Page 1


Moments that matter

BMO’s The Farmer Wants a Life series boosts morale ® PAGE 7

2 WESTERN DOWNS FARMER Thursday, March 28, 2019

Editor’s welcome

ON THE COVER: BMO Partners: David Briese, Kelvin Tyler, Adrian Rasmussen and Michelle McVeigh


LIFE-LONG PASSION: Phillip Kelly from Rabobank congratulates Corey Hart, Young Producer of the Year.

Young grower wins award for commitment to cotton Corey Hart has won the Darling Downs Cotton Growers’ Rabobank Young Producer of the Year award. Cassandra Glover

EDITOR Jordan Philp, 07 4120 1017 Emails ADVERTISING (CHINCHILLA NEWS) Jodie Williams Phone 07 4672 9930 Email ADVERTISING (DALBY HERALD) Nicole McDougall, Phone 07 4672 5502, Email GENERAL MANAGER Erika Brayshaw, Phone 07 4672 9921, Email All material published in Western Downs 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 Western Downs 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 Chinchilla News or Dalby Herald will not be liable for any opinion or advice contained herein.


THE Rabobank Young Producer of the Year Award was announced at the Darling Downs Cotton Grower of the Year field day in Warra last week. Winner Corey Hard, 27, has been around cotton his whole life and was chosen for his passion and commitment to the cotton industry. Mr Hart works on the family property north-west of Brigalow, where they grow both dryland and irrigated cotton. “Last year, prior to Easter, we were lucky enough to get some overland flow to fill our tanks to get us through this season because we haven’t had rain for eight months now,” he said. “We do rotational cropping depending on the rainfall and the season and price of the product at the time – cotton, sorghum, barley, wheat, chickpeas and mungbeans. “We have livestock as well. At the moment it’s not too many because of the dry.”

Mr Hart predicts they will produce 14-15 bales per hectare this year. “We’ve had enough water to get through,” he said. “It’s probably one of the better crops we’ve grown considering the conditions, whereas a lot of other farmers are struggling because the average rainfall is a lot lower than it has been.” The challenges involved with growing cotton were just one aspect that attracted Mr Hart to the industry. “It comes down to the water usage and trying to get returns per megalitre,” he said. “I’m looking forward to the growth and the new technology and new varieties coming through the system.

“A few years ago we had a lot less yields but now everyone is chasing more. It will be interesting to see how far we can go. “There seems to be a lot more technology coming through cotton than other industries and more readily available.” Mr Hart has been helping out on the farm since he was four years old. “I did a trade as a builder through schooling, so I have a back-up if we ever get dry times. “But then I came back on the farm. “It’s actually been pretty beneficial doing that on the farm. “For building new implements like pipework and levels and field roads and that sort of thing.”

There seems to be a lot more technology coming through cotton than other industries and more readily available.

— Corey Hart

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WELCOME to the first edition of Western Downs Farmer in 2019. With 2018 already feeling like a distant memory, the region’s farmers have seen dismal rainfall across the Western Downs since the start of the new year. Dalby experienced the driest January in 139 years with virtually no rainfall and many other towns further west experienced a similarly ever-long summer heatwave with no reprieve. When the agriculture industry is so reliant on a well-timed Mother Nature, it’s no wonder the dry has been a constant theme throughout this issue. We speak to cotton farmers such as Mitch Seis, who gives an insight into what it was like to experience decent downpours at the start of summer before, as he puts it, the tap turned off. Although we hear plenty of stories of the difficulty in the agriculture sector, one thing remains perfectly clear – our farmers have a resilience and determination that is inspiring. Enjoy reading about the triumphs of the agricultural industry in the pages of the Western Downs Farmer. Jordan Philp


Thursday, March 28, 2019

TAP’S TURNED OFF: Cotton farmers rejoiced as rain helped get their crops going, but since then “the tap’s turned off” and there has been nothing.


Cotton outlook sours False hope for season as early indications of top yield fizzle with the dry weather Shannon Hardy October rain was a blessing for cotton farmers in the region, allowing them to get crops in the ground through November. December saw the rains back again, helping some farmers and, for others, being too much. For farmers such as Mitch Seis, who were lucky to get just enough through the December rains, the new season was looking hopeful. “Unfortunately since then the tap’s turned off and everything’s looking really nasty again,” Mr Seis said, looking into the early months of 2019.

“The season’s given us a bit of a false hope with such a good start and we nearly had some of our best looking cotton and best looking sorghum we’ve had in a while and now its gone to wrack and ruin.” Mr Seis said his cotton was stressing badly toward the end of its growth, dropping a lot of fruit and flowers. With both irrigated and dry land cotton growing in the area the season’s yield was going to have different results for different farmers. “Fortunately for us we’ve got irrigation and dry land so if you had the water this year and budgeted your water correctly,

which I don’t think too many people have done, it’s nearly going to be an irrigator’s dream. “We haven’t sort of had rain at the wrong times and you can water when you want to so some of the irrigated crops are going to look fairly good, so long as you have the water to finish them off.” That last bit of water to complete the crops is what may have caught some irrigators out. Mr Seis said normally he could rely on having a rainfall event in crop but this season that hasn’t happened. Dry land crops are also looking towards a much lower yield thanks to the

dry start of 2019 with what Mr Seis said could have been a seven-bale crop at the end of the season now only looking to be three or four bales. “It was just a season the dangled the carrot out in front of you then took it away.”

