The Delta Agribusiness group of companies
FOR FARMERS IN THE KNOW
G KETIN MAR N I GRA kers. Smar t Bro A t n
IN THIS ISSUE: Cover Story
On the Rail
The Davidson generations
Milking it in the Central West
drumMUSTER provides Country Hope
Honour for Deltaâ€™s newest livestock recruit
Prospect | Autumn 2014
elcome to the Autumn 2014 edition of Prospect magazine.
Oh what a difference a month makes! Whilst not out of the woods yet, the significant and widespread rain throughout March has given us all much to smile about. With winter crop planting rapidly approaching, on-farm water storage under real pressure and pasture growth struggling at best… these rains couldn’t have been more timely. It would appear that about 80 per cent of the cropping and tableland regions have received strong autumn break rains. We trust you have received enough to keep you going into winter. I wanted to spend a moment discussing the approach we take in delivering you value and service. Ultimately, we understand that you have considerable choice when selecting your supplier of farming inputs and production advice. We are also very aware at Delta that we need to keep challenging ourselves to ensure the information and products we provide you are in line with what your farming business demands. It is for that reason that we work hard to deliver initiatives such as our annual Cropping, Pasture and Livestock Management Notes. This comprehensive booklet is the culmination of hundreds of hours of work by our agronomic advisory team and something that we know to be uniquely valuable in the market. There are separate management notes produced for both the northern and southern areas of NSW, making sure it is regionally relevant and focused, with a local look and feel. The feedback from our most recent edition has been universally positive and we can’t help but think it makes a real difference to those clients who receive it. As this edition of Prospect goes to print, we are drawing to a close our round of pre-crop grower meetings. Again, this is something we believe in… and have been running in various forms for many years. These meetings are designed to bring you the latest information on trial results, new products and vital information that can assist in the performance of your farming business. We have recently invested significant resources into improving the way we train our people. This training is fundamental to the quality of advice and support you receive from us at Delta. We are constantly looking for ways to improve ourselves, to ensure we continue to be a worthy partner for you in your business.
DE LTA AGRIBUSINESS
Ardlethan Bellata Burren Junction Caragabal Coolamon Dubbo Dunedoo Elong Elong Harden Lockhart Narrabri Quandialla Temora Trangie Wagga Wagga Yass Yerong Creek Young
02 6978 2128 02 6793 7416 02 6796 1428 0458 475 358 02 6927 3189 02 6882 5222 02 6375 1209 02 6886 6128 02 6386 2118 02 6920 4666 02 6792 6488 02 6347 1140 02 6977 1122 02 6888 7122 02 6971 7100 02 6226 2622 02 6920 3557 02 6382 6622
02 6342 1844 02 6343 1276
02 6382 5800
DE LTA GRAIN MARKETING
Northern NSW Southern NSW Southern/Central QLD
Ultimately we believe there is value in service, to you our clients, and it is a strong focus at Delta to present and provide the best possible range of services achievable. We trust you see and find real tangible value in these services and that they provide benefit in your day-to-day operations. So, looking now at what is a vast green landscape we see the outlook on grain pricing and sheep meat both strong and positive. Cattle prices are now improving, as well as the increased confidence on the back of those long awaited rains, we know you share in our confidence for a productive year ahead.
02 6772 0000 02 6386 2118 02 6772 0000
DE LTA LIVESTOCK & PROPERTY
Delta Ag branches Cootamundra Wagga Wagga
All locations 02 6942 1866 02 6921 9099
FOR FARMERS IN THE KNOW
Editor Rosie O’Keeffe
Chris Duff Executive Director Delta Agribusiness
Art Director Dean Kinlyside Contributors Adele Pardy of Loveography, SixtybyTwenty, Pamela Lawson & Cheryl Husband Cover Photo Adele Pardy of Loveography
Publisher Neon Media Group General Manager Dean Kinlyside Neon Media Group Pty Ltd A.B.N. 911 3333 9107 PO BOX 2059, Young NSW 2594 p: (02) 6382 7763 e: email@example.com w: www.neonmediagroup.com.au
All rights reserved. No part of this publication may be reproduced in whole or part without prior written permission of the publisher. No responsibility taken for unsolicited material.
Prospect | Autumn 2014
News from across the agricultural landscape
Delta Livestock & Property
Young’s own singer/songwriter Sami Cooke
Rural Property Sales
Delta Ag Agronomist/Consultant Lockhart
Delta Ag Procurement Manager
The tablet takeover
An industry legacy:
The rise of the Davidson generations
How The Little Big Dairy Co is milking it in
the Central West
drumMUSTER provides Country Hope
Around the Traps
A Male domination: family links in farming
Overseas factory tours prove insightful for
On the Rail
Delta Livestock’s newest recruit
Dr Paul Cusack
Delta Livestock & Property Agent
and Yass Branch Manager
Delta Grain Marketer NNSW, Liverpool Plains
and Central Queensland
Call in to EXPERIENCE THE DIFFERENCE at one of our 24 Business locations.
Delta Ag Client Vet Consultant
All rights reserved. No part of this publication may be reproduced in whole or part without prior written permission of the publisher. All material appearing in the publication is copyright unless otherwise stated or it may rest with the provider of the supplied material. The publisher has taken reasonable steps to secure the copyright in the articles and photographs reproduced in this publication. Articles are published in reliance upon the representations and warranties of the authors of the articles and without our knowledge of any infringement of any third party’s copyright. The views expressed are not necessarily endorsed by the editor or the publisher. While every effort has been made to ensure the accuracy of the information in this publication, the publishers accept no responsibility or liability for any errors, omissions or resultant consequences including any loss or damage arising from reliance on information in the publication. Neon Media Group Pty Ltd takes no responsibility for advertising content. Neon Media Group Pty Ltd (including its employees, agents or contractors) accepts no liability for loss or damage arising as a result of any person acting in reliance on information contained in this publication. Unsolicited contributions will not be accepted.
Prospect | Autumn 2014
Prospect|Hot Topics Support for farming families Up until early March it has been estimated that the drought is affecting 60 per cent of NSW.
He explained that one of the main catalysts for the support of the project was the “Burrumbuttock to Bourke Hay Run” Facebook page which has been viewed hundreds of times and was “liked” almost 6,000 times in just a matter of weeks.
The Australian Government recently announced a range of financial, social and mental health support measures for farming families. The $320 million assistance package includes: • An Interim Farm Household Allowance to help farm families with their daily living expenses. This is available to eligible farmers Australia-wide. • The Drought Concessional Loans Scheme to provide concessional loans to eligible drought-affected businesses for debt restructuring, operating expenses and drought recovery activities. Loans of up to $1 million or 50 per cent of the farm’s business debt, whichever is lower, will be available. • Additional funding for water-related infrastructure rebates. • An increase in the delivery of social support services. • Assistance to reduce the impacts of wild dogs and other pest animals and to manage total grazing pressure in droughtaffected regions. To view a more detailed list of the Australian Government’s drought support measures visit www.daff.gov.au/assistance or phone the Farmer Assistance Hotline on 13 23 16. The NSW Government’s emergency drought support funding is still available and includes: • Transport assistance reimbursements • Emergency water infrastructure grants • Rural Support Worker program • Waiver of Western Lands lease payments • Waiver of Wild Dog Destruction Board rates For further information on eligibility and how to apply contact the Rural Assistance Authority on freecall 1800 678 593 or visit the NSW Department of Primary Industries website www.dpi.nsw.gov.au To find a NSW Rural Financial Counsellor in your local area visit www.raa.nsw.gov.au/rfc To find a NSW Rural Support Worker in your local area visit www.dpi.nsw.gov.au/aboutus/services/community/supportworkers
As Brendan prepared for this next run, he was tipping it to be the biggest convoy Australia has seen, estimating that the line of trucks would stretch some 25km.
Certainty for farmers in signing of MDB Plan The recent signing of the Murray-Darling Basin agreement between the Australian and NSW Government is a step towards certainty for farmers, according to the NSW Farmers’ Association.
Convoy for a cause
NSW Farmers’ water spokesperson Helen Dalton said in a media release that although several issues needed work, the agreement did appear to contain a commitment to a sensible cap on water buybacks and important infrastructure commitments for NSW.
When southern NSW farmer Brendan Farrell decided to donate a truck load of hay to help drought-stricken farmers in northern NSW keep their breeding livestock alive, he did not realise the scope of the operations that would eventuate.
“We have long stressed to the state government the importance of achieving balance between the environment and irrigation communities and we are pleased it stood its ground until a sensible limit on buybacks could be sought,” Ms Dalton said.
From his initial idea, conjured up over a beer in a shed with mates, and subsequent coordination, two massive convoys (one of which was still to take place as Prospect was printed) involving some 70 trucks and trailers and more than 2,600 bales of hay, with an estimated value of $1 million, will go directly to our farmers who need it most.
“We’ve always made it clear that much of the water returned to the environment under the plan could be obtained from improved infrastructure in the system.At the end of the day, irrigators and water users need certainty and the signing of this agreement today will deliver some of that for them.”
“All the hay has been donated as well as the trucks and fuel, just so we can keep the dream alive for these farmers,” Brendan said.
More than 90 farmers benefitted from the first hay donation in February and 200 farmers are in the ballot decided by local rural financial counsellors for the second and last run to be held in early April.
Prospect | Autumn 2014
The basin agreement includes an additional $80 million funding over the next 8 years which will go towards developing further infrastructure and water management projects, water resource plans and other activities.
Family farming celebrated
Snowy Hydro SouthCare charity cycle
The National Farmers’ Federation (NFF) is encouraging others to join with its members in celebrating the International Year of Family Farming in 2014.
A team of Delta Ag cycling enthusiasts were among many supporting riders to join the 30 main cyclists during various stages of their 600km route through southern NSW recently, all in the name of charity.
NFF President Brent Finlay, a family farmer from south east Queensland, said family farms remain the heart and soul of agriculture in Australia. “99 per cent of Australian farms are family owned and operated… Australia’s 157,000 farmers not only produce 93 per cent of Australia’s daily domestic food supply – the clean, healthy, fresh food that Australian families enjoy – they also contribute $38 billion in export income to the economy and manage some 59 per cent of Australia’s land,” Mr Finlay said. “This year, the focus on our farmers via the (United Nations – declared) International Year of Family Farming will help us tell their story and raise awareness of agriculture’s contribution.”
