Agriculture & Livestock

Microwaves for weed control

A laboratory model used to trial the effectiveness of microwave radiation in weed control.By Olivia McInnes

The ever increasing issues of weed resistance to chemical control have got farmers and scientists alike wondering where to go next.

Melbourne University’s Master of Agricultural Science, Dr Graham Brodie, may just have the answer the agricultural industry is looking for.

Dr Brodie said when microwave radiation is applied to a plant, it heats up the stem causing small steam bubbles to form. These steam bubbles block the plants nutrient and water transport passageways, causing it to wilt an die.

Dr Brodie has been working on technology designed to control weed problems on the ground using microwave energy.

“I started working on this idea in response to the need to avoid problems with chemicals and resistance” Dr Brodie said.

“There is also some interest in controlling weeds without the use of chemicals at all in environmentally sensitive areas, for example water reservoirs” he said.

Dr Brodie is currently working on converting the technology from a small scale laboratory model, to a miniature prototype that can be towed behind a tractor.

He says that although microwave radiation technology would be a less economical option when compared to chemical control, he is hoping to eventually incorporate it with weed seeker technology, increasing its cost effectiveness.

“Ideally, this new technology could be used as part of an integrated weed program to combat resistance and clean up paddocks for a fresh start” he said.

NSW Farmers Association calls for bounty on foxes

By Dominic Geiger

The NSW Farmers Association (NFA) has called for a bounty to be placed on foxes and wild dogs to help reduce the pests’ growing numbers across the state.

The bounty would work along the lines of the current Victorian model, with $10 being awarded per fox and $50 per wild dog.

Chairperson of the Conservation and Research Management Committee at the NFA, Rod Young, said a change in livestock running practises combined with a good season had allowed fox numbers to explode.

“Years ago, there used to be a lot of people shooting for hides, but that stopped when the [fur] industry went,” he said.

“The sheep population has also dropped to a historical low; where you used to have groups of sheep farmers who were collectively baiting for foxes, you now have cattle farmers who don’t bait and leave the sheep farmers isolated.

“A bounty may be an incentive for property owners to allow responsible people onto their land to control fox numbers.

“If combined with baiting, a bounty could be successful in significantly reducing fox numbers.”

Mr Young stressed the importance of only allowing responsible shooters onto properties.

“Obviously it would be up to landowners to police what sort of person goes onto their property,” he said.

Lachlan LHPA senior ranger, Craig Ridley, said he was concerned a bounty would encourage irresponsible people to go out shooting, regardless of whether landowners picked the right people for the job.

“I’d be extremely cautious introducing a bounty,” he said.

“It has a downside, and that’s the idiot factor; we could start losing livestock and, God forbid, people.

“It could encourage idiots to shoot on roadsides.

“The best approach in reducing fox numbers is integrated pest management, which involves a group of landholders conducting coordinated baiting as well as possible shooting.”

10,000 trees to be planted

Emma Patton (3) has a big job on her hands helping her parents Bruce and Wendy Patton plant their 10,000 trees.By Dominic Geiger

Planting 10,000 trees is a bit tougher than your average Sunday garden tidy-up.

But for members of the Ootha-Derriwong Landcare group, Wendy and Bruce Patton, the end result will make all the hard work worth it.

“We lost a lot of trees during the drought, so now we’re planting new trees to help prevent wind and soil erosion as well as to encourage bird life,” Bruce said.

“The trees also help to provide shelter breaks for stock and lambing ewes.”

Bruce said when all 10,000 trees were planted, there would be 15 kilometres of tree line through several private properties.

“We’re linking remnant vegetation to create biodiversity corridors,” he said.

“We got two government grants as part of the Caring for Our Country initiative, with one ending this August and the other ending this time next year.”

Wendy and Bruce’s efforts are particularly relevant this week, with thousands of green thumbed volunteers across the nation set to get their hands dirty in support of National Tree Day on Sunday July 31.

For information on National Tree Day activities with the Ootha-Derriwong Landcare group, go to Planet Ark’s website at planetark.org.

Moogenilla bull sale

Moogenilla Angus stud will be offering 50 Bulls at auction in Forbes.Condobolins “Moogenilla Angus Stud” will be offering 50 Bulls at auction in Forbes on Friday the 5th August.

