. Recent shake-ups to the industry regarding intellectual property rights infringements shouldn’t scare growers or cause them to get on the back foot. They should make those doing the wrong thing want to clean up, be accountable and be fair – to make a better industry now and for the future. There is a great deal of uncertainty about the future – about how we will source labour, what will become of our markets, and what climate events might unfold. This is nothing new for growers – uncertainty isn’t new. At the same time, though, there is still positivity. If the past few months are anything to go by, they show that, while there are challenges, and there is the unknown, there is still positivity for the table grape industry. New projects are due to open up opportunities for greater unity and

Jeremey Boyd | Acting chair

support for our growers Australiawide. Export statistics show the value of our product is increasing and that is as much due to increased demand for fresh, clean product that boosts the immune system, as it is our innovative growing techniques and quality assurance systems in place. It’s also due, in part, to the endeavours of the proprietary breeders, who provide us with the high-quality varieties valued in export markets. As an industry, we have a lot to look forward to!

News from our CEO The export season is now over and many of you have finished pruning. It has been a difficult year for most. The growers that harvest early maturity fruit may have beaten the COVID-19 disaster, but those growers with fruit hitting the markets from end of March onwards experienced some difficult times with lower prices on offer, slow payments, and issues with importers. The lack of quota issues in Indonesia did not help the situation as well. Having said that, the export statistics to the end of May have broken all records, including last year’s outstanding result. By the end of May, a total of 147,893

tonnes had been exported, with a value of $610 million, surpassing last year’s record of $555 million. In other exciting news for table grape growers, the ATGA has just signed a new contract with Hort Innovation which will deliver three years of extension services in all major table grape growing regions. You may have read more about what this project will mean for the industry on pages 8-10. Another important project the ATGA has been delivering, which is coming up for renewal, is the Export Readiness project. This is the priority project for the ATGA and for table grape growers and exporters. Outcomes of this project and its predecessors include our successful market access gains to China, Japan and South Korea. To find out more about this project and what it has achieved over the past three years, take a look at our Table Grape News on pages 16–17. On a sad note, Keith Leamon passed away recently. Keith was a pioneer of the table grape industry, having worked for the Victorian Department of Agriculture/ Department of Primary Industries for more than 45 years. His tireless efforts working with growers during the industry’s infancy, as well as his research into postharvest management of grapes, and the introduction of the quality assurance system, were integral to the industry’s survival.v

Jeff Scott | CEO

VINE MAGAZINE 13


DRIED GRAPE NEWS

Pruning & nutrition focus News from our field officer Our work into the mechanisation of winter pruning with the Mallee Regional Innovation Centre (MRIC) continues. Robert Ross from LaTrobe University was able to visit Mildura in early June to test a few concepts, furthering our investigation into a mechanised system. Robert had chosen three different types of cutting mechanisms to trial, and thanks to John Hunt we were able to get on farm and have a go

and clean cut. It was, however, difficult to manoeuvre into the base of the cane to position for cutting. To overcome this, a larger version could probably be developed to match the curve of the cordon. However, the potential cost of this larger router bit, and the thought that if it were misaligned its spinning motion would have the propensity to bite into the cordon, has taken it out of contention for the moment. The third option was a circular saw blade. The version we trialled was a little problematic as it was underpowered for the job, being a

at a few vines.

50mm blade on a Dremel motor. It

The first – an oscillating blade system

canes and it did give a significant

– seemed to have some significant positive attributes. It is much safer and could probably touch your hand and not damage it. Its cutting edge extends well out in front of the motor body, making it easier to access the base of the cane for cutting. It gave a clean cut for anything up to about 22mm in diameter. On the downside, it was slower than the cut you get with electric secateurs, but it was still fast enough to remain in consideration for the final prototype development.

wasn’t really able to cut the larger kick back, as is often the case with the motion of a circular saw blade. However, it did look to have promise, so we are going to look at a larger circular saw on a larger motor, such as 100–125mm saw blade on an angle grinder type motor. If this doesn’t present too many safety issues it may be an option. Thanks to Robert for making the time to come up to kick the program off. Thanks also to the small team of dried

Talking nutrition Vine nutrition has been a recent discussion point as part of our events program. If you haven’t had time to check in on this, we have redesigned the nutrition recommendations from the dried fruit production manual and even developed a spreadsheet to help with planning out applications. Remember that the fertiliser recommendations provided by DFA are only focussed on resupplying the nutrients taken out of the system in the fruit you harvest off your property. There are still more benefits from understanding the exact requirements of your production system – perhaps with the help of a nutrition specialist – and developing a program to suit your specific needs. The tables opposite show: - The amount of the major nutrients required to replace those taken out by your crop - The amounts of each nutrient available in generic fertiliser types - The best times of the season to apply broad nutrient group.

grape growers (and part-time and full-

The second tool was a router bit.

For those interested in using the

time engineers) I invited to give Robert

Spinning at high speed, it gave a quick

more detailed Excel spreadsheet

the guidance he was after.

that helps bring together these bits of information into a basic nutrition program, please contact me. v Stuart Putland Dried Fruits Australia field officer 03 5023 5174 projects@driedfruitsaustralia.org.au

Left: DFA’s Stuart Putland and Anne Mansell watching LaTrobe University’s Robert Ross test cutting mechanisms in the field.

14 VINE MAGAZINE


DRIED GRAPE NEWS

APPROXIMATE AMOUNTS OF NUTRIENTS REMOVED IN DRIED GRAPES NUTRIENT

5-6t/ha crop (2-2.5T/acre)

6-7t/ha crop (2.5-2.8T/acre)

7-8t/ha crop (2.8-3.2T/acre)

N P K

50kg 7kg 56kg

63kg 8kg 70kg

74kg 10kg 82kg

NUTRIENT CONCENTRATIONS (%) IN THE MAJOR FERTILISERS FERTILISER Urea Ammonium nitrate Ammonium sulphate (sulphate of ammonia) Mono-ammonium phosphate (MAP) Di-ammonium phosphate (DAP) Potassium nitrate Calcium nitrate Superphosphate Double strength superphosphate Triple strength superphosphate Potassium chloride (muriate of potash) Potassium sulphate (sulphate of potash) Mono-potassium phosphate Di-poitassium phosphate Magnesium sulphate (eposon salts) Dolomite

N

P

K

Ca

Mg

S

Cl

46 34 21 10-11 18 13 15 -

22-23 20 8.6 18 21 23 18 -

38 50 42 29 45 -

22 22

20 13

24 11 4.5 1.5 17 27 -

48 -

SEASONAL UPTAKE OF NUTRIENTS SEPTEMBER

OCTOBER

NOVEMBER

DECEMBER

JANUARY

FEBRUARY

MARCH

APRIL

MAY

SEPTEMBER

OCTOBER

NOVEMBER

DECEMBER

JANUARY

FEBRUARY

MARCH

APRIL

MAY

N P K

BUD BURST

FLOWERING

BERRY SOFTENING

HARVEST & CUTTING

LEAF FALL

Source: Dried Grape Production Manual

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VINE MAGAZINE 15


TABLE GRAPE NEWS

Building capacity BO OST I N G I N D U ST RY TH R O U G H C R I TI CA L P R O J EC TS

The Australian table grape industry’s priority export market project is due for renewal. The most recent project in a series of Hort Innovation-funded projects centred on building growers’ export capacity and market maintenance, Table grape export readiness and market access will come to an end in September, with a new export investment set to begin soon after. This phase of the project began in 2018 and followed on from Export market access, maintenance, biosecurity and developing export markets for the Australian table grape industry, which ran from 2014 to 2017. Prior to this the ATGA has

including inspections from two

process for all growers who export,”

Korean inspectors and from the New

Jeff said.

Zealand inspector, and the unwavering advocacy for growers in overcoming trade issues with Indonesia. ATGA CEO Jeff Scott said the organisation worked “extremely closely” with the Federal Minister for Agriculture and Minister for Trade during the 2019/20 trade season. “Despite all our efforts Indonesia only drip fed the new export licences until the start of June, when they allocated a quota of 122,000 tonnes of grapes for import,” Jeff said.

