Rural Notebook by John Seaman

WHEEL LIFE: After 60 millimetres of steady rain, these ewes and lambs were pleased to see the “meals on wheels” truck arrive.
WHEEL LIFE: After 60 millimetres of steady rain, these ewes and lambs were pleased to see the “meals on wheels” truck arrive.

GREAT rainfall last weekend should give instant stock feed on summer fodder crops and grazing lucerne stands. 

Because the rains have come so late, they have missed the normal spring growing season and are several months early for grazing oats or red wheat. 

A long-gone friend always suggested that grazing oats could be sown as soon as we rose from the Christmas dinner table.

Farmers with some open country will probably work up a couple of paddocks and sow quick growing millets or fodder brassica.

As always, supered country will jump away first, but we must remember that hot, dry summer conditions will probably arrive shortly.

Cold reception

WHILE many of our livestock enterprises are enjoying profitable levels, we must spare a thought for cereal and legume croppers across western Victorian districts where late and severe frosts have damaged crops that were still at vulnerable stages.

At a weather station in Westmere, temperatures of minus 1.2 degrees, minus 1.6 and minus 0.6 were registered on the nights of November 4, 5 and 6.

An agronomist at Donald described 50-60 per cent damage to legumes in an area across Lake Bolac, Skipton and Ararat.

Orchardists in our Tablelands must be hoping that conditions dry out to allow a quality harvest of a very productive cherry harvest.

Do the maths

CLAIMS of near record wool prices are a real heads-up for producers who have left the industry because of unviable prices, loss of interest in merino breeding or scarcity of a rural workforce that will work with sheep. 

It is difficult to see many producers leave the beef or lamb industries and return to wool production as the meat sectors are at pretty viable levels and purchasing merino sheep could be an exercise that will frighten most bankers.

Those who stayed in the wool industry may well expand their flocks by using most of their breeding age ewes.

We must not forget that our price structure for running a wool producing enterprise has probably risen by almost 300 per cent since market price levels were similar in 1988/1989.

Wal remains

THE annual general meeting of Australian Wool Innovation seems to have resulted in a draw.

Well-regarded Dubbo woolbroker Don McDonald was elected to the board, but chairman Wal Merriman probably still has majority board support.

With wool auctions giving an Eastern Market Indicator close to 1700c, producers aren’t looking for major change.

Perhaps the situation resembles Test cricket selectors sending the captain for training just as he’s made a double century.

SHEEP SHAPE: These black sheep grace part of the lovely dining room in a local restaurant.

SHEEP SHAPE: These black sheep grace part of the lovely dining room in a local restaurant.

Another option

WELL-KNOWN local wool industry figure Richard Butcher is now working with Australian Wool Network and providing another choice for producers who like to sell privately.

There are always light bales, odd fleeces, pet’s wool and wool butts that are sold locally and in many cases young family members get their hands on a bit of cash for Christmas.

AWN has established a top-notch reputation and its staff are treated as family friends by their many clients.

Richard Butcher can be contacted on 0427 254 643.

Find funds

APPLICATIONS are now open for round two of the Australian Government’s Building Better Regions Fund (BBRF).

Member for Calare Andrew Gee states that there are two streams of funding that aim to support job creation and economic growth in regional and rural Australia.

Local farmers and community and industry groups are encouraged to apply for the Smart Farms Small Grants program through the Federal Government National Landcare Program.

Grants of between $5000 and $100,000 are available to assist in protecting and improving the conditions of soil vegetation and biodiversity.

Applications close on December 7.

Contact the Bathurst Electorate Office for more information. Phone 6331 0524 or email

It’s best used

“BEST practice” is a catchcry that is often misused when describing livestock for sale. 

The description may well apply to the 14,000 first cross lambs to be offered at the 26th Annual Cooranga sale, Lucerndale, SA. 

All lambs are June/July 2017 drop, vaccinated Glanvac 6 in 1 plus SE; Scabigard; booster 6 in 1 plus Vitamin B12; drenched Startect, ewe lambs mulesed and Gudair. 

These sheep are renowned fatteners and breeders and the five-month-old ewes will probably shake the glass ceiling at $250 each.

Wool report

FOLLOWING a series of recent rapid rises, the wool market took a breather this week in response to an increased offering of more than 50.000 bales.

The market for merino wool remained solid and started the week well, easing back on the last day of selling.

Prices for crossbreds lost nearly all the ground they had gained in the previous week as the northern market indicator finished the week on 1776c/kg, up 9c/kg.

The market could be slightly dearer next week with buyers indicating strong demand from both China and Europe.

Next week will see 48,767 bales on offer nationwide

Mark Horsburgh, TWG Landmark

Laugh lines

AT a hotel in Surry Hills, they say that the drinkers will fight at the drop of a hat, they’re covered in tattoos, have muscles like eight gauge wire, and swear like troopers. The men are almost as bad.


NEUROTICS build castles in the air; psychotics live in them and psychiatrists live off the rent.


ON the chest of a barmaid in Sale

Were tattooed the prices of ale;

And on her behind for the sake of the blind

Was the same information in Braille.