“This will be our second auction in Forbes after 20 years of selling on farm north of Condobolin” Sarah Wrigley of Moogenilla said.

Last year’s auction saw a total clearance, partly due to a terrific season driving the demand for bulls.

“It gave our existing clients a chance to inspect all our best bulls at once, and introduced some new clients from further east.

“This year we will offer more bulls, and are expecting to have a higher number of affordable options for local breeders to choose from” she said.

The Moogenilla herd has recently been benchmarked in the top 5% of all Angus herds for the CAAB $Index in a TakeStock Report commissioned by Angus Australia.

“We use the TakeStock Report to check all our breeding objectives are being met, and to see how we’re travelling compared to other breeders. We’re really pleased with the recent report.

“Moogenilla is above average in all areas, with excellent results in Growth, Marbling and Eye Muscle Area.

“We will continue to focus on growth, to ensure maximum weight in all our client’s calves, and we are continuing to aim to supply the best genetics in the world at commercially viable prices to beef producers” she said.

Pictured right is Brett Stockman who has been weighing Moogenilla calves this week. Brett moved to Condobolin from Tarcutta in June to take up a position with the Moogenilla cattle and cropping program. Brett is already enjoying the wide open spaces Condobolin offers, and is looking forward to settling into our community.

Coulton’s Catch-Up

MARK COULTON MP FEDERAL MEMBER FOR PARKES

25th July

The presence of mining coal and coal seam gas exploration in the Parkes Electorate has increased in recent years. A large section of my electorate has been identified as containing either coal or coal seam gas resources. While the potential for these resources is enormous, it is essential that this is balanced against the ongoing ability for this area to continue as a major food producer.

The communities of Bellata, Moree, Tooraweenah and Narrabri are facing significant exploration and development in coal seam gas. Many primary producers in these areas have contacted me regarding their concerns about the mining of coal seam gas. There is a lot of uncertainty of the risks associated with mining coal seam gas, especially in terms of agricultural productivity and the potential adverse effects on underground aquifers.

There is much misinformation circulating in these communities, and that combined with a lack of reliable information is adding to growing anxiety.

The Senate Committee for Rural Affairs and Transport is conducting an inquiry into the management of the Murray-Darling Basin and in particular the impact of mining coal seam gas in the Basin.

The inquiry will investigate the economic, social and environmental impact of mining coal seam gas and will focus on the sustainability of water, property rights of landholders, prime agricultural land, associated health impacts and impacts on regional communities.

This inquiry will provide the opportunity for people to raise their concerns and issues directly with the Government through written submissions and also public hearings that will be held by the committee in areas where coal seam gas exploration is taking place.

I have made a submission to the inquiry encouraging the committee to hold public forums in the communities of Narrabri and Tooraweenah. People in these areas have been looking for factual information in order to make reasonable and educated decisions in relation to water management, agriculture and coal seam gas.

I believe it would be useful for this committee to fully investigate any links between mining and coal seam gas activities with any possible adverse effects on underground aquifers. I also believe that an inquiry in these areas would enable the resource companies a forum to explain the extent of their proposed activities as well as giving local farmers an opportunity to voice their concerns.

I would strongly encourage any person that is concerned with the impact of mining coal seam gas to consider preparing a submission to the inquiry. The submissions are not required to be lengthy and I would suggest referring to the terms of reference below as a guide to structuring your submission.

Terms of Reference to address in your submission:

  • The Rural Affairs and Transport References Committee will examine the economic, social and environmental impacts of mining coal seam gas on:
  • the sustainability of water aquifers and future water licensing arrangements;
  • the property rights and values of landholders;
  • the sustainability of prime agricultural land and Australia’s food task;
  • the social and economic benefits or otherwise for regional towns and the effective management of relationships between mining and other interests; and
  • other related matters including health impacts.

MDBA socio-economic report released

Compiled by Dominic Geiger

The Murray Darling Basin Authority (MDBA) has recently released a report into how last year’s guide basin plan would have affected the socio-economic situations of communities if it had been implemented without review.

The report, which the MDBA describes as an “interesting retrospective on what would have been the impact of the guide on basin communities”, shows the guide could have put many irrigation dependent communities throughout the basin at risk.

