Mildura Weekly : Friday February 7 2014 Vol 8 No 14
www.milduraweekly.com.au 18 Mildura Weekly – 07/02/14 New Water Act LAST week a meeting was held in Mildura to explain changes to the Water Act, with the review mak- ing laws easier to understand, and some things easier to find. As far as irrigators go there won’t be much of a change, but there will be reviews of the re- source more regularly, and some changes for water corporations. In some circumstances storm water will now be licensed, and this is how management of what is essentially our most precious re- source is going. One of the interesting sugges- tions in the proposal is to consider allowing access to high river flows – similar to what used to be in New South Wales where access to high flows (rivers in flood) was available ‘off allocation,’ when water taken was not debited against the user’s account. We suppose that this would also apply to bulk water entitle- ment holders such as LMW as well as private diverters. The resource manager would have to lift its game if high flow access became available, because if the high flow water was off alloca- tion there would be more carryover water left to be spilled each winter. An interesting thought! Clearly a lot more work needs to go into this idea, as well as the resource manager smartening up its act so that the ridiculous situa- tion of 92 percent carryover water spilling does not happen again. Dam Level INCIDENTALLY as of Saturday, February 1, the Hume Dam was at 58.91 percent capacity (61.87 per- cent at this time last year), with the peak of the horticultural irrigation season currently upon us. It certainly makes you wonder why it was necessary to spill 92 per- cent of carryover water. Current Water Price THE current price of water is around $95 per megalitre for Victo- rian allocation (temporary trade). Surprisingly, with all the hot weather around, the price has come back from $97 over the past week. The price of New South Wales temporary water is getting a little bit softer at present, with only a medium level of demand. Entitlement trade (permanent water sale) in Victoria is quite soft with very few sales since September 2013. The latest offer is $1400 to $1500 a megalitre for high reliabil- ity water. Entitlement trade can be ‘dry’ or without this year’s location, al- lowing that allocation be retained or traded separately – or ‘wet’ with allocation at present. Forward Planning LOOKING ahead to next year’s wa- ter requirements is a really good idea, particularly in view of what occurred this year. Around the end of April/early May start looking at what is left in your water account and decide if you need it or want to risk it being spilled. Remember this year was an av- erage type rainfall year, and apart from some suggestion of rains in March or April, we may get the same conditions again. Unless the resource manager can come up with a better way of running our water, we will have a substantial spill again. To make sure you don’t get caught with water going into your spillable ac- count at the end of the water year (June 30) call us early (we suggest from early May) so that we can place your excess water. Commonwealth water release THIS month there was some fuss about the Commonwealth Environmental Water Holder temporarily trading some allocation. The press got it a bit wrong when it reported what were effec- tively entitlement sales. While everyone got really excit- ed for a bit, it turned out that they were going to temporarily trade 10 gigalitres of allocation from their holdings in the Gwydir Valley. Interesting to note that irriga- tion in the Gwydir Valley is flood – growing cotton, corn, cereals etc. – the most inefficient use of water imaginable. The Murray Valley has pre- dominantly pressurised irrigation systems, and is probably the most efficient water user in Australia – and we got nothing at all. Makes you wonder doesn’t it? The way ahead MAKE sure you look at water hold- ings strategically. If we are going to have to put up with the resource manager spill- ing our carryover water every year it makes a lot of sense to buy say 50 percent of what you need as en- titlement, and the balance as allo- cation trade. At least this way you will start the year with 50 percent of what you need. We have already talked about the cost of temporary water and the holding costs of permanent water. Temporary water has been up to $97 a megalitre, and we think it will continue to rise. WILD radish and its resistance to herbicides is under scrutiny in Victoria’s Wimmera-Mallee cropping region. A Grains Research and De- velopment Corporation ‘fast track project’ – instigated by the GRDC’s southern Regional Cropping Solutions Networks – aims to map the extent of herbicide resistance in wild radish and other broadleaf weeds, while increasing aware- ness about the problem. Birchip Cropping Group is undertaking the survey, trial and extension work in response to concerns raised about the spread of resistance in wild radish in the southern cropping region, which was brought to the attention of GRDC through the RCSN in the low and medium rainfall zones. The project will also act as a pilot for future surveys in other parts of the southern region, with BCG research agronomist Simon Craig saying the project – which is due to be completed in August – involved collabo- ration with various agribusi- nesses which have assisted in identifying growers’ paddocks where herbicide-resistant wild radish is a concern. “Herbicide application tri- als have been set up in these commercial paddocks,” he said. “These trials will provide the platform for engaging with growers, advisers and indus- try representatives to increase awareness of developing her- bicide resistance in broadleaf weeds. “The trial sites will be used for crop walks and informa- tion days for both growers and advisers to assist in building awareness and understanding of the increasing threat of re- sistance. “This in turn will increase the likelihood of rotation of herbicide groups and better management of wild radish where resistance to at least one group is already present.” Mr Craig said wild radish populations and their level of resistance was increasing across the Wimmera and Mal- lee regions where growers had commonly selected herbicides according to their ability to control grasses such as ryegrass or brome grass. Water Talk with Gray Barnden For more information contact Gray on 5018 6800 • Photo courtesy of Simon Craig Project aiming to tame wild radish impact The L and Living on Vinnie Rodi with Mildura Agricultural Supplies 486 Benetook Ave (Opposite TAFE) (03) 5022 8217 “we delive r what we promise” AVAILABLE IN 1L, 5L 20L, 200L & 1000L SEASOL for stress relief great for table grapes SUN PROTECTION FOR CITRUS, OLIVES AND VEGGIES Protection you can see...Performance you can trust.
Friday January 31 Vol 8 No 13
Friday February 14 2014 Vol 8 No 15