Final reports of the following research and development projects can be found at http://www.ausveg.com.au/infoveg/index.htm. You will need to log in or create a free account before searching for each project using the 'VG' code or project title. Other resources such as fact sheets and handbooks will be uploaded to this website and can be found by clicking the links under each project title.

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landscape diversity and field-margin management (vg14047)

This project reviewed Australian and international literature related to the role of field margins and landscapes surrounding crop fields in providing resources to beneficial organisms and reducing arthropod pest pressure in vegetable and other crops. This review was used to generate recommendations on how to manage off-production habitats at field margins and in surrounding landscapes for vegetable pest suppression, and what is needed for this to be implemented by farmers. 

Contact: Vesna Gagic, CSIRO Sustainable Agriculture Flagship

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innovative ways to address waste management on vegetable farms (vg13109)

Vegetable production can result in the creation of large amounts of unwanted materials or waste products. The aim of the project was to enable the Australian vegetable industry to consider alternatives to plastic use and recycling, contributing to continuous improvement in farm management practices, efficiency and sustainability. Recommendations were made for the future of plastic management on vegetable farms.

Contact: Anne-Maree Boland, RM Consulting Group

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environmental assessment of the vegetable industry (vg13057)

An environmental assessment was undertaken to measure the performance of the vegetable industry with regard to good environmental practices and also the impact it is having on the environment around it. This performance report provides the first environmental assessment for the vegetable industry. The report highlights the important environmental issues that were identified by different stakeholder groups and important issues that they say are emerging.  

Contact: Anne-Maree Boland, RM Consulting Group

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Economic evaluation of farm energy audits and benchmarking of energy use on vegetable farms (vg13054)

Infotech Research conducted 22 energy audits of vegetable growers around Australia.  These audits best assisted medium-sized growers with farms and packing sheds in improving their business profitability through energy saving measures. The best returns on investment are achieved through prevention of energy losses (waste losses) followed by energy efficiency improvements.

Infotech Research produced a benchmarking report and options analysis to assist growers to evaluate their own energy consumption.

Contact: John Cumming, Infotech Research

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ON-farm power generation - options for vegetable growers (vg13051)

Research into on farm power generation has produced details of the options, and explored feasibility of adoption of such systems. Growers can use this to help them make informed decisions about the economic, technical and operational costs and benefits of the various technologies, the challenges of installation and operation, and the suitability of systems to individual ventures. 

A summary factsheet, as well as factsheets on gas, solar and wind power were produced.

Contact: Gordon Rogers, Applied Horticultural Research

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Biogas generation feasibility study (vg13049)

This study was commissioned to explore in more detail the feasibility of biogas on Australian vegetable farms. Extensive consultation with industry was undertaken, including a number of case studies.

Analysis highlighted the complexity of determining biogas feasibility for individual farms. The analysis also suggests that the biogas technology is likely to be feasible for a small segment of the industry (large farms which generation large waste volumes and have high energy needs). For this reason future activities should be focused specifically on this segment.

Contact: Anne-Maree Boland, RM Consulting Group

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Remediation of soil contaminated by salmonella enterica to expedite plant or replant of vegetables (vg13039)

This project was the first research study undertaken on survival of Salmonella enterica in soil contaminated with chicken manure conducted under Australian conditions. The research indicated that Salmonella enterica counts decline over time under natural field conditions after a contamination event. Solarisation (black plastic covering the soil) may have potential to promote faster die-off of Salmonella enterica, providing soil temperatures under the plastic have several hours at 37⁰C or above. 

Contact: Robyn McConchie, University of Sydney - Faculty of Agriculture &                     Environment

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Understanding and managing impacts of climate change in relation to government policy, regulation and energy efficiency (vg12049)

This review identifies the potential threats, as well as opportunities, that relate to the current Federal Government regulatory framework.  Outcomes from the project have been summarised on the vegetableclimate.com website and in the factsheet. 

Contact: Gordon Rogers, Applied Horticultural Research

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UNDERSTANDING AND MANAGING IMPACTS OF CLIMATE CHANGE and variability on vegetable industry productivity and profits (vg12041)

 This review was commissioned by the industry in 2013 to provide a comprehensive assessment of the threats and opportunities around climate variability and climate change, and to develop a plan for the future.  The Australian vegetable industry is in a strong position to deal effectively with climate change and vegetable growers have a greater capacity to adapt to change more than most other rural industries.  Project outputs and materials relevant to the vegetable industry is available on the vegetable climate website. 

Contact: Gordon Rogers, Applied Horticultural Research

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Enviroveg program for promoting environmental best practice in the australian vegetable industry (vg12008)

EnviroVeg provides growers with guidelines and information on how to manage their business in an environmentally responsible manner. It provides a visible way of demonstrating a responsible attitude towards the environment. It also assists growers by showing the community that they are responsible environmental managers.

Growers can volunteer for free independent assessment of their environmental practices. The EnviroVeg manual is available on the website. 

Contact: Andrew Shaw, AUSVEG

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Carbon and sustainability - a demonstration of vegetable properties across australia (vg09190)

A two-year study was conducted to demonstrate reduced GHG emissions management techniques on vegetable farms in Australia. On-farm demonstration of activities leading to reduced GHG emissions were packaged into case studies and informational products to provide the industry with an understanding of the importance of carbon and GHG emissions in the vegetable supply chain.  A vegetable carbon calculator and links to other resources is available on the website. 

Contact: Peter Melville, Horticulture Australia Ltd

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Environmental effects of vegetable production on sensitive waterways (vg09041)

This project aimed to develop processes that enable vegetable farmers to address environmental concerns with respect to sensitive waterways, at a farm and community level. This has been achieved by identifying nutrient [nitrogen (N)] losses, validating nutrient application practices and developing tools to better manage nutrient application in vegetables and processes to engage with communities on issues associated with waterways. The activities were focussed in several vegetable growing regions that impact on sensitive waterways including Watsons Creek (Victoria), Lockyer Valley (Queensland) and Bowen (Queensland).

The project developed a good agricultural practice guide, vegetable nutrient removal calculator, fertiliser use efficiency factsheets.

Contact: Stephen Harper, The Department of Agriculture and Fisheries

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Economic and carbon emissions model for controlled traffic farming in vegetables (vg09019)

This project developed farm economic and GHG models relevant to different enterprise types in the Tasmanian vegetable industry. The models allow variables to be altered to conduct sensitivity analyses, thereby identifying the factors that are most important in delivering the benefits of CTF.  This helps identify areas of focus for the adoption of CTF, and for future research and development.

 Modelling showed CTF could increase average gross margin across the rotation by 66%, while seasonal controlled traffic farming (SCTF) could lead to a 16% increase, compared to the conventional production system.

Contact: John McPhee, Tasmanian Institute of Agriculture - University of                         Tasmania

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Revegetation by design, queensland: natural resource management and ipm (vg07040)

Experiments were conducted throughout the Lockyer Valley, QLD.  These included: 1. The impact of early predation on pest populations, and how pest suppression was affected by land use, e.g. crops, grassland, bushland; and the sources of natural enemies at multiple spatial scales, e.g. farm, neighbouring farms, and landscape. 2. The contribution of an on-farm refuge for beneficial insects in landscapes with few and many beneficial insect sources. 3. The potential of two commonly observed predators to eat pests. Recommendations included trials of on-farm beneficial-refuge options for vegetable production systems in different regions, developing a decision-support tool to assist growers with plant selection, and investigation how the condition of native remnant vegetation affects the pest load and habitat for beneficial insects.

Contact: Nancy Schellhorn, CSIRO Ecosystem Sciences