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RACING ROYALTY Miles trainer Bill Johnson with six-year-old gelding Fabs Cowboy who won Country Premiership Horse for both Queensland and Australia in the 2016 racing season.

2 WESTERN DOWNS FARMER Thursday, December 21, 2017


We’re just about to dive headfirst into Christmas and 2018 and hasn’t Santa delivered the goods with somewhat scattered rain across the Western Downs since the start of October? Things have certainly turned around, not least with so much lovely feed and it’s time to be grateful for this happy ending to a tough year. When chasing yarns for the paper, I’m always amazed by some of our cockies and others in the ag industry or people just living in our towns who are either doing something cutting edge or something to help others or coming up with a brilliant idea to solve a problem. Assistant Professor Mark Trotter, for example, grew up on the land and is dedicating himself to making things a bit easier for those who run stock while Dr Paul Adams spends countless hours working on his vision to deliver equal emergency health services to those who need it most in rural and remote Queensland. But so often, we know of someone doing something great who just brushes it off. The more people that know about what they are doing, the more we can throw our support behind them, so please encourage them to share their story. While we're naturally suspicious of tall poppies, we should support those trying to give back to our community because they are the ones who help keep the show on the road. Here’s cheers to Christmas and the New Year, may it be a happy and prosperous one for us all. —Jacinta Cummins

contact us EDITOR Jacinta Cummins, Phone 07 4672 9900, Email ADVERTISING (CHINCHILLA NEWS) Bobbie Gorring, Phone 07 4672 9930, Email ADVERTISING (DALBY HERALD) Nicole McDougall, Phone 07 4672 5502, Email GENERAL MANAGER Erika Brayshaw, Phone 07 4672 9921, Email Erika.brayshaw@chinchillanews 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.

HARD WORK: Bill Johnson and his daughter Dakota Graham with Fabs Cowboy. PHOTO: Jacinta Cummins

Miles father-daughter duo claim the crowns of country racing JACINTA CUMMINS

MILES horse trainer Bevan Johnson and his daughter Dakota Graham finished off a sensational 2016 racing season with a hat trick any stables would be proud of. For those who are casual racegoers, the racing season runs from August 1 to August 1 which is the birthday of all horses in the Southern hemisphere and ensures horses are racing in the right age categories. Bevan, better known as Bill to friends and family and those who frequent the country tracks dotted across Queensland, was named Country Premiership Trainer while Dakota won Country Premiership Jockey and Country Apprentice for her debut season and their six-year-old gelding Fabs Cowboy was crowned






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home to do trackwork for Des the next morning, but it wasn’t until recently that he and Mel expanded going from 10 horses to 30 in three years. Bill’s love for his horses is clear: he shoes them all himself, old shoes are scattered on the ground and he does trackwork every day, often doubling up on his employees’ rides. A bit shy, he is happy to squat against the stable wall and let Mel tell most of their story. "He always leads by example, he won’t ask anyone to do anything he’s not prepared to do himself and it’s not unusual to see him out with a torch or a headlamp working the horses in the dark if we have to get up and get on the road real early," she said.


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Country Premiership Horse for both Queensland and Australia. It’s Sunday morning and Dakota has stayed at home overnight after racing at Goondiwindi the day before. Mum Mel tells me the photoshoot was a great excuse to have her home and it’s clear both she and Bill can’t wait until she moves back to Miles in January after three months riding on the Sunny Coast. "We work well together, sometimes it’s hard to leave work in the yards, but we all have to sit down together for dinner at night so you make an effort to forget about it," Mel said with a laugh. Bill has been around horses all his life after his father Des established the stables. At one point he was rodeoing then driving

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HAPPY-GO-LUCKY: Bill Johnson is the quiet achiever, happy to focus on his work rather than tell everyone about it. PHOTO: Jacinta Cummins

We put a lot of time and effort into our horses so to get results was pretty exciting

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"There are a lot of people in the industry who all have an opinion and I guess Dad always just told me to listen respectfully, you don’t need to take it all on board instead you just take away what works for you. "When it comes to being a jockey, I have some people I look up to, but basically I just want to be the best jockey I

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can be rather than just trying to copy someone else." The family makes a good team and it’s clear Dakota’s younger brothers adore her, with one of them proudly telling anyone who would listen to him at the Winton races that his "sister is the queen of the desert track". But while it’s clear Bill heads up the show, he said

it’s a team effort. "Mel’s definitely the backbone of the show," he said. One thing’s for sure, if racing truly is the sport of kings, then the Johnson family is its humble royalty: Billy the quiet unassuming monarch and Dakota the rising Queen of the country track.

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parents for teaching her to have respect for everyone one in the industry and not lose too much sleep over a loss. "I think if you put in a good ride and don’t win, but you gave the horse every chance and it put in its best, then you’re confident that at the next start you and the horse are really going to get somewhere.


