TPP Surveillance Update

Tomato Potato Psyllidd (TPP) is an exotic pest.  Although only tiny at 3mm in length, this sap-sucking insect is considered a major biosecurity threat for vegetable growers.

An adult TPP resembles a miniature cicada or a winged aphid.  It has a dark, brownish coloured body with white or sometimes yellow markings, and transparent wings which are held vertically over its body.  When disturbed, the adult TPP gives a characteristic wiggle of the abdomen and then jumps vertically or takes flight.

TPP has a wide host range – tomatoes, potatoes, capsicums, chillies, eggplants, tamarillos and sweetpotatos – and is easily spread via plant and equipment, plant materials, by wind and/or by its own means (flight!).  It therefore has all the hallmarks of pest potential to cause significant vegetable losses.

Signs and symptoms of a TPP infestation include;

  • adult psyllids jumping from foliage when disturbed
  • severe wilting of plants caused by psyllids feeding
  • stunting and yellowing of growth tips, and/or yellowing of leaf margins
  • cupping or upward curling of leaves
  • small white sugar-like granules coating leaves and stems, attracting ants and sometimes the growth of sooty mould.

Early season detection and management is critical to minimise psyllid reproduction and spread. Both commercial vegetable growers and backyard gardeners are urged to check for signs of TPP.  Plant Health Australia, the Queensland Department of Agriculture and Fisheries, and Agriculture Victoria have an excellent range of images of TPP in the various stages of development online, to assist in accurate identification.

TPP was detected in Western Australia last year, leading to a significant expansion of TPP surveillance by each State government throughout the country.  The TPP Surveillance Overview Program supported this surveillance effort through the provision of more than 3,000 sticky traps to interested industry stakeholders to monitor for TPP.

Between April 2017 and 2018 over 1,100 traps have been returned to TIA and assessed. No TPP were detected.

Tasmanian Institute of Agriculture (TIA), 30 April 2018

Surveillance is an extremely important aspect of TPP monitoring – all data collected from these traps is used to support each state in Area Freedom (AF) certificates as proof of TPP absence. AF certificates and evidence of TPP surveillance are needed to maintain access to trade markets.

The TPP Surveillance Overview Program is operated by the Tasmanian Institute of Agriculture (TIA) with funding by Hort Innovation.  The TPP surveillance program has been extended for a further two months until a national approach to TPP surveillance is developed.

Bundaberg Fruit & Vegetables Growers can supply growers with a monitoring kit; TIA will continue to assess returned sticky traps until the end of July. For a sticky trap monitoring kit to be sent to you, contact BFVG’s VegNET Officer Michelle Haase.  To stay up to date with the TPP Surveillance Program, check out the UTAS website – here – or email the Project Coordinator Raylea Rowbottom.

Reporting of TPP is mandatory and can be done by contacting Biosecurity Queensland on 132 523 or the 24 hour emergency pest hotline – 1800 084 881.

Source & Acknowledgements:  Post written by Michelle Haase – Vegetable Industry Development Officer (VegNET) with Bundaberg Fruit & Vegetable Growers – www.bfvg.com.au. Funding for the VegNET National Vegetable Extension Network program is from Hort Innovation with vegetable grower levies and funding by the Australian Government.

Information supplied by Tasmanian Institute of Agriculture – utas.edu.au/tia.  Images courtesy of Department of Agriculture and Food, Western Australia.

 

 

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Robots Drones & Sensors Popular at Agrotrend

The Robots Drones & Sensors; Future Farming Masterclasses at the BFVG Agri-Hub were a real hit at Agrotrend this year.

Throughout the two days of Agrotrend, scientists, researchers and innovative ag-business people presented and demonstrated robotic, drone and sensor technology applications for farming systems. More than 1,500 people visited the hub, with 424 people actually participating in a masterclass. Masterclasses were delivered every hour, and included demonstrations of a SwarmBot robot and “Harvey” a Robotic Capsicum Harvester.  Other presentations and exhibits included RapidAIM sensors, drones for use in vertebrate pest management and weed control, precision-ag smartphone hacks, and a pop-up MakerSpace.

The event was an initiative of Bundaberg Fruit and Vegetable Growers’ (BFVG) VegNET project and CQUniversity, funded by the Queensland Government’s Engaging Science program. It involved participation from the CSIRO, the Department of Agriculture and Fisheries (DAF), Community Lifestyle Systems (CLS), LESS Industries, Aerobugs Pty Ltd, and the Queensland University of Technology (QUT).

 

Students studying at CQUniversity volunteered their time at Robots Drones & Sensors to assist BFVG in coordinating the event.  They conducted important evaluation of the masterclasses, interviewing fifty two (52) people throughout the two days.

