Traceability Research

Traceability research and development is designed to build value across the agricultural supply chain.

Victorian Government investment in research recognises the importance of traceability in advancing Victoria’s food export growth while supporting biosecurity and food safety measures that protect the productivity of the industry.

Our researchers are working on practical solutions and technologies to help producers overcome traceability challenges. This includes technologies to help maximise farm productivity, and to adapt to changing international export requirements while meeting changing consumer expectations.

Agriculture Victoria coordinates research projects in collaboration with industry bodies, universities, researchers and producers, to trial and assess systems and technology and deliver evidence-based information to stakeholders.

The Victorian Government has invested in these traceability programs:

  • Food to Market Grant Fund - $3.1 million 2021 – 2023
  • Traceability Fund - $11.7 million 2021 – 2023

For more information about Agriculture Victoria’s traceability research email

Hear from Kieran Murphy at Agriculture Victoria explaining the research work that is helping to design a traceability system for orchards and apiaries to store data, meet standards and share information.

Kieran Murphy

We've just started a new research program with the Australian Research Data Commons and Agriculture Victoria. We're looking at implementing GS1 traceability standards to define orchard chemical use and bee hive movements and associated sharing of information between those two industries.

We've developed the mobile application and that is a way of collecting information within an orchard setting so, we’re not looking at replicating existing systems,

We're looking at complementing existing systems, basically using a common standard to share that information.

So the project really will focus on those user permissions and security roles and we know that within traceability systems, that's a really important feature of how information is shared.

For the Bee to Tree project, we're really actually are trying to measure the chemical use in orchards and what impact that may have on Apiaries with their bees in that orchard.

So actually, working with orchardists on ways of actually inputting that spray information in an orchard and how that's recorded has various mechanisms for doing that existing, how they do it, whether it manual or through spray diaries, digital spray diaries.

If you'd like to know more about this research or other activities that we've got going on in traceability in Agriculture Victoria, just get along to the agriculture website.

Start your Traceability journey.

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Table Grape traceability pilot

Agriculture Victoria partnered with the Australian Table Grapes Association to enhance the implementation of traceability systems in the table grape industry.

The project developed a complete traceability system for a table grape producer and exporter with multiple products and export supply chains to 12 countries. Research findings have broader application across the industry and the system developed has the potential for adoption by table grape producers.

The pilot project also produced a Traceability Cost Benefit Calculator, a free tool for producers who are considering implementing a traceability system.

Find more information in the Table Grapes Traceability Pilot Final Report.

Cherries traceability pilot
Agriculture Victoria partnered with Cherry Growers Australia to develop a pilot traceability system for a cherry producer and exporter. Technology developed in the pilot has broader application across the cherry industry. GS1 standards are incorporated and GS1 Digital Link technology has been used for supply chain tracking and customer engagement. The Cherries Traceability Pilot Final Report is now available.

Smart trackers and fresh cherry exports
Agriculture Victoria partnered with Cherry Growers Australia to determine the benefits of cool chain monitoring along cherry export supply chains to Asia. Research measured both sea and air-freight temperatures using data loggers and sensor technology from a variety of providers. It was found that all standard devices include location, temperature and light sensors. The devices provide access to real-time data that can quickly be analysed via smart phones, tablets, and desktops. Read the report – Using smart trackers to monitor fresh cherry exports

Sensor technologies and sugar levels in cherries
Agriculture Victoria tested a new portable handheld infrared meter that non-destructively measures sugar levels in fresh cherries. Comparisons were made with a refractometer that requires destruction of the fruit to obtain a juice sample. Laboratory results showed that the infrared was reasonably accurate and has the potential to replace a refractometer. Read the report – New sensor technologies: measuring sugar levels in cherries.

Export cherry quality
Agriculture Victoria assessed cherry quality among several retail outlets in Saigon by randomly purchasing one or two punnets of Australian grown cherries and conducted quality assessments to provide a snapshot of the condition of fresh cherries at the point of retail sale. Read the report – Retail market assessment in Vietnam.

