Real-time temp tracking of Vic export cherries

Agriculture Victoria will help deploy real-time temperature loggers to monitor and improve the coolchain for Victorian cherries exported to SE Asia.

South East Asia is an important emerging market for Australian cherries that was worth more than A$13M in 2018-19. This season, Victorian cherry growers will have the opportunity to deploy real-time data loggers to monitor the supply chain for cherries exported by air to Vietnam.

These loggers will record temperature, humidity, location, light, and shock/vibration and will highlight if – and where – any impacts on fruit quality are occurring along the supply chain.

Agriculture Victoria scientist Glenn Hale said the aim of the project is to encourage growers to utilise new technology to help monitor the supply chain in real-time, so if there are any issues they can be dealt with immediately before it is too late.

“Harvesting fresh cherries at the optimal maturity is the first step in achieving great quality, as is handling them at the correct temperature as fruit quality can only ever be maintained after harvest but not improved,” Mr Hale said.

“It’s definitely a team effort for everyone in the export process to work together, whether it be contract pickers, packers, transport companies, treatment providers, freight forwarders or airlines, so that these highly perishable fruits arrive in overseas markets in the best possible condition.

“Monitoring the supply chain in real-time makes all the links more accountable for their actions as loggers can be initially set up with temperature thresholds so that an alert is sent via email or text if the threshold is breached.”

Mr Hale said there will also be an opportunity for growers and exporters to trial, and provide feedback, on a new dashboard that has been developed between the Department of Agriculture and Fisheries, Qld in consultation with other fruit growers and Agriculture Victoria.

The dashboard has been designed to streamline the programming process that is required to set-up the loggers soon after activating them and for ease of data interpretation, Mr Hale said.

Charlotte Brunt from Cherry Growers Australia is encouraging small, medium and large growers to participate, and said learnings from these research trials will be shared with industry through regular communications during the season together with a summary report post-season.

This project is funded by the agriculture policy group within the Export Development and Investment Strategy at Agriculture Victoria with the goal of increasing Victoria’s food and fibre exports to A$20B by 2030.

To be a part of the project, contact Glenn Hale on 0419 500 302 or e-mail: glenn.hale@agriculture.vic.gov.au

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