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Ongoing project

Australian potato industry communication and extension project (PT20000)

Key research provider: Applied Horticultural Research

What's it all about?

Beginning in 2021, this investment is tasked with supporting Australian potato growers in adopting improved practices on-farm and keeping up to date with the latest industry news, information, resources and technologies.

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.

Over the past six months, the PotatoLink project delivered ten in person events and activities held in key potato growing regions. The topics covered at these events included seed handling and storage, disease management, soil biology, moisture monitoring, the use of biological products, weed management and herbicide use. Two of the events were delivered in collaboration with other projects, namely with VegNET in Gawler, Tasmania and the Soil Wealth ICP project in Gatton, Queensland.  A highlight from some of these events was delivery of content by potato expert Associate Professor Andy Robinson, from North Dakota State University. Attendees at these events enjoyed hearing an international perspective and found Andy to be an engaging and knowledgeable presenter. 

In addition, three webinars were delivered on topics including weed management and herbicide damage; legumes as an alternative nitrogen source; and mobile drip irrigation. PotatoLink also launched a podcast, with three new episodes available on potassium, magnesium, and soil fumigation. Two online trainings were held, the topics included managing potatoes in wet conditions; and weather tools by the Bureau of Meteorology. The recordings of these trainings have been uploaded to the PotatoLink website. 

The proportion of attendees at in-person and online events were approximately 26 per cent growers, 43 per cent suppliers/advisors, 10 per cent processors. In addition, approximately 10 per cent of attendees grow or influence >30,000t annually, 6 per cent 20-30,000t and 24 per cent 10-20,000t. The project team is striving to enhance grower engagement and attendance at future activities. 

Feedback collected from attendees have returned an overall average rating of 4.1/5, on how attendees value the webinars, in-person events and online trainings (where 1 is poor and 5 is excellent). Feedback also indicated that 80 per cent of respondents are likely to change farming practice or advice following the event (n=87).

Four factsheets were published during the reporting period on topics of blackleg; nutrition; soil and petiole testing; and irrigation, receiving close to 400 views in total. Two new editions of the PotatoLink magazine (Summer and Autumn Issues) were also published and distributed to subscribers. 

The PotatoLink website continues to be a source for all PotatoLink resources and event details with 3,775 site visits (3,043 unique) and 7,214 page views generated from these visits. This has been supported by the monthly e-bulletins delivering information directly to industry.

In the second year of this project, 15 face-to-face events were held in key potato growing regions. The events attracted strong attendance and connected potato growers and agronomists with researchers from Australia and around the world.

Highlights include a series of grower workshops in South Australia that were strongly supported by growers and agronomists, and specialist events targeting the major producers in the state which also received very positive feedback. A face-to-face annual extension meeting was held at the 2022 Hort Connections conference and an R&D forum of Hort Innovation-funded projects was held in conjunction with the 2022 AuSPICA conference in Ballarat.

The PotatoLink magazine is a cornerstone of the project, with three editions published during this reporting period, reaching over 3000 people per edition in both digital and hard copy formats. The magazine provides up-to-date information on the latest potato research and best practice from Australian and international sources. Grower case studies and success stories have also featured strongly in the magazine.

International links have been strengthened through the delivery of nine webinars focussing on potato diseases, harvest and postharvest management and international pest threats. The webinars were supported by three published factsheets, which contained more detailed information about the webinar topics. Several additional factsheets are in the pipeline, nearing completion. Two global scans on reduced tillage and regenerative agriculture have been delivered and these will underpin outputs scheduled for delivery in year three.

Online training has provided growers with the opportunity to better understand how to incorporate cover crops into potato production systems. The PotatoLink website, monthly bulletins and social media have all been strongly supported by growers and advisors, and have remained effective communication tools, driving attendance and awareness of project events and resources.

Additional activities were conducted by the project. These include the organisation and delivery of an Australian grower tour to the 2022 World Potato Congress in Dublin, Ireland; and establishment of demonstration sites at Ballarat Vic and Canowindra NSW, providing new information for the project communication channels and opportunities for face-to-face field days. All the resources produced in 2022 and more can be accessed on the PotatoLink website at

The project has continued to support the Australian potato industry by delivering content on improved on-farm practices that seek to enhance yield and quality, and reduce input costs where feasible. As the COVID-19 situation improved during the reporting period, so too has the appropriateness of holding face-to-face events. The project has since delivered seven in-person workshops, which were met with growing interest by industry members. Each event attracted 15-20 attendees including growers, advisors, suppliers, researchers, and processors.

There have been five webinars delivered during the reporting period, with between 45-100 people registering and 20-60 people attending the webinars. This is consistent with previous online events. The webinar recordings, uploaded to the PotatoLink website each received between 85-190 views, a considerable increase since the last reporting period. Feedback from attendees of the webinars has been overwhelmingly positive. One factsheet has been published, with several more nearing completion.

The project has kept the Australian potato industry up to date with the latest industry news, resources, and technologies, through monthly bulletins and the release of the Autumn issue of the PotatoLink magazine. The mailing list for distribution of the monthly bulletin and other event communications grew by 24.5 per cent to 910 subscribers during the reporting period. Hard copies of the PotatoLink magazine in combination with Potatoes Australia magazine were circulated to 2,700 industry members. The PotatoLink social media forums have also grown significantly over the reporting period, which has increased awareness of the project and generated industry engagement.

This project continues to extend its reach to the Australian potato industry. While COVID-19 has slowed progress, events and interactions with project material have increased steadily. A mailing list consisting of 731 members has been established to communicate events, website updates and new publications. The project team has also reached out to various grower groups and processors, who have agreed to forward communications to their members. Traffic to the PotatoLink website has increased steadily since its creation. Around 400-1,000 people visit the site every month. As of late November 2021, over 3,000 visits have been logged, with over 2,000 of those coming from unique users.

Eight webinars have been produced during the reporting period, with positive feedback from industry members who have attended. An additional seven webinars and podcasts have been scheduled for the next reporting period. Attendance at webinars and workshops has been rising with around 50-90 registering and 30-50 attending each event. Recordings of these webinars and workshops have been made available on the PotatoLink website and AHR YouTube page and are averaging around 50 -120 views per video.

The magazines released by the project have been very well received by the industry. A spring edition, released in September, has been accessed over 100 times digitally on the PotatoLink website as well as delivered as a hard copy with Potatoes Australia magazine to potato industry members with a circulation of 2,700 per issue. The summer edition has now been printed with delivery by the end of December 2021. Partnering with AUSVEG and the Potatoes Australia publication has ensured this high initial circulation, which is growing. Advertising interest in the magazine has increased significantly, providing mutual benefits to both parties.

Three factsheets have been published with two more at an advanced stage ready for graphic design. The factsheets have each been accessed by 180 people and will link in with the ongoing disease webinar series as well as other project activities.

Extension workplans to conduct trials on seed dormancy and canopy recovery have been developed for five demonstration sites.

A new website (PotatoLink) has been developed and hosts a range of information and resources including, 37 research reports and articles on pest and diseases and irrigation management. The website also includes an archive of 16 Potato Australia magazines that were produced from 1990-2005, 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 has been developed called ‘PotatoLink’ serving as a new extension and communication outlet for the Australian potato industry. Access the first edition published in June 2021.


Access past editions of the Potatoes Australia magazine.


This project is a strategic levy investment in the Hort Innovation Potato - Fresh and Potato - Processing Funds