Hort Innovation continues to invest the mango R&D levy in a number of projects important to the productivity and profitability of the industry. From market access initiatives to quality standards and supply chain work, read more in the R&D snapshot below. To see how the industry’s marketing levy is being put to use, head to the marketing snapshot.

INDUSTRY UPDATE

After you’ve read about the mango industry’s current levy investments and outcomes in this edition of Hortlink, check out Hort Innovation’s mango grower page. The grower page remains your one-stop-shop for industry information, including:

  • Important updates regarding the mango Strategic Investment Plan (SIP), as available. To be developed in close consultation with growers and other industry stakeholders, the SIP is a document outlining the priorities for strategic investment in the industry. It is to be used like a ‘roadmap’ by the mango Strategic Investment Advisory Panel (SIAP) when providing advice to Hort Innovation on potential levy investments.
  • The latest updates regarding the mango SIAP, including details on the panel’s recently appointed chair, Eoin Wallis, and summaries from all SIAP meetings to date. The SIAP last met at the end of November 2016, and is due to meet again after the industry strategic investment planning workshop held on February 28 and March 1.
  • The 2015/16 mango industry annual report, detailing activities from the previous financial year.
  • Grower resources, events and articles of interest to the mango industry.

Any questions?

As well as the mango grower page, Hort Innovation Relationship Manager Astrid Hughes is always available to answer questions on the mango program, on 0405 306 334 or at astrid.hughes@horticulture.com.au. For questions relating specifically to the industry’s marketing, contact Hort Innovation Marketing Manager Elisa King.

R&D SNAPSHOT

NEW, ONGOING AND COMPLETED PROJECTS FOR THE INDUSTRY

Mango maturity assessment on farm using NIR (MG16002) 

Status: Ongoing project

What’s it all about? Beginning late in 2016, this project has been helping mango growers in adopting near-infrared (NIR) technology for assessing fruit maturity. Providing instruction and technical support in the calibration and use of Felix 750 Produce Quality Meters, its goal has been to improve the ability and confidence of mango growers in assessing mango maturity prior to picking, and to support the delivery of improved quality of fruit to the marketplace.

What’s the latest update? During the most recent season in the Northern Territory, 16 major mango farms in the Darwin and Katherine regions trialled NIR technology through this project, using the meters to analyse and track fruit dry matter. This was in addition to farms that had already invested in their own NIR meters. The general consensus was that the meters were a useful tool in scheduling mango harvests, in conjunction with traditional harvest indicators.

The project was also extending the technology to other growing regions whose seasons were still in full swing at the time of reporting to Hort Innovation. Full results will be summarised in a future edition of Hortlink.

The project team have also been further developing calibration models for the technology. They note there was variation observed between farms with major rain events and major differences in irrigation practices, which will be factored into the development of the technology and the protocols around its use in determining harvest maturity.


Testing fruit with NIR

Fruit being tested in Darwin with an NIR meter as part of project MG16002 (above) and NIR calibration taking place (below) – the meters were calibrated for each of four key mango varieties

Calibrating NIR


Monitoring mangoes through the supply chain to the USA – 2 (MG16003)

Status: New project

What’s it all about? This project is supporting the continued development of mango exports to the United States. During the 2016/17 season, it has been responsible for monitoring compliance and quality across mango varieties and exporters, from the time of export treatments in Australia right through to the fruit appearing in retail displays in the US.

What’s the latest update? Throughout the season, the project reports back to Australian mango growers and exporters on quality and supply chain activity. There are fortnightly teleconferences with the US exporting group and industry stakeholders to facilitate this.

A more detailed summary will be provided in the next edition of Hortlink, when the project’s final report is submitted to Hort Innovation.

Capacity building, information, technology and extension for the Australian mango industry (MG13017)

Status: Ongoing project

What’s it all about? This project, running since 2014, funds the position of a dedicated industry development manager (IDM) within the Australian Mango Industry Association. The IDM, Trevor Dunmall, is responsible for managing a range of activities all with the ultimate goal of improving the profitability and long-term sustainability of the Australian mango industry. Some of the core activities include crop forecasting and biosecurity work.

