Part of the Farmer Group Rural Newspapers Covering Victoria Published since 1986
RURAL LIFESTYLE EXPO
486 Whitehorse Road, Surrey Hills, 3127
Farmers call for land rate inquiry Victorian farmers pay seven times average residential rate VICTORIAN farmers want a full review into the fairness and equity of local government rates and the sustainability of local government. The Victorian Farmers Federation (VFF) is calling on all state members of parliament to support an inquiry into what the lobby group believes is inequitable and unfair local government rates. VFF president Peter Tuohey said that the current local government funding system is unsustainable and farmers are bearing an unfair share of the rates burden. “Farmers are paying, on average, two and a half times more in local council rates than other commercial businesses in rural and regional shires. “This can’t continue. “The reality is rural councils have had their funding cut by state and federal governments, past and present, yet no one will take responsibility for ﬁnding a solution,” Mr Tuohey said. In the nineties, 1.3 per cent of Australia’s taxation revenue was allocated to local government grants. Today, that number has more than halved to 0.6 per cent of the
PRIMARY PASSION Victorian RIRDC Rural Women’s Award winner Katie Finlay, pictured with husband Hugh, received the $10,000 winner’s bursary to help implement her proposed project of providing farmers with better opportunities to market their produce and sell direct to customers. See page 13 for the full story.
BY JODIE FLEMING
Commonwealth’s tax revenue. “If the Commonwealth had kept its commitment at 1.3 per cent, Victorian councils would have access to an additional $728 million. “We need governments - state and federal - to bite the bullet and commit to a bipartisan inquiry that ﬁnds long-term solutions to the local government funding, rather than engaging in ﬁnger pointing and a political blame game,” Mr Tuohey said. Last year the VFF presented a 3600 signature petition to Parliament calling for a parliamentary inquiry into local government rates and sustainability. Using data from the Australian Bureau of Statistics and from local council budgets, the VFF has compiled a report outlining the unfair rate burden on farmers. The report reveals that the average rate bill paid by farm businesses is $6699 – an average of $4008 more than the average Continued page 4
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Page 2, Southern Farmer
Wine directory shows fewer wine companies
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THE 33rd edition of The Australian and New Zealand Wine Industry Directory (WID) has just been released and for the ﬁrst time in 30 years the directory has shown a net loss in the number of companies. The latest edition lists 2481 Australian companies that commercially sell their wine, with the 2015 edition having gained 103 new wine companies despite the loss in the number of companies in the industry. WID editor Michael Major said the net loss of 92 wine companies is not indicative of the overall health of the Australian wine industry, which has experienced an increase in domestic sales of wine in the past 12 months. “We did see a number of companies go out of business, others merged with larger companies, while some companies dropped their wine production and focused only on grape growing,” Mr Major said. In 2015, Victoria has the greatest number of wine producers with 745
growth has slowed, in the past 10 years the directory has seen an average net gain of 58 wine producers per year,” he said. The 2015 Directory is celebrating 33 years in print after Winetitles realised the importance of compiling industry statistics, winery contact details and industry suppliers in the one directory in 1983. The 596-page 2015 Directory includes a com-
1RVH LQWR WUXIÀ HV DQG KD]HOQXWV TRUFFICULTURE is running specialty seminars based in various rural areas considered suitable environments for successfully growing French black trufﬂes and hazelnuts. The six-hour seminars are presented by Noel Fitzpatrick of Black Trufﬂe Harvest Australia and Colin Carter of Trufﬁculture and Hazelnut Nursery Propagators. Mr Fitzpatrick and Mr Carter collectively have many years’ experience in these industries and in the past have individually been awarded International Specialised Institute Fellow-
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listed, compared with 703 in South Australia, 469 in NSW/ACT, 113 in Tasmania, 85 in Queensland and 366 in WA. “Prior to this year the number of companies listed had been doubling every decade. “The 620 companies in 1990 had almost doubled by 2000 (to 1197) and in the next decade more than doubled to 2420 in 2010. “While the rate of
prehensive listing of wine producers, grape growers, suppliers, distributors, retailers, universities and education facilities, writers, wine publications, organisations, events and wine shows and industry personnel and is updated annually. As information needs evolve and new media delivery methods are developed, Winetitles is constantly staying in tune so the directory will be just as relevant and useful in the next 10 years as it has been for the past 33. “Online wine blogs have become just as important as printed wine magazines among consumers,” Mr Major said. “Wine blogs are now mainstream and for the ﬁrst time we have included them in the directory listings to reflect their importance.” The WID is available for $113.85, with the price including postage and a subscription to the online search engine. For more information visit the WID website www.winebiz.com.au.
ships to study various aspects of the well-established European industry. Both presenters are growerproducers and members of the Australian Trufﬂe Growers Association. The following seminars have places available: Taggerty: Saturday, May 30; Creswick: Saturday, June 13; Korumburra: Sunday, July 5; Gembrook: Sunday, July 26. The seminars begin at 10am and include a light lunch and farm walk in the last hour of the day, which ﬁnishes at 4pm. The program works through
a logical sequence of steps designed to develop an understanding of crop lifecycles, farm establishment practices, associated costs and industry opportunities for marketing and agri tourism. The program also outlines a specialised program designed to grow both crops in the same development if required. The seminars are hosted by Trufﬁculture, a company that grows and supplies trees that have been inoculated. For more information visit www.trufﬂeharvest.com.au and follow the seminar links.
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Southern Farmer, Page 3
Genetic testing adds to dairy herd value A NEW genetic-selection tool that gives farmers the opportunity to make more informed breeding decisions has been developed and proved to be a great success for south west Gippsland dairy producers Peter and Jeanette Clarke. Clariﬁde is a new tool that takes genetic information from an animal’s DNA and converts it into a decision making tool for farmers. It is available for commercial use and will give farmers the opportunity to make more informed, proﬁtable selection and breeding decisions in their herd. Following successful trials in Victoria, the tool is giving dairy farmers the potential to double the net income per cow due to genetic improvement. Korrine dairy farmers, Peter and Jeanette Clark were chosen to undertake trials in 2014 to determine how Australian cattle came up against their US and Canadian contemporaries that have been using a similar tool for quite some time. The Clarks were able to realise the hidden genetic potential of their heifers after using the tool. “We could never have imagined the extent of genetic potential that existed in our herd without a genetic test like Clariﬁde,” Mrs Clark said. “We realised we were missing out on an opportunity to mate our heifers to top-rated semen after seeing their breeding values, so this tool has allowed us to make faster genetic improvements in our herd and know that we are breeding from the cow families that will make this advancement possible. “We were pleasantly
surprised at how high their results were as we have been using top AI bulls for 40 to 50 years, so it did verify that we were on the right track. “But you don’t really know these things for sure, but now you can. “Using Clariﬁde eliminates all the time you put in to waiting to see if the heifer is any good, and it takes $2000 to $3000 to raise a heifer. “If you do the DNA testing it gives you the answers as to whether to cull them or spend the money raising them,” she said. Clariﬁde is the culmination of many years of research and development at the Australian Dairy Herd Improvement Scheme (ADHIS), the Victorian Department of Economic Development, Jobs, Transport and Resources (DEDJTR) and animal health company, Zoetis. It was developed in Australia for Australian cattle following extensive local trials in Sentinel herds involving Victorian dairy farmers. It is the only tool of its kind available on a large scale to commercial Australian dairy producers. DEDJTR geneticist Jennie Pryce said that a tool like Clariﬁde gives farmers access to more reliable data for a number of traits not previously possible, with signiﬁcant economic beneﬁts. “Research suggests that farmers could double the value of their investment if they adopt a genomic selection tool for their breeding and selection decisions. “With an extra level of precision, farmers can now confidently select their best replacement animals, allocate higher value or
sexed semen to genetically superior females and increase the rate of genetic gain for economically important genetic traits, with the use of this new DNA technology,” Dr Pryce said. As a third generation farmer, Mrs Clark said that she is currently getting more of her herd tested so she can continue with the breeding program. “We have breeding records back 40 years and most of them are mainly purebred. “So we are using this tool to advance quicker and to prove to us that we are breeding from the right animals. “It is actually adding a lot of value to our herd. “The actual cost of the DNA testing outweighs the cost of breeding the wrong animal. “We are now actually going to register our herd,” she said. Holstein Australia’s chief executive officer Graeme Gillan said that genomic testing is an under-utilised technology, particularly at female level. “It is exciting that there is going to be another channel that farmers will be able to incorporate into their business,” Mr Gillan said. “A farmer’s biggest asset is their herd, so if they don’t value genetics, they are missing out on an opportunity to know more about animals from an early age and make better breeding decisions. “The more farmers can get out of their herd, the more opportunity for gain. “In essence, farmers can put their money and efforts into the animals that will help to build a more proﬁtable farm.” Zoetis technical services manager Emily Piper
said that the new tool will allow farmers to avoid the risk of raising genetically inferior animals. “We can now assist dairy producers with the difﬁcult decisions around selection and management of heifers using a simple tail hair sample,” she said.
