Extension of technologies and best management practices to the Australian table grape industry (TG19000)
What’s it all about?
This investment is ensuring that Australian table grape growers are kept informed about current R&D activities, results and resources – supporting the adoption of industry best practice and bolstering table grape production in key growing areas across the country.
To this end, this investment is supporting the employment of an industry development manager and industry development officer for the table grape industry. These roles are responsible for delivering industry development and extension services in a nationally coordinated, but regionally delivered manner. Their activities will focus on extending the reach of the table grape R&D program across industry and improving grower capability to adopt best management practices and new on-farm innovations.
Specific activities for the project team include, but aren’t limited to:
- Conducting workshop and field day sessions about best management practices and available technologies for growing table grapes
- Holding regional forums across the country where research updates are presented
- Developing industry tools (such as spreadsheets, manuals and videos) to facilitate the commercial adoption and adaption of research outcomes and extension of technologies from the industry’s research program
- Providing technical articles for inclusion in the industry’s communications program
- Producing fact sheets and videos to further extend information demonstrated at field days or other pertinent issues
- Fielding grower enquiries and undertaking farm visits to address issues and assist with adoption of new technologies and best practice
- Facilitating the feedback loop between industry and researchers to ensure that R&D investments produce relevant and accessible outputs, and that any industry needs or gaps in knowledge are identified for further research.
This project will work closely with the Table grape industry communications program (TG18000) to disseminate valuable information and resources, as well as advertise upcoming opportunities to attend field days and webinars. You can sign up for their communications here.
The project team have produced five fact sheets to communicate valuable information to the table grape industry:
- One series on QA audit processes available here.
- Factsheet two, three and four on table grape maturity testing procedures available here.
- Factsheet five on Managing the risk of Redback Spiders in table grapes available here.
A video about early season maintenance tips for grape spraying available here.
During this reporting period, the following activities were conducted:
- Seven field days and workshops.
- Two community of practice workshops for researchers and agronomists.
- Three grower forums to discuss production issues and concerns, or areas for future focus.
- The project team presented best practice information at the two 2022 Export Registration Workshops.
- The extension and development team had 331 interactions with producers and made 48 farm visits.
- The team travelled around Sunraysia, Queensland and Western Australia visiting vineyards and holding workshops.
- The team established two demonstration trials in Sunraysia to allow producers to compare and assess options for post-harvest mealybug control and dormancy breakers.
Throughout this period, Restricted Spring Growth (RSG) has remained a focus. Continued research, sampling and diagnostic assessments have been employed to explore correlations between practices, pests, pathogens, and Restricted Spring Growth symptoms. The outputs included:
- Two (draft) fact sheets on audit processes and EPA responsibilities respectively.
- 13 technical articles published in The Vine were written by or had significant input from the project.
- Three videos were produced, in collaboration with a relevant project TG18004.
Confidential reports about RSG were provided to individual producers. These reports were developed by two Communities of Practice, comprising of scientists and then agronomic consultants and extension staff respectively. More than 300 samples from symptomatic and asymptomatic vines were submitted for diagnostic testing to understand the causes of RSG.
The survey of management practices that was initiated at the beginning of the project was refined and extended. Scientists and agronomists provided their input, to establish whether management practices could impact the RSG. The team has captured data from 38 vine patches.
In the last six months, the project team has delivered two regional forums (Victoria and New South Wales), two field days/workshops and one online session for table grape producers in Australia. Unfortunately, due to travel restrictions around COVID-19, the Queensland workshop needed to be rescheduled to April 2022.
Overall, the project team had 370 interactions with table grape producers and made 101 farm visits during the reporting period. The team continued to expand its network of stakeholders in local, state, and federal government, research, other peak industry bodies and service providers. Those networks were invaluable to the team’s response to restricted spring growth, seen in the wider Sunraysia area from October onwards.
A Community of Practice (CoP), comprising scientists, extension staff and experienced agronomic consultants, was formed to evaluate information about restricted spring growth syndrome gathered by the team, to guide the team’s thinking and to focus on possible causes. More than 200 samples from symptomatic and asymptomatic vines were submitted for diagnostic testing towards understanding the cause/s of restricted spring growth syndrome. Confidential results were reported to individual producers, who heavily co-contributed to the cost of the diagnostic work.
A survey of management practices initiated by the extension and development team at the commencement of the project was refined and extended, with input from scientists and agronomists, to establish whether management practices could potentially cause or add to the observed RSG. To date, the team has captured data from 33 vine patches.
Project progress continues to address challenges and increase the profitability and sustainability of the table grape industry.
- The project team held five regional forums and meetings across Queensland, Western Australia, Victoria and New South Wales. More than 320 interactions with growers were logged and more than 40 farms were visited in the last six months.
- Six technical articles were produced (some yet to be published) covering producer-relevant topics, supplying the Table grape industry communications program (TG18000) with relevant information on a regular and ongoing basis. Existing networks with government, researchers, other industry sectors, producers, and service providers were expanded and re-purposed to highlight ATGA’s presence in the extension and development space.
- The project team is planning online workshops for early September, as well as looking to deliver in-person session when COVID-19 travel restrictions allow. Additional materials, such as best practice management tools, are being developed and will be shared when available.
Read these articles from the project team, published in The Vine magazine
This project is a strategic levy investment in the Hort Innovation Table Grape Fund