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The South Australian Grower -- September 2009
Peak body urges exclusion
QUEENSLAND'S peak fruit and vegetable
farming lobby group, Growcom, has joined a
growing list of farm bodies urging the Federal
Government to exclude agriculture from the
proposed Carbon Pollution Reduction Scheme.
In a letter to Climate Change Minister Penny
Wong last month, Growcom argued that
horticultural businesses were very small
emitters of greenhouse gases, accounting for
only about 0.2 per cent of Australia's
emissions and including them in the CPRS had
the potential to increase the cost of food to
Australian consumers. Chief advocate Rachel
Mackenzie said the CPRS would add
substantial costs to horticultural farm
businesses, most of which were small,
without much return in reduced emissions.
"Since horticultural producers are price-
takers they would be unable to pass these
increased production costs down the supply
chain," she said.
Source: Food Week Online
THE chairman of South Australia's Fresh Fruit
Growers Association says SA growers are still
facing many challenges even though there
are opportunities for increasing exports. The
State Government released a report last
month saying the horticultural sector had
weathered the drought well and should take
advantage of international markets. But the
association's Dino Cerrachi says the industry
is burdened by the high costs of buying water
and the incoming changes to pay rates. "I
guess SA has always been well-placed when
it comes to exporting, but there's a lot of
other issues that we've got to take into
account," he said. "Export is never easy,
you've always got quality issues, there's a
long way, especially out on a boat, a lot of
things can go wrong, and you don't always
get what you think you're going to get."
Source: ABC News
Grower makes inroads with
smart horticulture practices
By RENEE DE CICCO
cherry growing identity
Kym Green is busy
preparing for next season --
pruning, planting new, improved
varieties, grafting trees, and above
all, hoping for a more successful
season than last year.
For Adelaide Hills cherry
growers, the 2008-09 season
was marred by a dry spring,
excessive December rain and a
heatwave in early February.
This combined to cause
massive crop losses throughout
Kym is a fifth-generation
grower at Lenswood in the
Adelaide Hills, where he grows
18 hectares of cherries and 18ha
of apples with his brother Peter
and three permanent workers.
Their business, Ellimatta
Orchards, owns three sites and
manages three others. It covers
eight main cherry varieties,
including Merchant, Stella,
Lapin and Simone, as well as
Galaxy Gala, Buckeye, Fuji, Red
Delicious, Granny Smith, Pink
Lady and Rosy Glow apples.
After the disastrous 2008-09
season, where Kym's cherry
production dropped 60pc, he is
hoping that his commitment to
good horticulture practices will
allow the trees to recover for a
Kym follows a stringent
pruning strategy, with a strong
focus on renewal pruning. Each
tree has about 20 upright
limbs, and the leaf to fruit ratio
is carefully balanced to ensure
trees produce big, firm fruit
which the market demands.
Trees are shaped in a way
that allows enough light to get
in, while good, heavy pruning
allows maximum nutrient
uptake. Pruners are trained to
work with the trees rather than
Kym is also pushing out or
replacing less favourable and
under-performing trees in the
lead-up to the new season.
"A lot of the trees were
planted 20 years ago and there's
better ones now -- they've been
superseded -- and as there are
more cherries in the marketplace,
consumers are more demanding,
which is a good thing," he said.
Kym says improving soil
health is also an essential
ingredient for top production.
"We are trying to build up
soil health and in that, build up
organic matter in particular, so
that our soil will hold more
water, both by irrigation and
rainfall," he said.
"And we certainly have made
some inroads over the past few
Kym says the notion that
healthy soils lead to plants that
are more tolerant to pest and
disease seems to be true at his
"This is probably the first
year that there's been a bloody
lot less pest presence and
damage than we have had in
other years," he said,
emphasising the connection
with improved soil health.
"We feel like we may be
turning a corner."
Composted chicken manure,
lime, fish emulsion, kelp and
humic acids are added to
Kym's soils, and he says these,
along with calcium sprays, have
helped strengthen the trees and
as a result, helped to extend
the shelf life of his cherries and
"We just try to improve our
orchard all the time," Kym said.
"You make things happen
rather than waiting for things to
happen. You review your last
season's performance. So when
you prune or change varieties you
look at where the weaknesses are,
and what you can change."
Details: Kym Green 0407 619 002
Focus on renewal pruning
Move to improve soil
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