KEY TO GROWING SUCCESS
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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Cover story Collaborative farming
29 Biosecurity Spotted wing drosophila
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: firstname.lastname@example.org W: www.driedfruitsaustralia.org.au Australian Table Grape Association T: (03) 5021 5718 E: email@example.com 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
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
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
VINE MAGAZINE 5
“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.
“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
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.”
“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
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
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
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
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
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
an IDO “overlapping” with the work of
8 VINE MAGAZINE
“Those are the issues that should be supported by an IDO.”
privately contracted agronomists, but
help with market access issues or any
demonstrations, and interactive
instead “supporting growers on issues
other issue is invaluable.
“(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
facing growers and anyone in
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
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.
to learn from each other about
On a higher level, the outcomes aim
“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
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
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
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
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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 firstname.lastname@example.org
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
46 34 21 10-11 18 13 15 -
22-23 20 8.6 18 21 23 18 -
38 50 42 29 45 -
24 11 4.5 1.5 17 27 -
SEASONAL UPTAKE OF NUTRIENTS SEPTEMBER
N P K
HARVEST & CUTTING
Source: Dried Grape Production Manual
“Suppliers of improved grapevine rootstock and scion wood to the grape industry” Contact Gary Thomas Tel: (03) 5022 8499 Mob: 0418 997 730 PO Box 5051, Mildura Vic 3502 Email: email@example.com Please see website for more information & order forms www.vamvvia.org
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
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
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),
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 yearâ€™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
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
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
“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
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
people reached 496% increase
post engagements 641% increase
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
“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
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.
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
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
Drought Fund, many of which speak
engaged as casuals but could
directly to NFF’s National Drought
Murray-Darling Basin Plan
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
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 firstname.lastname@example.org
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.
VINE MAGAZINE 21
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
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
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,
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
performance associated with the
22 VINE MAGAZINE
review of the literature to understand
identify options for future directions of research.” v
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
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
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: email@example.com | m 0409 690 46
24 VINE MAGAZINE
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;
these are generally referred to as “frost pockets”. Various strategies can be used to reduce the potential
for frost damage in these isolated areas. Improving the potential for
air movement is helpful and portable frost machines can be positioned near frost pockets to move and mix the
cold air with warmer air. Another strategy is to prune those areas late to delay bud burst and avoid the higher likelihood of frost
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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VINE MAGAZINE 25
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
cent chlormequat treatments.
GRAPH 1: BERRIES RETAINED PER BUNCH
GRAPH 2: CHLORMEQUAT RESIDUE
BERRIES PER BUNCH
.500 .400 .300 .200
0 RED CLIFFS
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
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
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.
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
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
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
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
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
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
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.
- 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
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)
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.”
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
“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 firstname.lastname@example.org
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
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.”
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
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
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
We choose organic
“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 email@example.com Left: The Murray River Organics brand has recently been launched in Australian Market
34 VINE MAGAZINE
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 firstname.lastname@example.org 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 email@example.com 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
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
of informatative podcasts on industry-related topics – about everything from agtech and the future of agriculture to pest management to growing your business. v
Future of Agriculture
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.
36 VINE MAGAZINE
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.
RaboResearch Food & Agribusiness
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.
The Plant Pod
VINE MAGAZINE 37
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
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
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
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
Ashley Johnstone Producer, Irymple
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
Disclaimer: Dried Fruits Australia, the Australian Table Grape Association and Hort Innovation acknowledge contributions made by private enterprise through placement of advertisements in this publication. Acceptance of these contributions does not endorse or imply endorsement of any product or service advertised by contributors and we expressly disclaim all warranties (to the extent permitted by law) about the accuracy, completeness, or currency of information in the Vine. Reliance on any information provided in the Vine is entirely at your own risk. Dried Fruits Australia, the Australian Table Grape Association and Hort Innovation are not responsible for, and will not be liable for, any loss, damage, claim, expense, cost (including legal costs) or other liability arising in any way, including from any person’s negligence or otherwise, or from reliance on information contained in the Vine, or your use or non-use of the material. Copyright © Horticulture Innovation Australia Limited 2020. Copyright subsists in the Vine. Horticulture Innovation Australia Limited (Hort Innovation) owns the copyright, other than as permitted under the Copyright ACT 1968 (Cth). The Vine (in part or as a whole) cannot be reproduced, published, communicated or adapted without the prior written consent of Hort Innovation and both ATGA and DFA.
VINE MAGAZINE 39
Your grapes deserve the best Using fresh science to protect fresh produce