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Putting research into practice

PUTTING research and development into practice was the focus of an interactive farm walk and talk held as part of the next phase of the VegNET NSW project in Richmond last week.

VegNET NSW 2.0 builds on a successful three year, $1 million partnership between Greater Sydney Local Land Services and Hort Innovation, designed to support a more productive, sustainable vegetable growing industry in the Greater Sydney and North Coast regions.

Project coordinator Matthew Plunkett said the recent farm walk, attended by about 30 growers and industry experts at the Greater Sydney Demonstration Farm, set the scene for things to come.

“This project is focused on on-ground, tangible demonstrations and events that give growers firsthand insight into how they can apply the latest research and development directly onto their farms,” he said.

“We’ve consulted heavily with key players in the industry and have used their feedback to shape the next phase of our work.”

Mr Plunkett said Friday’s farm walk focused on soil health, weed management, pest and disease management and included a farming robotics demonstration courtesy of the University of Sydney.

“We were able to showcase current vegetable trials and other projects and give attendees the opportunity to hear from our partners including Applied Horticultural Research and the University of New England,” he said.

He said the outcomes achieved in the first three years of the VegNET NSW project were tangible and reinforced the importance of continuing extension support for the vegetable industry.

“Through VegNET, we were able to engage almost 2,000 people through various events and activities, this included 50 percent of veggie growers across the state,” he said.

“We hosted 113 different interactive events and were able to share key findings from 48 research and development projects.”

Mr Plunkett said a survey of 133 growers involved revealed 99 percent had learnt something new at VegNET events.

“Most importantly, 86 percent of these said they had implemented, or planned to implement practices on farm as part of their involvement in the project,” he said.

Upcoming events as part of the project include a pest and disease management roadshow as well as zucchini and precision ag field day on 6 December.

VegNET is funded through Hort Innovation using vegetable industry levies and funds from the Australian Government.

For further information about the project contact Matthew Plunkett or phone 0428 978 390.

ENDS

Media contact: Nikki McGrathph. 02) 4724 2138 M 0448 953 755