Introducing the spectacular Dragonfly Circus

Former circus performer Irina Mathias instructs participants. O.M.By Olivia McInnes

Local children from Condobolin aged between 8 and 16 make up the thoroughly entertaining act who call themselves the Dragonfly Circus.
The Dragonfly Circus provided the entertainment at the recent markets in Condobolin. The idea for the circus as a means of entertainment and involvement for Condobolin Youth was founded by the Lachlan Arts Council, and is now funded by the Better Futures program. There are currently 20 children involved.
Project Officer Heather Blackley says the circus is a very valuable experience for the youth of Condobolin. She says “It’s confidence building. The kids are learning to perform in front of people and it builds their self esteem.”
Condobolin local and former circus performer Irina Mathias instructs the children and choreographs the act. Practice is held on Saturday mornings at the Condobolin Public School hall. New interest is always welcome.

Lachlan irrigator calls for new dams to be built

By Dominic Geiger

Irrigator on the Lachlan River and former Forbes Shire President, Charlie Francis, has been causing a stir in recent weeks with a media campaign aimed at encouraging people to reconsider the need for new dams in the Central West.
Mr Francis had an opinion piece published in The Land Newspaper last fortnight and was featured on the front page of the Forbes Advocate last week.
Mr Francis said he believes new approaches to water conservation are ignoring what has been learned from people working on rivers in the region for over 100 years.
“We need to listen to the stories our grandfathers taught us about irrigation,” he said.
“The Lachlan is not fully conserved; we need to conduct a feasibility study on the river to determine what percentage of the river’s flow can be placed in dams to ensure water security.
“I’m not taking a view that the environment isn’t important; let us determine the allocation necessary for the environment and conserve what’s left in dams.”
Professor Stuart Bunn, Director of The Australian Rivers Institute, said all the signs in the Murray-Darling Basin pointed to a series of rivers under stress due to current over allocations of water.
“My understanding of the Lachlan is that it’s in a relatively poor condition,” he said.
“Proposals now to increase the level of consumptive use of water from the river would be inconsistent with returning river flows to healthy levels.
“We’re in the middle of a wet patch at the moment and the temptation is to believe it will stay that way but we’ll be back to dry conditions before we know it.”
Lachlan Shire Councillor, Les Saunders, said it made more sense to consider new regulation weirs on the Lachlan rather than new dams.
“The Condobolin West Weir was suggested back in 1986; if it had of been built it would have backed water for fourteen miles up the Goobang creek and ensured a water supply for the entire town,” he said.
“The environmental impact of a new regulation weir would be less than a dam because the water would stay within the banks of the river.
“If you were to put a regulation three gate weir in it wouldn’t have an impact on fish stocks either because fish could travel under it.
“The problem with a dam is there’s no place to put it.”

Making mince meat of termites with Moniterm


Now is the time to termite proof your house following a wetter than average season and an explosion in white ant numbers.
The problem many people encounter is not knowing when and where the pests might strike.
The temptation is to forget about the threat, until one day a gardening or renovation project leads to the discovery of millions of termites.
With the new, affordable, Australian designed termite monitoring system ‘Moniterm’ however, fear of a potential invasion can be laid to rest.
Former Condobolin resident and pest removal technician, Ian Fyfe, said he saw the need to develop a year round and affordable monitoring system following the damage he witnessed termites inflict upon people’s property.
“The system consists of specifically designed containers with pieces of termite preferred timbers in each container,” he said.
“The containers are dug into garden beds or lawn areas around the buildings being monitored, preferably not adjacent to the buildings, and they are checked once each month to see if any mudding /termites are present.”
Ian, who has been helping the Condobolin and Lake Cargelligo areas stay pest free for 16 years, said one of the biggest advantages of Moniterm was its affordability and ease of use.
“There are other systems about, but I felt that they did not always do the job and the cost of some systems was prohibitive,” he said.
“Anyone who has been quoted over $1000 plus for a termite monitoring system should be asking for other options, including Moniterm.”
MONITERM has several distinct advantages over other systems:
• the property owner owns, installs and monitors the system without the need for special tools
• a monthly inspection allows owners to detect any termite activity
• saves unnecessary costs when there is no evidence of termite activity
• minimal disturbance at time of inspection and treatment
• the containers are reusable and of durable construction
• when termite activity is detected a pest control company is contacted to treat container and for any further advice.
Full details on Moniterm are available by contacting either Ian Fyfe Pest Control on 02 6926 4090 or 0428 952032.
Details can also be viewed on the website

