Home' The Loxton News : February 10th 2016 Contents The Loxton News, Wednesday, February 10, 2016
IT’S AN ILL WIND...
‘It’s an ill wind that blows nobody
any good’; an old and often misun-
Say it slowly and it makes
sense... one person’s misfortune
most often benefits another; like
when storm damage creates work
The ill wind has been howling
since about July.
It blew away the winter rains and
heralded an El Nino, a climatic
condition that didn’t mean much
until the recent drought.
Then it blew water prices straight
through the roof, just as irrigators
were learning about how inadvis-
able, indeed wasteful it is, to own
too much ‘permanent’ water.
In December, like a chorus of
mournful minstrels, the wind they
call Mariah, blew in the grape-pric-
‘Ya dreamin’ they muttered,
when the odd lone voice cried
out for more. Hopes of ‘A better
year this year’ were hung out to
Then the much anticipated east-
erly, that promised to deliver the
WET reforms from Canberra, blew
itself out before it arrived, without
so much as a whisper about how
much longer distortions will be left
to swirl, wreaking havoc.
And the relentless droning of the
mental health wind provoked and
prodded more into dark places.
Empty promises and reassur-
ances of ‘reward for effort’ shake
rattle and roll and another vintage
churns with no explanations.
The region depends on primary
production for jobs, exports and
community wealth. The annual
reinvestments by growers and
farmers straight into local busi-
nesses in the form of farm equip-
ment, chemicals, infrastructure,
innovation, irrigation, education,
debt servicing, research and devel-
opment is phenomenal.
Just last year, an ordinary
year by any financial measure,
winegrowers recycled more than
$100 million of cash through the
Riverland population of 35,000.
Imagine the region without these
funds. Theirs is the wind beneath
the wings of the region... a good
wind! But, getting back to the prov-
erb; it begs the questions: ‘So, who
is the ill wind favouring... who are
Profitability and sustainabili-
ty have gone AWOL. Growers are
searching for them. Wineries are
Everyone is desperately search-
ing; but too often, in opposite
directions. Perhaps it’s time to
tune in to what’s happening with
the peak industry bodies?
Yep, it’s time to tune in and
listen and look, in one direction at
a time. Open up and examine the
Profitability and sustainability
emerge when all the links in the
chain are strong. The opposite is
also true. Profitability and sustain-
ability fall apart for everyone when
even one link is weak. The others
all lose focus. Concentration evap-
orates. The competition moves in.
In August and December last
year wine industry leaders of all
persuasions did come together
from all around the country, to
focus the search in one direction.
There’s no argument they
agreed; disunity between industry
organisations is a factor in the
downturn of profitability and sus-
tainability. The rusty old weather
vane is beginning to turn in one
direction. Growers, winemakers,
bureaucrats and politicians from
Ministers Joyce and Ruston down,
are all urging these industry lead-
ers to sit around fewer tables.
Find ways to listen to those who
have so much to give in the way
of livelihoods, skills, knowledge,
passion, and commitment to jobs,
exports and community wealth.
The next few months are crucial.
The ill wind is moaning. It’s not
about to ease off into a fairy god-
mother of a breeze just yet.
It’s urging Riverland Wine mem-
bers who want to be included
to listen-up; to speak-up, to be
involved. Stay tuned. Become a
WHISTLING KITE FLYING ON MAY 7
AT NEW RES
Whistling Kite Wines has been
chosen to represent the Riverland
in a Tasting Australia 2016 region-
al event on May 7.
You are all invited to join Tony,
Pam and Adam Barich at New
Residence for Magic on the Murray.
Put it in the diary now!
Speaking of skills, knowledge,
passion, and commitment, come
and see just what can be achieved;
right here on home turf.
And it’s not just the wines.
Delicious dishes and flavours
from local food producers plus live
music and artists will truly make
this an event to savour.
Come and see the spectacular
beauty of the mighty Murray River
as well as tasting award-winning
Whistling Kite Biodynamic wines,
all produced using sustainable
Owner and biodynamic viticul-
turist, Tony Barich, will be on site
during the day to discuss any ques-
tions you might have about biody-
namic farming and to give tours of
the New Residence vineyard.
Keep your eyes on this column
for further information or if you
can’t wait, contact them right away
at Whistling Kite Wines on 8584
We are becoming accustomed
to hearing terms like ‘precision
agriculture’, even ‘precision viticul-
ture’ and more recently ‘digital ag’.
Broadacre farmers certainly
have the jump on wine growers
but it’s never too late to learn.
The Society of Precision
Agriculture Australia (SPAA) is run-
ning a workshop on Wednesday,
February 24, at Loxton.
