Autumn 2016

Dear primary producers, processors and all stakeholders in the Potato Industry in South Australia, Australia and internationally. 

Potato Industry Award - Applications Closing

Applications for the 2016 Rabobank Potatoes South Australia and Ruralco Industry Award are closing on Monday May 16.  This scholarship is for forward-thinking potato producers looking to improve themselves, their business and their industry.  The total cost of the course is $12,100 and Potatoes South Australia has again partnered with Rabobank to offer the scholarship, with Ruralco coming on board this year to increase the value of the scholarship to cover 75 per cent of the Executive Development Program fee.  For more information click here.

Potatoes South Australia appoints new Director to Board

Mr Steve Barnes has been appointed to the Board of Potatoes South Australia. Steve is the new General Manager of SA Potato Co.  He was previously employed as General Manager, Premium Fresh Tasmania Ltd.  He brings a wealth of knowledge and experience to the potato industry following six years in the hospitality and retail sectors in Queensland and 15 years with the Langmead Group and Nature’s Way in the United Kingdom.
Independent Chair, Brian Cunningham and the Directors are delighted to welcome Steve as a new Director.

Marketing Campaign to increase Consumption

The Research Phase of this intended campaign has been finalised.  Studies conducted by The University of Adelaide FOODPlus Research Centre (an on-line survey with 1200 participants funded by PIRSA under the STEM project) and McGregor Tan Research (focus groups in Adelaide, Melbourne and Sydney) are available on our website.
We are committed to the discovery of what will change purchasing and consumption behaviour and we know that we must focus on educating consumers on the health attributes of potatoes by: 
  • Dispelling the myth that potatoes are high in carbohydrates;
  • Providing positivity surrounding the health and versatility attributes of potatoes; and
  • Re-positioning the product in an innovative way.

Horticulture Award Review and Union Claims

Potatoes South Australia is continuing to support all of horticulture concerning the Review of the Modern Awards and the increasing union activity at horticulture businesses particularly on the Northern Adelaide Plains.
Meetings have been held with Hon David Ridgway MP, Shadow Minister for Agriculture and subsequently with Senator Michaelia Cash, Federal Minister for Women, Minister for Employment, and also the Minister Assisting the Prime Minister for the Public Service and her advisor, Ms Regina Camara.
Briefing notes, written in collaboration with Mr Stephen Smith, Head of National Workplace Relations Policy, Australian Industry Group (AiG) were provided to the Minister.
Mr Bryan Robertson (EO Hortex Alliance), Ms Paula Colquhoun (HR Manager Mitolo Group) and I also met with Hon David Ridgway MP on-site at The Mitolo Group and BD & MD Nicol Pty Ltd at Virginia to demonstrate the importance of the wording and definition in the coverage clause of the Horticulture Award, the unfairness and inequity in using different Awards to cover similar businesses engaged in the same activities and the effects on employees of rising union pressure.

Increasing Productivity

The Association has several projects ‘in the pipeline’.
  • Nutrient Management for the Australian Potato Industry
  • PIRSA’S Advanced Food Manufacturing Grants AFMG - 'Waste' Potato Transformation and STEM project
  • SARMS Transforming Riverland Food Loss and Industry Waste into Profit
To find out more Click here... 

Imports from New Zealand and Zebra Chip - NO CHANGE

Despite media to the contrary, there is NO change in the status of this application to export fresh potatoes from New Zealand to Australia for processing.  New Zealand has not given up on exporting fresh potatoes to Australia.
The Australian Government’s Department of Agriculture and Water Resources (DoAWR) has not received any advice from the New Zealand Government.
Personal correspondence received from Industry Engagement: Biosecurity Policy and Response Branch DoAWR states the following;  
“The Department has not received advice from the Ministry for Primary Industries New Zealand to change its market access priorities.”

Technology to boost Australian agriculture

Between now and 2050 the world's food system will need to produce 70 per cent more food to feed an increasingly crowded world, says the Food and Agriculture Organisation of the United Nations. Australia aims to meet this challenge through technology which seeks to improve production, yield and land read more click here.

New chair plans to lift profile of Rural RDC's

Richard Clark was elected this week as Chair of the Council of Rural Research and Development Corporations. In his new role, he plans to enhance the profile of agricultural research and development as a core national economic driver. The NSW grain farmer has extensive agricultural research experience, and is also Chair of the Grains Research and Development Council. Clark is also in tune with the political necessities and realities underpinning organisations like the Council, given his wide industry experience.

Currently, five statutory RDCs and 10 industry owned not for profit entities exist, covering grains, dairy, pork, eggs, wool, cotton, grapes and wine, meat and livestock, live exports, meat processing, forestry and wood products, fisheries, horticulture, sugar and rural industries.

Collectively, the RDCs managed a $1 billion per year investment portfolio with $480m provided by the individual Councils and the remainder matched by industry, university or research sector contributions, on various projects.  Read more here.

Federal Department of Agriculture and Water Resources (DoAWR) Biosecurity Import Risk Analyses (BIRA) Regulations and Guidelines

Attached are the updated draft guidelines which have incorporated feedback from all submissions received and discussions held. The guidelines can be updated when needed, and will be subject to future consultation after the legislation is implemented

Please contact the Department by 6 May 2016 at or 1800 068 468 if you have any additional comments or questions.

Download guidelines here.