Live animal export reports released The Department of Agriculture has released six compliance investigation reports concerning the handling and welfare of Australian livestock exported to overseas markets. The reports concern allegations of mistreatment, improper handling and unauthorised movement of animals in importing countries in the Middle East, Asia and Africa. The Department has determined in some instances handling and slaughter was not consistent with World Organisation for Animal Health (OIE) standards or animals which left approved facilities demonstrating that an exporter’s Exporter Supply Chain Assurance System (ESCAS) arrangements were inadequate. The Department has placed additional conditions on future consignments of affected exporters, including: • restrictions on the use of specific supply chains to reduce opportunities for livestock to exit approved facilities; • increased supervision of movement of livestock through the supply chain to ensure handling standards are met; • increased reporting and monitoring obligations to enable more regular stocktaking of livestock in approved supply chains; • additional security at feedlots and abattoirs to minimise the risk of theft of livestock. The additional conditions are intended to promote compliance with the approved ESCAS.
The Snowy Hydro SouthCare Back 2 Base ride from Griffith to Canberra aimed to raise $30,000 for the service. As well as cycling support, Delta Ag also assisted the SouthCare team with fundraising events held in Young and Cowra during the week-long journey. Since its beginning in 1998 the SouthCare rescue helicopter has completed more than 5,400 emergency rescues to provide urgent medical care and transport for people who have been injured in accidents. Each mission requires four crew members to be on board the helicopter including a pilot, aircrewman, intensive care paramedic and a doctor.
Exporters have also implemented their own measures, including further training to improve animal handling when animals are being unloaded.
To remain operational, the service relies on donations and volunteer assistance, and more volunteers and increased community awareness is what is hoped will be achieved from the Back 2 Base ride.
The Department investigates all complaints to ensure that animal welfare outcomes are consistent with international standards and ESCAS guidelines.
For more information about the service visit www.snowyhydrosouthcare.com.au
Prospect | Autumn 2014
Sami Cooke Singer/songwriter Interview I Rosie O’Keeffe
ost girls don’t get the opportunity to celebrate their 18th birthday with a red carpet event at their own album launch in the nation’s capital, but then Sami Cooke is no ordinary teenager. From participating in the Schools Spectacular and the NSW State Schools Choir to rubbing shoulders on stage with some of Australia’s most loved country music performers and being a young regional ambassador for Autism Spectrum Australia, Rosie O’Keeffe spoke to Young’s rising star as she embarks on an extensive regional tour. u
Prospect | Autumn 2014
You just launched your debut album Every Passing Minute which was recorded while you were studying your HSC. Tell me about the whole process and successes you are already having with the songs. It’s been an amazing journey because I’ve learnt so much about studio work especially engineering and mastering albums. This album has actually already taken me to Sydney to sing in competitions and I came 10th for one of my songs “Still Searching” and in the top 20 for “One Thing Left” and “You’re Inspirational” in the Australian Songwriters’ Association (ASA) awards. The album has been played all over Australia, on more than 700 radio stations, and I’ve had it played in India, America and Indonesia too. You have performed with some of Australia’s most renowned country music stars including Adam Harvey, Beccy Cole and Tania Kernaghan having first interviewed them for local newspapers and radio stations… How does it feel to have connected with these performers? It’s one thing I’ve noticed through being involved in country music is how friendly the people in this industry are, even the performers who are famous seem like they are just like you. What I find too is that everyone is willing to help each other. While I’ve been on tour I’ve had people saying to me that if ever I’m up their way to give them a call and they will support me. Do you feel the Tamworth Country Music Festival is a great platform for up and coming artists to get their name out there, especially those from regional and rural areas? I did 33 different showcases in 12 days this year and that’s massive but I didn’t see the point in going unless I did as much as I could. The festival is an incredible place and a massive experience and you need to be there as you never know who could be there looking for a singer/songwriter or to book in a performance. You get to know more about the music too. Where does the inspiration for your songs come from? When I write songs I write about personal experiences or experiences others are going through. I write it so people can then interpret it in their own way. One of my songs “One Thing Left” is about my great grandfather. I never knew him but in one of the photos I have seen he was standing next to an old chimney, all that’s left of the house on the family property he grew up on. I remember thinking how strange it would have been to have nothing left except that chimney. “Click of her Fingers” is about my brother falling head over heels in love with his first girlfriend. Another song “Still Searching” is one I wrote about suicide and the effects of bullying. I actually do an anti-bullying program through schools and this song is my anti-bullying song. Being bullied almost made me stop music when I first started, so I try to encourage kids and tell them what I went through and how I kept myself positive by gaining confidence through music. I started doing eisteddfods (I was singing a more classical style then) and I came home with awards and I just knew in myself and from my mum’s encouragement that when others said I was a bad singer I had those awards, so music really helped me to have confidence in myself. What has your anti-bullying program “Stop Bullying… Try Music” actually involved? We find it’s a really good program because we are kids talking to kids. There are a lot of programs where there are adults talking to kids and I don’t think it relates to them as much. When I was in Year 11 my brother Mitchel and I would go to primary schools to talk to them for an hour at a time. I am expecting to visit a school in each town when I am on tour later this year too. I find the majority of the children bullying don’t even know they are doing it and we can help them recognise how their actions affect others.
Tell me about your role as Young Ambassador for Autism Spectrum Australia for regional areas. I always thought I needed to try to do something through my music to help people so I’m doing the anti-bullying program and I am now a junior ambassador for ASPECT in regional areas. What I have found especially when I have been to the Tamworth Country Music Festival there’s a group of autistic people who go to watch and when I start playing they start dancing and I can see how my music connects with them and relaxes them. I’ve always wanted to be there for them and do some fundraising too. What are your earliest memories of being involved in music and singing? Is there an anecdote you can share with us? I actually started playing saxophone when I was about 8 years old and it wasn’t until I was 11 that my friends and I decided to enter a school talent quest. They all pulled out on the day due to nerves but I still really wanted to do it. I had never sung in front of anyone. I got stage fright and after Mum convinced me to go back up there I turned my back to the audience and faced the wall. When I finished I turned around and suddenly felt more confident so I sang the entire song again in front of the audience. I actually won the competition and said to Mum then that I wanted to do something more with singing and I started lessons. I was accepted into the Country Music of Australia Academy a couple of years ago and since then I have been teaching myself the guitar too. Even before I was accepted into the academy I was doing classical music and I never thought I could do it as a career, it was just a hobby. When I heard about the academy I started loving country music and fell in love with the industry and that’s now what I aspire to. It’s such a diverse genre with country pop to bush ballads, I really love it. Tell me about your rural upbringing. Until I was four years old we lived on a 3,000-acre property with a piggery but then we moved to a lifestyle property and we now have a miniature goat stud. My brothers and I used to go up and climb on rocks and collect lizards and we used to go swimming in the dam every afternoon after school. I love living in the country, I don’t think I could ever live in the city. You try to resonate with a whole lot of ages when on stage and through your cover song performances, do you enjoy putting your own spin on the classics that have helped shape the country music industry? I love older songs from bands like The Eagles, Dolly Parton and Leonard Cohen. I love challenging songs that not many others may do. I love doing bush ballads too – John Williamson and Slim Dusty. I’m naturally performing on stage, talking a lot, trying to connect with everyone in the audience, there’s so much energy and adrenalin. Lastly, tell me about what you are looking forward to the most about your regional tour and how it feels to have your music heard through your album, your website and use of social media? When the album is out and you give it to people you never know how well it will be received but many people have requested it. I remember the first time driving to town hearing my song on the radio. I was screaming, it’s all I’ve ever wanted. Hearing people shouting out my name at the Tamworth Country Music Festival this year was the best feeling. I had no clue people knew who I was. I’d never imagined being where I am now and there’s still so much more to do. I’m looking forward to continuing my journey on the road travelling as part of my tour and heading out to the really small towns and communities and everyone coming together. It’s going to be a lot of fun. Prospect | Autumn 2014
22/01/13 5:35 PM
Theirs is a farming legacy that dates back more than 140 years in the district of Young in the South West Slopes. The Davidson family share the secrets to their successful farming enterprise and reveal how a rich dedication to agriculture has extended to leadership roles in many industry organisations. u
People always knew I wasn’t just an agri-politician, I was a practising farmer.
Michael Davidson OBE
Article | Rosie O’Keeffe Photography | Adele Pardy of Loveography
Prospect | Autumn 2014
ichael Davidson OBE tells me from the outset he’s a planner.
It’s this approach and a lifelong commitment to rural industries that has not only meant success in his own productive and profitable mixed farming operation near Young but Michael has also celebrated many achievements to benefit fellow primary producers in his varied leadership roles including the National Farmers’ Federation. Our conversation began on a sunny summer’s morning sitting casually on the verandah of the 60-year-old homestead overlooking an expansive countryside he and his wife Pam call home at “Little Yarran”. Michael explains his family’s farming legacy dating back to 1872 when his grandfather bought a one-third share of 20,000 hectares of land originally known as “Geraldra Station”. He had six sons, and when he died in 1915, each inherited some 1,000ha. “This is when my father established ‘Yarran’. He was totally a Merino breeder and built ‘Yarran’ up over time to some 3,000ha. I grew up at ‘Yarran’ and was very much younger than brothers Jim and Fraser and sister Diana. I just started school when my brothers fought the Japanese and both were three years as Prisoners of War with only Jim to survive. Jim became very successful and was a great help to me, particularly when I bought out his and Diana’s share of Yarran lands,” Michael recalls.
Michael feels his real life actually began 60 years ago in 1954 when he married Pam and his father gave him his own 384ha property where he still lives. “I was slowly developing an interest in farming but I didn’t have a lot of enthusiasm for it until I got married. My whole attitude to being serious about it changed then,” Michael recalls. After he and Pam were married for a few years and bought 400ha of adjoining farmland, borrowing the money from his uncle, Michael’s father encouraged him to attend the local graziers’ meeting. This led to a trip to Sydney to the annual conference as a junior delegate and Michael’s life developed in what he says were “three separate but complementary interests”. Firstly, there was Michael’s family, wife Pam and their four children – Victoria, Susan, David and Edwina. Secondly, there was his ambition to keep developing his farmlands, buying land when it was justified and he could afford it – nearby land was purchased nine times on average every four years. And thirdly, there was his interest and involvement in other farm organisations to which he was elected or appointed.
As he continues to reminisce Michael tells me he feels happy to have returned to the farm in 1947 after completing his schooling in Geelong and travelling overseas and that he
“Fortunately these interests were all stimulating and complementary to each other. I’m proud of the fact that every position I held was the result of being elected by my peers,” he says.
