Home' Grower : August 2013 Contents 16 The South Australian Grower -- August 2013
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US expert knows his onions
PLANNING is well underway
for Onions Australia's annual
conference, to be held at
Mannum on October 2-3.
This year's conference will host
an international speaker, and incor-
porate a regional tour.
The Onions Australia Executive
Committee will meet on October
2, before hosting drinks on the
lawn to welcome guests, including
those from overseas.
The following day will see a tour
of local onion operations, followed
by lunch on the PS Marion pad-
dlesteamer. The afternoon sessions
will include Onions Australia's
annual general meeting and the
annual levy payers' meeting.
A conference highlight will be the
delegates dinner, to be addressed
by international speaker Bill Dean.
Dr Dean is the director of research
and development at River Point
Farms, the United States' largest
River Point Farms produces
onions on more than 2023 hec-
tares in the north-central Oregon
portion of the Columbia Basin and
the Walla Walla Valley.
Dr Dean is involved with all
aspects of onion production includ-
ing nutrition, insect and disease
control, water quality, and food
safety, and will talk about these
issues and relate them to Australian
He has considerable experience
in production, sales and market-
ing of vegetable crops, training
of employees in technical areas
have the opportunity
to present their
latest results at
workshops to be
held by onion expert
THE combined fruit industry
conference held on the Gold Coast
in July brought together people in
the apple and pear, summerfruit,
and nashi industries for three days
Speakers covered a pertinent
theme in today's environment,
Innovate or Real-Estate, which
provided something of interest for
I welcomed the chance to be
able to step away from my day-to-
day tasks and think of the bigger
picture for a while.
It was an opportunity to hear
from skilled presenters with
different areas of expertise, and
consider how I can apply some of
their insights into what I do, and
how to be more innovative.
It was refreshing to see many
growers taking the opportunity to
do the same thing.
It is often easy to get bogged
down in our own businesses,
focusing on our own areas of skills
and expertise. It is easy to dismiss
a topic that at first glance may not
seem of relevance to us.
But often, it is a casual
conversation, or listening
to someone with a different
viewpoint, that give us the 'light
bulb' moment that shows us a new
opportunity or changes the way we
think about our business.
At the conference, we heard
about 3D-printed food, warehouse
and vertical farms in urban
environments, and robotics
-- concepts that at first sound
fanciful but in fact are already in
the early stages of commercial
We heard a prediction that
commercial robots will be in use
in Australian orchards in 10 years.
We heard about innovative plant
breeding techniques, innovative
marketing strategies, and trends
within the retail sector.
There were success stories about
using innovation to grow business
opportunities in Australia and
globally, and we gained insight
into the enormous market potential
within China. We even got tips on
how to think innovatively to create
Without a doubt, our landscapes
continue to change and as an
industry, we must continue to
advance and adapt with the times.
Who would have thought 20 years
ago that we would have self-
steering tractors, smart phones, or
that social media would take off
like it has?
There are some exciting
opportunities ahead and we must
be prepared to embrace change.
Innovator Roger La Salle provides
sage advice that innovation
adopted the most readily is usually
just an improvement on what we
already have or know.
The challenge will lie in how we
can continue to improve on what
we already do by embracing the
almost endless possibilities that
new technologies bring.
My take-home message from
the conference is from Morris
Miselowski, who said "listen to
yesterday but speak to tomorrow
... and your future is created by
what you do today."
but are already
in the early
Fruit meet gets ideas ticking
By SUSIE GREEN,
CEO, Apple & Pear
of South Australia
and employee safety and has
been a professor of horticul-
ture at the Washington State
Dr Dean is a widely respect-
ed leader in the US onion
industry and tapping into
his extensive experience will
benefit the Australian onion
He is expected to visit
onion-growing areas in
other states and hold
workshops with grow-
ers to allow exchange
of information and
discuss issues specific
to each area.
Local researchers have
the opportunity to present
their latest results at these
workshops. The dates and
locality of the workshops will
be announced as soon as
arrangements are finalised.
Onion Australia chair-
man Andrew Moon
hoped the Mannum
meeting would be a focal
point for the industry this year.
"It's an honour to attract a
keynote speaker of the calibre
of Bill Dean to our annual
conference," he said.
"I'm sure that he will bring
with him information about
differing methods of onion
production, particularly given
the huge operation that he
"I encourage everyone to
come along and take part in
what should be an outstand-
ing annual conference."
Details: To register for the confer-
ence, call Onions Australia office 08
8725 8862, 0458 111 126,
Those in the Australian onion industry hope to tap into the
knowledge of well-known US onion expert Bill Dean who is
keynote speaker at the Onion Australia conference in October.
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