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Qld potato growers to tackle key production issues

26 May, 2014

Tackling key production issues affecting Queensland potato producers will be the focus of a special potato research and development (R&D) workshop to be held in the Lockyer Valley this week.

Arranged by AUSVEG as part of the Potato Industry Extension Program, the workshop will be held on Tuesday (27 May) from 5:30pm to 8:00pm at the Lockyer Valley Cultural Centre in Gatton. Almost 50 members of the local potato industry are expected to attend the event, including potato growers, processors, agronomists, researchers and supply chain representatives.

"With a star squad of potato experts from around the country taking part, the workshop will provide a valuable platform for Queensland potato producers to hear about new farming practices, knowledge and technologies that could significantly benefit their operations," said AUSVEG Special Projects Coordinator, Luke Raggatt.

AUSVEG is Australia's leading horticultural body representing more than 2,000 potato growers.

"In true Queensland spirit, potato producers here have shown a real determination to stay ahead of the game and learn about new ways to enhance the productivity of their operations," said Raggatt.

Topics to be covered at the workshop will include strategies for managing the risk of potato diseases, understanding soil health, novel crop nutrition practices, and the need for effective biosecurity measures.

Interstate researchers Dr Calum Wilson, from the Tasmanian Institute of Agriculture (TIA), and Michael Rettke, from the South Australian Research and Development Institute (SARDI), will join the event to champion the findings of several industry-funded R&D projects. Dr Wilson and Rettke will discuss new knowledge on Common scab disease and a cutting-edge DNA diagnostic soil testing service - 'Predicta Pt'.

"The potato experts joining this event will sketch out something of a game-plan, outlining new knowledge and resources that could help Queensland potato growers tackle some of the key issues facing the sector."

Local agronomist Gregory Teske, from Elders, will also present on a series of field trials on controlled-release fertilisers. AUSVEG Biosecurity and Special Projects Coordinator, Dean Schrieke, will discuss a new joint initiative between Plant Health Australia and AUSVEG, which aims to improve the preparedness and management of biosecurity issues within the Australian vegetable and potato industries.

"By building knowledge and capacity right across the industry, AUSVEG is working to ensure that the long-term sustainability and competitiveness of Australian potato producers remains secure," said Raggatt.

The Potato Industry Extension Program is an industry-funded initiative that aims to raise awareness of R&D findings and agronomic activities that could deliver strong benefits to growers and processors.

The workshop will be catered and is free to attend for all potato levy payers and other industry stakeholders.

This project has been funded by HAL using the National Potato Levies and matched funds from the Australian government.

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