Home' The Loxton News : The Loxton News Contents 12 -- The Loxton News, Wednesday, January 22, 2014
storage decreased by
169GL this week and
is currently 611GL
or 71 per cent capac-
ity. At Dartmouth
age decreased by
39GL to 3619GL (94 per cent capacity).
The release, measured at the Colemans
gauge, was maintained through the week
at 6000ML/day. Starting from Thursday
January 16, the release will be gradu-
ally reduced to a targeted flow of about
2500ML/day at Colemans by January 23.
At Hume Reservoir, the storage volume
decreased by 96GL to 1960GL (65 per
cent capacity). In response to increased
demand, the release averaged 20,100ML/
day this week compared with 17,000ML/
day for the two weeks prior.
At Yarrawonga Weir, the total diversion
at the irrigation off takes rose from 55GL
to around 66GL this week. Diversions
are anticipated to remain high over the
next week due to forecast hot tempera-
tures combined with many rice crops in
the region reaching 'panicle initiation'.
Panicle initiation indicates the start of the
reproductive phase of rice development,
and represents a cue to rice growers to
increase water depths across crops.
On the Goulburn River at McCoys
Bridge, the flow has held steady at around
950ML/day. This flow can be expect-
ed to rise up to around 2500ML/day
over the next week due to the delivery
of Inter-Valley Transfer water from the
Goulburn Valley to the Murray Valley.
At Torrumbarry Weir, the diversion at
National Channel increased to 3000ML/
day and the downstream release averaged
On the lower Murrumbidgee River, the
flow at Balranald has continued receding
and is now 350ML/day. Downstream on
the Murray at Euston, the flow is cur-
rently 6000ML/day and is expected to
continue receding until higher flows from
the Goulburn River arrive in approxi-
mately 10 days.
At Menindee Lakes, the storage vol-
ume decreased by 28GL over the last
week to 608GL (35 per cent capacity).
Release from the lakes is currently around
2000ML/day at Weir 32 and continues to
be gradually reduced. At Burtundy, the
flow has receded to 3000ML/day and will
continue to steadily fall.
On the River Murray, downstream
of the Darling confluence, the flow at
Wentworth Weir is currently around
8500ML/day and expected to slowly
recede over the coming week to a flow of
At Lake Victoria, the storage volume
decreased by 6GL to 600GL (89 per cent
capacity). The flow to South Australia has
averaged around 7500ML/day this week,
consisting of entitlement flow together
with a small volume of environmental
water. At the Lower Lakes, the 5-day
average level is 0.73m AHD and the
estimated release through the barrages is
Berri 280EC units, Morgan 260,
Mannum 300, Milang 760.
South Australia’s Agriculture Minister Gail Gago
and PIRSA chief executive Scott Ashby travelled to the
region last Friday with a simple message: “Eradication
of the insidious fruit fly pest from this region is not
The Minister and CE met with industry representa-
tives and the incident response team at Loxton and
visited a number of properties in the affected zones.
Minister Gago commiserated with those who are
most directly impacted and thanked all who are
involved in planning and implementing the eradica-
tion program. The two outbreaks at Loxton and Pyap
were confirmed last Wednesday.
The manager of surveillance and plant pest control
with Biosecurity SA, Nick Secomb, and several of his
officers arrived in the region on Thursday morning.
They met with growers in the most affected zones
to discuss and agree on the most appropriate proto-
cols to ensure safe movement of fruit for processing,
while mitigating against any further spread of the
The team responsible for the eradication program,
together with vehicles, trailers and chemicals, also
arrived on Thursday. By Friday morning eradication
teams were being formed, certificates, maps and
protocols were being issued to growers and training
for the eradication group had begun at the Loxton
Research Centre (LRC).
Minister Gago thanked all concerned for the speed
of response and the obvious spirit of unity and co-
operation that will ensure eradication is swift, com-
prehensive and emphatic.
She praised CEO of Loxton Waikerie Council, Peter
Ackland, for his team’s prompt action the previ-
ous week in assisting the local community with the
destruction of some roadside plants thought to be
“The community of growers and their families,
who have responded without hesitation, must be
applauded,” she said.
“Despite the challenges of the sweltering heat
wave, grassfires, bushfires, smoke haze and the pain
of recent indicative grape prices these people have
shown typical Riverland grit in the way they have got-
ten on with the job.”
PIRSA CE Scott Ashby commented that “we know
what we must do”.
