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SOUTHERN RIVERINA & MID MURRAY MONTHLY RURAL MAGAZINE

JUNE 2020

Quality eggs from a local farm PAGE 13

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New boards complete

PUBLISHED BY DENILIQUIN PASTORAL TIMES 230 Cressy Street, Deniliquin NSW 2710 Phone (03) 5881 2322

Advertising Leesa Muir

Sarah Bain Kylie Davis

Production Ged Munro Rebecca Flisher

Editorial Zoe McMaugh Daniel Hughes

It’s back to work for Local Land Services boards across NSW, after the declaration of election polls in May. Elected to complete the Murray LLS board was Colin Bull of Conargo, Amanda Barlow of Mathoura and James Andrew Johnstone of Deniliquin. In addition, Derek Schoen has been appointed chair of the Murray Local Land Service. Mr Schoen operates a mixed farming operation at Corowa and is a former president and chair of the NSW Farmers Association. Government appointed members of the Murray LLS board are Catherine Marriott of Tumbarumba, Jerilderie’s Michelle Humphries, Edwina Hayes of Thurgoona. The Murray region extends from Moulamein in the west through to Tumbarumba in the east, and extends south to the Victorian border. Elected members of the Riverina board are Alison

July 2020 issue To be published July 6, 2020. Advertising booking deadline June 26, 2020. Contact your local advertising representative: Deniliquin Leesa Muir (03) 5881 2322 leesa.muir@denipt.com.au Finley Sarah Bain (03) 5883 1033 sarah.bain@ southernriverinanews.com.au

Information contained in this magazine is presented only after being carefully researched. However, there are differences in state and regional regulations and conditions. Farmers are asked to check their own advisors. FARMtalk can assume no responsibility for the contents.

Hamilton of Wagga Wagga, Paul Funnell of Collingullie and Bill Kingwill of Adjungbilly. Appointed members are chair Barney Hyams of Batlow, as well as Diana Gibbs of Wagga Wagga, Gillian Kirkup from Leeton and Elke Cleverdon from Young. The Riverina region is

The importance of traceability

Front Cover Happy hens is the secret to good eggs, according to 12 Good Eggs business owner Kate Redfearn. She collects the eggs from her free roaming chickens with her son Henry.

■ Murray LLS chair Derek Schoen.

bounded by Harden in the east, Hay in the west, Hillston in the north and Lockhart in the south. State-wide chair Richard Bull continues in his role. ‘‘I welcome the new board members, with their mix of new and familiar faces,’’ Mr Bull said. ‘‘Their combined skills and experience will ensure they can provide strong strategic direction to Murray Local Land Services over the coming years.’’ Local Land Services CEO David Witherdin said the agency looks forward to working with all 11 regional boards. ‘‘We will seek their support as we continue adapting our business so we can best assist land managers amidst COVID-19 restrictions,” Mr Witherdin said. Further details about each regional LLS, their board members and services can be found by going to www.lls.nsw.gov.au/regions.

By LINDA SEARLE Traceability has been in the news a lot recently. The current COVID-19 pandemic has shown everyone why traceability is important in controlling a disease outbreak. The same principals hold for both humans and animals. You need to be able to identify those that are sick, and those that have been in contact. This allows the tracing of where the disease has been and where it could have spread. In the case of an exotic animal disease outbreak our export markets would close. The sooner eradication is possible the sooner our export markets re-open. This process relies heavily on our ability to trace livestock movements. The National Livestock Identification System (NLIS) is the traceability system for livestock. The NLIS consists of four parts: ● Identification of land – Land where stock live must be identified with a Property Identification Code (PIC). Like humans having a registered address a PIC allows us