It was just a season that dangled the carrot out in front of you then took it away.

— Mitch Seis

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4 WESTERN DOWNS FARMER Thursday, March 28, 2019

LOCAL: Bangladesh and Pakistan are sitting in the 600-650 thousand tonne demand for mungbeans.


Chickpeas: Tough ❝ sales job for growers

The demand for Australian quality chickpeas is going to really hinge around if India comes back into the market which will provide a huge demand again.

Shannon Hardy CHICKPEAS and mungbeans are in the ground but with bad seasons and low demand only the best quality crops will be looking to profit. Senior Commodity Manager for Agrifoods Australia in Dalby Steve Foran said the wet December had given mungbeans a good start but the dry January had placed them under pressure. Planting window for Darling Downs farmers wanting to get into this season closed in mid-February.

Mr Foran said he was expecting a lot lower the average season production wise for mungbeans out of Australia than what would normally be seen but there was still strong demand for good quality Australian mungbeans. “With poorer seasons we generally see poorer quality so that will place a little bit of pressure on Australian mungbeans,” Mr Foran said. “For anyone growing good quality mungbeans, like good quality processing beans, they’ll be highly sort after.” Chickpeas are a tougher selling crop for growers this season Mr Foran said with international consumers chewing through

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Tanzanian and Russian chickpeas at the moment. “We’ve only really got Bangladesh and Pakistan as out consumptions markets now with India not an active chickpea buyer,” Mr Foran said. “The demand for Australian quality chickpeas is going to really hinge around if India comes back into the market which will provide a huge demand again.” Bangladesh and Pakistan are sitting in the 600-650 thousand tonne demand and they prefer Australian origin chickpeas but Mr Foran said if more than that was produced suppliers would need to see India re-enter the market.



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Thursday, March 28, 2019

THIS DOG’S NOT SHEEPISH: A dog that the sheep will accept is important in trials.


Sheepdogs on the job at Dalby trials Many people know the importance of a well-trained and trustworthy dog when it comes to managing livestock and the skills of those same animals have been put to another use over the years in competitive sheepdog trials Shannon Hardy MICHAEL Walsh got a dog for his son Bob’s birthday and that is when the family got into trials. “We used to cart Bob around, take him to all the shows and trials. “We bred a couple of dogs and I sort of started training them and it took off from there,” Mr Walsh said. Breeding his own dog and

getting it to the standard that you can get in an open final is something Mr Walsh enjoys about the sport. Mr Walsh said temperament was important when selecting dogs for trials, and often something you could tell from early on. “You don’t want a dog that’s going to be too aggressive to the sheep, you want a dog that the sheep will accept and like.

“A lot of times you can see these dogs go in there, they let the sheep out and by the time the dog gets on the ground the sheep know this dog’s going to try and eat them and they don’t like that.” The Western Downs region will host its share of trials in 2019 with one being held at the Dalby show on April 12-14, another at Tara on April 20-22, Chinchilla from

September 12-15 and the Australian Supreme being hosted in Dalby this year from September 23-29. Queensland Working Sheep Dog Association president Linda Mitchell said the Dalby and District Show Society had been very accommodating to the trials, providing a great venue. Four categories will be held at the Dalby and District Show in April including

Encouragement, Novice, Improvers and Open trials. The Encouragement trial is perfect for trainers who have worked sheepdogs on farms before but have not taken

part in a competition. Dogs can win three times at this level before they are no longer eligible to compete in it and must move to the other ranks.

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— Michael Walsh

6 WESTERN DOWNS FARMER Thursday, March 28, 2019

Sorghum under stress THE long hot and dry spell that followed December rains last year has put stress on a number of crops including sorghum. As a result of heat stress the results of some sorghum that has been sent for testing has show higher than normal levels of prussic acid also

known cyanide. A spokesperson for the Department of Agriculture and Fisheries said farmers who suspect their crop might be toxic for cyanide or nitrate can send plants to the Biosecurity Sciences Laboratory in Brisbane for analysis. “Although ruminants tolerate some prussic acid in

their feed, prussic acid levels greater than 600 mg of cyanide per kilogram on a dry matter basis are toxic to ruminants,” a DAF spokesperson said. “Excessive fertilizing, damage from frost, a period of several cloudy days, heat stress and, in the case of forage sorghum regrowth after harvest can cause