“We are here to ensure that the SA Government
provides whatever resources are necessary to achieve
prompt eradication and preserve our hard won,
invaluable status as a fruit fly free region,” he said.
“We fully appreciate the trade advantages of being
fruit fly free and we must preserve this status at all
From Riverland Wine’s perspective, it has been
gratifying to observe the level of co-operation
between growers, wineries, Biosecurity SA agents
and transport operators.
All concerned have committed to co-operate fully
to ensure full compliance on the part of the grape and
wine industry in providing appropriate certification
and ensuring all grapes being shipped for processing
from the two affected zones are tarped for the journey
from vineyard to winery.
More information can be found at the website (pir.
Don't jump at the first offer
As previously advised in various forums, Riverland
Wine has compiled a register of unsold grapes.
So far more than 8000 tonnes of different varieties
have been listed. All growers who have submitted
grapes for the register have been contacted to verify
the accuracy of their listing and to confirm they are
willing to engage directly with buyers or wineries that
Riverland Wine has also provided a ‘pro forma spot
purchase contract’ to assist growers.
Executive officer Chris Byrne has urged all growers
to ensure that they do not agree to sell grapes with-
out the cover of this contract as a minimum means of
protecting their business interests.
He added that if potential buyers are not pre-
pared to sign this contract and if alternative supply
agreements are offered, growers should take advice
to ensure that their interests are protected before
signing to sell grapes, especially if selling to a winery
or buyer with whom they have not had previous
Once growers have confirmed their listing and have
acknowledged they will use the pro forma contract,
the listing of available grapes will be emailed to all
South Australian wineries that may have an interest.
The list will be recirculated over the coming months
on a regular basis. Growers may add to the list if nec-
essary. They will also be urged to remove their grapes
from the register once sold.
Mr Byrne cautioned that growers should not rush
to accept the first offer. Indications coming in from the
field continue to suggest that yields are falling below
estimates in many cases.
“We are yet to see the impact of last week’s heat
wave across all of south-eastern Australia,” he said.
“There is little doubt (that) if the heat wave had a
significant effect on yields, there will be an upswing in
demand as wineries scramble to secure supply.”
On Friday three companies contacted the Riverland
Wine office to express interest in contacting growers
with grapes for sale.
“Growers should not suddenly have unrealistic
expectations around prices,” Mr Byrne said.
“However, it is reasonable to anticipate some
improvement above the indicative prices issued in
mid-December if yields are falling below winery
week ending Wednesday, January 15
Citrus Australia - SA Regional Wrap
During the past week the media has reported exten-
sively on the recent detections of fruit fly in the
Biosecurity remains a very high priority for our
committee as well as PIRSA and the South Australian
Government, which has been very supportive and
committed to doing as much as it can to reduce the
risk of an outbreak.
The detections recorded until January 15, 2014, did
not result in an outbreak and did not impact on the
movement of fruit or market access.
However, despite working closely with Biosecurity
SA, the SA Fruit Fly action group and other stakehold-
ers to put measures in place to address the problem,
we now have recorded an outbreak at two sites in the
The current fruit fly contingency plan has been
reviewed with industry and the process that we need
to follow due to this outbreak is well documented.
We are confident that these recent detections and
outbreak are being dealt with accordingly and we
must remember Biosecurity SA has kept an outbreak
from occurring in our region since 1991.
As Riverlanders we must be vigilant and urge all
visitors to the region to please not bring fruit or veg-
etables with them. Equally important is that vendors
dealing with fresh produce in the Riverland please
follow the correct procedures and protocols.
We will keep growers informed of events leading up
to our harvest packing season as this outbreak may
impact on the movement of fruit and market access if
the outbreak is not controlled.
All the information relating to the outbreaks can
be found at the website (pir.sa.gov.au/biosecuritysa/
The juice industry is a topic that creates passionate
discussion at our committee meetings and remains a
high priority identified by our grower members.
This is one of the most challenging issues for us to
tackle, as the labelling laws are confusing for consum-
ers due to the law not being properly defined (ie. simi-
lar wording of ‘made in’ and ‘product of ’ is used on the
label). This problem is not unique to orange juice but
other products on supermarket shelves as well.
We feel that a push needs to come from a national
level and needs to be driven by the various commodi-
ties that it affects.
The committee is in the process of writing up a juice
policy that not only looks at labelling laws but juice
concentrate that comes into Australia and the huge
price fluctuations offered to growers from season to
season for juicing fruit.