DNA DECISIONS: Jeanette and Peter Clark said Clarifide allowed the dairy farmers to make faster genetic improvements in their herd.
Page 4, Southern Farmer
Farmers call for inquiry
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Covering Central South Victoria and West Gippsland Level 1, Suite 103, Whitehorse Road, Surry Hill, North VIC 3127 Phone (03) 9888 4822 Fax (03) 9888 4840 Email: firstname.lastname@example.org Website: www.nemedia.com.au Rod Berryman Phone (03) 9888 4822 Fax (03) 9888 4840 email@example.com
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Published by Hartley Higgins for North East Media Pty Ltd, 37 Rowan Street, Wangaratta 3677. Responsibility for election comment is accepted by Editor Jeff Zeuschner. Copyright: All advertising and editorial content of this issue is the copyright of North East Media Pty Ltd and cannot be used without the companyâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s permission.
ON THE SPOT
commercial business assessment of $2691. â&#x20AC;&#x153;Many farmers are paying $10,000 or more in rates and we even have some paying in excess of $40,000. â&#x20AC;&#x153;The reality is as the federal and state governments cut back grant funding to councils, itâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s farmers who are being forced to make up the shortfall in many rural councils. â&#x20AC;&#x153;In 2013 we saw council rate rises of up to 15 per cent for farmers, which came on top of repeated, unsustainable rate rises. â&#x20AC;&#x153;While many local councils have applied differential rates to farms, the VFF analysis shows that farm differentials need to be used more effectively to address inequity issues around land valuations. â&#x20AC;&#x153;This is why a full review looking into the fairness and equity of the rating system and option to address local government
sustainability is urgently required,â&#x20AC;? Mr Tuohey said. The report indicates that in some shires, farm businesses are paying more than 60 per cent of the total council rate revenue. â&#x20AC;&#x153;This is neither sustainable nor equitable, especially when Federal Government has frozen indexation on the local government grant scheme putting a $134 million black hole in council budgets,â&#x20AC;? Mr Tuohey said. The VFF is developing a toolkit to assist members in understanding and negotiating the application of municipal rates in their council. While the VFF welcomes the State Governmentâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s recently released set of principals under the Essential Services Commission (ESC), where it can review any council proposal to raise rates above CPI, the lobby group still believes that a major inquiry is needed.
Any council wanting to raise rates above CPI will be subject to ESC oversight and government approval, starting in 2016. The ESCâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s consultation paper states that rate increases should be considered only after all other viable options have been explored including cost savings in existing functions, alternative models of service delivery, reprioritisation of expenditures, alternative funding measures (including fee for service) and that any relevant council policies should be transparent and tested with local communities. CPI rose by about 20 per cent from 2006 to 2013, with rural and regional rates skyrocketing by more than 55 per cent over the same period. Phillip Island beef and sheep farmer Bill Cleeland has been ďŹ ghting to have a differential rates system put in place into the Bass
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Coast Shire Council after an amalgamation of his previous Phillip Island Council into the Bass Coast Shire Council saw rates change to a ďŹ&#x201A;at rate. â&#x20AC;&#x153;We have been ďŹ ghting the ďŹ&#x201A;at rate since 2009 when we amalgamated with Bass Coast Shire,â&#x20AC;? Mr Cleeland said. â&#x20AC;&#x153;When Phillip Island had its own shire there was a 40 per cent reduction for rates on farm land, but when we amalgamated the councillors set it at a ďŹ&#x201A;at rate regardless of whether it was commercial land, farm land or residential land.â&#x20AC;? Recently, Mr Cleeland who farms 750 acres at Surf Beach, and other farmers in the Bass Coast Shire won a 20 per cent rate cut for farmers however those on the land would like to see it cut to 30 per cent. â&#x20AC;&#x153;We were actually paying over three times the average commercial assessment until the 20 per cent came through. â&#x20AC;&#x153;That is seven times the average residential rates. â&#x20AC;&#x153;One of the main problems is that you have to convince four councillors that the rest of the community have to pay more and that the farmers should pay less and there are less farmers than there are residents, therefore there is less of a farmersâ&#x20AC;&#x2122; voice. â&#x20AC;&#x153;So we just havenâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;t been able to get councillors to get to vote for it until now. â&#x20AC;&#x153;We are actually going to push for a 30 per cent reduction over the next ďŹ ve years. â&#x20AC;&#x153;The 20 per cent reduction still means Iâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;m paying over three times the average commercial rate, so itâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s a good step forward and a step in the right direction, but we will deďŹ nitely be looking to improve on that in the future. â&#x20AC;&#x153;I really have to thank the VFF staff and also
councillor Clare Leserve, who was a former dairy farmer, for her efforts as she did a lot of work,â&#x20AC;? he said. Mr Cleeland said it is difďŹ cult to come up with a ďŹ&#x201A;at rate ďŹ gure due to the various types of land and the various farming that it can and is used for, however, he did feel that about $16 per hectare would be appropriate in most areas. â&#x20AC;&#x153;The state average is about $50 per hectare, but on the northern side of Phillip Island some of the rates were $140 per hectare and one was even $190 per hectare due to the fact it had coastal views, which has nothing to do with running it as a farm. â&#x20AC;&#x153;This particular piece of land actually would have a lower stocking rate than other farming land. â&#x20AC;&#x153;It may be good pasture land, but it gets rated so highly because it has a good view,â&#x20AC;? he said. He added that it really is only the beginning of the battle to keep rates at affordable prices with property values along the coast continually increasing. According to Mr Cleeland, what has eventually enabled the farmers to get the 20 per cent reduction this time around was the support the farmers started to receive from outside the farming community. â&#x20AC;&#x153;Commercial businesses sent in letters in support of the reduced rate for farmers because they also want to retain the rural aspect of Phillip Island as they need the open space for the tourism aspect of the island. â&#x20AC;&#x153;It is very important we keep that rural element as no one wants to see urban development going out of control. â&#x20AC;&#x153;If you have extremely high rates it puts farmers in the position that they will more than likely pack up and go somewhere else.â&#x20AC;?
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Southern Farmer, Page 5
Farmers sought for water management
Hay comp under way THE Feed Central National Hay Quality Competition is under way for 2015, with more than 1000 hay samples already having been entered. The organisers are hoping to receive more entries before the competition’s June 30 closing date. All growers interested in entering must have their hay inspected on-
6WDWH JRYHUQPHQW ZDQWV WR ¿ OO ERDUG SRVLWLRQV being advertised. According to VFF president Peter Tuohey getting onto CMA boards gives farmers a say in waterway and wetland management, management of pests and weeds as well as the distribution of state funding for Landcare and other natural resource management projects. “Many of Victoria’s farmers have vast experience in areas such as business planning, ﬁnancial management, primary industry and water resource management, all of which would make for a prime candidate in a CMA board member. “In the past, the VFF has successfully lobbied for a requirement for no less than 50 per cent of CMA board members to be primary producers. “This is a fantastic opportunity to make a difference in your region,” Mr Tuohey said. He said that while farmers are conscious
of the need for healthy rivers, ecologically sustainable and productive catchments, they are also “astutely aware” of the implications catchment management has on farmers’ ability to farm. “At the end of the day, the more positions of relevance occupied by farmers and farm leaders, the stronger our ability to inﬂuence vital local policy decisions. “Victoria’s 10 CMAs have considerable inﬂuence over sustainable development and regional development, and farmers with a strong interest in natural resource management should apply. “The VFF is urging Victorian farmers to apply for a position on the board of their local CMA to ensure farmers’ perspectives are taken into consideration when decisions are being made,” Mr Tuohey said. While the VFF is urging farmers to put their hand up to serve on the boards,
the lobby group is also concerned about the spill of all board positions at the same time. VFF water council chair Richard Anderson said that continuity is needed to ensure that not all knowledge “walks out the door”. “If all the knowledge walks out the door then we’ll spend the next two years bringing completely new boards up to speed. “The rolling appointments process that has been in place til now has helped to bring new blood onto boards while balancing the need to continue with business. “While we note that the current board members were encouraged to reapply, around half the positions were already due for renewal this year. “We cannot see why this approach has been taken when a rolling process for board positions is already in place,” Mr Anderson said. For information visit www.delwp.vic.gov.au.
