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Crystal ball reveals all for Tasmania in 2016

MARTIN STEVENSON says: IT SEEMS like only yesterday, rather than a year ago, that we tuned in the pedal-powered crystal ball and boldly predicted a Tasmanian annum ahead of “moderate expectations and average temperatures”.IT SEEMS like only yesterday, rather than a year ago, that we tuned in the pedal-powered crystal ball and boldly predicted a Tasmanian annum ahead of “moderate expectations and average temperatures”.
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Mind you, we also forecast that “money bags” Clive Palmer would put his shipping where his mouth was and launch his mooted Titanic II project as a Bass Strait ferry.

As predictions go, Mr Palmer’s nautical ambitions, as with much of his fortune, appear to have gone belly up.

On a more worrying note during 2015, Tassie’s ideology-raddled sun worshippers continued to ride the squeaky-wheeled tumbrel of climate change as they proclaimed a predicted 1.5C degree rise in temperature would send the planet into a flaming spin.

Local weather worry warts flattered us with claims that, despite our mere half-million population and conspicuous shortage of smoke-stack industry, the entire Earth was doomed because of Taswegians’ thoughtlessness. Let’s not annoy the Chinese then as they open an average three new coal mines a week.

And despite your correspondent predicting a new Ice Age, 40,000 warmists flew to a Paris climate gabfest to confirm that, if everyone ceaselessly jetted around the world the way they did, we would be in serious trouble.

Attendees included Paris-bound Australian Conservation Foundation chief executive Kelly O’Shannassy forced to “sip Moet” in a Dubai business class lounge en route after she missed a connecting flight.

The Bolivian delegation took a more robust attitude claiming the talks were an appropriate moment to begin “smashing capitalism”.

Thank heavens, meanwhile, for those giant windmills constructed on hilltops around the world during 2015.

Even if a correspondent confided that the windmills were part of a secret government plot to cool the planet. “They’re really giant fans” our man claimed.

Another pundit said desalination plants were built “to suck up sea water and prevent the threatened 6cm per decade rise in sea levels.”

Which brings us to 2016 predictions —

WITH 97 per cent of scientists having decided the climate change debate is “settled”, boffins will retire satisfied knowing their work is done.

AS same-sex marriage is approved by the feds, other urgers and chancers will see this as their chance to promote multi-person marriage and nuptials involving animal companions.

LAUNCESTON CBD’s mooted return to two-way streets will be realised as part of a cunning “back to the future” scenario with trams again rattling around, policemen controlling traffic at street intersections (rather than those new-fangled traffic lights) and parking meters thrown into the rubbish bin of history and replaced by uniformed chaps marking tyres with chalk.

PM Malcolm Turnbull will discover that being all things to all persons is an impossible political gig to sustain as trendy, latte-sipping inner-city trendies flock to new Opposition leader Tanya Plibersek.

WILL Hodgman’s minders will ensure the Premier continues media appearances smiling shyly at country fairs and brewery openings yet wisely saying nothing of any importance, despite electricity shortages and/or industry closures.

TOURIST numbers will peak in 2016 encouraged by a website exhorting everyone to visit Tassie before the trees are all chopped down and even though the site has been pulled following the discovery that a clear-felling picture was of South African derivation.

EMBOLDENED by Ray Martin’s predictable ABC-TV review finding that the national broadcaster was not presenting enough leftist propaganda, the ABC will host a two-week long North Korean film festival that no one will watch.

NO member of the British or Danish royal families will visit the state in 2016.

EASTER eggs will go on sale from tomorrow.

So, happy 2016 and make the most of it.

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Knowles named MDBA chair

Craig KnowlesNEWLY appointed MDBA chairman Craig Knowles has not ruled out throwing out the controversial Guide to the Murray Darling Basin plan.
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“I have the great luxury of being new to the job so I don’t have a big sense of ownership of the guide – if there’s any good stuff in it we’ll keep it,” Knowles said.

Mr Knowles planned to act swiftly to end the anxiety and uncertainty he said was hurting rural communities, and will hit the road from Monday to talk to residents.

“I intend to approach this in a bipartisan way. I’ll leave the politics aside and just get on with it as long as people are listened to and respected you can go a long way.”

