Home' The Loxton News : November 26th 2014 Contents 12 -- The Loxton News, Wednesday, November 26, 2014
MDBA total stor-
age fell by 95GL
this week, with the
active storage now
5845GL (69 per
cent capacity). This
is around 800GL
below the long-
term average active storage volume for
At Dartmouth Reservoir, the stor-
age volume has decreased by 26GL to
3458GL (90 per cent capacity).
At Hume Reservoir, the storage vol-
ume fell 57GL to 2008GL (67 per cent
capacity) with releases reducing to
around 11,800ML/day due to reduced
At Lock 9, the weir level is being low-
ered by 10cm to 15cm above full supply
level (27.4m AHD), while the level at
Lock 8 is being lowered to 40cm above
full supply level (24.6m AHD) during
At Lake Victoria, the storage volume
increased by 1GL to 573GL (85 per
cent capacity). The volume will decrease
in the coming weeks with the flow
to South Australia continuing to target
10,000ML/day in the coming week.
At the Lower Lakes, the five-day aver-
age level for Lake Alexandrina increased
1cm to 0.68m AHD. Flows into the
Coorong through the Barrages averaged
Berri 220EC units, Morgan 290,
Mannum 360, Milang 790.
Not so long ago, it was not uncommon for growers
and winemakers to express frustration at the chal-
lenge of high exchange rates and relatively few free
trade agreements (FTAs).
These circumstances were real impediments to
our competitiveness in international markets. That
landscape is slowly changing.
The exchange rate continues to move slowly into
more favourable territory. With the signing of the
Chinese FTA last week, the region’s international
competitiveness has had a real boost.
Minister Andrew Robb and his team, including our
own local member Tony Pasin, have done great work
The FTA with China, added to those signed ear-
lier this year with South Korea and Japan, give real
encouragement to those with the unenviable chal-
lenge of selling and exporting millions upon millions
more litres of wine.
This column has often remarked that there is no
single silver bullet that will resolve the wine indus-
Winemakers Federation chief Paul Evans said the
same thing earlier this week when commenting about
the FTA with China.
“These announcements are timely, but there’s no
silver bullet; there’s going to be a lot of heavy lifting
by industry and in partnership with government,”
With reference to the China agreement, local mem-
ber, Tony Pasin MP said it was “an outstanding agree-
ment which will translate into greater economic
growth, more jobs, and higher living standards for
local households and business”.
Riverland Wine members have been doing their
own share of heavy lifting. As was revealed recently,
this region has been prudent in terms of its vineyard
expansion, with an increase in planted area of 3144ha
over the past 15 years.
This contrasts sharply with the increase of plant-
ings across other South Australian regions where an
additional 18,257ha have been planted during the
The Riverland is the only SA region to have decreased
its grower population (by 200 growers) during that
period while other SA regions have increased the
grower population by more than 1000.
Admittedly, it’s horses for courses. There may well
be local justification for those increases in hectares
and vineyard enterprises.
It’s not the case for this region.
To achieve high levels of competitiveness through
productivity and efficiency improvements it is well
recognised and amply demonstrated, that enterprise
scale is a critical factor for most with some outstand-
ing exceptions where producers have established
niche markets, particularly in the area of alternative
Planning future competitiveness
Riverland Viticultural Technical Group (RVTG)
members met this week to plan a number of projects
or workshops for the 2015/2016 financial year.
Several of last year’s projects will be continued,
including trials of new clones and root stocks and
finding the vineyard solution for the growing gazania
The RVTG however, is keen for growers and wine-
makers to have some input around the topics and con-
tent of extension programs that will provide Riverland
growers with a competitive edge.
The group also considered the most appropriate
setting or format for these extension tutorials and
workshops. There was a shared view that shed meet-
ings, with some key theory and information presen-
tations, followed by the opportunity for some open
forum and informal discussion around a barbecue
with a few Riverland wines might be a format worth
The RVTG is keen to attract more members to make
the whole program more worthwhile and to reach
more of the grower population. An extra meeting of
the RVTG has been scheduled for December to finalise,
prioritise and prepare the funding application.
Topics on the list for consideration so far include:
• Trellising and canopy management for optimum
• Calibration for optimum results and chemical cost
• Succession planning.
• Robots, drones and precision viticulture.
• Building a ‘heavy user’ base of KY# exponents.
• Introducing more growers to webinars and pod
• Crop forecasting technology and techniques.
