Growers will learn more about collaborative farming and a new disease prediction system as part of Dried Fruits Australia’s (DFA) new online event series.

Launching on Tuesday 6 October, the We’re Growing Live series will be held over several weeks in place of DFA’s annual grower forum.

The first presentation will be delivered by long-time plant pathologist and GrowCare’s directing co-founder, Peter Magarey, who is the brains behind DFA’s new downy mildew and bunch rot alert system.

At the second event on 14 October, John Gladigau from Bulla Burra in South Australia will talk about his experience with running a collaborative family farm.

Mr Gladigau said there were many opportunities for collaboration in horticulture, and setting up the right model offered “great potential to increase efficiency and profitability”.

“Collaboration is a really sexy topic, but it’s one thing to talk about it and another to take the big step do it,” he said.

“We believe it’s been well worth it, and others who’ve done it would say the same. But it’s the perception of what you’re giving up – the perception that you’re giving up your freedom, your independence and your flexibility

“But the things people believe constrain us or see as negatives, we’d actually say are the biggest positives – we have created more flexibility and freedom for ourselves.”

As well as the benefits and challenges of collaborative farming, Mr Gladigau will advise growers on what to consider before going into business with someone else.

DFA chair Mark King said a forum for dried fruit growers had been held every year since the organisation was formed more than 100 years ago.

“The forum has evolved into different formats over the years, but I can’t remember a time where everyone wasn’t in the same room – it’s certainly the first time the event will be held online,” Mr King said.

“But even though it will look a bit different this year, we will still be providing some really valuable presentations that I know growers will learn a lot from.

“As we come to the end of a tough year and look forward to a better one, it’s important that we still offer a forum for our growers and other industry members and update them on the projects we’ve been working on that will drive our industry forward.

“Anyone who joins us live will be able to ask questions of the presenters, and we’ll be recording each event to make sure that people who can’t make it on the day can watch at a time that suits them.”

To find out more about the We’re Growing Live series and how to join the events, visit the news and events page