See how the turf levy is hard at work! Scroll down to learn about Hort Innovation’s current investment of the industry levy, and results from these investments, in the R&D and marketing snapshots – or click on a project name below to go straight to a specific update. Also look for the ‘ACT NOW’ tag to easily identify project resources ready to use.

All projects are funded by Hort Innovation using the turf R&D or marketing levy and, in the case of R&D, contributions from the Australian Government.


Don’t forget to grab the Turf Fund Annual Report

Released at the start of November, Hort Innovation’s Turf Fund Annual Report sums up all levy investments and activities from 2016/17. You can download a copy here, or head to Hort Innovation’s Annual Report Portal to place an order for a free hard copy of the report.

What research do you want to see?

As always, Hort Innovation encourages all growers and industry participants to share their thoughts and ideas for the research they want to see – whether that’s within the industry-specific Turf Fund (where research is funded by grower levies and Australian Government contributions), or within Hort Innovation’s strategic partnership initiative, Hort Frontiers (where research is funded through partnerships with co-investors).

Watch this video to see how ideas are collected and grown into projects, then submit your suggestions for new projects here.

Get closer to your investments with free membership

Hort Innovation membership brings you closer to the investment activities and results in your levy fund, and to the organisation as a whole. As well as providing the opportunity for voting rights at the company’s Annual General Meeting, membership helps you connect with your industry’s Relationship Manager, sends Hortlink straight to your inbox for first-look access, provides exclusive Grower Intel alerts with industry-specific news and opportunities, and more.

Paying a levy doesn’t automatically make you a member, so read more here and sign up now!

Find resources on the Hort Innovation Turf Fund page…

Along with Hortlink, Hort Innovation’s webpage for turf levy payers is a great source of info. On it you’ll find:

  • Key documents including the Turf Strategic Investment Plan (SIP) for 2017-2021, released earlier in 2017, and the Turf Fund Annual Report
  • The latest meeting notes from the turf Strategic Investment Advisory Panel (SIAP), which most recently met across September 21 and 22, 2017, and is due to meet again during February 2018.
  • Current financial documents regarding your levy, including operating statements and expenditure summaries for R&D and marketing projects
  • Grower resources, events and articles of interest to the industry.
Any questions?

Hort Innovation Relationship Management Lead John Vatikiotis is always available to answer questions or provide info on the Turf Fund program. He can be reached on 0429 022 637 or at john.vatikiotis@horticulture.com.au.



Turf industry statistics and research 2016/17

Status: Completed project

Key research provider: Western Research Institute

What was it all about? This project was responsible for surveying Australian turf businesses to collect industry data – including information related to the volume and value of turf production – to provide a clear picture of both the socioeconomic and physical status and needs of the industry. The final results are summarised in an industry stats report, which at the time of writing was being finalised. It will shortly be made available in industry channels, including on the Hort Innovation Turf Fund page.

The information it contains is intended to allow turf growers and the broader industry to make timely and effective decisions in planning and resource prioritisation, as well as track market trends and industry performance.

Growers who participated in the project’s surveys have also received confidential individual benchmarking reports.

Crisis management awareness program

Status: New program

Key research provider: Biologic

What’s it all about? Contracted in September, this new investment will ultimately provide the Australian turf industry with a clear and well-informed plan and resources for managing critical issues and events that may arise in the future and have the potential to affect the industry’s operations and/or reputation. Its work will involve assessing potential risks for the industry along with mitigation and management planning, working closely to equip industry leaders and key stakeholders with the required tools and insights.

Green industry growing leaders program

Status: Ongoing project

Key research provider: The Right Mind

What’s it all about? This multi-industry leadership-building project runs and supports the participation of turf and nursery workers in an industry-specific leadership education course. The program, conducted online and through face-to-face sessions, is designed to help participants define their leadership style; manage conflict and shape team culture; communicate effectively and more.


It’s time to apply! The program is currently taking expressions of interest for the 2018 intake. Email The Right Mind to register your interest here and visit the program’s website for more.

As per the last edition of Hortlink, you can read about the experiences of two turf-industry participants in the 2017 program on p23 of the spring 2017 edition of Turf Australia magazine here.

An environmental assessment of the Australian turf industry

Status: Ongoing project

Key research provider: Infotech Research

What’s it all about? Established in late 2016, this project is responsible for benchmarking the turf industry’s environmental performance, and establishing a lifecycle assessment of turf through its installation. It will point to ways industry can strengthen environmental performance without compromising productivity or profitability for growers, and the information it provides will enable growers to provide carbon footprints and environmental product declarations to the market.