He also said he “wanted to make it clear from day one that there is more than enough room in the Act to focus on a balance between social, economic and environmental outcomes”.

But installing former Mr Knowles to head the beleagured MDBA won’t address fundamental flaws in the Water Act that need to be fixed for meaningful reform to occur, according to the NSW Irrigators Council.

Council chief executive Andrew Gregson said Mr Knowles, who resigned from Parliament in 2005, faced an impossible task.

“He’s a bloke who knows the industry, knows the people, knows the issues, and, importantly, he was minister at the time the National Water Initiative was negotiated so he should understand what we are seeking in a true triple bottom line,” Mr Gregson told The Land.

Chief executive of the National Irrigators Council, Danny O’Brien, welcomed the announcement and urged Mr Knowles to do everything he could to deliver a triple bottom line outcome.

“One of Mr Knowles’ first jobs should be to scrap the Guide and commit to a new round of genuine engagement with Basin communities to get the Plan right,” Mr O’Brien said.

“Mr Knowles has an opportunity to help craft a Plan that provides the balance that all are seeking and we hope that he will understand that the MDBA can only provide part of the solution.”

The Australian Conservation Foundation also welcomed Mr Knowles, saying he was a good choice for the job.

The ACF’s healthy rivers campaigner, Arlene Harriss-Buchan, said the Authority needed to model benefits and not just costs of restoring the river system.

“In its next draft of the Basin Plan, we urge the Authority to examine scenarios from across the range of 3,000 to 7,600 billion litres of additional water for the Basin.”

Initial reaction to the announcement on Twitter was mixed.

The NSW Irrigators Council labelled him the “right man in the wrong job”, while SA Senator Simon Birmingham commented “former NSW Labor Minister Craig Knowles is new MDBA chair – Labor mate of Burke’s who couldn’t run hospitals now in charge of Murray-Darling”.

Former chairman Mike Taylor resigned in early December after facing a torrid time in Basin communities following the release of the guide to the Murray Darling Basin plan that foreshadowed dramatic cuts of up to 37 per cent for irrigators.

“As demonstrated by the resignation of Mike Taylor, the Water Act as it stands won’t allow for equal treatment of environmental, social and economic outcomes,” Mr Gregson said.

Mr Gregson said Mr Taylor quit after realising the MDBA could not deliver a triple bottom line outcome.

Mr Knowles’ political career was damaged over issues in relation to hospitals when he was Health Minister although he was cleared by a subsequent ICAC inquiry.

NSW Natural Resources Minister from 2003 to 2005, Mr Knowles has worked as a political consultant and lobbyist since quitting parliament.

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Rain a good test for Huonfels

The Huonfels Brahman Stud will offer a quality line of three red bulls and three grey bulls, along with a red heifer and grey heifer at the Big Country Sale next month.THE Bethel family of Huonfels Brahman Stud says the 30 inches of rain recorded at their property since September have provided a valuable test for their bulls and females.
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The Huonfels Brahman Stud will offer a quality line of three red bulls and three grey bulls, along with a red heifer and a grey heifer at the Big Country Sale next month.

Mr Bethel said the bulls and heifers on offer had been forced to cope with very trying conditions over the past few months, but had emerged in good condition.

“They certainly have had their share of mud and slop to cope with, but have come through in good fettle,” he said.

The first offering in the Big Country ring for the Huonfels Stud this year is lot 46, Huonfels Waverley, an impressive young son of Wilarandy S Brazillian Man out of a very consistent, high-performing daughter of JY Jimmie, in Huonfels Reva (AI).

“Reva has another cracking bull calf at foot now and is shaping up as one of our better red stud cows,” Mr Bethel said.

“Waverley has tremendous fleshing, a very masculine head and a faultless temperament.”

The next offering is lot 47, Huonfels Walker Magnum (AI), an impressive scurred son of Winchester Magnum 999 out of a Redmont daughter which is a half-sister to the legendary Huonfels Jacob Rio.

“This is the best red dam line in our stud and Walker reinforces this fact,” he said. “He is a bull in every sense of the word and will do a great job in any herd.

“Walker has great length, bone and muscling, with a very masculine head, which is hard to find in polled cattle.”

Also on offer is lot 48, Huonfels Vinn Magnum (AI), another clean, polled son of Winchester Magnum 999.

