Project to deliver practical veg information

Project to deliver practical vegetable grower information

PRACTICAL: Plant pathologist, Dr Len Tesoriero, (left) with North Richmond, NSW, vegetable grower, Valentine Micallef, says that information to farmers must contain real-world solutions that are clearly demonstrated, not locked into endless theoretical piles of paper.

PRACTICAL: Plant pathologist, Dr Len Tesoriero, (left) with North Richmond, NSW, vegetable grower, Valentine Micallef, says that information to farmers must contain real-world solutions that are clearly demonstrated, not locked into endless theoretical piles of paper.

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A new SoilWealth project aims to delivery tools to lift vegetable growers' profitability and sustainability.

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A PROJECT to help equip growers with the tools to cope with increasing economic, consumer, environmental and technological demands on their businesses, has been launched. 

Led by Applied Horticultural Research and RM Consulting Group, the Soil Wealth and Integrated Crop Protection project has developed a national framework to deliver information about soil health and crop protection to Australia’s $4 billion vegetable industry.

The innovations, arising out of Phase 2 of a major research extension project, aim to help Australian growers improve their soil and protect their crops.

The project looked at increasing pack-out rates, reducing input costs and improving environmental sustainability of vegetable farming systems.

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Senior consultant, Carl Larsen, said Phase 2 of the project will growers and agricultural advisors will now get access to integrated, research-based information to support business decisions on soil management and plant health.

“We will be using practical on-farm demonstration sites in key growing regions to road-test these far-reaching innovations," Mr Larsen said. 

Phase 2 follows on Phase 1 of the nationwide project, which was delivered from 2014 to 2017 and was very well received by the vegetable industry.

Vegetable plant diseases expert and consultant on both phases of the project, Dr Len Tesoriero, said 80 per cent of the participants who took part in Phase 1 reported making better decisions as a result.

“I think this is largely due to the delivery system we have devised,” Dr Tesoriero said.

“We’re not about producing endless streams of printed information that will pile up on growers’ desks –  instead, we are taking a very hands-on approach to delivering real-world solutions for growers”.

The project uses a variety of methods to extend information to growers, including a website with practical information, field walks and demonstration sites all around Australia.

Each demonstration site also has its own Facebook page with project updates and videos.

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