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JULY 2014 NO. 270

Talk it up





Mobile and satellite phones

Beef producer assurance schemes Frost susceptibility research summary RESEARCH REPORT 12V Fuel Transfer Pumps © Kondinin Group – Reproduction in whole or part is not permitted without permission. Freecall 1800 677 761



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JULY 2014 NO. 270 Research general manager/senior editor: Ben White Associate editor: Jessica Strauss Engineering manager: Josh Giumelli Machinery researcher: Mark Saunders Agricultural researcher: Alex Paull Contributors: Pamela Lawson, Fleur Muller, Jill Griffiths Production manager: Mata Henry Designers: Gemma Medforth, Matt Leigh, Catherine Hogan Advertising sales executives: Paul Sheridan, Matthew Bishop Advertising online specialist: Rosalba Dattilo Membership team leader: Laura Bradshaw Membership sales: Tiffany Walters, Wendy Thomson, Micah Beaumont Kondinin general manager: Stephanie Shepherdson Aspermont general manager: Trish Seeney Aspermont managing editor: Michael Cairnduff Head office: 613-619 Wellington Street, Perth WA 6000 Phone: 1800 677 761 Fax: 1800 657 509 Email: Mailing address: PO Box 78, Leederville WA 6092

Copyright warning: The opinions expressed in Farming Ahead are not necessarily those of Kondinin Information Services Pty Ltd (ABN: 72 133 413 920), trading as Kondinin Group. All material appearing in Farming Ahead is the subject of copyright owned by Kondinin Group and is protected under the Australian Copyright Act (1968), international copyright and trademark law. No portion may be reproduced or duplicated by any process without the prior written permission of Kondinin Group. DISCLAIMER: This publication is for information purposes only. The publisher and its agents or employees shall not be liable for any loss or damage suffered by any person as a result of reliance on any of the contents hereof, whether such loss or damage arises from the negligence or misrepresentation or any act or omission of the publisher or its agents.






Special Feature

Farmer of the Year




New beginnings for old favourite One man’s trash is another’s treasure

Rural business 16 20

New financial year resolutions Farm Succession – who makes the decisions?

Health and safety 22

Everyone working on a farm should know CPR

Machinery 24 26 31

New products and services Polaris ATV is a smooth and comfortable ride Shown who’s Boss in Victoria

52 58 60 64 69

Mobile and satellite phones Pulses in spotlight for drought, heat-stress tolerance Breakthrough to fast-track yellow spot research Frost susceptibility in wheat and barley No-tillers targeting furrow tillage

Livestock 72 74 76 78

Taking the hard work out of sheep production Sheep Handlers: painless sheep work Invaluable feedback from feedlot trials Meeting demand through beef assurance schemes

Motoring 84

Enhanced personality for local favourite


Ideas & innovations

Research Report

Farm Photo

34 38

Working with pipe and tube Handy transfer pumps deliver the good oil


85 86

Red and green should never be seen together Running for cover

SN 1038-1678 Printing: Vanguard Press Kondinin Information Services Pty Ltd is a fully owned subsidiary of Aspermont Ltd.

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New beginnings for old favourite With change comes great opportunity and that is something the new editor of the Australian farming community’s leading source of information intends to make the most of.


or 23 years of the (almost) 60year history of Kondinin Group, Farming Ahead magazine has been delivered to farm mailboxes around Australia and the world. Prior to that it was printed under the Group Talk banner, a name we recently borrowed for our Research Reports. It was during the early days of Farming Ahead that I got to know what Kondinin Group did, providing independent, unbiased and thorough research information in an easy-to-understand way. Farming Ahead has always aimed to improve its members’ bottom line, through improved purchasing decisions for equipment and services, or, improved technical knowledge by distilling the latest scientific findings from cropping and livestock production research. There is little doubt that Farming Ahead shaped my choice of tertiary education. I could see the application of being one of the few Agricultural Engineers in Australia, both back on the family farm in northern New

South Wales and potentially in the pages of Farming Ahead. For a large part of its 23 years, I have been fortunate to be involved in research the group has carried out for members. Bringing farmers objective, even-handed information stemming from research done through agricultural research organisations, or that we have undertaken ourselves at the request of members. One of the more notable examples is the decade of work Josh Giumelli and I have carried out on mobile phone communications, a topic you will see revisited again in this issue. And so with one foot under the editor’s desk and one heading up our research team, I can assure members that within these pages and in every future issue you have a team of dedicated, impartial and professional agricultural journalists, scientists and engineers working to deliver you quality information for your farm business. You may notice some subtle changes in Farming Ahead including some new and

familiar faces joining the team. I can promise members that your Farming Ahead team will strive to deliver high quality technical and unbiased information in every issue. Financial realities mean that we will permit two pages each month – clearly marked – as sponsored content. All other articles are exclusively written for our members. Acting on your feedback through the National Agricultural Survey, we have an exciting list of research coming up over the next 12 months, including a look at new self-propelled sprayers, front-wheel assist and articulated four-wheel-drive tractors, harvesters, fencing options and sheep handling equipment, to name a few. Every issue will feature stories on cropping and livestock production, machinery and the ever-popular workshop articles. But the team are always keen to receive your feedback, suggestions and ideas. My email inbox is open 24/7, I look forward to serving members as your editor of Farming Ahead. It is indeed an honour.

Coming up in Farming Ahead next month IN THE August edition of Farming Ahead we review the latest advancements in star posts. Kondinin Group engineers will put a variety of brands through their paces with lateral strength testing, elastic and plastic deformation analysis, malleability and coating thickness analysis and an ease of use rating in a not-to-be missed Research Report.


Farming Ahead July 2014 No. 270

We also look at engine power chips, FAST boomsprays and in a special feature look at crop protection from disease and pests. Determining in-crop Nitrogen requirements, precision sheep management and disorders in beef cattle caused by ticks will all be covered in the August issue.

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Š Kondinin Group – Reproduction in whole or part is not permitted without permission. Freecall 1800 677 761


Forrest recognised for China relations FORTESCUE Metals Group founder and chairman Andrew Forrest has been named the winner of a new category at the AustCham Westpac Australia China Business Awards, recognising his individual impact on bilateral relations. Forrest was awarded the recognition award for great individual impact on the Australia-China bilateral relationship in Shanghai on Thursday night. Westpac head of Greater China Andrew Whitford said Forrest was a very worthy

recipient of the inaugural award. “Andrew has played a critical role in strengthening Australian China relations,” he said. “He has brought together both Chinese and Australian business leaders to better understand and deepen the trade and investment opportunities between the two countries.” Outside iron ore, Forrest plans to promote Australian beef in China after acquiring Harvey Beef earlier this month.

Andrew Forrest

Dry winter looms for farmers AS EL NINO looms large, the Bureau of Meteorology’s latest three-month rainfall outlook has painted a bleak picture, with predictions of a drier than normal winter for the majority of Australia’s southern mainland. Covering the period of June to August, BOM said if climactic trends towards an El Nino continue, Australia could expect below-average rainfall across its southern

and eastern regions, which could prolong the drought conditions in northern New South Wales and Queensland. The likelihood of receiving above-average rainfall is less than 40% for the majority of NSW, South Australia and northern Victoria, with some parts of central NSW as low as 25%. Southern Queensland is expected to experience below-average rainfall during

winter, while north Queensland’s outlook is fairly neutral. The south of Western Australia has only a 40% chance of exceeding the median rainfall level, while the north of the state has been assigned a 50% chance. Only Tasmania is forecast to receive above-average rainfall over the next three months, with the eastern half of the state assigned a 60% chance of a wetter than normal season.

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Farming Ahead July 2014 No. 270

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registration and construction detailing. Any questions please contact flame before proceeding with the job. Copyright 2014 Flame.


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Wage increase may lead to farmer squeeze THE Fair Work Commission’s decision to increase minimum wages by 3% was set to hurt farmers in drought-stricken areas, according to the country’s top farming body. The National Farmers Federation said it was concerned that a rise in labour costs would make it harder for farmers already struggling to keep farm-business costs down and maintain competitiveness. It comes after the commission’s announcement on Wednesday, which will see modern awards affected from July 1. In its summary, the commission said real

unit labour costs remained at a historic low. “The rise in labour productivity together with the low growth in wages has meant that nominal unit labour costs barely rose over the past year and real unit labour costs remained at a historically low level,” the summary said. “In aggregate, there are no signs of cost pressures arising from the labour market. There is no evidence of unusual levels of business failure.” NFF president Brent Finlay said the organisation had asked the commission to

take into account specific concerns affecting agriculture, including the current severe drought, when considering a national wage rise. “Many farmers and businesses in rural Australia have already had to make some tough decisions on whether or not they retain labour through this drought,” Finlay said. In making the announcement, the commission agreed that the approach suggested by the NFF was appropriate and that they had considered circumstances arising from the drought in forming views. “The commission also took into account the recent increase in the superannuation guarantee – the employer contribution component of worker’s superannuation entitlements – to 9.5%,” Finlay said. “While the increase in wages announced today is above the consumer price index and the wage price index, the costs to farmers will be partially relieved by the Budget decision to defer further increases in the superannuation guarantee until 2018.” The NFF was set to explore its options as it looked to ensure that agricultural employers had the best possible opportunities for attracting and retaining an appropriatelyskilled workforce.


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Farming Ahead  July 2014  No. 270

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Crop insurance that can smile back at you. Insure with WFI and you’ll deal directly with a local area manager who will take the time to understand you and your needs as a farmer. So, your insurance will always be handled with a personal touch. Plus, our Early Bird Crop policy can insure your crop against damage from fire, hailstones, harmful chemicals, straying livestock and more. WFI, good people to know for insurance since 1919.

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sponsored feature

techgrow international

Bogballe and Techgrow – revolutionary partnership in Australian farming There has been enormous change this past decade in linkage fertiliser spreaders and how they have become an integral part of the Australian farming program. And Clare, South Australia-based Techgrow International is developing a successful Australian-owned spreader distributorship.


echgrow International may only be nearing its second anniversary as the importer of Bogballe spreaders, but it has been an exciting and challenging journey. Managing director Colin Mitchell says the business in South Australia’s Clare Valley is only now being able to draw breath to reflect on, and assess, its growth. “It’s hard to believe we are nearing our second anniversary,” Mitchell says. “I suppose because we have been dealing with Bogballe within South Australia for such a long time and we are so passionate about the product it has been a natural progression for us to develop the Australian market,” he says. “The journey from initially distributing spreaders from our family farm to a largescale business distributing and servicing the Australian market started after a trip to


Farming Ahead  July 2014 No. 270 

New Zealand in 2002 to learn about crop canopy management and later, nitrogen application.” Mitchell saw the practice would be adopted in Australia, applying urea later in the crop growth period as it was needed as opposed to drilling in the year’s entire fertiliser requirements in one pass. He said after purchasing a Bogballe machine for their own farm, they were soon offered the opportunity to market the product as exclusive dealers in South Australia. The Mitchells were offered the position of national importers and distributors in 2012. “Since then we have been expanding our dealer network across the country,” Mitchell adds. “We have seen Bogballe linkage spreader use diversify from just urea and straight super 10 years ago to multi-purpose applications today, such as accurate snail and © Kondinin Group – Reproduction in whole or part is not permitted without permission. Freecall 1800 677 761

slug baiting and mouse bait down as low as 1 kg/ha. “As there has been a marked swing back to livestock in Australia’s southern agricultural region farmers are also spreading a lot of clover and seeds for pastures and the Bogballe does that as well. “A linkage spreader is now an integral part of many farming enterprises and we believe because of this farmers are looking to invest in a premium, long-term machine such as a Bogballe. “We see spreaders continuing to play a growing role on-farm as technology such as variable rate can be linked directly to the spreader computer. “It is a privilege to be able to play a part in providing a premium product to farmers that assists in growing produce to feed the world.” Mitchell says Bogballe has always had



a reputation for being at the forefront of spreader technology. He says with its continual development of exciting innovations it easy to forget some of the fundamental features that have made it the choice of spreader for farmers worldwide. “With this in mind we believe it is also a good time to reflect on the Bogballe’s standard features – which many other competitors are only now just starting to release – and its innovations for 2014.”


The market is continually moving in a bigger direction, with demands for bigger implements. Mitchell says tractors are growing into immense capacities “and every year we think they can’t get any bigger – and every year, we are wrong”. And the launch of the Bogballe M6W is a case in point. “Techgrow is very pleased to welcome the M6W to the already extensive Bogballe range,” he says. “The M6W will be Bogballe’s flagship machine with all the current features Bogballe is so well known for – but now with a 6000kg capacity.” This increased capacity will lead to huge efficiency improvements for farmers through: • Larger capacity equating to more hectares done per load; • Less travel time between paddock and fill points; • Less downtime spent filling machines;


Mitchell says

Dynamic Section Control

(DSC) is one of the most advanced fertiliser application system to be achieved in linkage spreaders. He says DSC is unique to Bogballe spreaders, which can now achieve eight sections of control to fully optimise fertiliser applications, increasing efficiency and minimising wastage. “Bogballe prides itself on embracing new technology and is constantly looking to optimise its range in the interest of its farmer clients, whether through increased efficiency, improvements in ease of use or both.”


The i-Zurf is a new concept Bogballe has developed, based on a Wi-Fi solution that incorporates a free app, the Calibrator Zurf, and a tablet. Farmers will now be able to upload a free app to their tablet computer, which allows them: • To control their Bogballe spreader to its full potential, including full section control; • Use a friendly and familiar interface; • Making use of proven tablet technology; • Take home up-to-date spreader information, such as rates applied that day and area covered; • Have online access to spreader charts; • Be able to access current weather information; • Endless other opportunities. TO FIND YOUR NEAREST DEALER CONTACT: Techgrow International Phone: (08) 8842 1384 Website: © Kondinin Group – Reproduction in whole or part is not permitted without permission. Freecall 1800 677 761

1. In-Centre spreading technique The In-Centre system is used for normal infield spreading; spreading discs are rotating towards each other to the centre of the spreader. In this way a “4-double overlap” is achieved, which results in a spread pattern with practical in-field tolerance. 2. Optimum headland spreading On headlands Bogballe uses the Off-Centre system. The only adjustment is a change of disc rotation direction that ensures fertiliser application to the border and is standard on all spreaders. 3. Manganese spreading vanes All Bogballes come standard with manganese vanes which is three times harder than stainless steel. 4. Fully automatic calibration system Since 1988 Bogballe’s weighing technique has ensured a high level of precision. With the standard fully-automatic weigh system farmers can put their mind at ease knowing they are accurately spreading within 1% of their desired rate. 5. Easy setting Bogballe’s easy setting system is standard on all spreaders and as one of the key features with only two settings required there is minimal chance of incorrect settings. 6. High quality powder coated paint A seven-step cleaning of each component before painting with the sturdy “FlexiCoat” combined with many stainless steel components results in a first class protection against corrosion and equates to longer life. 7. Hopper base with pressure equalising cone The pressure of a full load of fertiliser is very heavy on the hopper base of the machine but the equalising cone as standard on all Bogballe spreaders equates to even material flow and protects crushing on the agitator. 8. Maintenance-free transmission The Bogballe’s gearbox is remarkably innovative as it is a closed system filled with 1kg of high-quality grease for working in all temperatures, combined with an overload clutch that protects against extreme stress. 9. Versatility A hugely versatile range of products can be spread, from urea, canola and rice to snail bait and slug bait down to rates of 1 kg/ha. 10. Gentle agitation system The free-spinning agitator system gently guides the product to the outlet shutter which means less product damage and improved spreading technique. 11. Working lights Bogballe has made safety one of its high priorities and that is why for a long time road lights have been standard on all machines. No. 270 July 2014 Farming Ahead


Country wide

Input costs climb for cattle producers

Kevin Anderson, Katrina Hodgkinson, Barnaby Joyce and GRDC chair Richard Clark.

Cropping R&D in NSW boosted by $16M THE New South Wales government has linked up with the federal government to pour $16 million into cropping research programs. Agriculture Minister Barnaby Joyce, NSW Primary Industries Minister Katrina Hodgkinson and Tamworth MP Kevin Anderson visited the Tamworth Agricultural Institute on Wednesday to announce the investment package. Joyce said the link between research and development, and agricultural productivity growth was strong and he recognised it was a key driver to industry and farm-gate profitability. “This research will focus on delivering new and existing projects, with an emphasis on making research accessible for farmers, adding to NSW’s $4.4 billion grain industry,” he said. The funding increase is set to help farmers outcompete their global counterparts. “The projects are a boost to regional farming communities across NSW and will help farmers unlock new market opportunities and improve the profitability of their businesses,” Joyce said. The 22 new projects across the northern and southern NSW farming regions are part of a strategic partnership between the Department of Primary Industries and the Grains Research and Development Corporation. “In the grains area alone we now have a $140 million portfolio of projects across NSW as part of a strategic partnership with the GRDC,” Hodgkinson said. “Research activities will be conducted at key DPI research centres, including Tamworth, Wagga Wagga, Narrabri and Trangie. “Regional trials, which are already underway this season, will also be conducted on growers’ properties to capture key information from the different production region.” Breakthrough research will be undertaken in a number of areas, including:


Farming Ahead  July 2014 No. 270 

• opening up new export markets; • developing new and emerging crop varieties; • improving disease management; • eliminating grain defects in chickpeas; • improving the resilience and drought tolerance of various grain crops, including wheat; • enhancing oil and quality traits of canola varieties; • double cropping options in the southern irrigation zone; and • impacts of frost events on crop yield. Hodgkinson said a number of research positions and industry development roles would be created to support the pipeline of new projects. “This includes new positions working in cotton and irrigated grains, as well as industry development roles to promote our pulse and oilseed industries,” Hodgkinson said. “The outcomes of this cutting-edge research will be delivered to farmers through agribusiness and consultant networks as well as farming systems groups. “Research and development underpins the growth and sustainability of this sector and helps our farmers outcompete their global counterparts.” Anderson welcomed the additional investment in his region. “The Tamworth Agricultural Institute is the NSW government’s flagship research institute for northern farming systems and leads important research in cropping, plant breeding and soil and water research,” Anderson said. “These new projects that we are announcing today build on the institute’s strong track record in delivering cuttingedge research to northern NSW farmers. “I value the important work done by our local researchers and technical experts at the Tamworth Agricultural Institute and in the DPI locally.” A full list of projects can be found on the GRDC website: © Kondinin Group – Reproduction in whole or part is not permitted without permission. Freecall 1800 677 761

INPUT costs for Australian cattle producers had doubled in the last 25 years, according to the new ABARESdeveloped Beef Producer Input Price Index. The BPIPI was created using 15 major input costs, with the prices weighted accordingly and aggregated to form a northern and southern index. The increase is consistent with the Consumer Price Index, which is published by the Australian Bureau of Statistics. Between September 1988 and December 2013, northern Australia input prices increased 93% at an annual average rate of 2.61%, which was slightly less than southern Australia – where input prices increased 105%, at an annual average rate of 2.86%. In both instances, the increase was less than the CPI over the same period, which increased 109% for the period, at an annual rate of 2.93%. Cattle Council CEO Jed Matz said while the cost hike was hurting producers, a number of measures were being employed to minimise the damage. “How it’s impacting producers is the cost of production is going up, but the price at farmgate is staying fairly stagnant, which is essentially the difference in the price and the cost is the profitability,” Matz said. “It’s not a good story for beef producers, and it’s something that we’re aware of and need to start addressing very quickly, but unfortunately there’s no one silver bullet.” Matz said there were a number of options under consideration. “There are a number of factors that we can look at. First one is how we can reduce input costs, and producers are very good at becoming more efficient, so we may be able to look at some costs such as regulation and red tape so we can remove those input costs. “We’re doing that through contributing to the Agricultural White Paper and helping the government to identify areas where we can reduce red tape, so there is opportunity there.” Matz said another priority was to investigate ways to improve farmgate prices, which would revolve around building demand for product from the consumer. Improving market access and processing costs were also likely to come under scrutiny. Other inputs which have increased substantially since the 1988-89 base were fuel; oil and lubricants (197%); wages and hired labour (149%); contracts paid (149%); fertiliser (145%); and freight (101%), while crops and pasture chemicals rose just 7%. But, the index shows costs increases are still less than the CPI over the same period.