What’s the latest update? Recent activities of the IDM have included:

  • Export development work, including the delivery of crop monitoring training to growers, monitors and industry consultants. Crop monitoring is necessary for orchards approved for the export of mangoes to key markets including China, Korea and the US.
  • Crop protection work, with the regular provision of information on crop management options to growers, consultants and other industry participants. This includes responding to grower queries relating to new and existing chemical control products, involvement in the applications for minor use permits, and the development and provision of relevant industry workshops and training programs (such as the 2016 workshops on correct calibration of orchard sprayers and spray application) in harmony with other industry extension programs.
  • Work with the mango quality standards project team (project MG15002, described below) to develop a new mango defect poster to help mango handlers identify common defects that can appear during handling in the supply chain. The poster is available to download here.
  • Liaison with and input into other projects, including the mapping of mango orchards component of the Rural R&D for Profit project described here and in the profile of mango grower Martina Matzner at the bottom of this page.
Mango industry communications program 2016-17 (MG15006)

Status: Ongoing project

What’s it all about? Beginning in 2016, this project maintains and improves the flow of timely and relevant industry information to Australian mango growers and other stakeholders. By keeping the industry up-to-date on R&D and marketing initiatives, news and other critical information, its ultimate goal is to facilitate the uptake of new best-practice approaches and technologies, and to support decision-making in mango businesses.

What’s the latest update? A number of regular communication channels continue to be produced and maintained by this project, including but not limited to:

  • The quarterly Mango Matters publication, distributed in hard copy and as an electronic resource, with issues available here
  • E-newsletter The Slice, produced monthly in the mango off-season, with issues available here
  • E-newsletter My Mango, produced monthly in the pre-season period and during the mango season, with issues available here
  • The Australian Mango Industry Association database and website, industry.mangoes.net.au
  • Industry workshops on relevant topics – for example, during 2016 there were pre-season workshops, crop monitoring training and workshops on orchard sprayer calibration and maximising spray application
  • Webinars to present key information to growers, with upcoming workshops scheduled between May and August this year. Look out for updates in industry e-newsletters.

Other recent outputs from this project have included:

  • Two video resources on correct sprayer calibration and spray application, available here and here
  • An updated best-practice guide on sprayer calibration and spray application, which is expected to be made available to growers at the 11th Australian Mango Conference in May.
Mango industry conference 2017 (MG16001)

Status: New project

What’s it all about? This project will facilitate the 11th Australian Mango Conference. These biennial industry conferences are an opportunity for growers and all other industry stakeholders to meet, learn and share experiences – to ultimately increase awareness, understanding and uptake of new approaches, technologies and information.

What’s the latest update? The the conference is to be held from May 2 to 5, 2017, in Bowen, Queensland, with the theme of ‘Growing Profitability Through Innovation and Technology’. Register your attendance and find more details here.

Quality standards, refinement and testing (MG15002)

Status: Ongoing project

What’s it all about? This project has been responsible for delivering ongoing training to key quality staff through the supply chain, with the ultimate goal of ensuring consistent quality of mangoes that meet or exceed consumer expectations.

What’s the latest update? Leading into the 2016/17 season, there were 14 mango quality workshops delivered to the retail sector, based on updated quality standards developed in consultation across the industry earlier in the project (available from Hort Innovation here). Workshop topics included understanding the physiological changes in mangoes from harvest to the retailer; identifying mango defects; managing mangoes to maximise shelf-life; and resources available, such as quality and handling guides.

Work was also continued in the market-use of hand-held near-infrared (NIR) technology in assessing dry matter content of ripening fruit, as a non-invasive alternative to existing dry-matter testing. Felix 750 Produce Quality Meters (as described above in project MG16002) were calibrated for use in key mango varieties and supported work in distribution centres. In Brisbane, Sydney and Melbourne, staff affiliated with distribution centres were trained in the technology and its use, with objective reporting of dry matter content throughout the 2016/17 season, via industry e-newsletters, conducted through project MG15003 below.


Workshops and training

A mango quality workshop being held with Metcash in Queensland (left) and a NIR meter in use at a workshop with Aldi (right)


Data collection to facilitate supply chain transparency – stage 3 (MG15003)

Status: Ongoing project

What’s it all about? With its third phase beginning in 2016, the goal of this ongoing data collection project is to provide growers and other industry participants with timely domestic information on two key factors that can influence profitability: mango wholesale prices and eating quality.

What’s the latest update? No new milestone report was due in the period since the last edition of Hortlink (Spring 2016). At the time of last reporting, the project was continuing to publish daily and weekly wholesale prices for the 2016/17 season, accessible via www.industry.mangoes.net.au/market-prices/

The regular provision of this independently collected data was providing growers with clear signals on market conditions, allowing sound business decisions to be made.