• Objective measures to encourage best practice
in vineyards (and bury decades-old objections to the
• The importance of rootstock selection for soils,
climate, phylloxera, nematodes and superior wine
If there are topics that you would like to add to this
list please ring 8584 5816 or email (admin@river
week ending Wednesday, November 19 Citrus Australia - SA Regional Wrap
New board member for
Former Australian parliamentary
speaker, Nuffield Scholar and South
Australian grower Neil Andrew will join
the Citrus Australia board after he was
appointed at the company’s annual gen-
eral meeting (AGM) on November 6.
Neil will complement the current
board with more than 40 years’ experi-
ence in the citrus industry and extensive
experience working across both sides of
Speaking at the Citrus Australia AGM
in Brisbane, Neil said he is honoured to
be elected director of Citrus Australia
and will use his government experience
to help further progress the industry in
key areas, such as biosecurity, market
access and food labelling.
“I’m delighted to be elected a direc-
tor of Citrus Australia. I hope to further
strengthen relationships with key influ-
encers on both sides of parliament and
add value to key issues that are impor-
tant to the citrus industry,” he said.
“It’s important to me that we continue
to provide the industry with one voice
and work to represent the best interests
of all growers.
“I believe the Australian industry has a
unique offering to consumers in the Asian
markets: high quality and safe fruit.
“That’s our point of difference. We
can’t compete on cost but we can com-
pete on quality.”
Following the AGM the board re-elect-
ed Tania Chapman as Citrus Australia’s
chair. Tania welcomed and congratulated
Neil on his appointment.
“We look forward to working with
Neil in representing the interests of our
grower members and ensuring a closer
relationship at government level,” she
said. “I would also like to thank outgoing
directors Neil Offner and Michele Phillips
for their tremendous input and guidance
over many years.”
CASAR congratulates Neil on his
appointment to the board and now along
with Ben Cant SA has two representa-
tive board members. We look forward to
working closely with Neil and Ben going
Citrus Australia has welcomed the
long-awaited China Australia free trade
agreement, which will progressively
remove tariffs on Australian citrus.
Australian Prime Minister Tony Abbott
joined with his Chinese counterpart Xi
Jingping last Monday to announce the
China has agreed to eliminate all citrus
tariffs over eight years. Orange tariffs
are currently 11 per cent and mandarin
tariffs 12 per cent.
Citrus Australia CEO Judith Damiani
said the new agreement is good news for
“Though the time frames are a lit-
tle long, this is a great outcome for
Australian citrus,” she said. “China is
our fastest growing and highest valued
export market reaching $30 million to
She said Australian citrus exports to
China have grown significantly over the
past four years. That trend is now set to
continue. Citrus juice tariffs are also set
to tumble. Unfrozen orange juice tariffs
will reduce to zero from 30 per cent over
“While there is very little export of
Australian juice to China, this result
makes future trade more likely, particu-
larly with the recent success of fresh
Australian milk,” Ms Damiani said. “I
would like to sincerely thank Trade
Minister Andrew Robb and Prime
Minister Tony Abbott for their focus and
determination to bring this to a positive
China’s mission to highlight SA’s fruit
fly free status
A special South Australian mission was
in China last week to promote our state’s
enviable fruit fly free status.
Primary Industries and Regions South
Australia (PIRSA) is leading the mission
to conduct training workshops on bios-
ecurity, food safety, and pest manage-
ment issues, as well as South Australia’s
fruit fly programs, to key personnel in
the Shandong Agricultural Department
Agriculture, Food and Fisheries
Minister Leon Bignell has told State
Parliament that South Australia’s status
as being fruit fly free gave us a huge
advantage when seeking new markets
for our premium products.
“The State Government spends around
$5 million a year in disease and pest
prevention and biosecurity measures to
ensure we remain Australia’s only main-
land state that’s fruit fly free,” he said.
“We have an international reputation for
protecting our marine and land indus-
tries and environment from pests and
diseases. This mission is aimed at shar-
ing our biosecurity expertise with our
Shandong colleagues, as well as spread-
ing the word about South Australia’s
clean and safe management systems.”
The benefits to South Australia’s citrus
industry offered by the fruit fly quar-
antine zone will be highlighted during
the mission through the newly-launched
Citrus in South Australia brochure.
Mr Bignell said citrus fruit was South
Australia’s largest horticultural export, with
the Riverland our major production region.
