Home' The Loxton News : October 9th 2014 Contents The Loxton News, Thursday, October 9, 2014 – 11
MDBA total stor-
age increased by 33
GL this week, with
the active storage
now 6462GL (77 per
cent per cent capac-
Reservoir, the storage volume decreased
25GL to 3646GL (95 per cent capacity).
Higher releases are being made from
Dartmouth in order to transfer water
to Lake Hume to meet downstream
demands in coming months. The release
is currently 6900ML/day with plans to
reduce to around 5000ML/day in the
In the Edward-Wakool system, flows
through the Edward and Gulpa offtakes
are steady at 1600ML/day and 350ML/
At Menindee Lakes, the storage vol-
ume has decreased 7GL to 314GL (18 per
cent capacity). The vast majority of this
decrease in storage was due to evapora-
tion, as the average release only totalled
125ML/day at Weir 32.
At Wentworth Weir on the Murray,
the pool level is being held around 10cm
above FSL. This is aimed at assisting
irrigators within the weir influence to
continue to divert water while there are
low flows in the Lower Darling.
The release from Wentworth Weir is
6300ML/day, and forecast to increase
to around 7500ML/day over the coming
At Lake Victoria, the storage volume
decreased 4GL to 666GL (98 per cent
capacity). The flow to South Australia
is currently around 7350ML/day. This
incorporates entitlement flows, environ-
mental water traded from the Goulburn
River, and environmental water being
used to test the new works on the Chowilla
At the Lower Lakes, the five-day aver-
age water level in Lake Alexandrina is
0.72m AHD and releases out the barrages
are targeting 2000ML/day.
Berri 230EC units, Morgan 250,
Mannum 300, Milang 720.
Executive officer honoured
The executive officer of Riverland Wine, Chris
Byrne, master of ceremonies at this year’s Riverland
Wine Show gala dinner, held on September 17, nearly
fell off his chair when it was announced he was
this year’s recipient of the 2014 JMA Engineering
Riverland Wine Award.
Chris has been a tireless ambassador for the
Riverland for many years. His drive and passion rep-
resenting Riverland winemakers and grape growers’
interests at regional, state and national levels has
been typical of his ‘quiet achiever’ approach.
Chris has been a unifying force in the regional wine
industry; realising that a strong, unified wine industry
offers the best hope for all players for the future.
He was pivotal in unifying the local grower and
winemaker bodies into a single group now referred to
as Riverland Wine, which now has a level of strategic
professionalism that is widely known and respected
in the industry.
The Riverland Wine Show gala dinner is one of the
highlight events of the year for the region’s winemak-
ers, viticulturists and growers.
It is an opportunity to sample the best wines the
Riverland produces and spend a night with industry
colleagues and friends.
The major award of the night is the JMA Engineering
Riverland Wine Award.
This award is judged by past recipients of the sil-
verware, who unanimously supported the winner of
this year’s award.
The recipient must have contributed to the
Riverland wine industry well beyond normal expecta-
tions and their actions lead to lasting change.
There is no question that Chris not only met, but
surpassed the criteria.
Under Chris’s leadership the Riverland wine indus-
try has taken its rightful place, as producer of more
than 20 per cent of the national grape crop.
At the forefront of Australian wine industry rep-
resentative organisations, Riverland Wine, the joint
winemaker and grape grower organisation, is now
acknowledged as the best led and funded organisa-
tion, with high credibility and effectiveness.
“There is no avoiding the fact that like most of the
industry, the Riverland region faces very tough times
at present,” said Riverland Wine chairman Brian
“While there are challenges for all involved in the
wine industry across the nation, Chris Byrne is opti-
mistic about the long-term future for the Riverland,
and continues to dedicate his drive and passion to
achieve the future that he believes this region so
“There is no doubt that with a servant like Chris at
the helm, the region is in the best possible hands dur-
ing such times. As the saying goes, adversity does not
build character. It reveals it.”
Hard To Kill Weeds Project update
As growers may be aware the Riverland Viticulture
Technical Group (RVTG) has been working on a Hard
To Kill Weeds Project focusing on gazanias.
The original gazania trial site had some issues arise
prior to spraying. For unknown reasons the weeds
started showing signs of severe stress, making them
unreceptive to the chemical applications.
This site was abandoned and a new site at Century
Orchards was set-up and pegged out ready for the
trial to commence.
Unfortunately the second site was hit hard with five
consecutive frosts and temperatures as low as -5C,
only days before spraying was due to commence.
The majority of gazanias dropped their flowers (or
flower petals) and showed signs of severe stress.
This outlines the climatic and agronomic issues
that growers have controlling these weeds.
The RVTG feel it would be irresponsible to run a
herbicide trial on stressed weeds with industry funds
– the outcome would be meaningless.
Other suitable sites for this trial are being sought
for the trial to continue.
The herbicide trial needs to start prior to the sum-
mer heat, otherwise it cannot start again until pos-
sibly July 2015.
