Home' The Loxton News : November 19th 2014 Contents 8 – The Loxton News, Wednesday, November 19, 2014
MDBA total stor-
age fell by 120GL
this week, with the
active storage now
5927GL (70 per cent
Reservoir, the stor-
age volume has decreased by 25GL to
3484GL (90 per cent capacity). The release,
measured at Colemans, was reduced to
3000ML/day early in the week for works
in the Mitta Mitta reach.Releases are
expected to begin increasing to 7000ML/
day on the weekend.
At Hume Reservoir, the storage vol-
ume fell 82GL to 2065GL (69 per cent
capacity) with releases averaging over
At Torrumbarry Weir, diversions to
the National Channel have increased to
2800ML/day this week. The flow down-
stream of Torrumbarry is around 6600ML/
day. Downstream at Swan Hill, the flow
has eased this week to around 8400ML/
day and should continue to recede over the
On the lower Murrumbidgee River, the
flow at Balranald is steady at 1100ML/day.
Inflows from the Murrumbidgee River will
be above the normal end of system target
during the remainder of November and
December due to the delivery of IVT.
At Lock 8, the weir level will be pro-
gressively lowered by 40cm this week
to 40cm above full supply level (24.6m
AHD). At Lake Victoria, the storage vol-
ume decreased by 3GL to 572GL (84 per
At the Lower Lakes, the five-day aver-
age level for Lake Alexandrina increased
to 0.67m AHD. Flows into the Coorong
through the Barrages continue to target
flows of 2000ML/day.
Berri 240EC units, Morgan 270,
Mannum 340, Milang 790.
Was it such a good idea?
On January 25, 2010, the Riverland Winegrape
Growers Association (RWGA) published a discus-
sion paper entitled Riverland and Mallee – Primary
Producers Business Centre.
The paper presented a concept that envisaged
all primary producers across the region to coming
together to speak with a single voice. It noted that sev-
eral previous endeavours to form effective coalitions
for growers and farmers had not succeeded.
The region’s producers had survived the worst
drought across the basin in recorded history.
Commodity markets had been cruel. Many producers
were in despair.
The time seemed right for renewal; for the region’s
wealth generators to stop getting older and poorer
and pull together to re-establish priorities and pros-
perity for the whole community.
The paper remarked on one of the region’s prized
assets, the Loxton Research Centre and its surround-
ing farm of trial crops and how its resources were
being depleted as an outcome of the overall decline in
At that time, in January 2010, the RWGA offered
an opinion that there seemed an opportunity for all
irrigators and dryland farmers to unite, to form a
business centre to support each other, to strengthen
research, extension, education and training capabili-
ties; to lift productivity and efficiency and to provide
a range of basic services including administration,
financial and membership services.
The piece recognised that collectively, the produc-
ers had so much to offer but lacked the ability to
advocate effectively and develop new pathways to
The concept caught on. There was a slow build-up
of support from other groups and government agen-
In February, 2012, the then (Federal) Minister for
Regional Development, Simon Crean, came to the
region with an entourage of advisors. He sat down
with a few grapegrowers, a winemaker, a dried fruit
grower, a citrus grower, a grain farmer, a horticultural
consultant and a keen proponent of Riverland busi-
The assembled producers presented a compelling
argument to the minister that the region’s wealth
generators were poised to move to the next level of
The minister was encouraged and impressed. He
told the group that if the concept could be developed
and implemented in this region it could become a
template for regional development across the coun-
But that was all back in 2010 and 2012.
Since then State Government has announced great
plans for the redevelopment of the Loxton Research
Centre. Funding has been allocated as one of the out-
comes of the Murray-Darling Basin Plan, but there has
been very little interest and even less commitment
from the producer groups who it seems had and still
have so much to gain.
Perhaps it was not such a good idea?
Good grapes make great wine
Any good winemaker will tell you, the secret to
good wine is good vineyard practice and good grapes.
Barmera-based Ricca Terra Farms is quickly building
a reputation for growing super premium wine grapes
for some of Australia’s leading artisan winemakers.
Named the ABC Horticulturists and ASVO viticul-
turists of the year in 2013, the Ricca Terra Farms
winemakers have had a golden period over the past
couple of months.