ATGA board member and Robinvale grower Nick Muraca said Australian growers “can’t get enough” of projects like this. “The market access project has played a great role and I think it was very successful and we can’t get enough of that,” Nick said. Nick said the coordination of trade missions, connecting exporters to buyers, and researching new and emerging markets was an integral part of the project, and would be vital for

“Whilst this announcement was a

table grape exporters in the future,

breakthrough, it came way too late

particularly in light of COVID-19.

for our export season, which was disappointing and frustrating for the

“I think we need more of it, because you can go to China and Hong Kong

had market access projects dating

growers.”

back to 2005.

Jeff said the most valuable element

off you and do business with you but

Coordinating export inspections,

of the project was building grower

you don’t really know where do they

maintaining the export registration

awareness about the export process.

financially stand, how reputable are

system, facilitating access to buyers

“The most valuable aspect of the

through inbound and outbound trade missions and trade shows and communicating to growers are just some of the outcomes of the most current project.

project has been the continual

and everybody wants to buy grapes

they, who’s recommending these guys,” he said.

education of growers around

“You would think when it’s done

exporting procedures of registrations,

government to government that it’s

and accredited property requirements

done with integrity.

to ensure growers are compliant with

“COVID will play a huge part in where

ATGA CEO Jeff Scott said there

government requirements,” he said.

were many highlights of the project,

Highlights of previous market access

(in the future), but we hope it won’t be

projects, which have been running

with us forever.” v

including negotiating a provision to Korean protocol that led to a significant increase in exports, some 152 per cent higher in 2019/20 than 2018/19 (results to the end of May 2020). Other important achievements in 2019–20 include the establishment of the national minimum maturity standards (which also act as

since the ATGA first aligned with Horticulture Australia Limited, the forerunner to Hort Innovation, in 2005, include gaining access to China (2011), Japan and South Korea (2014), as well as the significant undertaking in 2016 to instruct growers on using the new geographical spatial export registration system on its

the export quality standards),

introduction.

coordination of the international

“This was an enormous breakthrough

inspections for protocol markets,

in technology and has streamlined the

16 VINE MAGAZINE

we go and what we can and can’t do


TABLE GRAPE NEWS

Export season snapshot TO M AY 2 0 2 0

Early results to the end of May 2020 predict another record-breaking year.

8 per cent to $4.12, partially

the actual return to growers, but the

influenced by the exchange rate.

export statistic price (value). Full

While the total volume to the end of

season results will be published in the

By the end of May, exports reached

per cent above last year’s results for

147,893 tonnes, with a value of

the same period, the ATGA recognises

A$609.7 million. Unit value increased

these are not farm gate prices, nor

May was up 5 per cent, and value 13

Country

Tonnes

Growth (v)

China Indonesia Japan Hong Kong South Korea Vietnam Phillipines Thailand Malaysia United Arab Emirates Singapore New Zealand Taiwan Bangladesh Saudi Arabia Qatar Kuwait Sri Lanka All other

62,826 12,512 11,132 8992 8155 7518 7507 6431 4836 3537 3107 3103 3049 2435 731 681 558 369 1414

+12% -43% -16% 17% 152% -3% 14% -6% 23% 84% -9% 0% 98% 103% 158% 129% 122% 54%

147,893 t 5%

November edition of the Vine. v

$

Value $M $609.7 13% $ per kg $4.12 8%

by sea 96% by air 4% The export tonnages of China and Hong Kong combined accounted for almost 50% of total exports. Full season results will be available in the November edition of the Vine Source: Fresh Intelligence

VINE MAGAZINE 17


PRUNE NEWS

Social media strength A PI A PRO M OTI O N S U P DATE

As the world bunkers down, encouraging isolation and social distancing during COVID-19, the Australian prune industry has used the opportunity to become better connected. Australian Prune Industry Association promotions coordinator Jane McCorkell said the industry had changed its promotional plans in 2020. “APIA had planned to attend a number of events in 2020, but they were either postponed or cancelled when COVID-19 hit Australian shores,” Jane said. “With so many people stuck at home and turning to social media and the internet for their entertainment needs, it was an ideal time for APIA to re-focus efforts towards promoting prunes more widely through our social media channels.” Since March, APIA commenced two campaigns which continue to highlight the industry’s main messaging

18 VINE MAGAZINE

– delicious, versatile, healthy and

uses in different countries, with the

nutritious. With COVID-19 social

goal of finding a prune dish from every

restrictions in place, Jane added

country.

“experiment at home”, “available always”, and “long shelf-life” to the messages. Focused social media campaigns in May and June helped to increase awareness of the organisation’s promotional activities and the benefits of eating Australian prunes. “In the four-week period from 25 May, APIA’s three social media platforms – Facebook, Instagram and Twitter – reached almost 85,000 people in total,” Jane said. “This was a massive 496 per cent

“Some countries have scores of recipes to choose from, while recipes are a bit tricky to find for others,” Jane said. “Our focus will be on expanding our social networks to discover recipes and engage with people and organisations to encourage greater interaction with us.” Jane said the campaign hoped to highlight the versatility of prunes, and to create positivity through COVID-19. “People are really enjoying this campaign,” she said.

increase on our previous reach and

“The recipes evoke emotion through

indicates the power of social media

memories and nostalgia, and people

is working for us.”

are encouraged to experiment with

Prunes dishes from around the world

prunes at home by sharing recipes on Facebook and Instagram. “We have seen a huge jump in our

A key component of this success has

engagement – 641 per cent – as people

been the launch of the “prune dishes

share their own favourite recipes or

from around the world” campaign.

comment on those posted.

The campaign is focusing on prune

“We’ve also had over 800 new page


PRUNE NEWS

likes, and now have more than 3000

Hort Innovation has secured 12

social media followers.”

episodes to tell stories of Aussie

Jane is currently producing a second pictorial slideshow to promote the versatility of prunes and is aiming to again increase Ausprune followers.

growers, the food they produce, and associated Hort Innovation levy-funded research and development investments.

She is also currently investigating a

Research and development manager

competition that celebrates each time

and accredited dietitian Jemma

Ausprunes reaches the milestone of an

O’Hanlon will inspire viewers to cook

additional 1000 followers.

with and enjoy a range of Australian

Meet a grower

grown produce, highlighting researched

The second campaign continued the popular “meet a grower” series. This time it featured Coleambally grower Jordan Adams. Jane said the grower profiles were proving to be very popular.

based nutritional facts. “While most commodities only feature once, prunes are scheduled to make appearances in two of the 12 recipes which are to feature on the program,” Jane said. The first partnership episode of

AU S P R U N ES S O C I A L M ED I A S U M M A RY 25 MAY – 21 J U N E

84,589

people reached 496% increase

14,189

post engagements 641% increase

801

new page likes 486% increase

“Our current social audiences respond

My Market Kitchen aired on 26 June

More than 3000

well to posts that feature people from

at 3.30pm on Channel 10, with other episodes to follow.

social media followers

the industry,” she said. “Here we aim to connect and

Easing of social restrictions

educate our audiences on Australian prune production and encourage people to think Australian when purchasing prunes. “APIA spent $200 promoting Jordan’s profile post with very good returns.” The post reached just over 60,000 people and achieved more than 9000 post engagements. This was an excellent result as it means more than 9000 people actively engaged with the post. Jane said the public was interested in hearing more about the people who grow and process prunes, and she would continue to produce small grower profiles. Meanwhile, the around the world campaign is still underway, attracting new people and innovative ways to use prunes in the kitchen.

Hort Innovation Hort innovation will champion prunes

Should COVID-19 restrictions on events ease in 2021, it is likely that APIA will again participate in events like the Good Food & Wine shows and the Dietitians Association of Australia Annual Conference. Jane said the events category was still very much up in the air with different restrictions in each state and territory. “APIA will need to consider the benefit of attending if restrictions are imposed to limit participant numbers, or the ability to offer tastings,” she said. Growers can hear a full account of this year’s promotional activities at the APIA Annual Conference which is scheduled for Tuesday 13 October. v

“With so many people stuck at home and turning to social media and the internet for their entertainment needs, it was an ideal time for APIA to re-focus efforts towards promoting prunes more widely through our social media channels.”

