INDUSTRY UPDATE

Along with Hortlink, don’t forget that Hort Innovation’s dried grape grower page is an important source of industry info for levy payers. On it you’ll find:

  • The new Dried Grape Strategic Investment Plan (SIP) for 2017-2021, with an easy-to-read ‘at a glance’ version and the full PDF document. The SIP was finalised in April after close consultation with growers and other industry stakeholders. It outlines priorities for strategic investment in the industry, and will be used like a ‘roadmap’ by the dried grape Strategic Investment Advisory Panel (SIAP) when providing advice to Hort Innovation on potential levy investments.
  • The latest meeting notes from the dried grape SIAP, which last met over two days on May 24 and 25 in Melbourne.
  • Current financial documents regarding your levy, including the July 2016 to March 2017 financial operating statement, and expenditure summaries for R&D and marketing projects.
  • Grower resources, events and articles of interest to the industry.

Any questions?

As well as the dried grape grower page, Hort Innovation Relationship Management Lead Will Gordon is always available to answer questions on the dried grape program on 0427 920 924 or at will.gordon@horticulture.com.au. For questions relating specifically to the industry’s marketing, contact Hort Innovation Marketing Manager Dianne Phan on 0408 497 798 or at dianne.phan@horticulture.com.au.

R&D SNAPSHOT

NEW, ONGOING AND COMPLETED PROJECTS FOR THE INDUSTRY

Dried grape industry development project stage 2 (DG13001)

Status: Ongoing project

What’s it all about? Designed to build capacity and knowledge in the dried grape industry, this project aims to:

  • Facilitate the adoption of best-practice production systems and technologies in the industry, in turn supporting growers in lifting crop yields, lowering costs and improving fruit quality
  • Ensure the latest R&D results and other relevant management information is extended to growers and other stakeholders, to enhance the industry’s skills base
  • Support industry projects related to the evaluation and development of new dried grape varieties, to ultimately enable production of a high-value, differentiated product under a range of conditions.

What’s the latest update? The project currently supports the role of new Consultant Field Officer for the industry, Stuart Putland (introduced on p6 in this issue of The Vine). Throughout the year, Stuart will be responsible for:

  • Conducting field walks, grower forums, a seasonal review with growers, training workshops and the Dried Fruits Australia annual conference – providing face-to-face information and advice
  • Maintaining regular communication with growers and other industry stakeholders
  • Supplying industry information, alerts, R&D updates and the like through articles prepared for industry e-newsletters and The Vine magazine
  • Developing factsheets on relevant topics
  • Providing ongoing support for relevant on-farm trials, as well as assisting the work in project Evaluation of dried and table grapes varieties (MT15026).

Through consultation with growers, the project has identified some key areas of focus for the year’s activities. These are:

  • Vine nutrition
  • Irrigation needs
  • Pest and disease management
  • Canopy management
  • Variety selection.

Its events and activities will be advertised in key industry channels.

Evaluation of dried and table grape varieties (MT15026)

Status: Ongoing project

What’s it all about? Beginning in 2016, this multi-industry project will deliver new grape varieties for both the dried grape and table grape industries. For dried grapes it will deliver new, consistently high yielding, rain-tolerant varieties targeted to produce a premium light-coloured, globally differentiated product to enhance value.

What’s the latest update? No new milestone report was due in the period since the last edition of Hortlink (2017, edition 1) – look for the latest update in the next edition. At the time of last reporting, recent work for dried grapes had included the establishment of 30 grape selections, grafted onto Ramsey rootstocks across multiple plots at CSIRO’s facility in Irymple, Victoria. Establishment of these selections was to enable evaluation to be conducted under near-commercial conditions, with management on appropriate large trellis systems, to identify selections most suited to industry requirements. Promising selections will ultimately be included in future regional and semi-commercial test sites.

At the time of last reporting there had also been establishment of four highly promising dried grape selections on a semi-commercial test site. Using the top-working approach, these selections were grafted onto existing Ramsey and 1103 Paulsen rootstock on a commercial property, to enable evaluation of yield consistency, rain tolerance, product quality and more under commercial conditions. This work was also to supply sufficient volumes of dried fruit for potential test processing and storage studies.

New rootstocks to improve production and water use efficiency, sustainability and reduce risks of dried grape production (DG12006)

Status: Ongoing project

What’s it all about? Rootstocks are an important tool to reduce production risks associated with climate variability, salinity and soil-borne pests. Running since 2013 and now due for completion, this project has aimed to deliver new high-yielding, water-use-efficient and drought-tolerant rootstocks. It has also investigated integrated strategies involving high-density plantings and rootstock choice to optimise productivity and water-use efficiency in the dried grape industry.

What’s the latest update? With a new milestone report due to Hort Innovation shortly, look for an update in the next edition of Hortlink. In the meantime, to read the project update from last edition, click here.

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) – read the April-June 2017 edition here
  • The Dried Fruits Australia website, www.driedfruitsaustralia.org.au (recently redeveloped)
  • Fortnightly e-newsletters
  • Social media
  • The production of a Dried Fruit Investment Guide.
Other R&D projects of note…
  • Horticulture trade intelligence reporting 2017-2019 (MT16011), a new project to provide easy-to-read and easy-to-act-upon trade performance information to Australia’s horticulture industry. Quarterly reports will be made available for download through the Hort Innovation website, with the first dried grape report to be available on the dried grape grower page shortly.

MARKETING SNAPSHOT

THE LATEST ACTIVITY THAT’S GROWING THE INDUSTRY

Current marketing for the industry has a focus on promoting Australian dried grapes in the European market. As reported in the last edition of Hortlink, this marketing program is managed on the ground in Germany by Boesch Boden Spies (BBS), an importer/wholesaler that markets a range of food ingredients into Europe throughout both retail and foodservice channels.

Activities undertaken since the start of the year include attending the Sigep International Exhibition in Italy – an event dedicated to artisan pastry, bakery, confectionary and gelato production, as well as the coffee sector. This was a chance to share messaging about dried grapes, with BBS making contact with over 50 industry participants interested in Australian dried fruit.

Australian dried grapes were also presented to journalists from food magazines and trade publications, as part of an information session held in France.

Future editions of Hortlink will contain updates on this activity, as it happens.

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