A spokesperson for the MDBA said the report has allowed the organisation to provide a balanced starting point from which to approach water reform in the forthcoming Draft Basin Plan, which is due to be released later this month.

“I want to assure communities that although the report’s only just come out, the consultants worked closely with the Authority over the past few months to update us on their findings so that we could feed this information into our work on the draft.”

Among the at risk communities identified in the report are the Lachlan Shire towns of Condobolin and Lake Cargelligo.

According to the report, “[the two] towns are totally dependent on irrigated agriculture [and] there is a strong concern that reduced irrigation in the catchment will see [significant] population decline.”

“The remaining population will, to a large extent, be dependent on government support resulting in a significant level of disadvantage in the towns,” the report said.

NSW Farmers Association CEO, Matt Brand, said the report confirms the results of the Association’s own survey of basin residents.

“Our survey found one in every three farmers surveyed believe the Draft Plan could force them to exit agriculture, potentially closing the door on generations of farming history,” he said.

The Association also said it questioned how effective the report would be given the draft basin plan was due to be released at the end of this month.

“How can the community be confident the Authority will have the time to consider the findings of this report when it’s been released at the eleventh hour?” Mr Brand said.

“NSW Farmers is calling on the MDBA to heed the warnings of its own research, and work toward delivering a plan that will protect the social fabric of the Basin.

“Basin communities need a Plan that is flexible enough to adjust allocations – to farmers and the environment; to seasonal conditions.”

AAA Tags tick all the boxes

ADVERTORIAL

AAA Tags Pty Ltd, a wholly Australian owned privat company, is now in its 4th year of production.

We specialise in the local manufacturing of NLIS approved sheep and goat ear tags.

Our tags are a single piece, self piercing type that are both NLIS approved and competitively priced.

The tags are known as the “strip” (wrap around) tag which satisfy the growers need for a compliant tag at a lower cost.

AAA also supplies a “clip” type tag for breeders that prefer to use the older style tags in the management of their stock. Both of these styles of tags are available in hot foil printed in black, white and yellow.

Yellow being used to have a point of difference with your neighbor for the same year of colour tags (black, green, blue, purple, red and orange can be printed with any colour foil)

Regardless of your preference you will not buy at a lower price because the money saved in dealing direct with the grower is passed on in the low price structure. Order processing costs are also minimized using a web based order system unique to AAA Tags that means you can order ( minimum 100 tags) without leaving the house, and expect to receive your order in 3-4 working days.

The locally produced “strip” tag is made from food grade nylon that is colour fast with 100% retention rate.

From 20 cents unprinted, 24 cents printed 1 side (NLIS logo & PIC) and just 26 cents printed 2 sides the company challenges you to buy better!(+GST) For prime lamb production these tags are the best solution to satisfy your needs.

There are three ways to order AAA Tags, online at www.aaatags.com or by downloading an order form and faxing it to 08 83560707, or if you want to discuss your order just phone 0419 608 570.

Veterinary services for Condobolin

Dr Alistair Grant with Condobolin local Sharron Brown of “Three Peaks”. By Olivia McInnes

Veterinarian Dr Alistair Grant of the Don Crosby Veterinary Surgery in Narromine, made the trip out to the Condobolin showgrounds last week to treat some local creatures feeling the effects of our lack of local veterinary staff.

His visit to Condobolin brought a great response, with the day being completely booked out with appointments weeks before his arrival.

The main casualties for the day were horses, with a range of work to be done including vaccinations, freeze branding and general checkups.

Dr Grant came fully prepared with everything from a digital x-ray machine and equine dental gear to endoscopy and ultrasound facilities.

Veterinarian and spokesperson for the Don Crosby Veterinary Surgery, Sara Falkiner said, “we would like to be able to service the Condobolin area as we realise the difficulties encountered by the locals with not having a local vet.

“The Narromine Veterinary Hospital already services several Condobolin clients, so it seemed logical after the closure of the Condobolin Vet Clinic to work out how best to service this area and ensure that Condobolin can still access veterinary services.

“This visit will be followed by another visit in a few weeks. We would like to be able to offer this as a regular service” she said.

National Farm Safety week

Allan Helyar and an old John Deere tractor at a past Condobolin Show. Old tractors like these don’t have the safety features of modern machinery.With around 44 deaths in 2010 from farm accidents across Australia, the Ambulance Service of New South Wales is urging the rural community to maintain safe work practices on the farm to prevent serious injury and death from accidents.