Opposite page: Left and middle : Coleambally grower Jordan Adams features in APIA’s “meet a grower” social media campaign with his two children Joey and Sophie. Remaining images: A selection of delicious prune recipes can be found at www.ausprunes.org.au

in a new partnership with free-toair television program, My Market Kitchen. The Channel 10 program showcases fresh produce with healthy recipes to inspire viewer to consume more fresh produce on a daily basis.

VINE MAGAZINE 19


NEWS

“Productive, profitable & sustainable” E N S U RI N G T HE F U TU R E O F H O RTI C U LTU R E Not even the most creative Hollywood script writer would have come up with the storyline of 2019 and 2020 (so far), writes National Farmers’ Federation CEO Tony Mahar. A once-in-a-generation drought, devastating bushfires and now

including by ensuring that agricultural

As the picking season approaches,

freight (inputs and outputs) was able

angst about workforce shortages is

to cross state borders, facilities such

rising. The NFF encourages farmers

as packing sheds remained operating,

to register their labour needs with the

and that measures were put in place

Harvest Trail website – a service that

to safeguard the farm workforce.

matches farmers with job seekers.

Key to keeping farming and food production operating uninterrupted was the classification of agriculture

We are talking with government about new measures to attract local job seekers to farm work and have renewed the call for the introduction

COVID-19 have impacted almost all

as an “essential service”.

Australians, including farmers.

Of importance to the horticulture

The NFF, through the Horticulture

sector was the Federal Government’s

COVID-19 recovery

Council and with our members,

decision, following advocacy from the NFF, to extend the visas of

Notwithstanding the developing

including Dried Fruits Australia and the Australian Table Grape

foreign workers already in Australia

Association, has worked hard to

and working on farms – specifically

ensure that in the face of these

working holiday makers and seasonal

hurdles, farmers have remained

worker program visa-holders.

productive, profitable and sustainable.

To assist with keeping farmers, farm workers and communities safe

of an agriculture-specific visa.

situation in Victoria at the time of writing, the NFF has turned our focus to agriculture’s role in the nation’s economic recovery. Our Get Australia Growing document puts a microscope over NFF’s established priorities and identifies the policy levers, the investments and the innovations that

Agriculture as an essential service

from the virus, the NFF developed a

In the early days of the COVID-19

regarding self-isolation, social

pandemic, the NFF, industry and

distancing and hygiene. Importantly,

A focus of Get Australia Growing is

government secured the continuity of

it also speaks to farmers legal

a call for a renaissance of Australia’s

agriculture and the food supply chain,

obligations as employers.

food manufacturing sector –

20 VINE MAGAZINE

Workplace Safety Guide. The guide outlines best practice management

will deliver the highest impact – not just for agriculture but for the country as whole.


NEWS

particularly in regional areas. We are

we also made a submission to the

calling on governments of all levels to

Federal Government’s Bushfire Royal

work together on a properly resourced

Commission.

strategic plan backed by a multibusiness case for agrifood processing

Workpac v Skene & Workpac v Rossato

in regional Australia and by connecting

A decision in WorkPac v Rossato,

million investment to strengthen the

regional Australia as a whole.

during May, effectively confirmed

A new approach to drought

that employees who were notionally

In October, our members endorsed

demonstrate they were working

a new NFF National Drought Policy.

fixed, regular shifts are considered

The policy prioritises objectives

permanent employees in the eyes of

and outcomes that enhance long-

the law. The practical effect is that

term preparedness, sustainability,

those employees can retroactively

resilience and risk management for

claim leave and other entitlements of

farming businesses and farming

permanent employees despite having

communities to minimise the

received a casual loading. The NFF

impact of drought. Last month, we

produced a guidance document for

welcomed the announcement of the

employers who are concerned that

first projects within the Federal

this decision may have an impact on

Government’s $5 billion Future

their business.

Drought Fund, many of which speak

engaged as casuals but could

directly to NFF’s National Drought

Murray-Darling Basin Plan

Policy.

More than half of Australia’s irrigated

Bushfire support and recovery

agriculture is in the Murray Darling

During and in the aftermath of

basin ministers to implement the

summer’s devastating bushfire events,

swathe of recommended changes

that impacted many horticulture

to ensure the plan better delivers

growers across all affected

for farmers, communities and the

states, the NFF provided essential

environment. v

information to farmers via www. farmhub.org.au. The NFF continues to be engaged on a range of government bushfire recovery roundtables and

Basin. Through the Water Committee, NFF members continue to call for

Tony Mahar | NFF CEO tmahar@nff.org.au

A B O U T TH E N F F H O RTI C U LTU R E COUNCIL In 2018, the NFF established the Horticulture Council – a dedicated, united and tailored body representing the best interests of Australia’s $11 billion production and ornamental horticulture sectors. Today, the council includes 19 members, made up of state farming organisations and specific commodity representative bodies. The priority issues for the council are pursuing new and expanded trade opportunities, biosecurity and workplace and industrial relations.

www.farmers.org.au

VINE MAGAZINE 21


RESEARCH

Healthy dried grapes Dried Fruits Australia has partnered with the University of South Australia to investigate the benefits of consuming dried grapes. The research will assist with the promotion and marketing of Australian dried grape products by identifying their current scientifically known health benefits as well as

“After hearing about the Nuts for Life

consumption of almonds, cranberries

project at the Mildura conference,

and sultanas. Data from that project,

DFA began working on a similar

funded by the International Nut and

trajectory of research and promotion.

Dried Fruit Council, is expected to be

The tree nut industry has instigated

available in 2021.

various campaigns promoting the benefits of consuming nuts, which commenced with thorough and comprehensive nutritional research to provide sufficient and significant evidence.

Alison said the current project would provide a synthesis of the best-available scientific research evidence on the impact of dried grape consumption on human health. “We are undertaking a systematic

potential benefits that could be

“We look forward to bringing

confirmed through further research

you further updates as the

and testing.

project progresses.”

DFA CEO Anne Mansell said it became

The six-month research project,

associated with these benefits,”

clear during discussions at last year’s

funded by the Australian Dried Vine

she said.

International Seedless Dried Grape

Fruits Trust, will be led by Professor

Producing Countries Conference that

Alison Coates. Alison, who is a

further work was required to evidence

registered nutritionist and director of

and promote the health benefits of

the Alliance for Research in Exercise,

dried grapes.

Nutrition and Activity at UniSA, will

“With so many messages now available to consumers about food products and their health benefits, it’s important that the many advantages

work with an expert and experienced

what evidence currently exists and to understand the mechanisms

“The literature will undergo a critical appraisal so that we can systematically consider the robustness of the methodology used and compare the findings.

team that includes Dr Alison Hill,

“This work is important as it will

Professor Jonathan Buckley and

help the industry understand what

Associate Professor Steve Milanese.

evidence currently exists and

of dried grapes can be promoted

Interestingly, Jonathan is also

through tried and tested research,”

leading a project looking at exercise

Anne said.

performance associated with the

22 VINE MAGAZINE

review of the literature to understand

identify options for future directions of research.” v


TRIBUTE

Vale Keith Charles Leamon The May Vine magazine featured a story on Keith Leamon’s contribution to the table grape industry. Sadly, Keith passed away shortly after that edition was published.

“As one of the people who worked

“Keith was the sort of person who

closely with Keith during his 45-year

could always draw a crowd. The reason

career in the Victorian Department

he could do that was because he

of Agriculture, I wish to reiterate what

could speak at all levels – he could

an inspirational, humble and dedicated

really engage growers. He had the

leader he was. Not only did Keith make

ability to speak at a scientific level,

a significant contribution to

but he also had the ability to speak to

the table grape industry, but on closer

growers at a grower level. … I think

examination it is evident that his work

the table grape industry is indebted

and legacy has supported many of

to him and we’re all better off for his

the industries in the Robinvale and

contribution.”

