Biosecurity top of the agenda for Tasmanian fruit growers

Fruit Growers Tasmania conference and awards held at Devonport

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FARM TOUR: Brett Squibb will show conference attendees around his Spreyton apple orchard. Picture: Brodie Weeding

FARM TOUR: Brett Squibb will show conference attendees around his Spreyton apple orchard. Picture: Brodie Weeding

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Industry moving forward is the theme for the 2018 Fruit Growers Tasmanian conference.

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Biosecurity has been such a hot topic for Tasmania’s fruit growers since January that Fruit Growers Tasmania has devoted a day to it during this week’s conference.

The organisation’s annual conference and awards dinner starts on Thursday at Devonport, in the heart of Biosecurity Tasmania’s Northern fruit fly control zone.

Working on the theme “industry moving forward”, attendees will hear from speakers discussing state biosecurity threats and solutions and fruit fly response, as well as innovation and technology that will help fruit growers expand, conference coordinator Phil Pyke said.

“With the issues associated with Queensland fruit fly we have  South Australian speaker Suzie Green [from Apple & Pear SA] coming to present from an industry perspective, as they have seen incursions from their East and West so they are used to dealing with these issues,” Mr Pyke said.

“We don’t have that expertise here in Tasmania. We can learn from them.”

Professor Juan Pablo Zoffoli, who specialises in post-harvest physiology, will share the Chilean experience and challenges around breaking into Asian markets for cherries.

He will also explain Chilean cherry growing systems.

Other topics include integrated pest management, grower support services, sterile insect technology, biosecurity, growing cash crops, quality assurance and grower business solutions on the second day.

That night the event moves to the Waterfront Function Centre at Devonport for the awards dinner.

Guest speaker Peter Berger will talk about the mind games we play and how easy it can be to read people’s thoughts.

The awards presented include the Role of Honour, Award for Excellence and Young Grower of the Year.

“We have the awards on Friday night to recognise those who are making it in the industry,” Mr Pyke said.

Mr Pyke also told growers to watch out for a big announcement on Thursday that would be “groundbreaking”.

The conference concludes on Saturday with farm tours of Squibb Orchards at Spreyton, where orchard fumigants, sprayers and energy solutions will be discussed, before heading to Turners Beach Berry Patch for a berry tour and lunch.

The Fruit Growers Tasmania annual conference and awards dinner will be held at the Don Centre, 100 Don Road, Devonport, on Thursday, Friday and Saturday.

Registration opens between 8am and 8.30am each day.

Visit www.fruitgrowerstas.org.au for more information about the conference.

The Advocate

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