In regards to mango quality, there was the random sampling of a minimum of 30 per cent of consignments at the three major wholesale markets in Brisbane, Sydney and Melbourne. Measurements of fruit maturity were being taken and the results were being summarised in the My Mango e-newsletter (www.industry.mangoes.net.au/my-mango/).

At the time of last reporting, destructive sampling using a refractometer had been replaced by the use of hand-held near-infrared (NIR) technology (the Felix 750 Produce Quality Meter), which can be used to non‐destructively sample dry matter in mangoes at varying stages of ripeness.

Understanding and mitigating the aggregative response to the magpie goose to mango orchards in the Northern Territory (MG15005)

Status: Ongoing project

What’s it all about? By developing an understanding of the population and behavioural dynamics of magpie geese, the goal of this project is to develop sustainable management strategies for the birds on mango orchards. The core components of the project, which was established in 2016 include:

  • An ecological monitoring study to better understand why magpie geese are moving from their native wetlands into mango orchards
  • Empirical studies to assess the effectiveness of various stimuli and environmental modifications in reducing bird density and bird-crop interaction.

What’s the latest update? No new milestone report was due in the period since the last edition of Hortlink (Spring 2016). At the time of last reporting, the project had:

  • Secured a range of permits and approvals, including ethics approval to handle magpie geese, attach tracking devices, use sound and visual adverse stimuli and the like.
  • Conducted a preliminary literature review into magpie geese.
  • Consulted with growers. Northern Territory growers were invited to meet with the research team to gauge the extent of the magpie goose problem across the Darwin rural area, and assess the nature of the problem between growers. This information was used to guide a more systematic and thorough survey that was to be conducted on a one-on-one basis with growers at the end of this year’s season.
  • Selected four farms on which magpie geese were to be studied during the 2016/17 season. Each of the farms currently uses a different level of mango-geese management.

MARKETING SNAPSHOT

THE LATEST ACTIVITY THAT’S GROWING THE INDUSTRY

Mango Mess-tival

Back on December 4, the annual Mango Mess-tival was celebrated at Bondi in New South Wales. Held in partnership with the North Bondi Surf Club (NBSLSC), Mess-tival honours the peak of mango season and the start of summer, and this year marked the event’s fifth birthday.

As in previous years, NBSLSC nippers faced-off in mango flag races and mango relay races, whilst off the sand, mango-eating competitions saw nippers go head-to-head against parents and members of the public in the hopes of winning a tray of fresh mangoes.

Once again, mango growers flew in from around the country to share their produce and educate the public on different varieties and taste profiles of Kensington Pride, Calypso, R2E2 and Honey Gold. These growers included Greg McMahon, Emma Harrison, Muy and Erika Keav, Steve Beaty, Gavin, Rebecca and Julie Scurr, Jake Zalm, Karen Muccignat and Melanie Groves.

This resulted in the highest sampling figures ever, with 8800 mango samples taste-tested by Sydney consumers – an increase of a 3.5 per cent on last year, and representing an average of 37 samples per minute.

Also featured were:

  • A social media photo booth, which saw 939 members of the public have their photo taken with promotional Aussie Mangoes gear, fresh mangoes and #mangoemojiplease campaign signs. Their shot was then printed out and shared digitally with over 13,000 family and friends.
  • Intricate mango carving demonstrations, with beautiful flower sculptures made from fresh Aussie Mangoes handed out.
  • A brand-new, unique activity: a smoothie bicycle! Throughout the day, consumers hopped on board a bicycle and furiously peddled to blend their very own fresh mango smoothie.

Mess-tival media coverage and results

The smoothie bicycle featured on one of Weekend Today’s six live weather crosses. Other events featured in the crosses included mango eating competitions, grilled mango hedgehogs on the barbecue, flower carving demonstrations and mango relay races. This broadcast was watched by over 300,000 people around Australia.

The mango festivities were also captured in The Daily Telegraph’s Best Weekend events planner section, the Sydney Morning Herald’s Spectrum magazine, and The Wentworth Courier. Moreover, the Prime Minister, Malcolm Turnbull stopped by to taste-test a mango flower, which was broadcast on Channel 7, Channel 9 and ABC’s nightly news bulletins, as well as Channel 10’s The Project.

Social media influencers also came down to join in the celebration, with Instagram’s @BonnyRebecca, @Emily_Hunt and @NourishingNicola sharing the fun with their community, while Channel 7’s Sunrise co-host Samantha Armytage tried her hand at the smoothie bicycle and shared an image to her Instagram, which was picked up by The Daily Mail Australia.

