From the supply of regular price and fruit quality data to research into magpie geese and near-infrared technology, Hort Innovation continues to fund a number of key projects with the mango R&D levy. Read more in the R&D snapshot below. To see how the industry’s marketing levy is already delivering strong results this season, check out the marketing snapshot.

INDUSTRY UPDATE

The selection process for appointing an independent chair for the mango Strategic Investment Advisory Panel (SIAP) has recently been completed. Information on the SIAP chair will be made available on Hort Innovation’s Mango grower page shortly.

The SIAP will convene at the end of November, with a meeting summary to be made available on the grower page.

The Strategic Investment Plan

A Strategic Investment Plan (SIP) is the roadmap that helps ensure levy investment decisions align with individual industry priorities. It is used to guide decision-making in levy spending, and represents a balanced view of stakeholders in the industry.

Hort Innovation is currently consulting with growers and other industry stakeholders to finalise new SIPs for each industry by the end of the calendar year.

To learn more about the SIP process, visit Hort Innovation’s SIP Portal.

Any questions?

As well as the Mango grower page, Hort Innovation Relationship Manager Astrid Hughes is always available to answer questions on the mango program. For questions relating specifically to the industry’s marketing, contact Hort Innovation Marketing Manager Elisa King.

R&D SNAPSHOT

NEW, ONGOING AND COMPLETED PROJECTS FOR THE INDUSTRY

Understanding and mitigating the aggregative response to the magpie goose to mango orchards in the Northern Territory (MG15005)

Status: Ongoing project

What’s it all about? By developing an understanding of the population and behavioural dynamics of magpie geese, the goal of this project is to develop sustainable management strategies for the birds on mango orchards. The core components of the project include:

  • An ecological monitoring study to better understand why magpie geese are moving from their native wetlands into mango orchards
  • Empirical studies to assess the effectiveness of various stimuli and environmental modifications in reducing bird density and bird-crop interaction.

What’s the latest update? Established earlier in 2016, the project has since undertaken the below:

  • The securing of a range of permits and approvals, including ethics approval to handle magpie geese, attach tracking devices, use sound and visual adverse stimuli and the like.
  • A preliminary literature review into magpie geese, conducted by the project’s PhD student.
  • Consultation with growers. Northern Territory growers were invited to meet with the research team back in August, so the researchers could gauge the extent of the magpie goose problem across the Darwin rural area, and assess the nature of the problem between growers. This information has been used to guide a more systematic and thorough survey that will be conducted on a one-on-one basis with growers at the end of this season.
  • The selection of four farms on which magpie geese are being studied during this year’s season. Each of the farms currently uses a different level of mango-geese management.

 

Mango industry communications program 2016-17 (MG15006)

Status: Ongoing project

What’s it all about? Beginning in February this year and carrying on from previous communications work, this project maintains and improves the flow of timely and relevant industry information to Australian mango growers and other stakeholders.

What’s the latest update? A number of regular communication channels are produced and maintained by this project, including but not limited to:

  • The quarterly Mango Matters publication, distributed in hard copy and as an electronic resource, with issues available here
  • E-newsletter The Slice, produced monthly in the mango off-season, with issues available here
  • E-newsletter My Mango, produced monthly in the pre-season period and during the mango season, with issues available here
  • The Australian Mango Industry Association database and website, www.industry.mangoes.net.au.

Other activities under the project include the hosting of webinars to present key information to growers, attendance at and reporting of industry workshops, and the production of other resources. At the time of last reporting to Hort Innovation, for example, the project was developing a DVD and best practice guide for sprayer calibration and application, which will ultimately be made available to industry.


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The spring edition of Mango Matters magazine


 

Data collection to facilitate supply chain transparency – stage 3 (MG15003)

Status: Ongoing project

What’s it all about? With its third phase beginning at the start of 2016, the goal of this project is to provide growers and other industry participants with timely information on two key factors that can influence profitability: mango wholesale prices and eating quality.