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VICTORIAN farmers can now have their say on how to shape the future of waterways and water management as the Victorian Farmers Federation (VFF) and the Victorian State Minister for the Environment and Water, Lisa Neville call on them to stand for positions on Victoria’s Catchment Management Authority (CMA) boards. Nominations have been called with the State Government advertising 45 board member positions across the 10 CMAs, along with the position of chair of the Glenelg Hopkins CMA board. The 10 CMAs include Corangamite, East Gippsland, Glenelg Hopkins, Goulburn Broken, Mallee, North Central, North East, Port Phillip & Westernport, West Gippsland and Wimmera. The chair and up to eight members of the Victorian Catchment Management Council are also
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ABOVE: Amelia Drift, 3 and a half years old from Waubra brushing her Shetland Pony, Rosie, 10 years. BELOW: Nine-year old Carlton with driver Bevan Benfell from the Victorian Working Draught Horse Association.
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THE 2015 Rural Lifestyle Expo hosted by the Ballarat Agricultural and Pastoral Society provided a great opportunity for small and hobby farmers to improve their farming skills and to see the latest in machinery and gadgets and alternative animals for their properties. It also provided city dwellers and others from Ballarat and elsewhere in the region with the opportunity to learn about the alternative lifestyles enjoyed by these small property owners. The expo encompassed numerous displays, demonstrations, talks by experts and hands-on experience for children of all ages. The event offered opportunities to hear expert speakers on land management and animal health issues, sustainable energy and animal husbandry. Other displays featured water tanks, alternative heating solutions and farm machinery. Foremost for the children were the animal exhibits, particularly the miniature donkeys, miniature goats, chickens, rare breeds of pigs, rabbits, sheep and cattle. The gentle giants of the horse world, the Clydesdales, were a crowd pleaser for young and old. Members of the Victorian Working
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Draught Horse Association showed off their pride and joys by giving free rides in a two horse wagon, while other horses were busy showing off their skills in a single buggy and in harness. The 2015 Australian Chainsaw Carving Champion Ron Bast demonstrated his skills putting the ďŹ nishing touches to a ferocious looking metre high eagle. In the Taste Pavilion, local food artisans and vignerons, headed up by gourmet chef Simon Beaton, were busy tempting visitorsâ&#x20AC;&#x2122; taste buds with fare that typiďŹ ed the rich abundance and variety of food and wine produced in the Ballarat region. Ballarat A & P Society chief executive ofďŹ cer Gerrard Ballinger said it was a great day, with a good crowd and perfect weather. â&#x20AC;&#x153;We had the highest number of exhibits in the four-year history of the event. â&#x20AC;&#x153;The expo continues to grow and appeal to a diverse audience,â&#x20AC;? he said. Mr Ballinger said that a number of new innovations such as â&#x20AC;&#x2DC;Fabric and Fashionâ&#x20AC;&#x2122; worked well and the society will be looking to expand that in future. The Paddock to Plate Award, a ďŹ rst timer along with the Pantry Awards, was also a tremendous hit with expo-goers.
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Southern Farmer, Page 7
Muster rounds up 25m drums Community involvement embraces 119 country collection groups FOR the past 16 years, thousands of chemical users have relied on drumMUSTER to dispose of their empty agvet chemical containers on a regular basis. During this time, the program has grown to become the most successful agvet container recycling program in Australia. On March 25, 2015, farmer Nathan Davey delivered drumMUSTER’s 25 millionth drum to the Goomalling collection site in Western Australia. drumMUSTER national program manager Allan McGann said the program has come a long way since its ﬁrst collection in early 1999. “The program has gone from strength to strength. “We started with yearly collections of around one million containers, but are now edging towards two million containers per annum. “This goes to show the growing support drumMUSTER has garnered. “We’ve established ourselves as a valuable program for farmers and growers and we’re here to stay,” Mr McGann said. Twenty-five million containers represent more than 30,000 tonnes of materials that have avoided landﬁll. Once collected, the containers are shredded or granulated and transformed into new products like plastic cable covers, wheelie bins, road signs and bollards. While most compounds are managed by local councils at waste management sites and transfer stations, others are operated by commu-
nity groups and charities. “drumMUSTER continues to support various community groups across Australia as they bring about environmental change in rural regions,” Mr McGann said. “We have seen a noteworthy increase in participation over the past few years with 119 community groups now involved in the program. “They have collected an impressive 3.5 million drums and raised $880,000 between them.” In Victoria alone, there are 25 drumMUSTER community groups that have collected more than 426,000 drums and raised $111,000. Since the inception of the program, Victorian chemical users have returned close to 4.9 million containers. The new milestone comes less than two years after drumMUSTER received the 20 millionth drum in NSW, signifying the incredible growth the program has experienced. “drumMUSTER is leading the way in product stewardship. “We thank agvet chemical manufacturers, local government and program users for their commitment to sharing in the responsibility for a sustainable future in Australian agriculture,” Mr McGann said. All containers presented at the collection must meet the program’s cleanliness standards. Containers must be triple rinsed and free of any chemical residue. There are more than 796 collection sites operat-
ing around Australia for chemical users to dispose of their eligible agvet containers. For more information visit the program website at www.drummuster. com.au.
COLLECTION SITE: There are 25 drumMUSTER community groups in Victoria that have collected more than 426,000 drums and raised $111,000 since the program began.
FILL THE WINTER FEED GAP can generate 30 - 60% more dry matter within 3 weeks of application “I’d certainly recommend ProGibb®. We use a fair bit of it. So do our neighbours. It’s all about giving our animals as much fresh feed as we can.” Evan Bourchier Dairy farmer, Strathmerton Vic
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Page 8, Southern Farmer
New pest control released
Burn warning CFA is urging Victorians to take extreme care when burning off after recently responding to a high number of out-of-control burn-offs. Burning off undergrowth and other vegetation is generally permitted outside of the Fire Danger Period, however landowners should register their burn-off with the Emergency Services Telecommunications Authority by calling 1800 668 511.
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GROWERS of canola, forage brassicas, pasture and summer crops can now take advantage of a new breakthrough in insect control following the recent registration of an innovative insecticidal seed treatment. Bayer CropScience product manager Andrew Gourlay said that Poncho Plus, developed by Bayer, offers a much broader spectrum of control than existing insecticidal seed treatments. The product is registered for control of wireworm, cutworm, aphids, lucerne flea, redlegged earth mite (RLEM), blue oat mite (BOM), yellow headed cockchafer (YHC) and African black beetle (ABB). It can be used in a range of crops, including canola, grass and broadleaf pastures and forage brassica, as well as sorghum, maize, sweet corn and sunďŹ&#x201A;owers. Importantly for canola growers, Poncho Plus will now allow them a seed
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treatment option to manage cutworm and wireworm, while summer crop growers that are already using the new insecticide, can now control cutworm using a seed treatment for the ďŹ rst time. Mr Gourlay said a shift in cultivation and canola production systems had altered the insect pest spectrum threatening seedlings across Australia. â&#x20AC;&#x153;Insect pests like wireworm, cutworm and lucerne ďŹ&#x201A;ea are becoming more prevalent, while traditional pests such as RLEM, BOM and aphids are still common,â&#x20AC;? he said. He added that viral diseases of canola transmitted by aphids, including beet western yellows virus (turnip yellows virus), cauliďŹ&#x201A;ower mosaic virus and turnip mosaic virus, also had increased considerably in recent years. Trials have shown Poncho Plus reduces aphid colonisation and slows population growth considerably, thereby reducing viral infection levels.
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THIRD generation farmer and Wimmera community leader Paul Oxbrow is the new president of the Victorian No-Till Farmers Association. Mr Oxbrow (pictured), who has more than 20 years expertise in stubble retention systems and more than six years in controlled trafďŹ c farming and inter-row sowing, said he is thrilled to lead one of Australiaâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s biggest and most successful farmer-based groups. â&#x20AC;&#x153;Looking after your soil is critical, so soil health is where to start. â&#x20AC;&#x153;Ultimately, we all need to increase our proďŹ ts every year. â&#x20AC;&#x153;Through its practical farmerbased delivery of innovative farming techniques and its focus on improving soil health, Vic No-Till is helping a lot of farmers achieve that,â&#x20AC;? Mr Oxbrow said.