plants to accumulate toxic levels of cyanide or nitrate.” Associated Grains grain trader Chris Wolski said just after Christmas they were looking at a sorghum crop of 1.8mil tonne but the hot January had brought that back to an estimated 1.3mil tonne. “Now that harvest has started on the Downs we’re

hitting a fair few quality issues,” Mr Wolski said. There has been a lot of sorghum two and three with sorghum one hard to source but there also hasn’t been much more demand either which Mr Wolski said was probably largely due to wheat and barley being cheaper. “It’s a funny market as far as values go, we haven’t

really seen the market step up to cover in that sorghum 1.” “The dry January really hit the plant hard while it was still trying to fill a head basically. “Left a lot of small seeds in the head and that what we’re getting in screenings; anywhere up to 30 per cent.” BELOW: Sorghum near Macalister. PHOTO: NICOLE MCDOUGALL

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Thursday, March 28, 2019

Not your average accountant DETERMINED to shatter the stereotype of accountants being boring number crunchers, Dalby accounting firm, BMO Business Centre, has taken its connection with farming clients and the Ag community to a whole new level. Since 2012, the business has been running a seminar called The Farmer Wants a Life visiting towns stretching from Dirranbandi and Taroom to Moonie and Dalby, to help build farming families’ knowledge and boost morale. Accounting Partners Adrian Rasmussen, Kelvin Tyler, Michelle McVeigh, and David Briese and Financial Planning Partners Shane Lee and Mal Smith, have steered the firm to embrace more than just compliance work. “The Farmer Wants a Life has evolved and varied over the years to meet the needs of the people in farming districts,” said Partner David Briese. “We’ve incorporated talks on everything from how to understand the generation gap, to how to minimise taxes, how to manage cash flow, how to navigate the aged care system and even how to understand your spouse’s love language.” “We’ve always wanted to be more than just a typical accountant. We are skilled at

BOOST: The Farmer Wants a Life is helping to build farming families’ knowledge and boost morale. putting together the financials and delivering tax minimisation strategies, but when you are looking after clients you have to consider them as a person, not just a set of financials. Sometimes we just need to be there to listen and to bounce ideas around,” Mr Briese said.

BMO’s delivery of The Farmer wants a Life is just one of many initiatives the firm has introduced to support farmers and business owners. “When we realised that small businesses in our region were struggling to understand and select the right cloud accounting

software packages for their business, we decided to invite all the top cloud accounting firms to Dalby to showcase their packages and run hands-on demonstrations. It was a first for regional Queensland.” Over the last decade, the firm has grasped

opportunities to build and grow the business to proactively anticipate demand – rolling out communication and team building services, loans and leasing finance brokerage and human resources services supporting employers through the minefield of HR legislation.

PHOTO: CONTRIBUTED “Initiatives like single touch payroll and cloud accounting are again changing the way farmers conduct their business. It’s important for us to be nimble enough to help our clients navigate the changes and opportunities that lie ahead,” Mr Briese said.

8 WESTERN DOWNS FARMER Thursday, March 28, 2019


New Triton is more than a looker – it’s full of features Bill McKinnon

Mitsubishi has sold boatloads of Tritons by offering a reliable, capable, comfortable ute at prices that undercut rivals by up to $15,000. Before the 2019 update, dealers were flogging the 2018 Triton GLX dual-cab 4WD for $32,990 drive-away. They’ve still got a few left, so they’re unloading them at the same price and throwing in a $3000 factory “run-out” bonus. That’s as cheap as a big name brand one-tonner gets. In the Triton’s case, cheap doesn’t mean nasty. In most respects the Mitsubishi can hold its own in this class, even against the top-selling Ford Ranger and Toyota HiLux.


Aggressive drive-away discounting makes Mitsubishi’s list prices meaningless. The new 2019 Triton GLS double-cab automatic tested here will set you back (in theory) $46,990 plus on-roads. The top-spec GLS Premium, listed at $51,990 plus on-roads, is already advertised at $50,990 drive away, saving about $3000. Expect more drive-away discount deals on 2019 Tritons once 2018 models have cleared. This update retains the 2.4-litre turbo diesel and six-speed manual. A new six-speed automatic (standard on GLS Premium and a $2500 option on other variants) replaces the 2018 model’s five-speeder. Mitsubishi’s Super Select set-up, also carried over, allows for bitumen operation in rear or all-wheel drive (with an open centre differential) plus off-road running with the centre diff locked in high and low-range. It’s supplemented on 2019 Tritons with selectable drive and traction control modes including gravel, mud/snow, sand and

TOUGHER LOOK JUST THE START: The Mitsubishi Triton stands up well to its higher-priced rivals. rock. Hill descent control is also standard on the GLS and the GLS Premium adds a locking rear diff. The obvious change for 2019 is a new front end. Apparently the previous model didn’t look tough enough. I’m not sure exactly what tough is supposed to look like but in one-tonner world it’s become a variation on the super-size American pick-up look: “If I run into you, you will die.”