Michael Davidson in the historic woolshed built in 1927
David & Michael Davidson
didn’t follow the career path into architecture which he was accepted into university to study. However, as we chatted more about the life he carved out in agriculture, it becomes evident he has actually had the opportunity to oversee the design and construction of many “buildings”, so I think perhaps, in an obscure way, he could still say he is somewhat of an architect.
Prospect | Autumn 2014
We’ve got to improve farm productivity and there’s got to be sufficient profitability in farming.
Michael Davidson OBE
One of the roles Michael is perhaps most renowned for is cofounding the National Farmers’ Federation. “It was a time when farmers wanted to take control of the wool marketing system as they had just been through the Korean wool boom and prices had collapsed. Land tenure and death duties were major issues – many farming properties forced to be sold because of the death duties applied to families when the principal owner died. These were huge issues the Farmers’ Association and Graziers’ Association worked on at the time, together with other marketing, tariff and economic policies,” Michael explains. “During the 1970s there was a growing movement within our organisation that the farmers’ interests and the graziers’ interests were aligning because of external pressures and the profitability of farming generally.” As the president of the Graziers’ Association Michael worked closely to amalgamate the state and national organisations from 1977 to 1979 which was the greatest change and restructure ever undertaken. Michael was the inaugural vice-president of the National Farmers’ Federation and then went on to become the president which also led to his Order of the British Empire recognition in 1981. The National Farmers’ Federation continues to be an apolitical organisation, which lobbies for farmers on national issues including drought, transport, research, taxation, productivity and restructuring, and Michael’s role meant he travelled throughout Australia to discuss these national policy issues. “It was time consuming, tiring, frustrating, but it was always stimulating and enjoyable, and you were always physically doing something for the farmers of this nation and the organisation itself. I don’t regret one position I was elected into. I always believed I had an advantage because I was a practical farmer,” he says.
He has also been formally recognised for his illustrious commitment to agriculture including an Order of the British Empire and he achieved a Doctor of Applied Science (Charles Sturt University) for outstanding contribution to rural Australia in 1996. He believes that despite some controversy surrounding the relevance of the industry bodies today, their continuation is imperative. “I would think the organisations are vitally important and relevant, I think there are so many issues hitting farmers today that are somewhat complicating the issue… they need to change their style to keep the pressure up in the representation of the sector. It’s become just as hard for farm organisations as farmers to operate their business. It relies on members and there are a lot less farmers today than years ago when I was closely involved with it all, to pay the contributions to keep it at a competent level of organisation… I believe farm organisations are absolutely vital. It’s a union of farmer interests and it’s a union that’s got to be maintained and projected to influence political and other decisions in the country. If we don’t keep them strong enough to do their job properly then we’ll all be weakened.” Over the years Michael has seen many developments in agriculture. “The uptake of technology, the improved animal production and quality of livestock today has never been higher in sheep and cattle, that’s because of dedicated hard work from breeders and the new style of breeding, particularly in versatile stock like Merinos, where production and quality has had a remarkable improvement. The advances of technology of soil science and being able to provide new varieties of improved pastures has been an area of progress. The advances of technology in machinery has been very important in occupational health and safety and to increase productivity for every unit of labour,” he says.
Michael recalls doing his own sheep classing and driving open tractors on cold winter’s nights with gloves and overcoats just to keep warm, as keeping his own farm enterprise productive was still a priority. “My circumstances were not the average farmer’s circumstances because I was away from the farm a lot as part of farm organisations and other interests which made me focus very much on keeping management and production units simple. I didn’t innovate with crops, I grew crops that I was aware of or advised of that were good for the area, I didn’t do experimentation. So I wasn’t a farm innovator other than I believed the innovation of tight financial management was important to me and planning ahead was always important to me. It was an important balance but I am a good organiser and planner and all three of my interests complemented each other. People always knew I wasn’t just an agri-politician, I was a practising farmer, so they knew I was aware what was going on at farm level.” Michael went on to have many roles over the years, most notably his election as president of NSW Graziers’ Association from 1976 to 1978, NSW Farmers’ Association between 1979 and 1981 and the National Farmers’ Federation from 1981 to 1984. He was also elected in that period to the boards of the Australian Wool Corporation and International Wool Secretariat. Following those years he was appointed to the Federal Government Economic Planning and Advisory Council and Science and Technology Council, as well as a director of the new Elders company, the Australian Agriculture Company, the PIBA Bank and then Rabobank. He also spent eight years as the chairman of the Wool Research CRC (co-operative research centre).
He believes a major issue in agriculture today is increasing costs and a lack of profitability in farms despite the high quality of produce and skilled farmers, and Michael feels it is difficult for farmers to be as progressive as they may be capable of being. “In recent years we’ve had a vast number of farmers determined to achieve and expand but the operational costs and capital costs being able to equip their farms for the best productivity has become a major financial issue as the margins for profitability have not been keeping up with what they would have been historically. Any negative effect like a fall in the market or a high Australian dollar can wipe out our farm profitability within one year and make it very difficult for others who are capable, positively active and determined, so the financial pressure on them is a significant issue today,” he says. Prospect | Autumn 2014
s the sun glistens through the trees surrounding the Davidson family homestead at “Yarran”, it shines upon a new generation as I then speak to Michael’s son David.
Home seems to be where the heart is for David’s 22-year-old twins Sam and Isabel who are currently studying agricultural courses at university, and foresee that they eventually will return to the property to be a part of the historic Davidson farming legacy. “It’s easy to take kids with you in the country, it’s a good introduction for them to cattle, sheep and crop production, but what I’ve always reinforced to the kids is that home is always home and that’s here on the farm, but just because they may be home on the farm doesn’t mean they have a job. If they want to be a part of the farm business they need to be trained and tertiary educated to be a part of the business, not just expect to come home and move into the family arrangement and workforce,” David explains, also adding that it’s too early to know whether younger son Charlie, 16, will choose to be a part of the family farming operation, as he has.
Isabel, Sam, Belinda & David Davidson
Overall we haven’t changed what we do, we just do it much better.
With so much experience in the industry, I also asked Michael his views on the ongoing issue of farm ownership. “I don’t object to foreign ownership, but I think we want to make sure there’s a level playing field between Australians’ land ownership and those foreign investors who are operating farming businesses. I don’t believe in rigid processes that restrict the ownership of land, I think it should be a free and open market for everyone but I’d like to see a constant surveillance of foreign investment and a full register of foreign investment above a certain minimum and how it relates to all other production in Australia.”
Michael progressively retired from the management of the farming enterprise which primarily has wheat and canola rotations, Merino sheep, first cross lamb production and cattle, some 20 years ago, leaving son David and his wife Belinda to manage the operations on the family-owned land including four employees. “Family is one thing in our business, but we also value highly the employees we have, Josh and Dick primarily on the farming and Shane and Graham primarily on the livestock, all of whom live or have lived on the farm. Their experience, knowledge, input and commitment is a vital part of the success of our business,” David says.
As we then wander around the property it’s evident despite having retired from his many roles, and the management of the family enterprise, Michael is still just as passionate about the industry he has devoted his life to. He even gives some further insights into how he would continue to sustain and build on our primary industries especially intergenerational transfer of farm assets to maintain efficiencies in farm business operations, which is another major issue facing our farmers today.
David has perhaps been influenced by father Michael’s considered approach to agriculture from market knowledge, understanding the capacity of the farm and management capability, as well as financial planning. “Overall we haven’t changed what we do, we just do it much better, much more planning and emphasis on quality and timeliness and using advisers to get the best use of chemical applications, fertilizers, animal genetics and technologies to enable us to keep investing in the farm,” David explains.
“We’ve got to improve farm productivity and there’s got to be sufficient profitability in farming. Those factors will create an environment to attract younger farmers. You can’t expect the next generation to be a part of a process that hasn’t got a rewarding and satisfying lifestyle. I am very encouraged by the number I do see now showing their capabilities. They are very active and progressive and should be encouraged as much as possible.”
After attending a Sydney boarding school and university to study commerce David travelled throughout Australia and overseas, spent time as a jackaroo and returned to the farm right in the thick of a devastating drought in 1982. “By then though I had realised I didn’t want to be anywhere else. I wanted to be home and working on the farm. The word primary production is what we’re in and the word primary is what it’s all about, being hands on with physical food and fibre production, with wool and meat and grains, it’s just so grounding and so productive, and I really am absorbed in the fact we have a very productive farm and we’ve been here for generations. I wanted to be here to carry on what our family has been doing and I think that’s been engrained from growing up on the farm. I enjoyed working with Dad too, and I was proud of what he was doing. He left a lot of space for me to come back and work and then manage the day-to-day operations because of his other interests, and we work together well. We still work together every day.”
Prospect | Autumn 2014
“The biggest change is the lack of cultivation (in the crops), from being brought up in a system where ploughing and cultivating was used for weed control. Now we have a wide selection of chemicals to do it. From being brought up in a system where seed beds had to be prepared up to their finest till to enable the seed to be placed in that seed bed, we now have a one pass operation and specialised tractors…
“There are benefits such as time saving, labour saving, fuel saving and soil structure preservation.” The enterprises on “Yarran” include a cropping program in excess of 3,000ha and a combination of sheep and cattle enterprises totalling about 26,000 dse. “Like most people we have also diversified into prime lamb production with 40 per cent of our ewes now joined to Poll Dorsets so we produce first cross lambs and the remaining 60 per cent are self-replacing Merinos, and we still run Merino wethers to keep the stock numbers up. We also breed Hereford and Angus cross calves and purchase trade steers annually.” David says livestock are grazed on a variety of paddocks from lucerne dominant land to clover and grass based pastures. “In the South West Slopes I think we’re right in the middle of where the most productive and most profitable parts of land are in the wheat sheep mixed enterprises. They complement each other – livestock benefits by cropping with improved pastures and grain and hay production, and cropping benefits from the use of stubbles with livestock grazing. The two go hand in hand. We’re also very fortunate climatically to be under a reasonably assured rainfall and also very good soil types across this district and certainly across our farm to enable us to do what we do,” David says. He comments that another investment he continues to make is in water security with surface water primarily used on the property. “Traditionally the bores here are very deep and very low flow so we’ve never relied on them but in the dry summer we’ve had the dams are almost gone so we’ve relied on reticulated water. Fortunately we do have a very good bore to the eastern side I put in eight years ago and we’ve invested a lot of money into piping that area from the eastern side to the central areas of the farm so that we have reticulated water over a much larger area with storage tanks along the way, and the next step is to push out with more troughs.” The family has also conscientiously been improving the farm through remnant vegetation preservation and has previously secured funding from Landcare/Catchment Management Authority (CMA) for numerous projects. “This remnant vegetation preservation began in 1982, the Year of the Tree, when Dad fenced about 15ha to exclude livestock. I am a big supporter of the on-farm works of the CMAs to preserve the natural land form, and give landowners an ability to achieve these ends.” As we then walk over to the historic woolshed built in 1927 which has just been extended and would soon be abuzz with shearing activity again, I ask David if he’s proud of the family’s continuing legacy and what he hopes for the future. “I’ve spent nearly 30 years getting our operations to this level and we’ve got the farm, we’ve got the structure, we’ve got the knowledge to do what we’re doing now, it’s up to the next generation to put forward their new ideas and to intensify, whether they go into feedlotting of lambs, whether they go into alternate crop production types, alternate grazing systems, try something new, something different. That’s why I’m encouraging them to be educated first so they can come back with some new ideas, and have the courage to have a go!
