WildFlowers Australia (WFA) will be hosting the 10th Australian Wildflowers Conference and Trade Exhibition in Echuca-Moama on 18-19 August 2023. The event will bring together industry representatives from around the country and internationally to discuss the challenges and opportunities facing the industry.
“It has been nearly 10 years since the last national conference and much has happened in that time,” said Craig Scott of East Coast Wildflowers, organising committee chair and WFA board member. “We’ve had extremely challenging growing conditions ranging from drought and fire to the recent floods. We have had growers leaving the industry, but we’re also seeing a wave of enthusiastic new growers. And while Covid-19 caused significant turbulence in the broader cut flower industry, it also raised awareness and support for locally grown natives and their South African cousins.”
The one-day conference will have speakers from around Australia addressing topics ranging from logistics and marketing issues to exciting new Australian and South African flowers for the market. Recent research developments to be discussed include understanding the impact of flooding on plant nutrition in soils and substrates and using our knowledge of microbiology to breed better soils to promote better crop growth.
An afternoon workshop will focus on information needed by new growers to get their farms up and running and highlight pitfalls to avoid. Established growers will learn the latest about pest and disease management in their crops.
Another highlight will be the conference dinner where renowned horticulturalist and plant breeder, Angus Stewart, will speak about Australian native plants for the cut flower market, covering past, present and future opportunities.
“We’ve worked hard to design a programme that caters to both established and new growers and it is good to see the resulting breadth of engagement, “ said Bettina Gollnow, conference manager. “We’re particularly excited about including young growers through our Student Scholarship programme given one of our main aims is to promote the growth of our industry.”
The Australian wildflower industry, which grows and markets flowers and foliages native to Australia and South Africa, for the floristry industry, is an important sector of the Australian flower industry. Wildflowers represent most of Australia’s flower exports to key markets including Japan, the EU and North America. Consumers around the world are attracted to wildflowers for their striking textures and sculptural forms, generally long vase life and more sustainable production practices.