“He has gained in excess of two kilos a day in the feedlot and will mature into a massive bull.”

The first of the Huonfels heifer draft enters the ring as lot 76 in Huonfels Wanderlust Rio (AI, ET), a magnificent clean poll by Winchester Magnum 999. The second of the Huonfels heifer draft is lot 77, Huonfels Ellie Rose Manso (AI, ET), a lovely thick young embryo heifer from Huonfels’ best grey dam line.

Lot 232, Huonfels Virginius Manso (AI), will be the first of the Huonfels grey bulls to enter the ring.

“He is a long and thick bull with a fantastic hind quarter and bone, and at 30 months is the oldest of our draft,” Mr Bethel said.

Lot 233, Huonfels Sir Vadis Manso (AI), is a quality polled son of JDH Sir Andre Manso out of one of the most consistent grey polled cows in the Huonfels’ embryo team.

The Huonfels draft will conclude with lot 234, Huonfels Warrigal Manso (AI, ET), a son of JDH Martin Manso.

For more information, please contact John Bethel on(07) 4062 5389 or 0408 780 240.

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Red coats at home in Goldfields

p Some of the Madoonia Downs station Santa Gertrudis females.AUSTRALIA long rode on the sheep’s back in the pound for a pound wool boom days and the Goldfields was part of the rush.
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But with wild dogs making it more a pound for a hound on their daily meat menu, sheep in the Goldfields are all but gone and Madoonia Downs, Widgiemooltha, has been part of that changing stockscape.

Ned and Gaynor Shields bought their 404,690 hectare holding, 70km south east of Kambalda and 120km south east of Kalgoorlie, in 2000 with the intention of continuing on with the existing Merino sheep breeding enterprise.

The climate was relatively mild, stands of saltbush and bluebush were renowned for wool production and running sheep was what the former Bremer Bay shearer, shearing contractor and farmer loved.

But increasing dingo numbers soon put paid to the fibre dream and the only hooves padding the red loamy soils today are those of cattle and wild camels.

“In our first two years, despite great lambing percentages, we did not get a single lamb to weaning stage from 4000 ewes,” Ned said.

“That’s how serious and out of control this problem is.

“We’d see 20 lambs born and a week later we’d go out and still see 20 lambs but they weren’t the same 20.

“At one stage I had visions of running 20,000 wethers all managed with three dogs and a motorbike, but dingoes decimated that idea.”

Damaras were also tried but they proved just as tasty to the dogs as Merinos.

As it happened the couple had also bought 50 Santa Gertrudis station weaners and a stud bull in their first year at Madoonia Downs and seeing how well cattle did in their environment proved the catalyst for change.

“While there are a few out here who have been running cattle for many years, I’d say the majority are like us and have made the switch from sheep,” Ned said.

“I always liked Santas, they’re suited to our country and give marketing options for live export or domestic trade and are good for crossbreeding.

“And I like the idea of running a straight coloured herd.”

The Shields are slowly increasing the capacity of their station with currently only about one third of it suitable for grazing.

“We put in 30 dams in the first few years and could do with another 40,” Ned said.

“We have a couple of bores that are okay but the majority are salty.”

The couple hope to significantly increase cattle numbers from the existing 2500 head and earlier last year, bought 1850ha at Grass Patch, 70km north of Esperance, for drought proofing and to turn-off and grow out weaners and sale cattle.

Although the properties are just 280km apart from homestead to homestead, the difference in rainfall is significant with Madoonia’s Binneringie homestead averaging 275mm annually (400mm last year) and mostly in the summer and Grass Patch averaging 375mm a year, mostly in the winter.

As part of the herd-building phase the majority of heifers are retained, although last year the Shields took the opportunity to tap into good prices from Eastern States’ restockers and sent drafts of surplus heifers across the Nullarbor to Broken Hill, NSW.

Their location proved opportune from a freight angle for the Eastern States trade and it’s a market that will continue to be explored for both seedstock and slaughter.

Keeper heifers are weaned to the Grass Patch property, grown out and brought back to the station for mating to bulls sourced privately and from the annual WA Bos Indicus Group (WABIG) sale, Narngulu.

