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St George set to shine Cutting Hor se Futurity on track to thrill ® PAGE 4


2 GRAZIER & FARMER Tuesday, June 25, 2019













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Editor’s welcome NOW the dust has settled from the Federal Election in May, graziers and farmers across the Surat Basin are looking to see if an emboldened Scott Morrison government will use its majority power to nurture the industries so many in the agriculture sector rely on. Following Mr Morrison’s victory, we have seen a cabinet reshuffle with our local Maranoa MP David Littleproud being shifted from Agriculture Minister to Water Resources, Natural Disasters and Emergency Management. This edition of Grazier and Farmer explores what Mr Littleproud had to say about his new role and what it means for protecting those who live off the land. Our team of journalists also explore changes, market trends and innovation we are seeing across agriculture industries throughout our patch of Australia. - Jordan Philp, Editor

COVER IMAGE: Todd Graham & Hellish 2019 NCHA Futurity Champion. PHOTO: STEPHEN MOWBRAY EDITOR Jordan Philp, Phone: 07 4120 1017 Email: ADVERTISING Greg Latta, Stephanie Stonehouse and Jessica Townsend Western Star Phone 07 4672 9927 Email GENERAL MANAGER Erika Brayshaw Email: All material published in Grazier and Farmer is subject to copyright provisions. No part of this publication may be reproduced without prior written permission for the publisher. DISCLAIMER: The information contained within Grazier and Farmer is given in good faith and obtained from sources believed to be accurate. The views expressed are not necessarily those of the publisher. The Western Star will not be liable for any opinion or advice contained herein.

THRILLING EVENT: Similar excitement can be expected at the upcoming On The Banks of the Balonne as is pictured here ofJosh Barnett who was crowned Young Guns Winner at the 2019 Landmark Classic Campdraft. PHOTO: WILD FILLIES PHOTOGRAPHY

On the Banks of the Balonne Cutting Horse Futurity event set to thrill audiences

With the 2018 inaugural On the Banks of the Balonne Cutting Horse Futurity hailed such a success, competitors from far and wide are brimming with excitement as the 2019 event draws close. Being held at the St George Showgrounds from Tuesday, July 16 until Sunday July, 21 event organiser Nadean McKenna says we can expect a thrilling competition which will enthral spectators and competitors alike. "This promises to be huge with competitors travelling from South Australia, New South Wales, Queensland, Victoria and New Caledonia," Ms McKenna said. "We have a full aged event program along

with some other events including a State of Origin Team Cutting." Sure to hike the competitive stakes up a notch, the State of Origin team cutting event is set to take place in the evening of Saturday, July 20 prior to the Futurity Final. A team will consist of three riders originating from the same state. All three team members will enter the arena together, with two riders taking the back corners and the third team member working to cut the first cow. When the first team members quits their cow, they will tag the next member and take their place in the back corner.

There will be 3 minutes working time allocated to each team. Ms McKenna noted the great support the event has previously received and is sure the community will once again embrace it. "Last year the local support was fantastic, and attendance and atmosphere were amazing," she said. "This year the show is running under a new NCHA Affiliate, so it is very exciting." For action to entertain the whole family, head to the St George Showgrounds mid-July and show your support for this incredible event. Further details can be found on the Banks of Balonne Cutting Club’s Facebook page.

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Tuesday, June 25, 2019

Backs against a dry wall Landowners despair as ALP vows rollout of stiff vegetation laws James Liveris KRISTY Cornford has lived on the land her whole life, but until the vegetation management laws were introduced, her livelihood had never been in jeopardy. For the past 12 years Mrs Cornford has owned a property southeast of Charleville, seven of them drought declared, and if it wasn’t for unforeseen rain she said it would’ve been the end. Leading up to the April rain, the Cornford family was at the stage where funding feed for their cattle was unsustainable and fodder-harvesting mulga was the only option. However, Queensland vegetation management laws restrict them from accessing fodder growing on more than 30 per cent of their land. “If it wasn’t for the rain in April, we would’ve run out of mulga that we are legally allowed to harvest,” she said. “Our supply would’ve been diminished: It would’ve been the end of us.” The Queensland legislation outlines how trees can be cleared and protected, with graziers requiring approval to clear select trees on their properties which, if evaded, could result in fines of more than $500,000. During the recent federal election, the Australian Labor Party made a promise to roll out the legislation nationwide, if elected. Mrs Cornford said the fact the ALP was going to impose the laws nationwide stopped her from voting for them. “Every regional Queenslander would’ve been in the same boat: Vegetation management doesn’t just affect the mulga lands, it affects all environments and landscapes Queensland-wide, even the sugar cane farmers in Mackay,” she said. Mrs Cornford’s description of the unpopularity of the laws is no understatement. In 2018, when the State Government imposed the Vegetation Management Bill, it was met with protests of thousands who attended six hearings in regional Queensland with more than 13,000 submissions of disapproval.


