Home   |   Contact Us Banana Industry Congress 2013   |   May 29 - 1 June 2013   |   Palmer Coolum Resort, Sunshine Coast days till BIC2013!

Saturday 1 June 2013


Andrew Dewar

Vegetable Grower & Nuffield Scholar

Our vegetable business is in its infancy. Having only produced vegetables for three years, I moved the farming operation from lucerne production to vegetable production to ensure long-term financial and water sustainability.

Our business has seen incredible growth over this period and I like to think that it has happened on the back of a very rigorous QA system which we have in place and our ability to adapt to our customers’ requirements.

In 2011, I was awarded a Nuffield Scholarship supported by Woolworths and I travelled the world looking at Business Risk Mitigation and Vertical Integration.

Read Session Overview

A Farmer’s Story: Innovation that Works

Headlines in newspapers seem to always read "Unprecedented", "Worst in History" or "Never seen before". I'm going to try to explain how our little business reacted to one of these circumstances and the dramatic growth opportunities which we gained from our actions.

I would also like to speak about business risk mitigation and the need for farming to look at what our customers want and to never be too set in our ways to fail to adapt to their needs.

Jack Millbank

Managing Director, Hortus Technical Services

Jack originally hails from a mixed farming Family in Zimbabwe. He studied Agronomy at Gatton, then worked as an agronomist with Crop Tech. Jack later became the North Australian Vegetable Industry Development officer with Growcom and Ausveg before purchasing his own citrus, stone fruit and passionfruit orchard in the Mary Valley. In 2006 Jack was awarded a Nuffield Scholarship which saw him travel extensively researching horticultural production processing and marketing systems. On his return to Australia, Jack Purchased Crop Tech (Est.1985) from John Deere Water in 2009 and established Hortus Technical Services. Hortus is now Australia’s leading independent laboratory and agronomic services company built on a mission to improve the efficiency and profitability of producers by facilitating the optimal use of crop production inputs through monitoring, testing, training, research and consulting services that represent world's best practices in crop management systems.

Read Session Overview

Putting Innovation into Action

Jack will be discussing how to take innovation and put it into practise to enable your business to benefit from it. Innovation starts with an idea that has to be implemented and then adopted to gain traction. Jack will discuss, from the perspective of improvements in farm operations, improvements in farm and data management processes, effective utilisation of crop production inputs to maximise yield, efficiency and performance, and taking ideas from complementary industries for use in horticulture. Understanding every aspect of you production, processing and marketing system is vital in mapping out where improvements are: a) possible b) necessary c) probable.

Salah Sukkarieh

Director of Research and Innovation, Australian Centre for Field Robotics, University of Sydney

Salah Sukkarieh is the Director of Research and Innovation of the Australian Centre for Field Robotics and the Professor of Robotics and Intelligent Systems at the University of Sydney. Salah received his Honours in BE Mechatronics Engineering in 1997 and his PhD in in 2000 at the University of Sydney.

Salah has been the principal research and development lead on many of the robotics and intelligent systems projects at the ACFR including logistics, commercial aviation, aerospace, defence, agriculture and mining. He has consulted to a number of industry partners including Rio Tinto, BHP, Qantas, BAE Systems, QLD Biosecurity, and the NSW DPI. Salah is on the editorial board for the Journal of Field Robotics, Journal of Autonomous Robots, and Transactions of Aerospace Systems, and has over 180 publications in the robotics and intelligent systems area.

Read Session Overview

Field Robotics and Intelligent Systems for Farms of the Future

Field robotics refers to the science, engineering and deployment behind the automation of large outdoor machinery. Australia has many successful examples of field robotic systems in stevedoring, mining, defence and environmental monitoring.

In this talk I will present many of the systems that the Australian Centre for Field Robotics at the University of Sydney has developed. The talk will also discuss the findings from these projects and the parallels that can be drawn to the agriculture setting, and recent results from trials using robotic systems on tree crop farms.

Craig Althaus

Director, AgSafe Advisory Services

Craig Althaus was a high school agricultural science teacher and safety officer in Tully for 20 years. Craig established AgSafe Advisory Services in 2008 and now provides workplace health and safety consultancy to clients across a range of industries including bananas, sugarcane aged care and construction.

Read Session Overview

Staying Safe: Workplace Health & Safety on Banana Farms

The compliance area of doing business in Australia has placed added emphasis on the duties of employers in relation to work health and safety. One area requiring resources from employers is the duty to provide adequate information, instruction, training and supervision to employees. The transient nature of the banana industry labour force however places a huge burden on employees to be continually inducting and training staff. Some NQ banana farms report staff turnovers as high as 250%. Craig will provide banana growers examples of methods to streamline the induction process while providing new employees with information to safely begin work in the banana industry.

Richard Macchiesi

General Manager Insights, Innovation and Sustainability, Visy

Richard Macchiesi has 19 years of experience with the Food and Beverage industry globally. He has worked locally within the Flavour Industry developing a number of products for the major FMCG (Fast Moving Consumer Goods) companies from the dairy industry to alcoholic beverages. Richard has travelled extensively in Europe and Asia identifying strategic alliances for new businesses, utilising a strong understanding of innovation and NPD.

Richard currently is the General Manager Insights and Innovation and has worked with Visy for the past seven years across multiple substrates and divisions. The Insights and Innovation team is made up of the Technical Development Team based at Visy’s world class Technical Centre, Category Managers focused on developing new markets and an Insights team providing strategic information to the business and its customers.

Read Session Overview

Innovation in Packaging

The presentation will cover the latest trends in packaging, focusing on categories that are growing through innovation in supply chain and packaging formats. Visy will introduce some of the latest developments they are working on in the Fibre space with deliverable benefits to the entire supply chain. We will cover some of the latest trends impacting the world of packaging and look into the future of what is coming down the packaging pipeline.