Mitsubishi claims rear end compliance is improved but it’s still very stiff and the ride is harsh and unsettled compared with Navara, Ranger and Amarok. Fit, finish and materials in the cabin get a noticeable lift in quality, there’s plenty of handy

storage, USB/HDMI sockets and a rake and reach adjustable steering wheel, still absent in most rivals. A digital speedo is missing. Infotainment includes digital radio and voice control — which in the test car didn’t respond correctly to most requests — plus Android Auto/Apple CarPlay, to which you must connect your phone if you want on-screen navigation. Tall blokes in the elevated rear seat will test headroom and legroom. Kids will be comfortable and content. Two USBs plus roof vents are provided.


Mitsubishi goes big on driver assist safety tech for 2019 and the GLS is now a class leader, with autonomous

emergency braking, blind spot monitoring, rear cross traffic alert and lane departure warning standard. Toyota’s HiLux SR5 has none of these features. The GLS Premium adds 360-degree camera coverage and parking sensors.


Triton has come back to the pack here, with some newer rivals upping performance and refinement benchmarks while also claiming 3500kg towing capacity. In reality, no one-tonner can legally pull 3500kg at maximum gross vehicle mass. The Triton’s claimed maximum towing capacity of 3100kg becomes a legal maximum 2985kg at GVM. That’s actually more than most rivals in 3500kg

PHOTO: CONTRIBUTED its selection or timing. Handling is free of notable vices. Off-road, it’s all too easy thanks to 220mm of clearance and PHD (press here, dummy) 4WD software. The stiff suspension can produce a jolting, unpleasant experience in rutted low-range terrain, where the Triton tends to pogo from one rocky outcrop to the next. Super Select’s ability to run all-wheel drive on-road gives the Mitsubishi an extra measure of grip and security in the rain. Rivals with part-time 4WD/rear-wheel drive only (on bitumen), inevitably shod with class-standard, less-thansticky rubber, tend to rely on traction control to keep the back end tidy under acceleration.

fantasyland. Maximum payload is 912kg. The 2.4 lacks the immediate off-idle grunt of larger engines, and with peak torque arriving at a relatively high 2500rpm it can take a moment or three to get down to business. On boost it’s strong enough, acceptably refined and, in cruise mode, quite efficient, returning 7-8L/100km at a steady 100km/h. However its small capacity means that in moderately challenging conditions the Mitsubishi has to work hard, so consumption can spike into the low-mid teens. Six ratios are enough for any diesel and Mitsubishi’s transmission does the job without fuss. Paddles are provided if you disagree with




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10 WESTERN DOWNS FARMER Thursday, March 28, 2019

Divide on map Concerns aired after farms information published online WESTERN Downs cattle producer Bryce Camm said the best way for people seeking answers to questions about farming parctices is to pick up the phone and ask a primary producer directly. Mr Camm, the chairman of Beef Australia, was speaking in response to the online publication in January of an interactive map created by animal rights group Aussie Farms. The group has compiled already public information including names and phone numbers and created an interactive map that has been promoted via social media. Mr Camm said the greatest concern for agricultural operators was the public promotion of addresses and locations of their homes and workplaces on the internet by an organisation that does not have a reputation of being a good corporate citizen. “Aussie Farmers and its founder have been challenged around illegal entry and

trespass on private property on farms in the past and I guess from our perspective we don’t feel like a group like that promoting where peoples’ private homes and their families live is a good thing on the wider internet and social media,” he said. Mr Camm said some elements of his enterprise were marked and identified on the map but he had not requested Aussie Farms remove his property details. “It’s got to be understood that all of that information that Aussie Farms has pulled together is already publicly available,” he said. “Google maps is a very helpful tool in showing what the lay of the land is across all industries and parts of the world and a number of details around specific operations is already collated through federal government and state government departments such as the national pollutants inventory which a number of intensive animal

MAPPED OUT: Bryce Camm from Camm Agruicultural Group has reservations about the online map launched by the Aussie Farmers group. PHOTO: MARK CRANITCH facilities are already identified on.” Mr Camm said his family had been divided about the decision to not seek the removal of their property

details from the map. “Do we want to interact with that organisation that doesn’t have a good track record in being an awful corporate citizen?” he said.

“It’s also to note that there’s nothing to hide in our operation. “If a member of the public calls me up or calls up our office and requests to have a

look at our site, they’d be more than welcome. “We do that regularly with community groups, with school groups, with people outside of our industry.”