What’s the latest update? With the 2016/17 mango season underway, the project will continue to publish daily and weekly wholesale prices, accessible via www.industry.mangoes.net.au/market-prices/.

The regular provision of this independently collected data provides growers with clear signals on market conditions, allowing sound business decisions to be made. This is especially important as distance to market and the relatively short but busy harvest window mean that growers have little opportunity to undertake further analysis of markets during their harvest window.

In regards to mango quality, there is the random sampling of a minimum of 30 per cent of consignments at the three major wholesale markets in Brisbane, Sydney and Melbourne. Measurements of fruit maturity are taken and the results are summarised in the My Mango e-newsletter.

Destructive sampling using a refractometer has now been replaced by the use of hand-held near-infrared (NIR) technology (the Felix 750 Produce Quality Meter), which can be used to non‐destructively sample dry matter in mangoes at varying stages of ripeness.

 

Quality standards, refinement and testing (MG15002)

Status: Ongoing project

What’s it all about? This project delivers ongoing training to key quality staff through the supply chain, with the ultimate goal of ensuring consistent quality of mangoes that meet or exceed consumer expectations. It began in the 2015/16 season and is due for completion in 2017.

What’s the latest update? Recent work in this project has involved demonstrating the use of near-infrared spectroscopy technology – available in hand-held format – in assessing dry matter content of ripening fruit, as a non-invasive alternative to existing dry-matter testing.

As reported in the last edition of Hortlink, in the 2015/16 season over 100 growers gained familiarity with the use of this technology and were assisted with assessment of fruit maturity and the decision to pick process.

Industry quality standards have now been updated, with the use of NIR now incorporated into mango quality sampling at wholesale markets in project MG15003.

Quality training with national Metcash/IGA produce managers has also been delivered.

 

Capacity building, information, technology and extension for the Australian mango industry (MG13017)

Status: Ongoing project

What’s it all about? This project, running since 2014, funds a dedicated industry development officer (Trevor Dunmall) to manage a range of activities with the ultimate goal of improving the profitability and long-term sustainability of the Australian mango industry. Some of the core activities include crop forecasting and biosecurity.

What’s the latest update? No new milestone report was due in the period since the last edition of Hortlink (Winter 2016). At the time of last reporting:

  • Work had been undertaken with the Department of Agriculture and Water Resources and Tocal College to develop online crop monitor training, with the pilot program trialled back in June and set to be rolled out.
  • The mango industry strategic agrichemical review process for crop protection had been reviewed and amended to take into account the higher prioritisation of several pests and further information about possible new chemicals that may be available.
  • There had been consultation around the assessment of mango quality, with a new process now followed as part of project MG15003 for the 2016/17 season.
  • A number of meetings and events had been contributed to including, but not limited to, reference committee meetings for industry projects, forums and grower meetings.

 

Other R&D projects of note…

» Mango maturity assessment on farm using NIR (MG16002), a new project to support mango growers in adopting near-infrared (NIR) technology for assessing fruit maturity. The project’s goal is to improve the ability and confidence of mango growers in assessing mango maturity prior to picking, and to support the delivery of improved quality of fruit to the marketplace.

» Monitoring mangoes through the supply chain to the USA – 2 (MG16003), for which Hort Innovation is currently appointing a service provider. This project will support the continued development of mango exports to the US and, among other things, include monitoring and reporting on export consignments.

MARKETING SNAPSHOT

THE LATEST ACTIVITY THAT’S GROWING THE INDUSTRY

Mango auction

October 6 marked the annual auctioning off of the ‘first tray’ of mangoes at the Brisbane Produce Market. Gold Coast fruiterer George Manettas, from Earth Markets, snapped up the tray for a massive $22,000, with the auction raising funds for Diabetes Queensland and Life Education Queensland.

All of the action was caught on camera and broadcast around Australia to 356,000 people watching Channel 7’s Sunrise, 1.5 million watching ABC’s national evening news, and Channel 9’s Brisbane and Gold Coast news viewers.