Sunraysia region. From all of the team that produces the Vine, we send our condolences to the Leamon family. All of us who worked closely with Keith

ATGA inaugural chair & Robinvale & District Table Grape Growers Association former chair Nick Muraca

will miss the wonderful man from ‘the Paris end of Red Cliffs’. ” DFA Field Officer Stuart Putland

VINE MAGAZINE 23


BEST PRACTICE

Frost, its nature and prevention in vineyards Overnight frost during spring, particularly early spring, can cause serious damage to new shoots that would – in the normal course of events – bear that season’s crop. Ice crystals form in cells when the air temperature reaches freezing point and cells burst as a result. Depending on what the temperature falls to and how long the air temperature surrounding the shoots is below freezing point, damage can be quite superficial through to all shoots being effectively destroyed. When an overnight minimum air temperature of 4°C or lower is forecast, there is a reasonable chance of frost (i.e. ice crystals) forming on the ground. Although 4°C is higher than the freezing point of water, the temperature at ground level is likely to be a few degrees lower than the temperature at the internationally

measured at and on which predictions

soils covered by plant trash or cover

are made. The likelihood of frost

crops and recently cultivated soils.

is greater the lower the expected overnight air temperature. Predicted air temperatures below 0°C means that air temperature at canopy height is likely to be conducive to shoot damage by frost.

The more heat that a soil has absorbed during the day the more heat that it can release to the atmosphere overnight to prevent air temperatures dropping to freezing point and below. The warming effect

Based on Bureau of Meteorology data

of overnight heat energy release by

collected at its Mildura site (Figure 1),

soil is enhanced by

and using 4°C as the threshold below which frost is possible, the likelihood of frost is much higher at the start of September than it is at the end of November. Although the incidence of

- cloud cover and fog preventing that heat energy escaping to higher in the atmosphere, - water vapour in the air condensing

frost by the end of November is slim,

to liquid which releases a small

frosts have occurred in the Sunraysia

amount of heat and

region in early to mid-November. The likelihood of frost in September is two to three times greater than the likelihood of frost in October. There is no evidence that the incidence of frost has changed from the time that records started in the 1940s. Soil absorbs heat during the day and releases it at night.

- air movement mixing warmer air with cooler air. Thus, a clean vineyard floor and moist soil reduce the risk of frost damage. As well as moistening the soil, a light irrigation helps pack a recently cultivated soil. Encouraging air movement and mixing with wind machines is effective, but seemingly

accepted standard 1.5m above the

Moist soils, bare soils and compacted

insignificant physical structures can

soil surface that air temperature is

soils absorb more heat than dry soils,

obstruct air flow sufficiently as to

SOIL SURVEY Geoff Kew Qualified for soil survey and land evaluation - 30 years’ experience throughout Australia - Soil amelioration, crop suitability, rootzone depths - Readily available water (RAW) for irrigation Contact: geoff@soilprofile.com.au | m 0409 690 46

24 VINE MAGAZINE


BEST PRACTICE

increase the risk of frost. NO. OF DAYS OVERNIGHT MINIMAL < 4ºC

Some areas of vineyards and some parts of a grape growing region may be more prone to frost than others;

20

these are generally referred to as “frost pockets”. Various strategies can be used to reduce the potential

15

for frost damage in these isolated areas. Improving the potential for

10

air movement is helpful and portable frost machines can be positioned near frost pockets to move and mix the

5

cold air with warmer air. Another strategy is to prune those areas late to delay bud burst and avoid the higher likelihood of frost

0 1

8

15

22

29

SEPTEMBER

6

13

20

27

OCTOBER

4

11

18

25

NOVEMBER

in early spring. Planting late bursting varieties is another.

Figure 1: Number of daily air temperature minimum below 4°C for each spring day at Mildura Airport for 1946–2019. Source: Bureau of Meteorology

A risk management strategy for those areas may be to plant varieties with more fruitful secondary shoots; a recognised varietal trait

Further reading & source material

seldom considered. v

Bureau of Meteorology explainer What is frost?

Michael Treeby and Zelmari Coetzee Agriculture Victoria,

ADFA Dried Grape Production Manual Viticulture. Volume 1 Resources, edited by B.G. Coombe and P.R. Dry

PO Box 905, Mildura VIC 3502

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orchard-rite.com

VINE MAGAZINE 25


BEST PRACTICE

Maximum residue limits for chlormequat The results are in from Dried Fruits Australia’s trial on chlormequat use. Field officer Stuart Putland, who oversaw the trial, has provided some answers.

production systems in the late

Established in September of the

acid, leading to reduced leaf and cane

bunch droop – 38 parts per million or

growth. If applied just before berry

6ml of Get Set per 100L of water

What did we trial?

1960s through to the late 1970s

We applied three treatments:

showed a positive impact of applying

- 100% of the chlormequat label rate

chlormequat on the percentage of

at bunch droop – 76 parts per million

berries set by the vine.

or 13ml of Get Set per 100L of water

Primarily, chlormequat reduces the

- 50% of the chlormequat label rate at

vine’s natural production of gibberellic

2019/20 season, the trial was

set, it theoretically allows the vine to

designed to identify whether it is

- 0% of the chlormequat label rate at

divert its energy into setting berries.

feasible to reduce or even eliminate

bunch droop – 0 parts per million

An application of gibberellic acid later

chlormequat use in currant production systems.

in the season will assist in increasing

All of these were applied at a spray

The work began after the maximum

the size of the currant berries, further

volume of about 2300L per hectare on

enhancing overall production.

21 October 2019.

Why is berry set a problem in Carina currants?

In January 2020, a minimum of 10

Initial research undertaken when the

were counted. Overall, we counted just

residue limit (MRL) for chlormequat in dried grapes delivered into Europe was significantly reduced to 0.05 mg/ kg, compared to the Australian MRL of 0.75 mg/kg.

Carina currant variety was released in

bunches per treatment at each site were taken and weighed and all berries over 72,000 berries.

While this research has provided some

1975 indicated that the caps may not

useful information, it will likely lead to

fall easily from the flowers, preventing

Graph 1 shows that while there was

further trials in coming years before

them from being fertilised properly.

an overall difference in the berries

we can be certain of the results.

The work also indicated that this

retained per bunch between the two

Why use chlormequat?

problem is more pronounced in years

trial sites at Red Cliffs and Irymple,

with unfavourable (wet and humid)

there was no real difference between

Much of the research completed

conditions during this phase

the 100 per cent, 50 per cent or 0 per

on both Zante and Carina currant

of flowering.

cent chlormequat treatments.

GRAPH 1: BERRIES RETAINED PER BUNCH

GRAPH 2: CHLORMEQUAT RESIDUE

1200

.800 .700

1000

RESIDUE MG/KG

BERRIES PER BUNCH

.600 800

600

400

.500 .400 .300 .200

200

.100 .0

0 RED CLIFFS

IRYMPLE

0

38

76

PPM CHLORMEQUAT

SITE 1 0%

SITE 2 0%

SITE 1 50%

SITE 2 50%

SITE 1 100%

SITE 2 100%

EU MRL AUST MRL

TREATMENTS (% OF LABEL RATE APPLIED)

26 VINE MAGAZINE


BEST PRACTICE

K N O W YO U R M R L S

As international markets move toward lower levels of chemical residues in food produce, it is important for dried grape growers to be aware of and adhere to maximum residue limits set by the importing country.

In Australia, producers have access

What about the MRLs?

Dried Fruits Australia continues to

that can be used alongside the

monitor changes to the chemicals

spray diary.

After the fruit was dried, just before

that can be used on farm. That

it was harvested, we collected

information is collated, with input

Growers are strongly encouraged

samples from each of the treatments

from processors, producers,

for residue testing. Graph 2 shows

agronomists and government

that all treatments resulted in

agencies, and provided in the

residue levels below the Australian

annual DFA Spray Diary to help

MRL but that even the 50 per cent of

growers meet the most stringent

label rate treatment didn’t meet the

requirements for export and

new European Union MRL.

domestic markets.

