New avocado extension project starting
By Simon Newett and Bridie Carr, Maroochy Research Facility, Nambour, Queensland
Fifteen months after the completion of the avocado industry’s last extension project, a new three-year project is scheduled to commence in April.
The project will be led by the Department of Agriculture and Fisheries (DAF) Queensland and co-delivered with Avocados Australia Ltd (AAL) with collaboration from the Western Australian Department of Primary Industries and Regional Development (DPIRD).
The avocado industry in Australia continues to expand, however, to remain profitable in the long term quality and yields need to improve to raise consumption and successfully compete with anticipated imports from countries with lower production costs.
The project will deliver a range of events and resources, and is aimed at improving fruit quality and yields.
The DAF project team includes Simon Newett and Bridie Carr in Nambour, Helen Hofman in Bundaberg, Noel Ainsworth in Brisbane, Ingrid Jenkins in South Johnstone, Geoff Dickinson and Ebony Faichney in Mareeba, and from Avocados Australia in Brisbane John Tyas, Liz Singh, Amanda Madden and Lisa Yorkston, and from DPIRD in Western Australia, Declan McCauley.
A range of events will be available, including:
- Regional forums – These events will include shed and field sessions similar to the Regional Study Group and Qualicado workshops delivered in previous projects. There will be one per year in each of the eight major production regions in Australia.
- Foundation workshops – these two-day events incorporating instructional and practical aspects will be held in each of five production regions. Growers and resellers are encouraged to attend
- Advanced management workshops – three invitation-only events will explore key topics such as canopy management, irrigation and nutrition. Detailed reports and updated recommendations will be delivered via the industry best practice resource. It is expected that these workshops will also identify potential areas for further R&D. Associated with these events will be in-depth literature reviews, consultation with local and international experts and surveys of current practices
- Capital city wholesaler meetings – two meetings will be conducted in each of the five capital city markets to keep agents and wholesalers up-to-date with recommended fruit handling procedures and relevant industry developments
- Tour of avocado industry in California and the World Avocado Congress in Colombia – in conjunction with the World Avocado Congress (WAC) in Colombia in September this year a short tour will be organised to visit key avocado sites in California. Participants will need to fund their own attendance. Some members of the project team will attend the WAC and will report findings to the Australian industry at Regional forums.
Additional resources and services in the new project will include:
- Avo Alerts – timely lists of key orchard practices that fall due each month for six different regions during the 36 months of the project
- Avocado Problem Solver Field Guide – an updated edition will include information on new pests and diseases and fresh information on others
- Best Practice Resource (BPR) – new information as well as updates to existing information. The BPR will be the ‘go to’ site for almost all information produced by the project
- New scientific literature – the project team will monitor and review new scientific papers and make relevant information available to growers
- Online forum – a new module for growers’ questions and answers that will be accessed via the BPR
- Posters – two new educational/instructional posters for growers
- Phenological cycles – new growth cycles will be developed for important new varieties and production regions
- Videos – three new educational/instructional videos will be produced that will be accessible via the BPR.
The project team is looking forward to working with growers, consultants, resellers and those in the supply chain to deliver these events and resources. The aim of the project is to improve the productivity and fruit quality from Australian avocado orchards. As the project progresses we will be seeking feedback to maximise its effectiveness.
If you are interested in offering your venue/farm to host an event, or have any further enquiries please contact Liz Singh (firstname.lastname@example.org) or Amanda Madden (email@example.com).
This project – Avocado industry development and extension (AV17005) – is a strategic levy investment under the Hort Innovation Avocado Fund. The project is delivered by the Queensland Department of Agriculture and Fisheries, Avocados Australia Ltd and the Western Australia Department of Primary Industries and Regional Development and funded by Hort Innovation using the avocado industry research and development levy, with co-investment from the Queensland Department of Agriculture and Fisheries, and contributions from the Australian Government.
This article was prepared Autumn 2019 Talking Avocados magazine.
Date Published: 05/04/2019