Discussions on the matter are in progress with
Senator Xenophon, Senator Ruston and the national
body, Citrus Australia, to push from a national and
SA committee management plan
When our committee was first formed over 12
months ago we held a series of grower meetings
across the Riverland to identify the key priorities
growers would like us to address on behalf of the
Follow up with meetings were held to present our
five-year management plan (facilitated by PIRSA) and
agreed that the following key activities will be funded
by the $1 per ton collected in South Australia:
•Communication to industry.
•Market access including varieties.
•Juice industry issues.
•Promotion of the industry.
These priorities are what we have based our activi-
ties on for the first 12 months of our committee’s
We are now planning grower meetings again over
the next two months to report back to the citrus
industry on our activities and review the management
plan to discuss and agree to the priorities for a further
It will also be a great opportunity for our grower
members to meet with our new industry development
officer Sam Rogers, who will be starting her new role
with us in early February.
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 via email (sare-
News that the Commonwealth
EnvironmentalWater Holder (CEWH)
has decided to trade environmental
water on the temporary market has
been welcomed by industry officials.
MDBA chairman Craig Knowles said
industries had been calling for the tempo-
rary trade of environmental water for at
least the past two years, in line with the
Commonwealth Water Act.
"I am delighted that the CEWH has decid-
ed to go down this path," Mr Knowles said.
"Far from this being a retrograde step for
the environment, temporary trade means
that water for the environment can be fully
valued and take its place for the first time in
Australia's history alongside other classes
Mr Knowles said environmental water
must take its place in a market-based system
in order to extract the highest and best envi-
"This move by the CEWH demonstrates
a further maturing of water management
in Australia and, importantly, gives people
more confidence to invest in the water market
with increased certainty around the CEWH's
activities," he said.
Parliamentary Secretary for the
Environment Simon Birmingham said the
framework outlines the requirements and
standards for Commonwealth activity in the
water market, allowing their water portfolio
to be used more effectively by better enabling
the targeting of environmental priority areas
from year to year.
"It is the governments expectation that
water trading should boost both environ-
mental outcomes and agricultural produc-
tion, providing a true win-win result," Mr
"Selling a portion of the annual water allo-
cations that the CEWH has determined are
not required to meet current environmental
requirements will open up a range of pos-
sibilities to invest the proceeds in strategic
annual purchases that enhance delivery of
the Murray Darling Basin Plan."
Mr Birmingham said the timing of the first
trade will have a significant benefit to the
"This will be good news for irrigators who
will be keen to secure more water during this
period of hot and dry weather," he said.
"While the Water Act outlines the circum-
stances in which the CEWH may decide to
trade, it does not provide any conditions as
to how that trade occurs."
Developed in consultation with stakehold-
ers and industry, the Trading Framework
closes that gap by providing protections to
other market participants, measures to mini-
mise impacts on the water market and steps
to address any potential CEWH access to
market sensitive information.
Strategies for snail control are in
the research spotlight, alongside an
expanded capacity to respond to other
pests in grains and broadacre crops.
The South Australian Research Development
Institute's (SARDI) entomology group is focus-
ing on improved management of snails and slugs
as part of a new three-year Grains Research and
Development Corporation project: Improving
management of Snails and Slugs.
Agriculture Minister Gail Gago said the $1.3
million project would look at new ways of tack-
ling the costly pests.
"After several wet years, and the trend towards
no-till and stubble retention, snails and slugs
continue to be a problem in South Australia,"
Ms Gago said.
"Since the drought ended, we've looked at
adding other controls to the management of
snails and slugs, such as increasing the efficency
of baiting and bait size, new control products,
cultural control tools, improved farming prac-
tices and non-chemical intervention such as
beneficial pests of snails."
While chemical pest control is the most com-
mon choice in the southern cropping region,
cultivation and burning are also needed to reduce
large, established populations.
Entomology leader Greg Baker said tracing
the origins of the four common snail species
in South Australia could help to identify native
natural enemies, such as parasitoid flies.
"The entomology group are also researching
other common pests in grain and broadacre crops,
including Diamondback moth, Mandalotus wee-
vil, and had expertise in a range of other pests
including Portuguese millipedes, Etiella, and
fruit fly," Mr Baker said.
Disease wipes an estimated $1.4 billion off the
value of Australian grains industry every year,
while invertebrate pests cost up to $360 million.
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