What’s happening in the Riverina in Spring 2021


The Riverina region has something of interest happening at all times of the year.

Late Winter sees fields being prepared for planting of annual summer crops. Among tree crops mandarins and Hamlin oranges continue to be harvested for both export and domestic markets. An army of backpackers and grey nomads and contract labourers can be seen in citrus orchards with their light weight ladders and belly bags of picked fruit.

Juicing oranges destined for tomorrow’s Sydney breakfast OJs

Juicing oranges destined for tomorrow’s Sydney breakfast OJs

In September sowing commences for cotton, maize, tomatoes.

A tyne airseeder in operation

A tyne airseeder in operation

Crops of wheat, oats and barley are controlled for weeds and other pests. Extensive fields of yellow canola attract visitors with their cameras. Wine grape vines experience bud swell – a single vineyard may display varying shades of green as different grape varieties come into bud at different times.

In October the pace quickens.  Sowing continues for cotton and maize but now rice, soybeans and cucurbits (melons, pumpkins, cucumbers, zucchini, etc) are also planted. Early cherry varieties are picked.

November sees hay, oats and early barley for malting harvested, along with faba beans and lupin. The canola fields have lost their colour and are windrowed – that is, they are cut and raked into long lines to encourage further drying of the seedheads before final harvest. Rice plantings are protected from weeds and marauding ducks.

Seed oats being harvested November 2020

Seed oats being harvested November 2020

Valencia citrus continue to be picked mainly for juicing. Farmers like dry weather at this time of the year so machinery can get onto paddocks to harvest wheat and other broadacre crops that will ripen within a few weeks.

New Tourism Product Focussed on Organic Farming

Did you know that Australia contains more than 50% of the world’s properties devoted to organic means of production?

Agricultural Tours Riverina has released a new flexible tour itinerary focused on sustainable organic, regenerative and low-input farming systems as they are found in southern NSW and northern Victoria.

The itinerary allows tour groups to choose among a series of appropriate farms, processing plants and infrastructure services  in the Albury and Leeton areas of NSW. Sites on the list of potential visits have been chosen to reflect a range of farm products and farm business models. The sites also cover large and small scale enterprises, and dryland and irrigated production systems. All are within reasonable travel time from the City of Albury or town of Leeton.

John Collins of Agricultural Tours Riverina said in announcing the new product that the project is a response to requests from travel agents over a period extending to before the COVID crisis. The two clusters of farms will particularly suit groups travelling between Sydney and Melbourne.

Developed with assistance from ORICOOP (see organicinvestmentcooperative.com.au), Canberra-based Mayra Escobedo Marketing & Research and various farmers and farmer networks, the project covers a sample of 6 exemplar sites around Albury and 6 sites focused on Leeton. Tour groups can choose farms to visit from a list supplied in the electronic brochure. Most groups will want to choose to visit 4 to 5 sites each day. Each visit is intended to last a nominal hour.

The National Environment Centre at Thurgoonah (Albury) is one of the twelve optional sites available on the program. Part of the NSW TAFE system, the Centre runs an organic farm as a basis for its teaching programs in sustainable production techniques.

Organic farming techniques are growing in popularity in most Australian rural industries. Consumers, increasingly interested in the provenance of their foods, seek out organic products on supermarket shelves and at various produce markets held in towns and cities.