"When we’re getting ready for the races, owners will often ask if Bill is going to back the horse and he’ll always say he doesn’t know yet. "‘I won’t know til tomorrow morning when I ride them and they’ll tell me what they need to do,’ he always says to them. "He’s a really unique horseman with a real affinity for the horses, it’s always about them first, it’s a gift I suppose. "He’s been doing this all his life on and off with his dad, but we’ve started to really hit our straps in the last few years." When it comes to talking about Fab’s Cowboy, a gentle smile spreads across Bill’s face. "He’d never done any track work before he came to us as a three-year-old, but the owners and I could see something in him so it was a goal of ours to get the absolute best out of him and it paid off," he said. Dakota admits working with her dad has its challenges, but it’s clear the quiet yet confident 20-year-old looks up to him both on and off the track. "I’m pretty close to dad, I started going down and helping him at the stables and strapping when I was about 13, I wasn’t really into school," she said. "If he hasn’t done something before, he’s happy to admit it and help me find someone who can help me. "I didn’t start riding as a jockey until I’d turned 18. "I was riding the horses all week and it was pretty disappointing on the weekend if someone else rode them and didn’t have a good run, so I thought I would give it a go." It was a punt that paid off with Dakota winning 51 races from 232 starts. She also placed second 44 times and third 30 times. "We put a lot of time and effort into our horses so to get results was pretty exciting, especially winning races and winning cups. "I’ve ridden winners for other trainers and it’s just as much a thrill, but it’s extra special when they are your family’s horses and they are horses you’ve ridden during the week." Dakota appears wise for her age and she credits her

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4 WESTERN DOWNS FARMER Thursday, December 21, 2017

Beach to Bush Photography Exhibition Locals wow with exhibit JACINTA CUMMINS LISA Kleidon and Meegan Bradshaw don’t see themselves as creative, but their first photography exhibition at the Wandoan Library tells a different tale. Entitled Beach to Bush, the exhibition is a collection of 20 of their favourite shots from over the years which illustrates the love that people from the area have for both their homes out here and their holidays at the beach. "We’re a long way from the beach, but every holiday we ever had as a family growing up was to Hervey Bay for as long as I can remember," Meegan said. "I think that’s the story for most people out here – they head to the beach for their holiday." For Lisa, her photos are about capturing the uniqueness of the country where she works and raises her family. The best friends had never even been to a photography exhibition before deciding to organise their own after being encouraged by family and friends. "The hairdresser was the one who came up with the idea and told me about how the library was always looking for great collections so we would talk about it over a few beers and this went on for a few months before we actually decided to do it and then it was a fair bit of work to execute it once we’d locked ourselves into it!" Meegan said with a laugh. "Yes, we definitely learnt a few things along the way and have some ideas for what we’d do differently next time," Lisa said. "It was a bit nerve wracking from finding the right photo labs to print our favourite shots and then get the 20 frames and glass transported out from Toowoomba and frame the prints and finally

END RESULT: Lisa Kleidon and Meegan Bradshaw at the opening night of their Beach to Bush Photography Exhibition. PHOTO: Lyle Bailey hang them up in here and then on opening night we were just really hoping people liked our work. "Gav (my husband) and Lyle (Meegan’s partner) volunteered to make the frames for us, but seeing as we had a three week deadline from when we decided to actually do the exhibit to when we opened, I’m glad we didn’t take them up on their offer as

we would probably only have one frame!" Taking photos is Lisa and Meegan’s little bit of "me time". Lisa is a mum-of-two who loves capturing the country and her favourite type of photo is night photography while former vet nurse Meegan prefers to capture the beach because "it’s pretty hard to get a bad shot there!"


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Still, Meegan said she’s rapidly improving her skills now she’s back home in the country. Some of their shots were taken together with one often providing the lighting while the other shoots; this was the case for Meegan’s favourite shot in the exhibition which is of an old rusted out car at her parents’ property at Dulacca. "That’s my favourite

because it just took so long to get it right and the colours really jump out at you." Lisa’s favourite shot is the one of a cow and her calf sharing the water trough because it’s a natural shot which couldn’t be staged; she thinks she was just in the right place at the right time. The late, great American landscape photographer Ansell Adams might argue

with that because he believed "You don’t take a photograph, you make it." And these two local ladies are certainly making some beautiful shots of Wandoan and district and any beaches lucky enough to have them visit with camera in hand. Beach to Bush runs at the Wandoan Library until January 24.

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Thursday, December 21, 2017

App helps producers report suspicious activity from paddock

GETTING THE ANSWERS: Associate Professor Mark Trotter received $45,000 funding from CQU’s Social Innovation program in January to fund his research looking into the emotional cost of stock theft. PHOTO: SUPPLIED

Study does the sums on emotional costs of cattle theft JACINTA CUMMINS

AS A young bloke establishing his own cattle stud, Mark Trotter was struck by cattle theft. Even though it was a one off occurrence, the experience stuck with him and is driving his current work with GPS trackers to try and stop the same thing from happening to other producers. Mark is now an Associate Professor at Central Queensland University and received $45,000 funding from CQU’s Social Innovation program in January to fund his research looking into the emotional cost of stock theft. "If you talk to people out in the bush and if you really dig in below the surface, in some circumstances you will actually find that the emotional toll of losing your cattle can be just as stressful as the economic effect," he said. "There is this real concern in the community where producers suspect a neighbour and don’t trust them and I’ve spoken to countless people who’ve lost

a lot of sleep over this." "We got the funding by outlining the amount of mental energy which goes into thinking about this because you can put a dollar figure on theft, but you can’t put a figure on the emotional costs of those fractured relationships between neighbours." The study fits GPS sensors to cattle to try and determine patterns in herd movements and behaviours. The aim is to be able to identify warning signs during times of emergency such as when they are being rounded up and loaded onto a truck in the middle of the night. At this stage, the GPS trackers are on an ear tag or collar, but ideally they would be implanted in the cattle. The challenges are in determining how such behaviour differs from cattle just stirring for no apparent reason, recording and interpreting this data and then relaying the important bits in a timely manner to the producer to alert him or her that there is a problem. When he put the call out for producers to be involved

with the study he was flooded with calls and emails from across the state and indeed the country with people saying the problem affects their mental well being nearly as much as their bottom line. While his own anecdotal experience from growing up

If you talk to people out in the bush and if you really dig in below the surface, in some circumstances you will actually find that the emotional toll of losing your cattle can be just as stressful as the economic effect

Professor Trotter said the Queensland Major and Organised Crime Squad (Rural) (Which used to be known as the Roma Stock and Rural Crime Squad) had been able to give him a much better idea about what was happening with cattle theft at the much bigger, state wide level. Professor Trotter has limited funding so wants to

get the initial work done to ensure the possibility of more funding to extend it, or at least to have enough data for a commercial player to pursue it further. "We really want to find some solutions to the sorts of things which hurt farming families and the emotional cost of cattle theft can be immense so this is a good starting point."