Some high risk situations and incidents on farms involved; tractors, quad bikes, machinery, horse riding, roaming livestock, dams and exposure to chemicals.

By taking these following safety precautions you will be able to prevent incidents such as the above and keep yourself, work mates and family members safe.

Some safety advice includes:

• When driving a tractor, never let other people especially children, stand on the side and always attempt to drive on level land.

• Prior to reversing, walk around your vehicle to check for obstacles or children, it only takes a few seconds.

• When towing tall equipment look up for power lines.

• Install approved rollover protective structures that add to safety, and slow down when using vehicles such as quad bikes.

• People who are not used to being around animals need to be careful as animals can be unpredictable.

• Educate your children from an early age about hazardous areas on your property and how to dial Triple Zero (000) in an emergency.

• Ensure you wear appropriate safety gear and work within well ventilated areas when operating machinery that requires petrol or diesel and wear an approved helmet when riding horses or using a quad bike or motorbike.

It is important to note that in an emergency, don’t panic and do not drive yourself or someone who is sick or injured to the hospital. You can do more for the patient by staying calm, reassuring them and applying first aid while you wait for paramedics to arrive.

A change of pasture for the Sutherlands

Anthea and John Sutherland with their daughter and winner of the 2010 Condobolin Miss Showgirl, Georgie Sutherland. By Olivia McInnes

It was a difficult decision for John and Anthea Sutherland of ‘Borambil’, Condobolin to move out of their family home of 25 years.

The Sutherland family history entwined in this well known local station dates right back to 1914 when John’s great grandfather William George Matchett bought “Borambil”.

The property was originally a 20,000 hectare spread which was later divided into four subsequent properties; “Borambil Park”, “East Borambil”, “West Borambil” and “North Borambil”.

“East Borambil” was inherited by John’s father and after going away to university to study engineering, John married and returned to Condobolin in 1986 to manage the property.

Twenty two years later, in 2008, Paraway Pastoral Company bought “East Borambil” as part of a three property aggregation and John stayed on as manager.

Then, when Paraway offered John the opportunity to manage Pooginook Merino Stud at Jerilderie in May of this year, John and Anthea made the difficult decision to leave behind all that family history and relocate to Pooginook.

“We decided to move down there to take a new direction” John said.

“We are enjoying the change. It was a big decision to move out of our family place, but we are looking forward to the challenges ahead.

“We will miss the community in Condobolin and the local area, but we will be backwards and forwards”.

The Sutherland’s move is not however an absolute end to the families ownership of “Borambil”.

John’s relative Merlyn Wallace of Sydney retains ownership of “Borambil Park”, the 5,600 ha homestead block.

Dirty discovery pushes Condo farmers into debt

Brett Reardon with his children Damon and Jada. Brett is out of pocket after the fertiliser shipment he organised turned out to be dirt. DGBy Dominic Geiger

The Australian Quarantine and Inspection Service has come under scrutiny this week following revelations eleven Condobolin farmers were sold 600 tonnes of Chinese dirt under the premise it was high grade fertiliser.

The farmers are now collectively out of pocket approximately $300,000 and are continuing to be charged for the storage costs associated with the dirt, which has been sitting in a Sydney holding facility since May 12.

The shipment was not inspected upon arrival in Sydney because it was separated into individual bags weighing less than 50 kilograms.

Quarantine officials have told the Condobolin agent behind the deal, Brett Reardon, that he must either pay to have the soil destroyed in a furnace near Geelong or return it to China.

Returning the soil would be the cheaper option, however Chinese officials are now refusing to accept the dirt.

The Chinese company that supplied the product has also recently disappeared from the Chinese government registered trading site alibaba.com.

Brett said he had organised the shipment on behalf of the farmers through a Canberra based fertiliser importer.

“I’d organised other fertiliser shipments through [the importer] a few years back but never through this company,” he said.

“I’d taken deposits from the farmers for 600 tonnes of fertiliser for a May delivery however two of the companies we were going through couldn’t deliver on time.

“Then we found this new company who said they could deliver in May.”

Brett said the realisation they’d been duped only came after a farmer in Parkes identified the product as dirt, rather than fertiliser.

