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2017 ATGA Members Pests and Diseases Roadshow

Written by : Posted on June 14, 2017 : Comments Off on 2017 ATGA Members Pests and Diseases Roadshow

Truffle Pest & Disease project – Research extension – Winter 2017


To update Australian truffle producers on progress and future plans within the RIRDC project “Pests and diseases of truffles and their host trees in Australia”.

The road show
Team members of the Pests and Diseases Project will visit regional centres of truffle growing districts across Australia (see proposed itinerary below).
At the talks, there will be hands-on pest collections to demonstrate the array of pests, beneficial and benign agents found in Australian truffle orchards. At these ATGA Member only meetings, you are invited to bring to the samples of any pests/diseases they want to discuss and/or identified (except at Dandenongs and Sutton meetings which will be held on truffières).
Growers will have the opportunity for direct interaction with project team members.
Because the meetings are at the same time of year as truffle harvest and sales, the sessions are proposed to start at 2.00 p.m. and go no longer than 2 hours.
As well as attending these meetings, Stewart Learmonth from WA will be requesting visits to truffle orchards during harvest to further build knowledge of pests.
Proposed itinerary

*Location Date People
Manjimup 23 & 25June X X X
Sutton 4 July X X X
Bathurst 6 July X X X X
Dandenongs 11 July X X X
Launceston/Deloraine 13 July X X

*Location:  Precise details on the venues will be advised soon.
#People: AD = Alan Davey; SL =Stewart Learmonth; CL = Celeste Linde; AM = Anne Mitchell; AS = Ainsley Seago.

Afternoon Tea
Please bring a thermos to share

Please note, except for the Manjimup meetings, the number of attendees at each meeting will be limited to 20 ATGA Members.

Please be sure to make a reservation:
Bookings for the 3-5 pm 23 June seminar at the Department of Agriculture and Food, WA (DAFWA) offices in Manjimup are through Anne Mitchell, via email This event is supported by DAFWA, Truffle Producers WA (TPWA), and Manjimup Underground.

Some of the experts will also be part of  the Truffle Growers Forum at the Truffle Kerfuffle 8-11.30am Sunday 25 June. Bookings are via the Truffle Kerfuffle website. This event is supported by DAFWA, the Truffle Kerfuffle Inc., TPWA, and Manjimup Underground.

DAFWA Offices
28527 Southwest Hwy
Manjimup (6kms south of town)
Stewart Learmonth 9777 0000

Wayne Haslam (Sutton)
Blue Frog Truffle Farm
63 Goolabri Dr, Sutton NSW 2620
RSVP Alan Davey 0407 404 447 or at
No pest samples please

Richard Austen (Bathurst)             0419 868 666
Bathurst Library Meeting Room
70-78 Keppel St, Bathurst. Ph (02) 6333 6281.
RSVP Richard Austen at

Colin Carter (Dandenongs)           (03) 5968 1092; 0409 717 401
Please ring Colin for address details.
RSVP Colin Carter
No pest samples please

Marcus Jessup (Launceston/Deloraine) 0417 112 655
Bush Inn Hotel Restaurant
7 Bass Highway, Deloraine. Ph (03) 6362 2365.
RSVP Marcus Jessup


NSW ATGA Members Grading workshop

Written by : Posted on May 26, 2017 : Comments Off on NSW ATGA Members Grading workshop

Grading workshop at Hartley Truffles 2015

Producing Members’ Workshop:  

Grading and Handling Truffle

Monday 12th June, 2015 (Holiday weekend)

10.30 for 11.00 am

Venue:  Hartley Truffles,  Great Western Highway HARTLEY NSW

Important: We’d like you to bring some of your truffle if you can for grading.

This workshop is sponsored for members, and tea, coffee and light lunch provided.

This workshop will discuss truffle grading and handling aligning grades with the Truffle Grading Standard approved by the Association.

RSVP  to Richard Austen for directions and more details.



Plant Health Australia Photo Competition

Attention Members! In an effort to promote the benefits of a strong plant biosecurity system, Plant Health Australia is running the Bountiful Harvest photo competition, with two vouchers for the RM Williams store as prizes:  $300 to the winner and $150 to the runner up. It’s open to all Australian residents aged 18 or over, and we’re seeking digital images of some aspect of plant production – the crops that produce food and fibre – anywhere in Australia.  Entries close 10 March 2017. 

You can submit a photo (see terms and conditions here) to be in the running to win.

More information at

Good Luck!

Shock for importer of Tuber magnatum into Western Australia.

Written by : Posted on November 18, 2016 : No Comments

The ‘large’ white truffle – Tuber Magnatum imported 2015 for the ATGA conference dinner in Queanbeyan NSW.

