Innovation and adoption for the Australian prune industry (DP15002)
Status: Ongoing project
What’s it all about? Beginning in late 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? Ann Furner is the IDO for the prune industry, and can be reached on 0467 681 007 or at email@example.com. Throughout the year, Ann will be organising several field days, information sessions and other extension activities in her role. These events will be advertised in industry channels as they are organised.
While no new milestone report was due in the period since the last Hortlink (2017, edition 1), keep your eyes peeled for the next edition. At the time of last reporting, activity in the project had included:
- Continued liaison with prune growers to understand industry concerns and needs.
- Creation of content delivered through The Vine magazine and prune industry e-newsletters (both produced under project MT15031, described below).
- 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.
- 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.
More information on Ann and her role can also be found in this short profile.
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.
Other R&D projects of note…
- Enhanced National Bee Pest Surveillance Program (MT16005), which is delivering a nationally coordinated bee-pest surveillance program to help safeguard honey-bee and pollinator-dependent industries in Australia. The surveillance will enable the early detection of high-priority pest incursions of honey bees, providing the best opportunity for successful pest eradication. The prune industry is one of several contributors to the project’s work.