Thursday, March 28, 2019

Feedlots helping the changing cattle industry LIVESTOCK agent Brendon Kelly hasn’t done a grazier-to-grazier transaction in over six months. While this may have been a cause for concern, the existence of the feedlot industry means that the cattle industry is not a risk, its just operating a little differently. Thanks to a lack of feed, many graziers are struggling to get their cattle to what would normally be considered a viable entry weight for feedlots. To balance this, feedlots have been lowering entry weights to bring more cattle through their gates. “A lot of feedlots are aware of the seasonal conditions so the drop the entry weights so they can get the cattle in earlier to get the pressure off the paddocks and keep supply up,” Mr Kelly said. Without feedlots doing their part Australia would be in a

cattle slump without the supply chain to the meatworks and the Australian beef markets would be feeling the strain. Mr Kelly said feedlots were the link in the supply chain that keeps everything ticking along with a consistent market for producers and processors. “From New South Wales to the Northern Territory, its pretty much the same story everywhere,” Mr Kelly said. “It’s dry, its getting to the pointy end now and we just need rain very quickly.” But there is a light at the end of the tunnel for the beef industry. “The demand for Australian beef has never been stronger and if we can get some good seasonal conditions to go with the strength of the market there’d be very, very happy days.”

TOUGH: Many graziers are struggling to get their cattle to a viable entry weight.


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12 WESTERN DOWNS FARMER Thursday, March 28, 2019

TASTE TEST: Nylah Horswood and Peyton Davies join in the fun of the Melon Festival.


Melon Fest is a hit

Records were broken with more than 15,000 visitors descending on Chinchilla for Melon Fest

Brooke Duncan A WEIGH-IN record, water main and hundreds of melons were all broken at the 2019 Melon Festival. Thousands of visitors descended on Chinchilla for the biggest event in two years and Australia’s juiciest festival. While final numbers haven’t been collated, organisers expect visitor numbers to

have soared beyond the 15,000 mark. It’s an incredible number of attendees to fathom, with long-time festival committee members describing the crowd at the melon procession on Saturday at 8-15 people deep all the way from the Club Hotel to Hypatia St. And attendance wasn’t the only oversized number, with

the melon weigh-in record comprehensively smashed on Friday afternoon. Melon Festival committee president Doug McNally said the 100.5kg melon grown by Geoff Frohloff “kicked our pants”. “He’s been a produce grower down in his area, around Minden, for a long time and he’s got some secret that we haven’t got out here,”

Mr McNally said. For vice-president and long-time melon grower Darryl O’Leary, it was serendipitous. “Wotif come to town, gave that big melon to the community, then they come out and sponsored the biggest melon,” Mr O’Leary said. “We haven’t clarified yet but we think it’s the biggest watermelon that’s been recorded in Australia.”


Thursday, March 28, 2019

FESTIVAL FUN: Competitors head for the finish line in the Open Melon Dash For Cash as part of the 2019 Chinchilla Melon Festival. LEFT: Curtis Clark after winning the pip spitting competition. ABOVE: Participants get ready for the melon eating event. PHOTOS: JAMES LIVERIS

The string of broken things continued on Saturday morning when, in a case of Murphy’s Law a water main broke, cutting water supply to the whole of Chinchilla. “It certainly made it a bit more interesting,” Mr O’Leary said. “I’d like to commend the council and council workers for getting that job done as quickly as they did.

“It was a big job they had there and they got it back on in a pretty good time, I would’ve thought. “It was the only bit of pipe that could shut down the whole town. “If it was another pipe they would’ve been able to isolate it.” But the hiccup didn’t stop the melon festivities as arena events started, including the

iconic melon skiing. New mechanical ski pullers made all the difference, getting courageous participants through at a rate of up to two per minute. An entirely volunteer-run event, Mr McNally said there were no plans to make the festival an annual affair. “I think that’s an attraction of the festival that it isn’t every year – it gives people

like myself a chance to catch our breath,” he said. As it is, Mr O’Leary said the festival had “gone to the next level” and was on track to become the “most iconic festival probably anywhere nearly in Australia”. “Who would’ve thought when we started 25 years ago we’d end up with what we’ve got,” he said. “It’s a credit to the

community who had the vision to take it on originally and make it grow into what it is.” And as for the crowd itself, it seems they were in excellent spirits – and behaviour. “I talked to a policeman from Toowoomba and he was actually tired of people waving to him, he’s not used to that,” Mr McNally said. Chinchilla Constable Matt

Truscott agreed, saying police were “quite impressed” with the behaviour. “People were aware we had a lot of police in and around town. I think that helped,” he said. During the festival, officers performed 100 random drug tests, 250 RBTs and only arrested four people for public nuisance offences. There was one sexual assault charge.


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Healthy, happy and odour free in 3 easy steps Ecocare Activator is the one product you can rely on to cut your cleaning time down to the bare minimum and keep your house, septic system and Aerated Wastewater Treatment System (AWTS) clean and healthy. “I have recommended Ecocare Activator regularly and have seen even the most neglected system turned around… within as little as one month,” said Senior Service Technician Michael Goddard from Wastewater Consultants Pty Ltd. Use to clean all hard surfaces and kill odours on contact, then simply rinse your surfaces and pour any remaining mixture straight down the drain. As it moves into your septic system it continues working, clearing blockages and conditioning your system. You do the first part, leave it to do the rest.