Coonawarra winemaker Sue Bell has created a nero
d’Avola rosé from grapes grown by Ricca Terra Farms.
In two wine shows the Bellwether Nero d’Avola rosé
has won two gold medals and one trophy. According
to wine writer Huon Hooke, the Bellwether Nero
d’Avola rosé is one of the best Australian rosé wines
you can find!
Mel wins... again
Local winemaker Mel Kargas from Salena Estate
has had an amazing outing at the Sydney International
Wine Show with the nero d’avola and vermentino
grown by Ricca Terra Farms.
The 2013 Ink Series Nero d’Avola and 2013 Ink
Series Vermentino were both awarded Blue Gold
awards. The 2013 Ink Series Nero d’Avola was also
awarded a silver medal at the Adelaide Wine Show
and a gold medal at the Australian Alternative Variety
Wine Show recently in Mildura. Congratulations Ricca
Terra Farms and Mel Kargas.
Whistling Kite also scores
Loxton-based Whistling Kite also had success at the
Australian Alternative Variety Wine Show.
Their 2012 Biodynamic Montepulciano and 2014
Biodynamic Petit Manseng were both awarded bronze
medals and their 2013 Biodynamic Montepulciano
was awarded a gold medal as well as receiving the
trophy for Best Organic Wine. Congratulations to Tony
and Pam Barich.
New drummuster facility opened
The Riverland Resource Recovery Facility has
opened its doors and is set to receive eligible, clean,
empty agvet chemical containers under the drum-
The collection site, located on Hoskins Road in
Monash, run by Transpacific, is open Monday to
Friday 8am to 4pm, Saturday 8am to 12 noon, and
Sunday 12 noon to 4pm.
For deliveries of 100 drums or more, phone 8582
2601 to make an appointment.
All containers presented at the collection site must
meet the programs cleanliness standards. Containers
must be free of any chemical residue. Since 1999,
drumMuster has collected more than 24 million
drums across Australia. Once collected, the contain-
ers are shredded and transformed into practical items
such as plastic cable covers, wheelie bins, road signs
For further information about the drumMuster pro-
gram phone (02) 6230 4799 or visit the drumMuster
Farmers urged to submit transport issues
Primary Producers SA (PPSA) is seeking rural pro-
ducers who have transport issues which are costing
them more than they need to.
PPSA is working closely with Primary Industries
and Regions SA (PIRSA) and the Department of
Planning, Transport and Infrastructure (DPTI) to find
solutions to transport issues. Chairman of PPSA, Rob
Kerin, is urging rural producers to make the most of
this opportunity for reform.
“The two government departments have shown
real commitment to working with us on this project
a process has been designed which over the next
three months will examine all issues raised and,
where safe and practicable, work on how we can
implement changes,” he said.
Rural producers with issues can complete an online
survey at the website (ppsa.org.au/roadtransport-
survey). The survey is open for public comment until
Friday, November 21.
A hard copy of the survey is available on request by
phoning PPSA on 8297 0899.
week ending Wednesday, November 12
National demand for local citrus
by Stephanie Gropler
Over 20 tonnes of citrus
from Pyap was sent via
post around the country this
season, with thousands of
Australians snapping up the
local produce online.
Fresh Citrus Direct has been
supplying consumers directly with
oranges and mandarins for the past
five years and grower Tim Arnold
said the website was going from
strength to strength.
“There is definitely a crew of
people out there who appreciate
their food and how it is grown and
have something premium to what
they can get in the shops in both
freshness and taste,” he said.
“There is a really big difference
in the flavour of fresh orange ver-
sus an old orange.
“When someone gets a fresh
one, they think, ‘wow, this is
Mr Arnold said people from
South Australia, Victoria, Tasmania
and Queensland place their orders
online throughout the week, before
the product is picked on Sunday
and then packed and posted on the
“Orders arrive in Adelaide on
Tuesday or Wednesday,” he said.
“A lot of orders go to New South
Wales and they usually get that
Thursday and the fruit is only a
couple days off the tree.
“Even up to Townsville, it gets
up there on the Monday the fol-
lowing week at the latest, so it is
still good then.”
Mr Arnold said there were “a
couple hundred” regular buyers,
who purchase boxes of citrus
throughout the season.
