Home' The Loxton News : January 13th 2016 Contents The Loxton News, Wednesday, January 13, 2016 – 9
by Pamela Perre
An apricot breeding
program aimed at creating
products more desirable
to consumers culminated
in a taste test in Loxton
SA Fresh Fruit Association’s
(SAFFA) Tim Grieger said the
breeding program, which began
in 2007, had produced some
“absolutely brilliant” varieties.
Mr Grieger met with some
key industry stakeholders at
the Loxton Research Centre to
taste and ‘feel test’ the fruit
produced from the trial earlier
“We’re now taking them to
commercial trial, and seeing
how they will stack up in the
commercial world,” he said.
“That’s in terms of planting,
handling, storage, marketing
and the consumer.”
Mr Grieger said SAFFA was
now looking for local grow-
ers interested in participating
in commercial trials, and asked
association members to contact
South Australian Research
and Development Institute’s
tree breeder Darren Graetz said
the program was initiated to
boost the dried tree fruit indus-
“We wanted to produce apri-
cots that were easier to han-
dle (and) produce higher dry
ratios,” he said.
“A large component of that
was to breed in more sugar, and
“(Following the trial) we’ve
narrowed it down, and now
we’d really like the growers to
come through and tell us what
they think has a commercial
appeal for them.
“There are (varieties) that I
think are stars, but there’s oth-
ers that people see different
things and might want to pick
up for a niche market.”
SAFFA chair Simon Vause
said the new varieties could
have a positive impact on the
dried fruit industry’s future.
“As a grower I’ve always
chased an earlier market,” he
“Apricots have always been
that Christmas market, and
I’ve wanted to get them out
there a bit earlier, but we’re just
starved of choice.
“Or you find things that
crop well elsewhere, but don’t
seem to crop well here in the
“To have an early variety that
crops well, has the right colour,
firmness and sweetness – that’s
a double-bottom line for us.”
Better apricots being bred
GRAPE HARVESTER OPERATORS –
Riverland grape harvester oper-
ators are encouraged to join the
chorus of primary producers hav-
ing a say on possible changes to
machinery movement on roads at
The Winegrape Council of SA
(WGCSA) is a member of Primary
Producers SA (PPSA). These two
organisations are working in con-
junction with the Ag Bureau of
South Australia, seeking feedback
via an online survey on three
options for night travel exemp-
This is part of the PPSA-initiated
90-day Transport Project, which
started in December 2014 when
producers were urged to identify
transport hotspots and regulatory
issues around South Australia.
The hotspots were collated
through the project – a partnership
between PPSA, the Department
of Planning, Transport and
Infrastructure (DPTI), and Primary
Industries and Regions SA (PIRSA)
and issues are being addressed
in consultation with farmers.
PPSA chairman Rob Kerin says
there have already been signif-
icant changes to transport reg-
ulations because of the 90-day
project, netting tens of millions of
dollars in savings for primary pro-
ducers in transport costs.
A discussion paper on night
movement of machinery is cur-
rently out for comment. It out-
lines three options for producer
feedback in the DPTI’s Zone 3
(Adelaide Hills) and Zone 4 (coun-
try SA). In summary, these include:
Option 1: Provide a night trav-
el exemption for agricultural
machines and combinations at
3.7 metres wide and 19m long
(zone 3) or 4m wide and 22m long
Option 2: Provide a night trav-
el exemption for agricultural
machines and combinations up to
3.7m wide and 25m long in both
Option 3: Maintain the sta-
tus quo until the National Heavy
Vehicle Regulator reviews all
exemptions across Australia and
moves to make them consistent.
No date has been set for this.
“In coming months, discussion
papers will be put out on various
issues such as night movement,
width and length of farm machin-
ery,” Mr Kerin said.
“The aim is to modernise reg-
ulations to better reflect modern
machinery without impacting on
Winegrowers can provide written
comment or preferably fill in the
simple on-line survey. To see the
discussion paper and complete
the survey, visit (ruralconnect.com.
au) or contact Kate 8584 5816.
BLACKFOOT ON THE PROWL
A number of growers across the
region have encountered problems
with vines dying throughout some
There has been much conjecture
about the likely source or sources
of the problem, and thanks to
widespread testing and surveys
conducted by Ian Macrae, from
CCW, there is a clearer picture
emerging of the problem.
The main cause of vine death is
a root and trunk disease known as
‘blackfoot’, attributed to the ‘cylin-
This is a very common fungus
in most soils and rarely becomes
a problem for vines growing in
well-aerated soils with good organ-
ic matter levels.