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One man’s trash is another’s treasure Faced with a tough patch of dirt, Trevor Syme has defied the critics by transforming it into a top operation through a combination of hard work and innovation. Alex Paull caught up with Syme to find out more. At a glance... ▸ Trevor Syme owns Waddi Park farm, 130km northeast of Perth. ▸ Syme bought the 3800ha farm in 1994, only to be told it was the worst in the district ▸ Fast-forward almost 20 years, and Syme won the GRDC Grain Grower of the Year at the Kondinin Group ABC Rural Australian Farmer of the Year Awards last year


T was Albert Einstein who famously defined insanity as doing the same thing over and over, and expecting different results. Trevor Syme admits he’s no Einstein, but that philosophy has shaped the fortunes of his Waddi Park farm, 130km northeast of Perth.

Syme purchased the farm in 1994, only to be told in no uncertain terms that his newly acquired 3800ha plot was the worst in the district. Fast-forward almost 20 years, and Syme was recognised as Australia’s leading grain grower when he won last year’s GRDC Grain Grower of the Year at the Kondinin Group ABC Rural Australian Farmer of the Year Awards. Along with his wife, Renae, and daughters Kiera and Jaymi, Syme crops 3150ha with a rotation of wheat, barley, oats, canola and lupins. His attitude was simply to adapt to conditions and try new things, with his resilience typical of an Aussie goer. “We were told we’ll go broke farming it,” Syme told Farming Ahead. “It’s a bit of a challenge to make sure you don’t go broke in any farm, but to be told that after we bought the place (was a shock), but it has got some challenging dirt and there are challenges all round in farming.”

Syme embraced the challenges involved in turning around the fortunes of a loveless patch of dirt, through continued innovation and evolution, and this is where Einstein’s famous quote rings true. As it can be applied to all walks of life, so too does it apply to farming. “It’s important that you don’t rest on your laurels. Have a go at changing things, don’t do the same thing and expect a different result. It’s really that simple and that’s farming for you,” Syme said. Having to contend with a myriad of issues, farmers can find themselves relying on resilience to get them through tough times, but Syme said the lesson was learning how to adapt to unfavourable conditions. “We’re in a reasonably safe rainfall area where we are, and 2010 was our driest year. But we still went forward because we adapted to it,” he said. “We didn’t throw every dollar we had at the crop when it wasn’t there; we played the season as it unfolded, instead of trying to go


Farmer of the Year 10 September 2014


Farming Ahead July 2014 No. 270

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The Langham Melbourne

for the biggest yield every year.” Faced with the task of changing the farm’s fortunes, the first step for Syme was establishing the issues confronting his operation early. “We worked out what the issues were and most of it was non-wetting sand, so we had to try and solve the issue, and that’s mainly what I’ve concentrated on the last few years,” Syme said.

we have a fair area to cover,” Syme said. “So whatever we do, it’s going to cost a fair bit of money to do it, but we’ve proven with our trials that it’s definitely worth doing, as opposed to pushing it into one corner and trying to forget about it and it’ll fix itself.” Syme has taken the cards he has been dealt and is trumping the weather and the very soils on which he relies by farming at the cutting edge of change.

“It’s important that you don’t rest on your laurels. Have a go at changing things, don’t do the same thing and expect a different result. It’s really that simple and that’s farming for you.” – Trevor Syme

“To start off with, we tried a little bit of claying to see if it would help, and we worked out that it did, then we did as much as our budget allowed us to do. “We would do some clay spreading and then we worked out it was costing us money not doing it, so over the last few years we’ve just done it, even though the years’ have been poor financially, we’ve got into it and done a percentage each year.” Waddi Park’s 3800ha is situated between Bolgart and Goomalling, with an average rainfall of 392mm a year, meaning every season throws up different issues concerning low rainfall. “Every year we try and do something different to try and get more hectares fixed (to resolve non-wetting soils) as a means to try and get more value for money, because

On top of that, he freely invests his own time and energy into the bigger picture of his industry, and is rapidly becoming a statesman of the industry as chairman of the Western Australian No-Till Farming Association. In 2012, he also received recognition as a Wheatbelt Champion by the Wheatbelt NRM. Last year he started work with the Grains and Research Development Corporation as a regional cropping solutions member. Despite a few good-natured sledges from mates, he said while the accolades had not changed his life, they certainly opened up opportunities and allowed him more confidence to continue trying new things. “We’ve bought a disc seeder this year, which is out of the ordinary because there’s not too many in WA, so it’s another tool

against non-wetting, and also stubble handling and precision placement, trying to get the crops established,” he said. “At this stage it’s got its pluses and minuses, we’ve had a few little teething problems but we’ve got it sorted and I think next year we should have a smooth seeding.” Syme departs from Einstein’s philosophies to describe his farming strategies using football parlance: ‘one-percenters’. “It’s about doing the small things like sowing, seed placement, getting fertiliser rates right, and nutrition – so don’t put a heap of nitrogen on if you need more potassium. “Little things like that sum up the way I work.” As a man who knows what it takes to win an award such as Grain Grower of the Year, Syme has joined the judging panel for this year’s awards process. He said he wasn’t looking for any specific attributes in particular, and he was open to whatever the contestants put forward. “(We’ll be looking for) someone with initiative and having a go, and someone who is willing to try new things to help the grains industry all over to get a benefit for everyone,” he said. “There are some big farmers out there who have a high profile, but that doesn’t necessarily mean they’re the best farmers. Someone who puts in 1500 acres or 600ha of crop may also do it extremely well, just on a smaller scale.” No doubt this year’s winner will also have a story littered with tales of resilience and innovation, and that has marked Trevor Syme’s operation at Waddi Park. Yep, the tough patch of dirt that was ridiculed 20 years ago has come a long way.


Nominations for the 2014 Australian Farmer of the Year Awards have now closed. Thank you to all of those who took the time to nominate this year. Finalists will be announced Monday August 4, 2014.

DINNER TICKETS STILL AVAILABLE! To secure a table and join some of the biggest names in the industry, please contact Kondinin Group on 1800 677 761 or email

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No. 270 July 2014 Farming Ahead



New financial year resolutions: business planning With the new financial year well under way, there are several factors that need to be considered in successfully moving forward with the right financial strategies in tow. Jessica Strauss caught up with accountants from around the country to offer their best tips for farmers.

At a glance... ▸ Making a business plan for the next 12 months is crucial ▸ The new financial year is a great opportunity for farm businesses to ensure a better long-term viability in the future through good use of the surpluses that may be at business owners’ disposal, says Farmanco financial consultant Rob Sands


Farming Ahead July 2014 No. 270


armanco financial consultant Rob Sands, based in Perth, Western Australia, says with the new financial year, there are a couple of different things to consider compared to previous years. “The first thing to consider is because a lot of businesses had such a good year in 2013, the 2013-14 tax year, there’s been a lot of planning there,” Sands said. “So they’ve pushed a lot of income through to the 14-15 tax year and they’ve

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dragged some costs from that 14-15 tax year back into the 13-14 year.” “So what people need to be thinking about is the effects of what they’ve done there. If the 14-15 year starts shaping up to being a reasonable year, then that needs to become a part of that forward planning.” Sands also said farmers needed to look at their farm management deposits – and see whether there was any capacity left there. “The next step would be to make sure they’ve got a business structure which

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allows them to manage their tax rate effectively, particularly if they can have a couple of years in a row where they’re making decent profits,” he said. Sands said farmers needed to make sure they talked to their accountant and made sure they were asking the right questions. “Finally, once you’ve done all that planning, I’d be drawing up a list of investments that could be made in your business, to look at whether you can get a good return from some of the long-term stuff such as tram lining, mulboarding, spading, or using some variable rate technology,” he said. “These are all really good investments that have a very good return on investment over the long-term and are also quite tax effective.” With the next financial year coming, this is a perfect opportunity for some forward planning. Sands said the new financial year was a great opportunity for farm businesses to ensure a better long-term viability through good use of any surpluses that might be at business owners’ disposal.

every farm business is in a very different situation,” he said. “I’ve got clients who are only 10km apart and the production from the two farms is incredibly different. “The moisture and how well they’ve used that moisture is absolutely critical.” Sands said what needed to be remembered was that businesses did not want to get too excited if they have had a couple of good years. “If I look back at 2007, I can see a lot of businesses suffered a lot of damage from getting too excited after a good year,” he said. “What you do after a good year is probably even more important than what you do in a bad year, so people need to keep that in mind. “Cash flow is really critical as well – we can talk about tax planning and investments, but you’ve got to make sure that your cash flow can support that expenditure because if you run out of cash, you run out of the ability to continue in business.” So if the business is considering different recording software then July is the ideal time to change.

“What you do after a good year is probably even more important than what you do in a bad year, so people need to keep that in mind.” – Rob Sands “The advice that I give all my clients is that cost savings are something which are valuable whether you have a good or bad year,” he said. “So in light of that I’ve really been pushing a lot of my clients into looking at technology that may allow them to save costs and that would cover the tram lining and the variable rate technology where we can actually get some better use of the inputs that we’re using. “Also becoming quite practical within the season with the use of those inputs is important too. “So monitoring soil moisture levels, using tools such as Yield Profit to actually predict how much nitrogen and moisture you have in the soil and therefore predict your yield based on the forecast for the rest of the season.”


Sands said what was important to remember was that some people had a very profitable year in 2013-14, however there was some other farm business that had not. “So we’ve got to be really careful about giving recommendations in general, because


Farming Ahead  July 2014  No. 270

July is a really good time for farmers to review recording software, whether that be Quicken, MYOB, or Agrimaster. If you are thinking about changing your data software to get better data analysis, the end of financial year is a good time to change. People should also be writing a up a draft budget for the 2014-15 financial year to allow their accountant to look at what your potential profit might be for the next 12 months and determine whether you’re still operating in the appropriate entity or structure.


The possibility of an El Nino weather pattern was something farmers should be factoring into their forward planning. If this weather pattern does happen and people don’t get a crop, they need to consider what their cash flow may look like when they go to put next year’s crop in. Farmers will likely be considering this already, but just to put it on paper can help you stop thinking the same things over and over again in your head. Documenting it also helps you put a © Kondinin Group – Reproduction in whole or part is not permitted without permission. Freecall 1800 677 761

number behind what you suspect might be the case if you don’t get a crop or perhaps if the crop is halved. The banks always appreciate if you go to them earlier and tell them if you’re going to run out of money or if you potentially might hit your overdraft limit earlier, for example in December and you can seek out your chances of extending it. Farming Ahead’s advice from all of the consultants contacted for this story was simple: this time of year, the key focus for all farmers should be planning. Farmers tend to think January and February are about planning and that is absolutely correct from a production pointof-view, but July is about planning from a business point-of-view, rather than getting to June next year and thinking “oh, am I going to be getting a tax bill?” Do yourself a favour and plan for it now. Boyce Chartered Accountants director Paul Fisher, based in Moree, NSW reinforced this general advice, saying that having a business plan written up for the next 12 months should be the first step farmers take in planning for the new financial year. It is the old saw, fail to plan, plan to fail. “From our point of view we feel the budget should reflect what the business is going to do for the next 12 months and if you can actually get that plan on paper and put some numbers around it, then everyone in the business really knows where the business is headed,” Fisher said. “So there’s the positives that comes out of that – everyone in the business knows what’s expected of them because they know which paddocks are being planted and rotated and they know what’s happening on the stock front. “But also, the owners of the business know what the likely outcome from a cash flow and profitability view point that budget is going to turn.” Fisher said in terms of the season farmers have had in NSW, there had been a low amount of moisture available that had resulted in less than average winter crop being planted. “It’s looking as though we won’t have a large amount of summer crop planted due to lack of moisture as well,” he said. “In my view, this year would all be about on reduced plantings, trying to reduce overheads at a time when income is going to be reduced. “While we say that it’s essential that every business has a budget, we also encourage that every month or every quarter farmers look at how the actuals are looking in relation to the budget you set. “So if you’ve got a budget every month and then you’ve got your actuals every month, you should be comparing them to see if you’re on track or not.”

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Farm Succession – Who makes the decisions? One of the most challenging aspects of farm succession to the next generation is the process of management transition and for many businesses the changing nature of decision making can be the most confronting of all issues. Executive Director of Next Rural James Benson explains.


s the next generation develops its skills and gain experience they are usually keen to take a greater role in making decisions that affect the future of the business. This can be difficult if there is only one child entering the business. If more than one is involved then the business is likely to undergo a significant transformation if it is to stay in one piece. The key reason for this is that the decision making process will often be transitioning from a single person – for instance, the father – to multiple people, the children. Once this process is extended beyond a single person, the dynamics of decision making changes exponentially with the number of people involved, and this may be totally foreign to them, particularly the father. When generational change is underway formal scheduled management meetings using a third party facilitator can be a very good idea, at least initially, to get the farming business into the habit of making decisions as a management team rather than as individuals. This will also allow the father to incorporate the sons’ and/or daughters’ contribution while still having his own input into the decision making process until he gradually bows out. Historically, an authoritarian style may have predominated where the decision ultimately rested in the hands of one person. Such a management style was probably fine when one person could dictate the entire


Farming Ahead July 2014 No. 270

process of decision-making and have the final authority on the outcome. As the next generation becomes more involved in the business, this style tends to have more disadvantages than advantages because the people whose opinions are disregarded might have negative feelings about the process. As the business changes it is important to formalise the communication links. This may involve regular “business only” meetings with a structured agenda, minutes and action points. When it comes to decision making, brainstorming can be a good means of evaluating various options and then prioritising them. This is a popular method owing to the complete creative freedom it offers to all the participants. There can be a facilitator to facilitate the entire discussion just to ensure the participants do not digress. The facilitator can merely help to start off the conversation, provide subtle hints and nudges when the participants get stuck and thus help make effective and creative decisions. The benefit of this method is that it values the opinion of every individual member and the final decision is reached by a consensus. Where simple brainstorming does not work, a voting based method should be used. This allows every participant to cast his or her vote for the option he or she thinks is the best. There are two basic methods. The first is where a decision that gathers the maximum © Kondinin Group – Reproduction in whole or part is not permitted without permission. Freecall 1800 677 761

number of votes is selected. This method, however, does not value the individual opinion of each and every participant in the group. An alternative is to provide a right of veto. With this method, a decision is not passed unless all agree. This can be cumbersome for day to day decision making, so farming businesses may wish to use both methods and select which type of decisions apply to each. For instance, major capital expenditure may require the veto system but operational decisions can be made with a simple majority. A group decision process gains greater commitment from all involved since everyone has his or her share in the decisionmaking process. It can also imbibe a strong sense of team spirit among the group members and helps the participants to think together in terms of the future direction of the business.

James Benson is an executive director of Next Rural. Next Rural specialises in business transition and succession planning. Next Rural has put together a simple but comprehensive guide to business transition and succession planning. To obtain an obligation-free copy of this guide, email Next Rural at info@ or call 1800 708 495.

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health and safety CPR UPdate

Everyone working on a farm should know CPR It is a subject that is rarely discussed, yet if somebody has a heart attack on a farm, their chance of survival is dramatically slashed if nobody is able to perform cardiopulmonary resuscitation on them. Jessica Strauss discovers the latest CPR techniques. For more information call the Heart Foundation health information service on 1300 36 27 87.

at a glance... ▸ Cardiac arrest survival rates in australia are less than 10%

what is CarDiaC arrest?

▸ take heart australia is aiming to have more than 75% of the population trained in high-quality CPR ▸ the latest research indicates hands-only CPR to be just as effective as hands and mouth-to-mouth resuscitation.


or some, the doctor may only be 10 minutes down the road, but for other far more remote properties, medical assistance could be hours away. Being up to date with the latest CPR techniques could save a life. It is estimated there are approximately 30,000 cases of sudden cardiac arrest within Australia each year, with the majority occurring outside of the hospital setting.

the warning signs

The Heart Foundation says people who have a heart attack usually experience some warning signs. However, symptoms vary and they may not always be severe. Learning these signs is vital because the sooner they are recognised and treatment sought, the better. If the warning signs point toward a heart attack, the Heart Foundation advises to call triple zero (000) – the operator will work out if an ambulance is needed. For those who live remotely, the operator will be able to advise the best path forward.

Delivering CPr

Performing CPR can help save a life: often a family member, friend or work mate. The Heart Foundation recommends that every adult and teenager learn this lifesaving skill.


Farming Ahead  July 2014 No. 270

A cardiac arrest occurs when the normal rhythm of the heart is suddenly disrupted, drastically diminishing its ability to pump blood around the body, says the Heart Foundation. It is vital that defibrillation and CPR are given as soon as possible, along with calling triple zero (000) to provide the best chance of survival. A cardiac arrest can be a result of various causes, with the most common cause being an acute episode of underlying heart disease, such as a heart attack. For some people, the first warning sign of heart attack may be a cardiac arrest.

signs of a heart attaCk

While many people associate heaviness in one arm as a key indicator of a heart attack, there are many warning signs that can indicate someone is having one, according to the Heart Foundation. Jaw, neck, shoulder and chest discomfort can all be signs that someone is having a heart attack. The full list of warning signs is available at: warning-signs/.

early aCCess to Defibrillation

The Heart Foundation, in collaboration with the Australian Resuscitation Council and St John Ambulance Australia, has recently updated the joint statement: Early Access to Defibrillation, which was first developed in 2002. Early Access to Defibrillation highlights the importance of making automated external defibrillator (AED) units widely available within the community for the prompt treatment of sudden cardiac arrest. © Kondinin Group – Reproduction in whole or part is not permitted without permission. Freecall 1800 677 761

PubliC aCCess Defibrillator Programs

There are various public access defibrillator (PAD) programs and initiatives that have been developed to support a rapid response to cardiac arrest within the community. These programs generally provide assistance to a community organisation or public location in acquiring an AED, along with training and familiarisation of the device with relevant staff/community members. Take Heart Australia is a new organisation taking charge with improving access to AEDs, as well as spreading the word of the importance of CPR. Board member and paramedic specialist with the NSW Ambulance Service Janelle White said the organisation had a new concept with a single goal. “Basically the mission is to dramatically increase the survival rate of Australians who suffer a cardiac arrest,” White said. “Currently the survival rate is less than 10% in a country as advanced as Australia. We have a strategic approach where we’re going to use the links in the chain of survival and we’re going to strengthen each link.” Take Heart Australia has two other board members, University of Sydney Associate Professor Paul Middleton, who works in the emergency department of Manly Hospital, as well as medical researcher Suzanne Davies. Take Heart Australia came about when the three board members identified a critical need for survival rates to be addressed. Middleton and Davies recently had a paper published that clearly outlined the terrible survival rates and it made it clear to all board members that something had to be done, said White. “Paul had also been over to Seattle, where he saw how successful Take Heart America was. Using the same strategic approach as we are using, they got their survival rates from 10% up to nearly 60%,” White said. White said their primary focus would be to strengthen the links in the chain of survival.


In the chain of survival there are five links. The first is early recognition and activation of emergency services. “The first few links begin in the community. We need people to know how to recognise when someone has collapsed from a cardiac arrest and we need them to quickly seek emergency services,” White said.


“One of our key goals is actually training over 75% of the population in high-quality CPR. There are five steps to high-quality CPR, but they’re very easy to teach,” White said. “The third link is rapid defibrillation. In the community this will involve getting more automated external defibrillator (AEDs) free for public access that anyone can grab and start using when needed.” White said the organisation wanted to create a national registry of AEDs so people could easily locate them in their community. She said an idea was being floated about having the locations accessible via phone application. “The fourth link is effective advanced life support. So that’s where we will work alongside all emergency services to improve their care and create a national registry of all cardiac arrests that occur, as this currently doesn’t happen,” White said. “We can’t improve what we can’t measure. So we want to measure all cardiac arrests so we can look at all aspects of care we provide in advanced life support so that we can improve every step that even emergency services perform.” White said the fifth link was quality integrated post-cardiac care. “That’s working with hospitals to also improve their data collection around cardiac arrests.” Most farms are not within an earshot of medical services and so the first response to a cardiac arrest becomes even more critical compared to those who live in metropolitan areas.

Take Heart Australia team: Janelle White, Paul Middleton and Suzanne Davies at the Take Heart Australia launch at Luna Park, Sydney.

White says there are not enough people who know how to perform CPR. She said some of this resistance came from the belief that mouth-to-mouth had to be performed when giving CPR. “The current research now says there is no difference in the outcomes with using handsonly CPR when compared to mouth-tomouth and hands CPR in the first response,” White said. “Within the community we’re advocating for people to do non-stop, high-quality chest compressions when performing CPR.

