An IPM extension program for the potato and onion industries (MT16009)
Status: Ongoing project
What’s it all about? This project for the processing potato, fresh potato and onion industries has a focus on integrated pest management (IPM). Its core activities will support growers in adopting IPM on farm – improving pest management with minimal pesticide use and a reduction in associated costs – and will include workshops, the use of demonstration sites with commercial crops, and the production of materials such as articles, guides and case studies distributed in industry channels.
The project will also be responsible for training advisors from Australia’s major potato and onion growing regions in IPM.
What’s the latest update? Still in its early stages, the project has already:
- Produced a pocket guide to help growers identify tomato potato psyllid. The guide has been distributed in industry channels including the latest Potatoes Australia magazine and the Hort Connections event held in May. You can also download a copy from Hort Innovation here, or potato growers can request a hard copy from Angelica Cameron at IPM Technologies (firstname.lastname@example.org) while stocks last.
- Produced three potato-focused IPM case studies showcasing the benefits and approaches of IPM on-farm, to be distributed in industry channels.
- Facilitated three IPM introduction and training workshops for South Australian potato and onion growers and advisors.
- Held tomato potato psyllid-specific training sessions for industry advisors.
- Begun the process for establishing on-farm demonstration sites.
Surveillance of tomato potato psyllid in the Eastern States and South Australia (MT16016)
Status: New project
What’s it all about? This project began in April, with levy investment from the potato and vegetable industries. Its surveillance activities are designed to bolster psyllid surveillance already conducted under other industry work, for the early detection of tomato potato psyllid (TPP) should it cross from Western Australia into South Australia and the eastern states, including Tasmania. Surveillance involves potato crops as well as other solonaceous vegetables (including capsicum, eggplant and chilli), especially those grown in greenhouses.
What’s the latest update? Growers are encouraged to get involved in the sticky-trap surveillance program for TPP. For more information, and to access traps and protocols, contact trapping program coordinator Raylea Rowbottom on 0428 745 752 or at email@example.com. The project team notes that TPP overwinters in weedy plants, so even in the off-season continued surveillance is important.
During June and July, training on TPP is also being offered under the project, covering how to identify the pest and the plant damage it causes. For Queensland, South Australia and Tasmania, Raylea is currently accepting expressions of interest for this training. Contact her on the details above to see how you can take part.
Extension of the PreDicta Pt potato diagnostic service (PT15008)
Status: New project
What’s it all about? Contracted by Hort Innovation in May, this project will be responsible for expanding the PreDicta PT testing system to help minimise the impact of soilborne and seedborne diseases on Australian potato businesses.
Running since 2013, PreDicta Pt is the commercial DNA-based testing service that allows specific pathogens to be identified prior to the planting of potatoes. Available through accredited providers in the south-eastern states, the test results help identify and manage risks related to powdery scab, black dot and root knot nematode.
This new project will expand the service into other major production areas of Australia, add new soil tests, and give potato growers access to testing on seed tubers.
What’s the latest update? With the new project only just getting underway, look for updates in future editions of Hortlink.
Impact of groundwater quality on the management of centre-pivot-grown potato crops (PT16001)
Status: Ongoing project
What’s it all about? This project for both the processing and fresh potato industries is looking at groundwater quality in areas of potato production in South Australia (where groundwater quality is most variable) and investigating how regional and seasonal water-quality variability impacts on potato production and quality. It will ultimately deliver effective management strategies and tools for sustainable and profitable potato production under varying soil and water conditions.
What’s the latest update? The project is still in its early stages. In its first year, it will be focused on collecting data for nine major potato varieties across three South Australian growing regions: the South East, the Mallee and the southern Murraylands. The researchers will be looking at site and plant conditions to see how specific conditions impact on the growth and health of plants, and will ultimately develop nutrition programs to maximise plant nutrient uptake and water use under a range of conditions.
Extension program for the Australian potato industry 2016-2019 (PT15002)
Status: Ongoing project
What’s it all about? Beginning in 2016 for both the processing and fresh potato industries, this project is responsible for delivering a wide range of extension activities. Program activities will capture the outcomes of new industry projects and developments, but also maximise the use of valuable older technologies and international developments, too. The ultimate goal of the program is to increase the use and continue the uptake of practical research findings across the industry.
What’s the latest update? A forum relating to the project was held on May 15 at the Hort Connection event in Adelaide. The forum involved presentations on precision agriculture; the management of tomato potato psyllid and other pests; new technologies such as drones and robotics; and a variety of soil health and soil management topics. The forum was also a chance for growers to help guide future extension activities under the project.
To access information on these presentations, or to submit ideas for extension activities, you can contact project manager Adrian Dahlenburg at Arris (firstname.lastname@example.org or 0488 739 300).
Upcoming program activities will be advertised in industry communication channels, with priority areas for 2017 including seed quality and handling education; the development of a digital app for potato pest and disease diagnostics; a range of webinars; and the development of management to tools to better evaluate the impact of farming practices on farm business outcomes.
Other R&D projects of note…
- Exploring Spongospora suppressive soils in potato production (PT16002), a new project that was contracted in April. It will seek to confirm the presence of a soil (or multiple soils) with characteristics that suppress Spongospora diseases of potato. If suppression is demonstrated, it will identify the mechanisms for suppression and determine if the suppressive properties are transferrable to non-suppressive soils. Look for updates in upcoming editions of Hortlink.
- Navigating the wealth of soil health information and identification of opportunities (PT16003), a new project that was contracted at the beginning of May. For growers, it will produce resources that will allow soil health information and R&D to be better utilised on-farm. More information will be provided in future Hortlinks as the project gets underway.
- Review of the national biosecurity plan for the potato industry and development of a biosecurity manual for potato producers (PT16004), an ongoing project responsible for updating the industry’s biosecurity plan – identifying high-priority endemic and exotic pests and diseases along with the risk mitigation activities required to reduce their biosecurity threat. It is also developing a manual for growers to help grow awareness of key pests and diseases, and the steps that can be taken to minimise their risk. The manual will also highlight legislative changes to ensure growers are up to date regarding their official biosecurity obligations.