Hort Connections 2023 came to a close last night with the gala dinner and industry awards. A list of the winners can be found below.
This year the exhibitors were all talking about the automation of grading and packing lines and the automation of information. Many had great orchard management systems with yield information and easy payroll applications.
The machine guys were all about robotics: labor is short and expensive, people make mistakes, and they can't work 24/7.
Growers spoke about a few tough years with very wet weather in both Australia and New Zealand. One grower from New Zealand said the only thing they hadn't had there was a plague of locusts.
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The onion market was good both domestically and for export, but other vegetables, such as carrots and broccoli, were in oversupply.
The packaging industry has some wonderful paper, card, and fiber products to offer. They say it is a slow transition away from plastic, but it is happening.
The winners of the Hort Connections 2023 National Awards for Excellence were as follows:
- Pirrone Brothers, QLD – Syngenta Grower of the Year
- Robert Arvier, West Pine Ag, Tas – Corteva Agriscience Young Grower of the Year
- Angela Ruffo, Tripod Farmers Group, Vic – Boomaroo Nurseries Women in Horticulture Award
- Frank Frappa, Premier Fresh Australia, Vic – Hort Innovation Exporter of the Year
- Michael Rettke, SARDI, SA – Bayer Researcher of the Year
Bruce Scott, Campbells Fertiliser, Vic – Visy Industry Impact Award
- Allan McGann, drumMASTER (Agsafe), NSW – E.E. Muir & Sons Community Stewardship Award
- Fresh Select, Vic – Butler Market Gardens Environment and Sustainability Award
- Kylie Hall, Hectre, NZ – UPL Tech Innovation Award