Poisoned pets on the rise

By Dominic Geiger

The Condobolin Veterinary Clinic has reported a significant increase in the number of dogs being treated for both primary and secondary poisoning after ingesting mice bait in recent weeks.
Veterinarian Kate Schoeffel said dogs who had become sick after eating a mouse that had previously eaten poison (secondary poisoning) were not able to be treated at the Condobolin clinic as the dogs often required blood transfusions.
“We’ve been sending them to Forbes or Parkes for the transfusions,” she said.
“It’s more difficult with secondary poisons because owners don’t know they’ve ingested the poison until it’s too late.
“It seems to affect young dogs and puppies more because older dogs don’t tend to eat mice.”
Kate said the Condobolin clinic could treat primary poisoning cases by inducing vomiting in the animal and administering a vitamin that helps blood to clot.
“However if people start to notice abnormal behaviour accompanied with pale gums a blood transfusion is probably the only option.”
“The best thing people can do to avoid primary poisoning is to put the poison in a jar with a mouse shaped hole in the lid.
“If they have a puppy however, it’s probably best to avoid poisoning all together and consider other options.”
With more and more mice appearing around Condobolin and with the upcoming sowing season fast approaching, controlling mice numbers is becoming increasingly important.
As a result, The Argus conducted a small survey to ask people about some of their more obscure methods of catching mice, with an emphasis on avoiding poison. These are some of the better responses:
Pour water into a bucket until it’s half full and then drill two holes on either side near the top. Place a rod through these holes and thread a tin can or something that will spin on to the middle of the rod. Smear peanut butter on the can and keep in the middle of the rod, over the water. The mice should loose their balance, fall into the water and drown.
Put a wine bottle on a bench with the neck overhanging the edge slightly. Put a tea towel over the base and smear butter or grease on the neck. Put bread in the mouth of the bottle and then put a bucket of water under the overhanging neck. The mice should slip off the neck and into the bucket.
Float a long neck beer bottle in a half full bucket. Put some cheese in the mouth of the bottle and smear butter or grease on the mouth, similar to the above method. Place a plank of wood across the bucket making sure the bottle rests on the plank slightly. The mice should try to get at the bottle, slip off and drown.
If the above fail, a shoe, a brick and the ability to crawl into tight spaces should do the trick.

The plagues be upon us!


By Dominic Geiger

It’s been a very good season for creepy crawlies across the state and the Lachlan Shire certainly hasn’t been spared the wrath of the plagues.
David Brown from Central West Pest Management said there were a number of ways people could try to keep numbers of pest species down.
“Termites are the main problem at the moment, with all the rain creating perfect soil conditions for them,” he said.
“If people haven’t had an inspection in a while now is the time to do it; we’ve seen termite activity increase dramatically over the past months.”
David also said he’d seen a sharp increase in the number of mice extermination operations he’d had to do recently, with 20 jobs in the Lachlan Shire in the past months alone.
“It’s definitely an increase on last year,” he said.
“Mice are nibblers, not feeders, so it helps to put four or five different kinds of bait down so they eat a bit of everything.
“Mice numbers generally increase with the colder months so it’s important to get on top of the problem now; they’ve caused fires by biting through electrical wire in the past and it’ll happen again.”
Finally, David said although the recent influx of crickets and earwigs might be annoying, there wasn’t a great deal that could be done about them.
“They’re all coming in as a plague from South Australia,” he said.
“You can definitely spray for the ones already here and to try to prevent any more getting in to your home, but they’re going to keep coming.
“Fortunately, their numbers will begin to drop down with the colder months but I’m not going to speculate on any sort of time from.”