Michael & Pam Davidson
“There’s no limit to areas you can invest in on the farm, whether it’s improvements to cattle yards, sheep yards, fencing, laneways, roadways, workshop, trough and water distribution systems, dams, timber areas, pastures and woolsheds, machinery, it doesn’t seem to end. Investments are long term though. We’re here for the long term. We’ve been here now for five generations and hopefully many generations to come.”
Prospect | Autumn 2014
SET UP YOUR PADDOCKS FOR AN EVEN
HAPPIER NEW YEAR WIPE OUT SUMMER WEEDS WITH OUR NEW FALLOW MIXES
Set up great yields in 2014 with excellent fallow weed control that keeps moisture and nutrients in the soil through summer. Now the only 470 g/L glyphosate with Dual Salt Technology速 for improved compatibility, weedmaster速 DST速 is the ideal tank-mix partner for Amicide速 Advance 700 to control a whole range of stubborn summer weeds. www.weedmaster.com.au Nufarm Australia Limited ACN 80004377780. weedmaster, DST, Dual Salt Technology and Amicide are registered trademarks of Nufarm Australia Limited.
No one knows glyphosate like Nufarm.
OPEN THE WINDOW OF PRODUCTIVITY, BEFORE JOINING. 'STTIVJVII-RNIGXMSRJSV7LIITERH'EXXPI
Deliver essential trace minerals quickly when they have the most impact. MULTIMIN® is a multi-mineral injection designed to be used at critical times in the production cycle. One such window of productivity is the 30 days before joining. Given during this time, the minerals in Multimin can assist conception and embryo survival. • Contains selenium, zinc and manganese, trace minerals that are essential for conception and maintenance of pregnancy. • Improving fertility means a healthier bottom line. Contact your local area sales manager today. MULTIMIN is a registered trademark of Virbac (Australia) Pty Ltd.
Customer Support: 1800 009 847
Farm fresh Article | Rosie O’Keeffe Photography | SixtybyTwenty
It’s a quality of milk that can’t be found on other supermarket shelves.
The Little Big Dairy Co is more than just a business, it reflects a lifestyle the Chesworth family have lived and breathed for more than 100 years. The passionate dairy farmers explain how they’re thinking big, hopeful a new venture will secure their viability for future years amid a challenging environment.
njoying a cold glass of fresh milk that has come straight from a herd of dairy cows hand raised and grazing in lush pastures is still a quintessential vision that’s conjured up when one thinks about dairy farming. However, continuing pressures on our dairy industry, from its deregulation to price wars, are issues that have left many producers simply struggling to survive. These issues were also an influence in the Chesworth family’s decision to take the bull by the horns and establish a new onfarm factory to produce their own brand of milk to be sold direct to consumers. And, after 18 months in the making, in October last year, The Little Big Dairy Co. was born. “It’s a quality of milk that can’t be found on other supermarket shelves with a traceability from the paddock right through to when it is sold, often being processed and delivered the same day it has been milked,” factory manager and 7th generation dairy farmer Emma Elliott tells me. “Our milk is different because it’s simply fresher and it’s a single source milk – meaning quality can’t be compromised down the supply chain. We can guarantee freshness and quality. “It’s really been about the viability of our family farm and our passion to be dairy farmers and to do it well. The factory pays a sustainable price to the farm for the milk and we are able to look after our animals to a standard we believe is right. I think that is going to become a really big issue in agriculture, there’s not enough education and consumer awareness about the price they need to be paying for food. Everybody likes to think the milk they’re drinking is from these beautiful cows who are loved and looked after and I’m not saying that it doesn’t
Prospect | Autumn 2014
happen with farms at the moment, but the price is very low, it’s so scary. We’re taking things into our own hands to keep farming the way we need to. We want to continue to be active and we really do see it as an opportunity to lift for the whole industry.” Emma’s family has been dairy farming for more than 100 years dating back to ancestry in Devon in England before emigration to Australia and the establishment of a dairy farm in the Hunter region near Newcastle. Many years later in 2005 Emma’s parents Steve and Erika Chesworth moved their herd of 800 registered Holstein cows to a 240-hectare farm at Rawsonville located approximately 20km west of Dubbo and they now believe it’s an ideal location for their operation. “We can’t believe there aren’t more dairy farms here. Rawsonville is an ideal location for dairying. It’s a great climate for cows as it is a dry heat, not humid like coastal areas, we’ve got plenty of underground and river water and all our fodder farms are in close proximity so we are buying silage from down the road, and our hay and our grain is all locally sourced within 200km of our property. We feel it’s a better area for dairy farming and a better area for us to grow as a dairy farming family,” Emma says. When Steve and Erika started their operation they were milking less than 100 cows, now it’s up to a herd of 800, half of which are milked three times each day. “We started doing that when the price crashed substantially in 2007. It coincided with the dam being empty and there being a lack of irrigation water. The price of fodder went through the roof so it was a measure at that time to stay in the industry,” Steve Chesworth says.
The family believes in sustainable farming from caring for the herd to looking after their land – they plant trees, recycle effluent water from the factory through drip lines around the property for irrigation, and reuse manure for fertilizer on the pastures too. Steve and Erika’s children are now an integral part of the enterprise with Emma having returned to manage the factory after completing a university degree in agriculture and business, son Duncan helping Steve manage milk production on the dairy farm, while Campbell has been handling the deliveries before he studies at university. Even Emma’s husband Jim is about to get more involved in the operations. The cows in their herd of registered Holsteins (a breed that is renowned for high yields) are all known by name and their pedigree can be traced, having been all hand raised on the farm. The milk is bottled the same day the cows are milked and is then heat treated in the new state-of-the-art processing plant at the minimum level for pasteurised milk because of its high quality and freshness. “We have a modern set-up for milking the cows too, it’s a Herringbone 28 a side double up rapid exit and the cows are all identified in the dairy, with information displayed on a screen, so the milk is absolutely traceable right through to the individual cow that has produced it, which is something that not many other milk processors can say. We actually converted an old vat room into the factory which is located about a kilometre from the actual dairy and the milk is brought over in a refrigerated tanker. We are very under capacity at the moment though with a 2,000 litre an hour pasteuriser only being turned on a couple of hours a week,” Emma explains.
Dairy farmers Steve & Erika Chesworth
From full cream to less cream and no cream milk varieties, there’s no hidden ingredients, a statement the family has been keen to make to educate their consumers too. And the company is the first Australian dairy processor to become fair trade certified so the cocoa, vanilla, sugar and coffee in the flavoured milk is sourced from farmers in developing countries who are ensured a fair price for the products. Whilst the majority of the 8 million litres of milk produced on the Chesworth’s dairy is still sent to other processors, 5,000 litres each week is processed on-farm to be sold at independent supermarkets, corner stores, cafes and bakeries in the Dubbo, Trangie, Narromine and Orange townships retailing for $4.25 for a 2-litre bottle. “It would be lovely to have all the milk going to our factory for processing eventually. It is a real buzz to have our milk on the shelves. We also sell a lot of milk at local farmers’ markets too and that’s lovely speaking to the people who will be drinking it,” Emma says. She concedes that not only was deregulation of the dairy industry in 2000 detrimental but the recent price wars have pushed many other dairy farmers out of the industry altogether.
The Little Big Dairy Co milk being delivered
“The last 2 to 3 years have been very challenging. The influence of prices through the processors back to us is unsustainable. The milk price doesn’t cover our running costs. We’ve spent a lot of money on infrastructure in the last 4 to 5 years so we decided to do something to bring it to the next level.
Prospect | Autumn 2014
Erika Chesworth & daughter Emma Elliott tend to the dairy herd
“Another thing we thought about is that there’s a hype surrounding the future of being able to have fresh milk in NSW. In Victoria all dairy production goes for export, the Queensland dairy industry barely exists, so dairy fresh milk in Australia is coming from NSW. If there’s no future in that then the outlook for people to have fresh milk might not even be there.” She feels that unfortunately dairy farmers have been let down by industry bodies and that more could be done to encourage support for Australian farmers. “It has been left to consumers to be somewhat naïve and trust these supermarkets even with the low prices. The dairy industry’s been through a lot in my lifetime and I’m only 24… The dairy farmers who are surviving are often told we need to be more efficient, we need to get more up with technology, but the dairy farmers I know and deal with who are operating in this climate are very efficient and very up with the latest technology, because you
The dairy 18
Prospect | Autumn 2014
wouldn’t still be in the dairy industry if you weren’t. “(The Little Big Dairy Co) is looking exciting for us, it’s a last resort though… We’re trying to secure ourselves a future in this industry and we’re hoping it will give us more control over the milk price.” Not only is the Chesworth family hoping more demand for the branded milk will mean an increase in production, there are other ideas for future expansion too. “We also hope that soon we will be able to make ice-cream, it’s a good way of storing our product because milk has a short shelf life. We think everyone should have the opportunity to have our products. We think it’s pretty special and we want to share it with everyone.”
Emma & Jim Elliott
METOKEN GOLD 960 THE REAL DEAL S-METOLACHLOR HERBICIDE
Metoken Gold from Kenso provides short term pre-emergent residual control of many significant weeds in Australian cropping systems including Annual Ryegrass and Toad Rush.
â€˘ Containing 960gm/l of high purity S-Metolachlor: Metoken Gold is registered for use in many crops including Canola, Wheat, Barley, Sorghum (in conjunction with a seed safener) and various others. â€˘ Ask your agronomist about the benefits of Metoken Gold as part of your weed control and resistance management strategy.
And of course like all Kenso products METOKEN GOLD 960 is
For more information visit www.kenso.com.au
Proven pasture and cropping varieties for the 2014 season
SARDI-Grazer is the most persistent and grazing tolerant lucerne in Australia. A new variety, SARDI-Grazer was established primarily for use in cropping rotations, where large paddocks limit the use of rotational grazing. It delivers superior persistence where uneven grazing causes areas to be heavily grazed before others can be properly utilised. SARDI-Grazer is also useful in permanent pastures in the medium to high rainfall areas where long periods of continuous grazing and hay making are required.