In total, this year’s Mess-tival press office coverage and social media influencer activity reached over 14 million people – six million more than last year.

While Mess-tival is designed to drive demand and keep mangoes top-of-mind for consumers throughout the festive season, the day’s efforts also go towards raising funds for North Bondi Surf Club, to support training and the purchase of much-needed life-saving equipment. This year saw a huge $16,820 raised, contributing to a grand five-year total of $70,320.


Messtival

PM


The mango emoji campaign

Based on last season’s large amount of social engagement referencing the need for a mango ‘emoji’, Aussie Mangoes decided to introduce an overarching stream of communications for this season – an official campaign for a mango emoji.

While the overall goal is to drive the international Unicode Consortium (the worldwide authority for emojis) to introduce a mango emoji in their next official update, the key objective for the campaign is to generate engagement and activity among mango audiences.

Campaign coverage and reach

The major campaign platforms have been the Aussie Mangoes’ Facebook and Instagram pages, which have regularly included emoji campaign content. On the Instagram page there have been six posts referencing the campaign, which have received over 1020 likes and a large number of comments. On the Facebook page there have been four dedicated posts, generating almost 2850 likes, 177 comments and 342 shares.

Support has also been garnered from digital influencers, with the campaign included in all Aussie Mangoes influencer outreach and gift packs throughout the season. As a result, many of Australia’s most popular health and foodie Instagrammers and bloggers have included the official mango emoji campaign hashtag, #mangoemojiplease, in their posts. This has seen a total of 34 posts generate a massive 48,422 likes and 1020 comments.

Brands and influencers in the wider Facebook community have also shared posts in support of the emoji campaign, with content using #mangoemojiplease posted and shared by:

  • Virgin Mobile Australia
  • Weis
  • Queensland Agriculture
  • Eat Pray Workout
  • The Biting Truth
  • Are We There Yet?
  • RecipeTin Eats
  • The Mango Show
  • Northern Territory Country Hour
  • Calypso Mango
  • Yoga Food
  • Healthy Eating Jo
  • Ken Vowles: Member for Johnston.

Meanwhile, the wider Instagram community has also jumped on board, with the #mangoemojiplease hashtag stream seeing 464 posts since the start of the season. The community has also begun using another hashtag, #whereisthemangoemoji, which has seen 257 posts thus far.

The campaign has also generated interest from mainstream media, with articles written by the ABC online, The Katherine Times, Nine Kitchen, and discussed on ABC radio in October and December. These publications reach a combined 5,726,072 people, meaning the campaign has been glimpsed by at least one fifth of the population.

The next steps

With a huge amount of support behind the emoji campaign, the next stage is beginning with the drafting of the official proposal for submission to the internal Unicode Consortium. The proposal must prove mangoes meet a number of selection criteria and will include not only the data generated from the social media campaign, but general statistics about the significance of mango production and consumption in Australia and the world. The emotional and symbolic significance of mangoes will also be leveraged to prove compatibility, potential for alternative usage (for example, mangoes can represent summertime) and expected usage levels (with mangoes speaking to Instagram’s trending foodie, summer, tropical places and hot weather content).

The proposal will be submitted in March, with an indication on whether the proposal will move forward for review at the next Unicode Consortium meeting in May. If successful, the mango emoji would appear in the 2018 emoji update.

Mango famils

Each year, Aussie Mangoes sends influencers or journalists on ‘famils’ (media familiarisation trips) to Australian mango farms, allowing the individuals to spend time with growers and learn about the industry, which they then share with their communities.

This year, two famils took place. The first at the end of November and involved Anthony Huckstep, a national food and restaurant critic for delicious magazine and contributor for a host of other Australian foodie titles. Anthony paid an overnight visit to Peter and Diane Marks of Ballongilly Farm in Katherine, where he was guided through the production process, learnt about the industry’s innovative scanner technologies, taste-tested the new ‘Parvin’ variety, and learnt about the ongoing development of the industry. Anthony’s piece – focusing on innovation – is due to be published in the March edition of delicious magazine, which has a circulation of 94,694.