AS REVIEWED on April 1, 2019, the Queensland Government Long Paddock report showed a total of 30 councils and five part-council areas were drought declared. These declarations represent 65.2 per cent of the land area of Queensland. With two-thirds of the state declared to be in drought, Liberal National Party Queensland vice-president Cameron O’Neil said it was no surprise Kristy Cornford was among 43.9 per cent of Queenslanders who voted to have a government that didn’t put in jeopardy the livelihoods of rural and regional

SUPPORTING AGRICULTURE: DDSWQ is backing QFF in a call to rethink new vegetation management laws.

Our supply would’ve been diminished: It would’ve been the end of us.

— Kristy Cornford

Queenlsanders. “Labor’s archaic vegetation laws are causing undue pressure on people who are doing it tough already,” Mr O’Neil said. “The commentary coming out of the federal Labor party in the lead-up to the election was that they were going to universally introduce vegetation management laws right across Australia based on the Queensland legislation. “It wasn’t a good message to rural producers outside of Queensland, let alone inside of Queensland, that these archaic laws could put their businesses – businesses I believe they sustainably manage – and livelihoods in doubt. “One size doesn’t fit all and grabbing a universally unpopular law in Queensland and trying to sell that across Australia was a poor,

poor move on their behalf. The federal election result clearly illustrated when you put the lives of regional Queenslanders in jeopardy they will send you a fairly distinct message.”


A DECISION by the Queensland Court of Appeal exposed Queensland landholders to fines of more than half a million dollars for disregarding vegetation laws. Land earmarked “Category X” is exempt under state legislation but certain councils now require landholders to secure approval before clearing trees, even removing a few trees for fence posts. AgForce CEO Michael Guerin described the decision as “governance gone mad”. “What we have here is a gross contradiction between areas of land the State Government says are exempt under the Queensland Vegetation Management Act but could end up costing some landholders their livelihoods,” Mr Guerin said. “Fines of up to $600,000 are beyond most of us. “Imagine removing trees growing in your own


backyard because they are damaging your pipes or foundations, then being told years later that you weren’t allowed to do it and, worse, you now have to pay a massive fine – a fine that might be worth more than the value of the land itself.” Mr Guerin said farmers weren’t “mass clearing land in football field sized blocks as often misreported in the media”, but rather, managing thickening vegetation on their properties to restore the land. “Management of the land and control of regrowth is what the vegetation needs to be healthy and regenerate. Locking up land and preventing active management causes vegetation to thicken rapidly, often choking healthy ecosystems,” Mr Guerin said. “Councils that impose these requirements offer no compensation. “What this decision by the Court of Appeal does is further stifle landholders and the land they’re trying to manage with more over-governance.” The ALP did not respond to questions about the impact vegetation management laws had on its election results in rural Queensland.

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6 GRAZIER & FARMER Tuesday, June 25, 2019

Goat prices reach record

New high of $10/kg thanks to the drought WILD goats are proving no silly billies, with prices soaring to a record $10 a kilogram – smashing previous highs of $7.50/kg set in 2017. While Thomas Foods International set a price of $9.20/kg carcass weight, Ascot Meat Products, from Wodonga, and TFI trumped that with a quote of $10/kg for 7–35kg rangeland goats. Meat and Livestock Australia data shows

While he said western NSW, where many rangeland goats originate, was hard hit by drought, some parts had rain recently, which may help with populations. Mr Falkenhagen said while he couldn’t predict where prices would go, he didn’t think $10/kg was sustainable long term. MLA goat industry project manager Julie Petty said she anticipated the low supply situation would continue for some time.

the average goat price has been sitting about 798c/kg – almost 40 per cent more than the $5.83/kg recorded in January. Goat Industry Council of Australia president John Falkenhagen said a limited supply of goats due to drought was driving up prices. “It is a case of supply and demand. They (processors) are trying to coax more goats out,” Mr Falkenhagen said.


“Those areas that have had rain will turn to a herd rebuilding phase, which will tighten slaughter for now but will benefit the industry long term,” Ms Petty said.

BLEETING GOOD: The drought is pushing up prices of wild goats at market, with a price of $10/kg setting a new record. PHOTO: MADELINE GRACE

