Home' Grower : June 2010 Contents IWAS really pleased that we were starting to get
some common sense into the marketing of fresh
Last week, I took a copy of the article I wrote on
the subject up to Michael, who is my local Drake
He commented that it was a good article, but said
they no longer had the Nippy's premium product.
Nippy's had told them that the Riverland area
couldn't maintain a reliable supply of fresh fruit,
so they had reverted to using concentrate.
Drakes was determined to maintain a supply of the
fresh product so it went to Griffith for their product.
This whole concept really blew me away and I
found it very hard to believe, so I headed up the
Riverland to find out what was going on.
To drive through that country now is enough to
make you cry, with empty sand-eroded blocks and
citrus and grapes piled up everywhere to be burnt.
The Riverland used to have a valencia crop of
about 180,000 tonnes. This year, it was down to
50,000t and, because of a heatwave last October,
estimates are down to 40,000t next year.
This is because of a lack of water, poor farmgate
prices and -- in my mind - industrial greed and
lack of governmental interest. Our Riverland area
was once a showpiece to the world of our
varieties, irrigation techniques, quality and grower
pride. Now it is struggling to survive.
I can't understand why Nippy's couldn't source
fresh fruit. There are between 3000t and 6000t of
unsold valencia sitting on trees around the
Riverland and the navel crop is now ready. Navel
oranges and valencia can be combined and the
juice still beats the imported gunk by a mile.
I stumbled onto another interesting concept that
caught my attention. It is prolonging the life of
fresh juice by the use of aseptic bag storage. The
juice is pasteurised and then stored in plastic
bags for six to 12 months.
I am told that there is a colour change but the
end product certainly tastes a lot better than
I am not sure if this concept is good or bad. Is it a
way to get around the proposed new labelling laws?
Will it allow producers to screw growers with lower
farmgate prices rather than pay market value price?
Will it allow producers to turn their back on local
growers and buy from the eastern markets?
I spoke to George Polymiadis, from Poly's Fruit
Juices at Loxton. The family company is dedicated
to supplying only fresh juice to the market. It
started crushing fruit to value-add to its product,
but the demand grew so fast it is now becoming
an important outlet for local growers.
But because of government indecision and the
local area's instability, Poly's is nervous about
expanding. George told me the company is
developing varieties of valencia that will produce
during the winter.
Once that is achieved, it can operate all year
I am told that the total Australian juice market
requires an annual valencia crop of about 600,000t
of fruit. The Riverland was a very important part of
that scenario but now it is pulling out trees.
Why? If it is lack of water how is it that growers
The South Australian Grower -- June 2010
CUT AND DRY: A drive through the Riverland is enough to make you cry, with empty sand-
eroded blocks and citrus and grapes piled up everywhere to be burnt.
with WALLY SPARROW
Potato growers fear disease
A potato disease that has reached New
Zealand is causing concern for Australian
Zebra chip is a disease that alters the sugar
levels in the potato. The sugar caramelises and
turns the chip brown when it is fried, giving it
an off taste and burnt appearance.
Outbreaks of zebra chip have caused millions
of dollars in losses to the potato industries of
the United States and Mexico, and Australian
growers fear it could cross the Tasman.
Rod Turner, from Plant Health Australia, is
urging all growers to be on the lookout for
affected tubers. "We'd rather have some false
reports than let this disease get a foothold in
our country," he said. South Australian potato
farmer, Rocco Musolino, has been growing
spuds for 25 years.
He says products from New Zealand, which can
transport the disease should be immediately
banned from entering Australia.
"Most of the diseases that we do experience in
potatoes are controllable. In this case it's not,
so why have measures in place to inspect it?
Common sense is ban it, fix it up in your own
backyard and then we'll look at it," he said.
Sorce: ABC Rural
Navel orange crop turnaround
The 2010 South Australian navel orange crop
seems to be on track to deliver one of its
highest quality crops with excellent advanced
maturity and record fruit size helping alleviate
earlier concerns of a poor crop.
"Early indications are that the crop is likely to
settle at around 51,000 tonnes which is in the
earlier predicted range of 50,000 tonnes to
55,000t," said chairman of the South Australian
Citrus Industry Development Board Crop
Estimates Committee, Kym Thiel. "Orange
consumers are already the big winners
because the lighter than normal navel orange
harvest has already shown that the fruit is full
of sugar, has excellent size and is relatively
free from blemish. Packout's, or the amount of
fruit available for fresh market, has
dramatically increased per tonne from last
year." The split between winter and summer
navels is expected to be 40,000 tonnes of early,
winter navels and just 11,000 tonnes of
summer navels. The valencia crop is down and
will produce a record low crop of around 35-
40,000t. Lemons are down significantly, as
expected, with only 3000t estimated while
other varieties did not fair too badly.
Building Aussie apple brand
The apple industry is launching a major
advertising blitz to get people eating more
Australian apples. The promotional campaign,
which kicks off this Sunday, will cost about $2
Horticulture Australia says the marketing
campaign will be the biggest ever to boost
loyalty for locally-grown apples. Spokeswoman
Michelle Toft says it comes as growers face
the prospect of competition from imported
"Australians only eat about 1.2 apples each a
week. We want to get them eating an apple a
day and build our Aussie brand," she says.
"We want to engage with Australian
consumers and tell them where apples are
grown and share a few stories about our
Sorce: ABC RURAL
SA veggie grower fined
A major potato and onion grower in South
Australia's Riverland has been convicted of
clearing 244 hectares of vegetation that was
under heritage agreement. The Adelaide
Magistrates Court fined Ariver Run Proprietry
Limited and the director of the company John
Mitolo $244,000, plus costs. The vegetation
was significant and housed a number of native
bird species which were diminishing in the
area. Dennis Mutton, from the Native
Vegetation Council, says only about 27 per cent
of the original native vegetation in the
Murraylands area is left.
"There's certainly a group of bird species,
particularly, that rely on this type of vegetation
for their survival, including some that are now
considered of national significance, such as
the black-eared miner and the regent parrot,"
he said. "It's not an insignificant piece of
vegetation in any shape or form."
Source: ABC Rural
in NSW have all the water they want and, I
believe, the NSW government is still issuing
licences. Where is all the water that we were
going to get as a result of the floods in
Queensland and NSW? I think it is still up there --
am I wrong? I am sure that it is the increased
product in NSW that prompted Berri Fruit Juices to
close down and move over there, rather than
truck raw materials to Berri.
Did our highly paid public servants not see this
Another issue that has me fuming is the
proposed 40pc compulsory water buy back to
preserve the environment. Water licences in this
State were capped in the 1970s and, in Victoria, in
the 90s. Queensland and NSW write their own
rules and allocate as they see fit.
If SA has tried so hard to become water efficient
and survive why should it be penalised while
Queensland and NSW go their own merry way?
There must be a fairer way to allocate this
imposition than to kick us while we are on our
If you want to contact me you can on
email@example.com or 0419 591 894.
Bleak tales from Riverland
RURAL MERCHANDISE TRADERS PTY LTD
FREECALL 1800 833 335
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