This week a purveyor of truffles and fine food attempted to import some new season Tuber magnatum of Italian origin into Western Australia, only to be advised their entry was not permitted. The importer remonstrated with the Quarantine Officer that he had been importing T. magnatum into WA and other States for years without problem. The Officer held his ground and produced a copy of the “West Australian Organism List”. This document of the WA Department of Agriculture and Food lists all foods and organisms which can be imported into the State. If it’s not on the list, it can’t be imported unless a special permit which complies with various phytosanitary requirements and provenance is purchased and granted. The only truffle species that can be imported from interstate, or over-seas, without that special permit is Tuber melanosporum. The other States allow a variety of Tuber species including magnatum.

It appears previous imports of T. magnatum may have contravened WA quarantine regulations and WA Quarantine are now strictly observing the rules. So if ATGA Members (or anyone else, for that matter) are thinking of importing T. magnatum into WA for personal or commercial consumption they would be well advised to check out the WA Quarantine website or ring for advice before ordering their truffles.

In the meantime, Members of the TPWA Executive have applied to have T. magnatum and T. borchii included on the WA Organism List. Given these species are allowed into the other States it is expected that the updating of the list will be a minor formality that should be executed presently.

Peter Stahle
President ATGA

RIRDC Truffle Pest & Disease Newsletter #2

Written by : Posted on September 7, 2016 : 1 Comment
The latest of Truffle Pest and Disease from RIRDC which may be a good read before the conference. It is their second e-Newsletter on the truffle pest & disease project.
Please follow link here for a complete read:



Farm Biosecurity newsletter September 2016

Written by : Posted on September 5, 2016 : Comments Off on Farm Biosecurity newsletter September 2016

FarmBiosecurity2Sept2016snapThe latest Farm Biosecurity newsletter from the Farm Biosecurity Program (which is a joint initiative of Animal Health Australia (AHA) and Plant Health Australia (PHA)) is online here now.

Of interest to Truffle Growers is the  final video in the Program’s ‘Biosecurity Essentials’ series. It’s called Biosecurity practice helps make production perfect
and it features friend of the ATGA Alison Saunders (our contact at RIRDC for many years)  and a Hilltops NSW premium quality walnut and chestnut producer.  Alison was a speaker at our 2013 Mittagong Conference and AGM.

The video provides a valuable insight into the type of activities you can do, every day, within the structure of your daily farm management routines to enhance biosecurity. If you’re into videos, remember the FarmBiosecurity YouTube Channel . It features lots of people with Akubras who know their stuff.

Biosecurity update No.6 from Plant Health Australia

Written by : Posted on August 25, 2016 : Comments Off on Biosecurity update No.6 from Plant Health Australia

TendrilssnapThe latest (Edition 6 – 19 August 2016) newsletter from Plant Health Australia is available online here.

This marks the release of the latest version of the National Plant Biosecurity Status Report  by Plant Health Australia (PHA), detailing the pests of concern to plant industries and the environment, as well as the entire system that works to combat them.   You’ll find the report here online, in small PDF chapters  or as a single large PDF here (9.5Mb) .


Farm Biosecurity Newsletter July 2016

Written by : Posted on July 13, 2016 : Comments Off on Farm Biosecurity Newsletter July 2016


Farm Biosecurity 
Newsletter   Friday 8 July
Which plant pest is the greatest risk to producers?
In a recent audit of around 300 exotic plant pests affecting growers overseas, the pest that came out on top with the greatest potential impact if it made it to Australia was Xylella fastidiosa (pronounced Zylella).
That’s partly because over 200 types of plants are known to be susceptible to infection by Xylella, and every year tests show it is capable of infecting more plant species. It’s also because a variety of insects that feed on plants are all thought to be able to spread the pathogen. More

Biosecurity – it’s time for everyone to act!
A new approach to managing biosecurity is underway with new biosecurity acts for NSW and Queensland, placing greater responsibility on producers and reducing government regulation.

Queensland implemented its Biosecurity Act 2014 on 1 July, and NSW is expected to officially implement its new legislation next year.
Queensland’s Chief Veterinary Officer Alison Crook explained what the changes mean to producers. More

Pest identification in Grassroots Agronomy classes

Women with little or no agricultural background who move into farm businesses often bring welcome new skills, but consultant Louise Flohr says many are keen to be more involved with their farming systems.
For the past three years, Ms Flohr, from Agrilink Agricultural Consultants, has been running workshops in South Australia to develop newcomers’ knowledge and practical skills. More