QUEENSLAND Police now has a smart phone and tablet app which allows a producer or farm worker to report a suspicious vehicle or suspicious activity from up the paddock rather than wait until they can get an officer at the local police station on the phone or in person. The Policelink app has a section where you can instantly report and upload a photo of a suspicious or unknown vehicle on your property, fuel theft or any other rural crime. This information is sent directly to a centre which assesses it and dispatches it to the local police officer in that area. Detective Sergeant Scott Jackson heads up the Major and Organised Crime Squad (Rural), (formerly the Roma Stock and Rural Crime Squad) and he said there had been an increase in the reporting of rural crime during 2016/2017. “Increased reporting is good because studies have found that rural communities are generally reluctant to report, so any tools like the Policelink app make it a lot easier for us and for the public because it’s user friendly and quick and it lets someone report sooner rather than later,” Det Sgt Jackson said. “In the case of cattle theft, there’s only two of us out here (Roma) and we service a big area so you might not get us at the station but there’s no point ringing 000 to report stolen cattle as it’s for emergencies only. “This app allows the bloke up the paddock to file a report and someone will get onto it straight away and if it’s urgent, the nearest police officer will be alerted and able to respond.”

- Mark Trotter

on a farm gave him a small perspective into the problem,

Research cow wearing a collar mounted sensor. PHOTO: SUPPLIED

New app can redefine safety for producers and farmers.

6 WESTERN DOWNS FARMER Thursday, December 21, 2017

Melon growers hope for best present of all: a good harvest Jessica Schremmer IT’S nearly Christmas and the best present for local watermelon growers would be a harvest that delivers on their high expectations for this crop. With the floods, hailstorms, and two record years of drought diminishing their recent crop enormously, growers are cautiously optimistic about this year’s watermelons with harvest set to start around Christmas. Chinchilla watermelon grower Terry O'Leary said vine health was exceptional and yield could be higher for this year's harvest. "Usually we would start harvest in early December, but because it has been so cold in

the last six weeks, where we had on average six degrees lower than usual for night time and day time temperatures it pushed us back about 10 to 12 days," Terry said. "But it also allowed the vine to get very well established. "We had a lot of rain in October so they (the watermelons) have grown just very slowly and strongly." The O'Leary family has run their 3500 acre farm over the last 60 years and hope to continue their legacy. "This was my grandparents' farm so it has been in the family for a long time," Terry said. "Chinchilla growers have got a very good reputation that was built over decades and it is a legacy to keep going, and to make sure if someone eats a Chinchilla melon it is gonna be one of the best ones they have." Back in the day Chinchilla had about 23 growers producing 25 per cent of the nation's melons, but today there are just five growers left and they are lucky if they produce five per cent of the nation's melons.

According to Terry a lot of growers stopped farming watermelons during the drought in the 1990s due to strong price fluctuations. "Back in the early 90s everything was grown on dry land, so unirrigated, and that meant that everybody planted on the same rain we picked watermelons on the same heatwave, so it was very up and down with the price you get. "You always have to consider it on an economy of scale." Terry said their harvest today depends on various environmental factors as well as hailstorms in the area. "Our worst year I think was on a thousand tonnes, best year we have done was nearly three thousand tonnes," he said. The O’Learys’ farm missed out on a damaging storm which hit Chinchilla on November 29. However, issues watermelon growers in Australia face today are the increase of changes to industry standards and compliances such as food

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safety standards and Horticulture Innovation Australia introducing new, costly food auditing programs. Terry said it was great to focus on quality produce, but a lot of growers are now facing a minimum of $8000-9000 in compliance cost and testing every year. "So that's a lot of money that you don't get paid for and you have to recoup through your own cost. These compliance costs are a major concern for smaller growers. Terry thinks the industry might find there will be more large and medium size growers, which was unfortunate to see. "Small growers are really the backbone. "If you have 20 small growers, they will produce as much as one very big grower, but if one really big grower has quality problems then that shows in the market a lot more than 20 small growers because of the geographical spread." WATERMELON HARVEST: Chinchilla watermelon grower Terry Terry said he hoped that it O’Leary is hoping for a good watermelon harvest this will be a good year for all Christmas. PHOTO: Jessica Schremmer growers in the region.

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Thursday, December 21, 2017

Finch Engineering: Grain is our Game Finch Engineering continue to prove they are industry leaders THE Team at Finch Engineering are offering early order incentives across the entire range of products manufactured at Kaimkillenbun. The Next Generation Haulout Bin has proven to be an exceptionally good chaser bin with deliveries of over 200 units in just over 2 years. Known for its clever design and build quality, this is the bin that Australian farmers can depend on. Quality is paramount across the whole range of Finch products including the Mobile Field bins with their superior structural integrity, the mother bin has become an important part of the farming strategy. Available in both wheeled and hydraulic lift chassis

design, Finch Engineering has a size to suit any farmer’s requirements. Not only can we supply new equipment, we also repair and refurbish existing Finch Engineering products including Miitze Augers. We carry a full range of spare parts and our service team can handle most on farm jobs with the new, fully equipped service truck. We are currently building a large range of Chaser Bins, Mother Bins, Grain Augers, Seed and Fertilizer Truck Bins, Cattle Feeders and Hayracks all designed and built to meet the needs of today’s farmer. Don’t miss out in 2018, call Finch Engineering today to take advantage of the savings being offered.