“It made it through quarantine in Sydney because of how it was packaged,” he said.

“As soon as the farmer in Parkes realised it wasn’t fertiliser we stopped any further movements immediately.

“We’re currently being charged $3000 a day for storage of the product and Quarantine has informed us that we will need to pay for it.”

Brett estimates he is now personally $5000 out of pocket as a result of the dealings.

“I’m hoping we can get some sort of compensation for the farmers.”

Liberal Senator for NSW, Bill Heffernan, said the incident was a major breach in Australian quarantine.

“The dirt has been able to make it through customs due to the bizarre way in which it was packed,” he said.

“Whoever has supplied this soil has done it in a way that made it through the system.

“The shipment was organised through an accredited trading website, so this doesn’t say much for customs.

“Both the government and the Chinese Embassy haven’t shown any interest in this either.”

A statement from the Australian Quarantine and Inspection Service said the shipment was “an unusual consignment and was incorrectly declared as a low risk product.”

“This is why it was not originally inspected by AQIS.

“Almost all fertiliser used in Australia is imported in bulk by companies which have been profiled and are subject to AQIS controls.

“When goods are seized by AQIS because they do not meet the import conditions, the importer is required to bear the costs of any treatment, including re-export.

“Future consignments from this exporter will be closely scrutinised.”

Dung beetles dig in at Condobolin

Anne Foster holding some Bubas bison. DGBy Dominic Geiger

A property just south of Condobolin has become a regional first thanks to the introduction of 2,500 Bubas bison dung beetles.

The beetle’s release is significant as unlike locally active dung beetles, Bubas bison are primarily active in the winter.

Landowner, Ann Foster, said it was her son, Grant Relf, who originally suggested introducing the beetles to the property just off the West Wyalong Road.

“The soil here is incredibly hard and we wanted to improve it without having to use fertilizer,” Ann said.

“Grant got in touch with [a number of councils] and was put in contact with John Feehan who is an expert on dung beetles.

“John said these beetles were perfectly suited for the area but had never actually been used in the Condobolin or West Wyalong districts.”

Though native to Mediterranean regions of Europe, John said the beetles posed no threat to local biodiversity.

“I’ve released 5000 of these beetles with the CSIRO and many more since that and I haven’t heard a single complaint about them,” he said.

“Bubas bison are only active in areas where the native beetles are not as native dung beetles evolved to live in the scrub and bush whereas these ones are perfectly at home in paddocks.

“The release that took place [last Friday] is the first for the entire area – it’s a little bit of history taking place.

“It’s also particularly relevant given the carbon trading debate going on at the moment as dung beetles help store the carbon which exists in cow dung by burying it underground.

“they also reduce bush fly populations by up to 99%.

“Hopefully these beetles will now spread to neighbouring properties and become a sustainable population.”

Anyone wishing to purchase or obtain more information on dung beetles can contact John on 6248 0376.

 

Local link for grain growers to the GRDC

Chris Jones and Neil Fettell of Condobolin have been appointed to the southern region panel of the GRDC.

Condobolin researcher Neil Fettell and grower Chris Jones have been appointed to the southern region panel of the Grains Research and Development Corporation (GRDC).

The panel system is a key strength of the GRDC, with a cross-section of grain growers, scientists and people from industry to feed in regional priorities and assess funding proposals.

Dr Fettell and Mr Jones will serve a two year term providing a direct link for local growers, helping to ensure they can provide input into the organisation and get to learn about the latest research results.

Dr Fettell is recognised as an Australian authority on cropping and tillage systems, stubble and soil management and crop physiology. Currently a part time lecturer at the University of New England, Neil was instrumental in setting up the Central West Farming Systems group and led the Southern Barley Agronomy Project covering three states.

Mr Jones farms dryland wheat and turns off store lambs from up to 2000 Dohne ewes on his 4700 hectare property. He is a committee member and former chairman of Central Western Farming Systems, which promotes and oversees innovation and extension in the region, and a former executive member of Lachlan Valley Water.

Other members of the southern panel are Chairman David Shannon (Kapunda, SA), Bill Long (Ardrossan, SA), Dr Chris Blanchard (Wagga Wagga, NSW), John Minogue (Barmedman, NSW), Keith Pengilley (Conara, TAS), Peter Schwarz (Naringaningalook, VIC), Richard Konzag (Mallala, SA) and Susan Findlay Tickner (Horsham, VIC).