Meanwhile, 20 online publications including The Daily Telegraph, The Herald Sun, The Courier Mail, The Advertiser, The Queensland Times and the Sunshine Coast Daily shared the news online, reaching a total audience of over 20 million people.

ABC Radio also included the auction during news broadcasts throughout the day around the country, bringing the total PR reach to over 23 million people.

The auction was a hit on social media too, with online foodie influencers attending the event to share their experience and love for mangoes with their community as a way to get all their mango-loving followers excited for the season to come. A number of influencers shared this love on Instagram, including @wholesome_ines, @thebrunchplight, @bnecafes, @fitfoodandsoul, and @bnefoodie, receiving 1509 likes, 40 comments and reaching 116,777 people.

Mango madness has spread fast and thick through both Australia’s media and social media space – a strong indication of ongoing support in the coming months.


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‘Mango King’ George Manettas with his $22,000 tray of mangoes


 

Mango emoji campaign

This year is set to be Aussie Mangoes’ biggest season yet, with the campaign for the ‘mango emoji’ kicking off in September and running until the end of the season.

The campaign is inviting social media influencers and Aussie mango lovers to advocate for the inclusion of a mango emoji alongside the other fruits and vegetables used in everyday social media communication, so they can express their love for the fruit on digital platforms.

In encouraging mango lovers across Australia to rally behind the cause and register their support by using the hashtag #mangoemojiplease, there is an opportunity for large-scale involvement to drive and maintain awareness for the mango season.

The campaign has seen retailers, brands and influencers getting on board, with Woolworths tweeting the #mangoemojiplease hashtag to their 15,000 followers and brand Weis sharing the campaign’s video with its Facebook fan base (watch the video on the Aussie Mangoes page here).

At the end of the campaign, the results and sentiment will be aggregated to produce a proposal for the mango emoji that will be sent to the worldwide authority for emojis – the Unicode Consortium – in an effort to convince them to add the mango to emoji keyboards around the world.

#mangoemojiplease


mango-emoji-support

Examples of brands and retailers supporting the mango emoji campaign (above) and dietitian Rebecca Gawthorne (@nourish_naturally) supporting the emoji campaign on Instagram (below)

mango-emoji-support


 

PR activity

This season’s PR activity has started out strong and continues to ramp up.

On September 21, an interview with Australian Mango Industry Association CEO Robert Gray was published in The Cairns Post regarding the upcoming season in Far North Queensland. The Katherine Times also published an interview with Katherine mango grower Mitchell Curtis regarding the record rain in the region on September 24, and also jumped aboard the mango emoji push with this article on September 27.

On October 26, ABC Rural published this story about grower Peter Marks celebrating his 30th harvest.

As magazines look ahead to their summer issues, mango recipes and tips have been locked in with publications including Marie Claire, Home Beautiful, Recipes+, Women’s Fitness, Australian Gourmet Traveller, Better Homes & Gardens and Good Health.

 

Social media activity

» Facebook: With only eight posts published since the beginning of September, the Aussie Mangoes Facebook page (www.facebook.com/AussieMangoes) has hit the ground running, as the posts have already reached 598,452 people, received 14,566 likes and reactions, 1299 comments, and have been shared 2109 times.

» Instagram: During the month of October, the Aussie Mangoes Instagram channel (@aussiemangoes) set exciting benchmarks so early in the season.  In just eight weeks, October’s 31 posts received 4113 likes and 192 comments, bringing the average engagement to 139 per post. Considering the average for the whole 2015/16 season was 106, records are already being broken and new benchmarks set for the months to come.

 

Mango Mess-tival – turning five this year

Mango Mess-tival is a celebration of summer held at the peak of mango season on Australia’s iconic Bondi Beach, in conjunction with North Bondi Surf Life Saving Club. This year it is being held on December 4, marking its fifth anniversary.

On the day nippers get to perform all their activities with mangoes and consumers get to meet the growers and taste the four main varieties. Key media will be invited too, to help spread the joy of the event.

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