The development of new varieties to boost productivity and profitability continues to be a focus for Hort Innovation’s investment of the table grape R&D levy, as does work to strengthen market access and facilitate table grape exports. 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 table grape industry’s current levy investments and outcomes in this edition of Hortlink, check out Hort Innovation’s table grape grower page. The grower page remains your one-stop-shop for industry information, including:

  • Important updates regarding the table grape Strategic Investment Plan (SIP), as available. Developed in close consultation with growers and other industry stakeholders, the SIP is a document outlining the priorities for strategic investment in the table grape industry. It is to be used like a ‘roadmap’ by the industry’s Strategic Investment Advisory Panel (SIAP) when providing advice to Hort Innovation on potential levy investments. The SIP will be placed onto the grower page in the near future to allow for final comments before the plan is finalised.
  • The latest updates regarding the table grape SIAP, including details on the panel’s recently appointed chair, Claude Gauchat, and summaries from all SIAP meetings to date. The SIAP most recently met in Melbourne on December 15, 2016, and is due to meet again in July.
  • The 2015/16 table grape industry annual report, detailing activities from the previous financial year.
  • Grower resources, events and articles of interest to the table grape industry.

Any questions?

As well as the table grape grower page, Hort Innovation Relationship Manager Brad Wells is always available to answer questions on the table grape program on 0412 528 398 or at brad.wells@horticulture.com.au.

R&D SNAPSHOT

NEW, ONGOING AND COMPLETED PROJECTS FOR THE INDUSTRY

Evaluation of dried and table grape varieties (MT15026)

Status: Ongoing project

What’s it all about? Begun in 2016, this multi-industry project will deliver new grape varieties for both the table grape and dried grape industries. For table grapes, new varieties adapted to local conditions will enable Australia to differentiate its products in international markets, enhance export opportunities and increase domestic consumption. The new varieties will reduce production costs and minimise issues such as berry collapse in Thompson seedless, as well as poor budburst and low fruit bearing in sub-tropical regions. Early and late ripening types, and those with favourable long-term storage and transport characteristics, will also extend the season and provide opportunities to develop new markets.

What’s the latest update? For table grapes, recent work in the project has included the establishment of a new regional test site on a commercial property in Emerald, Queensland. Here, 11 promising selections (five white, two red and three black) have been planted as own-rooted vines and also grafted on five different rootstocks (1103 Paulsen, 140 Ruggeri, Freedom, 101-14 and SO4).

In early 2016 there had been the planting of selections in Alice Springs in the Northern Territory. These vines have now been trained and fully established on trellis systems, and are expected to produce significant crops in November/December this year.

These regional test sites will enable the evaluation of the planted selections, to assess their performance in different environments and their suitability to meet specific industry and consumer expectations.

There has also been the grafting of 12 further table grape selections onto Ramsey rootstock across trial plots at CSIRO’s facility in Irymple, Victoria. Establishment of these selections will enable evaluation to be conducted under near-commercial conditions, with promising selections to be included in future regional and commercial test sites.

Across the project’s various trial sites, the researchers report there has been implementation of vine management strategies to enhance fruit quality of selections. These strategies have included gibberellic acid (GA) treatments for berry thinning, rachis stretching and berry sizing; bunch thinning and trimming; and leaf removal in the bunch zone.

Export market access, maintenance, biosecurity and developing export markets for the Australian table grape industry (TG14000)

Status: Ongoing project

What’s it all about? This project aims to improve and maintain market access for Australian table grapes in overseas markets. A key focus is direct engagement with growers and exporters to develop export readiness and industry knowledge, and engagement with existing, new and potential markets and importers.

What’s the latest update? Key activities under this project continue to develop export readiness for table grape growers, including the delivery of export protocol workshops and training – with new online, self-paced training on pest-monitoring being rolled out this harvest season (look out for details in industry and Hort Innovation communication channels).

