Horticulture Code updated with stronger protections and penalties
The Horticulture Code is a mandatory code of conduct that aims to create transparency around the grower-trader relationship and establish fair dispute resolution mechanisms in the horticulture industry.
There have been recent changes to the Code that strengthens the protection it provides. As a grower, you need to know how the changes affect you and what your rights and obligations are under the Code.
What is the Code?
The Code covers trade in unprocessed horticulture produce, such as fruit, vegetables, edible fungi and nuts, and applies to growers, agents and merchants.
The Code operates to create transparency in the relationship between you (the grower), agents and merchants. It does this by requiring all parties to have a written contract with each other, called a Horticulture Produce Agreement (HPA). It is now illegal to trade in horticulture produce without a HPA and all parties, including growers, agents and merchants, can be subject to penalties if they don’t have a HPA.
You should seek legal advice if you are unsure whether your HPA is compliant with the Code.
Welcome to the May Cherry Newsletter email, with the latest news, updates and announcements for the Australian cherry industry.
Federal budget 2017: What it means for farmers across Australia -
$8.4 billion for inland freight rail between Melbourne and Brisbane
$1 billion in Landcare funding locked in for five years
New food safety requirements for importers, and new powers to hold product at the border
Farm Household Allowance still capped at three years, but maxed out farmers can apply for loans
Live export industry gets $8.3 million to develop new welfare assurance program
Find out more in this ABC Rural article.
As nearly every aspect of orchard management has been optimized, growers are turning their attention below ground.
Efforts to improve soil function are being explored across the industry, but low-cost practices like mow and blow and mulch are especially important strategies for smaller farms that can’t afford to invest in all new systems.
“It’s an untapped area of improvement on our farms,” said Oregon cherry grower Mike Omeg, during a tour of his orchard in The Dalles in March. “It’s difficult for us to compete with these really large farms on efficiency. We can’t prune our way out of that problem, and you can’t just plant new orchards unless you have $35,000 an acre. Improving the soil is something we can do.”
Although it’s invisible below the soil surface, there’s just as much biomass below ground as above — a second half of the orchard that’s often ignored.
Cultivating a strong root system and a diverse community of beneficial organisms — from pest predators to mycorrhizae fungi that make roots more efficient — will lead to healthier trees and better fruit, according to experts who spoke at a cherry soil health day hosted by Oregon State University Extension in March. Read more of this Good Fruit Grower article…….