Making backyards frog friendly

The Foundation for National Parks and Wildlife (FNPW) are encouraging Condobolin residents to make their backyards ‘frog friendly’ following the recent surge in the amphibians’ numbers around the town.
FNPW CEO Leonie Gale said frogs often move into areas that have experienced heavy rain as it gives them opportunities to feed and breed.
“Frogs are great to have in Condobolin backyards as they eat spiders, mosquitoes, flies, other insects and even the odd snake,” she said.
“You can help out frogs by not using chemicals or pesticides in your garden, as they absorb air and water through their skin.”
If, on the other hand, you’re beginning to feel as though frogs have opted to infiltrate your house as opposed to the back yard, the FNPW also has a few suggestions.
“You can encourage frogs on their way by trimming bushes and tree limbs over hanging your house and by keeping outside lights off as it attracts the bugs frogs feed on,” a spokesperson said.
“Removing slugs from your garden may also help.”
Despite this, the FNPW said native frogs needed all the help they could get as their numbers were generally in decline across Australia.
“If you can put up with them, frogs are fantastic garden helpers as they help get rid of insects and slugs,” the spokesperson said.

Dubbo Beef Spectacular offers opportunities for Condo breeder

By Dominic Geiger

Condobolin was well represented at the recent NSW Beef Spectacular and Farm Trade Expo in Dubbo with local cattle breeders Keith and Vicki Ridley taking a number of their Shorthorn cattle for display & competition.
Keith said he’d been reasonably successful at the show, though admitted he’d done better in the past.
“Sometimes your cattle just don’t stack up against other people’s cattle, or the judge is looking for a slightly different type to what you breed.” he said.
“In the Shorthorn section we ended up with reserve senior champion bull and reserve senior champion cow.
“We also won sire’s progeny group.
“In addition to that, in the pen of three bulls section we were placed second in British Breed 15 to 18 months and second again in British Breed 18 to 24 months classes.”
Keith said he believed spectator numbers at the show had increased compared to last year.
“There were quite a few people there inquiring about bulls and breeding programs,” he said.
“I think the good season, good prices and fact that they’ve condensed the event into two days and added more trade displays, including farm machinery, helped increase the numbers of people.”

Wiradjuri workshop encourages employment opportunities

Workshop participants gather in the main circle at the newly constructed Wiradjuir Study Centre, Condobolin.  They are in front of  an original Lake Cowal scar tree topped by an eagle carved by Adam Umphries and designed by Percy Knight. The eagle symbolizes the spiritual journey of Aboriginal people and the quest of reconnection with passed loved ones. D. G.

By Dominic Geiger

A major community workshop aiming to promote Aboriginal employment, training and business development was held at the newly constructed Wiradjuri Study Centre (WSC) last week.
The event featured representatives from various levels of government, the Aboriginal community and multiple industries.
An initiative of the Wiradjuri Condobolin Corporation (WCC), the workshop also included a very strong focus on the partnership currently being fostered between Aboriginal communities and the mining industry.
Grant Sarra, Workshop Facilitator, said despite the emphasis on mining relations, it was important to mention not all Aboriginal people wanted or were able to work in a mine.
“The workshop is helping facilitate a collaborative process between Aboriginal people and mining companies, but also about giving Aboriginal people the chance to go in to other industries,” he said.
“We’re putting an emphasis on work readiness training, employment and business development, with a concentrated effort in the Central West.
“There’s no attacking each other in this meeting; we’re bringing people in to neutral areas, using humanity and making people humble.
“It’s a good environment and a much more cost effective strategy.”
Percy Night, WCC CEO said an employment and mentorship agreement with transport company Linfox had also been established at the workshop.
“We are aiming to establish a national Indigenous transport company based in the Central West where Linfox will act as a mentor,” he said.
“Linfox has also agreed to employ a significant number of Aboriginal people from the Central West, and get them started on a career path in a global company.”
The Wiradjuri Study Centre will be officially opened in the coming months.