“At the moment the focus is on hands only CPR. So don’t be afraid to call for help and get on the chest and do compressions,” - Janelle White

White said for people living in remote and regional areas, it was imperative for the whole community to learn quality CPR. “That really does buy some time in a cardiac arrest. Take Heart Australia is also advocating for all rural communities to have access to AEDs and also know how to use them” White said.

“What that means is they must be at a rate of 100-120 compressions per minute, that’s about two per second, the compressions must be about a third of the depth of the chest or around 5cm deep, full recoil, meaning lifting up of the chest must be allowed – so effectively don’t lean on the chest when doing compressions and minimise interruptions to © Kondinin Group – Reproduction in whole or part is not permitted without permission. Freecall 1800 677 761

less than 10 seconds.” White said the guidelines for CPR changed at an international and national level every five years. A revision was due in 2015. “But at the moment the focus is on hands -only CPR. So don’t be afraid to call for help, get on the chest and do compressions, swapping if you can every two minutes with someone else, to keep the compressions good quality. But if no one is around, you’re doing the best you can and you just keep going until you’re physically exhausted, knowing that you’ve done the very best you can do with what you’ve got,” White said. White suggests people living in regional and remote areas lobby local members for a public access AED in a recognised place in the community, and encourage the entire community to get together and learn CPR. “We are trying to push all businesses and households to have regular CPR drills, in a similar light to having a fire or evacuation drill. This would involve practicing responding to a collapsed person, calling for help and CPR once per year, so the whole family/community can be prepared,” White said. More information is available here: No. 270  July 2014  Farming Ahead



Inlon takes on Sitrex

Mobile price discovery

Balers red and round

Sitrex equipment, including hay rakes, have been added to the Inlon Group’s stable of agricultural machinery. The Italian-made rakes come in a variety of designs, including linkage and trailed units with side or centre delivery. Side delivery rakes cover 2.6m-7.5m working widths, while centre delivery units handle 5.3m-11m. The rakes are mostly finger-wheel designs but there are also tedders, threepoint linkage fertiliser spreaders and finishing mowers in the Sitrex range. Inlon also handles other hay gear such as Strautmann, SIP and JF brands.

Grain marketing can be a difficult task at the best of times, especially since the market was deregulated. But Profarmer’s Price Discovery service, which can provide accurate site prices from all major buyers, is now available as an app for iPhone and iPad. Price Discovery is a desktop website, but with the Price Discovery phone and device app, farmers can now access important data such as daily price changes in the paddock. Price Discovery can also chart historical prices and allow you to view daily bids across bulk handlers for each merchant. If you download the app you can also get 15 free price searches.

Case IH has unveiled its RB5 series round balers. The RB455 and RB465 are variablechamber balers, producing round bales up to 1.5m x 1.8m wide. Both the balers feature a new, dualcylinder, hydraulic-density system where each of the cylinders can provide 2000psi of pressure for better density. The pick-ups have been strengthened as well, with a move to five-bar pick-up reels (up from four). The 2m wide pickup has inline augers to help with heavy, thick windrows. There’s also a new net wrap system and drop floor function to aid unblocking. Both the RB455 and RB465 balers feature a new ISOBUS electrical system and they come standard with the AFS Pro 300 touch screen.

Price: N/A More details: Phone Inlon on 1800 772 407

Cost: $218.90 incl GST for 12 months’ subscription More details:

Price: RB455 with rotor feed $60,780 incl GST. More details:

For more details on how to be part of this great event, contact:

Secretary, Anne Bishop Ph: 08 9871 1655 M: 0427 712 065 E: 24

Farming Ahead July 2014 No. 270

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John Deere six packs John Deere has added three new models to each of its 6M and 6R-series tractors. Denoted with the letter C, the new models (66-87kW) feature a 2.4m wide wheelbase for extra stability. Low-profile cab options can also make the tractors a more compact choice for smaller farms. The 6090MC, 6100MC and 6110MC models can be two or four-wheel-drive and have a PowrQuad Plus transmission and 4.5L, four-cylinder PowerTech PWX engine. The same donk is found in the 6090RC, 6100RC and 6110RC tractors, but these models are the premium end of the range, equipped with a 205L fuel tank and John Deere’s Intelligent Power Management system. The RC tractors also have options of PowrQuad Plus, AutoQuad Plus and AutoQuad Plus EcoShift transmissions.

TeeJet precision

Report a pest

TeeJet’s latest in-field console, the Aeros 9040, is a multi-purpose unit that can handle everything from precision guidance to variable-rate application. Packaged in a functional console which has an 8.4 inch display, the Aeros 9040 also takes care of auto steering, mapping and automatic-boom section control (of up to 30 sections). The Aeros also has dual USB ports, an ethernet port and Wi-Fi capability. It can display guidance imagery over live video footage. The Aeros can also be optioned with various receivers or features, such as tilt-compensating modules.

An electronic news service can help farmers stay in touch with advice on invertebrate crop and pasture pests. PestFacts is a program funded by the Grains Research and Development Corporation’s National Invertebrate Pest Initiative. The service can provide up-to-date information on the latest research, observations, distribution and management of invertebrate pests throughout Victoria and NSW. The program is run by research organisation cesar. By visiting cesar’s website, you can view an interactive map to see recent and historical pest report locations. You can subscribe to the service and report pest activity by emailing cesar at the address below.

Price: Base unit will cost about $10,000, incl GST More details: Nearest TeeJet stockist

Price: free More details: email or phone (03) 9349 4723

More details: Nearest John Deere dealer

3rd & 4th September 2014


Free Entry for Children under 12


Dyson Jones Wool and Technology Pavilion


Sheep and Cattle Displays


Bayer Avenge Ram Shed


Latest Release Machinery


Inventor and Display Awards


Ewe Hoggett Competition


Fleece Competition


Live Entertainment including Scitech, Climbtastic, Fairy Sandie,


Art Exhibition and Competition

Pirate Man and much, much more!


Don’t miss our Fireworks Spectacular on Wednesday Night!


MKR Contestants, Andrew and Emma

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No. 270 July 2014 Farming Ahead



Polaris ATV is a smooth and comfortable ride Impressive operator comfort and a smooth ride led 83% of 18 surveyed Polaris ATV owners to state they would buy the same machine again.


ondinin Group surveyed 18 owners of Polaris ATVs manufactured after 2008. Units had travelled an average 3469km, with owners using them an average of seven hours per week. A massive 83% of owners stated they would buy the same ATV again, but three owners (17%) were unsure after experiencing some mechanical issues. The Polaris ATV range covered in the survey included the Polaris Hawkeye (11%) and the Polaris Sportsman (89%) models. The Hawkeye has a 300cc engine, while the Sportsman models had either a 500cc (29%) or 550cc (59%) engine. The ATVs were most commonly used for light general usage (39% of the time) and slow speed operations such as mustering (31%). Spraying (11%) and recreational use (8%) were also performed regularly. The ATVs were configured with either two-wheel drive (2WD) or selectable two or four- heel drive (4WD) transmissions. The majority of owners surveyed (82%) had the selectable 2WD/4WD transmission. All units were fitted with automatic clutches. It is a safety concern that just four owners (22% of operators) reported wearing a helmet


Farming Ahead July 2014 No. 270

Smooth ride: Owners gave the thumbs up to the independent double-wishbone suspension used on the rear of all Polaris ATVs

during the operation of their ATV, and just five (28%) had undertaken any training to operate their machines. Thankfully, there were no accidents reported by owners in the survey. Several reported making additions to their machines. The most common was a spray tank (three owners), with others adding tool/ storage boxes, dog trays and gun racks to their ATVs.

RIDE: 

Independent double-wishbone suspension is used on the rear of all Polaris ATVs in the survey, while the front suspension is © Kondinin Group – Reproduction in whole or part is not permitted without permission. Freecall 1800 677 761

either a MacPherson strut (Hawkeye 300 and Sportsman 500) or independent double wishbone (Sportsman 550). The riding position and comfort was rated highly by all owners, including seven people who rated the ride as one of the unit’s best features. The steering and handling of the ATV was rated highly by all but one Sportsman 500 owner, who rated it as poor because he felt the heavy steering resulted in a large turning circle The ATV’s suspension was excellent, making it one of the highest rated features in the survey, with

Power to climb hills: The power and acceleration of the Polaris impressed owners.

Puncture risk: Some owners experienced problems with the CV joint rubber tearing due to punctures

three owners reporting it as one of the vehicle’s best features. All but one owner praised the stability of the ATV, with the remaining owner of a Hawkeye 300 rating it as satisfactory. One Queensland owner of a Sportsman 550 stated that his rear seat would occasionally not fold back into place correctly.

ENGINE: 

The ease of starting impressed most owners,

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with just one person from NSW reporting a problematic starting issue. The power and acceleration was rated as excellent by all, with two owners rating it as one of the best features. One Sportsman 500 owner from NSW reported replacing a fuel pump after 2000 hours under warranty. A Queensland owner of a Sportsman 550 reported the radiator was prone to fill with grass seeds, while a NSW owner reported

No. 270 July 2014 Farming Ahead



issues with his cooling system. ATV owners reported getting an average seven hours, or 105km, out of one tank.


Owners were generally pleased with the gearbox, with 83% reporting they were happy with its performance. Two of the remaining owners rated it as average (11%) and one NSW owner of a Sportsman 500 rated it as poor (6%), stating the gear selection as too stiff from new. A NSW owner of a Hawkeye 300 reported replacing the gearbox after 8000 hours at a cost of $2000. The driveline had a 78% satisfaction rate, with the remaining 22% rating it as satisfactory. One NSW owner of a Sportsman 500 reported replacing his drive belts twice, once after 4000 hours under warranty and again after 8000 hours at a cost of $900. Two owners reported issues with tearing the rubber boots on the CV joints, with one suggesting they were particularly vulnerable to punctures from sticks.


Farming Ahead July 2014 No. 270

Owners were generally happy with the gear ratios, although three reported them satisfactory. This included one South Australian owner who stated that low range was too low and used too much fuel.


Of those surveyed, 29% said they checked their tyres monthly or more frequently, while the remainder checked them whenever they looked flat. Some owners were disappointed with the ATV’s tyres, with 22% rating them as average and 11% rating them as poor. One South Australian owner reported that the tyre ply rating was too light. All owners were pleased with the braking performance of their ATVs, with no problems reported.


Owner quotes “Excellent for stock work ... stable and comfortable” – Western Australian owner

“Easy operation for anyone” – Queensland operator

“Robust and has grunt on hills” – New South Wales farmer

The instrumentation on the ATV pleased all owners, despite one owner of a Sportsman 550 reporting that the dash icons should © Kondinin Group – Reproduction in whole or part is not permitted without permission. Freecall 1800 677 761

Choose Green... ...Harvest Gold

The 2014 John Deere S-Series Harvesters are engineered to harvest profit. Harvest more per day with new Interactive Combine Adjustment which irons out operator learning curves more quickly, taking novices to near pros. Enhance crop handling and separating with our TriStream™ Rotor Technology, enabling improved crop flow, with up to 20% less force, for a high capacity and smooth performance in damp conditions, so you can pack more harvesting time in a day to finish faster. Do it all in one-of-a-kind comfort with the new leather cab package featuring a leather trim steering wheel along with a lumbar-supported, ventilated leather operator seat to keep you fresh and focused on long harvest days. Turn green into gold and start benefiting today. Visit your John Deere dealer and see why Nothing Runs Like a Deere.™ © Kondinin Group – Reproduction in whole or part is not permitted without permission. Freecall 1800 677 761


be bigger because they were too hard to read. All but one owner praised the electrical components on the ATV. The remaining South Australian owner of a Sportsman 500 rated it as average after an electrical issue repeatedly caused the ATV to cut out. One South Australian owner of a Sportsman 500 reported replacing the horn after the original optional extra horn provided by Polaris failed.


While 78% of owners reported they

were happy with the body and general workmanship of the ATV, the remainder rated it as satisfactory. One NSW owner of a Sportsman 550 reported that the carrying capacity of his unit was one of its best features.


Most owners were generally pleased with reliability, although three owners, including two who were unsure about buying the unit again, rated it as satisfactory. Generally, overall satisfaction with the ATV was good, with 78% rating it as


As a direct result of customer feedback, we now offer models that are purpose-built and designed for Australian conditions such as the all-new Polaris UTE (RRP $9,995). Our Sportsman range has also undergone a number of product improvements over the past 12 months, with the 500 and 550 Sportsman range being superseded by the Sportsman 570 HD (RRP $8,495), which comes complete with heavy duty features designed specifically for Australia to ensure optimal durability and easier maintenance. There is also the inclusion of the unique, single-seat, ROPS-equipped Sportsman ACE (RRP $9,995), which offers the agility of an ATV with the comfort and security features of a side-by-side.

excellent and 22% rating it as acceptable. Product support provided by the Polaris dealer network concerned some owners, with just 53% rating it as good. The remaining owners rated it as satisfactory (40%) or poor (7%). Sixty three percent of owners were pleased with the ease of servicing, with the remainder of those surveyed rating it as average (31%) or poor (6%). One South Australian owner who rated servicing as average reported that changing the oil was a fiddly, timeconsuming job.

Second-hand buyer’s guide: • Check for records of service history • Check CV joint rubber for tears and punctures • Find a dealer that provides good product support • For units that have done high kilometres, have the engine and transmission checked by an experienced mechanic Price: Polaris UTE $9,995 Sportsman 570 HD $8,495 Sportsman ACE $9,995 Buy-again rating: Yes: 83% No: 0% Unsure: 17% Sample size: 18


Farming Ahead July 2014 No. 270

© Kondinin Group – Reproduction in whole or part is not permitted without permission. Freecall 1800 677 761

Machinery Boss EnginEEring sEEdErs

Paddock Boss: This 9.14m Boss Agriculture bar is owned by Mark Harmer of Dookie, Victoria. The seeder uses a disc and press wheel design.

Shown who’s Boss in Victoria With winter crop seeding all but finished, we take a look at a relative newcomer to the seeding bar market in southern regions, Boss Agriculture.


ondinin Group first saw a Boss Agriculture seeding bar at the Wimmera Machinery Field Days, held in Horsham, earlier this year. Pride of place at the Boss Agriculture stand at Horsham was an 18m seeding bar, on its way to a Wimmera customer in Victoria. The bright-green bar, a Supa-Flex parallelogram planter, drew plenty of attention thanks to its distinctive paint and sheer size. It is also somewhat of a rarity to see the brand in Victoria, given the machines are made in Inverell, NSW. But Boss Engineering, like many seeding bar manufacturers, is enjoying good demand for

sowing gear. Last year the company made 50 or so planters and has dozens more orders in the pipeline for this year, according to spokesman Dan Riley. The 18m unit on display found a home with a Horsham grain grower Bruce Punchard, who made the change to the parallelogram, tined planter from a disced machine. Punchard was chasing more flexibility with his seeding gear.


The Supa-Flex parallelogram planter is a reasonably simple set up, comprising a coulter assembly that runs in front of a single © Kondinin Group – Reproduction in whole or part is not permitted without permission. Freecall 1800 677 761

tine. Then there’s a trailing press wheel that can be either solid or pneumatic. The coulter is made of two rubber half wheels, joined to a 509mm diameter disc, which cuts the slot in the ground for the seed to be placed in. The seeding unit is known as a TX65, which has a 295kg breakout force. The unit displayed at Horsham was set up on 458mm row widths and had spring-force tines, but there is an option to go to hydraulic breakout force control. The parallelogram unit can clamp diagonally to an RHS toolbar and is relatively easy to reposition if required. No. 270 July 2014  Farming Ahead



Downforce adjustment of the parallelogram unit is via a pin arrangement. Boss Agriculture parallelogram pivot points are fitted with replaceable bushes and 31mmdiameter, chrome-plated pins.


Each coulter assembly runs on a greasable Holden hub fitted with marine-grade seals. The same hub is used for the press wheels, which can be hydraulic or pneumatic. The main planting tine is heat-treated, spring steel with pin-adjustable depth in 6mm increments. On the TX65, the press wheel pressure is pin adjustable with a positive locking pin that self locates. The main press wheel arm pivots on a central boss that is in line with the press wheel and parallelogram. The parallelogram unit has 300mm of travel and on the larger seeding bars, a certain amount of twist is built into the frame across the width of the bar, thanks to linkages that act in a similar manner to a ball joint. Bruce Punchard’s seeding bar frame is made of 100mm x 100mm by 9mm RHS and despite its 18m width, it can flex 2m across the working width.

Cutting edge: On this seeder, the sowing discs are set at 21 degrees (from vertical).

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Farming Ahead  July 2014  No. 270

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Phone: (08) 8260 9800 Email: Web:

I’m foldIng

Another build feature of Punchard’s seeding bar is in its folding ability. Normally a bar of 18m would have five sections that fold into a double box, but as Punchard runs his gear on tramlines, he did not want an extra set of wheels that would otherwise be on the 18m bar. So Boss Agriculture re-engineered the frame so it is a three-section bar, with a centre piece and two outer wings. However the outer wings have another section and can be rigid locked for working in the paddock.

Bound for dookIe

Kondinin Group managed to track down another Boss Agriculture seeder bar owner, Mark Harmer, a grain grower near Dookie in northeast Victoria and we spent some time with him during his seeding program. Harmer has a 9.15m wide seeder, fitted with SX 25 single-disc openers. The discs are set at 21 degrees (from vertical), allowing a fair amount of undercut in the soil furrow. Harmer said it also helped the discs to “grip” the soil and roll and penetrate hard or dry soils. It’s one of the less complicated disc seeders we have seen and Harmer said it was relatively lightweight and particularly wellsuited to their stony country because the seeding bar tended to roll over the stones and not pull them up. He tows the seeder with a 175kW frontwheel assist John Deere tractor and the seeder is set up as a tow-between machine with a Simplicity bin running behind it. The theory behind the slanted disc is that the angle of the disc ensures its ability to

dig, without the need for a massively heavy bar or frame to provide weight for penetration.

All the Angles

The SX 25 unit is set up on a swing arm design and Harmer said the press wheel was almost at opposite angles to the 21-degree front disc but does not over compact the soil. The overall weight of the bar, which has 32 of the disc-seeding units, is about eight tonnes and Harmer said despite its relatively light weight, he had no issues with ground penetration. “Sure we get a bit more disc wear, but we are happy to sacrifice that for accurate seed placement and the ability to cut through residue,” Mark said. The Harmer’s seeder is set up on 295mm row widths and is used to inter row sow in a rotation of wheat and canola.


Boss Agriculture is also having a crack at manufacturing air commodity carts with four prototype units in the field this autumn, all set up as tow-behinds and each with a twinbin, 9000 litre capacity. An ISOBUS terminal is standard and the test units have been running with John Deere and Case IH consoles via a virtual terminal. Section control is also standard thanks to Dicky-john software. A 230mm-diameter, hydraulically controlled auger is fitted and the bin lids can be hydraulically controlled. If you don’t want to get up on the carts, sight glasses are fitted to the bins as well so you can see the level of the grain or fertiliser in the bin. But if you feel the need to get to the top of the bin, there is ladder access to a catwalk. More details:

Polaris UTE 570 H.D.

KG 556







1300 654 142 |

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No. 270 July 2014  Farming Ahead



Working with pipe and tube Pipe or tube is a popular material for a range of projects, but joining or bending it presents a few challenges. Fortunately, there are a range of options available such as notching pipe with a pedestal drill and a notching attachment.


ube or pipe is a popular material for a countless number of uses. It can be welded together to form structural trusses, vehicle roll cages or motorbike frames, vehicle bull bars and racks, farm gates and general high strength framework. Tube is equally strong in all directions due to its rotational symmetry. But it is more involved to join because it is harder to create large areas of contact between pipes at different angles. Even joins at right angles require a certain amount of preparation before they can be welded.

Joining Pipe


Pipe can be cut at 45 degrees for a right-angle bend, but often bending is a preferable way to form a right angle.


Tube is often notched when joining two pieces together at an angle to form a greater contact area for welding. There are several ways to notch tube and a variety of machines available to perform the task from handoperated cutters, drill press attachments and abrasive grinding setups. Even belt finishing attachments can be fitted with different diameter contact wheels for notching work. There are also several ways to achieve an effective notch without specialist tools. Success relies on the ability to effectively mark out the notch and accurately cut the tube. This article contains a brief summary of some of the popular ways pipe can be notched in preparation for welding.


