Home' Grower : March 2010 Contents The South Australian Grower -- March 2010 7
Water costs hurt SA growers
THE Citrus Growers of South Australia has written
to the River Murray and Water Security Minister
Karlene Maywald asking for compensation to help
growers deal with low water allocations.
Chairman Mark Chown said the state's growers
are competing with irrigators in New South Wales
who are on close to full water allocations,
meaning they do not have the added cost of
buying extra water on the market. He said the
State Government should provide financial
assistance to prevent SA from falling behind.
"There should be some consideration by our State
Government, or in conjunction with the Federal
Government, to consider the cost burden to those
growers currently on 48 per cent," he said.
"We're a crop that requires water 12 months of
the year. We understand, of course, that there are
limits on the availability of water but when it
comes to actually exporting our product out of the
country, we are competing with interstate
growers who have either very close, or if not,
100pc water allocation, so while we're in a
drought situation there should be consideration
given to some compensation."
Source: ABC News
Carbendazim use restricted
THE Australian Pesticides and Veterinary
Medicines Authority has restricted the use of the
fungicide carbendazim after it was found that
maximum residue limits set for some food crops
and turf may not meet new health standards.
Carbendazim is no longer approved for use on
crops including grapes, melons, cucumbers, citrus
fruits, custard apples, mangoes, pome fruits and
stone fruits. The decision is not expected to lead
to any supply issues for horticulturists who
currently use the chemical on approved crops.
Carbendazim products can still be supplied by the
manufacturer if additional APVMA-approved
instructions are attached.
Jim Belehris has been particularly impressed with the consistency of
tree growth and crop yield of his almonds since he started using Bio-
Switch to humates
brings big gains
MOVING away from
has helped Cooltong
almond grower Jim Belehris
improve the yield and quality of
Frustrated by a lack of results
with traditional products, Jim
began searching for a more
way to bring out the best in his
He began using animal
manure composts blended with
biologically-active brown coal
bio-humate from Bio-Tech
Organics, and was immediately
impressed by the results.
"I had to switch because I'm
a self-marketer of everything I
do and I needed to have quality
levels up and above everybody
else's to be a real player in the
marketplace," he said.
"I use far less fungicides now,
and now we use no pesticides."
Jim has found that using
humates and other natural
products has lifted yields while
improving the colour, taste and
crispness of his end product.
Applying bio-humates has also
increased the water retention of
his soil -- a critical factor during
times of low water allocations in
recent years. Pests, diseases and
other production issues have
also been reduced.
"You balance up ever ything
in the soil, which balances up
everything in the tree and a bit
like us, if you have a balanced
diet and a little bit of exercise in
there you're going to be far
healthier and happier," Jim said.
Using bio-humates has also
been easier on the farm budget
than solely focusing on using
"The amount of input you'd
have to put in with synthetics to
actually beat what Bio-Tech's
products do is huge," Jim said.
"To give you some sort of an
idea, on a 40-hectare property
that we've got here I had a look
at a synthetic product that the
Almond Board had put together
and it was going to cost me
somewhere in the vicinity of
$100,000 in fertilisers where
with Bio-Tech's products we did
it with about $30,000."
Jim grows 10,000 almond
trees on his 40.5ha at
Cooltong, north of Renmark.
The natural products have
helped give 4000 12-year-old
trees a new vigour, while
applying Ferbon OF10 to a
further 6000 trees at planting
five years ago ensured even
growth across the property.
Ferbon bio-humate OF10 is a
powdered blend of denatured,
oxidised agricultural brown
coal, hydrolised with semi-
dormant micro-organisms and
mixed with natural proteins,
chelated minerals, manures and
ocean supplements. It improves
soil texture and lifts nutrient
uptake by plant root systems.
Synthetic products have not
been completely removed from
Jim's fertiliser regime, but the
way synthetic products such as
Urea are applied has changed.
Reducing the amount of Urea
applied and adding humates
helps stabilise the ammonia,
keeping it in the soil longer and
increasing its effectiveness.
Taste, crispness lifted
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