There is also the continued delivery of tools, such as the new online export registration and mapping system. Available at www.australiangrapes.com.au/export-registration and continuing to be enhanced, the online system enables growers to register table grape properties for accreditation to export to Asian markets, replacing the old paper-based registration and accreditation process.

Other project activities include:

  • Development of an export manual
  • Organising and coordinating strategic importer tours
  • Provision of market intelligence and export statistics to growers
  • Market-access activities, such as industry participation in strategic meetings with the Department of Agriculture and Water Resources and relevant state government authorities, as well as attendance at strategic trade shows such as Asia Fruit Logistica and the China Fruit and Vegetable Fair at the end of 2016. The table grape industry also has a presence at the Gulfood expo being held in Dubai at the end of February this year.
Australian table grape industry communications project (TG15008)

Status: Ongoing project

What’s it all about? Established in 2016, this project continues to maintain and improve communication to Australian table grape growers and other industry stakeholders. By keeping the industry up-to-date on R&D and marketing activities, news, events and other critical information, its ultimate goal is to help the industry tackle issues, and to support decision-making and the uptake of new research and technologies within table grape 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:

  • Quarterly magazine The Vine, distributed to industry stakeholders and also available online at australiangrapes.com.au/the-vine-magazine (The Vine is a joint magazine between the table grape and dried fruit industries)
  • The Australian Table Grape Association (ATGA) website, australiangrapes.com.au, which is updated regularly
  • Regular e-newsletters from ATGA
  • ATGA social media channels including Facebook, Twitter (@ATGAHortnetwork) and LinkedIn
  • Annual grower forums and other industry events.

The Vine

The latest edition of The Vine magazine, part of project TG15008 and in collaboration with the dried fruit industries


 Other R&D projects of note…
  • Cold disinfestation verification trials for table grape access to Japan (TG11013), which is due for completion in 2017.

MARKETING SNAPSHOT

THE LATEST ACTIVITY THAT’S GROWING THE INDUSTRY

Domestic marketing activity

The industry’s Australian marketing campaign is now well underway. It has a focus on reminding consumers that Australian table grapes are now in season, with the objectives of:

  • Creating excitement and demand to support local growers that supply the domestic market
  • Creating preference for Australian-grown products
  • Focusing on product provenance.

Beginning in December and running until May, a print advertising campaign is being run in FRESH magazine in The West Australian newspaper. The magazine has a readership of 300,000 – with 88 per cent of these readers responsible for grocery purchasing decisions. It is dedicated to food, wine and dining-out in the Western Australian market.

Other key domestic marketing activity includes the industry’s social media campaign. The consumer-facing Australian Grapes Facebook page (www.facebook.com/AustralianGrapes) highlights and supports Australian grapes, with posts including recipes, quirky posts to grab consumers’ attention, tips and more.

Export consumer marketing and Now in Season

The multi-industry Now in Season program continues to form an important part of the table grape marketing strategy in international markets. The program promotes Australian produce to consumers in export markets, with a focus on the quality, health and safety credentials of Aussie-grown produce.

Beginning in March and running until June this year, table grapes will have a strong Now in Season presence in Thailand, China, the Philippines, Indonesia, Vietnam, Malaysia, Korea and the United Arab Emirates.

On top of the Now in Season involvement, there will be additional consumer marketing in other key markets including Japan and Korea.

As part of this, branding is being developed for Australian Thompson grapes under the Tams Gold brand name, especially for the Korean market. This will be launched to the trade market in March, followed by consumer in-store activations.

Table grape quality project

As reported in the last edition of Hortlink, industry marketing project Fruit Quality Standards program (TG15502) has entered its third and final year. The objectives of this project are to:

  • Provide monitoring of quality of early-season grapes with on-farm testing
  • Monitor quality at the supermarket level
  • Follow up consumer research to measure the level of consumer satisfaction with the quality of grapes purchased
  • Grow demand for Australian table grapes by ensuring consumers have a great eating experience, with repeat purchasing throughout the season.

Weekly sampling is taking place over 13 weeks, and results will be available at the end of the season in May this year.

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