Farming Ahead July 2014 No. 270


Pipe is difficult to join unless you prepare the end somehow. The quickest and easiest way is to flatten the end with a block hammer and an anvil.

© Kondinin Group – Reproduction in whole or part is not permitted without permission. Freecall 1800 677 761



TOOL e R T N e C

3 For thicker sections, use a workshop hydraulic press to flatten the end.

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The aim is not to flatten the pipe until the opposing sides touch, but to leave a gap in between as shown.


For greater strength, the end of the pipe can be notched to fit its mating part. Notching or ‘fishmouthing’ involves a far more complicated cut, and is thus more time consuming. But there are several different ways to do it, and the results produce a very neat join with lots of surface for welding.

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This will enable the shape of the end to conform to the other pipe wall. Flattened joins are fine for gates and other structures where little side loading is placed on the joint, and all loads are in the same plane as the flattened end.



An accurate way to notch pipe is to use a dedicated notching tool. This unit bolts to the drill press table, and is fitted with a metal-cutting holesaw without the pilot drill. The holesaw is the same diameter as the pipe you are trying to join the branch to.


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Here we are cutting a notch for a 90 degree branch. It is vital to use the manufacturer’s speed recommendation, but failing that, do not exceed 300rpm. Use a coolant or cutting fluid, and maintain an even but not excessive downward pressure.

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9 The complete notch is cut and fits perfectly on the pipe, ready for welding.


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Here is the setup for cutting a 45 degree notch. The pipe clamp has been rotated to the 45 degree mark, and the entire unit has been moved to accommodate repositioning of the drill press table. This is so the table does not impede the other end of the pipe.


If you have not got a notching tool, you can cut the notch with a grinder, oxyacetylene torch or plasma cutter, provided you can generate the correct notch profile. A free downloaded program called Tubemiter can generate a template based on the diameter of both pipes, the wall thickness of the branch pipe, and the angle of the branch. The template is then printed on plain paper, cut out and wrapped around the pipe.


You can also directly transfer the notch profile to your branch pipe using a template gauge such as this Pipemaster unit. While this is handy if you are doing a lot of work notching pipes, the gauge only caters for one size of pipe, and is reasonably expensive.


The result is a quick and neat notch in a fraction of the time.


Farming Ahead July 2014 No. 270


The 45 degree branch fits equally as well.


Here is the marked pipe ready for cutting, and the template used. This method works well, but cutting the pipe is fiddly, and some work with the grinder is usually needed to adjust the notch for the perfect fit.


An alternative method to notch a pipe is to use two angled cuts. An online program called ‘Snip’ (just search for ‘snip notch’), can generate two angles based on the main pipe outside diameter, the branch pipe inside diameter, and the branch angle. The two angles are cut either side of the pipe centreline.


The two cut method works equally well for any angle, such as the 45 degree branch shown above.

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Here we are cutting the second of two angled cuts to form a 90 degree branch. The bandsaw only needs to be set to one angle, as the pipe is flipped over for the second cut.

State farming organiSationS

State farming organisations meet the person in charge Agriculture in tAsmAniA

TASMANIAN primary producers generate approximately $2 billion per annum in farm gate value. This represents about 9% of the state’s gross product. Over the past 25 years, the average annual rate of increase in farm gate GVP has been close to 4%. Some 10,500 people were employed directly in agriculture forestry and fishing. Anorther 8500 people were employed in services to agriculture and food and fibre value-adding. This is close to 9% of the working population in Tasmania. The vast bulk of its agricultural product is sold interstate and overseas. Farm exports in 2010-11 easily exceeded $550m (farm gate equivalent value) when pharmaceutical products are taken into account. The share of exports to Asian destinations exceeded 50%. In addition, it is estimated that a further $1.8 billion of raw and value-added product was shipped to the mainland. Farmers are also significant land managers in the state, with almost a third of Tasmania’s land area committed to agriculture. TFGA The TFGA is the leading representative body for Tasmania’s 3500 farmers. TFGA members are responsible for generating about 80% of the state’s farm gate value generated by the Tasmanian agricultural sector. With its purpose being to promote the sustainable development of Tasmanian primary industries, the TFGA is committed to ensuring that the agriculture sector in Tasmania is profitable and sustainable. It is also committed to promoting the vital contribution the agricultural sector makes

Agriculture in VictOriA

THE Victorian Farmers Federation is Australia’s largest state farmer organisation, representing more than 10,000 farming families and businesses. The VFF is the only recognised, consistent voice on issues affecting rural and regional Victoria. It consists of an elected board of directors, a member representative Policy Council to set policy and eight commodity groups representing dairy, grains, livestock, horticulture, chicken meat, pigs, flowers and egg industries. Peter Tuohey is a fifth-generation grain,

Agriculture in WA

Jan Davis Jan Davis is the CEO at TFGA. She is the public face of the Tasmanian agriculture industry. When she is not on TV, on the radio or in the papers, she works on the continuing evolution of agricultural policy with the interests of Tasmanian farmers in mind. Davis kicks the dirt in the paddock, hassles and haggles with three tiers of government, and attends countless meetings. Her success in doing this was recognised in 2013, when she was named as the state’s top political lobbyist. Davis was also identified by Crikey this year as one of the five most influential people in Tasmania. Her contribution to the industry has been recognised by inclusion in the list of 100 most influential women in Australian agriculture. Davis is a member of the boards of the Tasmanian Institute of Agriculture and the Royal Flying Doctor Service (Tasmania). She also serves on a number of key Tasmanian government bodies including the Planning Reform Taskforce, Energy Reform Taskforce, Bushfire Recovery Team and the Freight Logistics Coordination Team. Davis has a strong background in the Australian agribusiness sector and in member-based organisations. For some years, she also worked as a consultant in the sector, with clients ranging from individuals through to state and federal governments. Her qualifications include masters degrees in Agribusiness and Environmental Planning; a bachelor degree in Economics; and Graduate Diplomas in Education and Environmental Studies.

By: WAFarmers president Dale Park WELCOME to the first of WAFarmers’ monthly columns in Farming Ahead – an opportunity to share the valuable work the organisations does. The Western Australian Farmers Federation, or WAFarmers, is the largest and most influential agricultural lobby group in Western Australia, representing more than 4000 individual farmers on commodities including grains, livestock, wool, dairy and bees as well as general issues including transport, land management, climate and the environment, and health and safety. As the president of WAFarmers, I represent the interests of our members to government, industry and the media, with the help of colleagues including the presidents and executives of our commodity councils – Grains, Livestock, Wool and Bees. All of the elected representatives at WAFarmers are or have been farmers themselves, so they understand the issues facing those on the land. Personally, I have been farming sheep and cattle on a property in Badgingarra for 25 years with my family. As president, my focus is on ensuring your farm business is profitable, viable and sustainable. WAFarmers does this by working with government and industry to have our policies on important issues, which are formed with the input of members and councils, heard by those with the power to make changes. Our advocacy activities include sitting on committees and the councils of peak bodies, writing submissions and appearing at hearings, and meetings and consultations – all in the best interests of farmers in Western Australia. In our future columns, I’ll be explaining in more detail the work that WAFarmers does on particular issues.

wool and prime lamb producer from Pyramid Hill in Victoria. He crops approximately 3000ha of cereals and canola each year, and also breeds up to 1000 ewes, which form part of his wool growing and prime lamb production system. Tuohey was elected VFF president in 2012, having previously held the position of vice-president from 2009 to 2012. He also sat on the Victorian Freight and Logistics Council from 2009 to 2012. Following a long association with the federation, Tuohey held the position of Chair of the Farm Business and Regional Development Committee from 2010 to 2013.

He has been a member of the VFF for more than 25 years. During this time he has held 10 formal executive positions. Tuohey has also represented Victoria on the National Farming Federation Economics Committee and held other positions relevant to catchment planning and regional development in his region. In 2014 he was elected a board director of the NFF. Tuohey is married to Kaye and they are the proud parents of Daniel and Nathan and have three grandchildren Xander, Zane and Audrey.

to the environmental, social and economic fabric of the Tasmanian community.

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No. 270 July 2014  Farming Ahead


Special Feature Mobile and Satellite phoneS

Mobile phone testing: Kondinin Group engineer Josh Giumelli tests one of the 16 handsets for reception sensitivity.

Mobile communications update in what has become an annual pilgrimage, Kondinin Group engineers travelled to outback new South Wales recently to put the latest release mobile phones through their paces.


nce again in collaboration with Choice magazine which undertakes a range of durability, voice quality and ease of use tests, Kondinin Group’s Ben White and Josh Giumelli investigate the reception sensitivity of each handset. But with some farmers outside the reach of Telstra’s Next-G network, Farming Ahead also packed four satellite phone options in the bag for this trip, looking at ease of use and voice quality. Easily the most common member request we receive relates to mobile phone selection, use and accessories. With mobile phone models changing regularly, frequent testing is required as technology is readily superseded. For most farmers, reception sensitivity is high on the list of desirable features. However, reception sensitivity is not the only measure of how a phone will perform. To evaluate durability and ease of use, our friends back at Choice headquarters test the handsets in gruelling environments and with drop tests to determine if they will deliver under the harshness of every-day use and the inevitable tumble to the ground from height. This year we had a wide range of handsets ranging in price from around the $900 price range right down to the cheapest mobile phone we have ever tested; a $19 pre-paid handset we picked up at Coles supermarket. Results for reception sensitivity were surprising with the cheapest handset achieving the best reception sensitivity. Ever popular, the latest iterations from Apple and Samsung both showed some improvement in reception sensitivity. See Table 1. This report focuses on all-new handsets,


Farming Ahead  July 2014 No. 270 

but models tested previously may still be available and if looking to buy a new handset, it would be worth supplementary reading the previous report in the research report No. 42 July 2013.

Signal indication

‘Signal bars’ displayed on a phone can be a good guide to the signal received, but it is important to remember this is not an indicator of one phone having a better range over another. Kondinin Group engineers have tested handsets displaying one or two signal bars but have unable to place a call and hold a clear conversation. According to our test protocol, we determine the true measure of handset range as to whether a clear call can be made and a two-way conversation had with a landline.

Sizing up the optionS

Last year, Kondinin Group researchers noted the growth in physical size of smart-phones. The drive for additional screen might be good or movie buffs and those regularly perusing detailed websites. Howeer, the physical dimension and weight increases thanks to the need for higher capacity batteries to sustain the screen are making some handsets less pocket-friendly.


If you live in or close to a major regional town, you may already have access to 4G coverage. The issue with 4G coverage is that the signal carry distance is very small – around 5km from the tower. This means that for the majority of Kondinin Group members, 4G is something that cannot be accessed regularly. It should be noted that all © Kondinin Group – Reproduction in whole or part is not permitted without permission. Freecall 1800 677 761

4G phones are backward compatible to 3 and 3.5G so if you have a 4G phone, it will work if 3 or 3.5G signal is available but 4G is not. That said, a handset capable of 4G connectivity when close enough to a 4G enabled tower will offer blisteringly fast connection speeds in comparison to 3 or 3.5G. Kondinin Group engineers have recorded download speeds approaching ten times the best speed achievable using Next-G.


The increases in camera resolution specification are now verging on ridiculous. With one phone sporting a 41 megapixel camera, potential buyers should know that this does not guarantee the owner of better images. A much more important influence on image quality is the lens, which on most phones is made of plastic and is relatively small by even compact digital camera standards. Even if you are an avid photographer and image capture is important, do not place too much weight on megapixels alone. Even a low cost quality compact digital camera with a good lens will do a better job.

dual-Sim handSetS appear

Something new to our testing was the advent of Dual-SIM handsets. There are a couple of potential applications for farmers with dual-SIM handsets; plans or pre-paid offerings of low cost data via one SIM, used in conjunction with a regular plan for phone calls offering the best of both worlds. Secondly, using dual-SIMs with different carriers may offer increased coverage footprints, particularly where towers for each provider are located in different areas.

Individual Reports: Phones for farmers

Turn your Smartphone into a Satellite Phone


tilising specifications and reception sensitivity information collected, Kondinin Group Engineers have identified eight potential handsets that we felt would be best suited to farmers. In most cases, reception sensitivity is the most important feature for farmers but ease of use is a consideration not to be ignored. Ergonomics, call sound, ease of use and durability are evaluated by our friends at Choice. See our website for an updated listing including these ratings. Ease of use scores are measured by performing everyday tasks such as accepting a call, saving a call as a contact, opening the address book, adjusting the volume level and diverting an incoming call to the message bank. Durability is another important consideration for farmers. Testing involves each phone being placed in a hot environment at 60C for three hours, followed by a drop test, where each handset is dropped onto a hard surface from a height of 80cm, four times on each of their six faces with calls made after the 12th and 24th drops.

Apple iPhone 5s LIKES

 Pocket friendly size  Simple operation including email and SMS  Good screen clarity  Lots of apps available  Very good reception sensitivity


 No removable memory card  Battery capacity could be better for heavy users  Fingerprint unlocking requires very clean hands  The most expensive handset

Aspera R5



 Shock water and dust-proof (IP67)  Dual-sim allows for carrier options  Rubberised tough housing inbuilt (no case required)  Removable battery  Best reception sensitivity of all smartphones





Add a satellite connection to your compatible smartphone for voice, SMS and data access outside mobile network coverage.


 Flimsy attachment of USB charge plug seals  Comparatively chunky and bulky form  The heaviest phone tested  Screen resolution not as high as other smartphones  Not 4G compatible

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SPECIAL FEATURE MOBILE AND SATELLITE PHONES Table 1: Reception sensitivity and specifications Maximum distance from tower (km)

Reception Sensitivity score

Internal memory (as tested)

USB connection type

Telstra blue tick**


Operating system

Screen size, mm, WxH

Screen resolution, pixels, WxH

Aspera R5






Dual - mini

Android 4.2



HTC One M8







Android 4.2.2



Motorola Moto G






Dual - mini

Android 4.4



Motorola Moto X







Android 4.4.2



Nokia 208









320 x 240

Nokia Lumia 630










Nokia Lumia 1320










Samsung Galaxy S5







Android 4.4.2



Samsung Galaxy Young







Android 2.3


240 x 320

Sony Xperia Z2







Android 4.4.2



Telstra Dave T83







Android 4.1.2



Telstra Easycall 3 T303









128 x 160

Nokia White 1020










LG Nexus 5 (D821 )







Android 4.4



Apple iPhone 5s







Apple iOs 7.1



Telstra Roamer (116A)









176 x 220


Source: Kondinin Group * 5c has a blue tick, but 5s does not ** Telstra blue-tick status can change over time – refer to reception sensitivity scores

Nokia 1020

Telstra Dave T83

Samsung Galaxy S5



 Clear, large and bright screen  Very large battery capacity  Housing offers some level of waterproofing  Has memory expansion slots



 Handy form factor and size  Very high camera resolution  Slightly rubberised body may provide some protection  Good screen resolution and clarity  Camera adds some bulk to the size  Limited app range of apps available with windows OS  Screen sits proud of housing – prone to scratching  Side buttons easy to bump


Farming Ahead July 2014 No. 270

 Dust and waterproof tough rubberised housing – case not required  Very good reception sensitivity  Not as bulky as Aspera R5  4G connectivity  Screen resolution relatively low  Battery slightly smaller than Aspera R5  Flimsy attachment of USB charge plug seals  Screen brightness and readability could be better © Kondinin Group – Reproduction in whole or part is not permitted without permission. Freecall 1800 677 761



 Camera sits proud of rear case – prone to damage  Plastic housing does feel a bit cheap  Reception sensitivity lags iPhone, Aspera and Dave  Fingerprint reader inconsistent and needs clean hands  Expensive

re m

Camera resolution, megapixels


Battery capacity, mAh

Standby time claimed, d

Talk time claimed, h

Weight, g

Dimensions, mm, HxWxD


Best advertised price at printing $

















146.4 x70.6x9.35mm









130 x 66 x 12 mm









129.3 x 65.3 x 10.4 mm









114.2 x50.9x12.8mm


















164.2x85.9x9.8 mm









142.0 x 72.5 x 8.1mm









109.8 x 60.6 x 11.95mm









146.8 x 8.2 x 73.3mm









128.4 x 66.1 x 12.1mm


















130.4x71.4x10.4 mm









137.84 x 69.17 x 8.59mm









123.8x58.6x7.6 mm











n on, WxH

Introducing the new Aspera range.







7-inch Tablet RT3 $649

Hot Spot


Hard to kill.


R12 169


R5 Drop-tested Smartphone $398

R3 Waterproof Smartphone $228


3000 mAh Battery Power Bank $79



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No. 270 July 2014  Farming Ahead



Telstra Easycall 3 LIKES

 Very good reception sensitivity  Is just a phone and very easy to use  Large buttons suited to big hands and vision impaired  Speaks numbers when pressed  Inbuilt torch easy to turn on


 Small battery only offers 4-hour talk time  Feels cheap – numbers rattle in housing  No smart-phone functionality  Side buttons can be easily bumped  Relatively small screen

Telstra Roamer 116A

HTC One M8





 Excellent reception sensitivity  Cheapest phone tested – bought for $19  Very small form – pocket friendly  Very small battery – only 3 hours talk time  Tiny buttons hard to use  Camera is terrible quality

 Large bright high resolution screen  Alloy housing gives a solid build feel  Excellent battery capacity  At 146x71mm, this is a very large phone  Expensive  Reception sensitivity lags iPhone, Aspera and Dave

What about the rest?

Nokia Lumia 1320 Great screen, but just too big for most pockets

Samsung Galaxy Young Good size for pockets but terrible quality screen

Motorola Moto G and Moto X

Dual SIM in the Moto G a good feature, both worthy contenders if reception sensitivity is not an issue.

LG Nexus 5 Very poor reception sensitivity compared to other handsets


Farming Ahead July 2014 No. 270

Nokia 208

Great size for pockets, battery and reception sensitivity could be better.

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Nokia Lumia Very poor reception sensitivity, Windows app offerings limited.

Satellite phone handsets and SatSleeves offer options


here are few things more frustrating than patchy mobile phone coverage particularly when trying to negotiate a deal, arrange directions or request some help. Mobile telephony has become an essential part of our farm business and day-to-day essential operations are now driven, directed and reported remotely. However, for many farmers, mobile phone coverage is patchy or non-existent and with communications to the outside world a lifeline for any farm business, options for connectivity can make farming remote locations easier and more efficient. Satellite phones offer the ability to make and receive calls from the bulk of the Australian mainland. And while a clear view to the sky is required to get a connection, hybrid options such as the Thuraya XT-Dual and SatSleeve give us the best of both worlds, connecting with terrestrial (landbased GSM) mobile phone networks as well as satellite connectivity when out of range. Kondinin Group engineers put a range of satellite phones and SatSleeves through their paces from three remote locations in New South Wales and Western Australia and were impressed with the ease of use, connectivity and coverage.

Left to right: Thuraya XT-Dual, Thuraya SatSleeve for Apple iPhone4/4s and iPhone5/5s, Iridium Extreme 9575 and Thuraya SatSleeve for Samsung S4.


Working with Pivotel, Optus and Telstra, Kondinin Group was able to loan and trial three different satellite phone options. Two of these options were stand-alone handsets in the Iridium Extreme 9575 and Thuraya XT-Dual, the third was a sleeve adaptor for terrestrial phones. Iridium and Thuraya Satellite networks were used with the handsets trialled.

As opposed to the Iridium network, Thuraya satellites are geostationary, meaning they are positioned over the same location relative to the earth and rotate with it. The Thuraya satellite providing coverage over Australia is positioned above an area near Singapore meaning the further southeast in Australia you are located, the lower to the northwest horizon you need to point the phone antenna. Kondinin Group tested Thuraya handsets near our remote mobile test area in Southern NSW without any problems, but did have to point the antenna very low to the horizon. While not tested, buyers intending use in lower and eastern Victoria, particularly in hilly areas, would be advised to witness proven coverage before committing to purchase or plans. Call costs across the range of Thuraya plans vary between provider. For example, pricing from Pivotel was quoted as a fixed 99c per minute, with text messages at 50c each. Thuraya also offers data for those that need to access it in remote areas but comes at an ultra-premium cost of about $5 per megabyte.


iridium extreme 9575

Satellite optionS

Iridium satellite phones use a network of 66 Low Earth Orbit satellites continuously orbiting the earth. Regardless of location, the moving constellation ensures a satellite will be accessible to the caller with a clear view to the sky. Call costs via the Iridium network vary according to the monthly plan cost selected. As an example, pricing from Pivotel indicates call costs on a “casual” $22 per month plan are an eye-watering $3.30 per 30 seconds. However, increasing the monthly plan cost to $45 per month drops call costs to a more comfortable 75c per 30 seconds and includes about 10 minutes worth of calls per month. All calls also incur a 40c connection fee.