Shane Mulo

Senior Extension Horticulturist, DAFFQ

Shane is a Senior Extension Horticulturist with over 20 years’ experience in the development of information systems to improve productivity and quality in horticultural industries. Examples include farm management recording and decision support systems, economic analysis and financial planning tools, crop forecasting, industry on-farm benchmarking and best practice.

Read Session Overview

macSmart: a modern approach to extension in the macadamia industry

macSmart is an innovative new extension project for the Australian macadamia industry. It combines the use of video and social media to distill the latest findings from industry-funded research and development. It also showcases leading farm practices and grower innovation within the macadamia industry.

In this overview you will hear about the macSmart project and how it came about. You’ll also see some examples of popular stories on the site as well as learning how this approach could work for banana.

Glenn Cardwell

BSc, Grad Dip Diet, Grad Dip App Sc, APD, AN
Accredited Practising Dietitian, Accredited Nutritionist,
Nutrition Impact Pty Ltd

Glenn is an Accredited Practising Dietitian with 34 years in clinical and public health nutrition, including 10 years as consultant dietitian to the National Heart Foundation. He currently runs his own nutrition consultancy company, Nutrition Impact Pty Ltd, which consults to the banana industry to assist with research, banana promotion, and media interviews. He lectures in universities and schools, and has written four nutrition books.

Read Session Overview

Banana Nutrition – A Science Update

The banana is Australia’s #1 fruit and science has justified its position. It is well-known for its potassium content, yet less appreciated for its vitamins C, B6 and folate. Although it has fibre, it is its resistant starch content that sets it apart from other fruits.

Resistant starch offers significant gut health benefits. Research demonstrates the banana’s benefit to both endurance athletes and general public as a sustained fuel source, the perfect energy snack. Bananas even appear to have more antioxidant power than previously thought. There are a number of myths surrounding the banana and we work hard to dispel them all.

Carole Hungerford

General Practitioner and Author

Carole Hungerford attended Sydney University and did a degree In History and English Literature graduating B.A in 1966. She then undertook a medical degree at the same university, graduating M.B. B.S. in 1972.

After working for three years in teaching hospitals she entered general practice.

She has lived for three years with her family in Japan, and for five years in London. Whilst in London she worked with the NHS in a busy inner city practice.

She now divides her time between two practices in Sydney and a rural practice in Bathurst NSW.

Read Session Overview

Good Health in the 21st Century

Food is not just about warding off starvation and tasting good. It has to do more than give us energy or build muscles. It needs to nourish us, give us the vitamins and minerals that keep us healthy, help us prevent cancer and keep mental health problems at bay. With the rise of the pharmaceutical industry many people have begun to rely on prescription medicine to do what our grandparents were able to get from their food. This talk is about the direct link between what's in the soil and our health.

Kasper Johansen

AusCover Science Coordinator, University of Queensland

Dr Kasper Johansen is currently working as a Research Fellow in the field of remote sensing at the University of Queensland. His main research focus includes development of methods for analysing and interpreting detailed airborne and satellite imagery and laser scanning data applied in Australian riparian, urban, agricultural, and rainforest environments.

Read Session Overview

New mapping technologies to find elusive banana plants

Banana Bunchy Top Virus results in reduced plant growth and prevents banana production and a program to eradicate infected banana plants is currently being undertaken. Because of the very large number of properties with banana plants in South East Queensland, a mapping approach was developed to delineate individual and clusters of banana plants. This will help find banana plants and enable prioritisation of plant inspections. The developed mapping approach is based on airborne orthophotos. Object-based image analysis was used to: (1) detect banana plants using edge and line detection approaches; (2) produce neat outlines around classified banana plants; and (3) evaluate the mapping results. The results will support the detection and eradication of the Banana Bunchy Top Virus.

Puthiyaparambil Josekutty

Tissue Culture Lab Manager, Clonal Solutions Australia

Dr Puthiyaparambil Josekutty (Jose) is the Manager of the Tissue Culture Laboratory at Yuruga Nursery and its spin-off company Clonal Solutions Australia on the Atherton Tablelands, Queensland (www.yuruga.com.au). Jose oversees the Tissue Culture production of a variety of horticulture, forestry and ornamental crops and leads a suite of R&D projects at this one-million-plants-per-year capacity, purpose-built tissue culture laboratory.

With a double masters in Botany and Cellular & Molecular Biology, Jose earned his PhD in 1993 specialising in Plant Cell and Tissue Culture. Since 1990, Jose has worked as a lecturer or scientist at the MS University of Baroda, India; MS Swaminathan Research Foundation, India; University of Transkei, Republic of South Africa; USDA Land Grant Program, Federated States of Micronesia; Crop & Food Research Institute and New Zealand Forest Research Institute (SCION), New Zealand; and Pennsylvania State University, USA. Jose has over 10 years of research experience with banana, 33 peer reviewed publications, and has presented 21 papers at international conferences. Jose has been a member of International Plant Tissue Culture Associations since 1988 and also edits/ reviews manuscripts for peer reviewed journals.

Read Session Overview

Tissue Culture: A Key Technology for the Banana Industry

To be successful in the current environment, banana growers need to realise higher yields of better quality fruit at a reduced cost. Availability of good planting material in sufficient quantities as and when needed is a major requirement for successful banana production. Has tissue culture achieved this or is there room for improvement? Adequate supply of new and improved varieties (eg. resistant to pests and diseases; tolerant to drought and other natural barriers of banana production; fruit with greater nutritional value) is critical to the banana industry. What role is Tissue Culture likely to have in the future of our banana industry? Could it hold the key to developing better bananas?