Home' Grower : April 2012 Contents The South Australian Grower -- April 2012
PREMIER Jay Weatherill out-
Government's 'new vision'
for South Australia on February
14 but in reality, it was nothing
more than a regurgitation of old
policies, many of which have
Most disappointing, when all
South Australians -- particularly
those in the SA horticultural indus-
try -- were looking for an exciting
and vibrant vision.
Over the decades, we have seen
no substance in the concepts
rolled-out. I have dozens of gov-
ernment reports going back four
decades and more in my library
and they have these same old
One of the seven pillars of the
'new vision' is 'clean, green food'
but what does it mean?
The theme of 'clean, green' is out-
dated. All resources thrown
towards utilising this theme as a
marketing tool have not added one
extra dollar into a grower's busi-
I read with interest about the
pear industry that has 'clean-
green' practices -- it is receiving
1970s prices in 2012!
Another new-vision pillar is to
'protect iconic SA food produc-
tion districts such as the Barossa
and McLaren Vale'.
This concept is hardly new and
all past and current endeavours to
protect the two wine-producing
regions have been monumental
While I love their wine, there are
other important food-producing
regions in need of urgent mainte-
nance and support.
What about protecting produc-
tion districts such as the Adelaide
Hills, Northern Adelaide Plains and
the South East? They don't seem to
cover even two pages in The 30-
Year Plan for Greater Adelaide.
I, for one, will be watching with
interest how the Adelaide Hills
Council goes about establishing
programs to protect primary pro-
duction land for its long-term use
as a 'food bowl'.
While focusing on a 'vibrant city',
seems the Premier forgot about
the rest of rural South Australia
and its many important rural cities.
Reality is that r ural SA 'feeds
and clothes' the city and by pro-
moting vibrant and viable region-
al areas, the city of Adelaide will
Affordable housing is another pil-
lar, yet the cost of housing will con-
tinue to escalate as a result of inept
policies such as the sale of forestry
rotations within the South East.
Mr Premier, I would encourage
you to throw out the South
Australia Strategic Plan and the
30 Year Plan for Greater Adelaide,
reconnect with grassroots busi-
nesses and primary producers, and
plan for a 'real' vision.
Now that will be a vision we can
By JEANETTE CHAPMAN
HortEx continues to support the
Northern Adelaide Plains horticulture
region by accessing funding to help
deliver four exciting new projects.
The Sustainable Industry Grant
Scheme aims to support primary
industry managed projects which
address issues affecting the
sustainable use of natural resources
within the Adelaide and Mount Lofty
NRM Board region.
The grant scheme is providing funding
to deliver the following integrated pest
A different approach to
Project: Facilitating the use of
integrated pest management practices
in farming systems.
This will demonstrate sustainable pest
management in eight greenhouse
production systems. Growers will get a
lowdown on how to manage farm
weeds, native vegetation plantings and
soil organic carbon to support
beneficial insects and help crops build
their natural resilience. This will be
supplemented by the planned release
of commercially bred natural enemies
-- the good bugs -- that combat pest
insects. Several open field days will be
held in the next few months to help
growers reduce reliance on chemical
sprays by promoting other ways of
managing pest insects.
Details: Tony Burfield
Put on your technology
Project: Using innovative technology
to facilitate integrated pest and natural
resource management practices in
This will show growers how to identify
pests by using the inexpensive USB
hand-held Dino-Lite digital microscope
These units are easy to use and offer
an innovative way for growers to
visualise insect pests by displaying
digital images. This project will
increase hands-on pest management
skills and help growers reduce the
frequency of pesticide use, improve
spray practices and understand spray
resistance management. Workshops
will demonstrate ways to use these
Details: Glenys Wood
No waste, no pest
Project: Vector and disease
management in the NAP through
This will help growers use better
waste management practices and
teach them how to achieve this cost-
effectively. Improved management of
waste, including a variety of organic
wastes as well as plastics, metals and
some hazardous chemicals put out in
the process of horticultural production,
is a recognised priority for the region.
Appropriate management of waste
streams can prevent the diseases and
pests that can be allowed to breed on
properties where wastes are
stockpiled, a common practice
throughout the NAP. A combination of
presentations to groups of growers
and supply of supporting information
will help achieve better waste
management. Caring for Our Country
continues to support growers and the
NAP through funding projects
managed by HortEx.
Details: Brian Johnston
Groups make their
Project: Empowering growers to adopt
sustainable resource management
This project will continue to facilitate
the development of grower groups as
conduits for information-sharing and
promotion of best-practice strategies.
Grower practices that impact on the
sustainable use of soils are
widespread in the region.
High salinity levels in regional water
supplies and lack of understanding of
irrigation practices can adversely
impact soils and contribute to rising
water tables. Tools to address these
issues are well developed and good
practices identified. Grower groups
can increase the adoption of good
practices through communication,
knowledge acquisition and
Details: Trevor Linke or Tony Burfield
firstname.lastname@example.org or hortexal-
Northern Adelaide Plains
get pest management grant New vision labours a point
How about a vision to protect 'other' production districts such as the
Distortion of GMO facts needs correction
By ANDRE LEU
THERE is a massive push for the
widespread introduction of genetically
modified organisms on the pretext that
they are needed to feed the world.
The fact is that hunger was
decreasing until 1996, the year that
GMOs were first introduced into
commercial production. Since that
time, the rise in hunger around the
world mirrors the increase in
production of GMOs.
This push for increased GMO
production for food is taking place
despite good science showing that
there are significant adverse health and
environmental effects from GMOs.
GMO's were prohibited by the
organic sector because of the use of
the precautionary principle. This
concern about artificially transferring
genes between, kingdoms and
species in a way that has never
occurred naturally is now being
validated by a large body of science.
GMO protagonists promote the
image that they are only speeding up
the natural cross-breeding processes
used by farmers and breeders for
millennia by inserting the new gene
with the desired trait directly into the
This distortion of facts needs to be
corrected. One critical issue is that
multiple genes are being transferred
across kingdoms and species such as
bacteria, viruses, plants and animals
in ways that do not occur by natural
The other misconception is that
researchers are only inserting one
new gene. At this stage, science is not
sophisticated enough to insert a single
gene and get it to work. To overcome
this problem, scientists have to
combine the gene with the desired
trait (such as herbicide tolerance or
pesticide production) with other genes
that will make it work.
The problem with these approaches,
and many others used in the process,
is that the researchers do not know if
genes have been inserted into a
chromosome and if they have been
inserted, they do not know where the
new genes have landed in any of the
chromosomes and if they will work.
When foreign DNA is inserted into
organisms, three things usually happen.
The most common one is that the
foreign DNA is digested to provide
energy and building blocks for the
cell. It can also be rejected.
The other response is to close over
the foreign DNA and deactivate it.
The host organism defends itself by
getting rid of the foreign material. When
organisms detect foreign DNA, a whole
range of responses, collectively known
as the immune system, can be activated
to repel or destroy the invaders.
When foreign genes are
shot/infected into a cell, they tend to
be digested, rejected or closed over.
Either way, this means that the target
organism will not have the desired
trait from the new gene.
To overcome this, genetic scientists
build a construction with a section of
the cauliflower mosaic virus. This
virus gives the signal that activates or
promotes the new gene. It ensures
that the gene is active so that its
desired trait, like herbicide resistance,
works in the new plant.
Andre Leu is chairman, Organic
Federation of Australia.
MYPOLONGA S.A. 5254
Ph. 8535 4188
Fax. 8535 4271
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