by clicking the arrows at the side of the page, or by using the toolbar.
by clicking anywhere on the page.
by dragging the page around when zoomed in.
by clicking anywhere on the page when zoomed in.
web sites or send emails by clicking on hyperlinks.
Email this page to a friend
Search this issue
Index - jump to page or section
Archive - view past issues
TAS Country : September 9th 2010
Friday, September 10, 2010 Tasmanian Country 11 News BURIED: Deloraine farmer Gavin Clark and Serve-Ag project officer Peter Heading inspect a paddock that has had a green-manure crop ahead of poppies this season. Picture: KAROLIN MacGREGOR To the manure reborn KAROLIN MacGREGOR THE effectiveness of green-manure crops on improving yields, crop quality and soil health is being put to the test as part of the Sustainable Land Management Project. The land management program, funded by NRM North and implemented by Serve- Ag, started a year ago and includes farmers from several Tasmanian regions. A green manure trial site has been established on Deloraine farmer Gavin Clark's property, Murrakei. Mr Clark has been using green manure crops as part fop his cropping rotations for a number of years. The latest trials are aimed at determining if there were noticeable differences between crops when using different green-manure crops. Mr Clark said some improvements in potato crop yields and quality last season after using a biofumigation crop looked promising, however more work was needed. This year's trial on Mr Clark's property involves crops of a deep-rooted radish, tick beans and ryegrass. The green-manure crops have now been incorporated into the soil and the paddock will be sown with poppies. Poppy yields and assay levels from each green-manure crop section will be tested at harvest time. Peter Heading from Serve-Ag is the project officer and said the idea behind the trials was to find ways to increase the sustainability of land-management practices, including cropping operations. Part of that is methods to maintain or increase soil health and provide improved yields and returns to growers. ''It's just trial and error at the moment, but we need to do things over a period of time to see if its consistent,'' Mr Heading said. Mr Clark said maintaining soil health was a priority for him and green-manure crops could play a role in that. ''You need to look after your soil and keep all the goodies in there, so I think this is another way to help do that,'' he said. Mr Heading took a group of farmers from the Deloraine district on a trip to Victoria to look at vegetable growing operations at Werribee and Cranbourne. They visited two large fresh vegetable operations that are using integrated pest management The group also visited farms that were using effluent as part of their intensive cropping and vegetable-production operations. Mr Clark said the Victorian farmers they talked to had been able to significantly reduce the amount of pesticides they used through IPM. It was something he was keen to try on his farm. ''From what they told us, once you get the system worked out and find out exactly what pests your dealing with it can work very well,'' he said. ''It certainly something I would like to have a look at, especially for crops like brassica and the potatoes, which need a lot of spraying, it would be good to be able to reduce that a bit.'' Mr Clark grows poppies, onions, cereals, and cabbage and grass seed. He said an early-morning visit to the markets at Footscray had also been an interesting experience. ''When you find out what some of the producers are getting paid for their fresh- market vegetables it's a bit of an eye opener compared to what we're getting for processing vegetables,'' he said. ''It was certainly something worth seeing . . . you never know what sort of opportunities might come up in the fresh market side of things in the future.'' Floods bring frustration and fortune VICTORIA is labouring under its worst floods in 15 years but many farmers are rejoicing. Torrential rain dumped 50 to 200mm in the North East and western Victoria last weekend. The washout has seen: Milk dumped on some farms as tankers can't access dairies. Saleyard numbers dropping or sales cancelled as stock cannot be brought to market. Crops destroyed by water. The Victorian Farmers Federation call for the north-south pipeline to be shut down. Early warnings have kept stock deaths to a minimum as producers moved animals to higher ground. How badly crops and pastures are affected will be clearer as waters recede. Murray Goulburn Kiewa field officer Murray Wisewould said a few dairies had been flooded but most were OK. Mr Wisewould said while, many dairies were inconvenienced, they were coping. Despite concern in some of the hardest-hit areas, there is a flipside. Colin Coates of Traynors Lagoon, west of St Arnaud, said it was amazing how quickly farmers' fortunes could turn around. ''Dams that haven't been full for 15 years are now full in two days,'' Mr Coates said. Elders Ararat agronomist Michael Joss said there were ''mixed emotions'' among farmers. The Weekly Times Spring rain delight for South JENNIFER CRAWLEY RELIEVED: Gerald Stokes RAIN over much of southern Tas- mania last weekend brought great relief to moisture starved farmers. This was the second lot of rain after drought-breaking downpours in Augu- st.Barry Stokes of Noble Farm near Sorell said the rains topped up the dams that were pretty full falls in August. Noble Farm is run in partnership by brothers Barry and Gerald Stokes. Gerald Stokes was at Roberts Bridg- ewater store sale last week weighing up whether to fatten cattle or sell. Mr Stokes said then that it all depended on the weather. The brothers have decided to keep their stock because of the rain. Barry Stokes said Noble Farm was considered one of the best properties in the South for fattening stock ''when it used to rain''. ''The barley was dying before we had the August rains, it filled the dams when it came.'' Noble Farm is watered by dams and bores. Gerald Stokes was sheep crutch- ing last Wednesday and said he did not believe the Weather Bureau's predic- tion of rain. ''It was very nice. It's made all the difference and came just at the right time,'' Gerald said. ''We want a lot more, as long as it keeps raining, just showers.'' Roberts auctioneer Phillip Brazen- dale said the rain in mid-August was a good start for southern producers. ''Most people would have got an average of 30mm, some had 42mm, that's tremendous,'' Mr Brazendale said. Weather Bureau meteorologist Ian Barnes-Keoghan said between 100mm and 200mm has fallen throughout the Southeast since early August. ''Even Hobart airport managed to get 100mm, Richmond got 130mm, and we are not finished yet,'' Mr Barnes- Keoghan said. The Southern Midlands had less rain with Campbell Town on 80mm and Ross 64mm. Bothwell has fared better with 130mm. Coastal in the south have done well with Woodbridge receiving 207mm and Bruny Island's Lunawanna on 215mm. ''It's been fairly good along the coast but didn't push a long way in,'' Mr Barnes-Keoghan said. ''For the year we were tracking really, really dry. Now it's not quite as dry but there are still some places in the Southeast that are not far off having one of their driest years, but the big rains have pulled them off.'' Fruit growers were warned of two nights of heavy frosts by the Weather Bureaus automated early warming system. There were no reports of frost damage in the south. Peter Meaburn of Oatlands was very pleased with the rain. He recorded 19mm on the weekend. He reported a fairly heavy frost on his property with temperatures of minus three and four degrees. ''The rain was a nice follow up and we are very pleased to get it,'' Mr Meaburn said. ''I think were going to need another 19mm as soon as it can come. ''To be a good spring it's got to keep raining every two or three weeks. TASMANIAN ALKALOIDS Value Adding in Tasmania 2027824-100716 Germinating poppy crops can be at risk. Watch out for slugs, snails, earthmites and springtails. Take appropriate action if required. Your Field Officer can advise. .
September 2nd 2010
September 16th 2010