Chairman David Shannon said he was pleased to have Dr Fettell and Mr Jones on the panel.

“We have a good representation of growers, researchers and people from industry on the new panel, each with a fresh perspective on the task and different networks to bring to the organisation,” Mr Shannon said.

“We’re the conduit for growers, so we need to be out there talking directly to them about their issues, so we can make sure future research is directed at making the biggest impact possible for them on-farm.”

The GRDC is a statutory authority established to plan and invest in R&D for the Australian grains industry. Its primary objective is to support effective competition by Australian grain growers in global grain markets, through enhanced profitability and sustainability.

Horses need shoes too

Local Condobolin farrier Graham (Spud) Whiley, fitting ‘Merlin’ with some new shoes. OMAdvertorial

Most people will agree that holding up the leg of a several hundred kilogram horse while you upgrade its footwear is not the easiest job in the world.

But according to local farrier Graham (Spud) Whiley, maintaining a horse’s feet is one of the most important aspects of owning one.

Spud began farrier work 13 years ago after a problem with one of his own horses hooves sparked an interest in learning how to treat such cases.

He then enrolled in a three year farrier and blacksmith course at Scone in NSW, which involved extensive study of horse anatomy and hoof function as well as lameness problems and corrective shoeing.

Spud also had the opportunity to work alongside vets where he has learned to interpret scans and x-rays as well to correspond with vets and chiropractors.

With a family that has been involved in Pony Club for many years, Spud has had a vast amount of experience with horses and this shows in his calm and confident manner when handling them.

Spud works with horses of all shapes and sizes and is happy to travel to do so.

He currently travels to clients in Parkes, Forbes, Tottenham, Trundle, Tullamore and Lake Cargelligo.

You can make an appointment with Spud by giving him a call on 0427 480 325 or 02 6896 2210.

 

Penalties apply for the illegal use of TSR’s

The Lachlan Livestock Pest and Health Authority is warning people that fines apply for illegal uses of travelling stock reserves (TSR).

Lachlan LHPA senior ranger, Craig Ridley says the warning comes following the issuing of a penalty notice to a person who was cutting down trees on a local TSR between Young and Cowra.

“The Lachlan LHPA manages 50,000 hectares of TSR land and in doing so we manage the land to strike a balance between the needs of travelling or grazing stock and the conservation of the natural environment,” he said.

“While TSRs are reserved primarily for travelling or grazing stock, there are a number of other uses which may be approved, some of which require a permit.

“Generally public recreational pursuits, such as walking, fishing or horse riding, can be undertaken without the need for a permit. Grazing and/or walking stock and apiary sites are some of the activities for which a permit is required.

“Fines can be issued to persons who are illegally using TSRs, for example to ride a motorbike, dump rubbish, or undertake an activity without a permit. Fines of up to $5,500 can be issued.

“If you are unsure whether you need a permit to conduct an activity on a TSR it is best to check with your local Lachlan LHPA office first.

“Rangers will be conducting random inspections of TSRs over the coming months to crackdown on illegal uses.”

TSRs are parcels of Crown land reserved under legislation for use by travelling stock. LHPAs manage over 500,000 hectares of TSRs in NSW.

For information on using a particular TSR contact your local Lachlan LHPA office. For more information on TSRs visit the LHPA website at http://www.lhpa.org.au/travelling-stock-reserves.

Stories of the past net funding for the future

Producer of ‘West Wyalong Movies’, Ross Harmer, outside Moncrieff Livestock and Property, CondobolinBy Dominic Geiger

A series of recently compiled documentaries showing the history of farming practises in the Bland and Lachlan shires have helped raise an astounding $54,000 for the West Wyalong showgrounds.

Producer of ‘West Wyalong Movies’, Ross Harmer, said the documentaries covered the history of the region from the earliest days of farming in the 1800s right up until the West Wyalong Show in 1973.

“In 2008, I made West Wyalong Movies One [WWM1], which is four little documentaries made up of old home movies, archival footage from the National Film and Sound Archives, and old photographs, combined with interviews with a few locals,” he said.

