Strawberry Springs wins National Biosecurity Award

6 March 2019

Last night, Yarra Valley strawberry grower, Luciano Corallo, from Strawberry Springs in Millgrove, was the recipient of the National Farm Biosecurity Producer of the Year Award, presented at the 2019 Australian Biosecurity Awards in Canberra.

Strawberry Springs was nominated for the award by the Port Phillip & Westernport CMA, with the support of local partners, for the proactive steps they’ve taken to ensure the farm is at the forefront of farm management best practice, quality assurance, and biosecurity protocols.

Luciano has been an industry leader, proactively undertaking numerous actions to ensure traceability throughout his entire farm, including:

  • Adhering to strict quality assurance protocols to ensure market access is maintained, including following strict food safety hygiene practices and leading further improvements to industry standards after the strawberry contamination issues in 2018
  • Only allowing designated farm vehicles to be used in production areas and requiring all site visitors reporting to the office upon arrival
  • Fitting low traction tyres to on-farm vehicles to minimise soil disruption and reduce the transfer of weeds and diseases around the property
  • Hosting biosecurity planning workshops with the strawberry industry and demonstrating good biosecurity practices through on-farm trials
  • Leading the early adoption of biosecurity protocols and awareness, particularly the Queensland Fruit Fly (QFF) awareness program in the Yarra Valley, including hosting state of the art, remotely accessed, camera-based fruit fly traps as part of a sentinel detection network for the region
  • Maintaining records for all auditable aspects of the business to demonstrate compliance and the high economic, environmental and social returns that come from adopting a preventative approach.

Luciano also represents growers in a leadership capacity as a committee member of the Victorian Strawberry Growers Association and as one of two Victorian representatives on the board of the peak industry body, Strawberries Australia.

In addition to his biosecurity initiatives, Luciano is an early adopter of best practice farm management, with 100 per cent groundcover maintained all year round on headlands and buffers, grassed swales for drainage and crop rotation.

The farm adjoins the Yarra River and Luciano also regularly collaborates with Melbourne Water to undertake revegetation of the river banks and remove willows, blackberries and other priority weeds.

PPWCMA’s Regional Agriculture and Landcare Facilitator, Karen Thomas, said Luciano was a great example to others who want to be at the forefront of biosecurity best practice.

“Luciano’s ongoing leadership and exceptional standards are continually demonstrated by his active and vocal role, not only in the strawberry industry, but in the Yarra Ranges community and the entire Port Phillip and Western Port region. Congratulations to Luciano and Strawberry Springs on this outstanding award.”