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PM’s ministry reshuffle fails to faze Littleproud Drought-affected farmers are Member for Maranoa’s new focus after federal election Emily Bradfield ASSISTING drought affected farmers will be Maranoa MP David Littleproud’s key focus as he begins work in his new portfolio after a major ministry reshuffle. Prime Minister Scott Morrison shifted Mr Littleproud from Agriculture Minister to Water Resources, Natural Disasters and Emergency Management. The Maranoa MP was elected to his second term at the May 18 federal election and said his new portfolio would allow him to provide assistance to people living on the land. “The drought is one of the biggest challenges,” he said. “One rain event doesn’t break a drought, we are going to need two or three average seasons as a minimum to get our farmers back up on their feet. “We’ve got some work to do continuously and be agile around delivery of support now and recovery into the future. “Making sure the recovery is ready and we are there to support the communities that haven’t got out of the drought yet, making sure that is streamlined as well as and making sure into the future around our responses to natural disasters are streamlined with all levels of

government.” Mr Littleproud told the Dalby Herald he was proud of the legacy he created with the Murray Darling Basin and would continue to deliver the project to the benefit of farmers. “This is the biggest environmental program in our nation’s history and, for the first time, we’ve got agreement on the management of the Murray Darling by Basin states in the Commonwealth. “So I continue to build on that and deliver the plan in a sensible way and understand the impacts it has and is having on regional communities.” Mr Littleproud’s former ministerial role will be filled by Bridget McKenzie – Australia’s first female Agriculture Minister. The reshuffle marks a record number of women on the Coalition frontbench – seven. Mr Littleproud said he was glad to see female leadership drive change in the agricultural industry. “It’s a fantastic thing that we’ve got two women leading agriculture, the National Farmers’ Federation president is a female as well,” Mr Littleproud said. “One of the wrongs that needed to be righted in agriculture is that we’ve excluded 50 per cent of our intellect out of it for far too long.”

KEY FOCUS: Federal Agriculture Minister David Littleproud says his new portfolio would allow him to provide assistance to people living on the land. PHOTO: FILE

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8 GRAZIER & FARMER Tuesday, June 25, 2019

The decision to release 3600 megalitres of water a day from the E.J. Beardmore Dam and then the Jack Taylor Weir has bemused drought-hit irrigators.


Missed opportunity anger Irrigators say they were ignored when Government released water for maintenance work at dam INFURIATED irrigators are fighting back against a State Government decision to “waste” hundreds of millions of litres of water released from E.J. Beardmore Dam. Last month, as part of the safety maintenance works on the dam just outside St George, a combination of environmental, stock and domestic water was released over 12 days into the Balonne River, before it was then released through the Jack Taylor Weir. Smart Rivers president and irrigator Frank Deshon said not only was it a missed opportunity for communities downstream, but especially during the drought, it was simply not good enough. The maximum flow rate is 730 megalitres a day, however, Mr Deshon is among those outraged water was released at nearly five times the recommended rate at some points, at a rate of 3600mL a day.

Mr Deshon said they could have had the same result if water had been released at the recommended rate, allowing flow rates downstream. “If they had released the water at the recommended 730 per day, it could have gone over 30 days,” Mr Deshon said. “With that extra duration, we would have gotten water right down the flow, all the way down to the end of the stream. As a result, the Culgoa has had a bit of a flow through, but it hasn’t made it to the Narran. “It’s a missed opportunity, and that’s why we’re singing out. We haven’t had a proper run through since 2016, and we’ve had very little rain since then. It’s really not good enough.” A Department of Natural Resources, Mines and Energy spokesman said the increased release rate was necessary to the dam’s maintenance. “As a result of extensive rainfall in the Upper

Maranoa catchment, there were approximately 12 days of ESD water released at up to a maximum rate of 730 megalitres per day,” he said. “A significant volume of water was also released at increased rates, to reduce the level of water in the dam to allow essential works. “The increase rate was determined by balancing the needs of local water users and downstream communities with the need to get the essential dam maintenance done as soon as possible. “As safety is paramount, the excess water needed to be released in a timely manner to enable the vital works. “Approximately 11,000 megalitres of water from this flow event has been temporarily stored off-site until works are complete, and water is able to be returned for use by irrigators.” Irrigators told The Balonne Beacon of their


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frustration at decisions being made 600km away in the city. Mr Deshon said there had not been any community consultation about the above-average releases, and many irrigators felt they were not given the respect or thought they deserved. “That figure of 730 megalitres per day is that when that is released, it gives the most even distribution downstream, and we don’t get a flood out,” he said. “That water goes appropriately downstream. “When we realised what was happening, we asked for a teleconference immediately and we made our concerns very well known, but it fell on deaf ears. “No sooner had we hung up the phone, they increased the rates to over 3000 megalitres per day. “I think it was total disregard and total disrespect for water users.”







