Growers in the Wide Bay-Burnett and Fitzroy regions recently participated in the first of what will be a series of Hort360 workshops.

Pineapple, tree crop, sweetpotato, tomato and melon growers joined Growcom staff in Yeppoon and Bundaberg to learn more about the best management practice (BMP) program for horticulture. Following a presentation about Hort360, growers used either an iPad or tablet (supplied by Growcom) to work their way through modules of the computer-based risk assessment tool. This involved each grower selecting multiple-choice answers to a series of questions regarding their current farming practices including management of nutrients, sediment, pesticide and irrigation.

Hort360 BMP Facilitator, Michelle Haase was on hand to help growers set up their Hort360 profile and complete modules. On completion of the modules, the program generated an evaluation report to identify growers’ areas of practice which were at ‘best practice’ and areas that required improvement.

Feedback from growers who have used Hort360 has been extremely positive. Tech-savvy workshop participants went on to work through several modules on topics such as Pesticides, Waste, Energy, Climate and Air.

Michelle said an additional component of the workshop included identifying topics that growers were interested in.

“We consulted with participating growers on topics they want to learn more about, and will continue to build the workshop program around those topics and the correlating modules of Hort360,” she said.

“Future workshops for growers will focus on useful content and practical in-field discussions on pest and disease management, water quality, and soil health.”

In addition to these workshops, Michelle and fellow BMP facilitator, Lindsay Allen, have been working one-on-one with growers in the reef catchments to complete modules of Hort360.

Hort360 Manager Scott Wallace said the BMP program was designed to give growers a 360 degree view of their farm business operations.

“Participating in Hort360 is an excellent way for growers to benchmark their practices,” he said.

“Hort360 BMP Facilitators Michelle Haase and Lindsay Allen are available to assist growers to use the program to identify both risks and opportunities for their businesses.”

The Hort360 workshops are an initiative of Growcom’s Hort360 Great Barrier Reef BMP Program which is funded by the Queensland Government Reef Water Quality Program. To participate in a Hort360 workshop or for further information on participating in this program, contact a Growcom Hort360 Facilitator.

Michelle Haase
0428 586 890

Lindsay Allen
0477 588 677