Bulls calves are marketed mostly at 300-320kg liveweight to live export predominantly filling Indonesian orders.

Cattle are generally trap-mustered at watering holes which works well as it requires less labour, but can be a problem if unseasonal rainfall provides excessive surface water.

Like many pastoralists across WA, the Shields have supplemented their income by subcontracting to local mine sites and also from harvesting sandalwood.

Son-in-law and daughter Hamish and Kylee Johnstone run the mine contracting business from their Kalgoorlie base, working at local gold and nickel mines, including two located on Madoonia Downs.

Using their own dozers, graders and excavators, the work includes rock crushing and pushing up waste dumps.

Son Ashley oversees the sandalwood harvesting operation, a reliable source of income through government owned Forest Products Commission (FPC) contracts.

In similar vein to mining, pastoralists do not own the sandalwood on their leaseholds but can sign up with FPC to harvest the product.

The Shields harvest on their own million-acre holding, part of the biggest inland desert region forest in WA, and also have a contract to harvest on land bounded by Southern Cross, Norseman and Zanthas, a remote outpost on the Trans-Australian rail line.

Harvesting rates are about $2000/tonne, considerably less than the market value of the product at $10,000/tonne.

“The main reason we took up the contract in the first place was so we had control over the harvesting on our own property but it has proven a valuable additional source of income,” Ned said.

Dead and green wood is harvested throughout the year with January generally a lay-off month due to the heat and it’s the roots that are the most prolific source of oil.

To ensure the sustainability of the resource, the Shields replant seeds as they pull up, and Ned said given sandalwood only grew at about one millimetre per year, the journey to maturity was a long, slow one.

Despite the harshness of their environment and remote location, the Shields are proof that diversification, willingness to change and marketing creativity can provide good agricultural industry returns.

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Mingenew water issue still flowing

Mingenew farmer Peter Horwood said the Karara Mining-Parmelia Aquifer issue was bigger than Mingenew because it set a precedent for the State.
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ACTING Shadow Water Minister Sally Talbot has criticised the State Government for refusing to extend the closing date for public submissions regarding the granting of a water licence for Karara Mining.

Karara Mining has applied to the Department of Water for a licence to use the remaining 5.3 gigalitres, or 86 per cent of water, in the Parmelia Aquifer at Mingenew.

Member for the Agricultural Region Mia Davies recently tabled a petition drafted by local farmer Peter Horwood asking the Legislative Council to consider the environmental risk and the impact on agricultural and non-agricultural diversification if the quantity of water applied for under a water licence was used.

The closing date for public submissions was extended from December 31 to January 31.

Ms Talbot said she had written to Water Minister Bill Marmion before Christmas to request a further extension to March 31 because Karara Mining had just released a large amount of new information.

“My view was that was absolutely inadequate because you’ve got a whole lot of technical information being released publicly for the first time,” she said.

“You also had all these farming communities throughout the Mid West who were all in the middle of their harvest and it was coming up to Christmas.”

Ms Talbot said farmers were unable to talk to professional experts about the complicated hydrological data over that period, as they were not available over Christmas and New Year.

She said the tight deadline was creating a lot of concern in the community and handing over 86pc of potable water to the mining industry would remove future options for the use of that water.

“Some people have talked about aquaculture and several other projects that would involve the use of that water,” she said.

Ms Talbot said expansion of the area population-wise would be affected and the community needed much more reassurance that the proper planning had been done.

“People are rapidly losing any sense of trust in the process as it is being played out because they are suspicious of the company’s intentions when it comes to this application,” she said.

Mingenew farmer Peter Horwood said the issue was bigger than Mingenew because it set a precedent for the State.

He said there would be no benefit for the local community because the water was effectively being shifted 100km east.

He said inaccuracies in Karara Mining’s information regarding the location of the Urella faultline meant that more wetlands were potentially endangered than originally thought.

Mr Horwood said the Department of Water found the correct location within half an hour but the mining company which was spending millions of dollars did not get it right in the first place.

Mr Horwood said the pipeline, which is already being laid, was at the Geraldton wharf even before the first community meeting regarding the issue.

“Then you’ve got to sit down and think ‘when was this ordered?” he said.

“You’re dealing with pipe about two foot in diameter so it’s not something you walk down to Bunnings and pick up a truckload of.”