The evaluation identified that 27% of participants were growers of a horticulture commodity, and that an additional 15% of participants were a primary producer from an other industry (cane, beef, cropping, for example).  The results of the survey further identified that while 50% of participants interviewed did not identify as a primary producer, more than half of those worked in agriculture.

The evaluation additionally aimed to capture data about the current use of technology on-farm and if the information in the masterclasses could be effective in encouraging further uptake of available technology.  This question was directed only at respondents that identified as a ‘grower’ and/or a ‘primary producer’.  The results of this were as follows;

  • More than 10% percent stated that they were already using the technology on-farm.
  • Nearly a quarter said that they were still uncertain about the use of the technology on farm.
  • More than 50% indicated that as a result of the masterclasses, they would consider investigating the use of the technology on their own farms.

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Eighty seven (87) percent of respondents scored the event as being “highly” and “very” interesting, informative and enjoyable.

All masterclasses were filmed and will be available on the BFVG website as soon as possible. For further information about Robots Drones & Sensors or to be advised when the videos are posted online, email BFVG.

Source & Acknowledgements:  Post written by Michelle Haase – Vegetable Industry Development Officer (VegNET) with Bundaberg Fruit & Vegetable Growers – www.bfvg.com.au. Funding for the VegNET National Vegetable Extension Network program is from Hort Innovation with vegetable grower levies and funding by the Australian Government.

 

 

 

 

 

Technology Exhibits in BFVG Agri-Hub at Agrotrend

We are pleased to be showcasing technology for use in agriculture in the BFVG Agri-Hub at Agrotrend next week, as a part of our Robots Drones & Sensors; Future Farming Masterclasses. Exhibitors in the BFVG Agri-Hub will be on-hand throughout the entire two-days of Agrotrend, to talk to growers, croppers, and graziers about robotic, drone and sensor technology application in agriculture.

The Department of Agriculture and Fisheries (DAF) will be one of the main exhibits in the BFVG Agri-Hub. They will be on hand to tell growers all about precision agriculture and how it can help their vegetable enterprise. DAF Development Horticulturist Celia van Sprang said the focus would be on how to best adopt precision ag technologies to suit individual needs.

“We can give advice on what equipment options are available and the experiences early adopters have had.”

Celia van Sprang

DAF will additionally will have on display a range of telemetry loggers that monitor cool chain conditions, collecting continuous data, for fruit and vegetables in domestic supply chains. They will demonstrate a live web-based link to remote air temperature monitoring devices that are enabled to allow real time monitoring of export shipments of citrus to Asian ports.

Community Lifestyle Solutions (CLS) with a “Pop Up Makerspace” is another major exhibitor in the BFVG Agri-Hub.  The Makerspace will demonstrate gadgets such as 3D printers and mechatronic-type technology. Community Lifestyle Support (CLS), a not-for-profit organisation providing a wide range of health and community services to people living throughout the Central Queensland region.  CLS secured funding through the Advance Queensland’s Knowledge Transfer Partnership Program to develop a technology enabling people with severe and complex physical impairments to control electronic devices. CLS have worked with primary producers that have physical impairments to assist them is staying on-farm.

Damien Tracey, the Chief Executive Officer of CLS, will also be presenting a Future Farming Masterclass at Agrotrend, on the Maker Movement.  He will be highlighting potential for agrarians, technologists and makers to collaboratively drive improvements in farming technologies and practices.

Other exhibits in the BFVG Agri-Hub include BFVG’s VegNET project, Aerobugs, LESS Industries, CQUniversity, CSIRO and the Queensland University of Technology (QUT). The exhibits in the BFVG Agri-hub will compliment the series of Robots Drones & Sensor; Future Farming Masterclasses which will be held every hour, over the two-days at Agrotrend.  The Future Farming Masterclass itinerary is available on the Agrotrend website – www.agrotrend.com.au.

The BFVG Agri-Hub is an initiative of the Bundaberg Fruit & Vegetable Growers (BFVG) made possible with funding from the Queensland Government from the Engaging Science program.  BFVG are coordinating the project in partnership with CQUniversity, to bring robotic, drone and sensor experts from throughout the country together to extend information to primary producers.  BFVG is launching the Robots Drones & Sensors event with an Industry Breakfast for primary producers and industry stakeholders.

RSVP for the Industry Breakfast is essential and can be done online or by contacting the BFVG office on 07 4153 3007.  RSVP’s are not necessary to participate in a masterclass.

Source & Acknowledgements:  Post written by Michelle Haase – Vegetable Industry Development Officer (VegNET) with Bundaberg Fruit & Vegetable Growers – www.bfvg.com.au. Funding for the VegNET National Vegetable Extension Network program is from Hort Innovation with vegetable grower levies and funding by the Australian Government.

 

 

 

 

 

Agrichemical Pest Management Needs + Priorities Workshop

Obviously, pesticides are an important tool in the production of vegetables. They control various diseases, weeds and insects that affect crops and severe economic losses in modern, high intensity growing operations.