If any grower knows of a site, measuring approxi-
mately 20m to 30m square, with good gazania dis-
tribution and moderate to high weed density, please
contact Matt Ward (0429 041 645) or Riverland Wine
(8584 6399) as soon as possible.
Now is the time...
Grape growers throughout the region are reporting
abnormal growth on young shoots.
In most cases it has been caused by early damage
Earwigs are usually a beneficial insect, and should
be left well alone.
When earwigs reach epidemic proportions, as they
have in many cases this season, some control may be
Growers should check with their grape purchaser
prior to applying controls, to ensure that an accept-
able option is used.
In most instances bait applied around the base of
the vine can be adequate to control numbers until
shoots grow to over 100mm long.
At that stage earwigs are not a problem.
As mentioned in the CropWatch message
(September 26), conditions were marginal for downy
mildew infection across the region, but given the huge
variability in rainfall and soil wetness, growers would
do well to monitor for the appearance of any oil spots
from a primary infection.
It is possible that an infection may have devel-
oped in some vineyards if conditions were suitable.
If oil spots do appear, they are likely to do so in the
first few days of October.
If downy mildew is found, growers would do well
to discuss options with their grape purchaser or
Downy mildew infections early in the season can be
particularly damaging and lead to later crop loss.
A careful approach to early disease eradication is
the best option.
week ending Wednesday, October 1
Vintage falls short of 2013 crush
The 2014 grape harvest
was significantly down on
last year’s, according to the
of Australia 2014 Vintage
Report, which was released
The report gives the clearest out-
look to date, while identifying a
number of challenges.
The crush estimate of 1.70 million
tonnes was 136,000 tonnes less than
Federation chief executive officer
Paul Evans said any positive impact
on the demand-supply imbalance
would be offset by increased inven-
tory levels and large vintages in the
“This year’s vintage is down
slightly on the high of 2013, which
helps, but we are still not seeing
the structural adjustment required
to deliver a transformational shift in
favour of increased industry profit-
ability,” he said.
“We must take immediate action
with Government to grow demand
for our wine and accelerate the cor-
rection to the supply base.
“Otherwise, we will continue to
see downward pressure on prices
around an already low base, with
The Australian Grape and Wine
Authority’s latest figures showing
an average grape purchase price of
$441 per tonne, down 12 per cent
Mr Evans said the need for
Government to supplement indus-
try resources and invest $25 mil-
lion over four years in the inter-
national promotion and marketing
of Australian wine was “clear and
“This, along with changes to
competition law in the domestic
retail market and a fairer wine tax
system that doesn’t support com-
petitor countries like New Zealand,
are necessary steps in the right
direction,” he said.
The 2014 vintage report found
red crush is estimated at 884,000
tonnes, down 5 per cent on last
year, with shiraz, cabernet sauvi-
gnon and merlot the top three red
Meanwhile, chardonnay domi-
nates the white crush, making up
44 per cent, despite a decrease of
46,521 tonnes in 2013.
Local agribusiness are being
urged to take part in field
trials in the Mallee region
The Grains Research and
Development Corporation (GRDC)
is proposing to fund six new proj-
ects in 2015, which will involve
field trials and demonstrations
based around agronomic manage-
Issues such as soil health, crop
nutrition, crop rotations and the
identification and management
of weeds, pests and diseases are
expected to be addressed.
GRDC manager regional grower
services south Andrew Rice said
that outside GRDC’s existing
investment processes, there remains
a need to address a range of local
cropping constraints through small
scale trials and for the targeted
extension of results from these tri-
“A key feature of these projects
will be the extension of project
outcomes and outputs through a
locally-based network which will
work in close collaboration with
the GRDC, particularly the south-
ern regional panel and the regional
cropping solutions networks, which
support the panel,” Mr Rice said.
The projects will be part of the
GRDC’s ongoing southern region
agribusiness trial and extension
networks initiative, which is aimed
at addressing locally important
agronomic issues through collabo-
ration between growers, advisers,
agribusiness and researchers.
SHOW WINNING STEER: Fisher Bros’ Clive Fisher (left), Naz Tassone, from Wintersun
Butchery in Mildura, and Landmark Loxton manager ‘Curly’ Golding with the 2014 Loxton Show
Grand Champion Steer. Mr Tassone bought the steer at market on Monday for a price of $1200.
A full listing of the section results will be printed in a coming edition of The Loxton News.
Frost management workshop
Local grain farmers, and
agronomists attended a
frost management technical
workshop in Loxton
The one-day workshop, which
was held at the Loxton Hotel,
was conducted by the Grains
Research and Development
The aim of the workshop
was to help locals better iden-
tify frost, frost mechanisms
and develop frost management
strategies following the recent
frost events throughout South
Topics included varietal toler-
ance, cutting frost damage crops
for hay and opportunities with
Agrilink consultant Jeff Braun
gave a talk on understanding the
risks of early sowing, along with
frost in pulses and oil seeds.
Meanwhile, technical officer
at the University of Adelaide
talked about varieties for the
A panel discussion was also
included at the end of the work-
shop with a range of consultants
and support officers, where cost
analysis, weed management and
resilience were discussed.
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