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Completed project

Program approach for pest and disease potato industry investments (PT17002)

Key research provider: RMCG
Publication date: Monday, March 7, 2022

What was it all about? 

Spanning from 2018 to 2021, this project supported the Australian potato industry’s R&D investments in pest and disease management. The development of an integrated program approach enabled existing and future projects to better share information and coordinate efforts, with efficient sharing of research findings with potato growers and processors.

Initial activity focused on introducing the program and its coordinators (Kristen Stirling and Doris Blaesing) to the sector. This included face-to-face meetings or telephone conversations with industry groups, current research program leaders, AUSVEG, the potato Strategic Investment Advisory Panel (SIAP) and other key stakeholders.

Program activities were structured to ensure that:

  • Industry is informed of pest and disease research outcomes
  • Pest and disease R&D program is coordinated and collaborative
  • Investment in potato pest and disease R&D program is effective and efficient.

This was achieved via several different means:

  • Two Potato R&D Forums held in 2019 (in-person, Melbourne) and 2021 (online due to COVID restrictions) provided attendees with information about the latest pest and disease research, case studies and use examples, an opportunity to provide input to future R&D priorities, and a chance to network with industry peers. Both Forums featured presentations from researchers, service providers, growers and advisors.
  • The coordinators liaised with McCains and the Soil Wealth/Integrated Crop Production team to deliver a webinar to producers on biological products and advances in phosphorus nutrition for potato productivity
  • Updates on the pest and disease R&D program were provided at various regional updates and industry events across the country
  • Opportunities were also taken to share information and R&D updates at other, complementary industry events, such as AUSVEG biosecurity workshops, National Biosecurity Surveillance Plan content and workshops, and pink rot management discussions with industry stakeholders
  • The team coordinated regular and ongoing delivery of R&D project articles from researchers and international resources, published in Potatoes Australia magazine, AUSVEG weekly e-newsletters, the Soil Wealth and Integrated Crop Protection project and directly to industry stakeholders
  • Three fact sheets were also developed for managing pink rot, black leg and powdery scab in potatoes
  • Collaboration between program researchers was facilitated via annual meetings organised and chaired by project coordinators, providing an opportunity to discuss progress, outcomes, collaboration opportunities and communication between the research projects
  • A workshop between Australian pest and disease researchers involved in the project, as well as those working for universities and government organisations, was organised in collaboration with the R&D Forum in 2019 to share project findings, identify extension outputs, discuss next steps and challenges, and identify R&D needs for the potato industry, leading to development of an integrated R&D plan
  • The project coordinators kept the SIAP informed about potato pest and disease activites, plans and challenges at request.


Find out more about the project outcomes by viewing the 2021 Potato R&D Forum recordings:

You can also watch the Soil Wealth/Integrated Crop Production webinar recording.

Access fact sheets on managing pink rot, black leg and powdery scab in potatoes.



Funding statement:
This project was funded through the Hort Innovation Potato – Fresh and Potato – Processing Funds using the potato - fresh and potato - processing R&D levies and contributions from the Australian Government.

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