Ellen Ransley


Tuesday, June 25, 2019

Immune predictor needed In a world first for the beef industry, Angus Australia is giving producers a new tool to predict the ability of an animal to mount an immune response when under stress

Peter Somerville A GENETIC predictor currently in development will provide angus cattle producers with a predictor of immune competence and resilience. Angus Australia has partnered with the CSIRO for the project, and published a series of ImmuneDEX research breeding values at its conference in Albury. The CSIRO’s Brad Hine introduced producers to the new tool at the conference, suggesting the “perfect storm” is brewing for the cattle industry. “If we continue to select for production and ignore health and fitness, we are going to reduce the capacity of our animals to resist disease,” Dr Hine said. “At the same time, increasing restrictions on the use of antibiotics in food are effectively going to rip off the bandaid that has allowed us to do that for quite some time.” However, he said it was “certainly not in dire straits”. “If we act now and put some consideration into (selecting for immune resilience) we certainly have time to avoid the storm. ImmuneDEX is an index, like a lot of others we see, that’s all about predicting the ability of an animal to mount an immune response when they’re under stress.” Angus Australia’s strategic projects manager Christian Duff said similar information had been available to American holstein breeders for some time, however, it is a world first for the beef industry. “We are talking in the short term about something that will be available for bull breeders,” he said. “Angus Australia is making this technology available … so people can start value adding with this data we’ve been collecting. The next step now is to collect more data on calves and we will keep doing that in the sire benchmarking program.” Dr Hine said the predictor had been developed by measuring the reaction of cattle to an induced immune response. Just as humans get sick when stressed, Dr Hine said cattle were susceptible at weaning and feedlot induction. He said many producers would be surprised to learn not all their cattle had the same immune capacity. “I can assure you, they don’t,” he said.

A genetic predictor will soon provide angus cattle producers with a predictor of immune competence and resilience. PHOTO: ANDY ROGERS

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Tuesday, June 25, 2019

Expert says meat has its place LIVESTOCK are major emitters of the greenhouse gas methane, but it would be unwise to simply scale down Australia’s meat production in an attempt to mitigate climate change. This is not the view of a livestock producer with skin in the game, but that of a leading scientific expert, Climate Change Institute director Professor Mark Howden, who spoke to The Weekly Times from Japan last month. Prof Howden said reducing livestock in Australia could lead to product substitution – replacing locally grown meat with imported food that had a heavier emissions footprint – the opposite of the aim. Prof Howden is also a working group vice-chair on the influential Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change. He said on-farm emissions were only part of the picture when considering the vital role of food production. Emissions from production inputs also needed to be considered, such as crop fertilisers, packing, processing and transportation. “Livestock production is responding to demand … if Australia was to reduce meat production those markets would just get meat from Argentina, or some other place, and those may not meet the same standards of natural resource management … and animal ethics, that we have.” Instead, the better approach was to promote diets that had a moderate, not heavy, meat component. “I eat meat but I try not to overdose on it, I’m a flexitarian,” he said. “You can have a very healthy diet for you and a healthy diet for the planet. For me, it’s not a question of meat or not meat. “If we had a policy that promoted a significant reduction in farm animal numbers that would put the profitability of many Australian farms at risk, and the capacity of those farmers to look after their land would be

Meat production is part of the climate challenge, says Professor Mark Howden, but is also part of the solution. reduced. “A profitable farm can be very sustainable but an unprofitable farm is unlikely to be.” He added huge areas of Australia were best suited to extensive grazing and did not have “real alternative” land uses. “If we pull farmers out of that land, we have all sort of problems with weeds, ferals, bushfires.” He said meat should not be lumped into the same boat as fossil fuels. While there were alternative energy sources to fossil fuels in


A profitable farm can be very sustainable but an unprofitable farm is unlikely to be

— Professor Mark Howden

renewables, when it came to meat production there “was no alternative to food”.

“Food and water are mandatory things; we also have more economic and cultural (influences) regarding food,” he said. He said food and one’s cultural preferences were a vital part of “being human”. Prof Howden said farming was part of the climate challenge, but also part of the solution. He encouraged farmers to be proactive and work with researchers to develop practices that reduced emissions, while continuing to provide vital, high-quality food for the world’s population.

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Cunnamulla greener but While rainfall in the past two months hasn’t broken records, the remnants of ex-Tropical Cyclone Trevor made a major difference to the Cunnamulla region as a whole...

FROM above, the vast expanse of Cunnamulla is looking healthy, with a sea of greenery blanketing the land. The change from dry and dusty paddocks has been a source of relief, albeit a temporary one, for graziers like Evan Palmer, of Offham, who has been consistently destocking his flock of sheep since the drought began to bite. “We can carry up to 8000 sheep on Offham but, over the past six years, we have just been selling them down because of the lack of rain, and obviously the cost of feeding them,” Mr Palmer said. “It was very expensive with the freight, even when I’ve been using all sorts of alternative products ranging from almond hulls, to grapeseed meal and cottonseed – whatever I can find at the right price. “With my own truck I’m able to go and source it from different areas and have mainly been getting feed from the Griffith area, where the irrigators have a fair few different products that our sheep seem to do fairly well on. “It is about a 1750km round trip, so the freight side of it is still very expensive, even though you are using your own truck, and

the cost of feeding is just astronomical now – you wouldn’t get much change out of $500 or $600 a tonne by the time it was landed here, and that is if you can get it.” A few instances of rain over the past two months have brought some life back into the station, with herbage and some grass popping up. “We got some back in April and a bit early in May, but we’d been missing out; there had been more rain to the north of us, up around Charleville and Wyandra,” Mr Palmer said. “We got a bit of a flood out of that, and 20mm of rain, which didn’t do anything at all. “About 30km north of us, they received about four inches and we got 20mm. “Then in the next lot we got 47mm and there was 140-odd south of Cunnamulla. “We thought we were going to miss out altogether but we were lucky enough to get another 48mm just over a week after that big change, so it helped us along. “It meant we didn’t have to feed any more so that has taken a fair bit of pressure off.” While the welcome falls in the past two months haven’t broken any records, and

