Home' Grower : September 2012 Contents The South Australian Grower -- September 2012
Utility costs the weak link
ONE major business within the fresh
fruit and vegetable marketing chain
in South Australia is facing a 21 per
cent increase in its utility costs,
This increase represents the carbon
tax adjustment, and the emissions
and renewal energy levy.
In 'dollars and cents' terms, this
works out to an increase of between
$300,000 and $400,000 for next year.
The reality is that these costs will
have to be passed onto those being
serviced by this business.
This will then be passed onto the
retailer who will have no choice but
to pass it on to the consumer
through higher charges for fruit and
Small and medium businesses
cannot absorb these outrageous
increases. If they try to do that, they
will ultimately join the hundreds of
others like them that have gone
bankrupt in the past 12 months.
Other primary production
businesses are facing similar
percentage increases in electricity
prices, particularly those who have
While the Federal Labor
Government has declared on-site
farming activities exempt from the
carbon tax, associated costs are not
In Queensland, industry
organisation GROWCOM indicated
that tariff increases could raise the
cost of night-time drip irrigation.
It said "growers who drip-feed
irrigate at night using Tariff 62 will
face a 10pc increase in the next 12
months, followed by a 62pc increase
when Tariff 62 is abolished next year
and growers are forced on to Tariff
22. Transition from Farming and
Irrigation Tariff 65, which is also
being abolished, to Tariff 22 will
increase the cost to farmers by 39pc
over two years. These increases are
in addition to those due to the carbon
price of approximately 10pc".
A Western Australian orchardist
predicted a 10pc to 11pc increase in
electricity price and said it was "just
another cost that we can't pass on
because of our inherent price-taking
"After being listed as a significant
greenhouse gas, refrigerant gas is
another cost which will go up by
400pc. It's one that has gone under
the radar and probably is equally bad
if not worse than electricity charges,"
the orchardist said.
"On our farm, we'll be looking at
about another $5000 a year
completed an analysis of
the impacts of the carbon
price on fruit and vegetable
This project, funded by
Horticulture Australia Limited,
included economic modelling of six
case-study farms to examine how
the carbon price will flow through the
supply chain and affect profitability.
This analysis found that the carbon
price will increase farm input costs
by about $5,000 to $42,000 a year in
2012, which equates to between
0.3pc and 0.8pc of gross farm
Given typically low profit margins of
most fruit and vegetable farms, these
cost increases represent a significant
reduction in farm profits.
These are but just a few examples
of outrageous charges to satisfy the
needs of poorly performing
governments around Australia, yet
Climate Change Minister Greg
Combet has been quoted saying "the
carbon tax portion is just a 10 per
cent rise, and farmers and wholesale
markets are being told scare
He says that, for example, there's
no tax on fuel for farms or wholesale
There's certainly none for light
commercial vehicles or household
vehicles, nor for heavy on-road
vehicles that will be hauling to the
markets, certainly not at least till
He's talking about fuel costs for
farmers. There's no carbon price
applied through there.
So there's all this hype and fear
around, but a fair few facts missing.
My understanding is that
registration fees for most heavy
vehicles and prime movers is about
to go up. This appears to be the
Department of Transport covering
their budget cuts with increased
I would encourage producers to
send examples of their cost
increases to the media so that a real
picture can be presented to our
From my perspective, the
outrageous utility costs for fruit,
vegetable and nut producers and
inaction by government and agencies
to constrain these costs gets an F.
My Perspective by
Small and medium
afford to absorb
Hive beetle buzz at
By MAX OPRAY
Photos: MIKE LAMOND
ASPEAKER at the South
Field Day held at
Gawler Racecourse last month
has warned apiarists of a new
threat to the local honey
New South Wales Department
of Primar y Industries apiculture
livestock officer Nick Annand
said the small hive beetle was a
The beetle hails from
Southern Africa and was first
detected in Australia more than
a decade ago. It has caused
havoc in Queensland, NSW and
to a lesser extent, Victoria.
As the beetle favours humid
conditions, South Australia was
unaffected because of its
traditionally dr y summers, but
recent wet weather has seen
some contamination near the
Victorian border, though in low
Mr Annand said the beetles
infested hives and laid their
cream-coloured lar vae, which
fed on pollen, bee brood and
honey, all the while infecting
the hive with Kodamea Ohmeri
-- a yeast that makes honey
ferment and ooze out of the
frames, in turn evicting the
"There are a range of devices
available for beetle
management," Mr Annand said.
Field day held after a long
Remove failing colonies
manager Frank King.
Kirsty Conry, Silverlock Packaging,
Gary Brown, SA BeeKeeping Supplies, Lewiston.
Annette Ferris, Buzz Honey, Dawsley.
Some of the equipment on display at the SA beekeepers field day.
Craig Dyer, Williamstown.
August 30-September 11
2012 Young Growers Study Tour,
China and Vietnam.
VGA Vic annual general meeting
Crowne Plaza Hotel, Spencer Street,
Eurofruit Congress Southern Hemisphere
Conference, NH Lord Charles Hotel,
Cape Town, South Africa.
Joint ASSSI and NZSSS Soil Science
Conference, Soil Solutions for Diverse
Landscapes, Wrest Point Hotel Casino,
May 2-3, 2013
VGA Vic National Vegetable Expo,
Details: firstname.lastname@example.org to register
your details or nominate someone else
who might be interested.
Links Archive August 2012 October 2012 Navigation Previous Page Next Page