Innovation and adoption for the Australian prune industry (DP15002)
Status: New project
What’s it all about? Beginning at the end of November 2016, this project has taken over from previous industry development project Australian prune industry – stage 2 (DP14000). Like its predecessor, it funds a dedicated industry development officer (IDO) to provide growers and other industry stakeholders with information and know-how on R&D, new technologies and best-practice management. The ultimate goal of the project is to drive the adoption of new technologies and practices, and to support decision-making within businesses.
The IDO is also involved in the evaluation of new prune varieties and work into prune quality assurance.
What’s the latest update? As under project DP14000, Ann Furner continues to be the IDO for the prune industry. Recent activity in the new project has included:
- Preparation of an IDO work plan for 2017.
- Continued liaison with prune growers to understand industry concerns and needs.
- Creation of content that has been delivered through The Vine magazine and prune industry e-newsletters (both produced under project MT15031, described below), including articles and reports off the back of attendance at the International Prune Association Congress in Chile during November.
- Release of the Dry Right Quality Assurance Program in December 2016, with training workshops following for dehydrators. Processors were to conduct the first round of on-site inspections early in the 2017 harvest, and gain feedback from dehydrators on how the program has been working on-site. A manual relating to the quality assurance program is available from Ann, whose details are below.
- Continuation of trials, including ongoing evaluation of trees as part of varietal trial sites – and the organisation of field walks to one of the sites. During 2017, new trial work will include looking at the health benefits of low-temperature drying of prunes.
Throughout the year, Ann will be organising several field days, information sessions and other extension activities.
Ann can be reached on 0467 681 007 or at email@example.com, and more information on her role can be found in Hort Innovation’s profile at the bottom of this page.
Australian dried fruit communications program (MT15031)
Status: Ongoing project
What’s it all about? Established in 2016, this project continues to maintain and improve communication to Australian dried fruit growers and other industry stakeholders. By keeping the industry up-to-date on R&D, news, events and other critical information, its ultimate goal is to facilitate the uptake of R&D by the industry and support decision-making in dried fruit businesses.
This project is a multi-industry project. Carried out for the benefit of more than one levy industry, it has funding from a combination of industries along with Australian Government contributions.
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:
- Quarterly magazine The Vine (a joint magazine between the dried fruit and table grape industries)
- The Dried Fruits Australia website, www.driedfruitsaustralia.org.au (recently redeveloped)
- Fortnightly e-newsletters.
2016 IPA Congress Tour (DP16700)
Status: Completed project
What was it all about? This project supported industry attendance at the International Prune Association Congress, held in Chile on November 6-9, 2016. This attendance was for the purposes of building relationships, receiving updates, exchanging information and holding discussions on:
- The global prune supply/demand situation and outlook
- Best-practice production techniques and new/emerging techniques
- Recent research coming out of producing countries
- Promotion initiatives designed to increase prune consumption.
Findings and outcomes from the event were shared with the Australian industry via articles in the January-March 2017 issue of The Vine magazine, providing a better understanding of the global prune industry and the improved outlook for prunes (with reasonable balance in world supply and demand reported on at the event). The issue can be read here.
Presentations from the event can also be accessed from the International Prune Association website here.
Full details of this industry project can be found in its final report, available to order at www.horticulture.com.au/about/resources-publications-final-reports. Final reports are free to Australian horticulture levy payers, registered Hort Innovation members and industry representative bodies.
A tour prior to the International Prune Association Congress was a chance to visit orchards and gain international knowledge and insights (above)
Solar drying tunnels (left) and prunes sun-drying on raised racks with bamboo mats (right), as seen in Argentina as part of the study tour ahead of the International Prune Association Congress