Page 2 — ’Farm Talk’, June 2020

to identify the home of the stock. ● Identification of stock – Different types of stock have different identification requirements. Cattle, sheep and pigs under 25kg need an NLIS approved ear tag (different for each species) whereas it is preferred to tattoo a pig larger than 25kg with the registered swine brand. Livestock identification is linked to the PIC of their property of birth. A break in this link, such as loss of an ear tag, leads to a loss in lifetime traceability. However, putting in a new, postbreeder tag will provide traceability from that point onward. ● Movement document – A movement document serves a few different purposes. Regarding traceability it helps link the movement of stock from one PIC to another. When stock are being sold a National Vendor Declaration (NVD) is the movement document used. Other movement documents include Transported Stock Statements (TSS) and stock permits. ● Transfer of stock on the NLIS database – If selling through a saleyard or to an abattoir they will do the NLIS database transfers for you. When selling privately or using online services it is the

responsibility of the buyer to do the database transfer. This step is critical to ensure that stock keep their lifetime traceability. The system requires all steps to be completed to function properly. A disruption to any part influences traceability. Incomplete traceability would delay tracing in the event of an exotic disease outbreak such as African Swine Fever or Foot and Mouth Disease. By making sure that all four steps are complete we increase our chances of quickly and efficiently controlling a disease outbreak. To register a PIC or a swine brand in NSW, or to obtain a Transported Stock Statement or a stock permit, contact Local Land Services on 1300 795 299 or visit lls.nsw.gov.au. NLIS ear tags or pig strikers can be ordered through your local rural merchant or online. You will need to provide your PIC. To obtain an NVD, contact Meat and Livestock Australia on 1800 683 111. Register for access to the NLIS database at www.nlis.com.au/Account/ Create/. ■ Linda Searle is a district veterinarian with Murray Local Land Services.


New base, expanded service Deniliquin business Truck Connections has been purchased by Purtill Group, and absorbed in to fuel and lube services already supplied by the long running family business. The combination of the services creates a one-stop shop for the transport industry in Deniliquin, and all in one convenient location on the main transport route through the town. Located at the corner of Hardinge St and Ochtertyre St — in the former Rodwells building — allows for the addition of a time saving drive in and drive out service. Purtill Group general manager (petroleum) Glenn Carr said the expansion of the business, both in size and services, is about meeting the

■ Glenn Carr, Bec Biggs and Ash Gray invite you to come and view the range at the new one-stop shop. needs of new and existing customers. ‘‘We had already moved our bulk fuel and lube services to our new base in Hardinge St, and since the purchase of Truck

Connections we can now provide a one-stop for our customers,’’ Mr Carr said. ‘‘It also means customers can pay all their accounts in one place. ‘‘When our renov-

ations were completed we realised we had a lot more floor space, so we’ve been able to add more products to our range. ‘‘People can come in for their load

restraints, signs and safety equipment, items needed for general break downs, spare parts and even nuts and bolts to do a quick fix to signage. We also have a larger range of filters and lubes. ‘‘And it’s all drive in and drive out, which is a great advantage.’’ Mr Carr said Purtill Group will consistently review its products and add to lines as required. ‘‘If you think anything is missing from our range, please let us know and we’ll see if we can get it for you,’’ he said. Pull in to to 174 Hardinge St, Deniliquin to view the range, call (03) 5881 9000 or go to www.purtills.com.au for more information.

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’Farm Talk’, June 2020 — Page 3


Murray Local Land Services BIOSECURITY

Get your

a PIC Any property with a pig - even those with a pet pig or small herd - needs a PIC. A PIC is a Property Identification Code that helps owners and authorities track their animals in the event of a: ‹ • natural disaster - fire, flood or

• outbreak of an animal disease such as ‹ African swine fever

Every block of land with livestock is legally required to have a PIC Find out more at lls.nsw.gov.au/livestock/pics For further information: Murray Local Land Services P: 03 5881 9900 (Deniliquin) 02 6051 2200 (Albury)

