Home' The River News : October 29th 2014 Contents www.rivernews.com.au
The River News, Wednesday, October 29, 2014 - 9
The first strategic plan,
prepared by Riverland growers
and winemakers, was released at
Riverland Wine's AGM on Monday,
The plan outlines the
organisation's mission and why
we exist -- to provide leadership,
resources and the co-ordination
necessary to drive a profitable,
dynamic and sustainable Riverland
wine industry for the beneﬁt of its
members and the community.
The organisation's vision
statement identiﬁes what we are
striving to become: the region that
responds to market demand and
can adapt quickly and competitively
to the changing preferences of
global wine consumers.
The five core themes of the
Leadership and engagement
Research, development and
Riverland Wine chair Brian
Walsh remarked that "although
there may be a collective sigh of
relief that the plan is ﬁnally done,
the real work still lies ahead of
RWGA chair Sheridan Alm
thanked all who contributed to the
plan, describing it as "the result
of input provided through grower
breakfast meetings, phone calls,
emails and consultations with the
broader community over a two-year
Copies of the document will be
mailed to all members before the
plan is released more widely on the
Riverland Wine website this week.
Further copies will be sent to
other industry organisations and
key politicians in coming weeks
to ensure that Riverland Wine is
making its mark where it counts.
AGMs AND COMMITTEE
The annual general meetings for
the Riverland Winegrape Growers
Association (RWGA) and Riverland
Wine Industry Development Council
(RWIDC) were held on Monday,
The results of the RWGA ballot
for the four vacancies on the
management committee were
A total of 667 votes were
recorded. Sheridan Alm, Stuart
Andrew and Ashley Ratcliff were
all re-appointed, with former RWGA
deputy chair Brett Proud also being
Thank you and congratulations
to all those who participated.
For those who were disappointed,
there will be four more vacancies
declared prior to next year's AGM,
and we hope that some may be
able to join Riverland Wine sub-
committees in the meantime.
This year's Riverland Wine and
Food Festival attracted around
2000 locals and visitors.
With 17 stallholders providing a
range of Riverland wine, food, beer,
cider and sangria, festival manager
Kelly Wright said the event went
A bigger site provided a
more comfortable and relaxed
atmosphere, with less congestion
for those at the event.
Riverland wine producers
reported business was brisk again
at this year's event.
"The increased area inside the
enclosure eased some of the crowd
pressure at the stalls," said Eric
Semmler from 919 Wines.
"The beautiful summer weather
certainly brought the crowd, and
the shady trees and marquees were
"We were very pleased with the
event; it was good for business."
There was a pronounced social
media element at this year's festival,
with the punters sharing photos
throughout the day on Instagram
Congratulations to this year's
event organisers, sponsors,
stallholders, volunteers and
contractors who partnered in
making the 2014 festival such a
The Riverland wine and food
communities can be justifiably
proud of this year's festival.
Riverland Wine hosted a group
of 11 visitors from Ireland, the
United Kingdom, France, Poland,
Finland and Norway earlier this
The Riverland was the last stop
as part of a 10-day visit to Australian
wine regions in Victoria and South
The group arrived late on the
evening of Thursday, October 16,
after visiting several other SA wine
They maintained a cracking
pace, kicking off with breakfast at
Banrock Station and a tour of the
boardwalk and wetlands.
Banrock's Christophe Tourenq
was a fantastic tour guide, with the
group very busy taking photos and
recording sounds of the wildlife.
This set the scene for a
wonderful experience for all of them.
After Banrock, they enjoyed
lunch at Salena Estate, where Mel
Kargas showcased a number of her
The group moved on to Angove
Family Winemakers for a tour of the
facility, including the distillery and
the micro-winery, where Angove's is
producing some truly magical wines.
The afternoon tour concluded at
Mallee Estate, where Jim Markeas
showed just what can be achieved
on the family farm through hard
work, ingenuity and a clear focus
on export markets.
The visitors were treated to
a river cruise just before sunset,
and the experience of a range
of artisan wines produced from
Riverland grapes, before dining at
the Renmark Golf and Country Club.