DFA will keep working on this issue

The 2020/21 spray diary will be

with more trial work next season.

out for the start of the new season.

For the coming season, please talk

The diary will be mailed out to DFA

to your processors about the use of

members, while non-members will be

chlormequat on currants.

able to purchase it from DFA.

Finally, thanks to everyone that

In compiling the spray diary, DFA

helped with the trial – Ashley

utilises information from the

Johnstone, John Hunt, Michael Treeby,

Australian Wine Research Institute’s

Sunbeam Foods and Australian

“dog book”, along with information on

Premium Dried Fruits. v

MRLs for dried grape markets from

This tells us that for these vineyards there was no need to spray chlormequat in 2020. But a word of warning – we can’t say this will always hold true. The season was not wet and humid during flowering, which is likely to be the major cause of poor berry set. We will need to do more trials over several years before anything can be confirmed.

to PubCris – the Public Chemical Registration Information System Search: portal.apvma.gov.au/ pubcris. A function of the Australian Pesticides and Veterinary Medicines Authority, Pubcris provides information on specific chemicals, including label rates, product details, and host/pest. It is a valuable tool

to discuss any challenges with their spray program with their processor. v

the following sources. Information on what is allowed by the European Union is sourced from the EU Pesticides Database, which can be found in the “quick links” menu on the European Commission website: ec.europa.eu/food/plant DFA also receives information from

Changes to chemicals that can be used on farm are included in the annual dried grape industry spray diary.

the United States Department of Agriculture, which includes MRL changes occurring across a range of markets, particularly in Asia.

VINE MAGAZINE 27


NEWS

Rights group expands to table grapes A group formed to protect rightsholders and educate growers on intellectual property (IP) has recently launched a table grape chapter. Fruit Rights Australia (FRA) launched in 2014 within the stone fruit industry by rightsholders and breeders, and expanded its focus to include a table grape chapter in May. FRA consultant executive officer Garry Langford said a “key part of the FRA approach” had been about “supply chain education and distribution of information about the value, and the need to respect plant intellectual property (IP), in the form of plant breeders rights”. “Continued access for growers to new

innovation in the form of new PBR protected varieties from breeders and rightsholders can only (be) achieved if the entire supply chain recognises these and other intellectual property rights,” Garry said. Members Sun World International, International Fruit Genetics, SNFL Australia, Grapa Varieties, and ANA Table Grapes came on board to work with FRA. Garry said audits would be starting soon for table grape licence and lease holders, with FRA’s process including an initial “desk audit”, at which point growers would provide details of their plantings to FRA. Once plantings were verified with the FRA table grape members, Garry said FRA would issue compliance certificates.

• • •

Want to learn more?

28 VINE MAGAZINE

“If as a result of that desk audit there are inconsistencies that require the collection of further information, a field audit could be undertaken at an appropriate time,” he said. Audits “won’t be anything new” to growers, with most growers of protected varieties having experienced a planting audit at some point. FRA members have also developed a database of varieties to assist with varietal identification when required. “Continued access for growers to new innovation in the form of new PBR protected varieties from breeders and rightsholders can only be achieved if the entire supply chain recognises these and other intellectual property rights,” Garry said. v


BIOSECURITY

High priority exotic pest threat S POT T ED WI N G D R O S O P H I L A

The spotted wing drosophila (SWD; Drosophila suzukii) is a small fly that attacks a range of soft-skinned fruit including grapes. The pest reduces crop yield and quality through direct feeding damage and secondary infection of the fruit. It has

cylindrical-shaped. The pupae can be

- Make sure you are familiar with

found in fruit or soil, where they grow

common grapevine pests so you can

into adult flies.

tell if you see something different

Signs of infestation The presence of maggots in intact fruit prior to harvest should alert suspicion to a possible SWD infestation as SWD larvae can stay hidden in developing or

- Ensure all staff and visitors adhere to on-farm biosecurity and hygiene practices. If you have noticed anything unusual in your vineyard, call the Exotic Plant

a significant impact on fruit production

ripe fruit until pupation.

Pest Hotline on 1800 084 881.

as, unlike other Drosophila flies, SWD

Fruit infested with SWD show small

More information

can lay their eggs in healthy ripening fruit, not just over-ripe or decaying fruit. Native to south-east Asia, SWD has

scars and indented soft spots on the surface which are left by the females when they pierce the fruit to lay

For more information about SWD, check out the “cesar” YouTube channel for a range of informative videos on

emerged as a major horticultural pest

their eggs.

following its spread to North America

SWD maggots feed on the fruit pulp,

SWD (youtu.be/pQyFNV65Qvo) and

causing the fruit to soften and collapse

another on the pest’s spread and

and its skin to wrinkle. This damage,

impact (youtu.be/qYBRH5fYpMY). v

and Europe. It is currently not found in Australia and is a high priority pest of both the Australian table grape and dried fruits industries.

particularly skin wrinkling, may be confused with normal aging of

the pest, including one on identifying

This series from Plant Health Australia

Appearance

mature fruit.

features exotic pests that would

Adult SWD are small (2–3mm long)

Infested fruit rots early as the damage caused by egg laying and larval feeding

Australian vineyards should they get

flies with yellow-brown colouring, dark bands on their abdomen, and

makes the fruit prone to secondary

prominent red eyes. They can be

infections.

challenging to identify as they look

Although SWD usually attack fruit

they can distinguish them from the

before harvest, they can also attack

pests that they normally encounter.

almost identical to the common vinegar fly (Drosophila melanogaster).

harvested fruits. Look for signs of

Male SWD have a small dark spot on

SWD on fresh fruit in packing houses.

the end of each wing which distinguish

Protecting your vineyard

them from other Drosophila species found in Australia. In contrast, female SWD are larger than males and do not have dark spots on their wings. They can be distinguished under a microscope from other Drosophila species by their hardened serrated ovipositor – a tube-like organ which the fly uses to

appearance and symptoms so that

Below: Male SWD have dark spots on the end of each wing. Image: Oregon Department of Agriculture.

pest is spread longer distances by the movement of plant material (primarily fruit) infested with eggs or larvae. It is also possible that SWD could be accidently spread on vehicles or machinery.

their eggs.

- C  heck your crop for SWD activity

internally on the fruit. These maggots

Growers should be familiar with their

distances through a crop by flying, the

To protect your vineyard against SWD:

cream or white maggots which feed

through border quarantine controls.

While adult SWD can spread short

puncture the skin of fruit and lay SWD larvae are small (about 3mm long)

survive, spread and establish in

such as damage to both immature and ripe fruit -S  ource high health status (preferably

develop into 2–3mm long pupae

certified) plant material from reliable

that are red to brown coloured and

and accredited suppliers

VINE MAGAZINE 29


BIOSECURITY

PHA welcomes new CEO Plant Health Australia has welcomed a new CEO, Sarah Corcoran. In July, Sarah Corcoran commenced as CEO of Plant Health Australia (PHA), the national coordinator of the government-industry partnership on plant biosecurity. PHA chair Steve McCutcheon said Sarah was awarded the position in April following a rigorous recruitment process undertaken by the PHA board. “She brings a wealth of experience to the role, with over 20 years working in biosecurity, including leading responses to exotic pest and disease incursions,” Steve said. In her previous role as executive director, biosecurity and animal welfare; infrastructure and major projects with the Northern Territory Government, Sarah was at the forefront of leading the response to the citrus canker outbreak. Prior to that, she held a number of senior plant biosecurity positions with the Queensland Government and led the largest invasive ant eradication program ever undertaken in Australia. In welcoming her to the company, Steve McCutcheon said that he looked