Expert advice that won’t leave you stranded Competent, experienced and highly knowledgeable in our field of expertise, we are also friendly and down-toearth and here to make your life easier. Ecocare Activator will solve your wastewater problems and prevent them coming back. Read what Michelle Lavinge from Victoria had to say about our service:

“I had been told by 3 plumbers there was nothing they could do to help me with the terrible odour…Your team worked with me over several months to clean out the waste through the various areas of the house… Thank you for all the times you called me to check and confirm how our problem was going – I didn’t have to call you. Fantastic work – it’s rare to see such great customer service when things get tough. “I would like to thank you for the friendly service, after sales support and excellent result I have received from your company and product Ecocare Activator. Our extremely unpleasant experience with this terrible odour from the drains and septic is now over and we couldn’t be more relieved.”

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of Activator... I am recommending Activator to all my neighbours, and would be happy to speak to anyone who has queries about how well Activator works,” said Russell Marsh from New South Wales. Ecocare Activator destroys odours on contact and, because it works to maintain a healthy level of good bacteria within your septic or wastewater system, it prevents problems from coming back. Dissolving blockages and replacing harsh chemicals, Ecocare Activator is safe to use in greywater systems and all around the house. With so many uses, this one product is putting money back into the pockets of hard working families. Find out how we can help put the smile back on your family’s face with a 3-in-1 solution that cleans, clears and conditions - wiping out septic smells from the start. Call our friendly team on 1800 633 866 to find out more.


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Thursday, March 28, 2019

Skin specialists

When to get checked out IF THERE is one thing common to every Australian, it is the need to protect ourselves from the sun’s damaging rays. Not only should we protect ourselves, we also require regular skin checks by a professional. Our health is too important to take risks with skin cancer. Research shows that 81 per cent of all diagnosed cancers are skin cancer, making it by far the most common cancer in Australia and the one most people will develop in their lifetime.

something on your skin, have it checked out because it is just not worth the risk.” Cosmetic Elegance Clinic medical director Dr Eddie Roos agreed, saying skin cancers could be difficult to detect. “Skin cancers are not always easy to diagnose because cancers don’t read the text books,” he said. Dr Roos said other triggers for a skin check could be a sore that bleeds, heals and bleeds again or any sore not healing in six to eight weeks.

When is a skin check advisable? It is important to have a skin check at least once a year or when you have a lesion you are concerned about. “Skin cancer is not a black and white science,” said Dr Albert Vermeulen from Cosmetic Elegance Clinic. “If you are worried about

Debunking the myths Some of us are working with false information in relation to skin cancer. For example, not all melanomas are black and raised. Some are pink. Melanomas can appear anywhere including on nail beds, between your toes and on the soles of the feet.

Another common misconception is that skin cancer is an older person’s disease. Research shows the most likely age for developing a melanoma is between 15 and 45 years. It it important to remember melanoma is quickly becoming one of Australia’s most prevalent cancers and it is also one of the deadliest. If however it is treated early, positive outcomes can be achieved. For your peace of mind phone 4638 2700 or email info@cosmeticelegance to arrange your skin check. See their website at www.cosmeticelegance for additional helpful information on skin cancer.

GET IT CHECKED: Regular skin checks are advised. PHOTO: CONTRIBUTED

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16 WESTERN DOWNS FARMER Thursday, March 28, 2019

FACTOR: Ian McConnel highlighted the importance of environmental sustainability.


Animal welfare on agenda at Ag Intensive

Thanks Facebook: Intensive animal industry is being told that everyone is against them Shannon Hardy IAN McConnel comes from a long line of beef producers and is the WWF’s Global Expert on Livestock. He spoke to TSBE members at the Intensive Animal Industry Conference about animal welfare, the importance of environmental sustainability and what the means for food producers. Mr McConnel said that one of agriculture’s challenges is that their product and impact was closely related to people long, long way from them. “Food is a very intrinsic personal attachment. “It’s why so often there are beliefs attached to food.” “Here in rural Queensland as in rural areas everywhere, we have a physiological identification with meat production. “Animals and animal farming is who we are, its what we grew up doing, its what we see every time we go for a drive. “That is very different from the largest number of consumers, voters,

When an activist says something, two groups listen: his Facebook friends and the person he’s attacking.

politicians; we need to be aware of that.” When discussing social media use in the animal industry sphere Mr McConnel said that the intensive animal industry is being told that everyone is against them because of what they see on their Facebook feed. “You’re being told that everybody is against you because someone was against you. “When an activist says something, two groups listen: his Facebook friends and the person he’s attacking. “The person he’s attacking amplifies his message within his peers; it’s why we tend to over exaggerate the impact. “Farmer’s are one of the most trusted professions in

— Ian McConnel

the world, the only profession that rates above us are professions with your life in their hands.” Education is a big part of helping the wider public understand what goes on inside intensive animal industries and General manager of TSBE Food Leaders Australia Bruce McConnel encouraged producers to be open with those who show an interest. “If we’re proud of what we do, why shut it up? If you are comfortable walking around a feedlot and you are comfortable in how you’re treating, your animals then why should you be shy of showing that to anyone else? Absolute open door,” Mr McConnel said.