“With my own truck I’m able to go and source it from different areas”

were undoubtedly patchy between properties, it was the remnants of ex-Tropical Cyclone Trevor that made a major difference to the region as a whole. “The Cunnamulla Post Office weather station recorded 93.8mm in April and another 21.4mm in May,” Bureau of Meteorology climatologist Adam Blazak said. “While the May rain was below the average, the usual amount of rain in April is only around 26.9mm, so this year the rain was well above that. “It was caused by a few upper troughs in the area, and ex-Tropical Cyclone Trevor, which worked quite well to bring rain to the region; the former cyclone really did its job.” More than a welcome sight for Mr Palmer, the rain and growth brought relief to the hip pocket, at least in the short term. But to keep going in the future, he knows there needs to be a lot more rain, or he will be back in the truck carting more feed. “We probably have enough herbage on the ground until the end of August but will definitely need to see a bit more rain, because we’ve only had about half as much as the properties to the south of Cunnamulla have had,” he said. “We only have 1500 sheep left, so what


Tuesday, June 25, 2019

MAIN PICTURE: Cunnamulla from the air. ABOVE: Evan Palmer, from Offham, Cunnamulla, with his Fleece of the Cunnamulla Show.


there’s a long way to go

It meant we didn’t have to feed any more so that has taken a fair bit of pressure off. — Evan Palmer

we’ve got on the ground should keep them going until the weather starts to warm up, and the herbage will soon dry up and disappear fairly quickly once the weather warms up. “Hopefully we can start to breed up from what we’ve got, provided it keeps raining, and try to get back into full production again as soon as we can. “I think most, if not all, farmers are in that position. “We have a long way to go before the drought is over, unfortunately, so we certainly need well above average rainfall for at least a year to get things going again, get the grass going. “The we’d need the seasons to continue for a couple of years after that to get the bulk back into the feed so we can return to our usual carrying capacities and try to claw back a fair bit of lost ground after six years.”

The Cunnamulla Fella at Cunnamulla.


14 GRAZIER & FARMER Tuesday, June 25, 2019

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Tuesday, June 25, 2019

LNP says jail time for activists Private Member’s Bill proposes penalties up to 10 years in prison for illegal trespass at mines and farms Ann Leahy, Member for Warrego I HAVE continued to lobby for harsher penalties for animal activists and have been successful in doing so. I am pleased the LNP has introduced into State Parliament a Private Member’s Bill to deal with animal and mining activists who organise and/or undertake illegal trespass. The LNP and I are standing up for farming families and businesses who are threatened and harassed by illegal and unacceptable behaviour of activists There has been a public outcry about this illegal behaviour, however, it has fallen on deaf ears. The Labor Government has again turned its back on Queensland farmers and the resources industry in our state. It is time State Labor supported the LNP’s unprecedented crackdown. On-the-spot fines of $652 don’t deter these activists and on-the-spot fines are not a comprehensive solution. The LNP’s laws propose three new criminal offences: aggravated trespass, serious criminal trespass and organised trespass. Whether you’re an individual, a group or an organisation, you will face severe punishments for industrial sabotage under the LNPs new laws. Hefty fines and lengthy jail time are the only way to stamp out this

disruptive, premeditated and illegal behaviour. The LNP’s three new offences will protect businesses and send a strong message to these protesters to nick off and go home and leave our hard-working farmers and processors alone. CURRENT TRESPASS LAWS ● General trespass: Maximum penalty – 20 penalty units ($2600) or one year’s imprisonment.

● Trespass on farmland: Maximum penalty – 10 penalty units ($1300) or six months’ imprisonment. LABOR TRESPASS FINES (BIOSECURITY REGULATIONS): ● On-the-spot fines of $652.75 – no imprisonment. LNP TRESPASS LAWS: ● Aggravated trespass: Maximum of three years’ imprisonment or a maximum fine of 100 penalty units ($13,055).

● Serious criminal trespass: Maximum penalty of 10 years’ imprisonment or a maximum fine of 3000 penalty units ($391,650). ● Organised trespass: Maximum fine of 10 years’ imprisonment or 3000 penalty units ($391,650). Annastacia Palaszczuk and her Labor Government should stop playing politics and pandering to law-breaking activists and instead back farmers and business by supporting the LNP’s tough plan.