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Mr Oxbrow farms 1800 hectares south of Rupanyup with his wife, Kellie, and children. He joined Vic No-Till nine years ago and became vice president in 2014. He said that joining the group has managed to gain â&#x20AC;&#x153;a great dealâ&#x20AC;? for his farming business. â&#x20AC;&#x153;I am looking forward to giv-
ing back to and progressing the organisation that has helped my cropping enterprise and many others so much. â&#x20AC;&#x153;Through Vic No-Till farmers get access to some pretty incredible knowledge from great farmers, scientists and government organisations who are leading the way in no-till, controlled trafďŹ c farming systems.â&#x20AC;? With a membership of more than 500, Vic No-Till formed in 2002 when a group of like-minded farmers joined forces to spread the word about their success in using no-till farming techniques. â&#x20AC;&#x153;Already this year we have planted cover crops as part of a statewide cover cropping project that we are managing in conjunction with catchment management authorities,â&#x20AC;? Mr Oxbrow said.
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Ballarat, Mick Walsh, who supports growers in the local area as well as through the south-east and into the Western District, said Poncho Plus would be warmly welcomed, especially for cutworm and wireworm in canola and lucerne ďŹ&#x201A;ea in pastures. â&#x20AC;&#x153;While a few legumes are now entering rotations, canola has been a major crop in programs with wheat and barley, and cutworm and wireworm have been two major pests in the region,â&#x20AC;? Mr Walsh said. â&#x20AC;&#x153;Last season cutworm wiped-out sections of canola paddocks and wireworm have been an ongoing problem over the years. â&#x20AC;&#x153;Growers have been going with Jockey Stayer and Gaucho on canola and they will now be able to step up to Poncho Plus. â&#x20AC;&#x153;They are looking for more integrated pest management strategies, picking up sucking or chewing pests with this application, rather than coming back over the top with another.â&#x20AC;?
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imidacloprid that allows plants to better regulate their responses to abiotic stress. This helps to maximise crop vigor and health for improved yields and returns. Dupont Pioneer is one of the companies now offering Poncho Plus on its canola seed varieties as part of its â&#x20AC;&#x2DC;Betta Strikeâ&#x20AC;&#x2122; seed protection program. Dupont Pioneer canola product and agronomy manager Clint Rogers said that Betta Strike is really about superior protection for superior genetics. â&#x20AC;&#x153;Itâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s protecting growersâ&#x20AC;&#x2122; investment,â&#x20AC;? Mr Rogers said. â&#x20AC;&#x153;We like to offer industry best practice when it comes to seed treatments. â&#x20AC;&#x153;We were offering Jockey Stayer (fungicide) and Gaucho (insecticide) with our canola seed and we have now moved to Jockey Stayer and Poncho Plus as industry best practice â&#x20AC;&#x201C; our preferred seed treatment.â&#x20AC;? Elders agronomist at
' ' ' ' '
Showing good compatibility with other seed treatments, Poncho Plus comprises a unique combination of two highly effective active ingredients - clothianidin and imidacloprid. These are both systemic and offer immediate protection for germinating seeds, as well as ongoing insect control for up to four weeks. It belongs to the neonicotinoids group (Group 4A) and, importantly, contains no synthetic pyrethroid (SP) chemistry. Insect resistance to SPs has increased in recent years, with RLEM and aphids, in particular, developing resistance in selected regions. Mr Gourlay urged growers to consider insecticide resistance when planning their insect pest management programs, including use of seed treatments. Poncho Plus may also offer growers the added beneďŹ t of Stress Shield, an additional effect of
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Dairy strategy builds plenty of winter feed S T R AT H M E RTO N dairy farmer Evan Bourchier prefers to see his cattle feed on fresh grass rather than hay or grain. With both winter and spring being vital months for balancing pasture growth and providing quality feed for meat and milk production, Mr Bourchier decided that instead of supplementary feeding his 750 dairy cows or decreasing his herd he used a plant growth regulator to help ﬁll the winter feed gap. By using ProGibb ® SG Smartgrass, the dairy farmer’s pastures have not only been able to feed his livestock throughout the cooler seasons, but it has produced enough pasture for him to be able to cut extra for hay and silage. Mr Bourchier started using ProGibb about eight years ago when the product was first launched and he has noticed an
increased carrying capacity in his livestock, and increase in animal weight gain and milk production along with signiﬁcantly reduced reliance on supplementary feed, resulting in greater overall proﬁtability. “It’s certainly good stuff as far as getting a bit of extra feed during the winter months,” Mr Bourchier said. “It’s quick and easy to apply and we see the ﬁrst results in seven to 10 days. “The extra growth continues for about three to four weeks. “By using it, we can make sure the cows get proper pasture feeding. “We prefer to see them feed on fresh grass rather than hay or grain. “You can’t beat green grass for feed. “It turned out that we got enough extra pasture grass left over to cut quite a bit of hay and silage.
“That provides some extra bulk when needed and it saves us bringing in hay, which can cost quite a bit,” he said. ProGibb SG has been extensively trialled in commercial applications for more than 10 years. It augments the natural level of gibberellins contained in plant tissue, making leaves grow longer and faster, thus creating signiﬁcant gains in dry matter yield. A single application can generate 30 per cent to 60 per cent more dry matter within three weeks of application with no loss of feed quality (megajoules ME per kilogram of dry matter). ProGibb has nil residues or withholding periods for milk or meat production, is certiﬁed organic and can be incorporated into organic farming systems. For information visit www.progibb.com.au.
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Is this a good look for your industry?
emical waste! ch ur yo t no .. g. in cl cy re on s de Burn or bury those old attitu
You can’t ignore it any more, most QA programs require responsible waste management. On our websites you can locate your nearest drumMUSTER collection site with an interactive map. You can also ﬁnd out the status of the next ChemClear collection in each state. It’s quick and simple. 1800 008 707 1800 008 182
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Page 10, Southern Farmer
Farm work injuries cost millions INJURIES sustained in the farm sector over a four-year period have cost the industry more than $300 million. An analysis of injuries in the farm sector conducted by the Australian Centre for Agricultural Health and Safety and commissioned by Primary Industries Health and Safety Partnership (PIHSP) shows an incredible 193,632 working weeks were lost across the cotton, grain, mixed farming, sugar, marine and aquaculture industries over
a time frame of four years. Data was drawn from coronial information, workers compensation data and self-reported near-miss incidents from 2008 to 2009 and 2011 to 2012. Australian Centre for Agricultural Health and Safety researcher Tony Lower said that while there had been signiďŹ cant improvements in workplace health and safety (WHS) in primary production over the past 20 years, there is still a lot of work to be done. â&#x20AC;&#x153;On average, there were
almost 50,000 weeks of work lost each year across the included industries. This means about 930 people were off work due to injury every week,â&#x20AC;? he said. â&#x20AC;&#x153;Itâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s important to remember that workers compensation data signiďŹ cantly underestimates the burden of injuries â&#x20AC;&#x201C; in fact probably only 50 per cent to 60 per cent of the true cost â&#x20AC;&#x201C; due to people who donâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;t report incidents or make a claim. â&#x20AC;&#x153;On top of that, it doesnâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;t capture any injuries to nonworkers like children or
visitors to a farm or boat.â&#x20AC;? Mr Lower said the analysis indicates that the ďŹ ve leading types of injuries consistently accounted for approximately 75 per cent of all claims, illustrating the importance of developing and targeting cost-effective approaches to assist farmers and ďŹ shers in addressing these core issues. â&#x20AC;&#x153;As always, quad bikes and vehicles featured consistently as a danger across land-based industries,â&#x20AC;? Mr Lower said. â&#x20AC;&#x153;Being able to go to
work and come home to family and friends in a safe and injury-free capacity is an ideal that everyone supports. â&#x20AC;&#x153;This research pinpoints the major risks in each of the sectors, which will help businesses in preparing their own WHS action plans and more generally ensure that pro-active strategies are put in place to manage and control those risks. â&#x20AC;&#x153;This will lead to a genuinely safer workplace,â&#x20AC;? he said. For more information visit www.rirdc.gov.au.