Bruce McConnel encouraged producers to be open with those who show an interest in farming.


Thursday, March 28, 2019

Water vital to us all

MOVING water is an important task for many rural and industrial businesses and domestic sites, be it pumping water from a bore or dam, irrigating crops, or another job. The Pump House Chinchilla specialises in making sure you have the right equipment to complete whatever task you need done. Nathan Smith, who is the branch manager at the Pump House Chinchilla, said the team could supply, install and service pumping and irrigation equipment. Some of the most common projects Mr Smith finds staff assisting customers with are to do with ground water supply. “Bore pump systems and solar pump solutions, that type of thing,” Mr Smith said. In addition to installation of new pumps, Pump House can also help out with converting

you from a powered or windmill system to a solar run pump. “Don’t pay for power. “Once your electric pump dies think about replacing it with a solar pump. “Same as your windmill, don’t repair it; not only are they dangerous to repair and can be very expensive, we’re all trying to use renewables now and that’s definitely the solar way.” If you know what you need or if you need advice on how to handle a pumping or irrigation job, the team at Pump House Chinchilla can help you decide on the best equipment for each situation. The Pump House has been in Chinchilla for almost six years and services the western downs and beyond. Go in store to the Pump House Chinchilla at 31 Malduf St or give the team a call on (07) 4662 7949.

GET THE RIGHT ADVICE AND PRODUCTS: Nathan Smith from The Pump House.


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Thursday, March 28, 2019

PLANNING ADVICE: Premise Agriculture rural planning lead Matthew Norton speaks at the Intensive Animal Industry Conference in Dalby.


Council gets top marks Western Downs receives glowing report at Intensive Animal Industry Conference STARTING or changing an intensive animal industry site in any area depends heavily on the planning scheme of the local council. Premise Agriculture rural planning lead Matthew Norton spoke to TSBE members at the Intensive Animal Industry Conference in Dalby about Western Downs Regional Council’s planning scheme and the importance of industry-led guidelines on Thursday, March 7. Mr Norton said the council was following through on what they were talking about. “It is a great council to work with, I’ve got clients coming in

saying ‘where should we build our feedlot?’ and I go ‘Western Downs’,” Mr Norton said. He said the council needed three key elements for planning strategy: planning scheme, development controls and, crucially, staff. “You can have a great brand-new policy and great strategic direction but if your staff don’t know what you’re doing or don’t buy into it then you’re going to run into issues with every application that comes through,” he said. Mr Norton said the council planning scheme updated so soon after being put into place was essentially unheard of. “Many councils will just ‘set

One of my pet topics with councils is how do you engage with rural people?

and forget’,” he said. “Leave it there for five or 10 years with no change and no update.” Stakeholder engagement was something Mr Norton said the council could look at. “One of my pet topics with councils is how do you engage with rural people?” he said. “It’s not so easy to do when people aren’t on government websites every day or listening

— Matthew Norton

to commercial radio or watching commercial TV in the evenings.” So how can the council get through to people who aren’t in those sorts of arenas? Mr Norton said it came down to one-on-one situations where the council had to actively engage individuals and companies. “Western Downs did do that when they did their planning

scheme but in terms of the update I think it was a bit more of a conventional route of advertise on the website and hope people see it,” he said. Industry does take some onus in the communication trail between themselves and the council. Industry bodies and industry-created guidelines are important to the progression of business. Mr Norton said feedlot industry guidelines needed to be updated to help producers with government planning schemes. The updated guidelines gave the government a clear understanding of how an

industry operated from the industry’s perspective. Mr Norton used the example of NSW having an intensive ag committee. “It’s a committee that was industry-driven,” he said. “They all got their heads together, they made sure government was on board and essentially government people in the committee are messengers. “They’re not the ones telling industry how to do things, it’s industry going to government telling them how to do their own job sometimes and then they pass on that message to people who can really make changes in policy.”

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20 WESTERN DOWNS FARMER Thursday, March 28, 2019

Learning from the experts

TSBE Food Leaders Australia held their Intensive Animal Industry Conference in Dalby on March 7. Attendees were involved in all parts of the animal industry in their everyday lives - from producers to human resources, banking to telecommunication. Engaging and informed speakers discussing significant topics in the intensive livestock sector made for an engaging and educational day.

Katrina Royek and Hayley Hoefler, from TSBE, at the conference. CATCHING UP: Rob Fraser, from Fraser Valuers, David Moffit, from NAB Agribusiness, and Bret Taylor, from Opteon Property, at the TSBE Intensive Animal Industry Conference in Dalby on March 7. PHOTOS: SHANNON HARDY

Wayne Bradshaw, from JEFO Australia, and Nathan Lister, from Biomin Australia.

