POMEWEST reportSmooth PICKINGSIt’s been a busy start to the season and it’s not slowing down: Pomewest executive manager Nardia Stacy.

HARVEST was busy, but smooth, for most this season. A few unlucky orchardists, however, were hit with a bout of random strikes of hail. Mercifully, it was minimal (unlike the East coast). Most have had good outcomes and even labour was managed effectively, although accommodation remained tight.Trees are now picked over and bare, and clean up has commenced.Decisions will be made on paper about block yield performances and hopefully many can have a well-deserved rest before starting to prune and prepare for the next cycle of growth.With the coolness of winter now setting in, we are optimistic for a good amount of steady rain. If April is anything to go by, it looks promising that water supplies will again be replenished. We are looking forward to plenty of good chill hours to set up the next season. Prices to date are comparable to last year, with the pick and sell contributors making volumes high at the start of the marketing period.The WorkSafe Inquiry into the Agricultural Industry in Western Australia report was released in April. As a result, it is expected the rural industry will see an increase in inspections and compliance. WorkSafe Commissioner, Darren Kavanagh, hopes this will address the high level of workplace injury and deaths in the sector. We suspect growers’ orchards and pack sheds. We strongly encourage our growing community to consistently practice good safety measures to prevent any harm to themselves, their this is aimed to match the lower comparison result recorded from the building and mining industry standards.“ Pomewest promotes and supports a safe workplace... At Pomewest, we prioritise the safety of workplaces in our families or their workers. We truly value each one of you and aim to ensure that noone gets hurt while on the job.In these pages, we share with you an article by Source Certain, which was introduced at the WAAVIC conference. This is a company that provides provenance science as a service to verify and track produce origins. We also start our next round of grower stories – showcasing pear growers Anthony and Cathy Martella of Newlands.“ Trees are now picked over and bare, and clean up has commenced. Decisions will be made on paper about block yield performances and hopefully many can have a well-deserved rest ”I would like to finish by again inviting any grower or stakeholder to contact us if you need any assistance with any industry matters (see contacts p63). I also remind you to visit our website pomewest.net.au and invite all fee-for-service payers to visit and register for the grower zone for more information. Susie and I are committed to our service roles for the pome industry and always welcome your engagement and feedback. Attendees at the WAAVIC conference (from left): Grower Dino Rizzato, Stanthorpe QLD; Grower Chris Georgopoulis, Goulburn Valley Vic; Hort Innovation’s Dumi Mhlanga; consultant Marcel Veens; Isolcell’s Tito Spaldi; and Pomewest chair Jason Jarvis.

PIPS Results ReleasedA presentation was held on the PIPS 3 Project, which is the apple and pear industry’s flagship R&D program, in Manjimup on June 1. This event presented and showcased the successes and challenges of the trials conducted by Dr Nigel Swarts, which included testing the impacts of soil and tree health, IPDM and fruit quality on typical orchard management. Pomewest’s Susie Murphy-White led a discussion on cover cropping, treeline management and tree nutrition. She also introduced the SINATA program to Swan Systems John Bussell, to assist decisions on water and nutrients. The day was well attended by many growers thanks to the great co-ordination effort from Susie.

APAL Forum: Dare to GrowA few growers and industry representatives, including chair Jason Jarvis and me, travelled east to Melbourne for the annual APAL industry Forum between June 1 and 2. Both Jason and I will communicate some key messages at our grower dinners for the benefit of growers who were unable to make the long journey. In summary, speakers were selected to follow the theme ‘Dare to Grow’. It focused on macroeconomic trends, the current state of the industry and shared vital retail insights. It was all very interesting information, especially the understanding of how the major supermarkets make operational decisions. Bernard Salt again offered his latest version of consumer behaviour, with the current economic environment and megatrends. Nigel Collin, the keynote speaker, demonstrated to the audience how to achieve sustainable growth based on data gathered from prominent business leaders, entrepreneurs and leading organisations.

Murray Collins: APAL
2023 Grower of the Year.
CONGRATULATIONS!WA had some triumphs in the APAL awards for excellence: Murray Collins from Collins Brothers Orchards was awarded the 2023 Grower of the Year; Ann Lyster of Lyster Orchards was named the 2023 Woman in Horticulture; and Jenny Mercer of WA Farm Direct took out the 2023 Marketer of the Year. We congratulate each of the WA winners. It is pleasing that each have been nationally recognised for their great work for the industry. More details will be in the next issue of WA Grower.

Hort Connections SuccessSusie Murphy-White and I headed to Adelaide for Hort Connections between June 5 and 8. This major horticultural conference is a premier event and provides the opportunity to gain cross-industry knowledge and a chance to listen to the latest trends for the fresh-food sector. It’s vital for us to attend such events to network, develop and cultivate more productive relationships and to leverage funding to support future WA project investment.

Big Start to YearWe have extensively reported the outcomes of the first of our first four events for 2023 in our newsletters over the past few months. But here’s a recap: The Great Graze in the Cottesloe Civic Gardens on March 6; the WA Apple Variety Innovation Conference between March 28 and 30; the Donnybrook Easter Festival Street event on April 8; and, lastly, the 2023 Cider Australia Conference in the Perth Hills from May 3 to 5. All these events were great and achieved their own unique success.

What’s Up Next?THE Pomewest Committee has met to review current and future projects applications, as well as approve the 2023 budgets. Outcomes of this process will be shared with our growers through our various communication platforms.Planning has commenced for our Annual Grower Dinners to be held in conjunction with Biosecurity Readiness Workshops in early August. Details will be circulated in our weekly newsletter in coming months. We hope this will be a good opportunity for you all to come together in your respective regions to network, recap the harvest and state of play, and have your say on the future of the industry.We also look forward to the biennial WA Horticulture Update (WAHU) from October 31 to November 1. The theme is ‘Practical Technology Innovation and Application’ to improve horticultural practices from grower to consumer. This two-day event has a new venue, the Ascot Racecourse, and will include a tradeshow this year.This gives WA growers an opportunity to attend a local cross-industry forum, without the air travel. Program planning is underway, but will include plenty of interesting sessions, concurrent topics, panel discussions, exhibits, machinery displays and networking. We are also excited that it was recently announced the 2024 evokeAG 2024 conference will be held in Perth. It’s a great result for the State.