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8 WESTERN DOWNS FARMER Thursday, December 21, 2017

Proposed rural aeromedical trial gets wings at seminar JACINTA CUMMINS MORE than 60 people travelled from across Australia and America for the Aviation Innovation tiltrotor seminar in Brisbane on November 21 and 22. The seminar was run by Aeromedical Innovation Australasia and brought together key players in the aviation, aeromedical, medical and logistics industries including the Senior Manager for AW609 Marketing and an AW609 test pilot from Leonardo Company in Philadelphia which manufactures the AW609, the first commercial tiltrotor set for release in 2019. A small delegation travelled to Wellcamp Airport near Toowoomba the day before the seminar to inspect the facility and its ability to host the proposed trial as well as meet with the director of Wellcamp Airport, John Wagner, who has thrown his support behind AIA’s proposed tiltrotor trial. The trial would see an AW609 based at Wellcamp airport and able to reach remote areas of Queensland during medical emergencies to provide more efficient and effective accident-to-hospital patient transportation. Because a tiltrotor can land like a helicopter and fly at the speed of an aeroplane, it reduces the number of vehicles involved in transporting a patient. It also reduces the transport time by up to 50 per cent and could reduce the need for refuelling as it has a bigger range than a helicopter. Bill Sunick Jnr is Leonardo Company’s Senior Manager for AW609 Marketing and is responsible for the marketing release of the AW609. Mr Sunick and AW609 test pilot Paul Edwards both gave presentations on the development and testing of this first commercial tiltrotor and its potential to revolutionise the medical transport and search and rescue (SAR) industries. Mr Sunick said he found the

HOPING: Tiltrotor seminar organisers Tony Laws and Dr Paul Adams with a 3D printed model of the mobile AW609 tiltrotor integrated simulator mock cabin they hope to have built to introduce Australia to the benefits for Australian aeromedicine. PHOTO: Jacinta Cummins seminar engaging and appreciated getting to meet with potential end users and AW609 customers in Australia. "The company (Leonardo Company) sees great potential for the aircraft in Australia and beyond, and we look forward to future collaboration and discussions on the role the first

commercial tiltrotor can play in improving outcomes and patient transport in rural communities across Australia," he said. Although Leonardo Company is unable to provide a figure for how much an AW609 will cost at this stage, it said it will be in line with other super-medium helicopters with configuration

of the interior and required mission equipment chosen by the end user determining the final cost. Industry insiders confirm that the capital cost of a tiltrotor is likely to be high some saying in the realm of fifty million dollars, yet most operators choose to lease not buy new aircraft, and AIA in fact is advocating significant

potential cost savings through this technology. Dr Paul Adams is the founder of AIA and organised the seminar along with Tony Laws who is Senior Director of Airmid Training Solutions. Dr Adams said it was amazing to see the right people from the right industries all meeting together under the one roof in

support of using tiltrotors in aeromedicine. "We had quality rather than quantity, such as a consultant who worked on the development of the Osprey (the first military tiltrotor) and before that the NASA XV tiltrotor, in addition to an experienced military tiltrotor pilot – both travelled from America," he said.




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Thursday, December 21, 2017

A big year for Western Downs region in 2017 MORDERN telecommunications infrastructure is essential as it provides the platform we need to connect us with not only friends and family but also limitless possibilities worldwide. Breaks in our communications hinder emergency services, tourism, education and business growth and that’s why telecommunications is a major focus for me. The Western Downs has been at the forefront of the NBN rollout in my electorate as Dalby was the first town in my electorate to be connected to the fibre-to-the-node technology. This marked an excited millstone in the Coalition Government’s rural communications investment as superfast broadband is now available to the 6000 homes and businesses in Dalby since January. Chinchilla was connected in November, with more than 3800 premises able to order a fixed line service and more than 200 premises in Bell have also been connected to the NBN fixed wireless network since May.

We promised to speed up the rollout, deliver the NBN to households sooner and more affordably and this promise is being upheld.

Better access to communications infrastructure was one of my key election commitments because regional areas in Maranoa will greatly benefit from e-learning, tele-medicine, video conferencing, tourism and business opportunities which a faster internet connection will provide. We promised to speed up the rollout, deliver the NBN to households sooner and more affordably and this promise is being upheld. Efficient connections through our transportation links is also a government commitment as we’re

Maranoa MP David Littleproud checks out the recently completed new bridge over the Jingi Jingi Creek, near Dalby, as part of the $635 million Warrego Highway Upgrade Program to improve safety and efficiency along one of Australia’s key freight routes. delivering a safer and more effective highway network to upgrade the Warrego Highway and the Western Downs Council’s local road network. In August last year, I was truly humbled to be elected your Federal Member for Maranoa and some of my biggest wins for you in the Western Downs in 2017 include:

■ $635 million for the Warrego Highway Upgrade Program between Toowoomba and Miles. ■ More than $4.77 million in Roads to Recovery funding to upgrade the Western Downs Council region’s local network. ■ Capital Grants Program funding to upgrade the Dalby Christian College ($260,000), St Joseph's School

($477,197) and the Chinchilla Christian College ($825,000). ■ A new Wambo Medical Practice will be built in Jandowae thanks to $300,000 in funding. ■ ■ ■ $237,400 for 14 new CCTV cameras in Chinchilla’s CBD to enhance community safety. ■ $39,250, under the

Building Better Regions Fund, for two community projects to showcase and celebrate the Western Downs. ■ $7900 total in Volunteer Grants for Helping Hands Outreach Project For Dalby and the Tara & District Family Support Committee. ■ $7000 Goondir Health Services NAIDOC Week activities in Dalby, Miles, Chinchilla and Tara.

