Minimum maturity standards adoption across the table grape supply chain

TG19004 works to ensure that the new minimum maturity standards for table grapes are fully adopted across the supply chain from the 2020/21 season onwards. The project team will work closely with growers to build their capacity and understanding of how to improve their table grape quality, as well as wholesalers and supermarkets to drive their accountability along the supply chain. These efforts will contribute to ensuring greater consumer satisfaction in the quality and taste of Australian table grapes.

Grower workshops and webinars will be held throughout the project to ensure that table grape growers understand the benefits of minimum maturity standards and to provide them with the knowledge and skills to implement them in their business. Regular updates will be communicated through the Australian table grape industry communications program (TG18004) various channels.

Close engagement will also be maintained with major retailers to monitor the progress of meeting the minimum maturity standards, including training with technical teams and gaining access to in-store monitoring data.

These activities will be underpinned with the collection of quality data to measure how the industry is performing against the standards, and how consumers are responding to the changes.

Table grape supply chain quality 2017-2021

Beginning at the tail-end of 2017, this project supports growers and retailers in adopting collaborative quality standards and practices for Australian table grapes. Its quality-focused activities prioritise the supply of grapes of optimal eating quality right from the start of the season, and so contribute to consumer confidence, repeat purchasing, and increased demand.

Its work involves measuring maturity of fruit pre-harvest, at retail and at export, and identifying maturity specifications that will enable the industry to meet market and consumer demands. It also has a component that provides funding for the ATGA to support project activities.

Extension of technologies and best management practices to the Australian table grape industry

Beginning in 2020, this is the long-awaited first national extension project for the Australian table grape industry. This investment is ensuring that Australian table grape growers are kept informed about current R&D activities, results and resources – supporting the adoption of industry best practice and bolstering table grape production in key growing areas across the country.

This investment supported the employment of an industry development manager – Jenny Treeby – and industry development officer – Karen Connolly – for the table grape industry, who were appointed in March 2021.

Jenny and Karen, along with project lead Alison MacGregor, are responsible for delivering industry development and extension services in a nationally coordinated, but regionally delivered manner. Their activities will focus on extending the reach of the table grape R&D program across industry and improving grower capability to adopt best management practices and new on-farm innovations.

Table grape export readiness and market access

Beginning in 2018, this investment is one of the ATGA’s priority projects, continuing industry work into market access and development.

Key activities include maintaining the industry’s export strategy, detailing market access, improving and developing priorities, developing export training materials for growers/exporters, developing the export quality standards, facilitating and maintaining the industry’s export registration system and audit requirements, coordinating inbound and outbound trade missions, liaising with state and federal government and acting as a point of contact for growers, exporters and others looking for expert industry advice.

Taste Australia retail program

This multi-industry investment is targeting key international retailers with training and educational resources about selecting, storing, handling and displaying Australian fresh produce in store, including apples and pears, avocados, citrus, table grape and vegetables.

Category and consumer impact monitor

This Category and Consumer Impact Monitor activity is funded through Hort Innovation’s risk management reserves, and operates to assist the horticulture sector through the effects of COVID-19, drought, floods and bushfires.

Hort Innovation is working with research company Fiftyfive5 to provide the Australian horticulture sector access to regularly updated information about consumer attitudes and behaviours during this time of COVID-19 disruption, through Fiftyfive5’s Category and Consumer Impact Monitor.

Each week, this monitoring service provides an update on changes to consumer mindset, attitudes and behaviour from surveys with main grocery buyers from a representative panel of the Australian population, including information on the current and emerging commercial implications of these changes. Hort Innovation has also secured tailored content for the fresh produce sector, including insights into fruit and vegetable consumption, snacking, meal preparation and more.

Australian table grape industry communications program​

This project maintains and improves communication to Australian table grape growers and other industry stakeholders. By keeping the industry up to date on R&D and marketing activities, news, events and other critical information, table grape businesses are supported in their decision-making and adoption of new research and technologies.

A number of regular communications channels are produced and maintained by this investment, including but not limited to:

This project maintains and improves communication to Australian table grape growers and other industry stakeholders. By keeping the industry up to date on R&D and marketing activities, news, events and other critical information, table grape businesses are supported in their decision-making and adoption of new research and technologies.

A number of regular communications channels are produced and maintained by this investment, including but not limited to:

Trapping efficacy in table grape vineyards for area wide management of Queensland fruit fly

This investment will further develop mass trapping methods as a tool to assist in the control of Queensland fruit fly, while evaluating the effectiveness of trapping at decreasing fly populations for table grape growers. This research will ultimately improve area wide management programs for the pest and contribute to continued market access by delivering best practice guidelines for growers. It aligns closely with the current levy-funded program Building capacity in area wide integrated pest management for Qfly in table grapes (TG18001), as well as a state-funded project in Victoria that focuses on Queensland fruit fly mass trapping in stone and pome fruits.

The project team will commence on-farm trials to confirm trap efficacy in table grapes, with a focus on assessing optimal trap placement in and around the crop as well as in nearby host sources and refuges. This will contribute to designing a table grape-specific mass trapping strategy that growers can implement. Following that, on-farm mass trapping programs will be initiated to evaluate the effectiveness of this strategy at decreasing fruit fly populations in and around selected commercial vineyards, and in reducing pre-harvest fruit fly damage to grapes.

Three grower workshops will be held as a way to assess current perceptions and knowledge of mass trapping in the management of fruit flies and to discuss the potential for integrating mass trapping with integrated pest management and current area wide management approaches. This will inform the production of best practice guidelines for growers. On-farm field walks will also be held as a practical means of demonstrating how mass trapping works and its potential impact to growers, consultants and industry stakeholders.