Winter active Phalaris
Growers who have for many years enjoyed the benefits of Genesis lucerne, will transition well into Genesis II.
Advanced AT is the most aluminium and acid soil tolerant phalaris cultivar.
Selected from 68 parents within the NSW DPI lucerne breeding program through the Australian Lucerne Alliance collaboration, Genesis II is resistant to all three strains of Anthracnose and Phytophthora Root Rot, plus increased persistence over the trialling period. Genesis II offers stable high yields, good grazing and forage feed quality.
Developed by the CSIRO division of Plant Industry, Advanced AT was selected for superior performance in shallow, strongly acidic and infertile soils. A winter active variety, it establishes quickly, is very palatable to sheep and cattle, and has a low level of summer dormancy so it can take advantage of any summer rain. Also very persistent under drought conditions.
Mintaro sets a new standard in mid maturity sub-clover. Mintaro is very productive with vigorous establishment and regrowth through autumn and winter. It has improved hard seed levels which provide protection against false breaks and regeneration. These attributes combine to make Mintaro ideally suited to permanent pasture or medium term cropping rotations.
Developed by the CSIRO, Holdfast GT is a semi-erect winter active phalaris variety. Holdfast GT has a low level of summer dormancy and was selected as a superior replacement for Holdfast due to its outstanding winter production and persistence. Holdfast GT offers excellent seedling vigour so it can establish quickly and easily. Also suitable for acidic conditions.
Latest maturity spring type on the market with grazing benefits.
Early maturity variety well suited to shorter season growing regions.
• • • • •
• • • • •
New hybrid Clearfield canola Excellent standability under a wider range of conditions Mid-late maturity and high seedling vigour for dual purpose High to very high grain oil content Blackleg rating MR – R
For all enquiries please contact your local Delta Ag store. Alternatively call Heritage Seeds’ territory manager James Stonestreet Mobile: 0437 950 496 HERS0059DeltaAgNewlsetterAd.indd 1
New hybrid Clearfield canola Early maturity with the ability of extended flowering High to very high grain oil content Blackleg rating R – MR Particularly well suited to shorter season canola growing environments
4/03/14 3:31 PM
Article & Photography I Rosie O’Keeffe
Wallacetown farmer Rob Gollasch with Delta Ag Wagga Branch Manager Matt Hardy
It helps farmers clean up their properties, it has significant environmental benefits, and supports a really good charity.
id you know that by cleaning and returning your empty chemical containers you could benefit more than just the environment? drumMUSTER is donating 25 cents from each drum returned to Delta Ag’s Wagga branch to Riverina charity Country Hope which provides family centred support programs to regional children diagnosed with cancer and other life threatening illnesses. In less than three years of involvement in the community group partnership as a receivable point almost 7,000 drums have been returned to Delta Ag’s Wagga branch. The outlet has now become the second highest of six rural delivery points in Wagga – which has equated to more than $1,700 for Country Hope, and more farmers are urged to support the cause. “It’s an additional service we can provide our producers, it helps farmers clean up their properties, it has significant environmental benefits, and supports a really good charity,” Delta Ag’s Wagga Branch Manager Matt Hardy said. “It’s such a good cause, you never know when you’re going to need that charity or someone we know will need it.” This is just one of many community group partnerships drumMUSTER has incepted in recent years after increasing challenges with the traditional council-run campaigns and already there has been a massive increase in the number of drums being returned. “When farmers have realised it is going to help sick kids, they have been really keen to support it,” drumMUSTER Regional Consultant for Southern NSW and Gippsland Vernon Keighley said. “Before drumMUSTER started there were mountains of drums building up on farms, councils were not accepting them, and they were deemed to be hazardous and were ending up in piles, in creeks, buried in farm pits, burnt. The problem with that is the potential risks and residues, it can affect kids and livestock and cause other environmental issues too. Wagga has been one of the most successful in our community group concept, and it’s now growing and reaching its own momentum.”
Prospect | Autumn 2014
Country Hope is an organisation assisting families in Wagga, Griffith and Albury in southern NSW with their day-to-day living costs, whether it is mortgage repayments, rates, electricity, phone accounts, and even educational needs like uniforms, school fees and excursions. “We are looking after 155 families at the moment and it’s an emotional time for them, their whole world is turned upside down. None of these children can receive treatment locally so every time they need to go away which in most cases is every few weeks, there are additional living expenses and accommodation costs, it gets very expensive. We can’t help medically but we can take the stress out of the finance side of things and even assist with some welfare issues. Unfortunately there is a growing need and that’s the real shame of it but it’s what we’re there for and these families need our support,” Country Hope Manager Chris Blake said. There are now 107 manufacturers and suppliers of ag chemicals which participate in the voluntary product stewardship programs drumMUSTER and ChemClear with chemical users paying 4 cents per litre when they buy eligible containers with the understanding the drum will then be returned under one of the programs. Interestingly, once returned, the drums are baled and shredded into high quality granulated chips which are then sold in bags to a number of recyclers including a Queensland company which uses them in the construction of concrete bar chairs.
Matt Hardy & Chris Blake
Country Hope acts as the agency for the collection of paperwork from the six rural supply outlets in Wagga involved in the drumMUSTER project. “Depending on the season there has been more demand for the product and more returns. It’s certainly a great little earner for us and one that doesn’t take us a lot of time to look after. “We don’t get any government assistance, all our money comes from donations and sponsorships. We spent about $280,000 last year on families and it all came from fundraisers. We keep our administrative costs as low as we possibly can so all our money raised can go directly to these families,” Chris further explains. Wallacetown farmer Rob Gollasch has been returning his drums more often since the program was introduced. “In previous years you had to be at the council depot at a certain time and day, and book in, it made it more complicated and I think some people didn’t do it. The set-up we have now with Delta to bring your drums back anytime, there’s a big space to throw the drums into, it’s a good thing to encourage farmers to bring their drums in. There are still farmers not doing it and to know that a part of the funding is going to a charity in our local area is very important. We really do need to support this fabulous charity, it does a great job.” 22
Prospect | Autumn 2014
• Since drumMUSTER started in May 1999, there have been more than 23 million agvet chemical containers collected across Australia. • This represents a total of more than 27,000 tonnes of recyclable material. • drumMUSTER has 781 active collection sites across Australia. • 363 local councils are participating in the program with 89 other agencies providing collection services. • There are currently 3,388 active inspectors providing services for the initiative.
Family ties in
Article & Photography | Rosie O’Keeffe
James, Cameron, Amanda, Greg & Simon Male are all still involved in farming in the Henty/Yerong Creek districts
Whilst Neville and Helen Male grew their farming enterprise in southern NSW with succession in mind, they didn’t expect all five of their children would follow a family tradition into agriculture. With 2014 deemed the International Year of Family Farming, the Males explain how they still band together despite having extended their own different agricultural interests and businesses.
s the Male family wander along the dusty driveway of one of their properties near Yerong Creek, Simon is reminiscing about his childhood walking a similar track to get to the school bus.
A country lifestyle is one that has stayed with him and one he now experiences with his own young children, not only sharing memories, but they often get their hands dirty alongside him undertaking farm chores in the early mornings. “I’ve had them up before school doing sheep work and drafting cattle, and we all did that with Dad before school too,” Simon tells me. “I get a lot of enjoyment from the boys riding motorbikes helping muster stock. We’ve grown up in it and it’s been fantastic to bring the kids up in a farming lifestyle. You have tough periods, there’s no doubt, in drought, floods and frosts, and you do start thinking about alternatives, but the positives outweigh the negatives and the freedom of making your own choices and running your own business makes it more enjoyable.” A 5th generation farmer, Simon and his wife Melissa manage Aberdeen Poll Dorset Stud, a herd of 80 Angus cows and Merino flocks, along with a cropping enterprise and kelpie stud. What’s perhaps remarkable about Simon (and the Male family) is that his three brothers Greg, Cameron and James, and sister Amanda, are not only all still living and working in their own farming enterprises, they are all located in the same
Prospect | Autumn 2014
district between the townships of Yerong Creek and Henty, south of Wagga Wagga. “We all love it so much, I think it’s been a bit contagious,” parents Neville and Helen Male, who have now retired to the Henty township, say. Youngest son James adds, “That’s been the biggest influence, Dad always had ups and downs and got stressed at times on the farm as everyone does, but he was always positive about agriculture and I think that shone through and was why we’re still involved.” The family’s interest in farming dates back just over 100 years when Neville’s grandfather Levi Male moved from South Australia to Binya just east of Griffith and the family farmed at nearby Barellan until 1948 when Neville’s father Arthur moved to Pleasant Hills, an area with higher recorded rainfall. Neville and his brother Ken continued to farm in that district until he purchased “Glendoon” just east of Henty in 1962. After several other properties were acquired over the years, most of which now are still in the hands of Neville’s children and their families, in the early 2000’s Neville began the succession plan and the children started to manage their own enterprises. “I’m sure people would have been thinking why was I buying land so often but when you have four sons who all want to be farmers I thought it was good to be able to give them something so they could have a go. I always said to them from the start though that they didn’t have to be farmers.”
We all love it so much, I think it’s been a bit contagious. Neville and Helen Male
James, a Nuffield scholar, works in partnership with his brother Greg and now his nephew Joshua is also involved in their mixed enterprise across a number of properties including some leased country, and they also share farm other land and undertake contract work. Wheat, canola, barley and lupins are the main cropping rotations whilst fat lambs are the main livestock element with a lamb feedlot developed on-farm in recent years. “I think the fact I had a cattle feedlot has probably rubbed off on them,” Neville says. James agrees: “Dad was always innovative and worked hard. He tried different things which I think you need to do to survive in agriculture.” For Greg, it was the scenic expansive landscape surrounding him and his passion for machinery that saw him follow in his father’s footsteps. “It’s a good reliable area and I always liked the idea of broadacre farming,” he says. Even Neville and Helen’s only daughter and mother-of-five, Amanda, is very much still involved in agriculture having been instrumental in the establishment of popular attraction Hanericka Farmstay on one of the family’s properties in 1989 after studying Japanese and travelling overseas. It has not only become a popular holiday choice for city tourists, it also has a number of international visitors each year.