New approach to Johne’s disease in cattle has begun

The new, national approach to Johne’s disease (JD) officially commenced on 1 July and all Australian cattle producers are encouraged to become familiar with the changes.
The new approach, endorsed by the cattle industry and Australian governments, is guided by the BJD Framework and focuses on managing on-farm biosecurity risks rather than controlling disease through regulation, said Animal Health Australia’s (AHA) Executive Manager of Biosecurity Services, Duncan Rowland. More

Congratulations to our winners

Congratulations to the winners of our recent ‘Subscribe and Win’ competition:
Tony from South Australia
Helen from Western Australia
Kathy from Queensland
Melissa from Victoria
Their $100 RM Williams gift vouchers are on the way.
Hope you continue to enjoy reading our newsletter.
In other news
Detection of Asian honey bees in Townsville
Asian honey bees with varroa mites were found in a container stand in a storage yard at the Port of Townsville in Queensland on 27 June. More
Which disinfectants work against Fusarium fungus?
A comparison of disinfectants is shedding light on their effectiveness in killing the fungal spores that cause Panama disease, when used in wash-down facilities, footbaths and dips. More
Please keep reporting unusual ahpids
Please keep reporting any unusual aphids on growing grain crops to 1800 084 881. We need the data for AusPestCheck to map how the pest is spreading. See map
Join AHA on social media
AHA now has a social media presence! We’re now active across FacebookTwitter andLinkedIn.
Media snapshot
Spice wars: winning the battle against ginger disease
In a victory for on farm biosecurity, Australia’s biggest ginger growing family, has returned to fertile fields that disease forced it to abandon five years ago. More
Successful breeding program the first step to Russian wheat aphid-resistant wheat
Murdoch University researchers have bred plant resistance to five of the eight known biotypes of Russian wheat aphid. More
Biosecurity – where do you fit in?
The term biosecurity is becoming more familiar to many people. The practice of biosecurity includes the steps we should all take to manage the negative impact of pests, diseases, weeds, and contaminants entering, establishing, or spreading.More
Forward to a friend
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Koolies Nose Knows – training your dog

Written by : Posted on July 11, 2016 : Comments Off on Koolies Nose Knows – training your dog

DSC_0125Where to start?

A little over 12 months ago my dog Silhouette Luca (an Australian Koolie) and I joined a K9 Nose Works class. Luca had developed reactiveness to some other dog breeds and could be quite anxious thanks to a scare he got from a huge thunderstorm. Nose Works gave us the opportunity to work alone with no other dogs.

I remember sitting in our first class watching K9 nose Works trainer Angela’s, presentations and when she asked if any one has any questions I popped up saying how does one find truffles? Yep the class all laughed!

Luca loved this sniffy game and with each class his confidence grew and he was slow and very methodical, most of the other Koolies were fast and furious.

We moved on from scenting Birch to Anise and finally in level 3 class we added Clove oil. We attended a ‘scent trial’ with ‘Scent Games Australia’ and it was a big experience for him and I.

It was about this time my truffle dream popped back into my head and I went off and did a seminar on growing Hazelnuts and Oak trees for truffle production with the Noel Fitzpatrick and Colin Carter. The dream was ignited again. I also went on a ‘Truffle Tour’ where I took Kyra (as Luca is ‘entire‘ that counted him out) where we visited a lovely winery or 3, watched a Lagotto Romagnolo and its handler demonstrate how his dog finds truffle (they pre buried a truffle into the ground an hour or so before we all arrived for this demonstration) and then had a 3 course meal with truffles, of course.

I did lots of reading and bought some ‘fake’ truffle product from France called Canitruff as the truffle dogs in Europe seemed to be trained on this. It was also coming into Truffle season and I contacted many truffle growers seeking a truffle for me and some for my dog (yep all but one thought I was nuts after they asked what breed of dog I had and were was my truffière?).

The truffle has a very short shelf life and the season is June to August, roughly, in Australia. My truffle arrived and I feed some mates (this has been a yearly ritual for me for a decade).

I sliced up some truffle and started to introduce it to Luca, back to basics I learned in K9 Nose Works! Over time Luca would find the scent over the yard, in trees, inside in all the places I hid it.

Stepping up our training I contacted our Koolie breeder (thanks to Silhouette) and asked if they had any dirt I could play in and spent many weekends driving four hours from home and scenting all over the place with truffle scent.

Through a friend I managed to make contact with a grower an hour away from Canberra. They were more than happy for me to come up and they would do a mock up truffle hunt in the orchard.

You need to understand a couple of huge barriers at this point.
1) Growers do not let people and dogs onto their farms for a multitude of reasons. Most have dogs, there’s the fear of introducing biological contaminants and, it’s a fledgling industry covered in secrecy (tighter than the FBI).
2) It looked like Lagotto Romagnolo were the ‘dog’ of choice.
3) Did I tell you when you say you have a Koolie (they all said “what is that?”) and when I add I don’t own a farm and want to test my training…. they think you’re nuts!
4) Farmers with truffle dogs help other farmers without dogs!

