Home' The Murray Pioneer : January 9th 2015 Contents A 20 CENT MIRACLE
WOULD BE GOOD
If the first week of 2015 is any-
thing to go by we are in for another
year of challenge.
Prolonged heat, the threat of
heavy rains, indications of hasten-
ing maturity and no indication
of price relief for the majority of
producers are the topics on most
A miracle solution would be an
immediate increase of 20 cents per
bottle of wine to the growers.
If that were to happen, the relief
would be immense, not just for
growers, as the regional economy
would also be boosted by roughly
It would greatly ease the gap
between despair and confidence.
It would put a spring back into the
step of the entire community.
There’s no doubt, the $80 mil-
lion would be well and truly spent,
many times over and over. The
regional economy would benefit
enormously, to say nothing of the
flow-on effects for the SA economy.
If any industry prophet had
foretold, 10 years ago, that 2015
wine grape prices would plunge to
be the meanest in almost four dec-
ades, there would not be much of a
Riverland wine industry left.
Thankfully there was no such
prophet and the Riverland wine
industry is still positioned to
be able to make the next Great
Escape! Back in 2005, as members
were about to experience drought
restrictions for the first time, there
was (blind) confidence that the
industry would pull through.
Hindsight now reveals how cru-
cial it is to get policy settings right.
The ‘accelerated depreciation’
policy of the mid 1990s that ran
rampant for almost 10 years has
had an impact, not just in the
Riverland but throughout the
industry. The ‘competition’ policies
that have enabled major retailers
to drive primary producers beyond
the point of being sustainable are
threatening regional economies.
We hear suggestions from some,
who should know better, that we
should ‘withhold supply’. It won’t
happen. Nor will the 20 cent mira-
The management committees
of Riverland Wine will meet next
week to try to develop a position
in relation to the policies that are
stifling progress towards that extra
20 cents in the bottle.
That would mean the return
to growers from a bottle of wine
would sky-rocket to about 46 cents!
When we stand back as a com-
munity and take a minute or two to
realise how much primary produc-
tion means to regional Australia,
it’s hard to imagine too many wine
consumers would begrudge such a
The national Wine Industry Code
of Conduct has been revised to
improve how winegrape price dis-
putes are resolved.
Developed jointly by the
Winemakers’ Federation of
Australia (WFA) and Wine Grape
Growers Australia (WGGA) in 2008,
the updated code comes into force
in time for the upcoming 2015
WFA chief executive Paul Evans
said disagreements arose in some
transactions between winemakers
and winegrape growers from time
to time and having disputation pro-
cedures in the code was a business
safeguard for both parties.
Mr Evans said disputes are inevi-
table but having a code of practice
with disputation process would
help parties resolve differences
without necessarily having to seek
expensive legal advice.
“Where disputes do occur, the
code aims to resolve them as quick-
ly and as amicably as possible and
for this reason it makes sense for all
wine companies to sign on to the
code if they haven’t already done
so,” Mr Evans commented.
As part of a wide-ranging review
of the code this year, the WFA and
WGGA have agreed to extend the
time when a dispute over final price
can be mutually resolved, from
14 to 60 days, during the harvest
period. WGGA executive director
Lawrie Stanford said this extension
would allow growers, during the
busy harvest period, to effectively
mount and resolve a dispute.
Mr Stanford said it was hoped all
disputes would be kept to a mini-
mum this vintage.
“In the main, disputes tend to
occur around winegrape prices
or specifications of winegrape
maturity, purity or condition,”
he said. “ This results in either a
price adjustment or rejection of
the winegrapes which can lead to
sometimes lengthy and expensive
An up-to-date copy of the code
is available at www.wineindustry-
NOW IS THE TIME TO
Determine the need for addi-
tional control options from this
Time is fast running out to find
solutions to potential problems,
with chemical withholding periods
closing rapidly with the onset of
How did you fare with the
recent weather events? Consult
the CropWatch message issued on
January 6 for more information
of disease risk from wet weather
events at this time of year.
Sustained rainfall and leaf wet-
ness can lead to various disease
concerns and strategies must be
employed to determine if treat-
ment may be necessary.
There are various factsheets
that have been written about each
disease, its lifecycles, potential for
crop loss and treatment options.
Visit the AGWA website for more
Continue to rigorously monitor
your vineyards. Stick your head into
the canopies and have a look and a
sniff to find out what is going on.
If something doesn’t look or
smell right, or if you are unsure,
contact someone who might be
able to help you determine if there
is a problem.
