UPFRONT newsCarrot
Our mainstay root vegetable just got even more exciting thanks to a collab between Quality Produce International (QPI) and Vince Cavallaro of Cavallaro Farm. “Vince came to me looking for a market advantage,” says Chris Hewitt of QPI. “I knew there was a window of opportunity in the baby carrot market.” The result is a bunch of rainbow-coloured baby (Dutch) carrots. While there was a boutique market, Chris and Vince worked on commercialising the crop. Vince had the challenge of working out how to harvest same-sized carrots. “Getting them to a similar size was important for us,” says Chris.
“Vince is doing a stellar job. He’s put everything into it, and it’s really showing.” The carrots are in quality, independent outlets. Visit www.qpi.net.au.
INDUSTRYInsiderWAHU2023The biennial West Australian Horticulture Update 2023 will be on October 31 and November 1 (put it in the diary) at Ascot Racecourse. The theme for the conference and trade fair is ‘Practical technology innovation and application to improve horticulture practices from grower to consumer’. It’s a mouthful, but it’s reflective of the jam-packed nature of the conference, which is the biggest event on the state’s hort calendar. For sponsor or trade exhibit info, visit agric.wa.gov. au/wa-hort-update-2023  or email tina.buckley@dpird. wa.gov.au. 

BOOTS MADE FORWALKINGAs a side note… if you’re walking around your paddocks in Blundstones, you are actually striding about in the height of fashion. This Tasmanian-born boot has been elevated to trend status by the likes of The New York Times, GQ and the New York Magazine, among others… While stylish types in the US and top chefs are getting their Blundstones on, one article stated our boot “may be what fashion historians point to as the boot of the early 2020s”. We wore it first.

Many people may remember the Carraro name, but this Italian tractor maker hasn’t been in the West for some time. That’s about to change with the company looking for a Perth-based agent. Brought into the country by Selmac Australia, this company customised the Vignetto Largo Casso VLB105 low-cab tractor for display at Hort Connections in Adelaide in early June. With tinted windows and a designer vibe befitting the location in which it is built (alongside the factories of Lamborghini and Ferrari) it caused a stir at the show. While this model is pitched at vineyards, orchards and greenhouses, we hear some WA tomato growers were quite taken by it. Selmac took on the brand in 2019 after visiting a trade expo in Bari, Italy, and falling for the brand’s sleek tractor design. However, it’s not all looks. It’s been a mainplayer in the Italian market for the past 50 years. We will keep you updated on where this brand settles in Western Australia. Visit carraroaustralia.com.au.

Not AnotherLEVYThe announcement of a biosecurity levy in the Federal Budget created an eye-roll in the industry. It’s yet another levy to add to the list for growers. While the government has been holding online seminars to explain it, the same questions keeps rearing its head: why are growers paying to protect themselves? Why aren’t the importers of the biosecurity issues being asked to pay the $27m per year the government wants to recoup on its biosecurity spend? A consultation period is being rolled out into the growing communities and industry leaders on the levy (expected to start next month), so keep an eye out for this and get involved. Also keep an eye out on our weekly e-newsletter in regards to this. Head to vegetableswa.com.au and sign up if you haven’t subscribed and we will keep you up to date with the consultation roll-out.

Growing WindowOPPORTUNITIESLed by Kimberley Asparagus, growers are looking to WA’s northern regions to capitalise on growing windows. Here in WA, stores will have asparagus over the next seven weeks thanks to Kimberley Asparagus, when previously only Mexican and Californian varieties would be available. It seems they have started a trend, with whispers that an East Coast grower is planning on planting out crops up north. “It’s innovative that growers are looking into new regions and growing in seasonal windows,” says Chris Hewitt of Quality Produce International. Visit www.qpi.net.au.

DPIRD’s automated weather station network will switch to 4G from next month, with each station upgrade causing a one-hour outage. This new technology will be rolled out through DPIRD’s network of 170 automatic weather stations and radars, offering lower power consumption and covering wider areas. “This work will ensure DPIRD’s network of weather stations continues to provide ongoing near real-time weather information across WA,” says DPIRD’s eConnect+ project manager Darren Gibbon. The technology is known as CatM-1, a form of Low Power Wide Area Network or LPWAN technology. The upgrade is expected to finish by end of year.
SAFETY FIRSTBy now you will have all read or heard about the Worksafe Inquiry in the Agriculture Industry of Western Australia. Further to that release, Aghealth Australia has just published its national statistics for 2022. Of the 55 deaths recorded over the 12 months:
• tractors were behind 11 deaths
• quad bikes behind eight deaths
• males were involved in 93% of the deaths.
When you look at the statistic from 2001, 1705 people have lost their lives on a farm between then and now. The leading causes of these deaths were tractors (273) and quad bikes (214); men made up 88.3 per cent of those deaths; and 865 men over the age of 51 were the victims. Stay safe.

WA Grower has under-taken a revamp. We have rethought our design and editorial to reflect the sophisticated nature and critical role of the horticulture industry. You’re currently reading our News section where we bring you the latest innovations, products, industry updates, tech releases and more to keep you up to date. You will also notice more opinions in the publication, including a big topic for which we canvass the thoughts of hort industry professionals. Our new Grower section is a big change, bringing you grower profiles and putting your produce on a plate. Our big reads have remained in our Features and Business sections with casestudies, trials, business management articles and more. And our partners Pomewest, WA Citrus, Stonefruit WA and Potatoes WA bring you all the information you have come to expect. We hope you enjoy the new issue.

Winter OutbreakPREVENTIONAs we move into the cooler weather, the Bayswater Qfly campaign in WA continues to heat up with DPIRD working closely with industry, growers and the community.
Qfly live for six to eight weeks during winter as lower temperatures and less hours of day-light lengthen the time taken to complete a full lifecycle. Growers are urged to keep an eye out for Qfly (they shelter from the cold in sheds) and report sightings.
Qfly Three-Step Guide
• Stay aware of the Bayswater Qfly outbreak. Check the DPIRD Qfly update webpage
(agric.wa.gov.au/qflyupdates) for a host list and the latest information.
• Understand what movement restrictions could apply to your business. Visit our Advice for Growers webpage (agric.wa.gov.au/advice-growers-qfly-export-assurance-zone) to learn how to treat and move Qfly host fruit and fruiting vegetables, and plan what you would do in an outbreak.
• Work with your Peak Industry Body and other growers in your area to identify local cold treatment facilities or opportunities to work together to reduce treatment costs and impacts to your business.

DPIRD biosecurity officers continue
to place traps in the community.