Many emails later and lengthy conversations, plus my friend’s hard work (unknown to me) in the background I get an email offering me and the dogs access to their Southern Tablelands truffière at Bredbo, NSW.

The 2nd of July sees Luca and Kyra compete in the first Victorian K9 Nose Works Odour Recognition Trials (ORTs). I, yes I, failed them! My nerves got to me and we didn’t pass as I called it too early with both dogs – I was shattered with myself.

3rd July we left for Canberra with doubt all in my head after I so messed up the ORTrials!

On the 4th July (AKA Koolie Independence Day) we drive 1.5 hours from Canberra to the truffière. Minus 1.5 degrees at 10.30am, heavy fog and ice everywhere, but no rain. I meet the owners, we chat and were offered coffee and headed to truffière with coffee and dogs in hand.

There was no guarantee there would be any ready truffles as the Lagotto’s had been over it the day before.

I was asked what dog did I wish to start with and said Luca. Coffee still in hand and Luca’s leash in the other off we go. (Silhouette Kyra is also on the scent however, not to the level of Luca).

There are a variety of trees 25+ in long rows (I think) and I don’t know how many rows all up. The first row Luca picks up a scent and heads to the tree. I am told ‘yep we pulled one out of their yesterday’. He does this another 3 times (by this time truffier Barbara can see he has sound ability) 4-5 rows in he is on scent again. This time Barb didn’t say ‘oh we pulled one out of there yesterday’, Barb coached me ‘let him smell, there is something there see him sniffing’ Luca looks at me (his signal to me he has found the scent) and I know he has something!

Barb said, ‘Ok time to dig, don’t move him away’ as Luca starts to lightly paw the ground. Both humans put human noses to ground to smell for the truffle and start to move the loose top covering of soil, Luca drops onto his belly and shoves his nose through 4 digging hands and Barb says ‘dig where his nose is’ and she lets me dig.

At the tip of Luca’s nose, I see what could be (remember I have only seen them cleaned up and ready to eat – not insitu) the very tip of a truffle, he had  shown us exactly where the truffle was growing.

Barb produces her speciality ‘digging up truffle tool’ and hands it to me saying this may be easier than your fingers, I take the dessert spoon (yep a dessert spoon) from her and scratch ever so gently around the edge, scared as hell I may damage the truffle. I lay it down and resume using my fingers until a huge truffle is exposed and soon in my hands,
free from the ground.

It’s at this point I forget everything in the exhilaration of what has happened! Thankfully Barb brings me out of this and says ‘let him smell it and treat him’! This reward went on for some time and then Luca started licking my face in favour of chicken treats, Barb said ‘let him, he did this for you, you are his reward, he did this for you let him lick you all he likes’

kooliesnosetruffle1Luca found an 85gm (uncleaned weight) truffle and as far as I know made history as the first Australian Koolie in the world to do such.

Luca and I hope you enjoyed our adventures, and it also reinforces and proves the diversity of the Australian Koolie breed. Anything is possible!  Dream BIG

Follow our adventures and like us on Facebook ‘Koolies Nose’
Or contact me by email

Karyn Turnbull.

Karyn is an Associate Member of the ATGA (it costs just $200 a year to join) and she has said that she’s happy to help new growers who are just testing their maturing truffle paddocks to give her dogs more practice. Members will see from her story that there a lots of things that the ATGA do, which could have helped her learning process and taken away some of those ‘secrecy’ concerns.


Patchy production in your truffière? Here’s some science to help (video)

Written by : Posted on June 8, 2016 : No Comments

The long title of the lecture that this video records is ‘New findings on the life cycle of black truffle and their relevance in the management of plantations’. And if you felt you were missing the research behind the earlier videos on the site, if you listen carefully to  Dr. Xavier Parladé  from the IRTA  you’ll get  the overview of the current science that Micofora’s Marcos Morcillo calls ‘disruptive’. It covers DNA, mating types, mycelium testing as an indicator of truffle growth, what research is next,  and a short summary of how to apply the current research in practice.


Dr. Parladé has shared this presentation with the Association members and the following is one of the slides from his summary. Of the management practices suggested to recover infertile patches in the truffière, only the first two are viable, although there have been some successful Italian experiments in creating trees with one mating type. Adding truffle back to the paddock comes with that proviso ‘Not low quality sporocarps*!’
Returning less than perfect truffle spores back to the soil will only perpetuate the problems of  large, misshapen, low quality truffle.    Slides Torre Marimon December 2015.pdf

*That’s the term for the fruiting body, the truffle.

Fred Harden