Winery staff will help growers
produce clean fruit at harvest. It
makes better wine. Don’t hesitate
to ask your GLO or other advisers
if you do not have a GLO. Risk of
crop loss must be weighed against
the ability to use various control
options and the cost of using them.
If you think you do not need to
spray any more, be kind to your
equipment and give it a thorough
clean out, wash down and protec-
tive coating (both inside and out)
before you put it into the shed.
A bit of TLC will help you look
after your significant investment in
this crucial piece of equipment.
Now is also the time to... keep
an eye on the weather forecast.
Water vines up to help them sur-
vive heat events, but be prepared
to wind them back down again with
cooler weather. Excessive water
in cooler conditions may lead to
reinvigoration of vine canopies with
new, fresh growth becoming appar-
ent, usually something to avoid at
this time of year.
Are you ready for harvest? Have
you liaised with your harvesters
and carriers? Are your tractors,
forklifts, trailers and loading bays all
ready? Preventative maintenance
helps keep things moving when you
are under the pressure to harvest
in a hurry!
Growers who would like to
receive CropWatch can contact
Riverland Wine by phone
8584 5816 or email (admin@
12 COUNTRYSIDE www.murraypioneer.com.au Friday, January 9, 2015
CITRUS TECHNICAL 2015 – MARCH
Citrus growers and packers will have the opportu-
nity to discover the next big thing in technology and
gain an insight into current research projects at Citrus
The two-day event, run by Citrus Australia, will
be a mix of sit-down presentations, workshops and
orchard demonstrations aimed specifically at growers
and packers. Citrus Australia’s market development
manager Andrew Harty said the event will provide
growers and packers with a glimpse into future tech-
nologies and provide a platform for researchers to
showcase their work.
“New technology is the lifeblood of any primary
industry, and the citrus industry is no exception,” he
“Unless we continue to invest in better ways to
grow, pack and market our products to the world, we
will get left behind.
“ The format of the event will encourage growers
to participate in a setting they feel comfortable in.
The forum will also include displays of new equip-
ment, products and services by commercial compa-
nies and provide a great opportunity to network. A
forum specifically for the packing sector will cover
new post-harvest technology and practices.”
The event will take place at the Mildura Arts
Centre. It is planned for the event to become a fixture
on the citrus industry calendar and for it to comple-
ment Citrus Australia’s Market Outlook Forum, held
every other year.
The forum is expected to attract 300 plus citrus
industry representatives eager to learn, meet and
network with like-minded people. The attendees
will include growers, packers, marketers, exporters,
researchers, government representatives, commercial
providers and regional associations.
Register attendance now at: http://www.mil-
Various sponsorship opportunities for the event
are available, including exhibitor space for those
looking to establish or promote their company pro-
file, launch a new product or service, network and
develop new partnerships, or join delegates on the
field trip events. Interested in sponsoring this event?
Download the proposal from: www.citrusaustralia.
Your local CASAR committee will be sponsoring a
coach to this event. We invite all South Australian cit-
rus growers and packers to join us – please contact SA
Citrus IDO Sam Rogers for details 0477 110 933
NATIONAL TREE CENSUS/KOREA,
CHINA, THAILAND AND TAIWAN
CITRUS EXPORT PROGRAMS 2015
Applications are now open for growers to
nominate orchards/blocks for export to Korea, China,
Thailand and Taiwan in the 2015 season.
The first step in the process will be for growers
to complete a tree census form with Citrus Australia
and to nominate blocks for export to Korea, China,
Thailand and Taiwan (KCTT).
The new online system that links the KCTT pro-
gram with the national tree census has been imple-
mented as a result of difficulties experienced in previ-
ous seasons. The system will:
Provide an earlier start to the export season.
Streamline the application process.
Remove the duplication that occurs from year
to year with the current paper-based system.
Provide real-time information on the status of
applications and audit outcomes.
How to enter the KCTT export program:
Complete the national tree census and indicate
your interest in the program. If you are unsure how to
do this contact firstname.lastname@example.org .au .
You will be given a user name and password to enter
the electronic system. Please retain those details.
After you complete the tree census, you will
receive an email asking which blocks you would like
to nominate for the program.
Re-enter the system with your user name and pass-
word. Nominate blocks, export markets and packing-
house(s). This step must be completed by growers by
January 31, 2015. Your packing-house will receive an
email advising that you have nominated them as your
packer. Your packing house will now have access to
the system and will manage the application from this
For packing houses
Packing houses for KCTT and Japan export markets
must register with Citrus Australia, contactregistra-
email@example.com .au for a registration form.