Living with your teenager seminar


Motivational speaker Graham Hyman will be in Condobolin this week presenting a seminar entitled ‘Living With Your Teenager’.
The public forum, which is an initiative of CentaCare, aims to guide parents through a number of ways to open up communication channels with their teenager.
Graham said the seminar was ideally targeted towards parents who thought they were doing a good job raising their teen at the moment, though could see room for improvement.
“It’s possible to have your child’s teen years as the best years of your relationship with them,” he said.
“The seminar is all inclusive; we target both families struggling with emotional and behavioural issues as well as families who would just like to have better communication.
“Even with the most difficult families the first problems I try to address are the same issues affecting ‘normal’ families.”
Graham said communication issues had become more difficult in modern times due to peoples’ ability to isolate themselves from their families while living in the same house.
“The parents isolate themselves with financial matters, and become absorbed in their own world,” he said.
“The kids do the same but with social networking websites and they begin to see their parents as irrelevant.”
Graham said he would be giving parents a number of strategies to open up communication with their teenager.
“It’s also important not to fight unnecessarily with your child, and not to fight their battles for them,” he said.
Graham will present seminars at the Condobolin RSL on March 21 and at the Tottenham Golf Club on March 23.
For Bookings call 02 6331 8944.

Condobolin HS shaves for leukaemia research

By Dominic Geiger

Students and teachers at Condobolin High School dug deep last week and managed to raise over $130 in support of the Leukaemia Foundation.
Two teachers, Peter Clarke and Phill Goucher also donated a considerable amount of hair, with Mr Clarke shaving his beard and Mr Goucher shaving his head in support of the cause.
School captain Jourdaine Habel said the school community was raising money for Leukaemia because it was a way they could reach out and help people undergoing hardship.
“There have also been people here today who have in some way been affected by cancer, so it’s a way of showing them support,” she said.
Fellow Condobolin High School student Treigh Coe also shaved his hair in support of cancer research on Saturday in conjunction with his rugby team’s fundraising efforts.
This year was the 13th anniversary of the Condobolin High School’s fundraiser for Leukaemia research, with the first event occurring in 1998.
According to the Leukaemia Foundation, someone in Australia is diagnosed with leukaemia, lymphoma or myeloma ever hour, with a death occurring every two hours from one of these illnesses.

Singing and drama classes on the way for Condobolin school students

Hannah Symonds, Heather Blackley and Samuel Bugg. D.G.By Dominic Geiger

Hannah Symonds has a plan to revolutionize the way Condobolin kids think about drama and singing.
In the few short months since she arrived in Condobolin, Hannah has managed to organise after school drama classes for Condobolin Public School students and in-school singing classes for Condobolin High school students.
The classes, which are set to begin this week on Wednesday, are part of the government’s  Better Futures Program which aims to provide support and services “for children and young people aged 9 to 18 years who are at risk of disengaging from community, school, family or friends.”
Hannah said drama and singing classes are the best way to encourage someone’s self confidence.
“It’s the best way for kids to express themselves,” she said.
“Getting up in front of an audience is one of the most difficult things in the world.
“It’s also about alleviating boredom for these kids; it gives them something to do and they get a lot of enjoyment from it along the way.
“I hope it’s something that enriches their lives.”
Hannah will be working in partnership with Heather Blackley, Project Officer at the WPRD on the two projects.
Parents are encouraged to contact the Condobolin Public School if they want to enrol their students in the after hours drama classes.