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16 GRAZIER & FARMER Tuesday, June 25, 2019

Vendors brave fest cold

Longhorns prove to be drawcard, Lifeline starts conversation Shannon Hardy

A COLD start and freezing winds did not deter people from heading out to Farmfest 2019. While venders were happy to see warmer temperatures on the second and third days, the freezing winds did little to dampen moods as buyers and sellers mingled at Kingsthorpe on Tuesday, June 2. Gordon Davidson from D7 Spur Texas Longhorns in Tambo said there were plenty of numbers coming through on the first day, despite the cold weather. Mr Davidson had two of his Texas Longhorns on display, along with a variety of merchandise, making his stall a drawcard. “Everyone who pops by here comes and has a look, takes a photo and has a look at everything,” Mr Davidson said. “(Longhorn) are very addictive. “We started off with small herd, we’ve ended up with quite a larger herd now. “They’re very people friendly, they’re quite docile animals, no two are the same – they’re different colours, different personalities, with different shaped horns.” Ben Otto and the rest of the team from CRT Dalby Rural Supplies were greeting regular and new customers from their stall, surrounded by their suppliers. Mr Otto said it was great to have all their suppliers on site with them again this year. “We like to support the suppliers and in turn they support us - to put on a site like we’ve got here which showcases their products best,” Mr Otto said. “We do work as a team throughout the year and we work as a team at Farmfest.”

DRAWCARD: Texas Longhorns - they’re different colours with different personalities. CRT continued their relationship with Lifeline at this year’s Farmfest stand by running a competition to win a laptop with proceeds going to Lifeline and by hosting Warren Davies, the Unbreakable Farmer. Mr Davies said Farmfest was a good place for the Unbreakable Farmer to present because

The Farm Fest fans braved freezing winds they mingled at Kingsthorpe.

of the rural connection and the connection with farmers. “It’s probably a good place to create those conversations,” Mr Davies said “People are off their farms, that’s probably the hardest part.” “Isolation’s a really big thing that helps, I

PHOTO: SHANNON HARDY suppose exacerbates, that spiral with mental health, especially for farmers. “Off the farm is neutral territory (to) come along and listen and hopefully pick up some strategies and some stuff they can take home that they can implement in their own life to keep their mental health and wellbeing in check.”



Tuesday, June 25, 2019

BI-WEEKLY: Low numbers of cattle due to the drought have forced the Roma Prime Cattle Sale to switch to bi-weekly until conditions improve.


Changes to benefit market

THE Roma Prime Cattle Sale has been moved to bi-weekly, which Grant, Daniel and Long Roma livestock agent Geoffrey Maslen said had worked well during dry times in the past. Mr Maslen said the Roma Agents’ Association made the decision to move the Thursday sale to bi-weekly due to yarding numbers dropping. “Instead of on Wednesday having a ring-around to see if we’re going to have a sale, it will be guaranteed that every second Thursday there’ll be a sale,” Mr Maslen said.

“We’re just not yarding enough each week. (It’s due to) the ongoing drought and people selling a lot more store cows, which are more suited to a Tuesday sale.” The bi-weekly sale is a temporary change and will be reassessed in the new financial year. “With the recent rain and the oats going in it might change,” Mr Maslen said. “We’ve been doing it for the last couple of years. “If we’re struggling to get numbers we go

down to bi-weekly, and that’s worked well for us in the past. “We just assess it over a period of time. “It probably won’t go all year.” Mr Maslen said the larger, guaranteed sales, should provide a positive result for vendors. “If we can yard more cattle at that sale, it will attract more buyers,” he said. “If we only yard 150 head, not many buyers will turn up, but if we can yard 500–600 more, buyers will come and it will have a

significant effect on the market.” The Maranoa region received significant rainfall last week, but Mr Maslen said growers were still unsure what effect it would have. “It’s certainly given people some relief,” he said. “The biggest thing is how long until it gets cold and the buffel stops growing. But it will allow people to plant oats,” he said. “Hopefully we’ll get follow-up, but it’s a start.”

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Tuesday, June 25, 2019

AgForce deletes member data over fears of gov’t misuse Agforce has deleted members’ data for fear the State Government could misuse it following the introduction of new Great Barrier Reef protection laws. Domanii Cameron

Agforce CEO Michael Guerin said there must be positive outcomes for producers who adopt global best practice in agriculture. PHOTO: CONTRIBUTED passed. Environment minister Leeane Enoch claimed Agforce’s decision to delete farmers’ data flies in the face of the $70 million from taxpayers that helped industries voluntarily improve their practices. “About 80 per cent of graziers had already agreed to voluntarily share their data with the Government and now the efforts of these producers won’t be counted towards the water quality targets,” she said. “AgForce’s decision to delete Grazing Best Management Practice (BMP) data ahead of the passage of new legislation flies in the face of $70 million of taxpayer dollars that has been provided to industries over the past decade to help them voluntarily improve their practices, including $11 million for the Grazing BMP program.”

