Home' South Gippsland Sentinel-Times : March 21, 2017 Edition Contents PAGE 48 - THE SOUTH GIPPSLAND SENTINEL-TIMES, TUESDAY, MARCH 21, 2017
AGRICULTURE Victoria is warning apiarists
not to use unregistered chemicals in an at-
tempt to control small hive beetle.
Recent intelligence indicates that some apia-
rists are resorting to using unregistered prod-
ucts containing diatomaceous earth within bee
Small hive beetle can taint honey making it
unsuitable for sale and unacceptable to bees
themselves as a source of food.
The beetle also eats honey, pollen and live
honey bee brood and can damage wax comb
and cell caps. In worst case scenarios entire
colonies may abscond.
Agriculture Victoria statewide chemicals
specialist Steven Field said some of the illegal
products being used weren’t even food grade
and could contain significant levels of contam-
inants like heavy metals.
Under the Agricultural and Veterinary Chem-
icals (Control of Use) Act 1992 it is illegal to
use an unregistered chemical unless the user
holds appropriate authorisation.
“I t doesn’t matter whether you’re using an
insecticide, fungicide or other type of product
- any person in Victoria must only use agricul-
tural or veterinary chemicals registered by the
Australian Pesticide and Veterinary Medicines
Authority,” Mr Field said.
“The APVMA registration process means the
public can be assured that chemicals used on
their food are safe when used in accordance
with the label,” he said.
“No one in the apiary industry wants to jeop-
ardise the clean and green image of Australian
honey by illegally using unregistered chemi-
There are several products registered with
the APVMA that contain diamotaceous earth,
also known as amorphous silica.
Some of these products may be available for
off label use under Victoria’s regulatory frame -
work, providing the user observes any prohib-
itive label statements.
Anyone using agricultural chemicals off la-
bel must ensure they take appropriate steps to
minimise the risks to efficacy, OHS, the envi-
ronment or residues in honey.
For more information see http://go.vic.gov.
For further information on bee pests and
• Pests and diseases of honey bees - http://
• Small hive beetle - http://go.vic.gov.au/
• Plant Health Australia Website – Bee Aware
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Nothing sweet about
Some apiarists have been found to be us-
ing unregistered chemicals to protect their
THE three month climate outlook is not par-
ticularly promising for temperature and rain-
This translates into increased risk of a warm
and dry start to autumn in Victoria’s dairy re-
At the end of February there was above aver-
age to average soil moisture which will help to
make autumn rainfall and irrigation go further.
February growth rates have generally been
above average (East Gippsland being an excep-
tion) and silage reserves are generally high.
High cereal grain and hay yields have trans-
ferred into lower grain and hay prices.
Generally speaking, this makes them a cost-
effective option for filling a genuine feed gap,
despite the current lower milk price.
Due to good seasonal conditions, temporary
irrigation water price is also much lower this
Implications for growing pasture
The increased probability of warmer temper-
atures and below average rainfall has associ-
ated risks to consider and plan for.
For irrigation pastures, it means there may
be a need for more purchased water to get the
desired level of pasture growth.
For rain fed pastures, it will mean less au-
tumn pasture growth and maybe a later break.
A strategy to address the possible lower
amount of pasture growth should be consid-
ered. Revise the plan as the season rolls out
and adjust if required.
Considerations could include adjusting
stocking rate or dry-off date, agistment of
stock, supplement feed purchasing deci-
sions, nitrogen use, irrigation timing and
water purchasing, and the timing of pasture
There will be financial budgeting implications
depending on the strategy used. Costs may be
higher than planned and/or milk income lower
Early budgeting helps finance management
decisions; such as adjusting spending in other
areas of the business, repayment of debt and
the level of borrowing.
Hopefully, little or no adjustment ends up
being required (the forecasts are probability
based – an average autumn is still possible).
Pasture renovation and re-sowing
Generally speaking, summer conditions have
enabled more pasture plants to survive the
summer. With denser pastures there is likely to
be less need for weed control and over-sowing/
renovating this autumn.
With a three month climate outlook for higher
than average temperatures, and a lower prob-
ability of receiving average rainfall, there is
greater than normal risk associated with early
sowing of pasture and crop.
