Meeting of PHA Board and field trips

September 25, 2015

The PHA Board held its latest meeting in Queensland from 15 to 17 September 2015. Apart from the meeting itself, Board members visited the production or research facilities of a number of industry members.

First stop was the Sugar Research Australia research station at Woodford to view experimentally infected sugarcane crops to study the response to pathogens.

Gavin Scurr, of Piñata Farms and Chairman of the Australian Mango Association, took time out to discuss biosecurity and general management of strawberry, pineapple and mango growing, harvesting and packaging for market.

The Board also visited Shane Templeton’s ginger farm at Imbil to observe harvesting operations and to discuss biosecurity concerns. Shane is President of the Australian Ginger Industry Association, one of PHA’s newer members and signatories to the EPPRD.

A visit was also made to Birdwood Nursery, the first production nursery to receive Biosecure HACCP accreditation through Nursery and Garden Industry Australia. The owner Peter Young was the winner of the Plant Biosecurity Farmer of the Year Award in 2011. The visit gave the Board an opportunity to gain an understanding of grafting methods used to produce new varieties and first-hand experience of the biosecurity practices used in the nursery to ensure a quality supply of planting material for customers.

The final stop was the Maroochy Research Facility in Nambour, which does post-harvest R&D on sub-tropical fruit and nuts. The Research Facility Manager Andrew Marshallsea gave the Board a tour of the facility and explained some the finer points of mango packing and transport, and disease management research.

Members of the PHA Board appreciate the time and effort that all of the producers and researchers took to make them feel welcome and to explain their work.