A range of Riverland alternative
wine varieties from Banrock Station,
Whistling Kite, Bassham Wines
and 919 Wines were served with
The visitors provided plenty of
feedback for the winemakers, so
it was a learning experience for all
On Saturday the tourists
returned to Mallee Estate for a
Greek-style breakfast prepared by
Jim and his family before being
introduced to three local pilots (John
Angove, Stuart Andrew and Richard
Smart) for a ﬂy-over of the region.
Group members rejoined their
tour bus at Waikerie before visiting
Illalangi, Oxford Landing then
lunch and a showcasing of Byrne
Vineyards's range of wines at Scott
Creek near Morgan.
The group returned to Waikerie
via Zac Caudo's riverside cellar door
at Hogwash Bend before ﬂying back
to Renmark, where they enjoyed a
'wine down' barbecue and ice-cold
beer from Wilkadene Brewery to
cap off a truly memorable visit to
The group departed early on the
Sunday morning for Adelaide Airport,
Europe and the UK.
Citrus Australia - SA Regional Wrap
INDUSTRY AT A GLANCE
The majority of the winter harvest has now
concluded, and the valencia season is under way.
Demand this year for our winter varieties
started strong both on the domestic and export
market, and continued throughout most of the
Price pressure occurred towards the end
on our late navel varieties, and this was mostly
due to South Africa entering our stronger Asian
markets, with around 4 million cartons of fruit
that historically have been sold into the European
Union due to black spot issues.
Japan remained the biggest purchaser of
our export fruit and, on the latest ﬁgures, South
Australia exported more than 40 per cent of our
citrus crop to this market.
Citrus remains the biggest fresh fruit
exported out of our state as well as nationally.
South Australian citrus is now exported to 32
destinations around the world.
This is due to the hard work our Riverland
exporters have put into marketing their products
over many years and building strong relationships
with our trading partners.
This work is complemented by CASAR,
along with Citrus Australia Ltd. They continue
to work together with the relevant government
departments to ensure these trading opportunities
remain strong and accessible.
It is important that citrus is well represented
when important negotiations such as free trade
agreements and market access are in progress.
A lot of time is also spent on negotiating
protocols into our existing export markets and
ensuring that biosecurity is a high priority to
ensure South Australia retains its fruit ﬂy free
Historical data shows the industry in 2001
had plantings of 2.6 million trees and an area of
7850ha, producing on average 180,000 tonnes
The South Australian citrus industry now has
around 400 growers, 6000ha and around 2.5
This year's crop estimate was set at 200,000
tonnes of citrus, with approximately 100,000
tonnes comprising early, winter and late navels
-- valencia plantings represent around 50,000
tonnes, followed by mandarins at around 30,000
This production makes the Riverland the
largest citrus-growing region in the country,
growing about a third of the national crop.
This is a great example of how much
productivity has increased in our industry through
continuous investment in new plantings and
technology over the years.
This year's crop will see a farm-gate value of
more than $90 million, and an estimated value
of $350 million to the state economy.
The industry also employs around 5000
permanent and seasonal workers annually.
These ﬁgures show how important the SA
citrus industry is to the prosperity of the Riverland,
which has grown citrus for more than 100 years,
and that it continues to be a key driver of the
state's regional economy.
While these figures indicate a stronger
position than what we experienced during the
'millennium drought', which saw many citrus
growers leave the industry, there are risks that
Water security and biosecurity are the most
important challenges that could prevent us as
an industry from growing marketable fruit and
remaining competitive in future.
Seasonal variations also play a key part in
our industry, with extreme weather events always
posing a risk.
It is important as growers that we employ
good orchard practices that ensure we continue
to grow a clean, marketable and balanced crop
in the coming seasons.
This will make it easier to sell our fruit for a
It is also important to liaise with your packer
throughout the year to better understand what
their market requirements are, as this will enable
growers to make the right decisions for their orchard.
GROWERS HEAD TO POLLS
Australian citrus growers will head to the
polls next week to decide on the level of levy
investment, as part of the National Citrus
Growers' Levy 2014 Ballot.
The ballot will commence at 9am AEDT
(Australian Eastern Daylight Time) on Wednesday,
October 29, and will remain open for one month.
The current level of investment can no longer
ﬁnd innovative solutions needed to progress all
the industry's R&D priorities --- such as market
access, fruit ﬂy, agrichemicals and biosecurity.
