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Providing the potato industry with the latest news to drive productivity

Publication date: 11 February 2022

Established in 2021, this project keeps the industry up to date with the latest news, research and development outputs and other key information through a variety of channels.

The challenge

Strong communication and technical support are vital for potato growers and other industry participants to be able to make informed decisions when facing future challenges and opportunities.

Meet Chris

Chris Pace, a potato grower in the Lachlan Valley, NSW, is excited to see this relatively new project begin. While the demands of running a farm don’t leave him a lot of time to stay up to date with the latest R&D developments, he believes this program definitely makes it easier.

“So far, it’s been pretty good,” says Chris. “I really haven’t had time to follow all the news, but the magazine has been good.”

“We get a lot of salesmen pushing products, so I like seeing info like this that isn’t associated with sales. Sometimes it’s helpful, even for timely reminders. For example, we’re planting potatoes right now, so it’s helpful to be getting information on handling and planting potato seed.”

Chris says he’s likely to make changes based on recommendations he receives via this program because he has confidence in the information. “I like the team of delivery partners. It gives me confidence in the information they’ve provided. I also like the webinars, but to be honest, I’ve only had time to watch the recordings. Our regional delivery partner also sends me some good links.”

The approach

By keeping the industry up to date on R&D, news, events and other critical information, the program facilitates the uptake of R&D by the industry and supports decision-making in potato growing businesses.

The project delivers a nationally coordinated, but locally-implemented program which employs regional delivery partners who provide specialist skills and knowledge to the industry.

The role of the regional delivery partners is a broad one, with all activities geared towards improving the circulation and uptake of information within the industry.

As well as extension activities, the project produces key communication channels for the potato industry, including a hard copy quarterly R&D magazine, online webinars and podcasts, social media, and a dedicated website to host industry resources.

The impact

Under this project, extension work plans to conduct trials on seed dormancy and canopy recovery have been developed for five demonstration sites. In addition, a new website, PotatoLink, has been developed and hosts a range of information and resources including, 37 research reports and articles on pests and diseases and irrigation management. The website also includes an archive of 16 Potato Australia magazines that were produced from 1990 to 2005, 26 volumes of Eyes on Potatoes produced from 1997 to 2005, and 37 editions of the Potatoes Australia magazine published from 2013 to 2019.

A new magazine, also called PotatoLink, has been developed, serving as a new extension and communication outlet for the Australian potato industry.

By keeping Australian potato growers informed, they are well placed to grow the industry, increasing productivity, and ultimately, profitability.