Iridium Extreme 9575 offers a stand-alone handset and utilising Iridium satellite connection offers national coverage including the lower southeast corner of Australia. The handset usually retails for about $1750 including GST but pricing can vary according to plan selection. Call costs are as per the Iridium network costs quoted.

thuraya SatSleeve

The SatSleeve is available with carrier adaptors for iPhone 4/4s iPhone 5/5s and Samsung Galaxy S3 and S4. The sleeve is essentially a stand-alone device that utilises the Bluetooth connectivity of other devices via a downloadable app available on Apple © Kondinin Group – Reproduction in whole or part is not permitted without permission. Freecall 1800 677 761

iOs and Android platforms. Kondinin Group engineers were impressed with the simple connectivity of the SatSleeve after downloading the free app. The sleeve, while increasing the bulk of the phone, allows the choice of connectivity via standard terrestrial means, or, if out of range, the app can be used to access the satellite network. Interactivity between the two platforms includes access to the users phonebook making dialling existing contacts simple. iPhone SatSleeves can also use the internal battery to charge the phone. For farmers in marginal areas, who can access mobile phone networks most of the time, but have significant ‘black-spots’ on the farm, the SatSleeve is an excellent option. Pricing of the SatSleeves varies according to plan selection but indicative costs from Pivotel are $849 upfront on a $15per month plan, $599 upfront with $65 per month plan over 24 months (including $45 in calls, text messages and data) and $399 upfront on a $99 per month plan over 24 months (including $75 in calls, text messages and data). Call costs are as per the Thuraya network costs quoted.

thuraya xt-dual

A handset with land-based and satellite access is an innovation allowing users to get the best of both worlds. Although the handset relies on the GSM network for land-based calls, which does not cover the more extensive footprint of other network options such as Next-G, once the phone is out of range, calls can still be made using the Thuraya satellite network. XT-Dual handsets vary in price according to plan and provider. Pivotel, which provided a handset for trial retails the unit for $999 upfront on a $15 casual plan, $749 upfront on a $65 plan over 24 months or $549 upfront on a $99 per month plan over 24 months. Call costs are as per the Thuraya network costs noted previously. No. 270 July 2014  Farming Ahead


Cropping Pulses

Pulses in spotlight for drought, heat-stress tolerance Researchers in south Australia are making inroads toward drought tolerance in field peas and chickpeas.


our years ago, the team of Associate Professor Victor Sadras from the South Australian Research & Development Institute began looking at ways to improve drought and heat stress tolerance in field peas. They began by mapping the risk of drought in Australia and its different forms. That research determined there were three main types of drought: environmental types 1, 2 and 3. “ET1 is the most favourable condition, with no stress during most of the preflowering phase and gradual development of mild stress after flowering,” Sadras said. “ET2 is characterised by increasing water deficit between four weeks before flowering and two weeks after flowering, and rainfall that relieves stress late in the season. “ET3 is the more stressful condition, with increasing water deficit between four weeks before flowering and maturity.” ET3 is the most dominant environmental type in Australia, with a 43% frequency of occurrence, followed by 24% and 32% for ET1 and ET2, respectively. “Growers need break crops for the benefits of nitrogen replenishment and pulses are useful for that, but they are also risky as they are particularly sensitive to drought and heat stress,” Sadras said. “The crop’s response depends on the timing, duration and severity of the water deficit.” What followed was a trial screening of 29 different varieties of field peas, including both advanced breeding lines and commercially available varieties. These were tested for adaptation to water and heat stress, and the associations between yield, crop growth rate and seed abortion. One of the findings from this was that the varieties more tolerant to drought were also the better performing varieties under more favourable seasonal conditions. Sadras said one of the most interesting traits was the crop growth rate four weeks


Farming Ahead  July 2014 No. 270 

SARDI senior research officer Lachlan Lake (left) and Associate Professor Victor Sadras are looking at ways to improve drought and heat stress tolerance in field peas and chickpeas.

before flowering to two weeks after flowering. “We found yield was associated with a water deficit in this window when seed number is defined, and that yield was closely associated to seed number rather than to seed size,” he said. “Whereas seed filling is an important attribute for quality and value of the crop, a yield range from 0.5t/ha to 4t/ha can only be related to growing conditions and crop traits in the critical window of grain set. “Cropping practices should therefore increase the focus on this period, with less emphasis on seed filling. “If the variety is under stress and you are able to maintain growth rate in that window, the variety will give better yields.” © Kondinin Group – Reproduction in whole or part is not permitted without permission. Freecall 1800 677 761

Last year, work focused on seeing if these same principles applied to chickpeas. Sadras, senior research officer Lachlan Lake and Dr Kristy Hobson, leader of the Pulse Breeding Australia chickpea program at the New South Wales Department of Primary Industries, Tamworth, are conducting the project. They have funding from the Grains Research and Development Corporation and the Australia-India Strategic Research Fund. With additional funding from the South Australian government, the researchers have set up rainout shelters to simulate drought and irrigation to measure potential yield. “We are trying to manage water supply with irrigation,” Sadras said.

An example of the rainout shelters the researchers have set up to simulate drought and irrigation to measure potential yield.

“We don’t want to improve adaptation to drought at the expense of performance in good seasons” The chickpea trials are being done around

can do it for a period of time, then move it to another spot in order to determine the critical window for stress response in chickpeas.” That experiment has given the researchers

“Growers need break crops for the benefits of nitrogen replenishment and pulses are useful for that, but they are also risky as they are particularly sensitive to drought and heat stress.” – Associate Professor Sadras

the Lower North region of South Australia at Roseworthy, Turretfield and Pinery. The rainout shelters are set up at Roseworthy, with about 50 millimetres of water applied through sprinklers during last year’s growing season, plus any additional “natural” precipitation. “With the shelters we can target drought at any particular time of the season,” Sadras said. “Last year, we also did an experiment with shading. “With drought in the field, it’s hard to get the intensity of stress, but with the shades you

information that was not previously available – the critical window of development in chickpeas. “The critical window in chickpeas is from four weeks before flowering to three weeks after flowering,” Sadras said. “This shows you can still have yield reductions through stress three weeks before flowering. “Therefore, management should be to have good growing conditions prior to flowering. “Looking after that window is very important. “Any stress – nutrient deficiencies, insects, © Kondinin Group – Reproduction in whole or part is not permitted without permission. Freecall 1800 677 761

disease or water deficiency – will impact on yield. “But chickpeas are different to other crops in that the critical window starts relatively early.” Yield penalty comes down to three factors, the timing, duration and severity of the different stresses. “How much yield is reduced depends on the severity of the stress,” Sadras said. “If it is only minor then there is maybe 5-10% in yield reduction, but if it is a major stress then that penalty is much larger. “For instance, heat and frost, even if it is only for a few days, it doesn’t take a long period of stress to cause damage compared to drought. It is a matter of the timing and intensity.” GRDC project code: DAS00108 More information: Assoc Prof Victor Sadras Email: Phone: 08 8303 9661

No. 270 July 2014  Farming Ahead



Breakthrough to fast-track yellow spot research A breakthrough achieved by Western Australian scientists will facilitate fast-tracked research into the country’s most costly wheat disease – yellow spot. At a glance... ▸ Researchers at Curtin University’s Centre for Crop and Disease Management (CCDM) have deleted an important gene in the yellow spot fungus ▸ Yellow spot, also known as tan spot, causes national crop losses of $212 million annually, plus control costs of an additional $463 million ▸ In hard-hit areas, it costs wheat growers up to $30 per hectare in lost production and control costs.


he outcome of this research, supported by the Grains Research and Development Corporation (GRDC), is expected to speed up the release to growers of new wheat varieties with improved yellow spot resistance. Researchers at Curtin University’s Centre for Crop and Disease Management (CCDM) have deleted an important gene in the yellow spot fungus (Pyrenophora tritici-repentis). “This is an extremely powerful new tool and will accelerate the development of resistant varieties,” CCDM program leader Caroline Moffat said. “It is a major boost that will help us

identify new targets for breeders.” Yellow spot, also known as tan spot, causes national crop losses of $212 million annually, plus control costs of an additional $463 million. In hard-hit areas, it costs wheat growers up to $30 per hectare in lost production and control costs.


ToxA is the major effector (host-selective toxin) of the yellow spot pathogen worldwide. It is secreted by the fungus and kills wheat cells, enabling the fungus to colonise the crop.







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Farming Ahead July 2014 No. 270

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ToxA is only damaging on wheat varieties that are sensitive to it. These varieties contain the tan spot necrosis 1 (Tsn1) susceptibility gene, which causes the plant to produce a protein which makes it sensitive to ToxA and allows yellow spot to infect the leaves. Major wheat varieties sensitive to ToxA include Yitpi and Stiletto . “So far, all Australian yellow spot isolates that we have tested produce ToxA,” Moffat said. “In our research, we knocked out the ToxA gene via homologous recombination – a process whereby the gene encoding ToxA was replaced. “The genetically engineered strain was unable to kill leaf cells in a wheat variety that would usually be susceptible.”

New vistas for future research

Moffat said that given the yellow spot fungus was difficult to work with and not readily genetically manipulated, the gene deletion was a significant achievement. “The development of a targeted gene knockout method for such an economically significant and global wheat pathogen is a

breakthrough,” she said. “This is the first time that this has been achieved for this pathogen anywhere in the world, so we have a unique capability.” Moffat said that now that scientists had this capability, it would fast-track yellow spot research to a level already established for other pathogens. “For example, researchers have been making gene deletions in the septoria nodorum blotch wheat pathogen for more than a decade,” she said. “Now that we have shown that gene deletions can also be achieved in yellow spot, it paves the way for deleting other genes of interest. “By knocking out the ToxA gene, which is the main yellow spot effector, we are able to see what other effectors the pathogen produces. These have so far been masked by extensive ToxA-induced plant cell death.” Moffat said the gene deletion technique would also permit the screening of ToxAsensitive wheat mapping populations to look for breeding targets. “This will facilitate the identification of new molecular markers for wheat breeders, to use in breeding programs to eliminate yellow spot susceptibility,” she said.

CCDM program leader Dr Caroline Moffat says a breakthrough in yellow spot research will accelerate the development of resistant varieties.

“So far, the identification of wheat chromosomal regions containing sensitivity genes has been limited to just a handful of populations.”

toxa iNseNsitive varieties

Moffat said the results of the research reiterated the need to increase the area sown to ToxA-insensitive varieties and

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No. 270 July 2014  Farming Ahead


Cropping yellow spot

to phase out wheat cultivars containing the Tsn1 gene. “A recent wheat variety trial we conducted found that there was no yield penalty associated with growing ToxA insensitive varieties,” she said. “Moreover, in the presence of yellow spot disease, ToxA-insensitive lines substantially outperformed the sensitive lines.”

EffEctor-assistEd brEEding

Moffat said effector-assisted breeding had already been adopted in Australia in response to the significant losses caused by ToxA-producing pathogens. “Semi-purified ToxA has been delivered to wheat breeders since 2009 as a selection tool toward the development of disease-resistant germplasm,” she said. “We deliver 30,000 doses of ToxA each year to wheat breeders. “As a result, there will be a considerable decrease in the area sown to ToxA-sensitive wheat varieties in the future as new varieties are released. “This is a major step toward reducing the huge scale of crop losses caused by yellow spot.”

Wheat infected with yellow spot disease

stop thE spot

Growers who see yellow spot infection in their paddocks can help the CCDM yellow spot research team. “We want growers across Australia to send us leaf samples they suspect are infected with yellow spot so that we can recover strains of the fungus,” Moffat said. “Researchers need to get a current national picture of the extent of the yellow spot

Quality bbuilt uilt storage for Australian Australia an conditions.

problem, and grower assistance will help us immensely in monitoring this pathogen and staying on top of any changes. “Yellow spot isolates that we recover will be screened for effectors, including biosecurity risks, and tested for virulence.”

YEllow spot managEmEnt

Current recommendations to reduce the risk of yellow spot (including at seedling stages) are:


T: (02) 6029 4700 |


Farming Ahead  July 2014 No. 270 

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1. Do not sow wheat on wheat; 2. If you are going to sow wheat on wheat consider a late (autumn) stubble burn and/ or; 3. Select a wheat variety with some level of resistance to yellow spot (note tolerance/ resistance to other diseases though). Primary management decisions for yellow spot need to be made prior to and/or at sowing. Fungicides are a poor last resort for controlling yellow spot as they have reduced efficacy.

CorreCt identifiCation

Yellow spot is frequently misdiagnosed, so if you think you have yellow spot do some simple checks first. 1. Is there wheat stubble visible in the paddock? Yellow spot is essentially a disease of wheat-on-wheat rotations as it is a stubble-borne pathogen. Burning, stubble grazing and cultivation can be effective in reducing yellow spot inoculum but depend on completeness of stubble removal. If wheat stubble is still visible then yellow spot inoculum may also still be present. 2. Are black fruiting bodies (pseudothecia) visible on the stubble? By autumn/winter,

black, pinhead-sized, raised structures with hair-like projections (which make them feel rough if rubbed with finger) will be visible on wheat stubble. These are responsible for the initial leaf infections at seedling stages and establishing lesions in lower canopy that drives secondary disease development later in the season. 3. Do the lesion spots look right? Initially, the disease appears as small brown spots with discrete yellow margins. With age, these spots become more elongated and tan (dead, dried leaf tissue), but still have a tight yellow (toxin production) margin. Yellow spot DOES NOT cause extensive general yellowing of leaves. Is the distribution on a tiller right, both on individual leaves and within leaves? Yellow spot spores land randomly on individual wheat leaves and just require adequate moisture for >6 hours to germinate and infect. Hence, symptoms are randomly distributed across an individual leaf. Yellow spot DOES NOT concentrate toward the leaf tip. Inoculum is generally coming from lower down in the canopy (stubble or old leaf lesions). Hence, if you pull off an individual infected tiller there will be a clear pattern of distribution on the

leaves with more and larger lesions on the lowest leaves (they have been out longer so prone to more infection events and greater time for fungal growth to spread through leaf) and fewer and smaller lesions as you progressively move higher up the tiller to the next leaf. If you cannot comfortably cross off each of these boxes then consider getting a second opinion from a plant pathologist. More information Go to for information about the Stop the Spot campaign and how you can get involved. Information to help wheat growers manage yellow spot is available in the GRDC Yellow Spot Fact Sheet at GRDC-FS-YellowSpotWest. Information about GRDC-funded research into yellow spot and other fungal diseases is contained in the GRDC Cereal Foliar Fungal Diseases Supplement, available at www. The paper outlining the gene deletion research is published in Molecular Plant Pathology at doi/10.1111/mpp.12154/abstract GRDC Project Code: CUR00012

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No. 270 July 2014  Farming Ahead



'Kite' wheat growing at Pingelly, Western Australia. Photo by Ben Biddulph

Frost susceptibility in wheat and barley On cold nights, when frost is likely in prone areas, Dr Ben Biddulph’s phone rings anytime from 10pm to 3am. This is the signal for Ben and his team from the Department of Agriculture and Food Western Australia to check their trial sites. The team is researching the susceptibility of commercial wheat and barley varieties to frost. By Jill Griffiths At a glance... ▸ Researchers will rank 50 wheat and 25 barley varieties for frost susceptibility in time for the 2015 growing season. ▸ Cereal crops are most susceptible to frost damage when frosts occur during the critical flowering time. ▸ Yield losses due to frost damage cost an estimated $360 million loss to the Australian grain industry each year.


Farming Ahead July 2014 No. 270


he ideal trial site is a sandy paddock, low in the landscape in a frost-prone area,” Biddulph said. “That is where frost is most likely

to settle.” The research team has weather stations set up at their trial sites in the Central, Great Southern and Lakes districts and when conditions indicate a frost is likely, a signal is sent to the researchers. They then travel to the site and identify trial plots that are flowering, which is the time when cereals are most susceptible to frost damage. Heads that © Kondinin Group – Reproduction in whole or part is not permitted without permission. Freecall 1800 677 761

are just flowering are then tagged. “We go through the plot and tag between 30-50 individual heads in that plot,” Biddulph said. “These tagged heads are then monitored for six weeks following the frost, before being harvested and taken back to the laboratory.” The researchers then look at grain set and assess the reduction in grain number per head. Different varieties are then compared to other varieties at the same stage and a frost susceptibility ranking determined for each variety.

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cropping frosT

Varietal differences

Research to date has confirmed that there is a wide variability in frost susceptibility of different wheat and barley varieties, although a severe frost will cause complete

“Varietal differences in barley and wheat occur in the field under minor frosts that cause 10-60% floret sterility in Western and southern Australia,” Biddulph said. “We are investigating the timing of

“Although there are varietal differences after some frosts, there is typically more than 80% floret sterility in wheat and more than 40% sterility in barley in WA. From this we know the current commercial varieties of wheat and barley are susceptible to frost.” — Ben Biddulph.

floret sterility, and therefore total grain loss, in all commercial varieties. Barley is less susceptible to frost than wheat (See Table 1, page 67). The research will provide susceptibility rankings for frost damage across a range of weather conditions and floret severity.

susceptibility and temperatures that bring this discriminating level of frost sterility. “Although there are varietal differences after some frosts, there is typically more than 80% floret sterility in wheat and more than 40% sterility in barley in WA. From this we know the current commercial varieties of

wheat and barley are susceptible to frost." The project is in the third year of a fiveyear trial. It is funded by Grains Research and Development Corporation and involves collaboration between the University of Adelaide and DAFWA. At the end of this year, the researchers will be able to rank the 50 wheat varieties and 25 barley varieties being studied. All are currently-available commercial varieties. “When we have analysed this year’s data, we will be able to make recommendations on the susceptibility of different varieties, so growers will have that information in time for seeding in 2015,” Biddulph said. “We already know Wyalkatchem is a highly susceptible variety and that Yitpi and Halberd are more tolerant.” The exact mechanisms for varietal differences are not yet fully understood, but it is thought that the same physiological mechanisms that enable plants to tolerate other environmental stress, such as drought and salinity during reproductive stages may also play a role under cold conditions. Some varieties seem to be tougher than others.

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Farming Ahead  July 2014 No. 270 

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Frosts early in the growing season do not present as much risk to grain yield as those that occur later in the season, during spring when crops are flowering. At this time, damage to the flowering heads causes floret sterility, so fewer grains set per head. Those that do set may be smaller or lighter than they would have been without the frost damage, so yields can be drastically reduced in quantity and quality. “In WA, when we get a spring frost it is estimated that it costs $100 million,” Biddulph said. Across Australia an estimated $360 million of crop is lost to frost damage each year. The impact is worst in the southern and western cropping regions.


Growers can help reduce their risk from frost damage by using appropriate management techniques. One of the most effective risk management strategies is to spread flowering time across the season. “Spreading flowering time spreads risk as

Table 1. Order of frost tolerance of cereal crops (highest to lowest) Oats

About 4 degrees more tolerant than wheat.

Cereal rye Barley

About 2 degrees more tolerant than wheat.

Wheat Triticale Source: DAFWA,

Table 2: Frost tolerance of pulses Lupins

Low frost tolerance and generally unable to compensate after flowering.

Field peas

Low frost tolerance due to thin pod walls and exposure of the pods to the atmosphere.


Medium tolerance to frost due to indeterminate flowering.Through Pod and vegetative damage can be significant.

Source: DAFWA,

only the heads flowering when a frost occurs will be damaged,” Biddulph said. This means that yield loss across the farm from any one frost even will be minimised. It manages the risk, rather than

avoids damage. “Grain yield from paddocks that aren’t flowering won’t be affected as much, although there is always going to be a certain yield penalty from slower growth during

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No. 270 July 2014 Farming Ahead



colder weather," Biddulph said. "But it isn’t as dramatic as the impact of frost on flowering heads."

Frosts early in the growing season do not present as much risk to grain yield as those that occur later in the season, during spring when crops are flowering.

