Where should all the trees go? An investigation of the impact of tree canopy cover on socio-economic status and wellbeing in LGAs (NY16005)
Status: New project
What’s it all about? Beginning at the end of 2016, this project seeks to measure the impact of tree canopy cover on socio-economic status and wellbeing in Australian local government areas (LGAs). It will provide an estimate of canopy cover across all metropolitan LGAs, and examine relationships between this cover and socio-economic, health and wellbeing indicators. In its course, it will identify areas for priority canopy-cover planting and support the nursery in achieving the goals set out by the 202020 Vision.
What’s the latest update? As this project is only just beginning, a more detailed update will be provided in future editions of Hortlink.
Nursery industry statistics and research 2016/17 (NY16004)
Status: New project
What’s it all about? Beginning in January this year, this project will collect industry statistics to allow nursery growers and the broader industry to make timely and effective decisions in planning and resource prioritisation, as well as track market trends and industry performance over time.
What’s the latest update? As this project is only just beginning, more detailed updates will be provided in future editions of Hortlink.
Building the resilience and on-farm biosecurity capacity of the Australian production nursery industry (NY15002)
Status: Ongoing project
What’s it all about? Beginning in 2016, this project aims to enhance the biosecurity preparedness of the Australian nursery industry. It builds on earlier project Plant health, biosecurity, risk management and capacity building for the nursery industry (NY11001) and is developing new contingency plans, producing new and updated information, and is delivering the industry’s Pest Identification Tool (www.pestid.com.au) to make diagnostic identifications more financially viable for production nurseries.
What’s the latest update? Since the project began, outputs have included:
- Ongoing maintenance and updating of the Pest Identification Tool, with 35 new pages added with detailed descriptions of pest and disease biology, spread and management. Over 90 pages have also been updated, and almost 90 new images of pests and diseases provided for uploading
- Workshops across the country, with the final workshops in 2016 held in New South Wales and Tasmania during November. The theme of the 2016 workshops was integrated pest management and crop monitoring, and they included practical exercises and farm walks
- Four webinars, with the videos remaining available on YouTube. Topics included insect pests versus benficials (watch here), insects and pesticides (watch here), fungal versus bacterial leaf spots (watch here) and leaf spots and fungicides (watch here).
Two industry contingency plans have also been prepared: a new plan on brown marmorated stink bug and an updated plan for Pierce’s disease. These plans are currently with Plant Health Australia for review and during 2017, and there will be a revision of the industry’s glassy-winged sharp shooter contingency plan. Further plans are scheduled to be rolled out/updated till the project’s end in 2020.
Also under the project, over 200 diagnostic samples have been received and analysed by pest and disease diagnostic service Grow Help Australia, with diagnostic reports provided to production nursery businesses.
National Nursery Industry Biosecurity Program (NY15004)
Status: Ongoing project
What’s it all about? The National Nursery Industry Biosecurity Program aims to ensure production nurseries in Australia are aware of and prepared for incursions of exotic plant pests, and that they have effective market access mechanisms in place to maintain business functionality.
Beginning in 2016, a key part of the project is the industry on-farm biosecurity program BioSecure HACCP, to underpin national market access with electronic certification. BioSecure HACCP assists growers in assessing pest, disease and weed risks and supports the implementation of management strategies within businesses. It is one program under the Nursery Production Farm Management System (Nursery Production FMS).
What’s the latest update? The project continues to develop BioSecure HACCP as a national market access system, and to carry out broader biosecurity-related activities for the industry. There has been…
- The completion of the transition of the Nursery Production FMS to an entirely nationally governed and administered system (as well as BioSecure HACCP, the FMS includes the EcoHort system and the Nursery Industry Accreditation Scheme Australia, or NIASA, Best Management Practice program).
- Continued dialogue between the National Nursery Industry Biosecurity Program and state and territory biosecurity agencies, resulting in Victoria and Queensland now legally recognising BioSecure HACCP Certified businesses and BioSecure HACCP Biosecurity Certificates for market access. At the time of last reporting to Hort Innovation, Tasmania, South Australia and New South Wales were soon to follow.
- A review of and republishing of the BioSecure HACCP Manual, as well as the NIASA Manual, both of which are available from the Nursery & Garden Industry Australia website here or from the Nursery Production FMS website here.
- Upgrading of web-based electronic platforms the Audit Management System (AMS) and the National Audit Portal (NAP), used in the Nursery Production FMS’s management and auditing programs. This will allow the progression of BioSecure HACCP as a market-access tool.
- Close collaboration with project NY15002 (detailed above), with industry workshops through that project helping to bring National Nursery Industry Biosecurity Program messaging and biosecurity awareness to the industry.
- Work established with Plant Health Australia, which will deliver a range of biosecurity procedural videos for the industry.
Read more on BioSecure HACCP and the Nursery Production FMS here.
