Dry autumn has turned the district into a moonscape

BIG WHEELS: Millie Watson’s family machinery stand won an award for its presentation at the Royal Bathurst Show. Millie and I were proud of this Kubota tractor.
BIG WHEELS: Millie Watson’s family machinery stand won an award for its presentation at the Royal Bathurst Show. Millie and I were proud of this Kubota tractor.

LAST week’s surge of sheep and cattle into saleyards was a timely reminder that many unwanted decisions have been made.

Ahowling dust storm to our near west showed us that these conditions have returned after just a two-year let-up, and the formerly accepted practice of heavy stocking (nine or 10 dry sheep equivalents to a hectare) now seems like a very distant memory.

Very dry autumns and dry dams have almost become the norm as our district resembles a moonscape.

Some agistment can be found on Agistment.net.au and local hay and grain traders can source supplies, but the cost of product plus perhaps 800 kilometres freight will be substantial.

We should be seated before getting price quotes.

That’s the point

AS the sell-off of sheep and cattle continues to accelerate, a few strong points have come to the fore:

  • Don’t fall in love with our animals and try to retain everything as heavy feeding is costly and pastures will be damaged.
  • Drought lots can work well and save stock walking many miles.
  • Many survivors from recent droughts say sell and regret, but sell anyway.
  • The best advice will come from industry stalwarts, not bureaucrats.
  • Make the hard decision with your family, try to be positive and decisive and don’t try to go it alone.
  • We’re all seven days closer to general rain than we were last Thursday.

Changing times

PETER Holding is a mixed farmer at Harden on an 810-hectare property and he is involved in a state group, Farmers for Climate Action.

The merino part of his farm uses The Grange, WA and Centre Plus genetics; his cropping enterprise uses controlled traffic and direct drilling; and his outlook centres on adaption to our many dry seasons.

“In the merino industry, I find it impossible to talk about climate change because nothing ever changes in that industry, so how can it be climate?” he says.

I hope the wool industry in our district has a bit better image than that. Or has it?

HAY THERE: The B2B express, complete with Thomas the Tank Engine and the Fat Controller, will see lots of cyclists go by this Sunday. Make sure you take time to drive the race circuit and appreciate the efforts of the farmers with their hay bale constructions.

HAY THERE: The B2B express, complete with Thomas the Tank Engine and the Fat Controller, will see lots of cyclists go by this Sunday. Make sure you take time to drive the race circuit and appreciate the efforts of the farmers with their hay bale constructions.

Dogs’ bait fate

JODIE Healey reports that the autumn baiting program for the Turon Wild Dog Control Group is set for Friday, May 11 and that baits are free to members.

Users of baits must have a current Pindone/1080 certificate of Chemcert accreditation that must not have reached its expiry date.

Please check your accreditation card or ring Local Land Services (LLS) on 6333 2300 to save problems on the day.

All landholders across the Turon area are urged to report all dog sightings and attacks on livestock to Alistair or Neville at LLS or Malcolm on 6337 7751 or email boxhill6@gmail.com.

This will be a great help in attracting future funding.

Must be enforced

FRONT page stories of serious losses of sheep being exported to Middle Eastern ports have brought this industry right back into the spotlight and legislation must be tightened to make sure that strict regulation that covers the operation is properly enforced.

Along with every livestock producer, I was disgusted to see the video of the problems and I hope that the films were genuine and not altered to enhance the story.

If I were in charge of the big pens of sheep that were filmed, I would have taken about 25 out of each pen as they seemed to be a bit too tightly packed for my liking.

Wool report

The wool market showed remarkable resilience the after the one-week recess as buyers responded to the largest offering of the season.

After being cheaper on the first day of selling, prices rebounded to finish the week strongly.

Most merino wools regained what they lost on the first day to end the week fully firm.

The broad crossbreds saw the biggest gains of the week, selling up around 40c/kg.

The northern market indicator finished the week on 1846c/kg, up 9c/kg.

The strong demand this week augurs well for the coming weeks as quantities will now start to drop off as we go into the winter.

Mark Horsburgh, TWG Landmark

Laugh lines

THE waiter brought two barramundi on a hot tray and George selected the bigger one.

“If he’d asked me to choose, I’d have taken the smaller one,” his mate complained.

“Then what are you grumbling for? You’ve got the smaller one anyhow,” George said.

***

IT was a quiet afternoon at the casino when a cute lady rocked up to a table.

She told both dealers that she was lucky when she had no clothes on, took everything off, bet $10,000 on a roll of the dice, shouted “mama needs new gear” and then “I’ve won, I’ve won”.

She scooped up an armful of cash and her clothes and left.

Dealer one was stunned. “What did she roll?” he asked.

“Don’t know,” dealer two replied, “I thought you were watching.”