Condobolin mother’s artwork chosen for healthy eating guide

By Dominic Geiger

A Condobolin mother of six has won a competition to have her artwork illustrated in a new nutrition resource package developed for use by Aboriginal Health workers and their communities across Western NSW.
A spokesperson for Western NSW Health said Debra Calliss won the competition due to her “fun illustrations” of foods suitable for the entire family.
Though unable to attend, an awards ceremony was held for Debra at the Central West Family Support Group building on the 8th of this month.
Health Promotion Officer, Christine Hardwick, said Debra had participated in recent nutrition and cooking workshops and had been able to turn the information into artwork.
“Debra knew what was going on so was able to create a perfect picture for the package,” she said.
“It was really good that we were able to get input from the people for whom (the package) is intended.”
Ms Hardwick said the nutrition package, called ‘Feeding the Family’, is a resource anyone can use.
“The package takes resources from around Australia and will be distributed around Western NSW,” she said.
“It will also be available in other states.”
‘Feeding the Family’ is designed to inform people about healthy foods and how to cook on a budget.

Courtesy bus for Condobolin RSL Club

The Condobolin RSL is proud to announce the beginning of a new courtesy bus service for RSL members and their guests.
The RSL officially acquired the bus on the 7th of this month.
Nikki Patton, RSL Club Coordinator, said the new service was unique in Condobolin.
“The bus will run at six, seven, nine and eleven pm on all nights excluding Sunday and Monday, and will run until close on Friday and Saturday nights,” she said.
“We’re really trying to discourage drink driving with this.
“The last thing we want is for a tragedy to befall one of our patrons or one of our guests, that’s why the bus will both pick up and drop off our patrons.
“People just need to call up the RSL and the bus will go to anywhere in Condo during those times.”
Nikki said the bus also featured a wheelchair ramp.
“We’re trying to make the bus accessible for everyone,” she said.
“It’s a free service and it runs well after the taxis have stopped running.”

CWA & International Women’s Day

Condobolin's CWA celebrated 100 years of International Women's Day.By Dominic Geiger

The Condobolin branch of the Country Women’s Association (CWA) celebrated the 100th anniversary of International Women’s Day at the Community Centre last week.
A DVD highlighting the progress women have made in social, economic and political life over the past 100 years was shown during the meeting.
School children also made presentations on Iceland, which was the CWA’s country of study for the event.
Heather Blackley, the main coordinator for the CWA, said it was important to take a multi cultural approach to International Women’s Day to celebrate the different ways women from around the world have made progress during the past 100 years.
“The role of women has changed everywhere,” she said.
“Especially in the Central West we now see women councilors and women play a much larger role in the workforce.
“I don’t want to say women were withheld in the past, but we weren’t encouraged.”
Sarah Meacham, from St Joseph’s School, said she enjoyed learning about Iceland because she found it to be a unique country.
“It’s very different to Australia,” she said.
“Also a lot of people think there are Eskimos in Iceland, which isn’t true.”