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Buswell derails Tier 3 discussions

NAREMBEEN grower and chair of the Wheatbelt Railway Retention Alliance, Bill Cowan said Transport Minister Troy Buswell’s position that a set amount of money had been allocated to the task of renewing Wheatbelt rail lines and that would be it, has been exposed after a radio interview the Minister conducted last week.
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Despite Mr Buswell’s position, Mr Cowan said he was still positive about the outlook for Tier 3 lines in the Wheatbelt area.

The Wheatbelt Railway Retention Alliance was scheduled to meet with representatives from CBH and Watco including Watco executive vice president Ed McKechnie.

The meeting was to take place in Bruce Rock last weekend.

“They’ve written to us and they want to hear our views,” Mr Cowan said.

“They want consultation and forthright discussion to take place between us and I see that as a very proactive and encouraging step.

“It will be nice to get some idea about their view on the situation and where the Tier 3 lines might be a possibility.”

Mr Cowan said the Alliance wanted to meet the industry representatives on Wheatbelt soil where they could actually look at a Tier 3 line.

“It’s going to be interesting because if they really do feel that Tier 3 lines are worth putting money into, I actually now have a feeling that private industry might put the money into it,” he said.

“I’m more confident now that we will save the Tier 3 lines, however, it is a worry that both Troy Buswell and Brendon Grylls are saying that there’s nothing they can do to save them.”

Mr Cowan was awaiting response from Mr Buswell in relation to the closure of Tier 3 rail lines throughout the Wheatbelt and said that Mr Gryll’s contribution to the debate had also come as no surprise.

From the Alliance’s point of view, potential funding from Royalties for Regions would be the “ultimate outcome” according to Mr Cowan, however, he said Mr Grylls made his point of view clear when he was also recently interviewed on radio.

“Brendon Grylls said even if money was put into the Tier 3 lines farmers wouldn’t use them anyway because the freight charges were higher,” Mr Cowan said.

“Nearly 94 per cent of grain in WA was freighted by train anyway.

“Funding from Royalties for Regions for the cause would be the ultimate outcome because we’d see the money already allocated spent on roads, which is inadequate anyway, as well as the Royalty for Regions funding.

“If Royalties for Regions went in, it would be a significant help.”

Although, members from the Alliance had said, CBH had been “tight-lipped” about its intentions they were enthusiastic about meeting with CBH and Watco in Bruce Rock.

“No one from CBH has said anything but I think it was their strategy all along,” Mr Cowan said.

He also said CBH representatives had made their interest in the rail infrastructure publicly known for some time.

“CBH has suggested the State Government give the rail lines back so that it could run them,” he said.

“It is like WAFarmers member Kevin Jones said, if they do that, WestNet will surely get them somewhere else and make them pay somewhere further along the line.

“I may be pre-empting something CBH has in the pipeline but it is what it is.”

Mr Buswell said the Government, through its review of the way WA freights its grain, had invested $350m into the upgrade of road and rail networks in the Wheatbelt so wheat could be transported as efficiently and as safely as possible to WA’s ports.

He said part of that process meant that three under-utilised lines in the Wheatbelt would be put on a care and maintenance basis.

“That was a long process, supported by industry and supported by farmers,” he said.

“That process has now concluded and we are now focused on implementing the upgrades funded by that $350m.”

Mr Buswell said the process of review had been going on since 2004 and nothing had happened.

“It’s time now for action,” he said.

“Clearly there are some people who feel dissatisfied with the outcome.

“They have been making outrageous claims in terms of the impact of the Government decision on the freight of grain by road.”

He said if their argument was taken to its logical conclusion, they would have “a rail receival point at the end of every farmgate.”

“And that clearly isn’t going to happen,” he said.

“We all know every farmer in WA takes their grain by road to a grain receival point.

“What we’re saying is that there are some rail networks which are no longer viable or economic and those farmers will have the option to take their grain a little further to grain receival points.”

Mr Buswell said that had “aggrieved” some people and that change could rarely exist without “some agitation.”

“But my message to those groups is that we are not going to begin another review,” he said.

“We are going to spend this $350m of State and Federal money to fix up roads and rail.