Page 4 — ’Farm Talk’, June 2020

www.lls.nsw.gov.au/regions/murray


Community helps drive success Noel A’Vard has played a large role in the success of the Finley High School agriculture program. Mr A’Vard, with support from Neville Sleeman and the late Ian Sneddon, developed a network of people willing to lend a hand. Their main support is helping to grow feed and fodder for the school’s livestock. Mr A’Vard said all the time and work the area has put in to help the program has been worthwhile. ‘‘We have done a lot over the years and so too have many people in our area; they are happy lend a hand when asked,’’ he said. ‘‘The school does such a good job, so whenever helping the school is mentioned to a farmer or someone else, they’re always there. ‘‘The teachers are phenomenal; it makes all the work worthwhile.” Throughout a decade of volunteering at the school, Mr A’Vard said the program has grown significantly. He said the number of volunteers has also increased, with more people

■ Finley High School teacher Robyn O'Leary, Noel A’Vard and teacher Gary Webb with feed donated to the school’s agriculture program. now giving their time to help with baling and carting hay. ‘‘The school is gifted livestock each year, so we have to ensure there’s good quality feed for them to use,” Mr A’Vard said. ‘‘Throughout the years Neville, Ian and I would work the ground, sow it and we have several farmers that

give up their free time to bale it. ‘‘We just have to look after the organising. ‘‘This year I’ve had to roll some paddocks and use others for grazing to control its growth to ensure the best quality.’’ Teacher Gary Webb said because of Mr A’Vard’s sup-

port, the school has been able to lease extra paddocks this year. ‘‘He has organised three additional blocks this year, as well as helping with all the work, seed, sowing and has also put fertiliser over it,’’ Mr Webb said of Mr A’Vard’s role. ‘‘In the past we’ve had a lot of local businesses and farmers helping with fertiliser and seed, but Noel’s contribution in the last 10 years has been quite extraordinary. It’s all donated time. ‘‘We (the school) haven’t seen a bill for any of it, except for a bit of fertiliser.’’ Mr Webb said it is this community support, and therefore community ownership, that sets the school’s agricultural program apart from others. ‘‘Our community is phenomenal in supporting what we do,’’ he said. ‘‘We have a lot of animals to feed on a small area of land, but they see the benefits the kids get out of it every year and they just keep supporting us.’’

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Ph: (03) 5881 6688 Fax: (03) 5881 3838 Augustus Street, Deniliquin Page 6 — ’Farm Talk’, June 2020


Dairy needs an holistic approach The future of the dairy industry in Australia requires strong relationships at all levels of production, according to Blighty dairy producer Rachael Napier. Long periods of low rainfall and low water allocations, bushfires and almost a decade of unrealistically discounted milk prices have taken a toll on dairy farmers. As calls for a levy of milk sold in supermarkets gained momentum during May, Ms Napier said only a holistic approach would allow for future succession. ‘‘It is a complex issue, as is the fact that the Australian Dairy industry produces milk not just for the domestic market but also for manufacturing and export markets,’’ she said. ‘‘Pricing structures must reflect the complexity of where milk is produced, and what market it is going into. Adding an additional levy on milk does not necessarily mean that all farmers will benefit from that.

‘‘What is most important is each farmer consider their options within the processing sector and regularly review these options. ‘‘Focusing on a fixed price is not the answer, as input costs vary across geographical areas, what market you supply and what climatic or markets are impacting at the time.’’ Ms Napier said given the nature of the dairy industry, global market trends must also be considered when looking to the future. ‘‘Those companies who can provide longer term certainty on pricing and contracts do assist farmers and give confidence for farmers to invest. ‘‘The dairy industry has had some difficult periods, however the more the industry works together for a common outcome, which is the profitability of the industry, the more successful everyone will be.’’ The United Workers Union, which represents

■ Rachael Napier. dairy process workers throughout Australia, came out in support of a levy on milk at supermarkets in May. It said it would ensure farmers and workers are paid a living wage, and would also enable a sustainable industry. Federal Agriculture Minister David Littleproud is urging supermarkets to voluntarily extend and review the current 10 cent temporary levy on fresh milk to other milk products, but United