Costs associated with injury claims in 2008-2009 and 2011-2012 Â&#x2021; $TXDFXOWXUH Â&#x2021; &RWWRQ Â&#x2021; *UDLQV Â&#x2021; *UDLQ VKHHS DQG JUDLQ EHHI Â&#x2021; 0DULQH Â&#x2021; 6XJDU Key risks of death and injury in each sector Â&#x2021; $TXDFXOWXUH Â˛ GURZQLQJ GLYLQJ HOHFWULFLW\ SXPSV DHUDWRUV TXDGV Â&#x2021; &RWWRQ PRWRU YHKLFOHV LQFOXGLQJ XWHV FDUV TXDGV trucks), electricity. Â&#x2021; *UDLQ PRWRU YHKLFOHV LQFOXGLQJ XWHV FDUV TXDGV trucks), grain augers/PTOs, electricity. Â&#x2021; 0DULQH GURZQLQJ GLYLQJ Â&#x2021; 6XJDU WUDFWRUV UROORYHU UXQ RYHU FROOLVLRQ
Cheaper cattle ID tags now available VICTORIAN cattle producers can now save thousands of dollars thanks to cheaper National Livestock Identification System (NLIS) tags that can be ordered online. According to Victoriaâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s chief veterinary officer Charles Milne the online tag ordering service, provided by the Department
of Economic Development, Jobs, Transport and Resources (DEDJTR) is an easy, fast and secure way of ordering NLIS tags at any time. â&#x20AC;&#x153;Over two million NLIS tags are purchased by Victorian beef and dairy producers every year and with a reduction of 25 cents in the price of the
cheapest tag, the saving will be substantial,â&#x20AC;? Dr Milne said. â&#x20AC;&#x153;Cattle tags ordered online cost 10 cents less than using a paper application or purchasing over the phone so there are also savings to be made obtaining them online. â&#x20AC;&#x153;The cheapest NLIS (cattle) tags are now 85
cents each through DEDJTRâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s online tag ordering service.â&#x20AC;? Dr Milne said Victoria had the lowest cattle tag prices in Australia due to a competitive tendering process and the efficient tag ordering system operated by DEDJTR supported by funding from the cattle industry
via the Cattle Compensation Fund. â&#x20AC;&#x153;NLIS is a very important tool for managing biosecurity incidents and maintaining the reputation of Victoriaâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s beef and dairy products in food safety conscious domestic and export markets. â&#x20AC;&#x153;NLIS (cattle) tags are also very useful for on-
farm herd management purposes by simplifying the collection of production information such as weight gain/loss, reproductive performance and veterinary treatment history,â&#x20AC;? he said. To order Agri-ID, Leader Products or Allflex tags visit www.vic.gov.au/ nlis.
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Page 12, Southern Farmer
Leaf, Twig & Stick Rake. For Ride on Mowers
Honoring country heroes By DAVID RIZZOLI K/05D07642-V4/15-15
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FROM Ballarat, if you start your journey from the historic Eureka Stockade precinct and take the road south-east for about 10 kilometres you will come to the tiny settlement of Navigators. Well, not really a settlement. Rather a nasty bend in the road with a community hall on one side and a farm house on the other side. There is no roadside sign to tell you that you have arrived. But if you travel another half a kilometre and opposite two more houses, you will ﬁnd a beautiful heritage-listed bluestone railway bridge and the barely visible remnants of a railway platform. And, that is Navigators. But, what makes Navigators important is that it sits in the middle of a rich and diverse farming area growing everything from cropping, to beef, dairying and fat lambs to organic vegetables. It is also an area that obviously takes pride in its community spirit, as can be seen by the well maintained community hall with adjacent tennis courts, a wellequipped (and obviously much used) children’s playground and well used barbecues. So, it comes as no surprise that to honor the centenary of Anzac the community, led by a dedicated team of volunteers and amateur historians, decided to establish a roadside Avenue of Honour including 15 red oak trees to memorialise the 15 young
LEST WE FORGET: The all-weather honor board bearing inscriptions of the Oath honoring the war dead, and the names and service details of the 15 Navigators men.
men from the district who went to ﬁght in World War 1. There are no names from the Second World War. The only young men left at Navigators by 1939 were farmers who were essential to keep the nation fed. The committee spent all of two years researching and recording the histories and records of these 15 men and, just as importantly, tracing as many of their living descendants as could be found. And, so it was, that we stood beside the road, at midday on
the Sunday before Anzac Day, exposed to a chilling southerly wind with rain in the ofﬁng while the mayor of the Moorabool Shire, Paul Satchell, and the councillor representing the district, Tom Sullivan unveiled a magniﬁcent all-weather honor board bearing inscriptions of the Oath honoring the war dead, and the names and service details of the 15 Navigators men, all with the rank of private, who went to war, some never to return. A number of dignitaries, including local parliamentarians,
placed wreaths on the memorial as did descendants of many of the diggers. Prior to and throughout the ceremony a new generation of service men and women stood guard with bowed heads at the memorial and at the conclusion of the ceremony the bugler sounded the ‘Last Post’ and ‘Reveille’. It seems ﬁtting, that even the smallest of Australian communities can take the time to establish a proud monument to honor their heroes. Tea was taken after the ceremony, served by the brigade.
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Harcourt orchardist takes top award By JODIE FLEMING A THIRD-generation orchardist from Harcourt has been named winner of the 2015 Rural Industries Research and Development Corporation (RIRDC) Victorian Rural Womenâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s Award. Katie Finlay of Mt Alexander Fruit Gardens said she was very surprised to receive the generous bursary that comes with winning the prestigious award that identiďŹ es and supports emerging women leaders. â&#x20AC;&#x153;The other ďŹ nalists were fantastic women with amazing sounding projects. â&#x20AC;&#x153;I think mine just happened to line up with what RIRDC were after this year. â&#x20AC;&#x153;A few other people I know had gone through the process and recommended that I look into entering the awards, so my proposal was something I was already going to do and I had already put it forward to the Victorian Farmersâ&#x20AC;&#x2122; Markets Association (VFMA). â&#x20AC;&#x153;I thought that if I could get the bursary to support it, it would then allow me to dedicate some time to see if we can get it off the ground,â&#x20AC;? Ms Finlay said. An independent panel selected Ms Finlay from a ďŹ eld of ďŹ ve outstanding ďŹ nalists for her commitment to the sustainability of primary industries and passion for encouraging
connections between consumers and farmers. Ms Finlay received a $10,000 bursary to help implement her proposed project to develop a strategy providing farmers with better opportunities to market their produce and sell direct to consumers. Supported by the Department of Economic Development, Jobs, Transport and Resources, the award acknowledges womenâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s leadership capacity to effect change and build resilience in primary industries and rural communities. Ms Finlay runs a 6000 tree, mixed stone fruit orchard with her husband, Hugh. The certiďŹ ed organic orchard produces enough fresh fruit for six months, with more than 80 varieties of fruit available, with new varieties introduced all the time to ensure the orchard has the longest harvest possible. â&#x20AC;&#x153;We have planted this way because of our marketing strategy and risk management. â&#x20AC;&#x153;So the mix every week is different through the season so we can extend the season. â&#x20AC;&#x153;We are also a teaching farm, which is a separate business, and we teach home fruit growers how to grow organic fruit and how to be self-sufďŹ cient with fruit,â&#x20AC;? she said. Mt Alexander Fruit Gardens sells about 40 per cent of its fruit to the wholesale market, with
STATE WINNER: Katie Finlayâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s aim is to have farmersâ&#x20AC;&#x2122; markets weekly in every town and suburb.
