Home' The Murray Pioneer : January 13th 2015 Contents www.murraypioneer.com.au Tuesday, January 13, 2015 NEWS 3
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PUBLIC swimming pools across
the Riverland have been full
of life, with local toddlers and
teenagers participating in the
Vacswim summer program that
Hundreds of children aged from
five to 12 have taken on the two-
week program at Renmark, Berri,
Loxton and Waikerie, between
January 5 and 13.
Renmark Vacswim instructor
Robin Smart said students in dif-
ferent levels have learnt swimming,
safety and rescue skills.
“Level two is all about water
discovery and the little ones have
learnt to really enjoy the water
by getting in, moving around and
being splashed,” she said.
“Levels one to seven is all about
stroke development, performing
rescues and survival in the water.
“It goes right up to ‘bronze
cross’ where they learn how to save
two to three people in the water at
Ms Smart said locals need to
understand the importance of water
safety, even with enrolment num-
bers remaining steady.
“We get families coming back
every year and you see the same
faces back every time,” she said.
“But if you look at the statis-
tics, there’s a really high number of
young children drowning.
“We live on the banks of the
Murray River so it’s really impor-
tant that children and parents are
confident and safe around water.”
About 12 students in the region
are expected to receive their
‘bronze award’ and become life-
Examinations will be held at the
Hayden Stoeckel Swimming Pool
in Berri tomorrow.
LAST week’s wet, hot and humid weather
put local grape growers on high alert for
downy mildew, but an industry expert
predicts Riverland crops will be largely
The disease – which has the potential to
cause bunch rot and significant crop loss –
flourishes in humid weather.
However, Riverland Wine business man-
ager Andrew Weeks said most local grow-
ers should manage to hold the disease off
“The conditions would have been ideal
for primary and secondary infections,” he
“Secondary is obviously not an issue
unless you already had an infection –
which not many people had. For downy to
become an economic loss you need at least
two other infections directly after that.
“Given that we are so close to harvest,
the chances of suffering a secondary infec-
tion for the disease to spread and cause
crop loss is pretty low.
“Your risk is increased if you have
sprinkler irrigation, because that tends to
increase the humidity in the vineyard.”
Mr Weeks said unless the stormy weath-
er remained consistent in the next few
weeks, chances of mass downy mildew
infection were “very low”.
“Most growers are being careful but
they are not alarmed,” he said.
“The initial infection of downy mildew
is usually a few spots on yellow leaves; if
it doesn’t spread, that’s all it becomes.
“It doesn’t usually create problems for
wine quality, unless you get problems like
defoliation, where fruit may be exposed
and burnt, or the berries themselves are
infected, or the bunch stems are infected.”
Mr Weeks said bunch rot was another
concern at the forefront of local growers’
minds in the humid weather.
“But hopefully most varieties haven’t
got enough sugar yet to create bunch rot,”
he said. “We’re far enough through the
season where downy isn’t a major concern,
but at the same time the grapes aren’t ripe
enough for bunch rot.”
However, yesterday morning Murray
Valley Wine Grape Growers chair Brian
Englefield told ABC radio that Sunraysia
growers were not as lucky as their
“This weather has encouraged a whole
lot of bunch rots,” he said.
“We’re hoping for clearing weather with
sun... it will be a substantial help.”
Downy mildew no downer
The Riverland’s Vacswim summer program ends today. Pictured during one of their lessons at the Renmark Swimming Centre yesterday were supervisors (back, from left) Kendall Jenner
and Naomi Sutton. Front: Alana Young, Emma Smith, Aliyah Gabell, and Olivia Tolley. PHOTO: Will Slee
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