Home' Grower : November 2011 Contents The South Australian Grower -- November 2011
fruit in season
By WENDY HELPS
THE Australian mango season strength-
ened last month with good supplies of
Kensington Pride mangoes from the
Northern Territory arriving at the mar-
The spring weather also showed signs
that the much anticipated Australian
stone fruit season was gathering momen-
tum with supplies of Queensland-grown
nectarines and peaches and Riverland-
grown cherries trickling in.
In upcoming weeks, there will be a
smorgasbord of Australian-grown stone
fruit lines on offer for the impending fes-
The first supplies of Qld-grown
Menindee seedless grapes were at the
market last month with United States-
grown varieties supporting supply until
the Australian season strengthens.
Western Australian strawberries contin-
ued their season as the Qld season wound
down. The first supplies of South
Australian-grown strawberries were also
seen on the market floor last month, with
the SA season gathering momentum in
approaching weeks. Completing the berry
sector, Australian-grown blueberries were
in good supply with lighter supplies of
Australian-grown raspberries also available.
An extensive range of SA-grown pome
fruits continued to be available, including
golden and red delicious, granny smith,
fuji, pink lady, royal gala and sundowner
apples. SA- grown beurre bosc, corella and
packham triumph pears completed the
Last month, there was an increased
supply of some vegetable lines such as:
Victorian-grown bunched green aspara-
gus, SA-grown continental, Lebanese and
green cucumbers, green zucchinis, cab-
bages, cauliflowers, bukchoy and Australian
broccoli. In stark contrast, SA-grown red
and gold capsicums, some varieties of
Australian-grown pumpkins, coupled
with fruit lines such as dark Qld-grown
passionfruit, limes, smoothleaf pineap-
ples, rock and honey dew melons, and
seedless watermelons, also shared a
shorter supply last month.
Some exotic fresh produce lines available
were: Vic-grown standard and baby fen-
nel, Vic-grown broad beans, Australian-
grown globe artichokes, Australian-grown
walnuts, SA-grown apple cucumbers, SA-
grown flat continental beans.
Details: If you would like further information on
the movement of fruit and vegetables or wish to
subscribe to the Price Reporting service, con-
tact price and produce reporter
Wendy Helps 08 8349 4493, 0419 814 948 or
By Richard Mulcahy,
AUSVEG chief executive officer
THE steady increase of imported fruit and
vegetables from overseas markets poses a
significant challenge to Australian horticultural
Recent figures have indicated that imports
have risen by 10 per cent since last year, and
if this trend continues, these industries --
including those in South Australia -- will be
severely affected in the foreseeable future.
Australian growers are faced with increased
production costs and are operating on slim
margins and South Australian growers would
be well aware of the effect that the high costs
of labour in this country can have on their
ability to compete with the imported produce
To safeguard the future of Australian
horticultural industries and stem the rapid growth
of imported produce, urgent action is needed to
generate more support for locally grown produce
and ensure the long-term viability of Australian
growers. What is particularly worrying, is that
much of Australia's imported produce is
coming from China.
This issue was highlighted recently in a
number of nationwide media reports, which
exposed the fact that various chemicals that are
banned here are being used on vegetables
grown in China and then imported into Australia
through New Zealand. This loophole is possible
because of trade arrangements between China
SA growers would undoubtedly agree that
our domestic farming standards are far
superior to those of many of our overseas
competitors, such as China. The stringent
quality control and testing procedures utilised
in Australia means that our produce is safe
and of a high quality. We cannot be so sure,
however, this is true of imported produce.
As an industry, we need to encourage
consumers to continue buying locally grown
produce, and not simply opting for the cheaper
imports. This includes emphasising the benefits
of buying Australian-grown fruit and vegetables,
which remains some of the freshest, safest and
highest quality produce in the world.
AUSVEG has strongly engaged with the media
recently to advocate for the further support and
protection of the Australian horticultural
industry. My colleagues in the AUSVEG
communications team have featured in a range
of news stories and current affairs segments in
the past few weeks, speaking on this issue.
This has included radio interviews, newspapers
articles and multiple appearances on the Today
Tonight and A Current Affair programs.
It is vital that we take the necessary steps to
ensure the long-term viability of the Australian
horticulture industry. By continuing our efforts
to support the nation's primary producers, we
can avoid Australia from becoming
unnecessarily reliant on imported produce.
There are a number of
different weed control
flame weeding, steam
weeding and registered
allowable sprays. Soil
cultivation is the most
employed for weed
control within the row.
Organic Weed Control:
Important strategies for
orchards and vineyards
By ADAM WILLSON*
WEED control in
and vineyards is one of the most
important management practices carried
out by the farmer.
Depending on the strategy and climatic
region, it sets the foundation for yield
potential and quality of fruit to be produced.
Failure to get on top of weeds leads to sig-
nificant yield losses of up to 80 per cent.
The best Australian organic and biody-
namic producers always come back to the
basics in one form or another: farm design,
choosing the best machinery, humus and
mineral rich nutrition, timeliness of opera-
tion and measurement of every activity.
Here are some of their tips:
Site preparation -- When selecting a site for
an orchard or vineyard, north-south orienta-
tion generally gives the best yields and quality.
This maximises light absorption by the
crop and inter-row pasture sward through-
out the year. While walking across the pad-
dock, farmers should initially take with
them a shovel or preferably a garden fork.
They should occasionally stop and exam-
ine the soil for compaction, obser ve where
the pasture is rich in white feeder roots and
where the problem weeds occur. Depending
on the state of the paddock, this should be
followed up with ripping or chisel plough-
ing to loosen up the compacted areas as
many weeds prefer compacted soils.
A soil test should be carried out to see
what nutrients are deficient in each soil type
across the farm. This is particularly impor-
tant as we push organic farming onto more
marginal soils in Australia.
I prefer farmers purchase a simple GPS
device (about $300) so that all future moni-
toring is done by themselves and comes from
the same soil sampling sites. Sample at a num-
ber of different sites across the same soil type.
Again, I prefer to use an old manual soil tube
(37-millimetre wide with a point width of
30mm to avoid problems in heavy clay soils).
Weed control -- The difficulty for many pro-
ducers entering organic production is control
of weeds during the early development phase.
There are a number of different methods
employed, which include soil cultivation,
mulching, flame weeding, steam weeding
and registered allowable sprays.
Soil cultivation is the most common
method employed for weed control within
the row. Here all plants are cultivated leav-
ing bare soil under the young plants.
Banded compost and nutrients can be
incorporated in each pass. It gives the
young plant an opportunity to grow with-
out competition and control certain insect
pests but does pose a risk of erosion.
Mulching is another method employed by
many producers. Here higher C:N ratio hay,
leaves or green waste is layered under the
plants providing a barrier against weeds.
Depending on the C:N ratio of the mulch,
this layer of protection can last from eight
months to many years.
Correct mulching -- Once the orchard or
vineyard is established, mulching with the
post/minerals/biology is an excellent way
to build a healthy ecosystem.
One method is to ensure that the inter-row
pasture sward is slashed at different heights to
protect the pollen source for the predators.
These nutritional and physical practices not
only reduce weed pressure but also provide an
ideal environment for the production of ben-
eficial soil compounds like amino acids and
vitamins -- the foundation of quality food.
*Adam Willson is the director of Soil Systems
This article was first published in
Australian Organic Producer Magazine,
Spring 2011 edition, by the Biological
Farmers of Australia.
Details: 07 3350 5716, firstname.lastname@example.org or
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Ph. 8535 4188
Fax. 8535 4271
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