Journal of the Department of Agriculture, Western Australia, Series 3

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Some recent radio talks.


Western Australia, Land development, Viticulture, Irrigation, Canker, Red-flowered gum, beans, Saline soils, Cover crops, Lupin seeds, Rye, Erosion, Fattening lambs, Root-knot eelworm, Commercial beekeeping, Grasshoppers, Locust, Acetonaemia, Dairy cattle, Molybdenum, Clover, Cobalt deficiency in sheep and cattle.

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Light land development in the South - By A. S. WILD, Assistant Superintendent of Wheat Farming, Department of Agriculture.

It is only since World War II ended that successful large scale development of light land near the south coast of this State has been undertaken, although the many millions of acres of treeless plain country throughout the agricultural areas have, for many years, presented a challenge to the pioneering ability of Western Australians.

The use of hormones in viticulture - By L. T. JONES, Senior Plant Research Officer

The discovery and proper use of plant hormones, or as they are more accurately termed, growth-regulating: substances, probably represents the greatest contribution which science has made to agriculture in the past few decades. It was the discovery by Kogl in 1934 that indole acetic acid was an active growth substance which led rapidly to the preparation and testing of large numbers of compounds of similar chemical structure and among these were found many substances which were very potent and also comparatively cheap to produce.

Recent trends in viticulture in Western Australia - By W. R. JAMIESON, Viticulturist, Department of Agriculture, Perth

Today I want to talk very briefly about some of the more recent trends in viticulture in this State. The commercial production of grapevines is centred mainly around the Swan Valley and as most of the suitable vineyard land in this area has been planted, growers are exploring avenues to increase the returns per acre.

Methods of irrigation - By G. GAUNTLETT, Assistant Officer-in-Charge, Irrigation

The success of an irrigation scheme depends on several factors. Important among these is the choice and design of the method to be adopted. There are two methods of irrigation, viz., surface and spray irrigation.

Canker disease of Red-flowered gum - By W. P. CASS SMITH, B.Sc. (Agric), Government Plant Pathologist

Of the many beautiful native plants in Western Australia, few are esteemed more than the red-flowered gum known botanically as Eucalyptus flcifolia. This shapely tree commences blossoming about Christmas time—and provides a magnificent display for several weeks—the blossom shades varying from dark red to pink.

Why many beans grow crooked - By M. HARDIE, Vegetable Instructor

Sometimes in the process of growing a crop, bean growers find a number of pods which, instead of being long and straight and suitable for marketing, are crooked or bent and quite unsuitable for sale unless beans are in very short supply. It is not unusual for a small number of pods to be affected in this way, generally at the tail-end of the crop, but occasionally the percentage may be high. When this happens the grower is often at a loss to account for his failure to grow a marketable crop. To the best of his ability he has followed methods which normally return a crop of first-grade pods and yet for some reason, his crop is an unpayable one and he is anxious to ascertain the cause.

"Salt land programme for Autumn"- By T. C. STONEMAN, Adviser, Soil Conservation Service

Now that summer is over and winter approaches, the time has come to decide what you'll do with that salt problem on your farm. What you SHOULD do, will depend on how severely the area is affected. To make quite clear how the recommendations made by the Department of Agriculture can be applied I will deal with each degree of severity in turn.

Orchard cover crops - By J. CRIPPS, Horticultural Adviser

The sowing of a cover crop is one of those routine operations which the orchardist often undertakes without much thought, but it is an operation worthy of consideration.

Lupin seed - By B. J. QUINLIVAN, B.Sc. (Agric), Botanist, Weeds and Seeds Branch

The three types of lupins which we grow in this State are the New Zealand, the W.A. blue, and the yellow lupin. The first two types are very common, the New Zealand lupin being grown mainly in the South-West, while the W.A. lupin is grown over extensive areas of the central and northern wheatbelt, particularly on the sandier types of soil.

Cereal rye will grow on wind-eroded areas - By G. H. BURVILL, Chief Plant Research Officer.

Travelling around the wheatbelt, one often sees areas of sandy soil quite bare, A due to wind erosion. Surface soil blown from these patches has built up against fences, or as mounds in the nearby scrub. Many of the eroded places are quite small— perhaps less than an acre or only a few acres. But some are large, with one to three hundred acres of bare yellow sand. As much as two feet of soil has been blown from big areas.

Autumn-winter feeding for the fat lamb flock - By N. DAVENPORT, Senior Adviser, Meat Production

The autumn-winter period is the most important part of the year for the fat lamb crop from a feed point of view. It is important not only from the aspect of the wellbeing of the sheep, but also of the pasture. Pasture plants are living things, too, and they also require consideration and care for their development. When a new season pasture is kept hard grazed in those critical first few weeks of growth it cannot carry as many sheep over the season as one which is lightly stocked during that time.

Plant diseases in the home garden - By W. P. CASS-SMITH, B.Sc. (Agric), Government Plant Pathologist

Recently many home-gardeners have complained that plantings of vegetables or ornamentals are making unthrifty growth, in spite of liberal waterings and fertilisation. These symptoms are commonly caused by root-knot eelworm, a pest which has unfortunately become very widespread in the sandy soils adjacent to Perth, and in many other parts of this State. This eelworm parasite attacks the roots of many kinds of plants causing them to rot and to develop bead-like swellings or galls. As a result, the intake of plant food and water is restricted and stunting of the above-ground parts occurs.

Principles of commercial beekeeping - By R. S. COLEMAN, R.D.A., Government Apiculturist

We have many queries from small beekeepers, and from people who have never opened a hive, on how to break into full-time beekeeping. So it was thought that you would like to know just what are the principles of successful bee farming.

Grasshoppers and locusts - By C. F. H. JENKINS, M.A., Government Entomologist

Grasshoppers and locusts are among the most ancient enemies of mankind for they figured prominently in Biblical times, and periodically throughout the ages have devastated crops in all parts of the world.

Acetonaemia in dairy cattle - By P. M. A. HARWOOD, M.R.C.V.S., Veterinary Officer

Acetonaemia, more correctly known as ketosis is a metabolic disease. Unlike infectious diseases such as tuberculosis or mastitis, which are caused by microbes, metabolic diseases result from an upset in the normal bodily processes.

Molybdenum for subterranean clover - By T. C. DUNNE, B.Sc. (Agric), Ph.D. (Calif.), Chief Plant Nutrition and Research Officer

Subterranean clover is undoubtedly the most important pasture species in this State. Because it is a legume, it can make excellent growth on soils with a low nitrogen content. The nitrogen it needs is, of course, provided by bacteria which inhabit the nodules found on its roots. These bacteria provide nitrogen by taking it from the air and converting it to a form which can be used by the clover. However, it is now known that the bacteria can use the nitrogen of the air only if enough molybdenum is available to them.

Cobalt deficiency in sheep and cattle - By C. R. TOOP, B.V.SC, Chief Veterinary Officer

With the establishment of group settlements at Denmark after the first world war, it was observed that young cattle, although running on lush pastures, developed systems of unthriftness and wasting and usually died. Research conducted of Filmer and Underwood later revealed that this condition was caused by a deficiency of cobalt and that it could be cured and prevented by addition of this mineral to the diet. Cobalt deficiency has since been met with other parts of the State and was recently diagnosed in sheep at Mount Manypeaks.