The industry body this morning announced it had deleted the BMP data collected from more than 3000 Queensland farmers for fear the State Government could use it “for purposes for which it was not provided such as determining compliance with the new reef regulations.” However Ms Enoch said the Bill would not allow the Government to do that. “This data (BMP) is proof of the work that some farmers have been voluntarily undertaking to improve the quality of run-off to the reef,” she said. “It is disappointing that AgForce decided to flush so much work and the taxpayer dollars that have been supporting it out to sea. “AgForce often claims that they are true environmentalists but this decision is not the action of a group that wants to protect the



environment. “AgForce’s decision is in contrast to the recommendation of the Great Barrier Reef Water Science Taskforce, that Government introduce water quality regulations across all reef catchments. “It also goes against advice of the Queensland Audit Office, which highlighted the need for more industry information to support informed decision-making.”

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THE industry body last night “moved quickly” to delete the data acquired through the Best Management Practice programs, which more than 3000 farmers were a part of. CEO Michael Guerin claimed there was a risk the Government may use member’s data “for purposes for which it was not provided” — like determining compliance for new Reef regulations. “Given our commitment to BMP participants to protect their information, we have been left with no choice but to permanently remove this data,” he said. The BMP programs were developed to help producers implement best practice and improve their productivity and sustainability. “The inevitable consequence is that the BMP programs, which have done so much to improve the sustainability of grazing and grain production over the past decade, and seen Queensland agriculture become a world leader, are effectively over in their current form,” Mr Guerin said. As part of the Bill, introduced in February, data could be acquired from the agricultural sector for various reasons. “This is a heartbreaking outcome, because protecting the Reef, one of our international icons, and preserving the natural environment is a primary concern of agriculture,” the CEO said. “However, AgForce is now working on a strategy to implement an even more effective program to improve environmental outcomes, like reducing erosion and run-off, sequestering carbon, conserving soil moisture and increasing biodiversity. “Our ‘Natural Capital’ program will form the basis of a scheme to incentivise producers to provide environmental outcomes far above and beyond those that would have been achieved by the Government’s punitive legislation.” AgForce, along with other industry bodies, strenuously opposed the Bill. The Parliamentary Committee tasked with reviewing the laws recommended they be

20 GRAZIER & FARMER Tuesday, June 25, 2019

FarmFest a sure crowd pleaser ANOTHER year and another FarmFest, a hit as per usual despite freezing conditions on the first day. Hundreds of companies were lined up to show guests what they had been working on since last year with new and improved products along side old favourites. The cattle ring was full again with prime examples of what producers have on offer. Many attendees enjoyed the three day event and the opportunity to catch up with mates.

Glenn Elis and David Gesler. Ruby Young.


Sam Bryce and Rebecca Arnatt from Molafos.

Steven Willis from Active Machinery.

Jenny Jenner, Tash Johnston, Carrissa Liddle and Vicki Mayne from Drought Angels.

Ross Ecroid, Wayne Brown, Mark Green, Paul Bishop, Melvin Mengel, Cameron Mengel.

Michael Walker giving demonstrations at the Makita display.

Ted Sykes and his sheepdog Josh demonstraiting at Farm Fest.


Tuesday, June 25, 2019

The connectivity problem holding our farmers back

Improved internet access key to productivity increases through use of new technology Emily Bradfield LIMITED access to internet could be holding Australian farmers back, with research showing improvements to internet and phone services could increase national agricultural production by up to $20 billion.

Technological advancements in agricultural equipment give farmers the opportunity to increase productivity and output by reducing manual labour, but a local farmer said a decent internet connection was hard to come by in regional areas. Dalby grain and cotton grower Kim Bremner uses a private internet provider to check water levels at his two properties and operate overhead irrigators remotely using his tablet. Mr Bremner said these technological advancements had made greater efficiency achievable but the

required improvements in connectivity did not match. “Precision farming technology can make our land many times more productive while improving environmental outcomes, but we need internet in the bush to be as good as it is in the city,” he said. “Modern farm machinery like irrigators, sprayers and harvesters have on-board technology that can customise the treatment of each individual square metre of paddock, maximising the productivity of our land while reducing water usage, use of farm chemicals, run-off and erosion. Such an investment in the economy, employment and sustainability of agriculture would pay dividends.” Mr Bremner is calling for the establishment of a national “tech hub” to provide information and education for rural

people on how to connect to the internet and make the best decision for their area. “Both Labor and the Coalition promised, if elected, to fund a ‘tech hub’ to provide independent information to help support people to build up the skills to solve their telecommunications issues,” he said. “We are pleased that both sides of the House appreciate the critical need to close the digital skills gap between urban and rural Australians. “It’s not about rural families being able to stream Game of Thrones or their Spotify favourites; this is about encouraging innovation in agriculture by providing industry-specific advice about the internet and digital applications that will drive productivity gains.” Mr Bremner said he welcomed the Black Spot Program but the government needed to ensure it was being established in the right places. “We’re calling for a lot more investment. They’ve done the towns in most of Australia, now they need to do the highways and byways so that people on farms can have that same connectivity that people in the city do.”