“There is a period of about 10-14 days when the crop is most susceptible, which is during the development of the grain.” DAFWA have developed a decisionsupport tool to assist with predicting and managing flowering time. Go to www.agric. To avoid frost damage in cereal crops, DAFWA also recommends: • Avoiding high inputs (especially nitrogen as an increase in leaf matter makes crops more susceptible); • Avoiding potassium deficiency; • Sowing more frost-tolerant crops and pastures (see Table 1 and Table 2); • Growing hay; • Avoiding sowing susceptible crops in frost-prone areas (such as low lying areas); • Sowing and grazing dual-purpose crops; • Encouraging cold air drainage (Consult a specialist); and • Applying clay to sandy-surfaced paddocks. Different crops have varying levels of susceptibility. “Barley is relatively tolerant," Biddulph said. "It is less susceptible than wheat when it is flowering, but during early grain set and early embryo development, barley is equally susceptible. “Oats are more frost tolerant. We are finding it hard to place canola due to its indeterminate flowering habit, as a lot depends on the timing of the frosts.


Anecdotal evidence has suggested that high stubble loads contribute to frost damage and researchers are investigating this. “We don’t really know why stubble makes a difference, but we think it’s to do with the way it covers the surface,” Biddulph said. “It may stop the sun getting to the soil and heating it up and it may also prevent the heat coming out of the soil when the air above is colder.” The net effect of this is that the air at plant height is colder and therefore frosts are more severe. The exact details of this are as yet unknown, but Biddulph's team estimates stubble is likely to increase frosting when stubble is up around 3-4 tonnes/ha. “At around 1-2t/ha, stubble doesn’t appear to make a difference, but we don’t know the exact figures yet," Biddulph said. Contact: Dr Ben Biddulph, DAFWA Phone: 08 9368 3431 Email:


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Farming Ahead July 2014 No. 270

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No-tillers targeting furrow tillage Few people have worked more on soil tillage and ground engaging tools in broadacre Australian cropping context than Jack “French” Desbiolles and the agricultural engineering team at the University of South Australia – and they still see changes happening in the next few years.


ne of Australia’s leading authorities on no-tillage seeding believes producing more from less is the next challenging era of Australia broadacre no-till cropping and that everyone needs to get on board to make it a success. By everyone he means farmers, advisers and researchers, machinery manufacturers and input suppliers. Dr Jack Desbiolles has been part of the University of South Australia’s agricultural machinery research group since 1995 and in that time has led no-till machinery research and extension in Australia – and more recently around the world. Just before Christmas the agricultural research engineer was in Algeria for two weeks guiding project activities in smallscale machinery for conservation agriculture. In February and March he worked on the development of small-scale drill mechanisation for the Cambodian rice fields and provided training in no-till seeder technologies as part of an AusAid funded project in Iraq, in collaboration with the International Centre for Agricultural Research in the Dry Areas. “In these overseas projects, we make

good use of the Australian experiences of successful no-till systems and varied seeder technologies,” Desbiolles said. “It is a great opportunity to both share our knowledge and learn from our local partners.” Desbiolles and colleagues told the World Congress of Conservation Agriculture last September in Brisbane that narrow point openers to open a furrow and place seed and fertiliser in the soil, followed by press wheels to pack soil over the seeds were commonplace in Australian no-till farming. “In the Australian no-till farming context, narrow points have been around for a long time and while there are a lot of commercial versions, most fall into a few common categories with no recent major advances in the technology,” he said. “A key area of development over the years has been wear protection using tungsten carbide tiles added via brazing or as hardfacing welding techniques. “So much so all no-till openers on the market today are sold with cost-effective wear protection. “Inverted T points are winged points able to increase furrow disturbance at depth, and exist in various configurations of wing

width, lift angle and position relative to the point leading edge. “Initially based on the concept of the Baker boot for moisture conservation in pasture sowing, they were later introduced to the broadacre industry under various names as Super Seeder, Wing Seeder, Maxi Seeder, Flexi Plus, Super Sower, or simply Winged Point – but are mostly not marketed on specific design differences. “Some of the design differences can influence the extent of soil throw, furrow backfill, in-furrow smearing and also affect penetration. “A deep-slotting point designed at UniSA with back-swept shallow wings designed to backfill the lower furrow as it goes along was an example of significant development enabling farmers to deep till a furrow [thereby breaking through existing hardpans and facilitating quick root system establishment] and sow shallow using conventional seed boots, without the need for an adjustable seed boot with a closer plate.” Desbiolles said this point had been marketed as the Armin point by industry over the past 14 years, backed up by research knowledge. He said there were opportunities to

Travelling tiller: Jack Desbiolles addressing farmers and researchers at a no-till seeder field day in Setif, Algeria last December.

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No. 270 July 2014 Farming Ahead



No-till seeding with narrow point openers can create high soil disturbance with agronomic implications of greater seedbed moisture loss, weed seed germination and soil exposure, as well as potential crop damage from pre-emergence herbicides.

closely involve industry in research outcomes for commercial product development, but most companies were not ready to take on specific R&D investments. “This results in mostly stagnating industry at that level,” Desbiolles added. While the agricultural machinery research team at UniSA interacts with many machinery firms, collaborating on no-till cropping research programs, it also works closely with graingrowers – particularly via farming system groups – in evaluating machinery interactions with cropping system issues. “Fundamental tillage research is mostly conducted via postgraduate projects, and our latest focus on narrow point research is on understanding how narrow point design influences soil movement and soil throw characteristics,” Desbiolles said. “PhD studies by Ali Akbar Solhjou, currently researching no-tillage technologies at his home agricultural engineering institution in Shiraz-Iran, has shed light on the effects of the point angle of approach and leading face geometry on soil movement. “For instance, a low angle of approach promotes deeper soil delving while steeper angles can reduce the extent of soil movement out of the furrow. “Single-sided and double-sided leading face chamfers are an effective way to minimise lateral soil throw and increase furrow size.” Desbiolles said understanding how soil was moved by the furrow opener layer by layer could help find ways to improve crop establishment in drying soil conditions. Desbiolles said that due to growing herbicide resistance Australia’s whole approach to weed management was changing. Focus has grown on mechanical weed control options including looking at ways to develop narrow points able to minimise weed seed germination, similar to low-disturbance disc seeders. “Narrow openers can create excessive soil disturbance and soil throw, with the effect of increasing the depth of soil cover on adjacent furrows, increasing stimulation of weed seed germination and enhancing


Farming Ahead  July 2014 No. 270

Bent leg openers are an innovative furrow opener design able to combine significant furrow loosening with minimal or no soil throw at high operating speeds (photograph shows RT-Blade original model from Danie Rossouw, South Africa).

seedbed soil moisture loss,” Desbiolles said. “In Australian no-till farming systems, pre-emergence herbicides are often mechanically incorporated by the sowing operation. Excessive lateral soil throw at seeding typically occurs at narrow no-till row spacings and can also result in herbicide contaminated soil reaching adjacent seed rows – with the potential for causing crop damage depending on herbicide solubility and absorption pathways.” The factors affecting soil movement during tillage include soil condition such as texture, moisture and structure, tool settings of speed and depth, and opener geometry. Ali-Akbar’s work at UniSA used small aggregate-size PVC cubes pre-positioned in a grid pattern over the depth profile and across the path of the opener, acting as tracers to indicate 3D soil movement. The results highlighted the ability of narrow points to clear all of the surface tracers from the centre of the furrow, forming the basis for the high-crop safety observed with knife point press-wheel systems when incorporating pre-emergence herbicides, provided soil throw did not reach the next furrow. The furrow backfill, defined as the proportion of furrow size filled with loose soil, was measured with a laser scanner and was a good indicator of the suitability of a narrow opener to no-till seeding. Generally, narrower and steeper openers, with a bevelled leading face, operating at lower speeds, were able to maximise furrow backfill, by reducing the extent of soil thrown to the side. A low-rake angle, wide opener operating at high speed can result in minimal furrow backfill, and is mostly unsuitable as a notill seeding tool, unless combined with a harrow-style furrow closer. As an innovative design shape considered in Ali-Akbar’s work, bent leg style openers showed the majority of loosened soil could be retained within the furrow, even when operating at high speed. This was achieved by the combined use of a bevel-edge shank offset to the side of a ground engaging side leg and foot. © Kondinin Group – Reproduction in whole or part is not permitted without permission. Freecall 1800 677 761

In previous studies, the loosened soil impacting the shank was found to be the main cause of lateral soil throw. With bent leg openers, this soil/shank interaction is reduced to a bare minimum and thereafter does not generate lateral soil throw. Cntrolling this key aspect of soil disturbance may have a beneficial effect on reducing weed seed germination. Further research is expected to test this hypothesis. “As a cropping industry in Australia, we are travelling fast on the road to conservation agriculture,” Desbiolles said. “Subsoil research suggests the next significant jump in productivity in many soil types may involve the surgical improvement of the 0-50cm soil layer, driving a need for innovative soil engaging technology able to loosen deep soil compaction, mixing deep nutrient and organic matter in low fertility sands, delving clay with effective sub-layer mixing or applying chemical corrections in identified sodic or acidic sub-layers. The best way to improve soil longterm health is to encourage root biomass development into the subsoil. This aspect is the focus of the South Australian New Horizons project led by Primary Industries and Regions SA, which UniSA is collaborating with on innovative subsoil-improving machinery. “In the long run I see controlled traffic as a necessary part of improving subsoil health,” Desbiolles said. “It implies the use of dedicated compaction zones for operational efficiency and optimised cropping zones for increased productivity on a continuously improving soil bed quality,” he said. “The furrow quality and seeding success can be heavily compromised by soil compaction. “Holistically, soil compaction needs to be controlled to access higher efficiency and productivity under a thriving conservation agriculture.” Contact: Jack Desbiolles Phone: (08) 8302 3946 or 0419 752 295 Email:

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Investing to take the hard work out of sheep production The old adage of working smarter, not harder is something one Northern Tasmanian farming couple have fully embraced across their business and has seen them invest heavily in labour-saving sheep handling equipment. Fleur Muller talks to Rob and Eliza Tole about the benefits of sheep handling equipment.


urchasing four different sheep handling machines over six years at a cost of $55,000, might seem excessive but for Rob and Eliza Tole of Cressy, Tasmania the investment made complete sense when the benefits were

reduced costs, increased labour efficiencies and improved OH&S outcomes. Sheep work is now less physically taxing and more enjoyable, and many husbandry activities are now a one person operation. The Tole’s run a 1600 ewe self-replacing

commercial sheep operation, producing 2000 lambs as well as trading more than 9000 lambs each year, in conjunction with a 200 hectare cropping enterprise. Rob works alongside one full time employee and utilises a casual during spring and summer peak work periods, in what is a highly productive business: stocking rates range between 16.2 dry sheep equivalents per hectare in mid-winter and up to 32DSE/ha in February-March, with production figures of 9 kilograms of lamb/DSE or 189kg meat dressed per hectare of effective grazing area. “The lamb breeding and finishing enterprise can be very labour-intensive, as we buy lambs locally as well as from Victoria and South Australia during most months of the year,” Tole explained. “We aim to turnover lambs quickly and produce a 22kg lamb for the domestic market. On average the trade lambs gain around 13.9kg from purchase to sale, but achieving this level of production takes work and close monitoring of weight gain and animal health. All lambs are weighed up to three times before sale and drafted into tight weight range mobs, so minimising labour costs and maximising efficiency is a priority and it motivated us to make sheep handling easier.”


After extensive on-line research, they purchased a New Zealand made Technipharm Supadrafter in 2007. Fully automatic with no need for remotes, the unit drafts animals according to the information entered into the system, leaving the operator free to move around the yards when needed. “My priority was a fully automatic handler that could be operated by one person without a remote. The Supadrafter ticked all the boxes and fitted straight into our existing yards without any modifications. We’ve also set up a gantry system so one person can easily move the auto drafter in and out of the race when needed. The auto drafter allows us to quickly and accurately identify and draft those lambs that meet market specifications. We can weigh and draft 450 lambs per hour with one labour unit and last year more than


Farming Ahead  July 2014 No. 270 

© Kondinin Group – Reproduction in whole or part is not permitted without permission. Freecall 1800 677 761

the yards, only minor modifications were needed to integrate the Electrodip into the yard design. “All sheep and lambs are now treated using the Electrodip, which applies chemical according to sheep size and wool cover. By using a constant high pressure and low volume, chemical usage is very low and operator safety is much improved, with very low levels of spray drift. Every animal now receives a correct dose and chemical usage has dropped from 3L/head down to 0.75L/animal. It has not only saved us time, chemical and lost production but the Electrodip has also given us a better end product, with fewer lambs suffering skin damage from fly strike. We also have greater piece of mind that our stock are better protected from fly strike.”

Case study Name: Rob and Eliza Tole Property location: Cressy, northern TAS Property size: 560 ha Enterprises: Sheep meat (lamb production and trading), cropping (poppies, peas, potatoes, clover seed) Annual rainfall: 660 mm Soil: Heavy black soils to lighter sandy soils on rises.

40,000 individual lamb movements were put through the machine without any problems.”


Building on the efficiencies achieved with the auto drafter, the Tole’s purchased a VE machine in 2010 after seeing their benefits first hand. The Arrow V-Express utilises two conveyor belts to create a “V” shape to lift animals from the ground, immobilising them at a safe working height. “The V-Express stood out as it has a lowto-the-ground entry point, which means sheep walk a fair way into the machine before being picked up. This improves animal flow as sheep are less likely to baulk. This was a big selling point to us when looking around at other makes. But, yard design leading up to the machine is equally as important in getting stock to flow through. “We now do everything including vaccinating, drenching, and tagging in the VE machine. Very high volumes of sheep can be processed quickly with multiple operations and most of the physical work of handling the sheep has been eliminated. The race is now a thing of the past. “All trade lambs are vaccinated with a 5-in-1 booster shot as well as B12 and selenium, and drenched with a combination drench when they arrive on the property. Using the VE machine, two people can double vaccinate and drench 350-400 head per hour, while the time to actually carryout the vaccination is the slowest link. We can easily drench 600-700 head per hour and be assured that it’s been done precisely, with no missed or double drenching. “Improving the work environment and taking much of the hard work out of animal husbandry activities, has allowed us to employ unskilled labour. You can work beside and oversee the worker, and don’t

INVESTMENT STACKS UP need to be down the back pushing up sheep.”


As the trade lamb enterprise expanded, Tole was spending more time crutching lambs before sale. Keen to cut crutching time and costs, he investigated one-person crutching options and in 2012 invested $15,000 in a Racewell handler with side tilt for crutching. With sensor eyes that can be adjusted to allow for different catch positions, it is 100% automatic and can be purchased in modules as required. “We now crutch every lamb ourselves in the handler. Last year we did half the ewes and this year we will crutch all the ewes ourselves. One person can bunghole crutch 90 lambs per hour on their own, or 140 per hour with two people. Often you don’t even need to turn off the handpiece between animals. Costing around 50c per head, it’s very cost efficient compared $1.10 per head for a shearer and rousababout to crutch over board. Crutching in the handler is also safer and more enjoyable.”


Building a cover over their sheep yards led to the Tole’s final equipment purchase, an auto jetter. “We were using a fire tank for jetting and the results were very variable. Lambs were still getting fly struck and we just didn’t have the time to be constantly treating fly struck animals. After covering the yards we ran into problems getting the yards dry after jetting,” Tole said. “I spoke to a number of producers I knew who were already using auto jetters successfully and ended up purchasing an Electrodip at the end of 2012. Now permanently positioned on the way out of © Kondinin Group – Reproduction in whole or part is not permitted without permission. Freecall 1800 677 761

All of the handlers have fitted easily into his farming system, according to Tole, and while it seems a lot of different equipment, each has a specific job. “Financially, the investment has been worthwhile, but the added bonus is that working with sheep is far more enjoyable. “It has been money well spent,” he said.






Pre-stabilised non brittle sheep ear tags in 20 different colours


Lot 440 Tudhoe St, Wagin, WA 6315 PO Box 89, Wagin, WA 6315 Ph (08) 9861 1290 Fax (08) 9861 1468

e: No. 270 July 2014  Farming Ahead




Painless sheep work Labour is a significant cost in any sheep and wool enterprise but investing carefully in sheep-handling machines such as sheep handlers, VE machines, crutchers or auto-jetters can reduce labour costs and take the hard work out of sheep handling. Fleur Muller looks at some of the equipment on the market.


he ability for sheep and wool producers to improve labour efficiencies in their enterprise has been limited for many years. But with advances in technology and engineering, producers have greater choice in equipment that can make routine tasks such as, drenching, vaccinating, foot inspection, jetting and crutching, faster, easier and safer and achieve with more precision. With less time spent on sheep work, producers and their staff can spend more time in other parts of the business. Management practices previously performed by a contractor may be carried out successfully by existing farm labour and in some instances by less skilled labour.


Sheep handlers are designed to make animal husbandry activities such as drenching, vaccination, ear tagging and foot paring easier and quicker. Most are readily operated by one worker on their own or can assist a team of workers in carrying out multiple husbandry operations quickly. Many handlers

can be purchased as basic modules that can be added to over time such as incorporating an auto drafter to improve efficiencies with a one pass operation when sheep are bought into the yards. There are a range of different styles of sheep handlers on the market, which offer a multitude of options and price points, but they can be broadly grouped into: Race to cradle units – the animal moves into a catching box, where it is immobilised by various means and either remains standing or is tipped sideways ready for the operator; Rollover units – the animal is captured in a crate using a calliper-type mechanism that squeezes it at the hips and shoulders. The unit can then be rotated around a horizontal axle using a counterbalance to invert the sheep. Conveyor or elevator units – The sheep are picked up in single file between a pair of moving belts or slats arranged in a V-shape. The sheep moves along with its feet off the ground, and is restrained between the V-profile belts. Sheep can be inverted easily if required.

For more information: See our website for a gallery of each machine.

Features: • A rollover unit that uses a combination of manual mechanisms; • Dual sheep cradles catch second sheep before releasing the first; • Operator can catch and release animals from one working position; and • Counterweight of second sheep aids rollover. Price: $5133 including GST Contact: Arrow Farmquip Phone: 1800 814 107


Features: • Air operated auto entry gate; • Remote switch mounted on the leadup race for catch and release; • Optional side tilt for crutching; • Can be fitted with weigh scales; • Hot-dipped galvanised and rubber floor; and Price: from $11,000 including GST

RACEWELL HD3 – SHEEP HANDLER WITH 3 WAY DRAFTING Features: • Automated “catch” position through adjustable sensors; • Unobstructed overhead access to sheep; • Clean/dirty sorting of sheep using remote; • Optional integrated EID reader; and • Automated 3 way drafting by weight range or EID with 6 way option. Price: from $22,500 including GST Contact: Te Pari Products Ltd Phone 1800 650 682


suit sheep size and position; • Extra-large diameter non-corrosive plumbing and fittings; • Galvanised steel construction, sheeted sides and base tank; and

• Perforations for drainage in floor. Price: $6600 including GST Contact: Peak Hill Industries Ph: 1800 659 996


• Self adjusting sides to suit the size of the sheep; • Compatible with all dip chemicals for fly and lice treatment; and • Saves chemicals and the environment by treating according to sheep size and

wool cover. Price: priced between $11,000 and $16,500 including GST Contact: Electrodip Phone: 1800 146 892

Features: • Jet blasts instantly activate as sheep pass the adjustable sensor; • Adjustable top and bottom spray bars to

Features: • Automatically activated to ensure all sheep are jetted correctly; • Applies chemical at pressure so that the skin of the animal gets wet;


Farming Ahead July 2014 No. 270

© Kondinin Group – Reproduction in whole or part is not permitted without permission. Freecall 1800 677 761

GAllAGheR The sheeP hAnDleR – CRUTCh AnD DAG

• Open access to feet and belly; • Rubber lined floor and sides; and • Manual or auto catch options. Price: POA Contact: Gallagher Ph: 1800 Gallagher

PeAk hIll PeAkhAnDleR

• Suits merinos, crossbred and prime lambs; • Able to regulate the pressure applied; and • Left hand versions can be made on request. Price: $9020 including GST Contact: Peak Hill Industries Phone: 1800 659 996

PeAk hIll IMMObIlIzeR

• Able to be operated from either side with adjustable working height; and • Base unit can be customised for crutching, drafting and weighing. Price: from $6820 including GST Contact: Peak Hill Industries Phone: 1800 659 996

Features: • Air controlled overhead clamp system; • Sheep rolled onto their side for dagging and crutching; • Entry shut-off gate;

Features: • Compressed air powered multi-purpose sheep handling machine; • The roll-over section is air powered with the help of the counter-balance of the weight of the sheep held in each of the two cradles;

Features: • Air operated handler; • Electric eye activates opposing immobiliser pads on each side of sheep; • All steel construction; • Suitable for handling all sized lambs and grown sheep including rams;

PRATley sheeP hAnDleR Features: • Fully adjustable to suit any size ewe, lamb or ram; • Adjustable work height – no bending for the operator; • Full access around rear of animal and feet for inspection;

PROWAy lIVesTOCk eQUIPMenT – The sheeP bUlk hAnDleR Features: • Race section of handler has a grated floor that can be raised hydraulically; • Around 15-25 sheep at a time can be lifted to the waist height of the operator; • The sheep are suspended on their underside and become very passive; • Sheep are ideally positioned and held for

• Lightweight, easy to shift; and • Available with an air assisted ram to make tipping easier. Price: $6250 including GST manual; air assisted $8470 including GST Contact: Tru-Test Pty Ltd Phone: 1800 641 324 a majority of husbandry operations and are accessible from either side; • Sheep are unable to ‘tunnel’ and bury their heads; and • Not suited for marking lambs or kids. Price: $14,685 including GST for 6 metre permanent;$22,385 including GST for 6 metre mobile; $25,162 including GST for 12m permanent. Contact: ProWay Phone: 1300 655 383


Features: • Fully adjustable for height, width and length; • Secure holding of sheep; • Low operating costs, no need for hi-tech components, motors or hydraulics; • Fully automatic gates; • Automatic sheep counter; and • Drafting gate. Price: from $5500 GST including GST Contact: Leigh Draffen Phone: 0408 336 845 Email:


Features: • Hands-free operation driven by the weight of the operator moving onto a working platform beside the clamp. The leverage for different weighted operators can be adjusted; • Able to handle a range of different sized sheep without having to use the width adjustment; • Can be set up either left or righthanded simply by attaching the approach race to either end of the clamp; • The manual operation allows the operator to gently ease sheep into the correct position; • The operator can move freely from the front to the back of the sheep while it is restrained; and • Highly mobile – independent from power or compressors. Price: from $6820 including GST Contact: Combi Clamp Phone: 1800 449 561

Ve MAChInes PeAk hIll Vee ezy COnVeyOR

• Up to 3.2 metres of clear working length; • Forward and reverse treadle controls on both side of unit; and • Quick release couplings.

