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Completed project

Innovation and adoption for the Australian prune industry (DP15002)

Key research provider: Ann Furner
Publication date: Friday, December 14, 2018

What was it all about? 

Beginning in late 2016 and ending in mid-2018, this project funded a dedicated industry development officer (IDO), Ann Furner, to provide Australian prune growers and other industry stakeholders with information and know-how on R&D, new technologies and best-practice management. The goal of the project was to drive the adoption of new technologies and practices, and to support decision-making within businesses. The IDO was also involved in the evaluation of new prune varieties and work into prune quality assurance.

Specific work of IDO included, but was not limited to…

  • Communication activities, from production and distribution of the Aus Prunes E-News digital newsletter, to creation of prune content delivered through The Vine magazine and use of SMS alerts to growers for relevant news, including about industry events.

  • Continued liaison with and availability for prune growers and other industry participants to understand industry concerns and needs, and to provide information and discuss issues.

  • Organisation and delivery of information sessions, training, field days and other extension activities for growers, dehydrators and other industry participants. This included implementation of the Dry Right Quality Assurance Program (the Dry Right guide remains available for dehydrators online, behind the log-in section at

  • Work towards initiatives including Prune Planting and Production Surveys.

  • Continuation of trials, including evaluation of trees as part of varietal trial sites, as well as collection of chill data for the Australian Prune Industry Association’s chill hour monitoring program.

In June 2018, the prune industry, Hort Innovation and the project’s research provider agreed to bring this investment to a close in consideration of the industry levy funds available, which had been affected by the very low crop in 2018.

Subsequently, Hort Innovation worked with the industry’s Strategic Investment Advisory Panel to look at a small-scale interim communications and extension project, aimed at maintaining a minimum level of activity while the financial position of the Prune Fund improves.

Related levy funds

This project was a strategic levy investment in the Hort Innovation Prune Fund