With Christmas comes faith, hope and love. I wish all these things for you and your family during this festive season and into the New Year.


For all of your companion & rural animal needs


Ph: 07 4662 2715 (Dalby) |

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10 WESTERN DOWNS FARMER Thursday, December 21, 2017

CWA set to cook up a storm from Dalby to Condamine

JACINTA CUMMINS WHO doesn’t love popping over to Nan’s for a homecooked meal and some spoiling? Well now you can learn some of the best tips of the trade from the only other ladies who’ll ever come close to your nan’s cooking – the CWA ladies. The Queensland Country Women’s Association is running its Country Kitchens program in Dalby, Condamine and Miles between February

and April to show people how easy it is to cook delicious and healthy food whether it’s for one or to feed the whole family. While scones with jam and cream is what normally comes to mind when someone mentions the CWA, program coordinator Fiona McKenzie said this program is essentially about getting more fruit and vegetables into the daily diets of those living in regional Queensland. "In places where it’s often easier to find fast food outlets than fresh fruit and vegetables, maintaining a healthy diet can be challenging," she said. "But the consequences of eating fast food on the health of Queenslanders living in rural areas are alarming." Queensland has the highest obesity rate in Australia with research showing two out of every three adults is overweight or obese, as are

HEALTHY EATING: Check your serving size! Participants weigh up their options at the Chinchilla Country Kitchens program. PHOTO: SUPPLIED


QCWA pass on tricks of the trade


Thursday, December 21, 2017

more than 30 per cent of children. Obesity is a major risk factor for diabetes, cardiovascular disease and some cancers. Country Kitchens aims to modify dietary risks associated with chronic disease by inspiring country Queenslanders to adopt healthier eating practices. The program achieves this by covering cooking at home, keeping a close eye on serving sizes, sitting less and moving more, and cutting down on sugary drinks. Participants 12 years and older are welcome. It also teaches how to read and interpret food labels to find out how much of something you should be incorporating into your diet. "We’ve just finished up one of our workshops today where our oldest participant was 93 and she used to come over from the nursing home with her carer and she just had a ball being back in the kitchen. And last year, we had a 14-year-old girl at the Chinchilla Country Kitchens," Fiona said. "As long as they are old enough to reach the kitchen bench then we think this program is perfect to teach young people good habits from the start. "The message is clear: vegetables should be included in meals daily and great food can be cooked at home quickly, easily and cheaply." The program is delivered by qualified nutritionists with the

local CWA facilitating the program. Fiona says that makes it a bit more fun, more like getting a cooking lesson from Nan rather than getting preached at by a dietician. All ingredients are bought locally and the last session sees participants given a party food recipe to adapt and make healthier. "We have the same recipes for each session at the end, but the results are never quite the same as it’s up to each person how they modify the recipe," Fiona said with a laugh. "It is really fun as they get to go home with a party food that they love but which is just that bit healthier and better than the way it's traditionally made. They taste it and think ‘That’s pretty good, I can make that for the next party I’m having or when I have to take something’. "The program really comes down to being able to cook like your Nan does – deliciously and healthily. "Because lots of our members are Nanas themselves, it’s more like spending an afternoon with Nan in her kitchen than just cooking and diet advice. It’s a lot of fun." Condamine-Arubial CWA will run Country Kitchens in Condamine, Springvale-Kuppun CWA will facilitate the Dalby workshop and the Miles CWA will host the Miles program. For more information go to

SERVED WITH A SMILE: The QCWA Country Kitchens team ham it up for the camera. PHOTO: Coulton’s Country Photography

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Sorghum lush after rain MICK DOYLE SORGHUM farmers across the Dalby region welcomed last weekend’s rain, as temperatures in the mid-30s is forecast for the end of this week. The Bureau of Meteorology (BOM) recorded 20mm of rain over Dalby on Friday, while farmers in the northwest region reported up to 40mm. The rain has benefited Dalby farmer, David Buckley, especially for his sorghum crops. Mr Buckley said rain is always welcome, especially when warm temperatures are forecast in the coming days. “Across the paddock we had between 25mm and 32mm, which has been nice,” Mr Buckley said. “This allows the sorghum’s secondary roots to dig for the sub-soil moisture ahead of the warm weather forecast.” Mr Buckley said there was still along way to go until the end of the season. He said another 50mm of rain over the next month would be enough for his crops to get through the warm weather. “The sorghum is holding up surprisingly well,” he said. “They (BOM) said it was going to be a wet Summer, so I am hoping last weekend was just the start of things to come.”