Cherry cool chain
The cool chain plays an important role in preserving the quality, freshness and visual appearance of cherries in Vietnam. A ‘snapshot’ on the eating quality of Australian cherries shows them to be firmer, sweeter, and tastier than those from other competing export countries. Read the report – Impact of irradiation treatment on cherry quality in Vietnam.

Citrus traceability

Agriculture Victoria partnered with Citrus Australia, on a project to enhance traceability for the citrus industry. The project included the application of GS1 standards, labelling and supply chain tracking for producer-to-consumer traceability. A national crop mapping platform was created and isotope authenticating testing was undertaken. Read the Citrus Traceability Project Final Report.

Apple and pear identification and tracking

Agriculture Victoria partnered with Fruit Growers Victoria and apple and pear producers to design and test a harvest traceability application programming interface (API) for the apple and pear industry. The API architecture supports the exchange of harvest data and information by demonstrating, evaluating and integrating with third party systems. Read theTechnology review for traceability of apple and pear fruit production supply chain Final Report.

Orchard Chemical Use and Beehive Movement

Agriculture Victoria partnered with Australian Research Data Commons to explore how GS1 data standards for orchards can be applied to apiaries. With an aim to develop information models for data storage and exchange the research will define the standards between orchard and apiary systems that enable data sharing. In addition, a pollination traceability solution will be developed that promotes transparency in the supply chain and has the potential to aid national pest and disease traceability in the event of an outbreak. The design solution will use micro-services-based cloud infrastructure to ensure scalability, cost-effectiveness, and industry readiness. Final report due 31 May 2025.

Serviced Supply Chain systems for fruit quality

Agriculture Victoria is partnering with Hort Innovation, Department of Agriculture and Fisheries Queensland (DAFQ), Summerfruit Australia Limited and AUSVEG in collaboration with major growers and exporters.

Research uses monitoring systems to gather information on fruit quality changes, shelf-life and in-transit cold disinfestation outcomes. Data modelling has been used to develop prediction tools, monitoring technologies and systems. The aim is to provide exporters with monitoring and prediction technologies to maximise produce quality during sea freight export. Take a look at the associated Decision Aid Tools (DATs).

Anti Microbial Resistance Traceability in Horticulture

Agriculture Victoria is partnering with La Trobe University to address the gap in pre-farm gate surveillance and tracing Anti Microbial Resistance (AMR) in commensal, food safety and other pathogenic bacteria occurring in horticulture.

The project will establish benchmarks of AMR for selected horticulture enterprises and production/ supply settings and develop a reference catalogue of food safety bacteria and other bacteria with AMR.

A quality assured molecular diagnostic capability to detect AMR for foodborne bacteria isolated from produce will also be developed. Plus, a proof-of-concept laboratory and in-field, point-of-care detection method for AMR directly from produce.

Traceability and fruit quality sensing in machine harvesters

Agriculture Victoria is partnering with Rubens Technologies, REVO Piuma Fruit Harvesting and Pruning Platform and Monash University on research to measure fruit quality at point of picking in the orchard. They have been field testing the accuracy of sensors on a harvesting platform and equipped a sensorised harvesting platform with a robotic arm to automatically pick, measure and convey fruit to a field bin. In addition, a bin scanner will be developed for the sensorised harvesting platform and on a fruit grader to capture and track fruit quality. Further testing with the robotic arm will happen during the November to March 2024 harvest in a diverse range of orchard systems.

Traceability foundations for orchard data

Agriculture Victoria is partnering with GS1, Spatial Vision and Pact Group to develop a traceability framework for orchard data exchange. The research integrates GS1 standards including Global Location Numbers, EPCIS and Core Business Vocabulary and, will establish a model for orchard automation utilising precision location services.

Orchard production data will be connected with a third-party system at selected points in the supply chain. Guidelines that support data exchange will also be developed including platform harvesting and fruit grading technologies.

Providing secure access to information about the produce, including growing conditions, eco-credentials, spray treatments and water applications. Research project is expected to be completed by 30 June 2024.

Page last updated: 01 May 2024