More recently, Nagi Maehashi of top Australian food blog RecipeTin Eats flew up to Groves Grown Tropical Fruit farm in Rockhampton, marking her second year visiting the Groves family. The significance of famils is made clear when watching and reading Nagi’s content, which is full of admiration for the Groves family and the mango industry, indicating a genuine relationship that has seen the development of an authentic public advocate. This year, Nagi published this beautiful blog piece with two videos documenting the harvest process and a recipe for mango daiquiris. The content was accompanied by four social media posts across Facebook and Instagram. Nagi also provided added-value content that was outside scope as a further demonstration of her passion for the industry, with one extra Facebook post, two extra Instagram posts and two YouTube video shares. In total, her social media and blog content has reached a huge 562,114 subscribers across four channels, receiving 5710 engagements (likes, comments, shares).


Mango-Daiquiris-9
Recipe content featured on top food blog RecipeTin Eats off the back of marketing activity


Influencer kit drops

Aussie Mangoes sends out gifts annually to Australian health and foodie digital influencers in the hope they will demonstrate their passion for mangoes to their followers. This season, gifts were sent out in October, December and January, celebrating the beginning of the mango season and the launch of the mango emoji campaign, the festive season, and Australia Day, respectively. Each kit reminded influencers of the versatility of mangoes and their significance as Australia’s fruit of summer, including everything they would need to create delicious mango salad, grilled mangoes, mango popsicles, baked mango treats, and mango pavlovas.

As a result of sending out 35 kits, there have been 59 Instagram posts, reaching 3,408,000 people, and receiving a huge 88,861 engagements.


Influencer kit


Grower profiles

A key focus of Aussie Mangoes public relations activity is grower profiling, with regional media connected with mango growers. In helping to forge these relationships, journalists are helped in sharing news of local mango growers and their harvest activity with regional communities, extending the visibility of Aussie Mangoes above mainstream and social media.

So far this season, nine growers have been connected with regional media publications, resulting in 11 pieces of coverage across online, print and broadcast media, and reaching a combined 8,342,139 people. Growers have appeared in the pages of major titles such as The Katherine Times, ABC Rural, The Bowen Independent, The Cairns Post, The Townsville Bulletin, and The Bundaberg NewsMail. More grower profiles are expected to come.

YouTube

Aside from Aussie Mangoes’ owned social channels of Facebook and Instagram, the industry extends its outreach to popular YouTube foodies, home cooks and chefs, who have large communities of dedicated subscribers on the online video channel. This season seven YouTube content creators have been engaged, and as a result have posted videos for recipes such as mango muffins, chia pudding, cheesecake tarts, flan, sorbet, salads, popsicles, and ‘nicecream’. These videos have reached a subscriber base of 1,248,732 and received 13,933 engagements. More videos are expected to be published.

Facebook

The annual Facebook activity has been producing some fantastic results, with total engagements already exceed last year’s overall results, with the 2016/17 season still to wrap up.

Contributing to this success, is the development of major content pillars aimed at educating the community, increasing awareness, generating engagement and driving sales. As harvests begin in each region, Facebook posts have alerted the community to production with ‘harvest tiles’, which have already reached 713,023 and seen 58,755 engagements.

Similarly, regular one-hour Mango Madness promotions through Facebook have drummed up strong engagement during the peak of the season, with five mango competitions reaching 49,291 people and receiving 9,081 engagements – which equates to an average of 9858 reached and 1816 engagements per hour.

Finally, one of the most popular content streams on the Aussie Mangoes Facebook page is the how-to mango recipe videos, featuring some the most popular recipes from the Aussie Mangoes website. So far, six videos have been posted with recipes for mango-filled salads, barbecues and desserts, which have reached 606,263 people, been viewed 205,619 times, and have received 19,728 engagements.

Export-market activity

Asian export promotions

Promotional activities in Asia are underway with campaigns in Wellcome supermarkets in Hong Kong, Costco in Japan, Homeplus in Korea, and NTUC FairPrice, CMM Sheng Siong and Cold Storage supermarkets in Singapore.

Aussie Mangoes has engaged with exporters, importers and retailers to create bespoke campaigns for each market and target customer. Activities include in-store demonstrations, point of sale (POS) material with ‘Go an Aussie mango’ themed posters, wobblers, bunting, store handling and merchandising guides, varietal posters and a sales incentive competition. Exporters are supporting the campaigns by providing mangoes for in-store tastings, and retailers and importers are funding print advertisements and online activity.

To assist retailers with their advertising and social media activities, Australian Mangoes collateral has been provided including the brand style guide and logo; high resolution images of the different varieties; recipes and accompanying high resolution images; lifestyle images; tips and trivia; the #mangoemojiplease image and video; and other online content including short videos for social media platforms such as Facebook and Instagram.