What’s the latest update? As reported in the last edition of Hortlink, data gathering continues, with the project team working with growers from across Australia. There have been 20 growing sites selected for intensive assessments through the project. On these sites, a range of environmental assessments are being made, with information also collected on energy, fertiliser and water efficiencies, plus other observations to feed into the benchmarking and the footprint declarations.


  • Take part! The project will run into 2019, so there is always an opportunity for interested growers to put their hand up to participate in the confidential assessments, and extended environmental efficiencies data collection – either intensive or remotely. For more information, contact John Cumming from Infotech Research on 0418 125 688, or Hannah Devlin at hannahd@infotechresearch.org.
  • As reported in earlier Hortlinks, to kickstart the project there was a review of existing research and information on environmental performance and best practice in the Australian turf industry. The overview remains available here.
Australian turf industry communications program

Status: Ongoing project

Key research provider: Turf Australia

What’s it all about? Beginning in August 2017 to carry on from previous communications work, this project is responsible for keeping Australian turf growers and other industry stakeholders informed. It delivers up-to-date information on R&D, marketing and other resources to help support the profitability and sustainability of the industry.

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:


As part of previous communications project Turf industry communications (TU12014), a USB stick was distributed to growers to allow searchable access to all of the magazines and Turf Facts fact sheets produced during the life of the project, from 2012 to 2017. If you haven’t received the Turf Growers Resources 2012-2017 USB, contact the Turf Australia office at admin@turfaustralia.com.au or on (02) 4588 5735.

NxGen 2016-18

Status: Ongoing project

Key research provider: Turf Australia

What’s it all about? This project supports the annual NxGen forums. These events encourage leadership development, communicate R&D and marketing information, and enable professional networking for people aged under 40 in the Australian turf industry.

Turf levy funding enables a substantially reduced registration cost for delegates to enable widespread professional development of the next generation of Australian turf growers.

What’s the latest update? The NxGen 2018 event is due to be held in early June 2018 in Cairns, Queensland. Look for updates in industry channels, as details become available.

As reported in earlier editions of Hortlink, the 2017 forum was held in late April/early May in Canberra. The spring 2017 edition of Turf Australia magazine here has since included a complete run-down of the event’s learnings – check it out from p16, after the highlights from the 13th National Turf Conference and Field Day from p6. The latter event was held back in June 2017 and funded through the now-completed project National R&D conference 2016 and 2017 (TU15700), for which a final report will soon be available to order through Hort Innovation’s final report order form. Final reports are free to Australian horticulture levy payers, registered Hort Innovation members and industry representative bodies. Not registered with Hort Innovation? Become a member now.



Hort Innovation is responsible for investing the turf marketing levy into a range of activities to drive awareness and use of Australian turf, under the Hort Innovation Turf Fund.

According to the latest research undertaken by Hort Innovation on behalf of the turf industry (summarised here in an earlier Hortlink), having access to a well-maintained, safe and practical outdoor space is a high priority for the majority of Australians – and turf is well positioned to take advantage of this need.

In October, the turf Strategic Investment Advisory Panel was presented the research and invited to provide advice on a number of concepts that supported its findings. This advice has formed the basis of the new industry marketing strategy, beginning implementation this summer.

What information sources consumers use, who they consult and ultimately where they buy is dependent on which of the three main reasons people have for buying turf: landscaping a new home; renovating an existing home; or patching a problem area. As online searching (driven mainly by Google) is still the starting point for most, having a credible and well-designed web presence needs to be a priority.

At the point of purchase, consumers are relatively happy with the buying experience, with people appreciating the service and advice from turf farms and nurseries. Interestingly, Bunnings is growing in popularity as a purchase channel, especially for smaller turf projects.

With all this in mind, the key strategies and activities for the next three years are as follows:

  1. Create and provide the tools, to streamline the process from research to purchase for turf consumers. Key initiatives for this strategy pillar will include creation of a new consumer website highlighting the benefits of turf for consumers and housing new consumer tools to aid selection, costing and designing, and locating a turf supplier.
  2. Demonstrate the value of turf, reinforcing the health, social and financial benefits of a quality lawn and outdoor space. Key initiatives here will include a new approach to social media including paid Facebook advertising to capture consumers considering turf as part of their new home or renovation; and partnering with the Real Estate Institute of Australia to influence and educate real estate professionals on the home value improvement benefits that turf can bring.
  3. Inspire the Australian Dream. This strategy area is about strengthening the presence of a quality lawn in the ‘ideal’ outdoor space of Australian homeowners. Key initiatives will include public relations (PR) and video content that showcases real Australians and their turf stories, and how important turf is to their families’ wellbeing.

The program will be rolled out over the next three years, with the priority being the set-up of the new consumer website and digital tools over the summer.

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