Duxton’s Agri Bits and Pieces – Vol. 413
Posted on: February 11th, 2019



South Australia’s fledging hemp industry could be worth $3 million annually within 5 years, government data shows. Research scientist Mark Skewes, from the Loxton Research Centre in the Riverland, has predicted positive results for SA’s first growers based on preliminary trials. The initial trials, conducted by Primary Industries and Regions SA (PIRSA) with SA Research and Development Institute (SARDI), concluded that industrial hemp could be grown successfully as an irrigated summer crop.

“Certainly, in terms of being able to grow hemp and produce good yields of quality seed, that’s all looking promising. A couple of the varieties that didn’t perform well here in the Riverland performed better in the South East, so it is looking like the right variety for the right location is going to be an important factor for growers.”

Mark Skewes, Loxton Research Centre

Source: Leonie Thorne, Nadia Isa, ABC Rural






Indian market access for Australian walnuts

Australian walnut exports were worth $22.68 million in 2017-18. Australian farmers will now be able to sell into the enormous Indian market following the signing of a market access agreement. Minister for Agriculture, David Littleproud said he was thrilled Australia’s walnut growers now had access to a new, large market. “Around 1.4 billion people live in India –more than 50 times the number of people in Australia– so it’s a huge market we’ve accessed for our walnut growers. India is already a large export market for Australian almonds and there is huge potential for our other nuts to be exported there also.”

The export value for Australia’s agricultural commodities to India has increased by 329 per cent since 2013, and were worth $2.6 billion in 2017.

Source: Mirage News, February 6 2019, 





Recruiting ants to fight weeds on the farm

Harvester ants that eat weed seeds on the soil’s surface can help farmers manage weeds on their farms, according to an international team of researchers, who found that ploughing less to preserve the ants could save farmers fuel and labor costs, as well as preserve water and improve soil quality.

“These ants are naturally present in the fields,” said Barbara Baraibar Padro, a postdoctoral scholar in plant science, Penn State. “They are able to remove a huge amount of weed seeds from the system, and if farms are ploughed less to preserve these ants, it can benefit them.”

Careful timing of ploughing can preserve the benefits of weed seed removal that the harvester ants provide, and also help with preparing the seed bed or controlling summer weeds,” said Baraibar. “So you’re not losing the benefits of tillage, but doing it at the right time.”

Ploughing a field disturbs the soil and can destroy ant nests. The researchers wondered whether ploughing had an impact on the number, size and distribution of ant nests in the fields, and how these factors could influence the ant’s ability to control weeds. “Ploughed fields might harbor more weeds because they don’t have the pressure from the ants,” said Baraibar. “If you don’t disturb the soil more ants may be present.”






ABC rural last week duplicated a map created by the Bureau of Meteorology showing where rain that falls in Australia eventually ends up, by dividing the nation into ‘drainage divisions’.


The Australian Hydrological Geospatial Fabric (Geofabric) is a specialised Geographic Information System (GIS). It identifies the spatial relationships of important hydrological features such as rivers, lakes, reservoirs, dams, canals and catchments. By detailing the spatial dimensions of these features, models can be developed to show how water is stored, transported and used through the landscape.

Source: Rudy Boeff, Rural Bank Weekly Economic Commentary, February 11 2019





Why was the almond late for work?

Traffic was nuts!







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