To ensure that the agrichemical needs of the vegetable sector are accurately recorded and understood, AUSVEG is coordinating the  Vegetable Agrichemical Pest Management Needs and Priorities (VG16060) project, a strategic levy investment under the Hort Innovation Vegetable Fund. The project’s objective is to coordinate vegetable industry agrichemical pest needs by prioritising and identifying potential gaps. Gaps identified in this process will inform industry actions at the annual AgChem Collaborative Forum.

Patrick Arratia, is the Project Coordinator, and responsible for establishing the prioritisation process in consultation with Australian vegetable growers.  Patrick is honing in on singular commodity groups for this process, and will be visiting Bundaberg to meet with local sweetpotato and zucchini growers from throughout the Wide-Bay Burnett region.

The workshops are being held in the first week of May, on Friday 4 May 2018 – at the Bundaberg Business Enterprise Centre (cnr of Quay and Tantitha Streets, Bundaberg).  So, if you grow sweetpotato or zucchinis, come along to a workshop to discuss and contribute to an effective pest and disease prioritisation process.

Sweet Potato in boxThe workshop for sweetpotato growers will be at 10am to midday, and includes light lunch and refreshments – RSVP online.

The workshop for zucchini growers will be from 1pm to 3pm, and includes afternoon tea – RSVP online.

For further information contact Bundaberg Fruit & Vegetable Growers’ Vegetable Industry Development Officer, Michelle Haase – 07 4153 3007 or via email.  Project queries or technical questions can be made directly with Patrick via email or mobile – 0418 982 572

Source & Acknowledgements:  AUSVEG – Industry representative body for vegetable and potato growers – www.ausveg.com.au. Post written by Michelle Haase – Vegetable Industry Development Officer (VegNET) with Bundaberg Fruit & Vegetable Growers – www.bfvg.com.au. Funding for the VegNET National Vegetable Extension Network program is from Hort Innovation with vegetable grower levies and funding by the Australian Government.

 

 

 

 

 

RapidAIM – Fingerprinting for Insects!?

Can you imagine a device in your paddock that can detect the ‘behavioural fingerprint’ of a specific pest insect?  A device that can assist in the early detection of damaging, insectivorous pests without you having to set foot in the paddock? How about a device that can provide you with real-time data on the effectiveness (or otherwise) of your pest control measures?

RapidAIM (Rapid Automated Insect Monitoring) is a network of wireless insect traps that can do exactly that.  It is what Dr Nancy Schellhorn from the CSIRO will be presenting on at Robots Drones & Sensors; Future Farming Masterclasses at Agrotrend this year.

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Dr Nancy Schellhorn, CSIRO

Dr Nancy Schellhorn is a Principal Research Scientist with CSIRO. Her research focuses on landscape scale pest management. Dr Schellhorn has lead the development of the RapidAIM Technology.

RapidAIM is internet-linked hardware and software with data analytic capabilities designed to assist growers and agronomists identify potential insect pests, remotely.  The sensors recognise the “behavioural fingerprints” of an insect, detects and discriminates (working out what the pest is), and communicates this information to the end-user in real time.  This real-time data enables an agronomist and/or grower to respond early to the pest, thus enhancing the effectiveness of the pest control measures.  It can additionally show what the outcome of a pest management action has been, and inform on the effectiveness of the action to suppress the pest populations. The technology even supports forecasting of potential pest hot spots, and has wide reaching application for biosecurity and environmental considerations. For further reading on this technology, click HERE.

Dr Nancy Schellhorn will be presenting in the BFVG Agriculture Hub at Agrotrend as part of the Robots Drones & Sensors; Future Farming Masterclasses event, on Friday and Saturday, 27-28 April, 2018.  Here’s a free downloadable itinerary for further information.

 

Robots Drones & Sensors; Future Farming Masterclasses is an initiative of BFVG and CQUniversity, funded by the Queensland Government through the Engaging Science Program.  BFVG and CQUniversity are launching the masterclasses with a FREE Industry Breakfast for growers and Industry stakeholders, Friday 27 April at 7:30am.  The Industry Breakfast features a presentation by Tim Neale from DataFarming on Turning Tech Into a Reality.  Industry Breakfast go-ers receive a free one day pass into Agrotrend – RSVP essentialRSVP here.

Source and Acknowledgements:  Written by Michelle Haase, VegNET Industry Development Officer, Bundaberg Fruit &  Vegetable Growers (BFVG) with information and images supplied by Dr Nancy Schellhorn, CSIRO.  VegNET is funded by Hort Innovation with Vegetable grower levies and funding from the Australian Government.

 

Local Growers Nail Negotiation Skills

Growers and industry stakeholders from the Wide Bay-Burnett region participated in a two-day professional development workshop on VegPRO Negotiating & Influencing last week.