It now seems that this disease
is largely a waterlogging issue, par-
ticularly where vines are over-ir-
rigated early in the season with
drip irrigation systems when vine
water use is low. The anaerobic
conditions caused by waterlogging
may both favour the development
of pathogenic fungi and also lead
to weakening vines to the point
where blackfoot can start to take
Some drought-tolerant root-
stocks (such as Ruggeri 140)
appear to be vulnerable to water-
logging and later infection by var-
ious pathogenic fungi including
In addition, high levels of nem-
atodes have been found on root-
stocks thought to be resistant to
It appears that due to poor grape
prices, many growers have under-
standably been increasing crop
levels to reduce losses. This has
led in many cases to excessive irri-
gation early in the season, to the
point where vine root systems are
weakened, and other pathogens
can attack an otherwise resistant
and healthy plant.
So, what to do?
There is little that can be done
with vines that are dying at this
time of the season.
However, it is a good idea to
mark any vines that have shorter
shoots, low vigour, or are clear-
ly stressed, and observe these
vines in the following seasons.
Examining the trunk below the
graft union and digging up roots
from these vines will reveal the
dark staining of the wood and
blackened, rotten roots character-
istic of this disease.
Revisit irrigation regimes used
in the past season and make sure
that vines are not being excessive-
A good guide is the CCW irriga-
tion-scheduling tool, which CCW
growers can find on the CCW web-
site, or it can also be found here:
While there is no ‘silver bul-
let’ that can cure the problem
instantly, there is more work being
done to better understand poten-
tial control options. Advice from
an experienced agronomist or viti-
culturist may be valuable in deci-
NEW POWDERY MILDEW APP –
GET IT NOW
Visual assessment of powdery
mildew – the grape and wine sec-
tor’s most costly disease – will
be easier with a new, free smart-
phone app (PMapp) developed by
University of Adelaide researchers
PMapp is designed to assist
grapegrowers and wineries make
informed decisions about the
quality and price of grapes. Wine
Australia has helped fund the
development as part of a wider
research project to establish
objective measures for quantifying
A reference group of viticultur-
ists, wineries, independent asses-
sors and researchers has been
actively consulted throughout the
Growers can make a quick visu-
al assessment of the severity of
powdery mildew. PMapp has an
impressive list of features:
A pictorial disease ‘key’ show-
ing different levels of powdery mil-
dew infection to assist the user
to accurately score the level of
disease on bunches.
A calibration guide, where
the user can test the accuracy of
visually scoring powdery mildew
A very easy-to-use scoring tool
that tallies both the incidence and
severity of powdery mildew in the
field to more accurately predict the
likely impact on wine.
The assessment result can be
emailed in XML or .csv format.
A website to support the app is
currently being developed and is
scheduled for release at the end
PMapp is now available for
download on Apple’s App Store or
Citrus Australia - SA Regional Wrap
HAPPY NEW YEAR
The Citrus Australia South Australian Region
Committee would like to wish all growers and industry
stakeholders a happy, healthy and prosperous year
ahead during 2016.
As mentioned in previous columns, a grower work-
shop will be held in the Riverland on February 9,
2016. Steve Falivene from NSW DPI will be discussing
nutrition requirements prior to fruit maturity with
particular emphasis on potassium applications. A
detailed program will be included in the next column.
SENATE ENQUIRY INTO THE MDBP
A representative from CASAR attended the Senate
Enquiry into the effects of the Murray Basin plan held
in Renmark and Goolwa in December 2015.
The following key issue raised at these hearings
may be of interest to our growers:
Water tradability: Is this an easy process or not?
The evaporation of fresh water from the Lower
Lakes: A staggering 1000 gigalitres of water evap-
orates from these lakes annually. There was strong
representation to try and develop some options to
reduce these losses.
Dredging of the mouth: Some speakers expressed
dismay that this problem has occurred again. No
matter what plan is in place it must rely on rainfall. A
closed river mouth was once a common occurrence
in the past.
Cultural water: This is widely considered to be part
of the environmental water.
Water security: Irrigators who spoke at the enquiry
felt that no more water security was guaranteed since
the plan commenced due to the constant threat of
extra water required for the environment.
CASAR will always support irrigators’ water security
as a priority, as we know that the environment has
been catered for with the implementation of the MDB
PRODUCTION HINTS FOR JANUARY
It’s that time of the year where growers will need to
start taking fruit size measurements and undertake
frame counts to determine crop estimates for the
It is advisable for growers to review their GA strate-
gy to protect the rind integrity of navels.
