Home' Grower : November 2012 Contents The South Australian Grower -- November 2012
Horticulture braces for
By MAX OPRAY
THE unusually wet summer and dry
winter this year could be a sign of
things to come, according to Bureau
of Meteorology manager of climate moni-
toring and prediction David Jones.
He said climate change could force local
growers to contend with increasingly trop-
ical weather patterns.
"We've had exceptionally high rainfall
during the summer part of the year --
which is a bit odd -- with significant flood
events in large parts of the countr y in
March," he said.
"But it's been dry since April, particular-
ly the August-October period, which was
one of the driest on record."
Dr Jones said the changes were part of a
long-term pattern, not just in rainfall but
"We've seen over the last 5 to 10 decades
a warming trend that equates to 0.1 to 0.3
of a degree per decade," he said.
"It's the equivalent to moving tens of
kilometres toward the equator -- it doesn't
sound like much but it all adds up."
Higher average temperatures are just part
of the picture, with the Bureau of
Meteorology predicting increasingly fre-
quent heat waves.
The South Australian Research &
Development Institute's Peter Haymond,
who has been helping local agricultural
industries prepare for climate change since
2004, said extreme weather events were
worr ying growers.
"The only future in Australian horticul-
ture is through high-end produce, and
heat waves present real difficulties in man-
aging quality production," Dr Haymond
"Most heatwaves are well-forecasted
beforehand, and the key to managing
these conditions is to be irrigating before
"Another issue is warmer conditions will
change ripening times, so that will move
some development stages -- as a general
rule plants measure time by temperature."
Such a disruption might actually increase
the risk of frost damage, with plants at the
wrong part of their life-cycle in winter.
"There's plenty of people in frost-prone
areas with knowledge to share. For exam-
ple, Coonawarra Viticulture knows plenty
about managing frost -- matching varieties
to times, warning systems, sprinklers, frost
fans and so on," Dr Haymond said.
"Covers are important too, with benefits
for birds, hail and frost.
"The other significant change will be
with rainfall. Even with irrigated horticul-
ture, there's a reliance on soil profiles
being filled over winter and spring.
"So with these very dry winters, people
are pointing out they need to bring irriga-
tion on earlier."
With ever-greater demand on water sup-
plies, Dr Haymond recommends that
growers consider covering-up dams, recy-
cling water, and managing salt build-up
He is convinced the horticulture industry
will adapt in time, as improvements being
made today to counteract today's heat
waves and droughts will also help prepare
for the long-term challenges.
Horticulture Australia corporate affairs
general manager Len Joynson says his
organisation is taking climate change seri-
"We represent over 40 industries, and
clearly climate change is a major priority,"
"That's why we have a dozen to 15 pro-
grams under way, addressing a compre-
hensive range of climate-change issues."
Protected Cropping Australia's Saskia
Blanch puts greenhouses for ward as a
"If the climate is changing and unpre-
dictable, we need to know how to protect
and reliably grow food, independent of
outdoor climate conditions," she said.
"We've got the ability to grow anything
anywhere -- on a rooftop, in a basement, in
She cites the example of Victorian hydro-
ponic and greenhouse growers Country
Changing rainfall disrupts plant-life
Heatwaves threaten quality
Covers and greenhouses key to
AgPro app puts farmers to tech forefront
HORTICULTURE continues to embrace the digital
age with a new mobile application redefining
the way farm management is done.
Independent laboratory and agronomic
services company Hortus Technical Services
has launched AgPro, an iPhone/iPad application
for growers, distributors and consultants.
AgPro has an extensive list of features to
ensure farm management is kept simple while
still enabling superior data management,
compliance and performance analysis.
The app's menu is divided into key farm
management areas. The Monitor Crop section
allows for documenting and positioning of geo-
tagged pest disease and beneficials when
found. It has standardised monitoring
procedures with pests categorised by the crop
in which they are found.
The Analysis Request gives the user the option
to geo-tag sample sites and submit sample
'paper work' while on the go. Farm Input Record
presents a mobile crop diary to record date,
time, product, rate, block, treatment area,
weather, batch numbers and operators, while
Service Request/Record gives the ability to
capture services delivered by contractors or
request services from contractors.
The Farm Activity Record function allows
growers, staff or service providers to keep track
of all farm activities by date, block, crop, activity
(planting, pruning, picking, spraying etc)
Users are then able to access all their farm
data through their online account, and export it
to a common format.
AgPro operates across three different formats
-- the main AgPro Database, AgPro Online and
AgPro app for iPhone to specifically cater for
different needs and requirements within the
Each mode has slightly different capabilities.
Consultants have direct access to a complete
list of crop protection and crop production
products available on the Australian market
from their desired manufacturer or distributors.
Updates are made frequently to keep up-to-
date. Products are stored by elemental
composition, application method, target pest
and product category. Apart from consistency in
reporting formats, monitoring and record-
keeping, AgPro provides risk mitigation by
specific agronomic constraints to avoid incorrect
advice or application, plus accurate nutrient
requirement calculations and legislative
AgPro can offer information on regional pest
pressure with reports available weekly.
Information has been gathered by the Hortus'
agronomy team on more than 150 horticultural,
nursery, greenhouse and broadacre crops
The AgPro app for iPhone gives a farmer the
opportunity to record every aspect of his or her
Activities such as hours of labour, pruning and
spraying are just a few examples of such
records that can
be entered into
Once users have
blocks that are
different sites on
their farm on
can be recorded
by date, time and
can even be geo-
tagged by GPS.
Users are given
the option to
create their own
program if it is not
crop component of the app geo-tags every pest
identified at every site, enabling the production
of a hot-spot map.
Analysis request forms can be filled out and a
tracking-number received which will identify
and keep the user up-to-date on samples
throughout the lab process.
A request for recommendations can be made
instantly by a few short steps on AgPro by
simply ticking yes in the required field.
The data capture, storage and reporting
capability will put an end to paging through
spray diaries in the packing shed at audit time.
AgPro is available from iTunes.
Protected Cropping Australia's Saskia
Blanch puts greenhouses forward as a
solution to climate change. "If the
climate is changing and unpredictable,
we need to know how to protect and
reliably grow food, independent of
outdoor climate conditions," she said.
Horticulture embraces digital age
App enables farm records, analysis
Program features easy-to-read
menus for operation
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255 Renmark Ave, Renmark
Brett Turnbull 0429 807 808
Phone: (08) 8564 2600
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Phone: (08) 8388 4111
206 Onkaparinga Valley Road,
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