30 VINE MAGAZINE

forward to working with Sarah to continue PHA’s ongoing work in the plant biosecurity system. “PHA’s unique role is to bring stakeholders together from government, industry and the supply chain to generate biosecurity solutions that benefit Australian producers and the environment.” Sarah said that she is eager to take on a broader role in the national system. “In the past I have worked with PHA on a number of projects and responses to incursions. But there’s much more to PHA, including work in the areas of preparedness and training,” she said. “In my role as CEO I look forward to building on the good relationships we hold with our stakeholders and continuing to bring people together to create solutions from a national perspective.” Sarah takes over the role from former long-serving PHA CEO and executive director, Greg Fraser. Greg was appointed to this role in 2008 and, in the following 12 years, made a significant contribution to the growth of the organisation and Australia’s plant biosecurity system. Under Greg’s leadership, PHA

expanded its role in response to increasing plant biosecurity risks by developing and delivering a number of important national programs to help industry and government better prepare and respond to these risks. Greg also established a strong relationship between PHA and its members to ensure this expansion of role has had their support and investment. In a farewell note, Greg reflected on the growing number of staff at the organisation during his time as CEO. “Over the last 12 years or so, PHA has moved from a business with less than 30 years combined experience to having over 35 staff with an average tenure of around five years,” Greg said. “This represents 175 years’ worth of engagement with you, our members and stakeholders, with an increased understanding of plant biosecurity emergency responses and providing a wide range of services.” v

Below; Left: Sarah Corcoran is the new CEO of PHA. Right: Steve McCutcheon (PHA chair) and Greg Fraser (former PHA executive director and CEO)


NEWS

Dolores farewells dried fruits “family” Dolores Shaw-Wait has seen it all in the dried fruits industry – drought, locusts, flood, hailstorms and a global pandemic. She has been the membership and administration officer at Dried Fruits Australia (DFA) for the past 10 years, starting in a temporary maternity leave position in March 2010. Dolores said much had changed during her time in the position, which began when the then Australian Dried Fruits Association shop was on Deakin Avenue in Mildura. “We were doing research back then, but we seem to be doing more of that now – more looking for funding and more innovation,” she said. “We’ve also got more corporates

officer was taking phone calls from

“I’ve loved working here. I’ve had a

growers looking for assistance.

couple of jobs that I’ve really enjoyed, and I’ve really enjoyed this one.

coming into the growing field now,

“I mightn’t know what they have to

which we didn’t have back then. They

do, but I have to know someone who

“It’s one of those places that you come

see the value in the industry. We’ve

can tell them where to go to get that

in and it’s just like coming home.”

always seen the value, but they’re

support and guidance they need,”

seeing the value, which is good.”

she said.

When she started in her role, Dolores

Dolores said she had witnessed the

forward to spending time on her

admitted she knew little about dried

industry’s push to find more dried

houseboat on the Murray River

grape production, but soon learnt just

grape markets, a change in production

and travelling to see the Great

what it took to survive in the industry.

systems from drying on racks to trellis

Australian Bight.

“When I started, it was a drought,” she said. “Growers were finding it really tough – everyone was finding it really tough. It was a pretty bleak time.” Since then, she’s seen growers deal with floods, locusts, hailstorms and frosts. “Every time I see a weather event now I think, ‘how’s this going to affect growers?’, she said. “I’ve had plenty of dealings with growers and I would have to say that they are a pretty resilient group.” Part of Dolores’ role as a membership

drying and mechanisation, and the effort that went into the innovation of the industry. “They’re always striving to find something new and to do something new,” she said.

After 10 years, Dolores has retired from her DFA role and is looking

Taking on the finance and administration officer role is Robyn Rohrlach, who has an accounting and administration background. Robyn said she was looking forward to the challenges that come along with

Through it all, Dolores said the

the role and to getting to know

highlight of her role was working with

DFA producers. v

the small team at DFA, and praised the leadership of current CEO Anne Mansell and her predecessor Phil Chidgzey. “You couldn’t wish for a better crew,” she said. “It’s a real team environment – a bit of a family.

Above: Dolores Shaw-Wait is retiring from her role as membership and administration officer at DFA.

VINE MAGAZINE 31


PROCESSING & MARKETING

Challenges continue AU ST RA L I A N P R EM I U M D R I ED F R U I TS

The 2020 harvest will be one we like to forget, with extreme heat in December and January followed by regular rain events in March, April and May.

The good news is that the market is

producing less than half the required

still relatively healthy, even taking into

output to make it sustainable.

After several very good drying years,

We see some price pressures coming

took advantage of. This will see some

from the imported origins who are

excellent growth in volume from these

dealing with large crops and different

growers in 2021, which we hope will

pressures from the global situation.

deliver excellent results.v

we were due for a wet harvest season to remind us of the challenges in farming dried grapes. It’s amazing how good drying seasons make us quickly forget the pain of a wet harvest. It’s also unfortunate how quickly we remember how difficult drying grapes is when it rains! The impact on quality, coupled with the increased cost of dehydration and lower grades, makes it a lot less enjoyable from a grower perspective. The same applies to the processor. Although fruit is generally cheaper due to lower grades, the costs are much higher. The ability to supply premium export markets is not possible due to the lack of light colour, which they demand. Therefore,

account the global pandemic. Dried grapes have been in demand, with people using them in home cooking which is thriving while everyone is in lockdown.

Major producers Turkey, USA and South Africa, who all had good crops in their last season, are competing for business in the mass market which has seen them move on price from the

static dehydration. This is a very big change to last season, where very little dehydration was required. The 2019 season fruit was no higher in moisture than 17–18 per cent and

Larry Dichiera | 0408 054 517 larry@apdf.com.au

their harvests. Another big crop from these major origins may put some pressure on global pricing, whereas the opposite will relieve some of this pressure.

owns APDF) has secured the lease for the Advinco property in Nangiloc. This property is Australia’s largest dried grape farm, comprising of 750 hectares, and is across the road from Golden Dried Fruits’ existing 200-hectare property. These properties will be combined and managed under the one company, to be led by experienced vineyard manager Shannon Sharp.

only required finish drying, which

The Advinco property has great

is easy to do with our automated

potential, with current varieties of

process. Many 2020 deliveries were

Thompson, Sunmuscat, Carina, and

20 per cent and above (including more

Selma Pete. We expect it will take two

damage), requiring much more work to

to three years to bring the property

dehydrate to below 13 per cent.

back to health as it is currently

32 VINE MAGAZINE

Grower liaison officer

the next six months as they head into

(owned by Scalzo Foods, which also

combination of continuous oven and

Grower enquiries:

interesting to see how it progresses in

that impact the overall return.

time frame, we have been using a

which many of our family run farms

per cent lower on average. It will be

media that Golden Dried Fruits

it is dehydrated in an acceptable

incentive program in recent years,

grades in export markets – 30–40

You may have read recently in the

received from growers. To ensure

2021. We have run an extensive vine

much lower than Australian premium

into lower grade, lower priced markets

a large volume of the fruit

looking forward to their first crop in

season prior. They are selling at prices

the majority of fruit has to be sold

We are in the middle of dehydrating

We also see many new plantings

Above: Golden Dried Fruits vineyard manager Shannon Sharp and assistant manager Justin Williams.


PROCESSING & MARKETING

Season of surprises S U N B E A M F O O D S & A N G AS PA R K

The COVID-19 pandemic continues across the world and the recent setback in Victoria highlights that there is a fair way to go before we get back to some normality. After the sales spike for all dried fruit products in March/April, sales have returned to expected levels and it’s yet to be seen if there will be a pantry destocking in the second half of the year.