Workers Union food and beverage national director Susie Allison said it;s not enough. ‘‘We have consistently called for a fair price on dairy. Asking supermarkets for voluntary levies is not enough; milk must be sold at a fair price at each point in the supply chain,’’ she said. ‘‘Last year we made a submission to the Australian Dairy Plan including the recommendation for a federally controlled functioning price for milk, tied to a minimum consumer price. ‘‘We have seen over the last few years that leaving the price of milk in the hands of the supermarkets and processors has led to an unstable and often unsustainable operating environment for dairy farmers. ‘‘The Federal Government needs to establish an independent body with representatives from farmers, processors and workers to ensure a fair price for milk across the supply chain.’’

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With tariff comes a price drop An 80 per cent tariff on Australian barley exports to China is not expected to have a significant impact on district farming. However, it will mean farmers who have planted barley will get a lower return. There are also concerns there will be further Chinese restrictions on Australian products as retaliation to the Morrison Government’s calls for an independent COVID19 inquiry. Elders Rural Services agronomist Adam Dellwo said with the tariff being predicted, farmers had been advised to plant other crops. But he said 80 per cent of the district’s barley was already in the ground by the time of the advice in late May. ‘‘After the announcement, barley prices dropped around $20 or $30 per tonne overnight,’’ Mr Dellwo said. ‘‘Fortunately, Southern Riverina grown barley is largely used domestically for

feedlots and other livestock feed. ‘‘However, it does mean all the planted barley will be sold at a lower price than predicted a week earlier, which will affect the budgeting of our farmers.’’ NSW Farmers has expressed its disappointment with China. ‘‘China is Australia’s largest barley export market and Australia is the largest supplier of barley to China,’’ a NSW Farmers spokesperson said. ‘‘This disruption causes ongoing market uncertainty when growers are in the middle of planting and will place significant downward pressure on barley prices offered to Australian growers. ‘‘Eighty per cent of barley exports to China are from Western Australia and while most of the New South Wales crop is consumed domestically, we remain concerned about the closure of a valuable international market and uncertainty for growers.’’

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■ Adam Dellwo. Mr Dellwo said if district farmers can get a good yield from their barley crops it could compensate for the drop in prices. ‘‘We are looking at a good year for winter crops with plenty of rainfall already and more predicted. ‘‘The recent water allocation announcement will also help but we will need more if we are to better prepare for summer crops.’’ Matthew Kelly from Finley

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business Kelly Grains said the industry had been expecting the tariff for the last 18 months, and so it was no surprise to many cropping farmers. He also said farmers were predicting a drop in prices anyway, given the barley yields predicted in 2020. ‘‘Barley prices, like many markets, are affected by supply and demand. This year we will have a big supply of barley with a three per cent allocation and a good season of rain predicted. ‘‘Prices were going to drop to a similar price as they are now anyway, when all of the harvested barley went onto the market. ‘‘We’re predicting an extra two million tones of barley this year compared to the previous two years of drought. ‘‘Our export of barley doesn’t just go to China though, so it is a good time for Australia to find additional international markets.’’

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’Farm Talk’, June 2020 — Page 9


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Page 10 — ’Farm Talk’, June 2020


Best irrigation outlook in three years

249 – 257 Barham Rd, Deniliquin

By JOHN LACY The May announcement of a three per cent general security allocation, which farmers will carryover, and the optimistic rainfall outlook from Bureau of Meteorology is expected to result in more catchment runoff and an increased irrigation allocation for spring. Increased allocation will allow farmers to spring irrigate crops and pastures for the first time in three years. Excellent subsoil moisture is another factor leading to moderate to high yield potential for both dryland and irrigated crop paddocks this season. Local discussion groups developed a best profit watering strategy for winter crops, which is to use irrigation water for timely early spring watering for the highest return per megalitre. Pre-watering, or watering up, is only recommended for grazing crops and canola. Prior to the last two dry years we had very high adoption of soil moisture sensors, particularly of G Dots, which aided timely irrigation decisions. If there is good rainfall in August and October we may need only one or two