The Male family
“I loved growing up on a farm as a child and I wanted that way of life for my own family and others too, and that’s when the opportunity came up to move into the old farmhouse on ‘Fairfield’ and we built an accommodation facility and started the farmstay,” Amanda says. “We try and get the guests involved as much as possible in life on the farm and show it in a realistic sense as each season unfolds.” Amanda and her husband Deniz Aygun are also in the midst of taking bookings to view their new attraction The Australian Women’s Wheat Barn – a collection of farming memorabilia and historic household items also incorporating a shop housing wheat aprons, wheat packs, stationery and wheat coffee. “We are located in one of the largest wheat growing areas in Australia so we are also trying to show a history of wheat and its different uses,” Amanda explains. Interestingly, the farmstay itself actually eventuated in Cameron, another brother, in meeting his wife Sarah of Sydney, and they now live at the mixed farming property “Dalrye” just south of Yerong Creek with their four children. Prospect | Autumn 2014
William (9), Susannah (7), Andrew (5) with grandfather Neville & father Cameron Male
Simon & Melissa Male with their children Jonathan (12), Samuel (9), Hannah (6) & Lara (2)
Three generations: Joshua, Greg & Neville Male
“Ever since I left school I have loved working on the farm and the variety of jobs. I can’t do the same thing every day, I need different jobs and certainly farming provides that with fencing, building, sheep work, and even gardening,” Cameron says.
got right into cropping, maybe in too big of a way for a while, and it became risky… It’s been good to still be close to my brothers, they’re my best friends and we share equipment at times, or help out with labour.
According to Neville, there have been evolvements in the way the properties are managed over the years in the farm practices, with a greater emphasis on cropping and a reduced focus on cattle.
“It has been particularly important on an emotional level like when we were going through the drought we would go and visit each other and discuss things as we were going through the same issues.”
“Back in the 1960s and 1970s I was running a feedlot for Angus cattle and once they got to a certain weight they would be sent live to Japan,” Neville says. “We had first cross ewes and fat lambs, and the cropping has always been wheat, canola, lupins, and oats for sheep feed.” Simon explains that Neville’s management of the properties has influenced this new generation, even though all five children have different individual enterprises. “Dad’s was always a mixed operation – cattle, sheep and crop – and I think that’s what has helped us in recent years when we 26
Helen & Neville Male with Joshua, Dianne & Greg
Prospect | Autumn 2014
It’s a sentiment all brothers agree with. “The greatest thing is the friendship I have with my brothers still. We’ve gone our separate ways, but we’ve still stayed close,” Cameron says. James adds: “I am proud we’re all still involved in the farm. It’s not as though it’s just been a big farm that’s been handed down, it’s always been built up and we’ve all had to take a fair bit of our own risk too and it certainly hasn’t been easy. Family’s most important to us and we still work together when we need to.”
10/12/13 3:21 PM
Global outlook Delta teams tour leading supplier operations
rise in food consumption in developing countries will signal a demand for agricultural commodities and increase pressure on phosphorous based fertilizer supply worldwide over the next few years, according to a leading global economist.
manufacturing plant where it is turned into a granular form to then be exported to Australia. It’s been good to get an idea of the supply chain and the length of it especially with this demand for agriculture going to increase and fertilizer supply likely to become more limited and expensive,” Barry said.
Delta Ag’s Fertilizer Business Manager Barry Alcorn swapped our scorching hot summer for freezing temperatures in the United States to discover this insight and many other agricultural outlooks through a tour of fertilizer production plants Koch Fertilizer and The Mosaic Company, and a series of seminars featuring various industry experts.
He said the visit to Koch Fertilizer in Wichita in Kansas was also enlightening, with the global headquarters housing 3,500 employees and trading an impressive 90 million tonnes of fertilizer worldwide.
“The session with Vikram Mansharanani, a global equity investor and lecturer at Yale University, was quite interesting in that he mentioned an expected middle class boom in emerging nations. Half of the world’s population as we know it now are below the poverty line but in the next 10 years with the increase in technology he believes they will become middle class and this global consumption boom is likely to have an unprecedented effect on a wide range of commodities including food, fuel and precious metals. So the outlook for agriculture in the next 5 to 10 years is looking positive, but then global and economic unrest could change that as well as global food production,” Barry said.
Barry believes that forward ordering of fertilizer is going to become imperative to guarantee supply particularly for Australian farmers.
The need for education, entertainment, defence and health care is also tipped to escalate with the rise of middle class population, and more foreign investment in agricultural land in Australia is foreseen for foreign countries looking for food security, with increasing pressure for the largest fertilizer manufacturing plants that import to our regions. He said building connections with foreign fertilizer companies is important especially when ongoing economic pressures on our own businesses mean we rely more on imports. One of the tours Barry experienced was at leading ammonium phosphate manufacturer and one of Australia’s key suppliers The Mosaic Company’s mine in Florida which spans some 22,000 hectares. This was the first time Barry has travelled to the United States to view fertilizer operations having previously visited China, and he said it was beneficial to tour The Mosaic Company’s expansive enterprise including its mine with massive machinery including 17 operational bucket loaders each worth $1.2 billion. “We looked at what happens when the phosphate is taken out of the ancient sea bed, to then be transported 60 to 70km to a 28
Prospect | Autumn 2014
Delta’s Barry Alcorn tours The Mosaic Company’s mine in Florida
“Fertilizer suppliers used to be able to bring product in and sit it in ports or warehouses and buyers would purchase as needed but with greater transparency in markets because of the advent of technology and access to information the market is now much more transparent around the world. They are now not prepared to risk products sitting in a port but would rather sell it to countries with rising demand rather than sit on idle stock. These manufacturers need firm orders to minimise risk particularly from Australia as there are emerging countries with higher demand where they can sell the product rather than hold.
“So in years to come I believe that if we don’t put our hand up early we won’t get fertilizer into Australia. Normally forward buying guarantees supply for the season and the price is locked in.” Barry said American farmers have become accustomed to the forward buying process and now purchase nitrogen up to 18 months ahead of time at a fixed cost which they can then offset with forward grain sales. He said there are also differences with agricultural retailers in the United States, with liquid fertilizers forming a larger part of the market due to the availability and locations of nitrogen manufacturers. Agronomists and other technical staff largely handle the distribution and application of chemicals and fertilizers so consumers rarely need to enter the retail sites. Delta’s Barry Alcorn travelled abroad to gain an insight into fertilizer production
“Farmers in America are doing very well at the moment. It’s very positive over there and there’s plenty of money. Our biggest challenge is that we are on the other side of the world and we’ve got to import fertilizer relying on exchange rates and shipping costs and then having to export our produce which definitely takes a lot of the cream out of the operation,” Barry concluded.
ate last year, a group of Delta representatives also took flight to tour the manufacturing and entrepreneurial innovations of Kenso agrochemical and fertilizer operations in Malaysia. The strict policies and quality control of the expansive familyowned factory in Kuala Lumpur has enabled this Delta team to be able to give further assurances on product applications right through to the farm paddock when recommending the products for use. “We looked at the warehouse and distribution processes, regimes and quality control. It’s great to have those insights and when you look at the strict policies it does give the confidence that the product is first-class,” Lockhart’s Branch Manager John Fox said. John was one of 11 Delta representatives who toured the operations, with Chris Brown, Matt Hardy, Dan Fisher, Simon Forsyth, Steve McClymont, Kevin Holt, Bruce O’Hara, John Fisher, John Pattinson and Gerard Hines, also embarking on the trip. “The company is impressive and open to new ideas. There has been diversification into other things, not just rural supply products but foods and oils as well,” Harden Branch Manager John Fisher said. And the Delta management group were not the only ones to walk away with some massive insights into the factory which is set on a number of hectares and includes a massive storage and distribution site. Apparently Gerard Hines and John Pattinson may have had many taking notice as they literally cracked the whip over there – choosing to present their Kenso hosts with a genuine handmade Australian stock whip as a special gift. Prospect | Autumn 2014
Prospect|On the Rail
ON THE RAIL WITH
Harry Unthank Delta Livestock and Property trainee
Interview & Photography | Rosie O’Keeffe
Meet Harry Unthank.
At just 19 years of age and less than a year on the job as Delta Livestock & Property’s newest recruit, he was recently bestowed the honour of Wagga’s most promising young livestock agent. The Bruce Shepard Memorial Award recognises the enthusiasm, dedication and talents of upcoming agents, and is judged annually by senior livestock representatives who are a part of the Wagga Associated Agents group. Firstly, tell us how it feels to be recognised in this way after such a short time? It’s a bit humbling. I was a bit embarrassed about it at first but it’s good to get a bit of recognition with what I’ve done over the past year and how I’ve been interacting with people. I was actually lucky enough to have my father and grandfather there when it was presented to me at the Wagga agent’s Christmas party so that was nice too.
What does your traineeship with Delta involve? I am working full-time, and then I do study on the side as well which is like bookwork, reading through information and answering questions, but a big part is the practical work.
Speaking of your family, you are actually a 3rd generation livestock agent. Was it a career path you always envisaged and do you have any memories of being amongst livestock auctions from an early age? It was something I always considered and something I enjoy doing as well. When I got the opportunity from Delta (having applied for the job while still at school in 2012) I really looked into it and thought it was the perfect job for me with new people to learn from. I had always thought it was something I wanted to do growing up.
I do a lot of clerical stuff like organising the sale bags, getting the numbers up, sending the draw out to everyone. On cattle sale days I organise the bulls and the calves and over the hooks cattle – ones that can’t go through the rings so we send them on to Monbeef at Cooma. I do a little bit of selling at clearing sales, running the sheets and calling bids. I sell some bulls and calves to get practice too. Auctioneering is something I’d like to do more of and I really enjoy it when I feel like I’m doing it well. I think there’s a lot of training and practice involved though. It takes a lot of concentration and you’ve got to get your voice right first. It’s also about being smart, knowing the values and knowing how to read people, I reckon it will eventually come to me.
I actually have many memories of being with my cousins getting into the saleyards at Wodonga and enjoying ourselves to a degree, before getting yelled at by my dad and uncle a fair bit. (Laughs) Certainly every chance I got in the holidays I’d try to go and help Dad out in the yards.
