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The River News, Wednesday, August , 2014 - 5
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Another tight season in grapes?
As we come towards the end of pruning season, it is
not long and it will be time to be growing the next crop.
Given that it is likely to be another tight season in terms
of grape prices, how do you ensure that you maximize
yield and minimize inputs?
Correct choices critical
Some of the leading growers treat their soil like a bank
account. They take considerable note of the nutrients
deposited in the soil over the course of the season
ensuring they will have their "soil bank" ready for a
withdrawal when and if needed. Soil testing is like
analyzing your bank statement so you know what is
held in your soil bank, and is best done each year. It
is not too late to take a test if you haven't done so over
the winter, so you can then address the most limiting
Efficiency is important
Once you have a balanced fert program, incorporating
biological products can significantly enhance the
effect of fertilizers. The most important of these for soil
application are humates. Humate is the active part of
the organic carbon cycle in the soil. This is important
because our Riverland soils are naturally low in organic
carbon due to our climate & supplementing the soil
with humate makes sense. Humate will improve the
efficiency of applied nutrients, stimulate beneficial soil
biology, increase root mass and help to maintain soil
structure. These effects have been demonstrated in
numerous scientific trials worldwide. Improving these
aspects of soil health leads to increased yield when
used in conjunction with a suitable nutrition program.
Are all humates the same?
Beware, not every black gooey liquid contains humate!
In fact, many products on the market contain less than
12% humate. I prefer to work with K Humate, which
has been manufactured here in Australia for over 20
years. As a world leading product, it is independently
guaranteed to contain the 26% potassium humate
stated. K Humate will help make the most of your
soil resources. A well selected chemical fert program
combined with K Humate will help ensure good returns
for your efforts....
2014 HARVEST DATA
The Phylloxera and Grape Industry
Board of SA recently published the
results of the 2014 Winegrape Crush
As expected the survey revealed an
alarming decline in the price paid for
grapes of $57 per tonne average (17
per cent) across all varietes.
When expressed as average income
per hectare, the decline was restricted
to 7 per cent because of the increased
regional crush, up 10 per cent to
Despite unsustainable returns for the
majority of businesses, winegrowers
stll generated $127 million of regional
This does not include any value-add for
wine producton and packaging.
The Riverland vineyard footprint has
remained reasonably stable for more
than 10 years at just less than 21,000
The number of registered vineyards
in the region has declined by 29 over
the past 12 months. The table shown
provides summary data from the past
It is important to note that averages
can be misleading.
For instance, the table indicates the
average size of Riverland vineyards is
just over 20 hectares.
This is deceptve in the light of the very
high proporton of vineyards in the less
than 10 hectare category.
The 10-year rolling average regional
winegrape income (2000-09) was $205
million per annum.
This number has diminished to $149
million per annum for the 10 years
That represents an estmated decline
in regional income to winegrowers of
$550 million (total) over that period.
Riverland Wine is working with the
Phylloxera Board and other industry
agencies to improve the tmeliness,
content and accuracy of these surveys.
RIVERLAND WINE -- INDUSTRY INDICATORS 2000 - 2014
Locals sharing the fruits of their labour
to swap and sell will feature
at the next Waikerie
Markets thanks to a local
woman's plan to promote
fresh and healthy eating
and small local producers.
Loraine Summers gauged
interest for a fruit and
vegetable co-operative earlier
this year and hopes the next
market, on September 6, will be
the first opportunity for locals
to provide their produce for
sale or to swap.
"Eating fresh, eating
healthy and eating with
limited chemicals is the
point," she said. "I've been
thinking a co-operative is the
way to go.
"You've got your average
person who might only have
one or two plants in their
"They can't necessarily eat
it all themselves... so the idea
would be a venue for them
to bring maybe their half a
kilo of tomatoes and swap
them for some carrots if they
"We're not thinking along
the lines of big producers but
more for people with one or
two plants of whatever.
"It could even evolve into a
"For people who don't even
grow their own, for them to be
able to grow one or two things
if that's all they wanted."
Ms Summers said home
gardeners may also be able to
share knowledge with each
other through the co-operative.
"People might be able to
pass some seeds onto each
other, or swap some cuttings,"
"You could share
information and it's really
just about people co-operating
with other people with similar
ideas and similar needs."
Ms Summers said while
the co-op was growing slowly
in numbers she hoped once
locals could see produce for
sale at the markets they would
get on board.
She said anyone with
produce they are willing to
swap or sell is welcome to bring
it along on the day, preferably
For more information about
the home-grown co-operative,
contact Loraine Summers on
0407 256 673.
RIVERLANDERS have been
invited to submit feedback on a draft
long-term strategy for environmental
watering in the Murray-Darling
Once finalised, the strategy would
guide watering activities across the
basin to achieve the best environmental
outcomes possible, said Murray-Darling
Basin Authority (MDBA) spokeswoman
"It's through environmental watering
that we can restore the health of the basin
so it's running well from top to bottom,
and (be) best placed to survive drought
and support basin communities and
industries," she said.
"The strategy sets out what we want to
achieve for the basin in the long term, and
how we best achieve that, including how
governments, groups and communities
can work together to get the best results.
"The basin is a connected river system,
which means what happens in one part
"That's why it's important that we
have a clear vision that everyone can
work towards, so watering is not only
well co-ordinated across the basin, but is
also getting the most out of the available
Key outcomes identified in the
draft strategy are improved flows
and connectivity, vegetation, fish and
Ms Swirepik said all of these had
suffered as a result of how water is
captured, extracted and managed in the
basin, with each a good indicator of basin
The strategy will also guide
environmental waterholders and
managers across the basin with their
local planning and watering activities,
and when setting their environmental
watering priorities each year.
Ms Swirepik said intensive work over
the past year drew on the expertise of
scientific and technical experts for the
"Considerable effort has gone into
working with experts like ecologists,
river operators, hydrological modellers
and governments, including water
holders and managers, to determine the
right strategies to guide environmental
watering across the basin," she said.
"We're now at a point where we want
to hear the public's views on what's been
developed so far.
"In particular, we'd like to hear from
people who are familiar with the rivers
and or environmental watering activities
in the basin."
The Basin-wide Environmental
Watering Strategy is a key component
of work under the Basin Plan and will be
open for public comment from today until
the end of September.
All feedback will be closely considered
before the final strategy is completed and
published at the end of the year. Provide
feedback via the MDBA website at www.
MDBA will also host a community
update meeting at the Renmark Club on
Thursday, September 4 from 10am to 12
noon, before a panel session from 12.30pm
Staff from the Commonwealth
Environmental Water Office and the
Commonwealth Department of the
Environment will attend and answer
To register for the meeting, call 1800 230
067 or email: email@example.com
Water strategy draft out
RIVERLAND West residents still have
a few more days to enter their almond
blossom photos to win prizes.
Almond Board of Australia has sponsored
the competition, with five $500 cash prizes up
for grabs. Locals have until August 31 to send
their photos to firstname.lastname@example.org
with their full name, email and contact number.
Snap a blossom to win
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