The free workshop ‘Precision
Agriculture: New Opportunities for
Horticulture and Viticulture’ will be
presented at the Loxton Research
Subject to harvesting demands
this is an ideal opportunity for all
growers to learn what these terms
mean. Speakers will include:
Leighton Pearce; Dr Everard
Edwards; Michael Cutting; Tony
Randall and Dimity Hunter.
For further information, or to
register contact Dimity Hunter,
SPAA, phone 0427 543 384 or
Citrus Australia - SA Regional Wrap
REGISTERED CROP MONITORS INSPECTING KCT
BLOCKS THIS MONTH
Things are ramping up for this year’s Australian citrus
exports to Korea, China and Thailand.
This month will see registered crop monitors inspect-
ing orchards and verifying documentation.
They’ll be wanting to take a look at monthly IPM mon-
itoring records for each block as well as spray diaries.
The crop monitors will also survey all registered
blocks to verify that they are free of particular pests
They’ll also make sure the blocks meet China’s
orchard freedom requirement for Fuller’s rose weevil
by using a ‘beat mat’ (detection levels of less than 0.2
adults per tree) and check that trees have been ‘skirted’
and weeds have been adequately controlled – a require-
ment for the Thailand market.
A tolerance of one in 20 trees in contact with the
ground is considered acceptable.
Registered crop monitors will suspend blocks for
export to China for the remainder of the season if they
detect Fuller’s rose weevil, light brown apple moth,
blastobasid fruit borer, sorghum head caterpillar, orange
fruit borer, brown rot, fruit or septoria spot.
Blocks will be suspended for Korea if brown rot,
black hop root rot/collar rot, septoria spot, greasy spot
or more than 0.2 adult Fuller’s rose weevil per tree are
Registered crop monitors will suspend blocks for
Thailand and Korea if FRW has been detected and the
FRW program has not been implemented.
RESPONSIBILITIES OF PACKING HOUSES
The deadline for packing houses to forward the appro-
priate forms to the Department of Agriculture, Fisheries
and Forestry is March 7 (check the industry advice
notice for information on where to send documents).
These include a completed registration form (avail-
able at daff.gov.au/micor/plants), the annual applica-
tion for grower/orchard registration form, a list of all
registered orchards/blocks, the registered crop monitor
February report for each registered orchard/block, a
map of each orchard that clearly labels/identifies each
block and the size of each block and pre-harvest survey
Nutrition: There is a high risk that trees bearing low
crops may have been fertilised with too much nitrogen
Excessive and or late application of N and K can
cause fruit quality problems (rough skins) and delay
Conventional application of nitrogen and potassium
should cease by the end of February. Phosphorous can
assist in counteracting some of the negative effects
(rough texture and delay in colour development) of high
nitrogen or potassium.
Foliar sprays: Calcium nitrate sprays may assist in rind
quality and phosphorous sprays may assist to build up P
levels (if required). Apply a micronutrient spray on new
autumn leaf flushes.
Korean/Thailand/China Export Program - FRW and
red scale: Asian markets will be closely looking at FRW
and Korea will also be looking at Red scale this season.
Growers need to do their best to reduce the risk of FRW
detections at market which can impact on returns in
redirecting shipments and general delays. (see infor-
Pests and disease issues:
WARNING: Red scale soft scales are emerging. Apply
a high volume oil spray in mid to late February if exceed-
ing threshold levels.
Mealybug: The heat has had a significant impact
reducing levels. Young mealybugs are being released
but levels are currently low and not exceeding threshold
Soft scale: Levels are sporadic and mainly seen in
young trees and some blocks using trunk band spraying.
SCB: Activity has been noticed in the past couple of
weeks at levels at warranting control measures. Most
activity is on lemons however occasionally seen on
navels and mandarins especially if an adjacent block of
valencia have been recently harvested.
FRW: Adult Fullers rose weevils are emerging and lay-
ing eggs as expected for this time of season.
Leaf miner: The heat has suppressed numbers how-
ever levels are expected to rise by the end of February.
CITRUS MARKET OUTLOOK FORUM NEXT MONTH
Tree planting and production trends over the next
10 years, export market performance, challenges and
opportunities, country of origin authentication, domestic
market trends and new developments and prospects for
new juice products are just a few of the highlights of the
upcoming 2016 Citrus Market Outlook Forum.
To be held in Sydney on March 16-17, the event will
also feature keynote speaker Kurt Huang.
Mr Huang’s company provides a fresh fruit import
clearance service in Shanghai, located at the Huizhan
Fruit and Vegetable market, the largest imported fruit
wholesale market in East China.
