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Citrus growers head to polls on levy rate increase
AUSTRALIAN citrus growers have headed
to the polls to vote on a proposed levy
increase of $1.50 a tonne as part of the
National Citrus Growers' Levy 2014 Ballot.
Citrus Australia CEO Judith Damiani
said the present Horticulture Australia
Research and Development levy has
served the industry for the past 16 years,
and the Plant Health Australia biosecurity
levy for almost 10 years.
"The current level of investment can
no longer find innovative solutions
needed to progress all the industry's R&D
priorities such as market access, fruit fly,
agrichemicals and biosecurity," she said.
"Many growers are keen to boost fund-
ing for R&D and biosecurity measures to
better compete in the Asian century and
protect their orchards from exotic pests.
"The proposed increase was deter-
mined as a result of the cost benefit
analysis conducted as part of Horticulture
Australia Limited's five-year citrus R&D
plan to demonstrate the level of funding
needed to address key industry issues."
The citrus R&D plan was independently
facilitated and developed after extensive
consultation with growers and industry.
It will boost the HAL citrus R&D levy from
$1.97/t to $3.20/t and the Plant Health
Australia biosecurity citrus levy from
$0.03/t to $0.30/t -- a total increase of
Citrus Australia chair and Victorian
citrus grower Tania Chapman said as an
industry, they needed to invest more in
R&D to compete in a world market.
"Australian citrus growers are up
against lower-cost nations like South
Africa and Chile," she said.
"To remain a viable and competitive
industry we need to be more strategic in
our approach to R&D and invest more in
programs that help grow a superior and
"To achieve this we need to lift our
game. We need to help growers reinvest
back in their businesses -- and a small
increase in levy is the first step forward."
Citrus Australia is facilitating the con-
sultation and independent national ballot
process using the Australian Department
of Agriculture levy guidelines.
Voting on the ballot opened on October
29 and growers have until November 28,
4pm AEDT, to cast their vote.
The proposed levy increase
of $1.50/t will boost R&D.
By JACINTA ROSE
SA'S total winegrape crush
increased for the third consecu-
tive year, with 706,017 tonnes
processed in 2014 -- 0.8 per cent, or
5492t, up on last year.
But in its annual SA Winegrape
Crush Survey, the Phylloxera and
Grape Industry Board of SA revealed
that the total value of the crush was
lower than the previous vintage.
The report listed the estimated
purchase value of the crush at $423
million, a drop of $51m or 10.7pc
The average purchase price per
tonne slumped 15.3pc from last
year, falling from $100/t to $552/t.
The 2013-14 growing season
and vintage presented numerous
challenges, with damaging weather
influencing flowering and fruit set.
Late summer rain also delayed
harvest in many areas.
In its report, the board said the
2014 vintage would be remembered
for its "late finish, with good win-
ter rains and low pest and disease
"The fruit ripened slowly, thus
delaying harvest intake, which has
consequently delivered strong qual-
ity fruit with excellent flavour, dense
colours with good structure and
character," it said.
This year's crush is 1pc above
the five-year average of 698,736t,
but sits well below the five-year
high of 730,904t processed in 2009.
The board has estimated the 2015
committed intake at 671,924t.
Not surprisingly, the Riverland
dominated the crush figures,
accounting for almost two-thirds --
61.8pc -- of the grapes processed.
The 436,378t crushed amounted
to a 10.1pc rise compared with the
Langhorne Creek crushed the
second largest volume, processing
48,639t or 6.9pc of the state's total.
This was a 3.6pc increase on last
The Barossa Valley snuck home in
third place with 6.2pc of the total
after increasing production by 2.6pc
Other regions to increase yields in
2014 included the Clare Valley, up
10pc to 19,796t.
Some regions posted significant
declines in production this year,
with the tough conditions at flower-
ing and fruit set to blame.
The Adelaide Hills reported the
largest drop, with yields tumbling
37.4pc to 17,873t.
The Coonawarra crush also fell
Price per tonne slumped 15.3pc
Riverland dominated figures
Largest drop in Adelaide Hills
by about one-third -- 31.5pc -- to
Production at Wrattonbully
fell 7.1pc to 17,845t, Padthaway
decreased 8.5pc to 27,685t and
McLaren Vale dropped 6.1pc to
Red fruit dominated the crush
once again, accounting for 429,982t,
a 4.1pc increase on last year.
White fruit also rose by 4pc, with
There were no surprises in the
varietal breakdown, with shiraz and
chardonnay dominating the red and
At 150,412t, shiraz accounted for
21.3pc of the total crush, with the
115,994t of chardonnay processed
making up 16.4pc.
The average value per tonne of
these popular varieties fell in 2014.
Shiraz dropped $75/t to $725/t,
cabernet sauvignon lost $114/t
to $638/t and merlot fell $92 to
Chardonnay value declined by
$88/t to $297/t while sauvignon
blanc average returns fell $71/t to
After the Riverland, Langhorne Creek crushed the second largest volume, processing 48,639t or 6.9pc of SA's total.
SA crush value
This year's crush is 1pc above the five-year average of 698,736t but
sits well below the five-year high of 730,904t processed in 2009.
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