Price: from $14,300 including GST Contact: Peak Hill Industries Phone: 1800 659 996


• Uses two conveyor belts to create a “v” shape that lifts the animals from the ground to a safe working height; • Foot control to with adjustable speed and lock-on feature; • Belts allow animals to be easily rolled onto backs; and

• Operated from any point on either side. Price: POA Contact: Arrow Farmquip Phone: 1800 814 107

Features: • Galvanised sheet metal construction; • Hydraulically driven full width belts;

Features: • Animals are immobilised firmly off the ground and can be easily access and kept moving when needed; • Fully adjustable to suit all sizes of sheep and goats;

© Kondinin Group – Reproduction in whole or part is not permitted without permission. Freecall 1800 677 761

No. 270 July 2014  Farming Ahead


Livestock beef production

On the hoof: The feedlot performance of a variety of purebred and crossbred beef cattle is closely monitored as part of Australia’s largest commercial feedback steer trial. Photo by: Brett Tindal

Invaluable feedback from feedlot trials A popular beef feedlot trial held in southern nSW each year continues to provide valuable feedback to producers about breeding and management to meet the market, as Pamela Lawson discovers. At a glance... ▸ A feedlot trial in southern NsW has been providing beef producers with invaluable performance data for the past five years. ▸ Pens of five steers are judged on their ability to meet induction criteria, perform on feed and carcase quality once slaughtered. ▸ Both purebred and crossbred or composite teams have been successful, allowing producers to compare breeds and genetics under identical conditions. ▸ the trial has grown to the largest commercial feedback trial in Australia.


Farming Ahead  July 2014 No. 270 


his is the sixth year that the Beef Spectacular Feedback Trial is being run at Teys Australia’s Jindalee feedlot near Temora in southern NSW. The trial involves beef producers submitting a team of five milktooth steers of at least 50% British breed content. Teys purchases the steers upon delivery to the feedlot, placing them on calculated feed ration for 112 days before they are slaughtered at its Wagga Wagga abattoir. Each producer then receives detailed feedback about the performance of their steers as individuals and as a team, from induction, through feedlot performance to their carcase results at slaughter. © Kondinin Group – Reproduction in whole or part is not permitted without permission. Freecall 1800 677 761

Each animal is also scored (or penalised) for various traits and performance indicators at induction, during their time on feed and after slaughter. The teams are then ranked for overall performance and profitability, providing informative benchmarking data for their breeders.


The popularity of the trial has jumped in recent years, from 380 head entered in 2012 to 600 head in 2013. This has been helped by the offer of free transport by Martins Stock Haulage for entered teams, from pickup points at centrally located saleyards along the main service routes to southern NSW.

But it is the detailed feedback provided, together with information presented at the mid-term feedlot field day, that continually attracts entrants from all over NSW, Victoria and Queensland. Well over 50% of entrants send in a pen of steers each year solely for the feedback rather than to try and take the competition out, and use the results as a management and bull selection tool. This trial is also one of the few opportunities to compare the performance of a wide variety of pure and composite breeds under identical feedlot conditions.


In addition to being milktooth and at least 50% British breed, trial animals must weigh 320-460kg empty liveweight when they enter the feedlot in September. They should also have a P8 fat score and frame score suitable to meet the end target market of the three branded beef products produced by Teys Australia, being Certified Australian Angus Beef (CAAB), Teys Riverine Premium and Teys Tender Cut.

The value of this trial to producers was underlined in the 2013 trial when the overall grand champion pen of steers was awarded to Victorian commercial cattle producers John and Linley Dettman.

It is a requirement of entry for producers to have administered one vaccination of Bovilis MH + IBR to trial cattle no less than three weeks prior to the September start date. Coopers Animal Health offer to supply this vaccination free to entrants, and a completed Coopers Cattle Connect form validating this vaccination must be submitted with the nomination form. For this year’s trial, entries close on August 1 if producers wish to take up the free freight and Bovilis MH + IBR vaccination offer. Individual cattle nomination forms can be sent in until August 31, but these must be accompanied by vaccination validation paperwork and producers will have to provide their own transport. The five trial steers must be delivered to the feedlot by 4pm on September 20.

A National Vendor Declaration (NVD) must also accompany each team of cattle when they are transported to the Jindalee feedlot.


As teams of cattle are inducted into the feedlot, each animal is given an induction score out of a possible 20 points. Points are given for meeting the entry liveweight range, and the appropriate scanned P8 fat score and frame score for the target markets. But penalties can also be applied for dentition (if not milk teeth), incorrectly completed NVDs and missing vaccination forms. For feedlot performance, individual animals are given a score out of 70 based entirely on their average daily liveweight gain while on feed. However, five points are deducted from this score for every health treatment an animal receives during this period. The majority of the points for animal performance come from the carcase traits measured after slaughter. Individual animals can receive a maximum of 110 points according to the carcase weight, dressing percentage, P8 fat, rib fat, dentition, meat colour, fat colour, saleable meat yield, marbling and meat quality, as measured under the Meat Standards Australia (MSA) and Aus-Meat grading system. This results in an overall total point score per animal of 200, and 1000 per team.


The trial is as much about educating producers about supplying the feeder steer market as it is about steer performance and feedback. The strict entry criteria encourages producers to make sure they select steers for the trial that meet the entry specifications. They must also complete the necessary documentation required for cattle entering any Australian feedlot and ensure animals are correctly identified and have had any required vaccinations. A field day held at the feedlot after the cattle have been on feed for about 80 days gives producers the opportunity to see how their steers are performing and receive advice from feedlot staff and industry experts about selecting and presenting steers for the feeder market. Once the cattle have been processed at the end of the trial period, producers are presented with a bound document containing a detailed comparison of the performance of their team of cattle with all the others in the trial. The document includes photos and follows the performance of both individuals and teams from induction through to slaughter and boning out. © Kondinin Group – Reproduction in whole or part is not permitted without permission. Freecall 1800 677 761


The value of this trial to producers was underlined in the 2013 trial when the overall grand champion pen of steers was awarded to Victorian commercial cattle producers John and Linley Dettman. The Dettman’s Angus steers had been runners up in the trial for the previous two years, and they will continue to enter steers in the trial to gain the valuable feedback it provides. John Dettman believes a lot of the success of his steer teams can be attributed to the strength of his cow herd and his bull selection in recent years. They have been using the trial feedback and Estimated Breeding Values (EBVs) to buy bulls that will build carcase quality in their cattle, at an average bull price of less than $4000. John was also pleased that the steers chosen for the 2013 trial were very much the average of the drop, as the faster growing steers had already been sent to a feedlot. While it was an Angus team that won the 2013 trial, crossbred and composite cattle have dominated the results in previous years. Reserve overall champion pen in 2013 went to a team of Australian Beef Composite steers entered by Hicks Beef from Holbrook, NSW. After performing best of all the teams in the feedlot, the composites dropped back to finish just two points behind the winning team overall after processing.


Organisers of the trial have been pleased to see overall point scores for teams of cattle rise in recent years, despite the same judging criteria being used each year. While feedlot performance has remained fairly constant between the years, with average daily gains around 2.16 kilograms, more teams were meeting the specifications of the target markets. In the 2013 trial, 140 head qualified for both of the two top Teys Australia markets, CAAB and Riverine Premium, while another 90 head of non-Angus cattle met the Riverine Premium requirements. But trial analysts also pointed out there was more than $1800 between the most and least profitable teams in the 2013 trial, which is an important consideration for producers. Further information: Information and entry forms for the 2014 NSW Beef Spectacular Feedback Trial can be downloaded from: Contact: Brett Tindal Fairfax Agricultural Media Phone: (02) 69331825 Email: No. 270 July 2014  Farming Ahead


Livestock beef production

At a glance... ▸ there are many different assurance schemes for beef producers to participate in, with varying costs and benefits.

Meeting demand through beef assurance schemes

▸ Most assurance programs require a degree of record keeping and possible restrictions on stock purchasing, hormone and antibiotic use, and fodder given, depending on the end market. ▸ Weigh up the initial and possible ongoing costs and restrictions of being in an assurance scheme with the market opportunities and premiums available.

According to a major Australian supermarket chain, demand for its health and wellnessbranded products, such as free-range and pasture-fed meat, is outstripping all other product sectors. Pamela Lawson investigates how producers can best supply beef to meet these growing market segments.


onsumers are becoming increasingly discerning about how the beef they buy is produced. They want a product that is branded and backed by verification or auditing to prove claims such as pasture-fed, hormone-free and antibiotic-free. To supply this demand, many processors are using national assurance schemes to underpin their labels, or developing their own scheme and associated brands. If a producer wishes to supply to a scheme or be eligible to supply to several, they should consider the records required and time spent keeping these, any participation fees and auditing costs, and how these compare to the price premiums or market access being offered by processors. They should also consider what percentage of their production system they will use to target these markets, and confirm this through cost/benefit analysis.

Base level

Cattle producers using Livestock Production Assurance (LPA) National Vendor Declaration and Waybill (NVD/ Waybill) when they sell livestock are already participating in an auditable quality assurance program. The program began in 2004 and requires producers to register to become accredited through Meat and Livestock Australia (MLA). While it is not compulsory to use LPA NVD/Waybills when selling livestock, most major buyers require them. Anyone signing an LPA NVD/Waybill when selling livestock can be randomly audited, to show records to prove the claims made on the LPA NVD/Waybill. It is a minimum requirement that all cattle supplied to any quality assurance schemes or programs need to be LPA accredited. But by being LPA accredited, producers will find they will already be complying with many of the eligibility requirements of assurance schemes.

RecoRds RequiRed

The six areas of on-farm management which are auditable under the LPA program are


Farming Ahead  July 2014 No. 270 

property risk assessment; responsible animal treatments; hormone growth promotant (HGP) use and other records; stock feed, fodder crops, grain and paddock treatments; livestock and stock feed purchase records and livestock transactions and movements. An LPA checklist of management and record requirements on page 81. In recent years, the option to declare livestock ‘Russian eligible’ has been added to the LPA NVD/Waybill. If a producer writes ‘Russian eligible’ on an LPA NVD/Waybill, it means that the livestock have not been injected with or ingested feed products containing oxytetracycline and chlortetracycline in the past 90 days.

likely costs

The main cost for the producer associated with being accredited with the LPA program is the time spent assessing risks and keeping records. There may also be costs associated with maintaining staff chemical users’ certificates, setting up suitable chemical storage areas and eliminating stock access to risk areas. Most processors will now only accept the latest versions of LPA NVD/Waybill, which are dated April 2013 onwards. Hard copy booklets containing 20 forms (in triplicate) will cost $35 from MLA, but electronic declarations (E-Dec) are also available online at a 40% reduction. Earlier LPA NVD/Waybill booklets may become completely redundant at any time If an LPA NVD/Waybill user is randomly audited, this will be done at no financial cost to the producers, at a pre-organised, mutually conveniently time. For more information on the LPA program and to purchase LPA NVD/Waybills, call the LPA Hotline on 1800 683 111 or go to www.

euRopean flavouR

Another well-known market for Australian producers is exporting beef to the European Union (EU). The beef must come from cattle raised on properties accredited under the European © Kondinin Group – Reproduction in whole or part is not permitted without permission. Freecall 1800 677 761

Union Cattle Accreditation Scheme (EUCAS), and can only be moved between EU-accredited farms, feedlots and saleyards and EU-listed abattoirs. The premium cattle specifications for this market depend on the individual processor and customer. The basic specification accepts both steers or heifers, which must produce carcase weights of 280-400kg, have no more than four permanent teeth (or be up to 30 months of age) and have 7-22mm of P8 fat. While there are no breed restrictions, midlate maturing European breeds and their crosses are generally preferred, to meet the weight, age and fat specifications. They can be grass finished on-farm, or sold to EUCAS feedlots to be grain finished. EU-eligible cattle must also be free of HGPs, be individually identified and have lifetime traceability on the National Livestock Identification Scheme (NLIS) database. Specific LPA EU vendor declarations and tail tags must be used when moving or selling EU-accredited cattle.

GaininG accReditation

EUCAS accreditation is administered by the Department Agriculture, Fisheries and Forestry (DAFF). The main cost to the producer when preparing to gain accreditation will be the time spent ensuring the property is fully reconciled with the NLIS database. This means the devices attached to cattle, plus all devices purchased but not yet used, must match devices registered to the PIC on the NLIS database. Once EU accredited, DAFF will audit farms on a random and targeted basis. AUS-MEAT auditors will carry out most EUCAS audits at a pre-organised, mutually convenient time at no cost to the producer.

RestRictions and pRemiums

The main restrictions for EU-accredited properties is that only cattle from other EUaccredited properties can be purchased or agisted on the property. It is possible to purchase replacement females for an accredited property from nonaccredited farms as long as they are vendor

LPA Audit Checklist:

bred, have lifetime NLIS traceability and are HGP-free. They won’t be EU eligible, but their progeny will be. Bulls are also exempt. The only financial cost for EU accreditation is the EUCAS NVD book, which needs to be completed with any EU consignment. Premiums for EU-eligible beef have waxed and waned over time, but as of June 2014, they are 5-20c/kg liveweight for EU feeder steers and 10-20c/kg carcase weight for grassfed, EU-eligible kill cattle. For more information on EUCAS, call the helpline on 1800 305 544 or go to www.daff. eucas/rules


In 2013, the Pasture-fed Cattle Assurance System (PCAS) was launched by the Cattle Council of Australia. This national program aims to provide the beef supply chain with a way to prove claims relating to pasture-fed or grassfed beef production. Under the PCAS program, eligible cattle can be marketed as either certified pasturefed, certified pasture-fed and HGP-free, certified pasture-fed and antibiotic-free or certified pasture-fed, HGP-free and antibiotic-free.


Teys Australia has recently started supplying Woolworths stores nation-wide with PCAScertified meat, under its existing Grasslands brand. This move has prompted an increase in the premium Teys Australia offers for PCAS beef. During May, Teys Australia paid a $0.45/kg carcase weight premium over ‘conventional’ MSA grassfed, non-HGP steers and were offering 430c/kg for PCAS steers for August delivery. For more information about the Teys Australia’s Grasslands program, contact your local Teys Australia buyer, who can be located using Eventually Woolworths will have its own pasturefed brand as part of its ‘Macro’ range

of food, again underpinned by the PCASstandard. Other processors have also begun underpinning their own grassfed brands with the PCAS standard as the demand for this product grows.


The basic eligibility requirements for cattle to comply with PCAS are that they: • Have had open access to graze pasture their entire life; • Have not been confined for the purposes of intensive feeding for production; • Are fully traceable for their entire life from birth to slaughter; and • When consigned to slaughter, are handled according to Meat Standards Australia (MSA) requirements. Producers must keep detailed management records and documents as evidence that they comply with the PCAS Standards, and use a PCAS vendor declaration when selling certified animals. This is in addition to other relevant documentation such as an LPA NVD/Waybill and MSA vendor declaration when consigned to slaughter.


To sell introduced cattle as PCAS Certified, they must have been initially bought from another PCAS-certified property or bought at less than 10 months of age (as weaners) with a PCAS non-certified supplier declaration. PCAS-certified cattle cannot have been fed any cereal grain or cereal grain byproducts (as defined in the PCAS standards) during their life, including in any blocks, licks or meals. Cattle can graze cereal crops up to the end of flowering, crop residue post-harvest and can be fed or administered supplements approved in the PCAS standards.


To become PCAS Certified, beef producers register through www.certifiespasturefed.

Under control: Most assurance schemes require detailed record keeping of activities such as animal health treatments. Photo by: Pamela Lawson

© Kondinin Group – Reproduction in whole or part is not permitted without permission. Freecall 1800 677 761

• Potentially contaminated sites onfarm are identified and managed. • Stock exposed to persistent chemicals are identified and managed. • Staff applying veterinary and agricultural chemicals have been trained and have a current chemical user’s certificate. • Chemicals are stored securely and disposed of according to the label. • Agricultural and veterinary chemical application records are kept. • Animals within a withholding period or export slaughter interval, or that eat fodder within a withholding period, are identified and managed. • Mustering, yarding and transport of animals minimises stress and only healthy animals are transported. • LPA NVD/Waybills are used for all transactions and movements, and copies are kept as records, together with transport records and buyer feedback. and pay the annual administration fee of $200 (plus GST). Once they have prepared the appropriate records, they will be audited by one of the approved PCAS certification bodies at a cost of between $400-800 (plus GST), depending on travel costs. The accredited property will then require auditing each year. The premium being offered for PCASaccredited cattle by processors who have signed a PCAS licence agreement is generally at least $0.20/kg carcase weight, over and above the MSA premium, for MSA compliant boning groups 1-8. This means the cattle must also meet the dentition, fat, meat colour and weight specifications of these boning groups to receive the premium.