2016 Biosecurity Roundtable Meeting

I was fortunate to be the industry spokesperson at the South Australian 2016 South Australian Biosecurity Roundtable held on 12 April. The day-long event was to provide an opportunity for industry to directly engage with federal and state government representatives.
Key topics discussed were on-farm biosecurity and the introduction of Property Identification Codes (PICs) as for the livestock sector, and flow-on ramifications for international and domestic trade.
Presentations can be downloaded here:


Applications for 2017 Nuffield Australia Farming Scholarships are officially open.
Who do you know in your industry and region? Please encourage them to apply this year.
A strong field of candidates in industries including grains, dairy, livestock, rice, horticulture, fisheries, chicken meat, eggs, cotton and pork is targeted. To view a full list of available scholarships click here. 


For a full list of current available grants click here.


PMA Fresh Connections 2016 Brisbane Convention & Exhibition Centre 17-19 May
PMA Fresh Connections 2016, is the premier networking, educational and business event for the entire fresh fruit, vegetable and floral industries of Australia and New Zealand. The bright and dynamic three-day format allows you to mix-and-match the events and topics to best suit your company and your staff. For more information click here.
Agribusiness Outlook Australia 2016 Aerial UTS Function Centre Sydney 24-26 May
'Capturing the opportunities of the global dining boom for Australian agribusiness'

Speakers include: 
  • Don Taylor, Chairman, Graincorp
  • Barry Irvin, Executive Chairman, Bega Cheese
  • Philippa Dawson, General Manager, Trade, Austrade
  • Mark Field, Head of Product Technology, Coles
  • Jan Davis, Chief Executive Officer, Agribusiness Association of Australia
  • Darren De Bortoli, Managing Director, De Bortoli Wines
For more information click here.


Industry Newsflash
  • “RIRDC Rural Women’s Award” was distributed on 29 February
  • “New Industry website launched” was distributed on 1 March
  • “Innovative Nutrient Management for the Australian Potato Industry completed” was distributed on 13 April 2016
Media Release
  • “New soil phosphorous test shows promise for potatoes”, 21 March 2016
  • “Applications open for potato industry award”, 11 April 2016
  • “Modern Award Review and Union Intervention” Fairfax Media-Smart Farmer, March 2016
  • “Australia and Indonesia must strengthen trading ties“, Fairfax Smart Farmer, April 2016
  • Robbie Davis named 2016 Rural Woman of the Year, FreshPlaza, 24 February 2016
  • RIRDC Rural Women’s Award Winner announced, Stock Journal, 24 February 2016
  • Inside South Australia, Ian Williams, 23 February 2016
  • No time to waste for Queen of Spuds, The Advertiser, Nigel Austin, 23 February 2016
  • Robbie Davis named SA Rural Woman, The Lakelander, 3 March 2016
  • Horticulture waste to be explored, Smart Farmer, March 2016
  • Award celebrates rural women, Smart Farmer, March 2016
  • New soil phosphorous test shows promise for potatoes, FreshPlaza, 23 March 2016
  • Potato Award Open, Stock Journal, 11 April 2016
  • Potato Award Open, Stock and Land, 11 April 2016
  • Producers recognised, Border Watch, Mt Gambier, 15 April 2016
  • Innovation Award, Penola Pennant, 13 April 2016
  • Potato Award up for grabs, Stock Journal, 14 April 2016

Not a member of Potatoes South Australia yet?

Online registration and payment is now available on the website or download an application formMembership has many valuable benefits; the most important is being a part of an organisation which has delivered significant achievements for the industry at both a state and national level.  To view a full list of these achievements click here...

Did you know that 95% of potatoes grown in South Australia are grown by members of Potatoes South Australia?

Please contact me at any time about your issues or about how we can represent you in a better way.


Newsletter Contents

Corporate Partners


This Issue's Member Profile

Peracto SA

Local business Peracto SA has been an advocate of Potatoes South Australia since its inception, with Managing Director, Richard Porter, a member of the original Steering Committee in 2011. Peracto SA provides high quality contract agricultural research and development services in partnership with a range of regional, national and international clients.  The business conducts applied research projects, specifically with new and emerging crop protection products, fertilisers, plant growth regulators, crop varieties and crop production technology across South Australia and more recently, in Southern New South Wales. Established by Mr Porter in 2003, Peracto SA currently employs 14 people in South Australia, and operates out of Adelaide and Wagga Wagga.

Dr Belinda (Brandy) Rawnsley has been leading the Horticultural research unit in Adelaide since 2014, with potatoes being one of the major crops in her portfolio. A plant pathologist with 18 years experience as a Senior Research Officer with SARDI, Dr Rawnsley stated that successful trial programs were only possible with the support and collaboration of growers. “We are extremely fortunate to work with enthusiastic and knowledgeable growers, which generates long terms benefits for the industry as a whole”, she said. With Ben Hill-Ling (Research Officer), Sam Arnfield and Georgia Megirian (Technical Officers), trials in the last 12 months have evaluated new products targeting early blight, black dot and Rhizoctonia, innovative fertiliser programs, plus variety and herbicide trials.

A family-owned and managed small business, Peracto SA is a key member of the broader Peracto network, which provides applied research services assisting agricultural production in every Australian state, as well as New Zealand. French company Staphyt recently announced that a 100% equity position had been taken in Peracto. Staphyt is one of the fastest-growing international Agroscience businesses, however the SA business would remain locally owned and operated by Mr Porter, who expected the successful relationship his business has forged with Peracto over many years to continue. Mr Porter said “The coming together of Peracto and Staphyt will provide us with a number of potential benefits, including increased access to global markets and opportunities for staff development.  This investment by Staphyt also has the potential to bring benefits to our production systems through increased exposure to foreign technology”.


For further information: Richard Porter 0413 027 670, or Brandy Rawnsley 0416 892 209



Level 1, 145 South Terrace
Adelaide South Australia

M: +61 427 084 319
P: +61 8 7221 1960




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