A Sydney Harbour boat cruise and plenty of network-
ing opportunities will also be on offer.
For more information visit (citrusaustralia.com.au).
The current valencia crop is progressing well. While it
has been reasonably hot, the warmer weather has con-
tributed to higher juice ratios of about 14-15.
Juice yields have been healthy at more than 500 litres
per tonne of fruit. Spot prices for industrial fruit are at
a similar level to the previous month at $A180-200/t.
Contract prices (fixed before season started) were
locked in at $A270-300/t. Processors are reporting
there is plenty of valencia fruit on the market and as a
result, are only running limited volumes of navels.
GREAT RESPONSE TO QUEENSLAND STUDY TOUR
CASAR has had a very positive response to the tour of
2PH Farms in Queensland in May.
The tour is now fully booked. Angas Travel will be
contacting all growers participating in the tour to finalise
flight and accommodation requirements.
Growers are reminded to keep Tuesday, February 9,
free for CASAR’s next grower workshops.
They’ll be held at two locations, the first at 9am at
Pyap Produce at 2743 Kingston Road, Loxton, with the
afternoon session to be held at 4pm, starting at GM
Arnold and Sons at 343 Ramco Rd, Waikerie.
MDBA total storage decreased
by 38GL this week, with the
active storage now at 3159GL
(37 per cent capacity). At Dart-
mouth Reservoir, the storage
volume decreased by 30GL to
1783GL (46 per cent capacity).
The release from Dartmouth,
measured at Colemans, contin-
ues to recede and is currently
close to 5400ML/day and is
forecast to drop to around
4500ML/day by the end of the
This week’s rainfall increased
the storage at Hume Reservoir
by 1GL to 1129 GL (38 per
cent capacity). Releases, meas-
ured at Doctors Point, have
varied between 9500ML/day
and 14,600ML/day this week
and are likely
to increase if
Releases from Yarrawonga
Weir reduced from close to
10,000ML/day to around
9600ML/day to introduce
some variability to the release
rate. Over the coming week the
release is expected to increase
to around 9800ML/day.
In the Edward-Wakool system,
the Gulpa offtake continued
to average near 500ML/day.
These higher flows have been
due to environmental water
targeting a bird breeding event
in the Reed Beds wetland of
Millewa Forest. The Edward
offtake has continued to be
close to 1550ML/day and this
is expected to persist over the
coming week in order to meet
downstream demands. On the
Murrumbidgee at Balranald
the flow has increased to near
1900ML/day and is expected
to rise to around 2000ML/day
in the coming week. This flow
is well above the January end
of system target minimum of
180ML/day due to the delivery
of IVT into the Murray system.
Rainfall along the mid-Murray
resulted in both reduced
evaporation and irrigation de-
mands which, when combined
with increasing flows from the
Murrumbidgee, resulted in the
Murray at Euston increasing
to 9850ML/day. The flow is
expected to remain close to
10,000ML/day over the coming
days. Boat operators are re-
minded that Lock 15 at Euston
will be closed for approximately
16 weeks to enable refurbish-
ment of the lock chamber.
The flow to South Australia has
averaged near 7600ML/day
and will remain close to this
level for the month of February
as environmental water is de-
livered downstream to support
Lower Lake levels and maintain
releases through the barrage
fishways into the Coorong.
Berri 200EC units, Morgan 270,
Mannum 360, Milang 810.
RIVER MURRAY WATER REPORT
Wednesday, February 3
The value of
exports rose by 14
per cent to $2.1
billion in 2015 – its
highest value since
October 2007 –
according to a recent
Assistant Minister for
Agriculture and Water
Resources and South
Anne Ruston, wel-
comed the news, which
was revealed in Wine
Australia’s 2015 Export
Report. Other figures in
the report highlighted
a growth in exports to
China, Japan and Korea.
Senator Ruston said
the figures indicat-
ed that the industry
was responding well
to recent international
“I would like to con-
gratulate the Australian
wine industry on the
export figures released
today, as they are, first
and foremost, a reflec-
tion of the collective
hard work of our indus-
try,” she said.
“Hopefully we soon
see these great fig-
ures for wine exporters
reflected at the farm gate
with high grape prices.”
Wine Australia chair-
person Brian Walsh said
the board was delighted
to see growth in each
of Australia’s top fifteen
export markets for the
first time since Wine
Australia started col-
lecting export figures in
“It’s a strong signal
that we are on the path
to see a revitalised and
more prosperous sector
and we will continue
to work with our grape
growing and winemak-
ing community to cap-
ture these developing
Mr Walsh said.
For more detail
about Wine Australia’s
2015 Export Report
visit the website
Wine export surge welcomed
recent surge in
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