JBS Australia has a Farm Assurance Beef program that aims to pay higher prices to participating producers as consumer recognition for its brand grows. Producers are asked to fill out and sign a detailed declaration to indicate their commitment to the program, before a free, on-farm audit 3-12 months later finalises the accreditation process. The program requires detailed recorded evidence proving all points on the LPA checklist. There are then many additional records required, including dog worming, livestock culling and mortality records, evidence of how broken needles are dealt with, and details of an annual animal health plan covering castration and dehorning. The program also requires that eligible animals must never have had antibiotics, antimicrobial digestive enhancers or HGPs, have only been pasture fed (no grain or grain byproducts) and are only yarded and transported in structures and vehicles fit for purpose. Eligible cattle must also meet the JBS grid specifications to gain any premiums on offer. For more information about the JBS Farm Assurance Beef program, contact your local JBS Australia buyer, . No. 270 July 2014 Farming Ahead



Global wheat production up, but buffer still tight

Is China still promising for Aussie red meat?

he latest US Department of Agriculture World Agricultural Supply and Demand Estimates Report (WASDE) report was positive for global wheat supply as constant reports of favourable conditions through the EU, Black Sea and China resulted in increases of 1.4 million tonnes, 1Mt (Russia) and 1Mt respectively. The other major production increase was 1.85Mt in India to a new record of 95.85Mt as it continued to establish itself as an increasingly important player in global trade. The result was total global wheat production increasing by 4.58Mt from the May estimates to 701.62Mt, the second largest in history. The positive was global consumption also increased by 2.91Mt to a new record of 697.17Mt. Major increases were for feed use in China and the EU, and increased food consumption in India. The net result was an expectation of a further replenishment in the global stock-to-use ratio to 27% from the May estimate. While this is not historically tight, it is not historically abundant either, and any decrease in this ending stock number should be supportive to price. (refer chart).

uch has been speculated that the crackdown on imports via the “grey channel” was the driver behind the surge. However, Australian beef and sheepmeat exports to key “grey channel” destination Vietnam have, in fact, increased since 2011. On the demand side, a mix of rapid urbanisation as rural workers move to industrial cities; diversifying culinary tastes and an emerging middle class with higher disposable incomes; and increasing concerns about food safety are among the main drivers that have fuelled the increase in red meat imports. Demand for beef has continuously grown from only 1kg per person consumed in the early 1990s. Beef’s quality image status makes it an attractive item to purchase, despite being priced around three times higher than pork and chicken. Allin-all in 2013, China directly imported an extra 233,000 short tonnes of beef, compared to 2012’s 61,000t. On the supply side, the fall in domestic herd numbers and the decrease in agricultural land area have restrained domestic beef production from keeping up with demand. Chinese sheepmeat imports experienced a similar rise as beef in 2013, increasing 110% on 2012 to 260,000t. Imports of other proteins, on the other hand, remained relatively stable, with pork imports rising 12% to 583,000t, poultry imports increasing 12% to 584,000t and offal imports decreasing 1% to 836,000t. So is China a good long term prospect? Some might say that the current drought-driven surplus in cattle and beef availability, especially in the lower to middle range specifications, suggests China as a temporary market. However, it is important to highlight that despite the net increase in total exports, there has been a redirection of exports of certain cuts to China as result of higher prices on offer for those product categories. But most importantly, there are other structural factors which support China as a long term market for Australia. The Chinese government recognition of a future continuous gap between demand and supply of red meat for coming years, an ever growing urbanised middle class and a modernising foodservice industry regardless of China’s economic woes, all suggest a bright future in this market. Read more: cattle/analysis/china-still-promising-for-aussie-red-meat.aspx

Global stocks are not tight, but not overly abundant. The USDA report expects global stocks will increase year-on-year which was bearish.


The trouble is, ending stock expectations are moving in the wrong direction for an improvement in price. The June USDA estimates widened the global production/consumption buffer for 2014/15 wheat from a tight 1Mt in May to 2.56Mt. This remains tight but loosened nonetheless. Whether this loosens further or begins to tighten again will be the catalyst to price direction for the rest of the year. The northern hemisphere winter wheat crops are still to be harvested, spring crops are still to be grown and harvested, as are the southern hemisphere crops, so some way to go yet. There has been a lot of focus on the US winter wheat crop this year given dry conditions through the growing season, and now wetter conditions during harvest has the market guestimating where yields and quality will come in. US total wheat production dropped 0.58Mt as poorer hard red winter wheat yields through the US southern plains outweighed improved yield forecasts for the US soft red winter wheat crop. This may reflect in stronger premiums for higher protein wheat such as H1 and H2 come the Aussie harvest. Importantly, total US wheat exports were estimated to be down 6.94Mt from last season, as competition was felt from the EU and Black Sea areas. This meant that while US wheat ending stocks decreased year-on-year and now sit at the lowest levels for the last six years, the US stocks-to-use ratio managed to increase (refer chart). Hence the US wheat balance sheet is tightening but the world doesn’t require it. So what are the implications? If something happens to the flow of grain out of the Black Sea or EU area, market prices are susceptible to a correction higher as the stocks-to-use ratio would change dramatically.


Farming Ahead July 2014 No. 270





Mecardo provides the latest analysis and commentary on cattle, sheep, wool and grain markets. It analyses what’s important, delivers what’s relevant and answers the big questions. Figure 1: Australian exports to China 300

'000 tonnes swt Lamb



250 200 150 100 50 0






Source: DAFF, MLA

Source: DAFF, MLA

© Kondinin Group – Reproduction in whole or part is not permitted without permission. Freecall 1800 677 761

SoilS and paStureS KIKUYU

Kikuyu: Originally introduced from East Africa in the 1920s, kikuyu is now an important perennial pasture plant in the medium to high rainfall zone. Photo by: Morgan Sounness

Building a foundation on grass It is hard not to get enthusiastic about kikuyu after talking to Gnowellen farmer Morgan Sounness. Some years ago, when Sounness began working with kikuyu, the first thing he had to learn was how to grow it. Now he not only grows it as the base pasture supporting his superfine wool enterprise (see case study page 82), he also runs a business supplying kikuyu seed. By Jill Griffiths “


ikuyu is a wonderful plant,” Sounness said. “It’s a good pasture, providing summer green feed when annual species have senesced. It provides natural resource management benefits because it holds soil together and prevents erosion by wind and water. And it also keeps dust down and outcompetes a lot of weeds, which in a superfine wool production like mine helps reduce wool contamination.” Despite these benefits, he said kikuyu sometimes had a bad name. “The issue with kikuyu is that it’s very hard to manipulate without using chemicals,” Sounness said. “Thirty years ago, kikuyu was hard to control. “Now, we have chemicals available that can stop kikuyu. Once you can control a plant you can manipulate it and manage it. That’s the key.”

ImprovIng pasture qualIty

Department of Agriculture and Food Western Australia pasture scientist Paul Sanford agrees that management is the key to successfully integrating kikuyu into a farming system. He said research was focusing on finding the best way to improve the winter forage content of kikuyu pastures by increasing the annual grasses and legumes growing with kikuyu. “In a permanent pasture, you want the kikuyu to perform well during summer,” Sanford said. “But you want to suppress it sufficiently before winter to enable the annual grasses and legumes to grow.” Kikuyu is a sub-tropical grass and is therefore summer-active. It forms a dense

sward, which can outcompete other grasses and legumes. Because it does not actively grow during winter, its nutritional content is not as high as it is during summer. In an ideal kikuyu-based pasture, the kikuyu provides the summer green feed, and annual grasses and legumes provide the winter feed. “We have been looking at herbicides to knock the kikuyu back in autumn, around the season break, to improve the germination of the annuals.” Sanford said. “The trick is to only knock the kikuyu back enough to suppress it over winter. You want it to wake up for spring. “We initially used glyphosate to knock it back and more recently have tried grassselective herbicides, with good success. We still have a few things to work out – we are looking at different application rates and various rates of suppression to see what works best for the total pasture.” Sanford said it was a matter of watching the pasture closely as the season break unfolded. “If the kikuyu is competing too strongly with the germinating annual legumes for soil moisture, that’s the time to apply a grass selective herbicide to reduce the competition,” he said. “It is also possible, as has been done traditionally, to graze the kikuyu heavily before the season break and open the sward up that way.”

IncreasIng legume content

Sanford said in the department’s 2013 trials, legume germination from the soil seedbank provided sufficient legume content for the pasture. “It wasn’t necessary for us to sow legumes © Kondinin Group – Reproduction in whole or part is not permitted without permission. Freecall 1800 677 761

Kikuyu Pennisetum clandestinum • Tropical perennial grass; drought tolerant; waterlogging tolerant. • Originates in east Africa. • Introduced to Australia in 1920s; Whittet variety bred from material introduced from Kenya in 1969. • Growth habit – summer active. • Feed quality – crude protein 10.414.3%; Dry Matter Digestibility (DMD) 59-63%. • Control – Glyphosate provides knockdown but not eradication. Can be eliminated with well-timed use of glyphosate and fluazifop-p. into the kikuyu sward as enough legumes germinated,” he said. “Some research has also looked at summer sowing of serradella pod into kikuyu pasture. The trials look promising, with high rates of germination, and it’s cheaper to sow the pod rather than clean serradella seed. “We have also looked at sowing lucerne with kikuyu, but the two plants’ agronomic needs are completely different so it’s hard to maintain the mix in the long term. “Kikuyu and sub-clover is a common pasture mix and it is one system that works well.” Research on the south coast of WA has investigated options for pasture cropping with kikuyu. As with growing a kikuyubased pasture, the kikuyu is knocked back – usually with herbicide – before the season break, and a crop is sown into the sward. Trials have successfully pasture-cropped No. 270 July 2014  Farming Ahead


SOILS AND PASTURES KIKUYU Kikuyu converts: Morgan (right) and Debbie Sounness inspect earlysummer kikuyu pastures on their property with Paul Sanford, DAFWA. Photo by: Jean Burton, FFI CRC

kikuyu with canola, lupins, oats and wheat. Canola is a common option.


Sanford said research since the early 1990s had consistently found kikuyu could lift gross margins in sheep enterprises by increasing stocking rate and reducing the amount of supplementary feed required. “Later investigations proved that kikuyu reduced soil erosion and increased water use thereby lowering the risk of salinity and waterlogging,” he said. “Kikuyu is deep rooted and stoloniferous, which allows it to dry out the soil profile and to protect the soil surface.” Sydney University holds a collection of kikuyu varieties, grouped basically as turf varieties and forage varieties. Only one variety ‘Whittet’ is grown as forage across the medium-high rainfall zone in WA. Kikuyu grows best with average annual rainfall above 500mm but has proved both persistent and productive down to 400 mm on the south coast. Research into other varieties could extend the range of kikuyu into drier areas, but would be unlikely to replace kikuyu in areas where it was already well established. Sounness said two varieties of salt-tolerant kikuyu were sown last year at Cranbrook, with the Gillamii Centre, Morgan’s Tamgaree Kikuyu company and DAFWA working together. “It looks promising,” he said. “Salt-tolerant kikuyu could form a valuable component of saltland pastures in the future.” Other research is looking at droughttolerant varieties. References: Milk production from kikuyu grass based pastures, Prime Fact 1068, DPI NSW. file/0012/359949/Milk-production-fromkikuyu-grass-based-pastures.pdf Geoff Moore, Paul Sanford and Tim Wiley (2006) Perennial pastures for Western Australia, Department of Agriculture and Food Bulletin 4690 Weed management guide - Kikuyu, Future Farm Industries Cooperative Research Centre. Accessed online: http://www. aspx?ID=70121 Contact: Paul Sanford, DAFWA Phone: 08 9892 8475 Email: Morgan Sounness Phone: 08 9847 1057 Mobile: 0427 471 057 Email: Web:


Farming Ahead  July 2014  No. 270

Case study Morgan and Debbie Sounness Location: Gnowellen, WA Property size: 1277 ha Average annual rainfall: 400-450 mm Soils: Light sand to sandy gravel, with some heavy clay Enterprise: Superfine wool, live export wethers and kikuyu seed production

Kikuyu holds it together MORGAN Sounness believes a pasture should be multi-layered, and this cannot be accomplished successfully without perennials. He said the main layer was the foundation pasture, which in his case was kikuyu, followed by legumes in the second storey and grasses in the third storey. “If the second and third storeys fall over, I still have that robust foundation pasture and not a bare paddock,” Sounness said. “I began experimenting with kikuyu as a perennial pasture base on our sandy paddocks to prevent wind and water erosion, which were major problems. “These soils were very fragile and difficult to manage, sometimes becoming waterlogged in winter and then becoming bare, white sand, which blew away in summer.” Sounness now has about 500 hectares of kikuyu based pastures, oversown with sub-clovers. He said the stabilisation of the sandplains and the steep gullies provided by the kikuyu pasture was truly remarkable. “I once thought these areas were a © Kondinin Group – Reproduction in whole or part is not permitted without permission. Freecall 1800 677 761

lost cause but they are now productive,” Sounness said. “The kikuyu base has also extended our pasture growing season to most of the year, eliminating false breaks and providing an even base of nutrition. “This in turn has enabled us to increase our wool yield and staple strength, and compete with woolgrowers who farm under better soil and weather conditions than we do.” Since introducing kikuyu, Sounness has shifted his lambing to September, which gives the ewes the best of the spring flush to produce milk without the need to handfeed them. “We still supplement our sheep with oats and give hay during the cold winter months, but having kikuyu takes the pressure off for most of the year.” This case study is an extract of an article that appeared in Future Farm Issue 16 April 2014. Reprinted with permission from Future Farm Industries Cooperative Research Centre. Full case study available at: LiteratureRetrieve.aspx?ID=171201


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Motoring  ToyoTa Prado

The 2014 Toyota Land Cruiser Prado range adds some worthwhile updates.

Enhanced personality for local favourite The Toyota Land Cruiser Prado has become an icon in the four wheel drive market for its blend of rugged performance and premium features. Michael Cairnduff put the 2014 upgrade model through its paces.


ot many vehicles successfully manage dual personalities, let alone develop a cult following in both guises, but the Prado genuinely does. It is both the darling of the school run and the default choice as an allrounder in the bush. Toyota recently gave its mid-weight a facelift and revised its spec sheet to help keep the dealers’ sales figures ticking over, and although usually suspicious of such exercises Farming Ahead likes what they have done with the Land Cruiser’s smaller brother. Toyota WA handed over the keys for a week of testing earlier this year and whether you are in the Toyota camp or not, once you are behind the wheel of this polished performer it is hard not understand why it has earned a reputation as the default choice in so many applications. It is not that it does any one thing exceptionally, but more that it does nothing poorly – although a six-cylinder diesel option would be a nice bit of cream on the top. Why is this vehicle on so many diverse shopping lists? Well the sales pitch might go something like this: want a full size seven-seater for a larger family, tick; want a comfortable and safe long-distance tourer, tick; want a high clearance genuine off-roader


Farming Ahead  July 2014 No. 270 

with low range, tick; want a competent tow vehicle that will economically pull a midsize caravan or boat, tick; and I could go on, but you get the picture. It cuts a fine silhouette around town as well now, courtesy of the bolder exterior styling for the 2014 model year. The upgrades are, however more than skin deep – as you would expect from one of the world’s leading automotive manufacturers. Interiors have benefited from comprehensive upgrades that raise quality, convenience and ease of use, including a new multi-media audio system, a redesigned dashboard and new materials, detailing and features. Refinements to the standard suspension and the electronically modulated Kinetic Dynamic Suspension System, available as you move up the model list, have improved handling and ride comfort. Perhaps more important, even than its upgraded looks, is the fact Toyota has extended the Prado’s safety features to include trailer sway control – a system that assists the driver if a towed vehicle is unsettled by crosswinds or bumpy roads – seven airbags, a rear-view camera, and stability and traction control standard across the range. Also standard is a European-inspired © Kondinin Group – Reproduction in whole or part is not permitted without permission. Freecall 1800 677 761

emergency brake signal that automatically flashes the brake lights to warn other drivers of potential danger. Despite the advances in styling and features, the entry price for Prado has been kept at the manufacturer’s list price of $55,990. Toyota Australia executive director sales and marketing Tony Cramb said the upgrades would confirm Land Cruiser Prado as one of the most technically advanced and easy touse four-wheel drive vehicles in the world. “The latest improvements will enhance Prado’s rock-solid reputation as one of the world’s toughest and most reliable fourwheel drives, while offering the style, comfort and on-road performance that are important to customers,” he said. The redesigned headlamp cluster has been placed higher to afford added component protection during off-road driving, while external measurements and approach, departure and ramp-over angles are unchanged – safeguarding Prado’s manoeuvrability and off-road prowess. The forward-folding angle of the secondrow seats has been increased by more than 12 degrees, improving ease of entry and exit for third-row occupants. The revised driver’s instrument binnacle incorporates new tachometer and speedometer dials – Optitron displays feature on VX and Kakadu. Between the Optitron dials is a new 4.2inch colour Thin Film Transistor multiinformation display that provides enhanced off-road driving information, including new information regarding individual wheel traction control, steering angle and differential lock operation. On the top-level Kakadu, “Multi-Terrain Select” – which gives drivers suitable guidance while automatically controlling power output and braking inputs – is now operated by a dial. A fifth mode, to help negotiate rocks and dirt, has been added to the previous rock, loose rock, mud and sand, and moguls modes. Proven engine choices for Land Cruiser Prado are the 127kW 3.0 litre turbo-diesel engine or the 202kW V6 petrol engine with variable valve timing on the inlet and exhaust valves. The four-cylinder, 16-valve diesel – with 410Nm of torque on tap from 1600 to 2800rpm – is available across the range, with GX and GXL grades offering the choice of a six-speed manual gearbox or a fivespeed electronically controlled automatic transmission. Diesel VX and Kakadu grades are fitted exclusively with the auto, while GXL, VX and Kakadu are available with the 24-valve, double overhead cam petrol six and fivespeed auto.


Red and green should never be seen, til now


ut the Baxter family at Berrigan, NSW, has customised a John Deere corn harvesting front to suit their farming system. The modifications to the eight-row front also mean it can be used on their harvesters, which just happen to be Case IHs. The end result is the somewhat rare looking green front, attached to a red harvester. The Baxters certainly believe in mixed cropping, growing corn, sorghum and cotton as well as winter cereals and the modifications were made to the front when it was bought new, several years ago. Noel Baxter said they had already formed beds to plant corn in, to the tune of about 400 hectares, when they bought the front. “The front was good but it was set up with row widths of 33 inches and we needed alternating row widths of 30 inches and 36 inches,” he said. Some quality time in the workshop later, the front was ready for action and has been doing a good job in the corn, which now covers about 1,000ha. “It actually wasn’t that much of a hassle to cut and weld it back to where we wanted it,” Baxter said. You can read more about the Baxters farming in the next edition of the Farming Ahead magazine.

Green meets red: This John Deere corn front has been modified to suit a particular row width and also fit on a Case IH harvester at the Baxter family’s property Namarang, Berrigan, NSW.

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Kondinin Group members can enter the Farm Photo competition by sending in a print quality photograph or digital picture (which must be at least 1MB or bigger) along with a brief description of the photo. Please include the name of the photographer and membership number with your entry. Send entries to: Farm Photo Competition, PO Box 78 Leederville, WA 6902 or email

© Kondinin Group – Reproduction in whole or part is not permitted without permission. Freecall 1800 677 761

No. 270 July 2014 Farming Ahead




Running for cover

Karen Rumell, Wagga Wagga, NSW, captured this picture of her husband dodging a daytime shower, after adjusting the irrigator in a millet crop.

Contact Customer Service on 03 6271 2222


Farming Ahead July 2014 No. 270

Š Kondinin Group – Reproduction in whole or part is not permitted without permission. Freecall 1800 677 761

The future of spraying is here!


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The Sprayer

Strong, light, ultra-wide Pommier aluminium booms deliver outstanding performance. Available in 36.5 to 48.5m widths, they are also more corrosive-resistant. SARITOR 5500 optimises spraying results by combining the best boom with the best spray technology. AutoTerrain: boom height and stability control revolutionises boom ride setting new standards in drift management and wider boom performance. OnRate: Pre-emptive pressure based application rate control, maintains the selected rate no matter what. HC9500: All-in-one powerful, full-featured precision controller with touchscreen. No need to switch between screens.


Here is an opportunity to try these outstanding SARITOR II spraying features at a demo day located near you: • A detailed, small-group presentation on the features of the SARITOR series 2 and POMMIER TR5. • Full demonstration of the HARDI Spraying technologies, and experience the AutoTerrain difference! • The opportunity to drive the SARITOR Series 2. For more information, or to register your interest online, visit or call 1300 042 734 See HARDI sprayers at Speed, Henty and Dowerin Field Days!

“Growers who come to the Ride&Drive have been extremely positive... The quality of the boom ride is just like nothing they’ve seen before”. Dave Rogers, HARDI State Manager

© Kondinin Group – Reproduction in whole or part is not permitted without permission. Freecall 1800 677 761


 Exclusive Diesel Saver™ Automatic Productivity Management gives you up to 25 percent improvement in fuel economy and power performance  The spacious, ergonomic and quiet cab offers excellent visibility and four-way suspension provides ultimate operator comfort  Standard Multicontrol Armrest, designed with extensive farmer input, puts more than 85% of functions at your fingertips for simple, intuitive operation To find out more, visit or talk to your local Case IH dealer.


CNH Industrial

New Corporate logo

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© Kondinin Group – Reproduction in whole or part is not permitted without permission. Freecall 1800 677 761

Profile for Aspermont-Aust

Farming Ahead - July Edition  

In the July issue of Farming Ahead, Kondinin Group engineers put mobile phones through their paces in the annual testing in conjunction with...

Farming Ahead - July Edition  

In the July issue of Farming Ahead, Kondinin Group engineers put mobile phones through their paces in the annual testing in conjunction with...