LOOKING FOR MORE: Kim Bremner says technological advancements had made greater efficiency achievable but required improvements in connectivity are not available. PHOTO: EMILY BRADFIELD

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22 GRAZIER & FARMER Tuesday, June 25, 2019

Debate rages over OPD quad bike bars following deaths Quad bike manufacturers Yamaha and Honda have been accused of “defiling the dead” in their campaign to ban rollover bars, hiring a US consultant to claim “three deaths have occurred” as a result of the devices. Cassandra Glover THE claim has been ridiculed by the nation’s safety experts, who said the Japanese giants should be ashamed, especially when one of the deaths involved a young Australian killed in a head-on collision in Malawi, not a rollover. Yamaha and Honda are using US consultant Scott Kebschull as an expert witness and to act as the frontman in their “ban the bar” campaign video. In the video Mr Kebschull warns, “an OPD has a real chance of causing death in a rollover that would otherwise be survivable. We know about three deaths that have occurred with OPDs, one was in Malawi and two were in Australia.” In 2011 The Weekly Times reported the young Australian killed in Malawi on a quad bike fitted with an OPD died when a vehicle fleeing police veered on to the wrong side of the road and ploughed into him. Ironically, the rider, Valerio De Simoni, who joined two Australian mates in 2010 to ride Yamaha quad bikes through 34 countries and raise $100,000 for charity, had posted a blog in the weeks leading up to his death praising the OPD after rolling his bike down a sand dune in the Sahara Desert. In his report on the Sahara incident, Mr De Simoni wrote: “The Quad Bar took the impact of myself, and all of the equipment I have on top of our special edition Yamaha Grizzly 700 quad bikes, equalling a total weight of impact of 500kg. The Quad Bar is a MUST for any intelligent quad bike rider”. At the time The Weekly Times revealed Yamaha had airbrushed the OPDs off promotional photographs of the three charity riders, who it was sponsoring. Yamaha even pressured the two remaining riders, Jamie Kenyon and Kristopher Davant, into removing the bars from their bikes once

DEBATE RAGES: The fight continues over whether or not OPDs should be made mandatory for quad bikes. they arrived back in Australia for the last stage of their 50,000km journey, stating it “would be unable to support” anyone using quad bars. Transport safety researcher Keith Simmons said Yamaha and Honda were paying Kebschull “to propagate this rubbish and defile the memory of the dead”. “Their game is blatant,” Mr Simmons said. “The US body of manufacturers will face crippling or bankrupting lawsuits if the families of the dead, or those who have survived with life-changing and lifetime care injuries ever find out there is a safety solution to rollover crashes and the industry have denied it from the quad bike user. “They are today’s tobacco or asbestos manufacturing industry and their tactics are the same.” Honda faces possible legal action in NSW over a rider who was left a paraplegic, while the Federal Chamber of Automotive Industries last week withdrew a challenge to Victorian WorkSafe’s push to have workplace quad bikes fitted with OPDs. Yamaha and Honda launched the Kebschull video last month as part of their “ban the bar” campaign, which is trying to get the Federal

Government to dismiss an Australian Competition and Consumer Commission recommendation for OPDs on all new quad bikes. Former Australian Centre for Agricultural Health & Safety director Tony Lower said the quad bike manufacturers’ actions were shameful, given Mr Kebschull not only claimed Mr Di Simoni’s but two other Australians’ deaths had occurred with OPDs. Mr Lower said one of those deaths involved a rider killed on an OPD-fitted quad bike in the Snowy Mountains, when he was thrown from his bike, hitting his head on a rock. “It had nothing to do with the OPD,” Mr Lower said. With the third death, in Tasmania, the state’s Coroner found the quad bike was “fitted with (a) large square ‘after market’ rack, apparently designed to carry fauna”, not an approved OPD. Safe Farming Tasmania consultant Phillip John said the FCAI had repeatedly tried to claim the hunting rack was an OPD, which it was not. The Weekly Times tried to contact Mr


Kebschull’s media handler at the Federal Chamber of Automotive Industries, but received no response.

The US body of manufacturers will face crippling or bankrupting lawsuits if the families of the dead, or those who have survived with life-changing and lifetime care injuries ever find out there is a safety solution to rollover crashes and the industry have denied it from the quad bike user.

— Keith Simmons

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