“South Australian premium citrus is
increasingly being exported around the
world, with $65.7 million worth of citrus
exported in 2013-14, compared to $54.4
million in 2011-12,” he said. “However,
some export markets don’t recognise our
fruit fly free status and impose additional
quarantine processes and costs.
“Developed in conjunction with Citrus
Australia-SA Region, Citrus in South
Australia promotes the state’s citrus
industry and reinforces our fruit fly free
status in these key export markets.”
Citrus in South Australia has
been developed as part of the China
Agribusiness Initiative and Action Plan
– a strategic vision for achieving collabo-
ration, trade and research with China
and Hong Kong.
CASAR thank the minister and PIRSA
in completing this document which will
also act as an important trade tool for the
South Australian citrus industry.
Natural citrus growers’ levy
A reminder to all citrus growers
that the ballot will remain open until
CASAR urges everyone who hasn’t yet,
to vote on the poll and have your say
on the future of the national R&D levy.
This is the first chance in many years
for growers to have an opportunity to
vote on the level of the R&D levy, and we
encourage everyone to take advantage of
If you have questions about anything
in this week’s column, or an issue that
you would like discussed, please contact
the chairman Con Poulos (saregion@
citrusaustralia.com.au) or Sam Rogers
on call 0477 110 933.
continued from page 1
"This year, as far as I am
aware, we have had no detec-
tions, which is really good,"
Minister for Agriculture, Food
and Fisheries Leon Bignell
said the State Government
has implemented "a range of
measures" to protect South
Australia's horticultural indus-
try this summer.
"The Pinnaroo Quarantine
Station opened a month earlier
than usual on November 1 and
won't close until the end of
May, with an extra shift for the
peak holiday period," he said.
"The double shift at the Oodla
Wirra Quarantine Station (on
the Barrier Highway) will be
maintained until the end of May,
with a night shift introduced
from December to March."
Minister Bignell said a per-
manent presence at the Ceduna
and Yamba Quarantine Stations
would also be maintained,
along with increased audits and
inspections, with additional
increases on businesses import-
ing produce from Victoria and
the Sunraysia region.
In addition, random road
blocks targeting high risk times
for importation of infested fruit,
increased checks on incoming
rail traffic will also take place.
Member for Chaffey Tim
Whetstone urged the public to be
vigilant coming into summer.
"We have increased pres-
sure on our borders and on our
region every year," he said.
"We have to do the extra
yards to make sure we protect
our area, but also protect our
Mr Whetstone said locals
should keep in mind the impact
of the outbreaks earlier this year.
"I would like to think that
we will not be complacent,"
"If we do get another out-
break, we will have a major
issue on our hands."
Growers fear outbreak Why so obsessed with lower lakes?
Opinion by Stuart Andrew
Member of the River Murray
and Wine Grape Council of South
Since the drought broke in
2007/08 Riverlanders would have
been aware of the fact that in
addition to enormous sums on an
unused desalination plant (over
$2 billion), our State Government
(as well as our media) have been
preoccupied with the salinity
levels in the lower lakes.
That preoccupation has culminated in
a proposal to further reduce the salinity
in Lake Albert by a process called 'lake
It means using a significant quantity of
water to raise and lower the levels between
Lake Alexandrina and Lake Albert.
When choices have to be made in dry
times between 'lake cycling' and mak-
ing water available for upstream irriga-
tors, I suspect that we will not get a
Above Lock 1 there are approximately
35,000 hectares of irrigated land and
the Riverland is where the majority of
The great ethicist Jeremy Bentham
said that government was about "doing
the greatest good for the greatest num-
There are five irrigators using Lake
Albert. I have long sensed a level of
aggression directed at Riverland irriga-
tors and a rather cavalier approach to the
water rights which they purchased.
The State Government seems terri-
bly troubled about the environment of
the lower lakes and other curiosities
such as 'cultural water', but there is
little concern for the ongoing security of
I know this from my own experience
as a member of a ministerial advisory
Irrigators in the Riverland know
that half of the state's water entitle-
ment is lost to evaporation off Lakes
Alexandrina and Albert.
The price we pay for that loss is main-
taining those lakes as fresh water lakes.
'Lake cycling' is certain to threaten the
livelihoods of Riverland irrigators.
There has long been an engineering
solution -- a weir at Wellington -- but not
the political will to embrace it.
Our rulers, terrified of offending the
'green' religion' which has gripped the
land, have opted for touchy-feely cant
It is time for some balance and ethical
Member for Chaffey Tim Whetstone pictured at the Yamba fruit
fly quarantine station earlier this year.
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