Young seedlings are very susceptible to high tem-
peratures and moisture stress. Consider the risk
of seedling deaths when deciding on sowing date.
A late sowing date can also be a problem. The
onset of cold conditions before plants are well
established can significantly slow plant growth
Summer growth rates have generally been
above average in most dairy regions. Silage re-
serves are also good. This has resulted in less
need for purchased supplements overall.
The quality of home-grown silage is generally
lower this season.
Farmers may be considering improving the
quality of the ration with higher energy density
feeds such as grain.
If pasture availability is low, high protein
supplements such as canola may also be con-
Pasture is high in protein (almost as high as
high protein supplements), so good amounts of
pasture in the diet will have a big bearing on the
need for protein supplements.
A feed plan for the autumn and winter will
help farmers determine the need for purchased
As a result of the generally favourable season
to date, it is likely that less purchased feed will
be required than normal.
It is a good idea to monitor the feed plan
monthly and adjust it as required in response
to seasonal conditions.
Dairy Australia has feed planning resources
on their web site (http://www.dairyaustralia.
Managing a tricky
THE global milk supply ‘crunch’ continues
to bite, negating a further build-up of stocks
and fuelling further upside to the current
price rally, according to Rabobank’s latest
In its recently-released Dairy Quarterly
report, Rabobank says global dairy prices
have “rocketed upwards” as production has
dropped sharply in key dairy export regions
Australia, New Zealand and Europe – while
dairy demand has strengthened in the US and
With any significant recovery in exportable
volumes unlikely until the new Oceania (Aus-
tralia and New Zealand) season commences
in the latter half of 2017 – and China set to
make a meaningful return to the international
market – the report says the current price
rally has further upside to come.
Report co-author Rabobank senior dairy
analyst Michael Harvey says while prices have
improved across the board, the recovery will
remain “bumpy”, as prices across the dairy
complex become increasingly divergent.
Results from the most recent Global Dairy
Trade auction – where the index declined
3.9 per cent – provided confirmation of this
bumpy road with many buyers absent from
the market due to the holiday season.
“Notwithstanding the latest reduction,
whole milk powder has posted the stron-
gest recovery in recent months, with prices
increasing by more than 45 per cent in the
last six months of 2016, while consumer and
food-service demand for butter is behind
much of the upswing in in dairy fat pricing,”
“In contrast, surplus protein stocks in the
form of skim milk powder continue to weigh
on the market, which has limited its upside.”
He made this comment based on the dis-
parity that still exists in the average price of
SMP ($2660 USD/MT/FAS) in the most recent
Global Dairy Trade auction as compared to
$3294 for WMP, rather than the average 2.3%
increase in the SMP price in the January 3
Mr Harvey says the differences in commod-
ity prices has limited the ability of Australian
producers to capture the rally in global pric-
es – although there has been some positive
movement in farmgate milk prices in recent
“Whole Milk Powder makes up less than 10
per cent of the Australian product mix with
our focus on cheese-and-whey products due
to contractual arrangements, so this has mut-
ed our ability to capture much of the increase
in global prices this season,” he says.
“That said, with the prices of all dairy pric-
es set to improve over coming months, it has
considerably lifted expectations amongst Aus-
tralian farmers for stronger opening prices in
the 2017/18 season.”
Seasonal conditions permitting, Mr Har-
vey says, it will take some time for improved
farmgate prices to translate into a recovery
in Australia’s milk supply volumes, with pro-
duction pegged to fall by seven per cent this
“With annual production expected to fall
back below 8.9 billion litres, it is likely to
be the lowest recorded level in more than 20
years,” he says.
“However with dairy producers armed with
sizeable volumes of on-farm feed, irrigation
water and access to cheaper supplementary
feed, they should be well-placed to make up
some lost ground next season.”
Going forward, the report warns, the rise in
global dairy prices will test demand thresh-
olds in emerging markets, already suffering
the effects of a strong US dollar and slower
income growth, which could counter some of
the upward pressure as the price rally contin-
ues to develop.
Dairy set for bumpy ride up
Rabobank senior dairy analyst, Michael
Harvey, says that while dairy prices have
improved across the board, the recovery
will continue to be bumpy.
By Greg O’Brien, Dairy Services
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