Korea Australia Day event

Australian mangoes were a highlight for over 1200 guests who attended the 2017 Australia Day event hosted by the Australian Embassy in Seoul, South Korea, on January 12, 2017.

Guests lined up to taste and enjoy Australian mangoes at the ‘Taste Australia’ stand at the event, where there was a display of R2E2 mangoes and the opportunity to sample fresh sliced mangoes and mango sorbet. In addition, mango and coconut muffins and Aussie pavlova with mango and passionfruit were served.


Korea eventAustralian mangoes were a hit at an Australia Day event in Korea

FACES OF HORTICULTURE

MARTINA MATZNER, GROWER – ACACIA HILLS FARM, NT

To say that mango grower and agricultural engineer Martina Matzner is passionate about advancing the industry would be an understatement.

Martina has a long history of involvement in industry research and on-farm trials, and is genuinely thrilled by the opportunities ahead. “Farming at the moment is really exciting. We’re at the cutting edge in Australia in terms of knowledge and technology, and I can’t wait to see where it takes us.”

Measuring mango maturity on the ground…

As farm manager at Acacia Hills Farm in the Northern Territory, Martina has a long relationship with the mango industry’s near-infrared (NIR) technology projects. “Going back some years now, the first prototype for NIR technology for mangoes was developed with work at Acacia Hills, as part of the Calypso quality assurance program. Now the technology has advanced so much and is really picking up with growers.” (Read more about how Hort Innovation’s mango maturity assessment project is bringing NIR technology to growers in the mango R&D snapshot above.)

NIR technology allows for the non-destructive measurement of dry matter in mangoes – a measurement that’s related to sugar content and, by extension, maturity. Rather than cutting the fruit to analyses the dry matter content as in the past, growers can now simply scan the fruit with the gun.

“Today the technology is so fast, so easy to use, and so precise. This season we used the NIR gun to measure the maturity of over 25,000 pieces of fruit in the period up to and during harvest, to ensure all the areas of the orchard were mature,” Martina says.

“What’s more, the technology is widely available – anyone can get a Felix 750 Produce Quality Meter – and it comes with GPS tracking so you know exactly where in the orchard you’re taking the readings from. By overlaying that information with your farm map, you can very easily identify areas that have earlier maturity than others and know which areas to pick first, and which ones will have to wait a little bit. It’s a real decision-making tool.”

…And in the skies

Martina is currently involved in a trial combining NIR technology with satellite imaging, to better map variations in fruit maturity, tree health and crop yield. The work is supported through Hort Innovation as part of the Australian Government’s Rural R&D for Profit program.

“Satellite imagery is going to add a whole other layer to help growers determine the best time for picking, to understand patterns of maturity in their orchards, and to make efficient use of labour as a result,” Martina said. “It’s only on its L plates for the mango industry – we still have a lot to learn and data to interpret from the recent season in the Northern Territory – but amazing potential is there. What we’re ultimately working towards is ensuring that we have consistent, good-quality fruit getting to consumers. If consumers can rely on what they’re buying, that it will be good every time, that will benefit the whole industry.”

But wait, there’s more…

As well as involvement in NIR and satellite trials, Martina is involved in current Hort Innovation-funded research to mitigate the destructive effect of mango geese in Northern Territory orchards. With Acacia Hills taking part in on-farm trials, Martina is also on the advisory committee for the project.

“Trials have been very successful this season. Some of the geese had GPS trackers on them, and the learnings will be revealed shortly. Once we know what the geese do and where they travel, hopefully we can learn more about how we can mitigate the damage they’re doing.”

As for innovation and technology in her own business, as just an example, Martina has tech-aided water monitoring. “We have soil moisture probes that tell us how much water is in the ground, and use this to water individual areas accordingly. We also have a bore monitoring system to safeguard water levels. This involves automatic monitoring of the water level in each bore, so we can know where the water is at. With this, you can set a level for how far you want the water level to go down, and if you should reach that safe level, the system automatically sends a text message to your phone so you know. From this you can draw conclusions, which may be that something isn’t right, or that you’re watering too much – whatever it may be.”

Into the future

“Whenever there’s an option to do something better, I think it’s worth exploring,” Martina said. “It’s not only good for individual businesses, but I think all these new and innovative ways of doing things are going to open the doors for young people to come into the field. We need to make sure we get young Australians embracing the industry and following in our footsteps.”

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