Communication program for the Australian nursery industry 2015-18 (NY15006)
Status: Ongoing project
What’s it all about? The industry’s communication program ensures Australian nursery and garden growers and other industry stakeholders are kept up-to-date with the latest news, information and R&D and marketing updates to support decision-making within businesses.
This program is supported by the project NGIA – communications support on NY15006 – nursery industry communications (NY15009), which provides funding to Nursery & Garden Industry Australia to facilitate work with the communication program’s external service provider.
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:
- Regular Nursery Papers looking at current industry projects, with all issues accessible here
- The Your Levy @ Work newsletter
- The Nursery & Garden Industry Australia (NGIA) website and the Your Levy @ Work website
- NGIA social media channels including Facebook, Twitter, YouTube and LinkedIn.
Media releases, the production of case studies for peer-to-peer learning and video content also form part of the communication program.
The project is also developing an ‘Entrants’ Kit’ with information for new industry members.
Evaluation of nursery tree stock balance parameters (NY15001)
Status: Ongoing project
What’s it all about? Ensuring out-planted nursery trees have a high potential survival rate requires a balanced root and shoot system prior to dispatch. This project, due for completion later this year, is investigating how species differences and climatic conditions in different production regions can affect this balance in tree stock.
By bringing together existing knowledge on root-to-shoot balance and quantifying this balance in tree stock across the country, the project aims to develop metrics for the industry to use in assessing the quality of tree stock for landscape planting. It is anticipated that the tree stock balance data will also be used to inform a revision of the current Australian Standard for tree stock for landscape use.
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, research trials to quantify root-to-shoot balance of nursery tree stock were well underway, with over 6000 trees measured across eight production nurseries in New South Wales, Victoria and the Northern Territory.
From the preliminary findings, the researchers noted a need for greater field-based evidence to determine the relationship between a tree’s size index and its container volume.
At the time of last reporting, they noted that the current Australian Standard specifies a range of size index values for tree stock in different container volumes at dispatch in order to quantify above- and below-ground balance of advanced tree stock for landscape use. The project’s current findings suggested the specified size index likely does not encompass the inherent variation within and among tree stock across Australian production nurseries.
A draft review of scientific and trade literature around root-to-shoot balance had also been completed.
Presentations, factsheets and other information related to this project continue to be available here.
Other R&D projects of note…
- 202020 Vision Training/Capacity Building Program (NY16002), an ongoing project to drive awareness of and engagement with the 202020 Vision through national and regional workshops and regular updates provided to growers. In 2016 the inaugural 202020 Vision training and capacity building forum was held in August, engaging industry stakeholders including state associations and extension representatives with the 202020 Vision program. Another event is planned for March this year.The project also facilitated a 202020 Vision update for growers and other industry stakeholders in Melbourne during December.As well as events and the information appearing in industry communication channels, grower resources relating the 202020 Vision are accessible on the initiative’s Growers’ Hub here. These include presentations and branding assets, as well as guides.
Nursery levy investment in strategic co-investment projects…
What are ‘strategic co-investment’ projects?
Hort Innovation’s strategic co-investment initiative is responsible for developing collaborative cross-industry projects. These projects endeavour to solve major and often complex challenges crucial to securing the future of Australian horticulture. They are funded via a combination of Australian Government investments (at least $20 million annually) and co-investments that are brokered and managed by Hort Innovation (including from research institutes, commercial partners, individual levy industries and more).
How is the nursery industry involved?
The nursery industry has co-invested levy funds in the project Measuring Australia’s green space assets (GC15004), which will help quantify, evaluate and promote healthy and climate-resilient green space environments. It will address two key research questions: ‘What existing tools and methods are available around the world for mapping, monitoring and reporting on urban green space?’ And, ‘Are these tools suitable for application in Australia, and what modifications would be required?’ The project is part of the strategic co-investment Green Cities Fund, with more information available here.
The industry is also a co-invester in the Global Masterclass in Horticultural Business (LP15001) project. This project is part of the strategic co-investment Leadership Fund, which you can read more about here. Through the project, the nursery levy investment supports three nursery industry scholarships for the Masterclass in Horticultural Business course.
For a good overview, watch Hort Innovation’s new video on the Masterclass in Horticultural Business below:
The Masterclass is delivered with world-leading agriculture university Wageningen Academy in the Netherlands, renowned university Lincoln in New Zealand, and key provider the University of Tasmania. The course is the first of its kind in Australia and dedicated to supporting business skills and personal development for growers and other horticulture industry participants. Key areas covered include:
- Horticultural management
- People and culture
- Supply chain management and logistics
- Financial management and law
- Horticultural marketing and communication
- Global trends and international business
- Innovation and entrepreneurship
- Business development and strategy.
The 2017 course began in February this year and will run for 10 months, with online training and three face-to-face sessions.
Opportunities for 2018 scholarship applications will be announced through industry and Hort Innovation channels in the future.
Nursery scholarship recipients in the Masterclass in Horticultural Business initiative