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Outback needs help to thrive SHERELE MOODY QUEENSLANDERS love the Outback so much they want the freshly minted State Government to deliver more funding to protect our 108 million-hectare living wonder for generations to come. A new survey, published exclusively by NewsRegional, shows 92 per cent of Queensland residents consider the Outback a significant contributor to the state’s “culture and identity”, while 91 per cent reckon visiting it is a great chance to “get away from the city”. Galaxy Research’s Our Living Outback poll of 1003 people also shows 89 per cent of us want more support for people who live and work in the bush and 80 per cent of people reckon there is a big disparity between government funding for the city and the Outback. Outback Queensland covers almost two-thirds of the state, stretching from the tropical rainforests of Cape York into the Gulf Country’s savanna plains and across the vast

floodplains of the Channel Country. Outback to Oceans project director Pepe Clarke said the region was under threat as feral animals, invasive weeds, and destructive wildfires pushed “native species to the brink of extinction” and “undermined” rural industries. Mr Clarke urged Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk to boost funding for national parks, nature refuges, the Indigenous Rangers Program and the Nature Refuge Program. “There is a sense that people in the Outback have an important role to play in managing the environment and its threats,” Mr Clarke said of the survey. “Most people found there was a need for the State Government to provide more support for people who are managing the land. “A lot of people believe the Outback is missing out despite it being a big part of our identity and our economy.” A government spokesman said investment in Outback and other bush areas included

QUEENSLANDERS : Queenslanders love the Outback so much they want the freshly minted State Government to deliver more funding to protect our 108 million-hectare living wonder for generations to come. expanding the ranger program at a cost of $8.1 million over four years and there was a plan to have 17 per cent of the state declared as nature

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14 WESTERN DOWNS FARMER Thursday, December 21, 2017

The action is trackside at Taroom Races on December 30 Fun, fillies and fashion will be on display

AFTER a resounding success with more than 1200 visitors through the gates at the Taroom races on New Year’s Eve last year, the Dawson Jockey Club is set for another stellar night of country racing and shenanigans on December 30. Dawson Jockey Club President Graham Rewald said the New Year’s Eve meet was astounding. "It was way above what we’ve ever had before, we normally get about 600 people so we doubled in size and it think it was a combination of it being on New Year’s Eve, but also recognition that we’ve always put on an excellent race meet, the races are Taroom’s big events of the year." Nominations for the races don’t close until the week before, but the club is hoping that Miles trainer Billy Johnson and his daughter, jockey Dakota Graham, will be at the meet with the fourth race being the Des Johnson Memorial dedicated to Billy’s father. "We more or less adopted Des up here, he got on very well with all the trainers here which is why they have the memorial up here; we sort of claimed Des as Taroom trainer, he fitted in very well," Graham said. The New Year’s Eve race meeting was a spectacular one for Billy as four horses he trained won their races and Dakota also rode Blue Jest to victory in the Cup claiming $10,000 in prizemoney. "There’s plenty on offer for everyone this year: there’s $45,000 prize money up for grabs in the five race program, a free merry-go-round and jumping castle for the kids and a DJ for everyone to dance the night away after the last race is run," Graham said.

WINNER: Baylee Nothdurft rides Zaha County to glory in Race 5 at the Taroom races on New Year’s Eve. PHOTO: Ann Alcock With some ladies honestly admitting that they go to the races for the fashion rather than the fillies, there’s also a hotly contested Fashions on the Field competition featuring Lady of the Day sponsored by Spirited Style. The gents and kids aren’t forgotten either with another seven categories sponsored

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Thursday, December 21, 2017

New plane takes to the sky MICHAEL DOYLE ONE of the more prominent agriculture aviation companies on the Darling Downs has been boosted by the arrival of a new $1.6 million aircraft. Keyland Services at Dalby have recently acquired the new plane which they believe will be more efficient for both farmers and emergency services when required. Owner Frank Drinan said the aircraft was like none other on the Darling Downs. "The new aircraft is a Thrush 7-10 P, it's come from the United States, and it's a large capable aerial agricultural aircraft which can hold 2700L and has 1300 horsepower,” Mr Drinan said. The new aircraft can hold nearly 50 per cent more spray and water than any of their other planes, which will make their tasks more efficient according to the business owner. "We are doing less trips out to the paddocks which means we are getting the job done faster,” he said.

"(Farmers) gain time for themselves. A lot of the time, farmers are dealing with a problem so the quicker time deals with the issue quicker. "We can get over large areas quickly and we can go over the wet ground. "It is the newest, biggest aircraft in the Darling Downs for agriculture and fire water bombing.” Mr Drinan said while spraying large areas of land, the aircraft would travel at speeds of roughly 300km/h and, for a larger aircraft, it was still capable of flying under power lines. The aircraft will also add a huge benefit to water bombing on fires. Keyland Services is contracted with the Queensland Fire Service to conduct water bombings on fires when required. The new aircraft's storage capability and GPS tracking is what makes it ideal for these tasks, according to Mr Drinan. "We are getting to the fire faster and putting more water on it,” he said "We have the GPS tracking

that they (Queensland Fire Service) can see where the aircraft is in Brisbane and they can see when we do a drop on a fire and they know exactly

where that drop has been.” Mr Drinan said the aircraft was an investment into the local agriculture industry. He said this was the

motivation for purchasing the new plane, as he wanted the Darling Downs industry to thrive.

FLYING HIGH: Frank Drinan stands proudly in front of the Thrush 7-10 P, his company’s latest acquisition


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16 WESTERN DOWNS FARMER Thursday, December 21, 2017

Take the first step to succession planning

(Back) Eliza nursing Briella, Kylie nursing Rudi, Pieter, (Front) Scott, Grant, Fiona with Sophia (absent Sharon) at “The Deep”. The family has started succession planning process to provide direction for the future. PHOTO: SUPPLIED SITTING at his kitchen table at "The Deep", a cropping and livestock property outside of Moonie, farmer Grant Borchardt admits the whole idea of succession planning made him nervous. "I knew it was something I had to do, it had been niggling in the back of my mind but I didn’t really want to do it," he said. "So I kept leaving it and hoping it would go away." But after an "elbow in the ribs" from wife Fiona and some passing comments from the kids, Grant decided to pick up the phone and ask his accountant, BMO Partner Adrian Rasmussen, to have a look at it. Grant and Fiona have three adult children, Kylie, an agronomist, married to Pieter who works on the farm, Sharon an occupational therapist in Narrabri, and Scott who also works on the farm and is married to Eliza who runs some cattle on the property.