the rest sold through farmersâ&#x20AC;&#x2122; markets â&#x20AC;&#x201C; something that Ms Finlay is very passionate about. â&#x20AC;&#x153;We are and always have been big supporters of the VFMA so we go to quite a lot locally and into Melbourne. â&#x20AC;&#x153;I am also a director of Melbourne Farmersâ&#x20AC;&#x2122; Markets (MFM) which is a not-forproďŹ t organisation dedicated to Victorian food and producers, regional food cultures, seasonal produce, biodiversity, sustainable farming practices and the strengthening of relationships between the consumer and the producer. â&#x20AC;&#x153;I have been very actively involved in a whole range of
community things to do with food for a very long time, so the project I want to do ďŹ ts with the RIRDCâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s vision. â&#x20AC;&#x153;I think it spoke to them about something that they wanted to achieve anyway, and that is to provide small to medium sized farmers with a supply chain,â&#x20AC;? she said. Ms Finlay believes that the public view of farmersâ&#x20AC;&#x2122; markets is that it is an unaffordable way to shop, which she feels is untrue. â&#x20AC;&#x153;People think that farmersâ&#x20AC;&#x2122; markets are a niche, expensive way to buy. â&#x20AC;&#x153;I donâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;t think there is enough understanding that a substantial
proportion of a farmerâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s income is through farmersâ&#x20AC;&#x2122; markets. â&#x20AC;&#x153;People need to know that it can be a much more established way of doing your shopping and that it is not a more expensive way to shop. â&#x20AC;&#x153;Victorian farmersâ&#x20AC;&#x2122; markets provide an opportunity for our farmers to sell direct and take full credit for their efforts. â&#x20AC;&#x153;By shopping at farmersâ&#x20AC;&#x2122; markets customers are guaranteed access to quality, freshly harvested produce while supporting local farmers and directly putting money back into regional Victorian communities. â&#x20AC;&#x153;My aim is to have farmersâ&#x20AC;&#x2122; markets weekly in every town and suburb,â&#x20AC;? she said. The mother of three (and stepmother of two) adult children said that the best thing about the farming she does is simple â&#x20AC;&#x201C; itâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s feeding people. â&#x20AC;&#x153;We are about to go back into horticulture tourism and open up the farm for on-farm sales and for people to come and pick their own fruit. â&#x20AC;&#x153;We used to do that with our cherries until we lost them in the ďŹ&#x201A;oods in 2012. â&#x20AC;&#x153;We ran some open day trial recently as we had a glut of white peaches. â&#x20AC;&#x153;We advertised through social media outlets and it was a good trial to see how responsive social media would be going
back into the farm door. â&#x20AC;&#x153;It was very busy because people really want to connect with their farmers and have that experience. â&#x20AC;&#x153;We love doing it, particularly with the kids as it gives them the opportunity to go to a farm and get their own food.â&#x20AC;? And just to add to her busy life, Ms Finlay is about to take on some farm interns through the Organic Federation of Australia intern program which connects farming students with farms for a three-month internship. â&#x20AC;&#x153;DiversiďŹ cation has made a big difference to our business. â&#x20AC;&#x153;We now have multiple income streams, as my husband also works off farm so there is another income stream. â&#x20AC;&#x153;I think that is good for your mental health.â&#x20AC;? Ms Finlay will join other state and territory winners when the national award winner will be announced in Canberra later this year. She will also attend the highly regarded Australian Institute of Directorsâ&#x20AC;&#x2122; Course in Canberra. â&#x20AC;&#x153;I have met quite a lot of other women that do amazing things in agriculture, in fact, that is one of my major goals through all this and that is to meet as many awesome women in agriculture as possible,â&#x20AC;? she said.
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Southern Farmer, Page 15
Landcare heroes honored TWENTY-FIVE Landcarers from across West, South and Central Gippsland and the Bass Coast are being recognised for their outstanding contributions and achievements to Landcare in their region. As part of the Victorian Landcare Program, West Gippsland Catchment Management Authority is hosting a region-wide showcase recognising Landcarers in ďŹ ve different categories including Individual Landcarer, Landcare Group, Landcare Partnerships, Sustainable Agriculture Innovator and Young Landcarer/
Sustainable Agriculture Innovator. Young Landcarer/Sustainable Agriculture Innovator nominee Cara Brammar and Individual Landcarer nominee Brian Enbom have been recognised for the Landcare in West Gippsland Green Carpet Showcase and were presented awards by Parliamentary Secretary for the Environment, Anthony Carbines. Cara Brammar was nominated for her work studying birds in the Western Strzelecki Ranges. She is currently undertaking a PhD project
investigating the relative influence of different land-use trajectories on the composition of bird communities and their conservation in the Strzelecki Ranges. Ms Brammar is very passionate about sharing her studies and has given talks about her research to many Landcare groups including Mt Worth, Three Creeks, Korumburra, Nareena, Andersons Inlet, Kongwak and South Gippsland Plant Conservation Society. Growing up at Strzelecki, Ms Brammar developed a love for the
local environment through her familyâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s interest in the land and said that she hopes her studies will both inform and inspire landholders to be aware of what is going on and actively get involved in helping the birds of the region. Brian Enbom has been nominated for the Landcare in West Gippsland Green Carpet Showcase for his amazing and long-
O E S N VIC CT A ER S NTR O C
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Page 16, Southern Farmer
Balancing healthy post-calving cows OVER the past few articles I have addressed the two most detrimental issues facing a freshly calved cow: ketosis and milk fever with emphasis on sub-clinical status of both. Not only is there a substantial milk production loss, but immunity and fertility suffer also. The net effect is considerable loss of proﬁt on individual cows and herds overall. Minimising Negative Energy Balance (NEB) in early lactation is critical. The fresh cow’s two greatest needs in this regard are starch and ﬁbre. Starch (wheat) provides high quality, readily available energy, and ﬁbre provides fermentable energy and fosters rumen health. NEB causes mobilisation of body fat that can lead to ketosis, if not clinical, regularly subclinical which our trial work with blood sampling has proven. Figure 1 highlights the impact of body condition losses at 40 and 70 days post-calving on fertility. To gain weight postcalving is a challenge, but does start with cows not being over-conditioned at calving.
By JOHN LYNE Dairytech dairy production specialist They tend to mobilise body fat far more than thinner cows and reduce feed intake multiplying the problem (see last month’s article). Equally important is Negative Protein Balance (NPB). Providing adequate protein in the transition ration is essential. The calf draws very large amounts of protein to convert in its liver to energy. NPB will bring on NEB. NEB in the ﬁrst three weeks post-calving has the most pronounced impact on fertility. The eggs being formed at this time are those we are trying to fertilise at ﬁrst and second insemination. Under the inﬂuence of energy deﬁciency, they are regularly poor quality eggs. With many farms shifting calving patterns to take advantage of milk pricing systems, particularly January/February/March
calving, the challenge to meet the cows’ energy and protein requirements is signiﬁcant and requires sound feed budgeting to avoid health and fertility problems that may well cost more than economic gains through higher milk pricing. The physiological challenges at and immediately after calving set off a chain of events. The cow that fails to adjust to these challenges is highly at risk of the following: milk fever,
ketosis, retained placenta, uterine infection, mastitis, displaced abomasum and reduced immunity. All lead to reduced fertility, increased involuntary culling and economic losses. Perhaps one very common outcome of suppressed immunity post-calving is mastitis. Mastitis is well documented as having serious negative impacts on fertility; on heat activity, conception and holding of pregnancy in early stages.
Cows with even subclinical milk fever or ketosis are more likely to develop mastitis infection. Milk fever can increase mastitis risk by eight fold. Low blood calcium levels (identiﬁed in 100 per cent of fresh cows we randomly performed blood calcium testing on last year) slows the closing of the teat end post-milking exposing to high risk of pathogen entry. The immune system becomes suppressed due to a multitude of factors,
all of which are impacted by nutritional status. Sound feeding principles are still the majority of prevention strategies. The cow that eats less as a springer (lead feeding – 21 days prior to calving) generally will eat less after calving. Lower intakes will set off all the above issues. But we need to go back one step further: the dry cow ration. (I shudder whenever I hear the term “dry cow feed”. There is no such thing.) We are better using poorer quality silage or hay as a ﬁbre source in lactating rations where we can fortify nutrient density with grain and/or good pasture. We have found good quality pasture silage to be the best dry cow ration. We can get the energy and protein intake correct. Good quality silage will meet dry matter intakes without being excessive due to the high ﬁbre content and time to digest it. Again, blood testing dry cows has shown us that many have sub-clinical ketosis as dry cows. Their energy intake is not sufﬁcient so mobilising body fat to meet
maintenance energy of the cow and her unborn calf has already begun. She could be six weeks off calving and already precipitating all the above health and fertility problems. The opposite problem can occur in unlimited pasture availability – too much energy/weight gain and still end up with ketosis (sub-clinical at best) post-calving. Cows gaining weight also have lower feed intakes post-calving. None of this is ‘rocket science’. It is more about planning to have the silage available for both dry and springer cows (springers need three kilograms of a quality lead feed grain for their additional energy/ protein needs on top of adlib silage). Feeding the correct feeds to each group of animals will minimise all the post-calving issues described and lead to a proﬁtable lactation which entails minimal health issues, timely return to pregnancy and sound milk production. All three are inseparably connected. For more information visit www.dairytechnutrition.com.au.
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Decades of septic system misery, banished in days. Queensland couple Mike and Rose Maynard talk about their decadeslong battle with septic tank odours and fouling, and the environmentally friendly solution that restored their pride in their home within two weeks.
“Our septic system was put in when we built in 1988,” says Mike Maynard from his rural property in sunny Queensland. “Over the years we have had continuing problems with the system not working properly. The area around the trench would get so wet and boggy that we could not even walk near it, let alone use the mower.” But that wasn’t the worst bit of their dysfunctional septic system. “The smell would become almost overpowering at times,” says Mike, “especially when it rained or when we had visitors to stay, which was quite embarrassing.”
