VegNet 3.0 (VG21000)
What’s it all about?
This investment is tasked with keeping Australian vegetable growers informed about current R&D activities, results and resources – supporting the adoption of industry best practice and bolstering vegetable productivity and profitability in key growing areas across the country.
The program is nationally coordinated by AUSVEG and delivered “on-the ground” by regional development officers (RDOs) in key vegetable-growing regions who are responsible for developing and executing regional extension plans. This includes identifying each region’s key priority issues and key regional resources and links - a critical step in ensuring growers receive assistance and information that meets their needs and will help them grow better crops and operate more efficient and profitable businesses.
CONTACT YOUR LOCAL REGIONAL DEVELOPMENT OFFICER
- New South Wales: Local Land Services - Sylvia Jelinek, firstname.lastname@example.org
- Western Australia: VegetablesWA - Katrina Hill, email@example.com
- Northern Territory: NT Farmers - Mariah Maughan, firstname.lastname@example.org
- Queensland (Bowen Gumlu and Far North Queensland): Bowen Gumlu Growers - David Shorten, email@example.com
- Queensland (Southern Queensland): Lockyer Valley Growers - Darren Brown, firstname.lastname@example.org
- Queensland (Wide Bay Burnett): Bundaberg Fruit & Vegetable Growers - Jessy Logan, email@example.com
- South Australia: AUSVEG SA - Peta Coughlin, firstname.lastname@example.org
- Tasmania: RMCG - Ossie Lang, email@example.com
- Victoria (Gippsland region): Food and Fibre Gippsland - Emily Scott, Emily.firstname.lastname@example.org
- Victoria (South-East, West and Northern region): AUSVEG - Danielle Park, email@example.com
- Contact your local RDO (above) to access the latest information and resources from their specific extension program and activities, as well as details of the events they run
- Keep a look out: the levy-funded Vegetables Australia magazine carries special features on upcoming events related to the program, and events are also communicated in other relevant industry channels.
Improvement to best management practices
The project has continued to facilitate a positive change in the knowledge, attitude, skills, and aspirations (KASA) of participating growers and service providers by providing best management practices identified in priority areas in work plans.
In NSW, VegNET facilitated this change by providing growers with a baseline analysis of soil composition and educating them on soil biology, cover cropping, tillage, nutrition, and soil test interpretation. This led to improvements in soil structure and drainage, as well as stronger relationships with VegNET officers and advisors.
In WA, the project supported growers to adopt new systems, resulting in cost savings due to reduced fertiliser usage, better plant vigor, and improved resistance to pests and diseases.
Increased participation in the VegNET network
The program has been successful in increasing participation in the VegNET network among stakeholders, including vegetable growers, advisors, and agribusiness providers. In the past six months, the program has engaged a total of 1,868 stakeholders, with 29 per cent being vegetable growers and 21 per cent being advisors or agribusiness providers.
Over an 18-month period, the program has reached and engaged 811 growers and 1,817 other stakeholders, for a total of 2,628. The program has conducted 338 events, including 280 farm visits, and developed 40 extension materials. In addition, 403 growers and industry professionals have received communications from the program. Overall, the program has successfully improved relationships and understanding among key stakeholders in the regions and nationally.
During the first year of VegNET 3.0, the project has had several wins and faced numerous challenges. The project team has the privilege of an experienced National Extension Advisory Group composed of growers, agronomists and extension professionals, and the RDOs are supported by key stakeholders in their own Regional Extension Advisory Groups.
The RDO team is now complete with all ten positions filled, as well as a new National Coordinator Cherry Emerick, who brings in lived experience as an RDO as well as working on a farm.
A body of monitoring and evaluation (M&E) data has been collected and will be used to understand areas of improvement and further strength the programs and regional delivery. Feedback sessions with the RDOs and other sub-contractors have also generated some excellent insights for improvement of the project, and some have already been incorporated.
This project is a strategic levy investment in the Hort Innovation Vegetable Fund