A group of about 25 people from horticulture businesses around the region came together in Shepparton last month to learn more about the issues that matter most to the industry.
The Emerging Leaders Group, which included growers and packers from around the Goulburn Valley, met at the Wyndham St premises of MADEC for its fourth meeting, and heard from guest speakers from the CSIRO, independent agronomist David Bell and MADEC itself about the threat of fruit fly and a product called AgriBLUSH.
MADEC representative Kristen Elliott discussed the role MADEC played in making sure there were enough seasonal workers when growers needed them.
‘‘The seasonal worker program (that MADEC provide) gets workers returning season to season,’’ Ms Elliott said.
Mr Bell said AgriBLUSH allowed growers to manage the amount of colour in their crops.
‘‘It essentially makes red apples redder,’’ he said.
Mr Bell said the product’s trials were showing positive results.
‘‘Twenty-six thousand apples changed from trial one to trial two to what that they call class one apples by using it.’’
Group co-ordinator Elizabeth Mace said the feedback from the breakfast meeting was mostly positive.
‘‘Those who attended were really impressed with MADEC,’’ Ms Mace said.
‘‘Members said the timing wasn’t fantastic. We tried the breakfast and it was a great way to get industry people there. It was a shame not all our members could come.’’
Ms Mace said the group’s membership was heading in the right direction.
‘‘The great thing is momentum is building. More are hearing about it and are wanting to come.
‘‘Our next meeting will be at Seeka Orchards in Bunbartha and will cover kiwi fruit production.’’
Ms Mace said anyone in the orchard industry or who cared about the industry was welcome to attend the next meeting at a yet-to-be-determined date in May.