Contact Les Booth on 5881 2261 or 0428 796 607

waterings on winter crops, forage crops and pastures. If the water allocations continue to rise and there is good catchment runoff in mid-spring, there may be enough allocation and cheap market water to allow rice sowing. The group farmers can’t wait to grow rice again. Although rice gross margins/ML are lower than spring watered crops, the rice gross margin/ha is high and farmers like the cash flow payments. As farmers have not grown rice for two to three years I am already preparing summaries of past season group best practices and checks to aid decisions this season assuming we are able to grow some rice. ■ John Lacy (pictured) is an independent agriculture consultant based in Finley.

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Quality eggs from a local farm Quality eggs are available in our region thanks to the efforts of a district farm. It says the treatment of its hens is the secret to a good goog. The company 12 Good Eggs is operated on a property between Barham and Moulamein by Kate Redfearn, who bought it about six years ago. She has maintained business connections in the local area forged by her predecessors, which includes supplying eggs to both the Deniliquin and Tocumwal IGA supermarkets. ‘‘Deniliquin and Tocumwal have been wonderful, they’ve been some of our most popular distribution areas,’’ Ms Redfearn said. ‘‘We provide comfortable mobile homes for our hens to sleep and lay eggs. ‘‘We have a high standard for our animal ethics, our hens are never contained and have the freedom to roam as they please, so we call our eggs ‘paddock eggs’.

‘‘We also use 100 per cent natural feed which makes the eggs tastier.’’ Ms Redfearn said the feeding process not only improves the quality of the product, but the vibrancy of the yolk. ‘‘The colour of yolks in any pack of eggs is likely to vary. Real free-range hens pick and choose what they eat. ‘‘So at certain times of the year when there is little green feed in the paddock, the yolk colour will not be very deep.’’ Recent rain has also been a bonus on the egg farm. ‘‘In recent years our paddocks have been a dust bowl, but it makes me happy to be out there with the rain coming down now. ‘‘The hens love it as well. They love running around in the mud and floating around on the water. When it rains some of them play in it while others might seek shelter.’’

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’Farm Talk’, June 2020 — Page 13


Grazing and winter crops grazed at all. Most insecticide seed treatments have eight or nine weeks grazing withholding periods. Herbicide grazing withholding periods can also be quite extensive. Boxer Gold, for example, has a 10-week withholding period, Sakura has six weeks withholding. ● Finishing Grazing: If you are looking to maximise grain recovery then stock need to be removed before the plant enters the reproductive growth phase. For cereals, this will be once tillering finishes and the plant is ready to commence stem elongation i.e. growth stage DC30, prior to the formation of the first node. At this stage, the developing head moves from being at or below ground level to above ground level. This renders it vulnerable to being damaged or removed by grazing. For brassicas, remove stock at the mid-dormant stage, about July. Livestock health issues ● Vaccinate stock prior to grazing: Veterinary advice is to give a booster vaccine, such as 5-in-1, a couple of weeks before turning them onto winter crops. Eve Hall, LLS district veterinarian in Albury, said cereal crops are high in water-soluble carbohydrates, and this puts stock at an increased risk of an overgrowth of clostridial bacteria in the gut. A booster vaccine is a cheap, simple and effective measure to reduce pulpy kidney losses during the change in diet. ● Provide a mineral supplement: It has become stan-