The stink that stuck The problem wouldn’t go away, which is common with septic tanks and wastewater treatment systems. “As time went on, the smell was becoming a constant thing,” explains Rose. Septic systems are much like a digestive system for your house. Just as you need healthy bacteria in your body, your septic system needs a healthy balance of good bacteria to process the waste from your home. Otherwise, problems occur and recur. “We were at a loss as to what to do to ﬁx it, apart from getting the septic pumped out again, digging up and replacing the trench, or even replacing the whole system – all expensive options,” says Rose. “But then we read in a magazine about Ecocare Activator.”
Cleaners don’t cut it Often confused with traditional septic system cleaning products, Ecocare Activator is much more than a cleaner.
Sound advice about odours “My husband rang and spoke at length to George at Insight Environmental about our problem and, based on that conversation and George’s assurances, we decided to try Ecocare Activator,” says Rose. “We thought, ‘Really, what do we have to lose,’ as it is only a fraction of the cost of the other options we had.” What happened next surprised Mike and Rose, but not George.
Fast forward for the Maynards “We were astounded by the results and how quickly it happened,” says Rose with a smile. “Within a couple of weeks the smell was gone and you could see the area around the trench drying – something that had not happened for twenty years or more.” That was in the winter of 2013. Today, Mike and Rose still have a healthy, odour-free septic system. “We now have a dry paddock,” Mike explains. “We can mow and walk all around the area. “We could not be happier with the results and will continue to use this fabulous product.”
It’s an easy-to-use, environmentally friendly, septicsafe solution that activates and conditions your septic system. It gets the ‘digestive system’ healthy again, which, in turn, clears the blockages that cause bad odours and keeps the entire septic system clean.
Get your septic or wastewater system working properly, permanently. Whether you need a fast solution for a septic odour or blockage issue, or you just want a more environmentally friendly and cost-effective method of treating your system, we’re here to help at Insight Environmental. No obligation. No hard sell.
Because Ecocare Activator is safe for you and your garden or paddock, Mike and Rose have no qualms in sharing their story with their friends and neighbours. “We highly recommend anyone with a septic system – with or without issues – to use this great product to ﬁx and prevent septic system problems,” says Mike. And who can blame him when Ecocare Activator’s triple action is not only more effective than the single-action septic system cleaners out there, it’s more costeffective too. If you’re having problems with your septic system, or would simply like to ﬁnd out more about triple-action Ecocare Activator, call Insight Environmental.
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Talk to one of our experienced consultants on 1800 633 866. Consultations are free and our solutions will save you money, as well as provide peace of mind. So get in touch and solve your wastewater issues.
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Page 18, Southern Farmer
What’s on in our southern region Melton, May 3 THE ‘Valuing our Volcanic Plains’ project is running a ﬁeld day to promote the use of ﬁre as a land management tool in grasslands and grassy woodlands on Sunday, May 3 at the Melton Library and Learning Hub. The ﬁeld day will include presentations from an ecologist who will discuss how ﬁre can be used to manage areas of native grassland and grassy woodlands to reduce biomass, encourage regeneration and facilitate weed management and the CFA who will discuss how to plan for a burn on your property and how they can help. The ﬁeld day will start at 10.30am and ﬁnish at 3pm. Information: email environmentalservices@ melton.vic.gov.au. Bairnsdale, May 6 Leongatha, May 7 THE Victorian Farmers’ Federation is running policy forums around the state to discuss local issues and seek member feedback on its White Paper on tax reform.
Information: www.vff. org.au/taxreform. Rockhampton, Qld May 4-9 BEEF Australia 2015 will be held on Monday, May 4 to Saturday, May 9 in Rockhampton, Queensland. Australia’s national beef exposition is one of the world’s great beef cattle events and is held once every three years as a celebration of all facets of the Australian beef industry. It will facilitate new trade and export opportunities by exposing the local supply chain to the international industry leaders. The expo will feature more than 4500 cattle from more than 30 breeds, a trade fair promoting more than 500 businesses, a conference, seminars and property tours to deliver new research information to producers. There will be restaurants and cooking demonstrations for visitors to appreciate the quality and ﬂavor of great Australian beef. Information: call (07) 4922 2989.
Country shows and regional field days THE following field days and shows will take place in autumn and early winter: May 1-2: East Gippsland Field Days, Bairnsdale 22-23: Mildura Horticultural Field Days, Mildura July 17-19: The Australian Sheep and Wool Show, Bendigo For more information visit www.vicagshows. com.au or www.countryshows.com.au.
Melbourne, May 14 THE second Horticulture MasterClass will be held in conjunction with the Produce Marketing Association (PMA) Fresh Connections 2015 at the Melbourne Convention Centre on Thursday, May 14. The Markets and Marketing MasterClass will feature three key note speakers and a panel discussion, facilitated by Richard Cornish, The
WARM WOOL: The Victorian regional centre of Bendigo, a geographical mid-point for farmers across the main sheep producing areas, has been the home of The Australian Sheep and Wool Show.
Age food writer. The PMA Fresh Connections 2015 will include a conference, trade show, retail tours and focused events. Participants can register for the MasterClass and other PMA Fresh Connections 2015 activities at www.pmafreshconnections.com.au. Melbourne, June 11 TICKETS are now on sale for the inaugural
AgriVictoria – State of Opportunity summit on Thursday, June 11, 2015 at the Park Hyatt in Melbourne. The summit will explore vital domestic and international connections, new innovations and provide real business solutions for Victorian farmers, producers and industry professionals from across food and ﬁbre value chains. AgriVictoria is being
delivered in collaboration with the Royal Agricultural Society of Victoria, Victorian Farmers Federation, ANZ, PricewaterhouseCoopers, Victorian Agribusiness Council and the Global Foundation. The summit will be followed by Victoria’s premier agricultural event, Agriculter: The Heard of Victoria dinner which will be held at Central Pier, Docklands. Information: call Sheryn Cooper 0438 953 732. NOMINATIONS for the 2015 Victorian Landcare Awards are now open. The awards are an opportunity to celebrate the achievements of volunteers and landcarers across the state and the importance of the environment to our communities. There are categories in this year’s awards for individuals, groups, networks, schools or organisations that are involved in protecting or improving their local environment, farm, coastline, bushland, wetland, waterway, school, region
or catchment. Entries close on Sunday, June 21. Information: visit www.landcarevic. net.au/resources/ awards/2015-victorianlandcare-awards/entriesnow-open. SUBMISSIONS for this year’s Melbourne International Wine Competition to be held at the RACV City Club, Melbourne on June 28 and 29 (MIWC) are now open. MIWC is the ﬁrst major international wine competition in the Paciﬁc with tradeonly judges from top to bottom that consist of people who are buyers from the top retail stores, restaurant owners, sommeliers, hotel beverage directors, distributors and importers. All the gold and double gold winning wines will be showcased at the 2015 Australia Trade Tasting in Melbourne on Monday, August 31 and in Sydney on Monday, September 7. Information: visit www.melbourneinternationalwinecompetition. com.
WINTER WARMTH AND HEATING
Page 20, Southern Farmer
Lopi offers clean and green warmth IT has often been a dilemma when choosing heating for your house – do you want a wood heater or a gas heater? With the amount of choices on offer today and thanks to some innovative designs both versions of heating have become more efﬁcient, clean and easy to use. Leaders in slow combustion wood and gas ﬁreplaces, Lopi are the distributors of ﬁreplace products throughout Australia and have a complete range of both wood and gas fireplaces providing a complete ﬁreplace solution. Operating in Australia for 35 years, Lopi offer a complete range of highquality products manufactured in the US, featuring some of the latest ﬁreplace technology in the heating industry. Lopi fireplaces are manufactured in both freestanding and inbuilt models and have a number of retail outlets throughout Victoria distributing to more than 70 dealerships throughout Australia. According to Lopi sales manager Chris Kent, the company has some of the cleanest burning and
ELEVATED CRAFTSMANSHIP: The Lopi Cape Cod hybrid-fyre freestanding wood heater is a unique cast iron wood stove as it features a full convection chamber surrounding the firebox.
longest burning ﬁreplaces on the market. “Many people today want a ﬁreplace, particularly a wood ﬁreplace that doesn’t go out. “With a wood ﬁreplace you only really want to be
loading it twice a day. “We have wood ﬁreplaces that will last for 12 to 14 hours and they are still clean burning. “Some other ﬁreplaces may burn clean, but not necessarily overnight.