The carbon tax, farming and the Lachlan Shire

By Dominic Geiger and Olivia McInnes

With the Carbon Tax war in our nation’s capital having quickly crumbled into a case of political one liners and insults, the humble observer could be forgiven for wondering what it’s all about.
Add to that the question of how the tax will affect the average inhabitant of the Lachlan Shire and one begins to feel as though they’ve opened a Pandora’s Box of confusion and political spin.
So the team here at The Argus thought it was high time we localised the matter, and looked at it from a Condo-centric point of view.
But first, the facts:
The Gillard Government wants to introduce a tax on Australian businesses that produce a large amount of carbon dioxide through the burning of fossil fuels.
The aim is to implement this on July 1 2012.
This is in response to the global scientific consensus that human use of fossil fuels and the resulting release of carbon dioxide in to the atmosphere is the major contributor to global warming.
There is no set price for carbon yet, but figures between $23/tonne and $26/tonne have been suggested.
The Federal Opposition do not support the tax.
They say it will place an unnecessary burden on Australia’s carbon emission-intensive industries such as the coal industry, and as a result many international businesses will move their Australian operations offshore.
They also say it will result in an increase in the cost of living for the average Australian.
So to find out your thoughts on the matter, The Argus took to the streets to interview people from the region.
Rob Hourigan, Part Owner of Frank Cooney and Sons: “The tax will make it very hard for the agricultural industry, particularly farmers when you take into account the amount of money they already need to spend on fuel and transport. It’s going to be very tough for the family farmer whereas I think the corporations will be able to handle it better.”
Joseph Ford, former Condobolin resident, now lives in Sydney: “It’ll have a major impact on the primary producers because the increase in price on basic staples will be passed back down to them.”
Mitch Crump, from Orange: “I struggle to fathom how a tax is going to stop something that hasn’t strictly been proven to be true.”
With a state election looming, it also seemed appropriate to chase up the local political candidates to see what they had to say on the issue. Their answers are listed below, in order of how quickly they responded to our requests.
Adrian Piccoli, Current Nationals Member for Murrumbidgee: “According to the NSW Government’s own pricing regulator, families will be forced to pay more than $500 in additional electricity bills under Labor’s Carbon Tax. NSW families are already doing it tough- but instead of easing the burden, Labor wants to impose yet another tax that will hit household budgets hard, and increase the cost of living.”
George Benedyka, Greens Candidate for Murrumbidgee: “The Greens carbon tax plan will tax polluters, not households. Revenue generated will compensate households, support industry transition and build renewable energy and public transport as well as having the positive outcome of job creation. Economists agree that a carbon tax is the most efficient way to reduce emissions and provide business certainty.”
William Wood, Labor Candidate for Murrumbidgee: “(The carbon tax) is a levy that does not affect the smaller polluters. The tax will be used to subsidise electricity and will not be placed on the agricultural industry. The only (aspect of the carbon tax) that will affect Lachlan Shire residents is The Coalition’s scare campaign.”
Still confused? You’re not alone. After investigating the issue it seemed the best the politicians could provide was a general description of the tax, rather than revealing any specifics. One thing is for sure however; this issue will continue to galvanise the Australian political spectrum until the tax is either implemented or rejected. It remains to be seen how the Lachlan Shire community will be affected, though if public opinion is anything to go by, grave concerns are certainly held for the region.

“Simple by design”

Compiled by Olivia McInnes

Eleven years ago, local farmer Chris Jones invented a twin disc drill seeder. In April 2005, Chris sold the manufacturing rights to the US Company Amity Technology based in Fargo, North Dakota.
Now the Amity drill is being sold and used all around the world including Australia, North America and Europe.
The Manager of Planting and Seeding at Amity Technology, Jack Oberlander, was visiting Australia in 2009. He said, “It’s the best seeder ever made and it was invented right here in Condobolin”.
Jack, whose company released a 60 foot version of the drill said the drill attracts a lot of attention as it will sow under any condition.
“It’s very accurate on depth control and is low maintenance compared to other equipment and simple to operate,” Jack said.
No-till, minimum till or conventional till; The Amity Single Disc Drill works equally well in all three conditions. Down pressure adjustment on the openers from the tractor cab eliminates the need for opener adjustments.
The primary disadvantages of no-till with other single disc designs – hair pinning and sidewall compaction, simply do not occur with the Amity Single Disc Drill.
The Single Disc Drill does not have a gauge wheel running next to the disc. This allows for the soil to lift and flow back against the packer to be re-levelled over the seed furrow.
The Amity patented “opposing single discs” lift and displace the soil between the two narrow 6-inch rows.
The loosened soil coming off of the discs, flows back against the trailing packer which re-levels and firms the soil over the seed rows. This soil displacement eliminates sidewall compaction and hair pinning.
This drill also has the capacity to handle high volumes of stubble, leaving a level seed bed with excellent seed soil contact.

Forage shrubs; a valuable part of the feed-base puzzle

Ian Menz – District Agronomist, Industry and Investment NSW, Condobolin.