And the brood is growing with three grandchildren under three. Adrian was pleased to hear that Grant was kicking off the process. "There’s never an easy time to start succession planning," Adrian said. "I think the hardest thing for many farmers is that they think once they start, they are going to be forced to hang up their hat before they are ready. "When in reality, succession doesn’t actually have to be linked directly to retirement – it can be a strategy for gradually transitioning business operations and farming assets that can take years to roll out." Megan James, BMO Communications Manager agrees. "We tend to build it up to be a big scary thing, when really it’s a conversation, a living and breathing, changeable strategy for transitioning yourselves to the next stage of life.

Grant said the best thing Megan said to him at the outset was that succession planning is a process not an event. "Once she explained that it’s not immediate, I felt relieved," he said. BMO’s approach is called "Steps Forward". Megan isn’t an accountant, instead her role is to work alongside BMO’s accountants to encourage the family to keep the lines of communication open. "We usually suggest starting by doing a session where we learn about each others’ different communication styles," she said. Grant was not keen when BMO suggested starting the process with a Family Communication Day. "Before we did it I honestly thought it was going to be a complete and utter waste of time," he said. Megan laughs. "The communication day

puts a lot of farmers out of their comfort zone," she said. "They think it’s a load of rubbish. "Until they do it. "Then they get it. "I’ve had the toughest, hardest grazier hug me at the end of a session and say ‘Now I finally understand how to communicate with my son’." Grant agrees. "I knew we were all different, but it really helped me realise why others do and say what they do. "It has opened the door for communication and a lot of positives have already come out of it," he said. Once BMO has a handle on the direction the family wants to take and everyone’s had a chance to share their thoughts, then they look at the entity structures, the taxation implications, the asset protection and the mechanics of the proposed transition. "Sometimes it moves quickly, sometimes we need

to trial operational succession before transitioning an asset, sometimes we can have all the ducks in a row, but have to wait for the seasons to improve or someone to reach a certain age," Megan said. "It’s rarely black and white as every situation is different. "There can, and most likely will, be unexpected complications, which is where communication is the key." For the Borchardt family it’s only early days, and while Grant admits he is still feeling hesitant, he said he has been encouraged by the feedback from his family so far. "I feel like we are all on the same page in terms of what we want to achieve in the long term." Megan said starting a succession conversation can create a morale boost in the business, because the younger generation can see that something is happening and the older generation can get some peace of mind as they start to plan for the

future. But she warned families not to wait for a trigger point to start. "Sadly that trigger point is often something terrible like death, serious illness, or divorce" she said. "As you can imagine, if you’re battling emotions like grief, sadness or anger, it can be the worst time to be trying to make rational decisions about your future." Grant’s advice for other farming families? "Actually start," he said. "Start five years before you think you need to and once it starts, it can be flexible. Megan sums it up in a nutshell "You don’t have to see the whole staircase to take the first step." The Queensland Government currently has grants to help assist with this process through the Queensland Rural and Industry Development Authority (QRIDA).


Thursday, December 21, 2017

Photo Challenge set to capture the true essence of Wandoan JACINTA CUMMINS THE Wandoan Photo Challenge is on again in 2018 with locals and visitors invited to enter photos which show the district as they see it through the lens of their camera, phone or even iPad. Competition coordinator Helen Golden said there was over $3500 up for grabs across two categories: People and Places, largely sponsored by the Wandoan Windmill Village and the Wandoan Show Society. “This is the second year the competition is being run in partnership with the Wandoan Show Society and we are simplifying it so that everyone thinks ‘Ok, well I’ve got something I can enter’,” Helen said. There were 80 entries in the 2017 competition but with the extra lead time, simplified guidelines and ability to enter as many times as you like, Helen hopes to receive a lot more for the 2018 competition. “We just want people to have a go and use their imagination, it’s open to everyone: grey nomads right down to school kids.

“It’s not about whether you’re a professional or whether you’re just a point and shoot person, sometimes it’s really is about being in the right place at the right time and with summer here, now is the time to get out and start taking photos. “We’d love to get peoples’ take on how they see our district and we think most things fall into the two categories.” There will be 12 prizes overall with nine judged by Toowoomba photographer Syd Owen and three Peoples’ Choice prizes with $500 apiece for first in each category. The Peoples’ Choice prizes will be chosen from a shortlist of 30 photos and announced at the 2018 Wandoan Show where the photos will be exhibited. Entries close April 4th and anyone can enter photos taken within a 50 kilometre radius of Wandoan after March 31st, 2017. Photos can be digitally edited and enhanced and in black and white as well as colour. For more details go to

ESSENCE OF COMMUNITY: The Wandoan Show is looking for photos which capture the Wandoan district and its spirit for the Wandoan Photo Challenge. PHOTO: Jess Walz Randall


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Droves of people turn out for Stock Horse Sale Mick Doyle