“So we are making sure we invest in roads to provide a safe environment, acknowledging that the rail networks have served agricultural communities for a long time and that there have to be some changes at some point.”

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Rich rewards at Mount Ascot Merino ram sale

Elders stud stock selling team, that handled the brisk bidding at Mount Ascot ram sale.A COURAGEOUS decision by the Brumpton family to go ahead with their recent annual Mount Ascot Merino ram sale at Mitchell, despite widespread travel disruption caused by the floods, was rewarded with strong demand and total clearance.
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Founded by Reuben and Heather Brumpton and now continued by their son Nigel and his wife Rosemary and family members, Mount Ascot continues to be a front-runner in Queensland ram marketing, as evidenced again this year, even with many former NSW and central-western clients kept away by closed roads.

Even with these buying restrictions, the sale reached a top price of $5000 for a ram sold to long-standing Mount Ascot clients, Bob and Marg Little, Waverley, Cunnamulla, who also bought 24 other auction rams to average $1868, including the second top-priced ram at $4500.

Proceeds from one of the rams bought for $2000 by the Little family were donated to the flood appeal.

Graham Winks, Tilquin, Bollon, took home 17 rams; the Hill family, Oakey Park, Dirranbandi, selected 12; Glenorie Grazing, Morven, bought 11; and DJ&D Sullivan took home 10.

Long-time clients included Summer-hill Grazing, Ilfracombe, taking home 16 rams; Arthur Gaunt taking seven; Jim and Kate Scutt, Waldor, Dirranbandi, with five; Harry and Susan Glasson, Blackall, taking 10, and LG&LE Jukes & Sons, Tregonning, Morven, taking five.

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New brand hits niche

BRAND BUILDING: Shane and Nina Selleck are building a name for their premium quality grain-fed beef under their Barossa Plains Black Angus brand which was launched six months ago.LOWER North beef producers Nina and Shane Selleck understand that a growing number of consumers want to know where their beef comes from and how it is produced.
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The young couple have ticked both of these boxes with their Barossa Plains Black Angus, a premium grain-fed beef.

The branded beef has full traceability from the paddock to the points of sale at the weekly Barossa Farmers Market, the Sellecks’ recently-acquired butcher shop or the local businesses they supply.

Since its launch in the middle of last year, the brand has enjoyed strong growth, with about six carcases now used each week. The beef is produced from the Selleck family’s Angus herds run at Lyndoch and Kapunda and are finished at their ASHSHA Park feedlot at Wasleys using grain and hay grown on-property.

The family’s livestock transport business – Selleck’s Transport – is used to move stock from the farm to the feedlot to the abattoir and they have a refrigerated truck to transport meat.

Shane’s parents Lyn and Braithe have run a self-replacing Angus herd for many years, supplying grain-fed cattle from their 800-head capacity feedlot to supermarkets. While this is still the family’s major farming business, Nina and Shane are now focusing their energy on directly supplying the consumer as well.

The couple said that living in the Barossa, they could see the high demand for quality products grown locally. This thinking was behind their decision to buy Barossa Plains Meats at Freeling last September and offer environmentally sustainable products.

Nina is proud that all the meat in the butcher shop – except the seafood – comes from within a 60 kilometre radius of Freeling, including locally grown pork, chicken from Riverton and beef and lamb. This ensures consumers buy products with low food miles.

“Because it is local, there is less travel, less carbon emissions, and we are trying to provide more employment in Freeling,” she said.

An important outlet for Barossa Plains Black Angus has been the Farmer’s Market which the couple have been participating in since July last year. Nina says the market presence has built awareness of the brand, given them valuable feedback on their beef and produced repeat customers looking for steak, roasts, sausages, even meatballs to feed their families.

“We are able to tell people we breed our own cows, grow the grain to feed the cattle which go into our feedlot and recycle the waste back on the paddocks as liquid fertiliser,” Nina said.

The couple also have online sales of quarter and half-sides of beef from the Barossa Plains Black Angus.

One of the most difficult parts of having a brand is using the secondary cuts but the Sellecks have this covered too. Their trademark 28-centimetre thick sausage in natural casing, known as the ‘Big Banger’, is very popular in the butcher shop and Farmers Market, and they supply mince to Sunrise Bakery at Angaston, Truro and now Gawler which goes into making their famous meat pies.