I’m still very much learning the trade. Des (Makeham) and a couple of the other guys have taken time off here and there and I’ve been able to look after their business which I’ve really enjoyed. The phone never stopped ringing though! (Laughs)
Prospect | Autumn 2014
You work with some very experienced agents in the Delta team… Do you feel Delta is committed to developing new talent? I think everyone does a good job putting time into it. All the senior guys in our company have plenty of time for you and they treat you like you have their experience, they don’t discriminate. Some places you hear of in the livestock game it’s like a habit or tradition to treat the young guys pretty hardly and make them earn their place but Delta seems to nurture young guys and put you in the deep end a little bit which I think really helps you. What’s the most important thing you have learnt on the job so far? To show respect to people and how to interact with them full stop. To be professional about what you do, get down to business when you have to, and be alert. Interacting with people is a very big part of the job, knowing how to deal with different people and addressing their needs to help them out with what they want to do. What do you love most about the job? It sounds strange, but the camaraderie. Working with the guys on sale days and doing the hard yards with the guys, I enjoy that, and when the day comes to an end. You build some good friendships around here and you work with some good people and I really like that. Do you have a particular interest in either sheep or cattle? There’s a lot of people that are more into one side than the other and I think you have to have an understanding of all of it. I think probably the sheep side I’ve gotten a lot more interested in since being in this role. I was probably more interested in cattle when I started, but I enjoy the sheep sale days now more than cattle and overall it’s an exciting game I reckon. Most of the sale day insights you have are from being a part of a team selling in Wagga. Do you think the livestock marketing centre itself there is a great facility to help newcomers to the industry gain experience? I reckon it’s one of the biggest in the world and one of the best in the way the sale is run. It’s one of the best places you can ask to work in this sort of business, even the cattle are run a bit differently nowadays to everywhere else in the way they come through the ring and all the buyers sit down, but for both cattle and sheep it’s a great place to work and it can get you ready for anything. There are not many other saleyards to work in the livestock game that are bigger than Wagga. Lastly, do you have any interests outside work? I’m pretty keen on my football – I’m a Collingwood supporter. I like getting down to Melbourne to watch games. I don’t mind fishing and a quiet beer with mates. I have tried to play footy all my life but I’ve thrown the towel in now, I’m a much better watcher than I am a player. (Laughs) Prospect | Autumn 2014
Prospect|Viewpoint Livestock Health
Delta Ag Client Vet Consultant
Delta Livestock and Property Agent, and Yass Branch Manager
Dr Paul Cusack
Donâ€™t stop supplementary feeding too soon
Livestock markets tipped to heat up as weather cools down
ost classes of livestock throughout the region have been supplementary fed during much of summer, with the supplement providing the majority of the animalsâ€™ energy and protein requirements in some cases. The most important take-home message from this column is not to stop supplementary feeding too soon. After months of expense and effort feeding stock, the temptation is to breathe a sigh of relief and to stop feeding as soon as the seasonal break occurs. However, to maintain animal production in the short term, and to achieve greater annual production in the longer term, it is essential to continue supplementary feeding until substantial pasture herbage mass is available ie. at least 1,200 to 1,500kg DM/ha available, or a dense pasture sward at least 30 to 50mm high. In the absence of supplementary feeds, stock turned onto fresh pastures with less available dry matter are unable to meet their daily energy and protein requirements from the watery feed (as low as 11% DM) in the available grazing time. This problem is exacerbated by the potential for the high soluble carbohydrate and low fibre lush feed to cause ruminal acidosis, which reduces the energy yield from the rumen fermentation. Therefore, we use the high substitution rate of supplementary feeding to effectively reduce the stocking rate to allow the new pasture growth to achieve a sufficient herbage mass so that stock can meet their requirements and will not suffer from rumen upset. If grain is being fed, the calcium and magnesium provided by the grain mix (assuming 1% limestone or CalMag is added) will make good the shortfall of these minerals in the new pasture growth, which is worse on grass dominant pastures. Whole cereal or legumes conserved as hay or silage will have a similar effect, and the fibre provided by the roughages will assist with the maintenance of rumen health as stock ingest a greater proportion of their requirements in the form of pasture. Management of the transition onto lush new pasture growth also applies to stock that have been fed complementary feeds (eg. urea-molasses, corn steep liquor) to drive consumption of dry feed residues over summer. When fresh pasture growth becomes available there is a dramatic drop in consumption of the complementary feed and the dry residues (which are now rapidly deteriorating due to fungal growth after rain) and the stock are unable to meet their requirements off the watery pasture regrowth. In this case, the strategy to maintain production is to move onto short-term supplementary feeding to bridge the gap in stock requirements, just as we would if we had previously been supplementary feeding. The importance of this management practice was identified with 6 week reweighs of steers that grew at 0.7 kg/hd/d over summer on dry residues with urea-molasses, but which then lost weight with the break in the season. Putting the same kg LW on an animal twice is rather expensive. When pasture regrowth and grazing cereal herbage mass is sufficient to meet and exceed livestock requirements, utilisation of these feed resources and animal production can be maximised by providing rumen buffers/alkalinisers Âą ionophores (Nutri-lifta, CalMag) to ensure calcium and magnesium requirements are met and to prevent ruminal acidosis.
Prospect | Autumn 2014
ell what a start to autumn in the Central West and Southern Tablelands of NSW. Each rain event has been patchy with falls of 10 to 80mm recorded, a little more in places in isolated events. Most of Queensland and northern NSW only received patchy storms which will not help their plight. With the ground still warm pastures are moving and producers are planting crop and spreading super to boost their feed stocks for winter. Not only has the rain lifted spirits in the bush, it has significantly put upward pressure on livestock markets. Firstly, the lamb market has really kicked along with export processors and supermarkets releasing forward contracts up to $6/kg out to the end of June for 18kg to 25kg trade lambs. Heavy lambs have made $170 to $180 per head in physical markets such as Wagga, Forbes and Cootamundra. Store lambs are in demand as crops will mature early. This indicates a very strong winter selling season for lamb. The sheep market has also risen on the back of short supply due hugely to the sell offs over the summer. Prices ranging from $2.40/kg for light sheep to $3.00/kg for heavy mutton are being seen in the marketplace. Processors will have trouble finding sheep for slaughter as we move into winter and the physical marketplace seems to be the place to sell when demand is so high. The only downside to the sheep and lamb market could be skin prices. The Chinese government is in the process of rationalising its skin industry and is looking to take out a significant number of smaller operators reducing the number of players by approximately 80%. Since the announcement skin prices have been unstable varying by between $2/hd and $5/hd, with larger price fluctuations most notable on shorter skins.There has been increased activity on AuctionsPlus in all grades of sheep, lambs and cattle. The sales success rate is at approximately 85%. The cattle market has been a lot slower to recover than the sheep and lamb market, but will get very strong leading into winter. Although cattle are in plentiful supply in the south and central parts of the state there are few heavy fat cattle on the market. With the tough season we have just experienced most cattle are weighing 50kg to 60kg behind normal years and I can see positive upsides in heavy cattle. In fact some major feedlotters have started to take heifers to put on feed to boost their winter slaughter numbers and sure up supply. Cows are a little more plentiful at the moment as weaning is taking place but numbers will drop off over the next month as producers sell off surplus stock to conserve feed. Females PTIC will be in demand as a lot of joined heifers were slaughtered this year, and a huge cow kill in Queensland will create a large demand when it rains up there. The weaner cattle market has opened strongly in the south with reports of sales for Angus steers ranging from $2.20 to $2.60/kg and Heifers making between $1.50/kg and $1.70/ kg. Most of the buyers were from the Central West and western NSW where the rain fell. In summary, the marketplace for all grades of livestock looks very buoyant. With supply short both processers and producers wishing to restock will have to compete strongly to secure their needs as the season progresses. When purchasing your livestock make sure your genetics are right and that you have a specific market in mind as some processers have very tight specifications and grids, and large penalties if you miss the mark.
Delta Grain Marketer NNSW, Liverpool Plains, Central Queensland
Delta Livestock & Property Rural Property Sales
Drought dominates East Coast grain markets
Planning and presentation the key to selling success
ot a lot has changed in grain markets since our last report. Grain prices remain strong across the Eastern Seaboard kept aloft by some of the driest conditions seen in northern NSW and south east Queensland over the past 50 years. This has only exacerbated the already very tight feed grain balance sheet adding nothing to carryout and leaving. Markets have responded with higher values for wheat and barley to such an extent that there is very little difference in delivered prices between all grains. Wheat grade spreads in northern NSW/Queensland are also non-existent with exporters unable to compete against the local short. Darling Downs Feedlot and Brisbane Poultry markets are the epicentre of both consumer and trade demand. Adding further pressure to prices has been the failure of the sorghum crop in northern NSW/southern Queensland. Early crops have been of very poor quality, battling low test weight and screenings between 10 and 35%. Some crops have failed to the extent that growers on the Liverpool Plains are looking at bailing sorghum for hay which is unheard of in a generation. Grower washouts and the poor quality have forced most consumers to swap out of the red grain and increase mainly wheat in the ration. The pull through effect of this has seen wheat and barley being sourced from as far south as the Victorian border to satisfy demand. As I write this article rain has fallen over much of northern and central NSW (25 to 40mm) which is welcome but a long way from making up the deficit required to see a decent winter crop planted. Basis is over $80/mt and there is potential for more upside if we do not get enough rain to plant.
hese past few months of my work have been interesting in a sense of the mixed interpretations of the public’s view as to where the property market seems to be at. Client feedback for the first time in 3 to 4 years has been mostly positive with regards to buying and selling, with results sparking much needed confidence. Buyers who have been searching for that perfect property over the last 12 months, have been seen to be taking the plunge and purchasing before the market gains any further momentum, particularly in the mixed farming category. In the summer months when the rural market is deemed quiet, results for spring campaigns have delivered. From mid December 2013 up until now, enquiries and inspections have been well above average, especially in eastern grazing properties and smaller lifestyle holdings. Buyers have enjoyed viewing properties in their current seasonal state. If the property ticks the boxes then it has been selling and selling well.
This includes: a) Good water (particularly dam levels holding) b) Reasonable ground cover (given rainfall has been minimal) c) Excellent presentation/minimum work to be done post settlement (ready for the new occupier to move in and get on with it)
As a seller, to be that place that has the edge over the rest, excellent presentation and minimum work expected post settlement is what differentiates from getting a result or having buyers giving selling agents an endless list of costs that they have to incur. Therefore vendors will have more money in their pockets. Over the past 12 months Jim Guilfoyle and I have found that our vendors have benefited most greatly from detailed planning when selling properties. Our most successful results have come from early consultations. Such meetings are beneficial to get an understanding of buyer’s expectations especially when it comes to presentation. In the early stages of buying it also pays to book an appointment and disclose your criteria and exactly what you are after. Buyers will benefit from getting an insight into exactly what is on the market or about to be released, with off market transactions happening regularly.