“Our fireplaces do both,” Mr Kent said. One of Lopi’s special features on its wood heaters is the GreenStart, which allows you to start your wood ﬁre with the touch of a button.
“The GreenStart feature uses electricity to pre-heat the air inside the ﬁreplace up to 60 degrees Celsius and by pushing the ignition button the wood is then ignited in a new ﬁre or reignited from a coal bed.
“It works like bellows on a ﬁreplace to get wood burning and it also then works well with re-ignition. “So if you get up in the morning and see there are still some embers alight
in the ﬁre, you can just add some bigger logs to the ﬁreplace and push the ignition button and it is up and going again. “No other brand of heater has this function but Lopi,” Mr Kent said. Lopi’s range of gas ﬁreplaces are direct vent ﬁreplaces meaning that the ﬁreplace works naturally by drawing oxygen into the glass sealed ﬁrebox from outside and any gases or bi-product are expelled back outside again. “There is no fan required to get rid of those gases you don’t want inside your house, it works as a natural process. “As a result, the air quality in your home remains the same. “This is a feature we really want to reinforce with our products. “There are other products out there that do this, but some use a fan. “Our product can do this as part of a natural process and that is just part of what is so good about it,” Mr Kent added. All Lopi ﬁreplaces and gas heaters come in a range of traditional and contemporary styles. For more information visit www.lopi.com.au.
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Southern Farmer, Page 21
4XDGUD )LUH GHVLJQHG IRU HIÂżFLHQF\ ACCORDING to Jetmaster wholesale manager Ashley Stride the QuadraFire wood stove has set the benchmark for being Australiaâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s most efďŹ cient slow combustion unit. Mr Stride said the Quadra-Fire range boasts unmatched performance and durability and they are â&#x20AC;&#x153;built to lastâ&#x20AC;?. â&#x20AC;&#x153;Each Quadra-Fire stove is designed with efďŹ ciency and functionality in mind, and achieves this by using heavy duty steel and design details that both enhance performance and keep the stove working longer and better â&#x20AC;&#x201C; and thatâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s why we can offer the most comprehensive warranty on the market. â&#x20AC;&#x153;Australiaâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s average efďŹ ciency of a slow combustion unit is 62 per cent. â&#x20AC;&#x153;Quadra-Fire leaps ahead by 10 per cent at 75 per cent. â&#x20AC;&#x153;A 10 per cent efficiency equates to an approximate one tonne of
wood saved per annum â&#x20AC;&#x201C; so by using a Quadra-Fire, the average saving should be approximately $400,â&#x20AC;? he said. The four point burn system technology burns the smoke just like fuel in four distinct zones of the combustion chamber. In each of these zones, potential heat that would normally escape up the chimney of a conventional wood stove is captured to warm your home. â&#x20AC;&#x153;The bottom line is cleaner air, less chimney maintenance, and fewer trips to the wood stack,â&#x20AC;? Mr Stride said. â&#x20AC;&#x153;The innovative â&#x20AC;&#x2DC;quadâ&#x20AC;&#x2122; four point burn system technology produces intense rolling ďŹ&#x201A;ames so efficient, it dawns the inception of the QuadraFire name, creating the cleanest, most desired overnight burning wood stove available on the market. â&#x20AC;&#x153;Itâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s easy to use, ef-
ďŹ cient, reliable, and environmentally friendly,â&#x20AC;? he added. As well as the Quadra-Fire range, Jetmaster also market the range of Heatilator slow combustion ďŹ replaces, boasting an unparalleled average efďŹ ciency rating of 83.5 per cent. â&#x20AC;&#x153;The range features Australiaâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s most efďŹ cient fireplace â&#x20AC;&#x201C; the WS-18 freestanding stove, as well as the WS-22 Step-Top model and the WINS-18 Insert â&#x20AC;&#x201C; which just happens to be the most efďŹ cient wood insert on the market,â&#x20AC;? Mr Stride said. â&#x20AC;&#x153;All units are made in the US, and most importantly, achieve these unbelievable efďŹ ciencies without the use of a catalytic converterâ&#x20AC;&#x201C; one less part to wear out.â&#x20AC;? For more information visit www.quadrafire.com.au or www. ecochoiceďŹ res.com.au or www.jetmaster.com.au.
EFFICIENT HEATING: As well as the Quadra-Fire range, Jetmaster also markets the range of Heatilator slow combustion fireplaces.
:RRG ÂżUH PDQDJHPHQW WLSV DLG VDIHW\ WOOD burning stoves require proper operation and regular maintenance to ensure they are safe for you and your family. It is important to use proper fuel and the best fuel for a wood stove which is any kind of hardwood such as maple, beech, ash, hickory or oak. Wood should be cut,
split and air dried for at least one year before burning. Well-seasoned hardwood will show cracks in the ends. Wood will dry faster and remain dry and protected from the elements if stored in a shed or under a tarp. It is important to regularly clean the stove.
Use a wire brush to clean your stovepipe and chimney at least once a year. Also, occasionally use controlled high-temperature fires in the stove or furnace. It is recommended that you never use heavy items such as chains, bricks or a brush on the end of a rope, because
they could seriously damage the interior chimney lining. It is important to avoid creosote build-up. Creosote is a highly combustible fuel that burns intensely. A slow-burning fire such as those found in a modern, airtight stove damped way down, produces a flue temperature
in the 37 degrees Celsius to 95 degrees Celsius range. These temperatures do not sufficiently carry all of the unburned, combustible gases into the atmosphere. Instead, they condense along the walls of the stovepipe and the chimney as creosote. Creosote may take
three forms. These include: Â&#x2021; D VWLFN\ OLTXLG WKDW will run down the chimney and stovepipe where it will be burned; Â&#x2021; D IODN\ EODFN GHSRVLW which is easily removed by brushing; or Â&#x2021; D KDUG JOD]HG WDU which is almost impossible to remove, except by a certified chimney sweep.
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Page 22, Southern Farmer
Scandia’s heating and cooking history goes on in 2015 EĂƟŽŶĂů ĞĂůĞƌ EĞƚǁŽƌŬ
dŽ ĮŶĚ ǇŽƵƌ ůŽĐĂů <ĂůŽƌĂ ŽƵƚůĞƚ ǀŝƐŝƚ͗
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SCANDIA stoves and wood heaters have a long history when it comes to heating and cooking in the home. The Scandia story started in the late 1940s when a young man with entrepreneurial spirit and great mechanical aptitude by the name of Vic Cassar started a business repairing and manufacturing a range of cast iron stoves in the inner Melbourne suburb of Collingwood. After many years of running his successful business in Melbourne, Mr Cassar chose to move to the rural town of Seymour so he could establish a large scale manufacturing facility and a home for his wife and two sons. The Seymour plant operated for several decades turning sheet steel and pig iron into magniﬁcent radiant cookers that were the primary source of heating, cooking, hot water and the heart of many Australian homes.
In the late 70s, it became apparent that being able to retain skilled labor was going to be difﬁcult given the hot and physical demands of the working environment and with inefﬁciency a problem resulting from antiquated construction methods, Scandia would need to forge a new path. The new path was to source a range of heaters from overseas from Taiwan and China, and by 1982, the import business was ﬂourishing. Today, Mr Cassar’s grandsons, Jake and Ben, run the business as joint directors. Ben leads the logistics and supply chain team in the delivery of a range of high-quality imported cookers, wood heaters and associated accessories sourced and designed by Jake in consultation with the company’s strategic manufacturing partners in China who produce quality products under the strict guidelines and management of Scan-
dia’s local team on the ground in China. Scandia still specialise in producing wood heaters, however, cast iron has given way to a range of heavy duty steel units that are robotically welded, laser cut and made from premium 5.5 millimetre steel. To differentiate their proposition in the Australian market Scandia now operates under two banners. The Kalora Wood Heater range is a premium proposition representing one of the most contemporary, environmentally friendly, energy efﬁcient wood heaters ever sold in the Australian market. To ensure customers receive the greatest level of care and the best advice when purchasing a Kalora product, distribution is limited to a national network of specialist retail partners. For more information visit www.kalora.com.au or www.scandiastoves. com.au.
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Offers end June 30 2015, while stocks last. Images for illustrative purposes only. *Saving based on recommended retail price for MF2635 tractor and MF7335 standard loader. ^Saving based on recommended retail price MF5450 tractor and MF956 standard loader. Contact your local dealer for availability and package pricing.
MASSEY FERGUSON®, MF®, the triple-triangle logo® is a worldwide brand of AGCO. © 2015