The workshop was led by facilitators Tony Hudson and Edwina Swan from ENS International, providing participants with bucket-loads of tactics and strategies to be better negotiators. The course was an opportunity for participants to develop an understanding of these processes and increase their personal capacity to negotiate effectively.

Over the two days, participants worked both individually and in small groups, drilling down into the crucial processes and techniques of skillful negotiation.  Topics covered included concepts such as;

  • considering the needs of the other side (the person or organisation that you are negotiating with)
  • the value of establishing ‘common ground’
  • the importance of preparation (….Prevents Poor Performance)
  • our style of communication with others can impact the outcome of our negotiation efforts (that is, HOW we CHOOSE to communicate…perhaps too aggressively or too passively)
  • using questioning to further your negotiations
  • effective tactics and counter-tactics.

All participants used a comprehensive, easy to follow workbook throughout the course which provided handy information, tips and tricks to guide them in their future as ‘dab hand’ negotiators. General consensus was that those four pages of tactics and counter-tactics would come in very handy!

Feedback from all participants was very positive.  One grower said;

I attend many workshops but this by far has been one of the most useful and interesting.  I have really enjoyed being involved.

Another workshop participant commented that;

Not only has this been a great two days to meet others, it has been a fantastic opportunity to down work tools and spend time on skills development and improvement.

The workshop was an initiative of VegPRO which is an education and training project for the Vegetable industry. For further reading on the topic of negotiation, influencing and persuasion, ENS International have a Resources section which may prove interesting bedtime reading.

Growers that missed out this time are encouraged to get in touch so we can line up another workshop in the region;  contact Vegetable Industry Development Officer Michelle Haase – michelle.haase@bfvg.com.au – to discuss.

 

 

Source and Acknowledgements:  Written by Michelle Haase, Bundaberg Fruit &  Vegetable Growers (BFVG). BFVG hosted this professional development opportunity for growers and industry stakeholders through the VegPRO and VegNET projects. VegNET and VegPRO are funded by Hort Innovation with Vegetable grower levies and funding from the Australian Government.

Negotiate+Agree = Winning!

Would you like to increase your ability to handle those difficult conversations? Would you like to feel more confident when involved in negotiations over the sale of your produce? Perhaps you’d just like some tactics up your sleeve to support your day-to-day discussions with service providers and suppliers….

Bundaberg Fruit & Vegetable Growers (BFVG) knows that it can be difficult for growers involved in negotiations that sometimes resemble a David and Goliath type situation.  It can be tricky to know where your “point-of-power” is, to respond without reacting, and to get an outcome that works for you.

That’s why we are running a Negotiations & Influencing Workshop for growers and others working in the industry.  The Negotiations & Influencing Workshop has been created for the horticulture industry by the horticulture industry.  It has been designed specifically to help growers handle difficult conversations, be better communicators, and feel more confident in influencing the conversation for a better outcome. It will help develop personal capacity to negotiate and influence.

Topics that will be covered throughout the workshop include;

  • Control and influence the conversation to get to better pricing outcomes
  • Preparing effectively to combat wholesaler retail push
  • Identifying tactics and a strategy to respond
  • Using language to create cooperation
  • Managing emotional and difficult conversations
  • Avoiding conflict.

BFVG is coordinating this event in partnership with VegPro; an industry owned and driven initiative specialising in tailor-made training opportunities for those in the vegetable industry.  It is a FREE event with priority places for vegetable levy-paying growers and BFVG members.

Here are the details:

When – Wednesday & Thursday, 14-15 March 2018
Where – Fairymead House, Thornhill Street, BUNDABERG NORTH
Time – 9am – 4pm
RSVP – Essential – Online or contact BFVG on (07) 4153 3007

The workshop has already been rolled out in other peak vegetable growing regions. This is what workshop participants have said;

“This course gave me improved ability to understand different negotiation positions.”

“Negotiated a price reduction from 10% down to 5%. I had to work really hard to get the outcome and was so glad I had done this course which gave me the confidence to fight and not just roll over to their wishes.”

“Well-presented. Nicely geared towards ag/hort sector. Presenters seemed experienced and well-versed in the topic.”

“Fantastic”

“Comprehensive, well-resourced, challenging.”

I am personally really looking forward to these two days, and I hope that you will join me.  Please don’t hesitate to email me directly if you have any queries – michelle.haase@bfvg.com.au .

Source: VegPRO – An industry education and training initiative that’s role is to provide training, resources, and tools to the Vegetable industry. It is funded by Hort Innovation using the vegetable research and development levy and funds from the Australian Government.

Acknowledgements: Image courtesy of Michael Leunig. Post written by Michelle Haase – Vegetable Industry Development Officer (VegNET). Funding for the VegNET National Vegetable Extension Network program is from Hort Innovation with vegetable grower levies and funding by the Australian Government.