Packing houses must have all blocks surveyed by a
registered crop monitor between February 1 and 28.
Registered crop monitors must send the official sur-
vey report to packing houses by February 28. Packing
houses must upload the official survey report into the
system by March 3.
Packing houses must upload an orchard map into the
system by March 3.
Packing houses must sign an electronic declara-
tion (in the system) that orchards have met quaran-
tine requirements by March 3.
Your application is now complete and packing-
houses will receive confirmation by email.
The Department of Agriculture will contact
packing-houses to audit some of the orchards/blocks
being nominated for export. Once audits are com-
plete, packing-houses will be notified of the progress
of applications by the Department of Agriculture.
KEY ELEMENTS OF NUTRITION FOR
FRUIT SIZE (JANUARY-APRIL)
Nitrogen is important, apply 25 per cent of
annual requirement (adjust for crop load) throughout
this period; High levels of nitrogen delay maturity;
Ensure adequate nitrogen levels for carbohy-
drate reserves for next seasons flower initiation in
Potassium is also important, apply 30 per cent
of annual requirement after final fruit drop stage in
Maintain good nitrogen: potassium ratios (2≈1).
Potassium: Potassium should be applied during
January and February after the final fruit drop stage.
However, too much or too little potassium will inhibit
calcium uptake therefore increasing the likelihood
of albedo breakdown. Aim for leaf levels of 1.0 - per
cent-1 .5 per cent. The higher the nitrogen levels are,
the higher the potassium levels should be, to ensure
that good N: K (2≈1) ratios are achieved. Potassium
sprays should occur in December, January, and
February (3 per cent potassium nitrate depending on
historical leaf-K levels). Potassium is especially impor-
tant from February onwards.
Nitrogen: Aim to provide 25 per cent of the
annual nitrogen requirements. If you are broadcast-
ing apply as a single dose in January. If you are using
fertigation apply at monthly intervals from January
through to April. It is important to be careful at this
stage for those varieties which you wish to harvest
early, as high nitrogen levels will delay maturity.
Applications should always be based on leaf analysis
and leaf colour.
Additional: Research from California shows that
foliar sprays of potassium phosphite in November and
January significantly improved fruit size even at opti-
mum phosphorous and potassium leaf levels.
South African growers use foliar sprays of MAP
(0.5 per cent) and potassium nitrate (3-4 per cent) in
November and January to provide phosphorous and
potassium when demand is high.
Citrus Australia - SA Regional Wrap
THE Riverland’s Jeff McDonald was a guest
speaker at a recent national wine grape growers’
seminar, with the themes ‘survival’ and ‘innovation’
Mr McDonald, from Collaborative Farming
Australia (CFA), presented on reducing the cost of
primary production at the event, which was con-
ducted by Wine Grape Growers Australia.
He presented a case study that highlighted the
effectiveness of a business model in the wine grape
“The CFA model emphasises the role of scale
in achieving lower costs by individual businesses
combining operations,” said an association spokes-
“Also, employing people with specialist skill sets
the individual business operator might be expected
to be across, and including independent thinking in
the business’ decision-making processes.
“Prime importance, however, was put on the role
of emotion and personalities of the business owners,
given collaboration between people is central to the
“The wrong emotional or personality characteris-
tics may preclude some people from success in this
type of model.”
Mr McDonald’s seminar presentation, along with
other guest speakers’, can be viewed on the website
Wine growers must
innovate to survive
RIVERLAND orange growers have the opportunity
to expand their export opportunities in South Korea,
after tariff cuts were passed last month thanks to the
Korea-Australia Free Trade Agreement (KAFTA).
Citrus Australia chief executive officer Judith
Damiani said the reductions – which includes a
tariff drop in oranges from 50 to 30 per cent – took
effect on January 1.
“Trade to South Korea has been erratic in the
past 10 years, with exporters having faced serious
competitive pressures from other trading nations,”
“The tariff reduction means we can offer a more
competitive price point which will help expand
Australia’s trade into South Korea.
“It’s really important that our industry, particu-
larly our exporters, take a fresh look at the opportu-
nities in South Korea now that tariffs have reduced.”
Ms Damiani said Australian growers could also
benefit from South Korea’s sophisticated retail sec-
“Retailers focus on providing their customers
with high brix products, which essentially means
sweeter citrus products,” she said.
“While the United States has led the way in
developing high brix programs in South Korea,
Australian citrus is catching up and we now have
similar technology that has already proved success-
ful in Japan.”
Changes to tariffs has given local citrus growers
more opportunities to expand their exports to
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