Hon Ken Baston MLC

Hon Ken Baston MLC

Former Minister for Agriculture and Food; Fisheries

    Research to protect valuable truffle industry

    22/06/2015 8:40 AM
     
    • Helping increase productivity and profitability of truffle industry
    • Truffles are highly regarded 'gourmet mushrooms'
    • Truffle Kerfuffle in Manjimup from June 26-28

    Western Australia's growing truffle industry is expected to benefit from a new research project to protect valuable truffles and their host trees from pests and diseases.

     

    Agriculture and Food Minister Ken Baston said truffle production was expected to increase significantly over the next 10 years as younger orchards entered the productive phase.

     

    "This is an exciting and emerging industry for Western Australia because truffles have really captured the imagination of chefs and consumers," Mr Baston said.

     

    WA's emerging truffle industry will be in this spotlight this week, with Truffle Kerfuffle running from June 26 to 28 in Manjimup.

     

    "Now in its fifth year, this is a fantastic community-driven event which celebrates the outstanding local food grown and produced in the Southern Forests region, with a focus on the black truffle," the Minister said.

     

    The State Government is co-funding research with the Rural Industries Research and Development Corporation, the Australian truffle industry and Australian National University.

     

    "Improving knowledge on the nature and significance of pests and diseases through this project will be vital for the industry," Mr Baston said.

     

    The research work is being led by the Department of Agriculture and Food, Western Australia.

     

    "Experienced entomology and truffle industry development staff from the department will work with industry to develop a database of growers and catalogue the pests, weeds and diseases that affect production," the Minister said.

     

    "The improved understanding and management of pests in orchards will contribute to improved orchard profitability and reliability of this high value product, and provide increased opportunities in premium export markets."

     

    The information will be used to develop information on best practice management of pests, weeds and diseases that will contribute to increased productivity and profitability. Regular monitoring will be undertaken at six truffle orchards in WA and, initially, two interstate to look at seasonality of key pests and the damage they cause.

     

    Fact File

    • The truffle is a highly regarded 'gourmet mushroom'.  It is the fruiting body of fungi that grow on the roots of certain host trees, especially hazelnuts and oaks
    • Trees are inoculated with truffle spores in a nursery before planting, and harvesting begins four to six years later.  Specially trained dogs are used to locate the truffles which are found just below the soil surface
    • For more information, visit http://www.agric.wa.gov.au

    Minister's office - 6552 5400