“The first one is called West Wyalong Wheat, which is the story of the first true Labor Government establishing the homestead farm act to encourage closer settlement to the proposed railway lines in the West Wyalong and Hillston districts.

“The next story is about the eucalypt industry in West Wyalong from 1927 to the present.

“The third story is a cook’s tour in 1930 of the streets of West Wyalong, and the fourth is the West Wyalong Show of 1973; it’s just a very nostalgic look back at shows and times.”

Ross said all the money raised from the selling of the first documentary and a second, called West Wyalong Movies Two [WWM2], have gone back into funding for the West Wyalong Showground.

To date WWM1 has sold 2,500 copies while WWM2, which was released just before Christmas 2010 sold its thousandth copy last week.

“The bulk of the [money raised] has gone into the showground facilities, particularly the yard dog (trial) section,” Ross said.

“WWM2 features five different stories, including scenes of the Trundle harvest in 1932… and we have a little three minute documentary shot in the 1950s about Doctor Young of Forbes.

“Doctor Young used to fly out to places like Tullibigeal and Ungarie, Kikoira and Burcher, in his little aeroplane and service the people out there.”

West Wyalong Movies One and West Wyalong Movies Two are both available in Condobolin from Moncrieffs and on the web at www.westwyalongmovies.com

Local mallee product hits market

A new bio-energy product made from mallee offers opportunity for local diversification in land use. True Blue Mallee Pty Ltd is continuing to work closely with local landholders and has launched its brand new briquette heating product at the Blue Mountains Winter Magic Festival.

Company Director, Dave Hall, who helped out on the stall at Katoomba said, “The response by people was very encouraging. Sales were excellent and there is a real and genuine interest in the product and the New Mallee Industry that we are initiating around Condobolin”.

“Fire Extender Bioblox has been specifically developed as the initial product to underpin the New Mallee Industry”, fellow company Director Peter Milthorpe commented. “It has been important for us to develop a high-value end product that can generate reasonable returns for landholders who are considering growing mallee for biomass and energy production”, he said.

Company Chairman Dr Bob Smith, who was previously Director General of State Forests and Land and Water Conservation also attended the stall. He said that he was most encouraged by the significant interest by the general public in Bioblox which have been developed under the leadership of company CEO Sandy Booth over the past 3 years.  “The density and resulting long-burning nature of the highly compressed briquettes mean that they burn hotter for longer than most firewood on the Sydney market. Indications are that this will hit the right nerve with city people as electricity prices continue to soar” he said.

Bioblox have been produced from locally harvested and dried mallee and True Blue Mallee Pty Ltd will continue testing the Sydney market over the next few months before reporting back to Condobolin landholders who have expressed interest in growing mallee as a crop.

“The development of the new industry means we must start to get trees in the ground and planted according to standard protocols which will optimise efficient and co-ordinated production,” Peter Milthorpe said.

It is still ‘early days’, but the company Directors are encouraged by their entry into the market place and also that they are getting return sales from customers keen to continue using Bioblox to supplement their firewood.

Pest fish ‘Tilapia’ threaten Murray-Darling

Male and female TilapiaCompiled by Dominic Geiger

The NSW Department of Primary Industries (DPI) is currently conducting a program to help educate communities in the Murray-Darling Basin about the potential threat of the invasive pest fish species, the Tilapia.

Though not yet established in NSW, the fish has been found in many waterways surrounding the northern part of the basin in south east Queensland.

NSW Department of Primary Industries (NSW DPI) Aquatic Biosecurity Officer, Debra Ballagh, said if the Tilapia was to establish itself in the Murray Darling Basin, it could become a major problem in the Lachlan River.

“Once established in a flowing river or creek, these fish are almost impossible to eradicate so it is important to stop the spread of Tilapia now before it’s too late,” she said.

“Tilapia impact on native fish numbers by competing for habitat and food, behaving aggressively, disturbing aquatic vegetation and could potentially introduce disease and parasites.

“The Murray-Darling Basin is already infested with pest fish including European carp, and if Tilapia were to establish in the river system the additional pest species may significantly impact native species populations.”

Debra said she encourages anyone living in the Murray-Darling Basin who suspects they have seen a Tilapia to contact the aquatic biosecurity hotline on 4916 3877 or send an e-mail to aquatic.pest@industry.nsw.gov.au.

 

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