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Grazing crops early in the autumn provides many benefits to livestock producers. They can produce a good amount of high-quality feed early in the autumn, allowing pastures to establish well, and then can be locked up later in the winter to allow hay, silage or grain production. Before introducing livestock into winter crops this autumn, graziers need to be aware of both the animal health and agronomic issues associated with doing so. The following is a brief check list of issues to consider. Agronomic issues ● Commencement: Grazing can commence once the plants are well anchored. This is easily checked by pulling on the leaves to see whether the plants pull out of the soil or break off, leaving the crowns well anchored. Cereals may be adequately anchored by the 3-leaf stage, but it is desirable to delay grazing until the 5-6 leaf stage if possible, to provide more feed on offer. Brassicas (e.g. canola) are not likely to be well anchored until about the 6-leaf stage. ● Chemical withholding periods: Before commencing grazing, ensure that no pesticides, including seed dressings, are still within chemical withholding periods. Some fungicide dressings (e.g. Uniform®) have up to six weeks grazing withholding and seed treated with triadimefon can’t be

Page 14 — ’Farm Talk’, June 2020

dard practice to give stock access to a loose lick when they are grazing winter cereals, particularly wheat. Growth rates can be very disappointing if stock do not have access to extra calcium and magnesium while grazing cereals (particularly Wedgetail wheat). Mixing coarse salt, agricultural lime and causmag at a ratio of 2:2:1 produces a relatively inexpensive lick. Stock need to have unrestricted access to the lick to provide them with adequate mineral supplementation. Initially, you may need to increase the salt and decrease the causmag to encourage them onto the lick. Then, over the course of a few week, reduce the salt and increase the causmag until the 2:2:1 ratio is achieved. ● Avoid nitrate poisoning and don’t graze within three weeks of topdressing: When crops take up nitrogen after a topdressing, their nitrate levels can increase to toxic levels. A simple guide is to avoid grazing for three weeks after topdressing nitrogen fertiliser. ● Feed animals hay prior to introducing them to winter crops: Ruminants can tolerate quite high levels of nitrate in their diet, converting it through to ammonia. However, if they have a sudden increase in nitrate intake, they are unable to convert it quickly enough to avoid nitrate poisoning. The main risk period is when stock first enter winter crop paddocks. If they are hungry, they will eat large amounts of the lush feed, potentially taking in high nitrate levels. Feeding them hay, ensuring they are full, and moving them onto winter crops in the afternoon are two ways of reducing this risk. ● Provide hay supplement while grazing brassica crops: Brassicas, such as canola, are highly nutritious but are, however, low in fibre. Livestock will compensate for this by consuming some hay, if it is on offer, while they are grazing the canola. A grassy or cereal hay is quite adequate for this purpose. The stock will gain most of their nutrition from the brassica, but will self-compensate for

the low fibre by eating some hay. Without this source of fibre, growth rates will be lower. ● Monitor your livestock: There are a range of potential livestock disorders which can result from grazing winter crops. Cattle grazing canola can be particularly prone to digestive and reproductive problems. Careful attention to your livestock management, with a steady transition onto new feeds (to allow time for the rumen bugs to adjust to a new diet), is important. Keep a close eye on your livestock. ● Set stocking or rotationally graze: The research suggests that set stocking is likely to maximise animal productivity from these types of systems. The other important consideration is length of grazing. There is little benefit in allowing your livestock to graze a certain crop for a short period of time, and then remove them. The rumen bugs take time to adjust to a new diet. Grazing a paddock of canola for two weeks, and then removing them on to a completely different feed, will likely result in disappointing livestock performance. At least a month is required to see measurable gains in livestock performance so have enough paddocks to ensure adequate grazing time on similar crops. In summary, any winter crop can be grazed successfully, provided your management of both the crop and your livestock is up to scratch. By keeping a careful eye on your livestock, particularly during the induction period, ensuring animal health treatments are up to date and adlib access to fibre and mineral supplements, monitoring plant nutrition and grazing withhold periods, you will give your livestock every opportunity to maximise the benefits from grazing high quality winter crops. ~ Contributed by Murray Local Land Services senior land service officers Adrian Smith and John Fowler.


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Farm Talk June 2020  

Farm Talk June 2020