Looking forward we suggest that the feed grain complex will remain the “main game” until a significant drought breaking rain event occurs. New crop East Coast multi grades are starting to reflect the “risk on” feeling of both the domestic consumer and trade with current levels approaching $30/mt over CBOT December futures. In a normal season this should be $15/mt under. For growers in southern NSW and Victoria capturing some of this basis is appropriate if soil moisture allows. Those located in the north will have to wait and see if the weather turns their way.
I’m keeping a reasonable level of optimism for the upcoming autumn season as we are seeing in particular family businesses looking to expand their operations. Higher rainfall areas east and south of Wagga seem to be the flavour of the month as well. Remember the key to success is first class presentation and months of planning and preparation. Feel free to contact the rural sales team at any time for an initial confidential consultation at no cost. Prospect | Autumn 2014
Agronomist/Consultant, Delta Ag Lockhart
Delta Ag Procurement Manager
Consider new products and technologies to optimise productivity
eNtrench to protect early season nitrogen application
t has been a very long, hot, dry summer.
For the most part though this has been bearable in the south as it has given croppers a chance to give the boomspray a rest. Delta’s agronomy team has been busy in preparation for the 2014 season with the Crop Pasture and Livestock Management Notes now released along with various pre-cropping meetings taking place for our clients. With recent good early autumn rains received in the NSW Central West and the forecast of further rainfall in the south the onset of stubble weed management and the planting of various forage crops including dual purpose cereals and canola will be seen. There are some new developments for growers this season in terms of products and technologies that I would encourage you to consider. Latrobe is a new barley variety released for this season. It appears to be agronomically similar to the very successful Hindmarsh variety and it is currently being assessed for a potential malt accreditation that would make it a valuable option for barley growers.
new product to protect early season nitrogen application and thus optimise yield and quality of grains was recently launched onto the Australian market. eNtrench™ is a nitrification inhibitor marketed by Dow Agrosciences for use with nitrogen based fertilizer. Nitrification inhibitors reduce the bacterial conversion of ammonium nitrogen to nitrate nitrogen. This will retain more soil stable and usable nitrogen (ammonium) in the root zone of crops for use at key crop yield determining growth stages, whilst minimising losses due to volatilisation, leaching and denitrification. eNtrench has been studied and commercially used since the late 1960s in the United States (called N Serve), particularly in the corn industry where high rates of applied N are required in their high yielding crops. A similar situation is arising in our southern farming systems, whereby applied nitrogen rates have climbed as soil N reserves have been depleted as a consequence of a predominant canola/wheat rotation.
There has been considerable ongoing research into improving water use efficiency with longer season wheat varieties. Lancer is a new release from the wheat breeders of Pacific Seeds – it is a slow maturing wheat variety that looks to take on from Bolac. It has displayed good grain quality with low screening and has a compact growth habit improving its harvest index. From a variety maturity spread, Lancer would fit into a planting window after Wedgetail and prior to popular varieties like Gregory, Suntop and Spitfire for example. There is again a range of canola variety options. It’s important to remember the main reasons we adopt new canola varieties which are to keep good plant resistance levels to Blackleg disease along with reliable yield and oil characteristics. There is a new herbicide management canola package with the introduction of a new Roundup and triazine tolerant variety system from Pacific Seeds. This system provides an improvement of control of later germinating weeds, particularly Wild Radish. There is continued expansion of the specialty canola oil market with attractive premiums and marketing options for Monola from Nuseed and high oleic specialty oil Victory varieties from AWB. Sakura pre-emergent herbicide from Bayer worked very well locally for management of difficult ryegrass populations in wheat. Sakura also provides useful activity on phalaris, barley grass, silvergrass and toadrush. It has a flexible use pattern that allows for mixing with knockdown herbicide and incorporation by sowing up to 3 days after application. Boxer Gold from Syngenta has a new use pattern registration with a split rate application prior to sowing and post sowing in the hope to provide improved plant row weed control. As always consult herbicide labels for specific uses, directions and restrictions. Plenty of information is available through your Delta/LFR agronomy advisor in the lead up to cropping and through the season to help you choose the best options for productivity and return on investment in your cropping operation. 34
Prospect | Autumn 2014
The best response to eNtrench is expected to be in seasons that have enough rainfall to create significant leaching events and/or soil saturation where soils become waterlogged and nitrogen is lost through denitrification, however some improvements have still been observed in lower rainfall environments. Early season application of eNtrench is critical to maximise wheat development. By applying eNtrench at seeding (mixed with liquid fertilizer or applied in the same seeding zone as granular fertilizer) or as an early post emergent application with a liquid nitrogen product, eNtrench will ensure that there is an available and stable source of nitrogen for the crop at key growth stages. Since the release of eNtrench the Delta/LFR agronomy team has conducted various trials under different use patterns to determine the auditability and economics of using the new product under Australian conditions especially in the southern regions. For more information on how to protect your nitrogen application using eNtrench contact your local Delta/LFR agronomist/farm consultant.
Putting confidence back into grain protection • Three modes of action, controls all insects • Long acting for 9 months protection • Store seed with confidence • 24 hr WHP maximises marketing flexibility • Not for use in Western Australia For more information call 1800 700 096 www.dowagrosciences.com.au * Registration Pending
Confidence in a drum Solutions for the Growing World ® ™ Trademark of The Dow Chemical Company (“Dow”) or an affiliated company of Dow This product is not registered; however an application for registration has been made to APVMA. An interim permit has been issued and use can occur according to the proposed label for the registration application and under the conditions of Permit 14362
Operations Manager Youngtel Solutions Ph: 02 6382 6842 | www.youngtel.com.au
The tablet takeover Tablet computers are now ubiquitous and last year outsold Laptop PCs for the first time. In 2010 with the launch of the original iPad we did not know just how popular these devices would become and now there is a large range of devices and operating platforms to choose from. There are 3 operating systems – Apple IOS, Google Android and Windows RT and all tablets do mostly the same things. They come in a range of sizes – 10”, 7”, and the emerging “Phablet” size – a very large screen phone or a small tablet. I believe Apple and Android have the most applications and Windows has the best “Office” integration. I use my Tablet – an Apple iPad – almost exclusively at work these days, only turning on my laptop to crunch some data in Excel or do a flyer in Word and I thought I’d explain some of the reasons why. • It’s always on – I don’t have to wait for it to boot up and it lasts all day on an overnight charge. • I have added a Bluetooth keyboard to make typing easier. • It has a Telstra Mobile Broadband Sim so I can access the internet in more places without WiFi. • I can access all my emails, contact lists, banking and other important information. • I can access data I have placed in my “Dropbox” account – manuals, diagrams, meeting minutes and business papers. • My customers can sign directly on my iPad when I complete an onsite job and credit card payments can be accepted through the use of a PayPal account.
Prospect | Autumn 2014
• When I am quoting onsite I can take photos, record voice memos or write notes and sync these with “Evernote” so I can refer to them later. This could also be relevant in the farm paddock if needing to refer to tasks and maintenance later. • I can video call customers using facetime, skype or viber and see what they see when trying to troubleshoot a cable connection at a remote location, again I believe which could have benefits to farm managers and employees in the field. • It’s smaller than a laptop and less obtrusive. Not only are there significant benefits from tablet computers in working environments, there are many features for leisure too. • I can watch Foxtel Go, Youtube, ABC Iview and the other TV stations catch-up services (this is also great for children’s shows). • Play all types of games, read e-books and listen to streaming radio. • I have it connected to our Xbox and Western Digital Live TV media players which allows me to throw the screen content from the iPad to our TV, and type on the iPad like a wireless keyboard. I even use it as a remote control for our Telstra TBox. Having a tablet has made my work and life easier and I believe it could also have significant benefits for your farming businesses. You can view the full range of Samsung and Apple tablets at our Telstra stores in Dubbo, Parkes and Young and plans available on many models including the iPad mini and Air, Samsung Galaxy Tab 3 and Galaxy Note 10.
Around the Traps Pre-cropping season meeting Dubbo 20 February 2014
Photography: Cheryl Husband
Neil Burrell, David Strahorn, Tim Cox & Stewart Burrell
Warren Landsey, Rob Agnew & John Coaker
Peter Hyland & Terry Cornish
Kent Lummis, Tom Weston & Gary Weston
Scott Voughan & Scott Stevenson
Phil Clark, Tony Strahorn & Tim Condon
Chris Duff, Graeme Kent, Stephen Kent
DE LTA GRAIN MARKETING FREE listing of grain, pulse, oilseed & cotton LICENCED PROFESSIONAL ADVICE timing is critical ACTIVE MARKETING of combined tonnes Attractive PRICE PREMIUMS achieved Brokerage charged AFTER you are paid
CALL TODAY TO DISCUSS MARKETING STRATEGIES & TARGET PRICE ORDERS
& IMPROVE YOUR PROFITS Armidale: 02 6772 0000 | Central QLD: 02 6772 0000 | Harden: 02 6386 2118 Lockhart: 02 6920 4666 | Trangie: 02 6888 7122
Independent Brokers. Smart Advice. www.deltaagribusiness.com.au
Prospect | Autumn 2014
Agribusiness Expo Lockhart 21 February 2014
Photography: Rosie Oâ€™Keeffe Matt Hallam & William Gooden
Dan Hallman, Warwick Nightingale & Brent Alexander
Max Day & Trevor Day
Shane Trotter & Bryan Buchanan
Geoff Hunt & Murray Brown
Matt Lane & Sandy Day
Mark Beard & Andrew Green
Jamie Urquhart & Heidi Gooden
Jon Bergmeier, Trent Gooden & Philip Taylor
Ben Beck, Patrick Condell, Ryan Dennis & Bruce Harper
Rob Gollasch & Gary Brill
Brent Anderson & Gerard Leahy
Ian Charlton, Gary Brill & Paul Harris
Pre-cropping season meeting Wagga 28 February 2014
Photography: Pamela Lawson
Matt Hardy & Ron Shephard 38
Prospect | Autumn 2014
innovation Tim Corcoran Wagga Wagga 0407 893 935
Jim Guilfoyle Yass 0428 628 342
seďż˝ing rural properties w w w. d e l t a a g . c o m . a u
everything under der the Cereal Sun
For further information please call the Syngenta Technical Product Advice Line on 1800 067 108 or visit our website at www.syngenta.com.au. The information contained in this brochure is believed to be accurate. No responsibility is accepted in respect of this information, save those non-excludable conditions implied by any Federal or State legislation or law of a Territory. 速 Registered trademark of a Syngenta Group Company. *Trademark. Cruiser Opti, Vibrance, Cogito and Moddus Evo are not currently registered. Registration is pending from the APVMA. AD12/522