Dried vine fruit Despite the poor weather conditions experienced this season, fruit quality is good and the markets will take everything that’s on offer. We are still in an under-supply situation where we are missing sales opportunities, both domestically and in export markets. The industry is estimating that the 2020 crop will be about 12,500 tonnes, which will be 20 per cent lower than 2019. Sultanas are still the main factor in the reduced crop, but the excessive heat in December/January significantly affected the volume of Sunglo and production from young vines. Their volume was hit hard, with as much as a 50 per cent reduction in yield. Sunmuscat again produced a good consistent crop and Carina currants were good but slightly down on 2019. This season’s rain-affected crop produced a lower grade spread than the excellent results from the 2016–2019 crops. Only 18 per cent of the sultana types graded as light, while just 3 per cent of Sunmuscat was in the light category. In contrast, 2018 produced 76 per cent of sultana types and 61 per cent of Sunmuscat as lightgrade fruit. Importantly this year, with the regular rain events, there was very little

during the harvest period, not when the grapes were most susceptible just prior to the commencement of harvest. This only downgraded the colour – the fruit is sound, presented well and is processing well. There was an increased cost to growers for dehydrating later fruit, as a combination of fruit harvested at higher moisture content and colder, moist conditions prolonged fruit drying. Considering the weather events, there were very few deductions against delivered fruit, which points to growers being prepared and completing drying in a timely manner.

Dried tree fruits

The last few years we have had a year-on-year carry-over accumulation of raisin stocks which required the diversion this year of the fresh product to Mildura Fruit Juices. Thanks go to our accepting suppliers who cooperated to help reduce the pressure on our stocks. This action gets us a step closer to making the

David Swain | 0407 834 044

intake of raisins sustainable again.

Apricots, along with the other dried fruit products, received a kick along with the panic buying in March/April. Quality is very good this season and the industrial market is taking good volumes for their customers. Chill hours for the Riverland at the time of writing are about three to five days behind the standard of 2017, approximately 10 per cent behind this time last year. v Enquiries: Supply manager dried fruit Field officer (including SA) Alan Lister | 0409 437 801 Field officer Gary Simpson | 0429 960 234 Dried tree fruit operations manager (Loxton) Luke Fitzsimmons | 0431 894 515

Prunes The Angas Park prune intake will be down by 30 per cent on the 2019 crop due to adverse weather conditions – excessive heat and rain – experienced through the latter stages of the growing season and the start of harvest. The quality delivered is generally good but, as expected, the wet weather caused some damage resulting in surface sugar on the prunes.

Fresh product was this year diverted to Mildura Fruit Juices to reduce pressure on raisin stocks.

The pitting size range is at an acceptable 70 per cent and a high percentage of the balance is in the greater than 90-pound count range. The Angas Park brand is 100 per cent of our Australian growers’ product and we have secured export sales for the some of the smaller sizes at cost recovery.

berry damage as the rains occurred

VINE MAGAZINE 33


PROCESSING & MARKETING

Sharing in success MU RRAY R I V ER O R G A N I C S

While we continue to source organic produce from our partners and growers around the world, our heartland is the Sunraysia region, where we are proud to partner with local growers. It’s been a challenging season for our industry, but we are confident the next

“The launch of our new organic

seen significant opportunities to grow

range is timely given this shift in the

the industry, further leveraging MRO’s

community and the increased value and

established export capability and

importance of our food system.”

distribution system.

MRO is committed to bringing more

The Australian shopper is evolving,

growth to the Sunraysia region for our

demanding cleaner products and more

growers to capitalise on, and we have

transparency on growing practices.

even more new products to come, with

The Australian Organic Certification

a major launch planned in September

bud logo, which MRO’s products

2020.

carry, is also growing in strength and importance.

season will yield more for us all and we

We are working towards becoming

are excited to work with you to bring

the leader in organics in Australia and

We aim to be a leader in championing

more dried vine fruit to Australian

Asia and showcasing Sunraysia. With

a better-for-you way of life, creating

cupboards.

the success of our Gobble brand in

the best products for our customers

Asia, as part of “Taking Sunraysia to

and bringing scale and global sourcing

Asia”, we have also recently launched

to enable our growers and the entire

Murray River Wholefoods into China.

industry to reach all our consumers.

We are bringing Australian grown

We will continue to deliver growth

sultanas, almonds and macadamias

and business opportunities to the

to customers in China through our

Sunraysia region. We are extremely

own online store on Tmall as well as

proud of our agricultural footprint and

a range of retail partners. Australian

look forward to furthering success

grown is still in high demand and we are

for the region with our ambitious

investing for the future.

2021-and-beyond strategic plans

pantry range.

We choose organic

already underway.

“In the last few months, with the impact

The Australian organics market is

of COVID-19, we are seeing a change

estimated to be worth $2.6 billion,

in behaviour with consumers seeking

with approximately 65 per cent of

better, healthier, more transparent

Australian households now buying

and more ethical food,” MRO chief

organic product or produce yearly, with

marketing officer Tara Lordsmith said.

annual growth of five per cent. We have

This year has been filled with challenges and some great success stories for MRO. We are proud to have launched the Murray River Organics brand in the Australian market and we’re delighted to see more Australian dried vine fruit on retail shelves nationally. You can now find standalone canisters of MRO Australian Sultanas and Sun Muscat Raisins in our new

The demand and our commitment to organics is strong and we are keen to partner and work with growers who have an interest in trying their hand at this new way of farming. If you would like to talk to us about partnering to bring more Australian dried vine fruit to the Australian and international consumer, we welcome the conversation – our door is always open.v Enquiries: Valentina Tripp | 0414 550 337 vtripp@murrayriverorganics.com.au Left: The Murray River Organics brand has recently been launched in Australian Market

34 VINE MAGAZINE


MARKETING

Enhancing impressions N E W W E B S I TE TO L AU N C H S O O N

The Australian Table Grape Association’s new website will soon be revealed. August is the launch month of the new www.australiangrapes.com.au URL, which – as a first look at the industry – is an important marketing tool for Australia’s table grapes. With May 2020 figures foreshadowing another record-breaking season for sales, it is important that the global reputation and value of table grapes be reflected in all ATGA and other table grape communication channels. The new website will see a number of enhancements, including greater functionality and accessibility, up-todate news and information for growers, stakeholders and the wider community. ATGA is working with the major proprietary breeders to showcase

Australia’s intellectual property (IP) protected varieties as well as all public varieties, in an industry first. The gallery of varieties will provide details about each public and commercial variety available in Australia as well as images, with links to proprietary breeders for more information. A global market overview will present market intelligence and information on export markets for growers, exporters and the wider community, while growers will be able to access grower and exporter-only resources and links to export registration. The website’s visuals will be updated to feature brighter imagery highlighting the clean and fresh aspects of Australia’s growing regions buyers love, an important element for consumers both domestically and internationally.

Stakeholders will be able to access the Vine online through the ATGA website, as well Pick of the Bunch, ATGA’s fortnightly newsletter, which is delivered directly to the inbox of some 500 table grape growers and industry members. With website design changing rapidly, it’s important the ATGA adapt to ensure the first impression of the table grape industry is a compelling one, with areas that appeal to a variety of stakeholders. Previews of the new website will be exclusively released to Pick of the Bunch subscribers ahead of the website relaunch date. v Growers who aren’t already registered to receive Pick of the Bunch can email tmilner@atga.net.au to sign up.

Protection of the Ralli Seedless We pride ourselves on the high quality that Ralli Seedless have come to be known for. We’ve received many enquiries about the availability of Ralli Seedless vines and cuttings from next year - once its PBR protection expires. It’s important that industry members understand that this expiry does not put G & I Ralli & Sons Pty Ltd’s (“G & I Ralli”) rights in the Ralli Seedless vines into public domain. All Ralli Seedless vines that are in the possession of nurseries or growers have been supplied by G & I Ralli (or else are illegal), which has never sold the rights of ownership of any Ralli Seedless vines, cuttings or plant material and has only granted leases or licences to the right to grow or propagate fruit from such vines, cuttings or plant material.

The PBR expiry next year does not change the fact that all of those vines, cuttings and plant material are still the property of G & I Ralli. Any person who attempts to deal with them in a way inconsistent with our company’s property rights will be pursued to the fullest extent permitted by law.

