2015 Conference Circuit

This year promises to be another busy year on the conference circuit within Australia’s main economic zone, starting with the Global Forum for Innovation in Agriculture (GFIA 2015), to be held in Abu Dhabi in March. A key element of this event will be a summit on Climate-Smart Agriculture, a strategic farming approach designed to raise agricultural productivity while mitigating the effects of climate change. The event is expected to attract the entire agricultural value-chain—from agribusiness and academia to policy and investment—to witness more than 400 presentations of game-changing ideas with the potential to fundamentally change the way food is produced, processed, stored, distributed and consumed. Our story in this issue on Sundrop Farms is an example of innovative technology with the potential to produce food in the dry, arid regions of the world, such as Australia, the Middle East and sub-Saharan Africa, with no need for fresh water or fossil fuels.

In April, the 6th China International Modern Agricultural Exhibition (CIMAE 2015) will be held in Beijing. This event is expected to attract over 30,000 visitors and showcase 428 exhibits from 10 countries—USA, Japan, Germany, Israel, Canada, Korea, Russia, Belarus, Norway and Austria. The CIMAE is promoted as Asia’s top Agricultural Show, an event that integrates an exhibition with presentations, academic discussion, product promotion and project investigations. With the Chinese urban population now greater than the rural population, the 2015 event includes a high-level greenhouse component and a forum on urban agriculture.

In late June, the AUSVEG National Convention, Trade Show and Awards for Excellence will be held at Jupiters Gold Coast, Queensland. AUSVEG promotes itself as the leading horticulture body representing Australia’s 9000 vegetable and potato growers. The National Convention will focus on all elements of horticulture, with a variety of speaker sessions aimed to inform and inspire delegates.

The premier industry event on Australian soil will be Protected Cropping Australia’s (PCA) biennial conference and trade show to be held at Jupiters Gold Coast in early July, which will run concurrently with ICESC2015. This International Soilless Culture Symposium will focus on hydroponic and aquaponic systems under cover and outdoors and will be held under the auspices of the ISHS Commission Plant Substrates & Soilless Culture, in partnership with PCA. The event will have a strong focus on the future of farming and the environment, and include topics on emission reduction of nutrients, waste products and plant protection products, and energy use efficiency of hydroponic systems. Our story, Farming the Future, highlights Australian ‘agripreneurship’ to make food cultivation more accessible, attractive and efficient for urban communities, adopting sustainable and environmentally friendly technology. This evolutionary venture points to the future of farming.

Further details of these and other industry conferences can be found in the ‘Events’ section of our website.

Fungus gnats and shore flies are a scourge for any grower. In this issue, IPM specialist Marilyn Steiner explains the difference between these nuisance flies, and updates readers on effective biocontrols. We also report on breakthrough research on another scourge, the destructive Queensland Fruit Fly, which annually wreaks havoc on crops, costing around $300 million a year in control and lost markets. Another exciting development that we report on in this issue is the new Luminex xMAP® technology, which makes it possible to detect dozens of different pathogens on plant material at the same time. This pathogen detection kit is good news for growers, plant breeders and plant pathogen services testing material for import or export.  Ω

Steven Carruthers

January 2015 / Issue 151