Newsletter Autumn/Winter 2007

Welcome to the Autumn/Winter Update from Peracto

We all know that we should take the time to step back from our normal workspace and do some training, reading and reflecting; however, these days it is a rare commodity to be able to really escape from phones and emails.

While it is our company policy for staff to regularly undertake suitable training and development we find that even during training courses we are still rushing out to take phone calls at every break. At work we spend much time responding to day-to-day issues and elsewhere we have family and other aspects of home life that need our attention, and give us balance in our lives.

I believe that it is a real issue for many of us to take time out to look at our jobs from a distance. It is amazing what can sometimes be seen.

In the past few weeks I have spent many hours in planes and airports and have come to realise how valuable this time can be. Air travel can provide a break from daily routines and allow us to refocus on our lives.

The focus in our business is to improve and grow as we strive to bring more expertise and better services to our clients. Having just returned from some thought-provoking meetings in Europe and the USA I will be working with our team to ensure we are able to continue to adapt as an evolving service provider to those we work with in what has now become a global market. In the future, we will be strengthening our commitment to our people’s continued professional development to further advance our goal of living up to our name – Peracto: ‘to carry forward and accomplish’.

Ian Macleod, Managing Director

Welcome to David Kohler

David Kohler recently joined Peracto as a Technical Officer based in Devonport, Tasmania. David, who is originally from Tasmania, has been living in Queensland and NSW, where he completed a science degree. He has a wife and two children.

Before joining Peracto David was employed as a support officer for people with disabilities. He enjoys the outdoors; his hobbies include snorkelling and bush walking. David has a student pilot license and would one day like to attain a private pilot license.

He is currently involved in a broad range of industry projects being conducted in Tasmania.

North Queensland

The Peracto North Queensland team is set for expansion with the recent appointment of Melissa Stephenson as a Research Scientist based in Bowen.

Melissa completed a Degree with Honours in Agricultural Science at LaTrobe University in Bundoora. Since graduating at the end of 2005, Melissa has worked as a Technical Officer at the Boundary Bend Estate, an olive plantation owned by Timbercorp, where she was responsible for pest management, irrigation and plant nutrition monitoring, and on-farm research.

Melissa starts with the North Queensland team at the end of March and is looking forward to the challenge of working in tropical agriculture and developing her research and technical skills.

The Peracto NQ office and research farm are now well established at Delta in the heart of the Bowen farming district in the Dry Tropics. To complement an extensive network of grower cooperators from the Burdekin to Mackay, the 10 acre research farm provides an option for conducting trials which may not be suited to commercial plantings or for growing crops not commercially grown in the district.

The region is well known for producing a wide range of vegetable crops which include tomatoes, capsicums, sweetcorn, beans, cucurbits, along with mangoes, lychees and sugarcane. However, having the research farm has enabled crops such as brassicas, leafy vegetables, peas, cotton and pulse crops to be grown specifically for efficacy and residue trials.

The NQ team has been kept busy during summer with herbicide and insecticide trials in sugarcane and trials in tree crops such as mangoes, macadamias and citrus. North Queensland has recently had its best wet season for 7 years, with Bowen receiving 750 mm since the start of the year. Planting of vegetable crops commenced late February and the region is gearing up for what is hoped to be a successful year.

Chris Monsour, Peracto NQ manager said “With the addition of Melissa and the arrival of Warrick Barnes to work with us during the busy months of our season, the team is looking forward to another productive year, focusing on providing quality research in a timely manner”. Chris is pictured above with Gaye Monsour (Administration, left) and Carolyn Kingston-Lee (Technical Assistant) with the research farm in the background.

Welcome to Clare Crowther

Clare is originally from New Zealand and comes from a dairy farming background. She has been in Australia for the past 20 years, primarily in Queensland, working in agriculture on the Atherton Tablelands, the Burdekin area and Toowoomba.

Clare has a Diploma in Agriculture and has completed post graduate studies in agronomy and land and water management.

Clare has been with Peracto for 12 months, working with Phil Frost’s team doing efficacy and residue work. She has now joined the Residue Team to fill the role of a much needed second Study Director.

Tasmanian trials

The Tasmanian team is now wrapping up the 06/07 summer season and can reflect on another successful year of field trials. The branch, in operation across both the North and South of the state, has access to a diverse range of crops such as pome and stone fruit, cereals, grapes and a broad range of vegetables.

The prevalent drought conditions and lack of moisture across Australia’s agricultural regions has caused headaches, particularly for companies requiring efficacy data for new fungicides. However, thanks to Tasmania’s relatively reliable climate and availability of irrigation water we were able to complete some good trials. In the 06/07 season superior disease pressure was achieved for cereal diseases such as scald, powdery mildew, leaf rust and stripe rust, and the ability to keep the crops hanging on through dry conditions, with the aid of irrigation, allowed us to supply customers with reliable data.