We welcome all enquiries pertaining to the supply of Ralli Seedless vines, cuttings or plant material. Please contact: Joe Ralli joe@ralliseedless.com.au m: 0427 375 625

Anyone parting with possession of Ralli Seedless vines, cuttings and plant material or purporting to sell or lease the same, without our company’s prior written approval, or in any other way to deal with them free of our company’s rights and not subject to our prior approval will be, in effect, dealing with our company’s property illegally. Our company would, in such circumstances, be entitled to take court action whether a private prosecution under the criminal law for theft or under the civil law for conversion and it will not hesitate to do so if necessary.

VINE MAGAZINE 35


TECHNOLOGY

Podcasts for the modern farmer You can listen to them anywhere – walking down vine rows, cruising along in the tractor, or in the office – and chances are you have.

AgTech … so what? Investment in agriculture technology and momentum for agtech entrepreneurship is taking off. But this is not new: farmers have been adopting technologies that add value for decades. So is it just hype? What does all the momentum for agtech – from accelerators to venture capital funds to sexy technologies like drones and robots – actually mean for farmers and the agriculture industry? AgTech … so what? tells the stories of innovators working at the intersection of agriculture and technology.

Podcasts have steadily grown in popularity in the past 15 years and, in 2020, if you want to learn about something, there’s sure to be a podcast on it. If you’re not one of the millions of listeners fuelling their murder mystery obsession with true crime podcasts like Serial and Casefile True Crime, or receiving enlightening and comedic doses from The Joe Rogan Experience, here’s a selection

Listen on:

of informatative podcasts on industry-related topics – about everything from agtech and the future of agriculture to pest management to growing your business. v

CropTalk

Future of Agriculture

GRDC podcast

CropTalk is a podcast dedicated to helping today’s agricultural business leaders find the foundational values that lead to success. Hear from industry experts who have transformed their organisations by prioritising leadership and discovering a valuefirst mentality. Episodes feature content on growing tips and tricks, farm leadership, company culture, managing and empowering employees, growth and more.

This show explores the people, companies, and ideas shaping the future of agribusiness. If you are curious about innovations in AgTech, rural entrepreneurship, agricultural sustainability, and food security, Future of Agriculture is for you.

The GRDC Podcast series contains information on everything from seasonal issues to groundbreaking research from some of the grain’s sectors pre-eminent researchers, growers, advisers, and industry stakeholders. Although designed for the grains industry, grape growers can cherry pick episodes on the future of agriculture, resilience of farmers and climate – among just some – or enter a grains farming rabbit hole.

Listen on:

Listen on:

Listen on:

36 VINE MAGAZINE


TECHNOLOGY

Growing Matters

HortCast

InfoVeg Radio

Hort Innovation’s Growing Matters podcast series brings tangible information that aims to help growers on farm and to grow their businesses. Growers hear from other growers, Nuffield scholars and research and development specialists. The series wrapped up last year but some episodes are still interesting and relevant.

HortCast is a podcast dedicated to horticulture, targeted at growers and advisers created by Bayer. It delves into market trends, seasonal updates and news in the horticulture sector and is hosted by Bayer agronomist Craig White. While HortCast only launched in May, it is a follow on from another Bayer podcast, the popular CropCast.

InfoVeg Radio is an R&D-focused podcast developed by AUSVEG for Australian vegetable producers. InfoVeg Radio provides growers with a unique insight into vegetable R&D, with each edition including interviews with researchers who are conducting projects using the vegetable research and development levy and matched funds from the Australian government.

Listen on:

Listen on:

Listen on:

RaboResearch Food & Agribusiness

Sustainable Winegrowing

Rabobank’s RaboResearch Food & Agribusiness extensive podcast series features contributions from the team’s 90 analysts, who generate knowledge and provide insights into businesses and developments in the food and agribusiness sectors across the globe, on topics as wide-ranging as their analysts’ specialties, which range from meat and fish, to dairy, vegetables, fruit and floriculture, coffee and cocoa.

An on-the-go sustainable farming educational resource, Sustainable Winegrowing provides in-depth technical information on topics like integrated pest management, fruit quality, water conservation and nutrient management from US experts, extension specialists, veteran growers and more. It might be a US podcast, delivering the latest in science and research on the wine industry, but its crossover content is beneficial to grape growers worldwide.

A Hort Innovation-funded R&D-focused podcast for the Australian nursery industry, The Plant Pod hears from leading researchers, consultants and growers on innovation, pest management, project updates and other industry news, hosted by Greenlife Industry Australia and Cox Inall Communications.

Listen on:

Listen on:

Listen on:

The Plant Pod

VINE MAGAZINE 37


PROFILE

Profile David Smith

David Smith is one of the industry’s most enduring Robinvale growers.

industry for 50 years. My interest

access by the ATGA. Our current

began when I was 15 or 16 years of

reliance on China as our major market

age. At the time my father dabbled

is concerning, evidenced by the effect

in table grapes on his dried fruit

of COVID-19 on this season’s market.

Having clocked up a half-century of

property. He grew Ohanez, a late

I would like to see more emphasis on

growing, David first came into table

white variety which were packed in

exploring new markets.

grapes from his father, who acquired a

crushed cork in wooden boxes for

soldier settlement block in Robinvale.

export. In those days there were a few

While many who developed soldier settlement blocks as dried grape blocks also grew table grapes, David’s

very basic cool rooms. Is the family involved too?

What do you love about the industry? I like working for myself, the challenges it brings with new ideas and fine tuning established practices.

In the last two years my son has

I was involved in a grower group in

become involved in the running of the

Robinvale facilitated by the then

domestic and export markets. His

property.

Department of Agriculture; we

family also developed one of the

How things have changed

father immediately saw the value of growing table grapes for both

earlier cool rooms for table grapes. David has been on the boards of both the Robinvale & District Table Grape Growers Association and the Australian Table Grape Association, as well as coordinator for grower alliance Robinfresh Group.

over the years? The new varieties now available are very exciting but selecting the right ones for our ever changing climatic and market conditions is the challenge. Gaining Crimson Seedless was a turning point in the industry;

David has been growing, marketing

plus the advances in trellising,

and exporting grapes for 50 years

irrigation practices and cool storage

now, and was first profiled in the Vine

have developed over the years to

some 14 years ago.

produce a better end product.

How long have you been in the

Where do you see the industry going?

industry? I have been involved in the table grape

38 VINE MAGAZINE

We have been extremely fortunate with all the work done on market

met every month and shared ideas amongst ourselves. The collaboration worked well for all involved. Is there anything unique that your business or you individually are looking into, in terms of innovation? New varieties are the key but selecting the one that fits all the criteria is difficult. Some new varieties don’t perform well in our climate. To produce a quality product that the market wants is the challenge. v


COMMUNITY

Notice board Back in the field DFA resumed its face-toface events program in July with a physically distanced Pruning and Nutrition Field Walk. Growers and industry staff met at David Lyons’ Red Cliffs property to discuss pruning techniques and look at new tools for working out annual fertiliser programs. The extension program is funded by Hort Innovation using the dried grape research and development levy and contributions from the Australian Government.

ATGA will launch its new website in August following significant research and preperation.

Mark King (Chair) Producer, Pomona

David Swain Sunbeam Foods

Tony Martin (Deputy Chair)

Grant Leyden Sunbeam Foods

Producer, Merbein

Craig Greenwood Australian Premium Dried Fruits

Jenny Treeby Producer, Red Cliffs Warren Lloyd Producer, Irymple

Michael Scalzo Australian Premium Dried Fruits

Luke Lory Producer, Loxton

Valentina Tripp Murray River Organics

Stephen Bennett Producer, Merbein

BOARD

Ashley Johnstone Producer, Irymple

BOARD

Jeremy Boyd (Acting chair), Victoria

Rocky Mammone Victoria

Richard Lomman (Executive delegate), Northern Territory

Adrian Cordoma Victoria

David Agg South Australia

Peter Nuich Western Australia

Nick Muraca Victoria

Mark Leng Queensland

Joe Gareffa New South Wales

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VINE MAGAZINE 39


GREEN

BLUE

SLOW

Your grapes deserve the best Using fresh science to protect fresh produce

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Vine magazine August 2020  

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