“The website lets you communi-
cate better with people and teach
them more about their food and
what is happening to it,” he said.
Fresh Citrus Direct sell navels,
mandarins, lemons, grapefruit,
cara cara navels, tangelos and
blood oranges on their site and Mr
Arnold said their best selling fruit
was “somewhat surprising”.
“When the industry and every-
one is really moving towards man-
darins, we probably still sell more
oranges online than anything,” he
Mr Arnold said their roadside
stall was still popular with locals
and tourists, selling about 100kg
of both oranges and mandarins a
week when in season.
“Tourists that stop by the stall
can then go online and buy it
from home if they like what they
bought,” he said.
Mr Arnold said while the online
site was showing potential, it made
up just a small percentage of pro-
duction from their 150-acre prop-
“We produce about 1500 tonne
and pretty much all of it goes to
Venus Citrus,” he added.
Fresh Citrus Direct grower Tim Arnold with one of the 2000 boxes of
citrus, which were sent across Australia this season.
South Australian grain crop on track
This year’s harvest
is on track to be above
the long term average
for South Australia,
despite one of the
warmest and driest
springs on record.
and pasture report from
Primary Industries and
Regions SA (PIRSA)
estimates the grain crop
will produce 7.5 million
tonnes from four million
This latest estimate
comes as Viterra reported
a record-breaking start
to November, with six of
its sites setting new daily
Agriculture, Food and
Fisheries Minister Leon
Bignell said the crop esti-
mate represented a farm-
gate value of about $1.8
billion, along with an
export value of $2.2 bil-
“Even though we have
had a warm and dry spring,
the stored soil moisture
from the above average
rainfall earlier in the sea-
son has really benefited
this year’s crop,” he said.
“Farmers have used the
conditions earlier in the
season to their advan-
tage with timely seeding,
and we’re now beginning
to see the fruits of their
“ Despite the difficult
conditions, this year’s
crop production level is
nearly one million tonnes
above the 10-year average
of 6.6 million tonnes.”
The Minister said har-
vesting was well under
way, with Viterra reporting
about 2.5 million tonnes
of grain received.
“Last Wednesday was
Viterra’s biggest day so far,
with more than 250,000
tonnes of grain received in
more than 8500 truckloads
for the day,” he said.
“That many trucks lined
up bumper to bumper
would stretch for 160km.
“On average across
Viterra’s system last
Thursday, a truck was
being unloaded every five
Mr Bignell said Crystal
Brook, Lock, Nunjikompita
(east of Ceduna), Wudinna,
Two Wells and Thevenard
had set new daily receival
records since the start of
PIRSA’s grains industry
account manager Dave
Lewis said the Upper Eyre
Peninsula’s crop was the
best performer in the state
and going by the produc-
tion estimates, the harvest-
ed crops had performed
better than expected.
Mr Lewis said the dry
spring weather condition
impacted on pasture growth
across the state, particular-
ly in the South East.
“Pastures dried off quick-
ly during September and
October with the warm,
dry conditions and the area
of pasture cut for hay has
been well down in most
districts, with producers in
the South East selling off
excess stock,” he said.
“The grain yields for the
South East are down 14
per cent against the 10
year average and 30 per
cent down on the previous
harvest, reflecting the hard
season farmers are experi-
encing in that region.”
Mr Lewis said canola
yields have been highly
variable across the state,
with above average yields
on Upper Eyre Peninsula.
But, well below average
on Lower Eyre Peninsula,
Upper North, Yorke
Peninsula, Mallee districts
and the South East.
However, he said most
districts report good qual-
ity with well above aver-
age oil content.
“The lower canola yields
are due to a combination
of factors, including the
beet western yellow virus,
waterlogging, frost dam-
age and dry spring condi-
tions,” he said.
Loxton has received
256.8mm so far this year,
which is 12.8mm above
the average for the same
time of year.
Local farmers are being urged
to have their say on the the
Member for Barker Tony Pasin
said the Australian Government
agricultural policy was focused on
increasing returns at the farm gate.
“If you want to help shape
Australia’s agriculture policy agen-
da, then I encourage you to make a
submission against the Green Paper,”
Submissions are due by 5pm EST,
on Friday, December 12. To find our
more, visit the website (agricultural-
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