*Full story in Stock Journal, January 27 issue, 2011.

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New entity to smooth IR transition

A NEW industrial relations entity has been created to help unincorporated Queensland employers when the move to the Federal Fair Work industrial relations system takes place on February 1.
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Primary Employers Queensland has been launched by principal Warren Turner as a dedicated mem-bership subscription-based website to provide information and advice which is easily understood and specifically designed to address the particular needs of rural employers.

“There is an enormous amount of confusion surrounding the new IR system, and Primary Employers Queensland’s principal objective is to provide concise information in a user-friendly format,” Mr Turner said.

“We offer a wide range of mem-bership-based services including award and legislation content and obligations, advice on negotiation of agreements, and representation in dispute situations.”

Mr Turner said that with the introduction of the Fair Work Australia Industrial Relations legislation introduced from January 1 (in respect of incorporated employers), there has been a shift in the IR process, with the emphasis moving from traditional award-based processes to a more direct employer/employee relationship reflected through the introduction of workplace agreements.

“PEQ will be an adjunct to Turner IR Queensland Pty Ltd, specialising in the cattle, wool, shearing, feedlot, dairy, cotton and pig-breeding industries,” he said.

Mr Turner has more than 40 years’ experience in IR in Queensland and was the industrial relations director for the United Graziers’ Associa-tion of Queensland Union of Employ- ers for 18 years prior to 1999, when Turner IR was established to special-ise in providing IR consultancy and advocacy services to the pastoral and other rural industries.

梧桐夜网primaryemployersqld南京夜网419论坛 or phone (07) 3425 1907.

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Claying pays through increased production

SOIL IMPROVEMENT: Victor Harbor farmer Alister Carmichael says clay spreading, and now delving, is the cheapest way he and his family can improve their farm without buying more land and (inset) the delving machine at work.HAVING experienced good results from clay spreading his unproductive, non-wetting sands, Waitpinga farmer Alister Carmichael has this year turned to clay delving as another method of improving production.
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The 1090-hectare Carmichael property Santa Cruz, located seven kilometres west of Victor Harbor, runs mainly livestock with a small amount of cropping.

“The end result we want is better pastures,” Alister said. “Clay spreading, and now delving, we think is the cheapest way we can improve our farm without buying more land.”

Alister says that about five years ago he started inquiring about clay spreading and delving on the Fleurieu Peninsula through the local natural resource management board and Rural Solutions SA.

“I was finding that not much had been done locally about clay spreading or delving, and any machinery was based either on Eyre Peninsula or in the South East where they had been doing it for a long time.”

As a result, the Glacier Soils Group formed and trialled small areas of clay delving and clay spreading with funding from the National Landcare Program. Further projects, funded by Caring for Our Country and Woolworths, have provided technical support and offset some of the costs associated with clay spreading and delving and overcoming the difficulty of getting machinery to the area.

“We were finding that contractors were reluctant to travel to the area for less than 12 hectares, so working as a group has been of benefit,” Alister said. “The incentive payments through the project have also made it easier for us in terms of funding.”

Since then, Alister has clay spread about 35 hectares a year (175ha total), and is very pleased with the results. He has observed better and more even germination, better efficacy of chemicals as everything is germinating at the same time, and better fertility.

“We began in our worst paddocks and we’re starting to see each paddock that we’ve done getting a little better each year,” he said. “This year is the first year we’ve tried delving on a broader scale, so we’re keen to see what the difference is.”

The practice of delving involves ripping up subsoil clay lying one metre or less beneath sandy topsoil. An implement fitted with large ‘ripper’ tynes is used to break into the clay pan and bring clods to the surface. Clay is allowed to dry before being broken up and incorporated into the topsoil with normal tillage operations.

Alister says that using a delving contractor they completed 35ha one week ago. His initial assessment of the two methods is that while delving is cheaper, the incorporation of the clay is harder.

“We’re expecting that incorporation will take longer as the delving has left the surface a lot rougher,” Alister said. “But at the same time, delving has allowed us to break up the subsoil clay and hence get better root growth and mix up the soil profile as well.”

*Full report in Stock Journal, January 27, 2011.

This story Administrator ready to work first appeared on Nanjing Night Net.