On March 23, a information field day will be held at the Condobolin Research and Advisory Station. This field day will be providing information on the advantages of forage shrubs within a livestock farming enterprise.
Following is a brief description of the projects that have been running at the station for a number of years and of some of the topics to be covered on the day.
Livestock, with correct management, can perform well with diverse plant mixtures, selecting a wide range of plants in their diet. A missing component in many grazing systems has been perennial shrubs, but they offer benefits that complement other forage sources on a farm including annual pastures and other perennials.  The ‘Enrich’ project, supported by the Future Farm industries CRC and Meat & Livestock Australia will be holding forums designed to help farmer groups, NRM or catchment groups, farmers and advisers to see the benefits of incorporating forage shrubs into mixed farming systems.
Researchers from across Australia have been assessing the traits and grazing value of a large number of shrub species, especially Australian species, both in the field and in the laboratory. During the forums we will present the proposition that, for a ‘typical’ farm in the low-medium rainfall crop-livestock zones of southern Australia, the inclusion of perennial forage shrubs at about 10-20% of farm area can increase whole-farm profit by 15-20%.
Forage shrubs reduce supplementary feeding over the summer/autumn feed gap and, importantly, allow deferred grazing of other parts of the farm at the break-of-season, thus allowing better management and more pasture to be grown elsewhere.
Perennial Australian shrubs, grown in a mixture, can provide out-of-season feed, contribute to protein and mineral nutrition, improve the efficiency of digestion by livestock and even help control gut parasites. There is a suite of additional benefits to improve natural resource management, such as controlling dryland salinity and/or wind erosion, providing shade and shelter for livestock and pastures, and improving biodiversity.
Some of the topics to be covered at the forums include:
Opportunities to improve your feedbase and increase profits by managing livestock with perennial shrubs (Dr Dean Revell, CSIRO).
Thoughts and experiences of changing farm practices (Cameron Tubby, producer from Morawa, WA).
The ‘other’ benefits of shrubs to livestock: Shrubs provide more than just energy (Assoc. Prof. Phil Vercoe, UWA).
Shrubs work well with pastures (Dr Jason Emms, SARDI).
Practical issues to consider when using shrubs (Bruce Maynard, producer from Narromine, NSW).
What shrubs, where? (Dr Jason Emms, SARDI).
Integrated into the forum program will be a visit to one of the Enrich programs 16 regional sites, so attendee’s can see some shrubs first hand and start to envisage how they can be used. Other region-specific research efforts and grower group activities will also be presented. Attendance is free and lunch and morning and afternoon tea will be provided. Attendees are encouraged to stay afterwards for a BBQ and drinks.
Forum date and time: 9:00am – 4:00pm.
Condobolin, NSW – Agricultural Research and Advisory Station – 23 March, 2011
For more information, contact Nathan Phillips., 08 9333 6700 or
Richard Maccallum 02 6895 1002.

Issues facing farmers this season

By Olivia McInnes
It would seem to some that harvest has only just come to fruition, and what a chaotic harvest it was.
Now, all of a sudden sowing time is approaching again. With that in mind, it is time to look at and appreciate the issues farmers are up against for this season.
District agronomist Ian Menz says that one of the main issues this year in regards to sowing is stubble load and the handling of trash flow.
For those who have not grazed or incorporated their stubble, there will be the issue of getting their machinery through it. Ian suggests that burning may be an option in this case.
Another obstacle that farmers need to be aware of is variety issues. With the increased rainfall this past season, there is also the inevitable increase in disease prevalence; in particular yellow spot.
Farmers need to be on the lookout for both stubble and soil borne diseases, and aim to select varieties which will give them the most insurance against these.
Owing again to our exceptional increase in rainfall, there has also been a significant decrease in seed quality. This can result in poor germination which in turn reduces vigour and therefore performance of a crop.
In addition to this, farmers need to be aware of the seed dressing used as some of these can also reduce vigour due to poor quality.
During the drought years many farmers reduced the amount of fertiliser applied at sowing. Now they face the problem of how much was removed with the good season last year. There may have been a build up of nutrients with less being removed in the lower yields during the drought. This build up would most likely have been removed last season.
Therefore ideally farmers should perform a soil test to accurately determine how much and what type of fertiliser to apply.
Finally, in conjunction with variety choice, farmers need to be aware of sowing within the sowing window to ensure optimum crop performance.

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