Citrus growers are urged to support this ballot,
as the future of our citrus industry relies on R&D
to meet the future challenges that our industry
is faced with.
For further information, visit: www.
Peak emergence of this pest in the Riverland
was expected last week.
Please refer to previous communications from
CASAR regarding the appropriate treatments.
For further information, please contact Sam
Rogers or the CASAR committee.
CASAR and the SA IDO Sam Rogers have
been working closely with the agribusiness
department of the SA Government on an industry
brochure as a part of their China strategy.
Once completed, this will be used by the
Government and industry as a tool to increase
trade with China.
CASAR, along with the other SA Fruit Fly
Action Group members met with Minister for
Agriculture Leon Bignell in Adelaide to discuss
this year’s fruit ﬂy program.
We continue to work closely with the Minister's
ofﬁce, along with Biosecurity SA.
CASAR also met with the minister to discuss
and support ideas for a citrus promotion for next
year's SA citrus season -- one which follows
on from the successful 'buy a local orange'
promotion we ran this year.
CASAR chair Con Poulos travelled to
Canberra in September and met with the
Department of Agriculture's plant export division,
as well as the market access division.
Discussions included this year's exports
and the implementation of numerous initiatives
for our growing export markets going forward.
These meetings followed on with direction from
Citrus Australia Ltd, which has been doing a lot
of work on these market strategies.
Con also met with advisers to the Federal
Minister for Agriculture Barnaby Joyce and
Minister for Trade Andrew Robb.
Similar discussions were held regarding the
citrus industry's export market priorities, and
also wide-ranging discussions on topics such as
national biosecurity, China's recognition of SA's
pest-free area status and, importantly, the China/
Australia free trade agreement that is currently
being negotiated by the Federal Government.
If you have questions about anything in this week's
column, or an issue that you would like discussed,
please contact the chair Con Poulos at saregion@
citrusaustralia.com.au, or Sam Rogers at sam.rogers@
citrusaustralia.com.au or on 0477 110 933.
ALMOST five years after many local
growers took Federal Government exit grants
-- and were made to rip crops out from their
properties -- Riverland farmers are being given
a shot at a new beginning.
In 2008 and 2009, local growers applied for the
Small Block Exit Grant, which was delivered on
several conditions -- including a ban on using the
land for irrigated crops for five years after taking
Leighton Pearce, of Riverland-based Growing
Solutions, said the five-year moratorium was
almost complete and it was time for growers to start
planning what to do with their land.
Mr Pearce, along with the Berri Barmera Local
Action Planning Committee, is running a program
that highlights the options available to those who
took the exit grant.
"Most people (who took the grants) will be able
to enter the irrigation market between late January
to February of next year," he said.
"So they're all starting to make those decisions
right now on what they're going to plant, if they're
going to plant."
Mr Pearce said the five-year moratorium's
upcoming expiration was a chance to get the region
looking vibrant again.
Growers interested in taking part in the program
should contact Mr Pearce on 0427 688 028.
LOWBANK'S Hamish, Tim, Savannah, Rebecca,
Isabella, Brian and Diane Paschke were recognised
for their hard work to local farming in a booklet
created by the Natural Resources South Australian
in local booklet
TWELVE farming families from the SA
Murray-Darling Basin have been recognised
for their hard work in a booklet launched at
Morgan on Sunday, October 12.
Celebrating Farming Families is a Natural
Resources South Australian Murray-Darling Basin
(SAMDB) project featuring the stories of farming
SAMDB Natural Resources Management (NRM)
board member Nick Bakkum said the publication
was part of International Year of Family Farming
"The vast majority of farms are family run, with
some passed on to the fifth or sixth generation,"
"The board asked industry groups, our NRM
groups and local farmers to nominate families they
thought stood out in their field.
"Families who continually learn and improve
their practices, produce high-quality food and fibre,
lead the way in managing their land sustainably,
and support their communities were chosen for
The booklet includes the Paschke and Schmidt
families, both of Lowbank, along with Renmark's
The final 12 families represent a broad range
of industries and are spread across the region --
from Burra, Robertstown, Waikerie and Renmark,
to Mount Compass, Langhorne Creek, Keyneton,
Lameroo and Pinnaroo.
The booklet will be distributed to farming
families, NRM groups and industry groups.
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