Other jobs which may need attending to include
implementing thinning sprays if required, consider
whether spraying fruit with Kaolin to protect against
sunburn, implement protocols for phytosanitary mar-
kets, organise leaf analysis kits and review nitrogen
QLD STUDY TOUR – FINAL DAYS TO RSVP
You have just one week left to register for the CASAR
study tour of 2PH farms in Emerald, Queensland.
The tour will depart Adelaide on Monday, May 2 and
will arrive in Emerald mid-afternoon. Later that day
the group will visit Lake Maraboon.
The following day the tour will take in 2PH farms,
an enterprise which comprises more than 1400
acres of citrus, consisting of more than 300,000
trees, multiple packing facilities and a large table
grape operation. Growers will return to Adelaide on
Wednesday, May 4.
The trip will cost about $1000, depending on final
numbers, and is being booked through a travel agent.
This price will include flights, buses, accommodation,
breakfast as well as lunch and dinner on the Tuesday.
It is hoped that those attending may be able to share
transport to Adelaide.
Please RSVP by January 15 to David Arnold at
(email@example.com) or phone 0407 391
BE WISE ABOUT ISLAND FLY
Now is the time to keep an eye out for island fly in
Adult flies could be present and it could be advis-
able to trap to monitor numbers.
If numbers are high, treatment leading into harvest
should be considered. Island fly adults are usually 5.5
to 8.5mm long and smaller than Queensland fruit fly.
Island fly is distinguished by a brownish yellow tho-
rax and an abdomen with a black tip. The wings are
strikingly mottled with dark brown and black fogging.
Island fly does not impact commercial fruit but
it can contaminate fallen or damaged fruit. Pickers
should be made well aware of the need to avoid
fallen or damaged fruit while growers should manage
orchard hygiene to prevent island fly from breeding.
These measures are preferable to relying on in-line
inspection at the packhouse.
Because the ovipositor of the fly is short and blunt,
this species is unable to pierce the rind of sound fruit
to deposit eggs.
WHAT’S NEW AT HIA?
There are four new expert advisory panels which
Horticulture Innovation Australia (HIA) is seeking
expressions of interest for people to join.
The panels will be established for Asian Markets,
Green Cities, Health, Nutrition and Food Safety and
Leadership and People Development.
The aim of these ‘expert advisory panels’ is to
assist HIA in making investment decisions under its
Pool 2 co-investment funding model and to provide a
broad oversight to ensure the fund achieves its vision
Further details are available by contacting Jo
McCloskey on (02) 8295 2300 or via (tenders@hor-
The closing date for responses is 2pm (Sydney
time) on Friday, January 15.
Please contact CASAR visa email (saregion@cit-
rusaustralia.com.au) should you have any queries.
MDBA total storage decreased
by 192GL over the past two
weeks, with the active storage
currently 3433GL (41 per cent
At Hume Reservoir, the vol-
ume in storage fell by 59GL to
1181GL (39 per cent capacity).
Downstream at Doctors Point,
the flow varied between 12,000
and 16,000ML/day during the
last two weeks.
On the lower Murrumbidgee
River, the flow at Balranald is
currently 1500ML/day. This flow
is above the
for January of
to the delivery
of IVT water. Flows of at least
1200ML/day are expected to
continue past Balranald into
Total storage in the Menindee
Lakes has reduced to 69GL (4
per cent capacity) with release
(measured at Weir 32) effective-
ly ceasing on December 15.
At Lock 9, the weir pool is cur-
rently targeting about 10cm
below FSL. At Locks 7 and 8, the
weir pools are close to 50cm
below FSL. The weir pool at
Lock 8 will be further lowered
to 80cm below FSL over the
coming weeks. These changes
are part of an on-going weir pool
At Lake Victoria, the storage
volume reduced by 39GL over
the past two weeks to 495GL
(73 per cent capacity) and this
declining trend is forecast to
continue over coming months
if conditions remain dry. The
flow to South Australia averaged
around 6700ML/day over the
last two weeks.
At the Lower Lakes, warm, dry
and often windy conditions have
resulted in the five-day average
level in Lake Alexandrina falling
6cm during the last two weeks
and is currently 0.65m AHD.
Berri 200EC units, Morgan 280,
Mannum 340, Milang 800.
RIVER MURRAY WATER REPORT
Wednesday, January 6
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