More than 100 growers and industry representatives turned out to the Greater Sydney Local Land Services Protected Cropping Workshop and farm walk on 31 May at Rossmore in Sydney.

Held on local grower Joe Boustani’s farm, the event involved presentations from the New South Wales Department of Primary Industries (NSW DPI), Protected Cropping Australia and industry experts covering topics including Fusarium-resistant rootstocks for cucumbers, mite control and new technologies.

The workshop was one in a packed schedule of field days and farm walks being rolled out across the Greater Sydney, Central Tablelands, North Coast and Riverina regions as part of the NSW VegNET initiative.

Industry Development Officer Matthew Plunkett said protected cropping was clearly a priority R&D area for the New South Wales horticultural industry.

“The great response we received to the Rossmore workshop gave us insight and direction into the areas we should prioritise as part of our project; it is excellent that the level of engagement from growers and industry ramps up as we roll out more events,” he said.

Mr Plunkett said priority focus areas for the NSW VegNET team over the next year would include effective management options for pests and diseases, spray application efficiency, cover crops, low cost protected covers and robotics.

“We are also working towards a major vegetable innovation field day in the Riverina region, which will showcase the use of drone and solar power technologies in irrigated vegetable production as well as demonstrations from the Robot for Intelligent Perception and Precision Application (RIPPA),” he said.

As part of the VegNet project, the team are focussing on developing and updating resources that benefit the protected cropping industry as a whole. A number of other extension events will be focussed on low, medium and high technologies, water disinfection and treatment and control options for priority pest plants such as mites in Cucumbers.

To find out more about the NSW VegNET project and details on upcoming events, visit the Greater Sydney Local Land Services website at or contact Matthew Plunkett on 0428 978 390 or email

Courtesy AUSVEG Vegetables Australia Magazine