Mayor Paul McVeigh and Jodie Taylor, from WDRC.

Geoff March, from MarchNet, Professor Craig Baillie, from USQ, and Dr Margaret Jewell, from Premise Australia on a panel about innovation in agriculture.

Peter Clifford, from Clifford Valuations Pty Ltd, and Peter Old, from Opteon Property.

Zelda Nel and James Hurley, from SunPork.

Cr Andrew Smith and Todd Summerville, from WDRC.


Thursday, March 28, 2019

WISE WORDS: Lauren McNally from Mort & Co addresses the crows at the TSBE Intensive Animal Industry Conference earlier this month.


Connectivity is key driver for technological change Lot-feeding specialists reveal reason behind smart move at TSBE industry conference Shannon Hardy TECHNOLOGICAL innovations have been making their way onto farms for years and they continue to change and grow as new technology is made available or as people in the agricultural industry find new ways to apply technology in their day-to-day activities. Lauren McNally, human resources and workplace health and safety manager for lot-feeding specialists Mort & Co, has been implementing smartphone-based systems across the organisation.

Speaking at the TSBE Intensive Animal Industry Conference in Dalby earlier this month, Ms McNally suggested to those who attended they spend the day with no smart phones, no access to the day’s program and no visual prompts - just listen to the speakers. “You might feel great, you might feel carefree, you might feel uninhibited being in this room without technology,” she said. “However, chances are you might not. In fact, 70 per cent of us feel even more stressed

when technology is removed.” Ms McNally said people need their technology in the agricultural industry and it was likely they needed it more when they were attending events like the conference which took them away from their workplace. Connectivity and its importance in rural workplaces was one of the major points she touched on. “We’re going to be accessible to a lot more global teams so we’re going to be working a lot more remotely,” she said.

Ms McNally said connectivity on a smaller scale was also an important aspect of technology. She said the aim of the integration of technology at Mort & Co was transparency and quick access to information. “So wherever you are, in a feedlot or in head office or wherever you are on the road, anyone in our business can log in and get access to the information,” she said. “We really wanted to make people’s lives easier. We wanted to enable correct

allocation of responsibilities. “What that means is often in a work situation an administration person becomes the sole knowledge base for a company because they simply have the computer or the technological application to receive that information. “That’s going to change dramatically in years to come. We want the responsibility of the actual job, including the technology, to go to the supervisor. “So if you’re in a cattle pen you’ll have access to all the

information you need.” Ms McNally said because the system they implemented was so transparent, they needed to be integral to that data. “We would like our information to be fluid, to be dynamic, to be constantly evolving as it’s happening,” she said. Mort & Co started with two store-bought systems to work on employee management and have since started on a third custom product to ensure their stakeholders have access to what they need when they need it.

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22 WESTERN DOWNS FARMER Thursday, March 28, 2019

TIME TO GROW: Pacific Seeds is reminding growers to make sure they get their retained planting seed tested.


Now is a good time to test wheat seed

Germination tests at harvest are not enough – test now for the best start to the season when planted. “Seed is a living organism, so if it experiences extremes during either its growing or storage phases, it is inevitably going to be affected. “Recent winters have been tough and shown us that growers really need to make the most of the rain when it comes to get their crop established. “The last thing we want them to experience is a poor establishment due to poor quality planting seed. “It’s not enough to rely on germination tests done at

LRPB Reliant is living up to its name as a reliable performer across environments ...

— Neil Comben

harvest; farmers need to get their seed tested again now to make sure it gives them the best possible start to the season.” Mr Comben said it might also be a good time for growers to look at refreshing

their wheat seed in the lead up to the 2019 winter crop. “The more years of continuously retaining seed, the greater the risk of contamination through the introduction of seed from other varieties.

“We recommend that wheat growers routinely refresh their wheat seed to maintain a variety’s genetic purity so the traits, yield and agronomics they are chasing are there when they need it. “It is also an opportunity for growers to assess recently released varieties which may offer additional yield or protein over older stalwart varieties on farm.” Over the past two years, Pacific Seeds has released two new lines into the APH market – LRPB Reliant and LRPB Mustang.

“LRPB Reliant is living up to its name as a reliable performer across environments and data shows it is the highest yielding APH wheat variety for the main season plant, whereas LRPB Mustang offers growers excellent yield in a quicker maturing package,” Mr Comben said. “These new wheats come from the same breeding program as LRPB Lancer and LRPB Spitfire, which are two on-farm favourites for their overall reliability and trait package.”

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GIVEN a run of poor weather over recent wheat harvests, wheat variety marketing company Pacific Seeds is reminding growers to make sure they get their retained planting seed tested for germination and vigour prior to planting. Pacific Seeds wheat manager Neil Comben said seed that had been grown in a tough season, had experienced rain events over harvest, or which had experienced extreme heat or humidity in storage could often give sub-optimal results

Thursday, March 28, 2019


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Western Downs Farmer  

Western Downs Farmer