IT HAS become one of the major events in the Western Downs, as thousands of people attended the Dalby Showgrounds for the 43rd annual Dalby Australian Stock Horse Sale. Organisers have claimed you would struggle to find a seat on Saturday evening as the sale took place. In total $1.7 million was spent across the 231 horses, averaging $10,300 per horse. The highest sold for the sale was horse number seven, Oneofakind Dixie Chiccorrect, who was bought by Andy Mulchay for $54,000. President of the Dalby Downs branch of the Stock Horse Society, Jim Ryan, hailed the weekend as a success. "The event went really well, we are very happy how it has turned out," Mr Ryan said. "There was that much going on it wasn’t even funny. "You could not get a seat in the grandstands on Saturday night which is just fantastic. "There was definitely more than 1000 people here on Saturday night." The event has grown to a point where Western Downs Regional Council have declared the sale, a "major event" in the region. $3000 was also handed out to charities in a ceremony on Saturday afternoon, with Helping Hands Dalby, The Salvation Army and St Vincent De Paul’s all receiving a grand each. Live entertainment kept the large Saturday night crowd at the showgrounds until late, with live music and a performance from world renowned entertainer, Guy McLean. Mr Ryan said the success of the event was due to the town of Dalby and the support the society receives. "On behalf of the society I want to thank the town of Dalby who always come out and support the sale," he said.

SALE: Oneofakind Dixie Chic sold for $54,000 at the Dalby Australian Stock Horse Sale.

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Alan Johnstone and Sarah Hermann. PHOTOS: Molly Hancock.

Charleville Cup wrap Clear skies welcomed the start of Charleville’s premier race, as punters made their way to the Central Warrego Race Club for a day of folly. The Charleville Cup, which ran in conjunction with Melbourne Cup frivolities taking place at Flemington, boasted a five race line-up and a competitive fashions on the field competition. With a champagne in hand, guests relaxed and soaked up

the atmosphere, idling over to place bets or hitting the dance floor as the live band played. Georgia Knight was awarded the senior student fashion prize, Terri Ann Eckel won top honours in the classic ladies category and Biz Mayo won best contemporary outfit. Mick Kressibucher won best dressed gentleman and April Smith was crowned the overall lady of the day.

Fred Goodman, Hannah Carrol, Geena Lawn and Brooke Chapman.

Jayden Sullivan and Faith Parker.

Lady of the day winner April Smith with sponsors of the award.

A group of girls enjoying the Charleville race day.

Lizzy Mahon, Holly Kajewski and Darcie Ross.

Biz Mayo and Michelle Cameron.


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20 WESTERN DOWNS FARMER Thursday, December 21, 2017

Roma Cup a success As always, the Roma Cup impressed in 2017, with fun, fashion, frivolities and some great, competitive racing. 6500 punters turned out for

the day on November, 18 and although storms brewed, it was not enough to dampen race-goers spirits with fun had by all.

Mark O’Brien, Kim Kajewski, Norm Fowles.

The racing form was beyond impressive on the day. PHOTOS: ALEXIA AUSTIN.

D’Artagnan and Blayde Schubert, with Beau Zwoerner and Tyrone Godfrey.

Kyan and Justin Burns.

Race 3 of the Roma races.

Natasha Schultz, Serena Golder, Marijke Hartman and Jordan Flood.

Toby White, Kate Murphy, Georgia Gibson and Tom Zerk

Emily Nixon, Darcey Hall, Takita Weaver.


Thursday, December 21, 2017

Menswear contestants of Fashions on the Field.

Monique Robertson, Blake Rohrlach, Taylah Matthews, Peter Green

Tyson Charles and his friends put on a show during the Kooky category of Fashions on the Field.

Contemporary contestants of Fashions on the Field.

Jackson Stark, Steve McCormack, Haikum Oyat, Lachlan Evans, Mitchell Jones

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Aussie stars set to perform at Jimbour Station JACINTA CUMMINS FIRST there was Big Day Out, then there was A Day On The Green, there’s Opera At Jimbour every other year and now the Western Downs is hoping to hit the right note with the Day On The Plain at Jimbour Station on May 5. The concert will see Australian music industry’s stalwarts and favourites including Joe Camilleri and The Black Sorrows, Wendy Matthews, and Frankie J Holden and Wilbur Wilde perform in the amphitheatre as part of Big Skies, an inaugural festival of events to showcase the Western Downs to newcomers and locals alike over seven days. The Eurogliders, Glenn Shorrock and Richard Clapton will also perform at the concert. Big Skies will see both free and paid events ranging from a tour of Dalby Regional Saleyards to movies under the stars on the Jimbour Station airstrip to hot air balloon rides and the Dalby Picnic Races. Mayor Paul McVeigh said the festival would capitalise on the success of other events across the Western Downs.

"We’ve already established a reputation for delivering fantastic signature events such as Opera at Jimbour, and I believe Big Skies will be an unforgettable series of events that will put our region on the map and really set a new precedent for the Western Downs," he said. Opera at Jimbour attracted more than 7500 people in July. Concertgoers won’t even need to go home after the concert with the option to "glamp" at Jimbour Station all week in between events. For the uninitiated, "glamping" is "glamourous camping". As the name suggests it's camping with all the comforts of home and sometimes even a few more luxuries thrown in along with your tent pegs and camp oven, all without having to pack it up the next morning. If you’re more of a "bring the swag and roll it under the stars" type, there will be normal camping as well as more traditional accommodation options available. For those who love the Western Downs but don’t know much about what it actually produces and how,

the Food and Fibre event on Sunday, May 6 will give them a chance to connect with local growers and discover more

about local industry. Open to all ages, there will be sessions on everything from bee-keeping to poultry

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Glenn Shorrock is one of the acts set to get the crowd on its feet. PHOTO: SUPPLIED

management to the lifecycle of cotton to native bush foods and dog trials. Big Skies runs from April 28 until May 6.

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Western Downs Farmer December 2017  
Western Downs Farmer December 2017