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TAS Country : August 5th 2010
Friday, August 6, 2010 Tasmanian Country 23 News Days warmer, nights cooler JENNIFER CRAWLEY Weather man: Ian Barnes-Keoghan THE dry continues in the south. July has been the driest on record in parts of southeastern Tasmania and one of the war- mest months on record. July was the warmest and second driest on record for the capital Hobart. The Weather Bureau's latest figures show it has been the warmest and the driest seven months on record for Hobart. Taroona and Huonville had their driest July on record. Other places had their driest July in years, recording only 5mm to 10mm of rain for the month. Just 141 mm of rain has fallen for the year in Hobart after below-average rainfall every month. Hobart Airport was the driest location with a total of just 4.0 mm. Only a few spots in the northeast and central west had near normal rainfall. Dry conditions and more sun than usual combined to make days warmer than ever before (records began in 1882, with compatible instruments in- stalled in 1895). Hobart's average maximum temperature was 13.9 C, which is over two degrees warmer than usual. Bureau climatologist Ian Barnes-Keoghan said the days were not especially warm (the highest temperature of 16.4 C was about normal), but the lack of cold was remarkable. ''The coldest day reached 11.6 C whereas typically half the month is at least that cold,'' Mr Barnes-Keoghan said. Overnight temperatures in Hobart were just slightly war- mer than usual, with an aver- age minimum of 5C. The coldest temperature was 1.2C early on July 9, and the warmest night was 10.6C on July 12. Maatsuyker Island equalled its highest July mean daily minimum temperature on re- cord and Butlers Gorge in the Central Highlands had its war- mest mean July temperature for 42 years - 8.6 C. The highest temperature for the month was 18.4 C at Bicheno on July 12, a day when north to northwesterly winds blew over the state ahead of a cold front. Most sites reached at least 15C on this day, and some had their warmest July day in five years. Mr Barnes-Keoghan said even on the coldest day of the month all sites in the state including Mount Wellington managed to exceed 0C. ''This hasn't happened in July for over 20 years,'' he said. Average daytime tempera- tures were mostly one to two degrees warmer than usual in the southeast and around a degree warmer than usual else- where. Some sites, including Hobart and Bushy Park, had their warmest July mean maxi- mum temperature on record. The wettest single day was July 11 when several places had over 50 mm, including Western Creek (58 mm), Mole Creek (57 mm) and Mount Barrow (56 mm). Widespread falls of 30 to 50 mm in the Mount Arthur/ Mount Barrow area caused minor flooding in the North Esk River. The following day, Mount Read received 56mm as showers persisted. Minor flooding devel- oped in the South Esk River on July 14 after a further 25 to 35 mm fell in the northeast over- night. The best snowfalls for the month followed, but only de- scended to around 700 metres. The central north and Mid- lands did have a few very cold days at the start of the month. Fog persisted well into the afternoon on July 2 and Ross struggled to reach 4C, its coldest day in over 15 years. On the same day, Launceston had its coldest day since July 2007, reaching only 7.8C, and Cressy had its coldest July day since 1999, reaching just 5.5 C. Cressy was only slightly warmer on July 5, when its maximum temperature was 5.6 C. The overall pattern was simi- lar to June with average over- night temperatures in the east were mostly cooler than usual while nights in the west were warmer than usual, typically around a degree. The southern Midlands and inland parts of the east were especially cold, with mean temperatures around two degrees below aver- age and very cold nights were common. Source: Bureau of Meteor- ology. STRONG SUPPORT: Election contender Eric Hutchinson, left, and Warren Johnston of Roberts with some of the donated sheep. Picture: ROSS MARSDEN Donors flock to help sheepish campaign JENNIFER CRAWLEY A GROUP of farmers have got together to raise funds for a political candidate, not in the traditional way with a cocktail party, but in a rural way --- by selling their sheep. The campaign, called Sheep for a Seat, is the brainchild of Tunbridge farmer Richard Gardiner. ''The reality is that a lot of people don't want to go to functions,'' Mr Gardiner said. ''At the end of the day it was the easiest way for farmers to contribute.'' He said most farmers had a sheep or two ''hanging around''. ''One sheep is worth a bit of money these days,'' Mr Gardin- er said. Money from the sheep sale went to Roberts wool market- ing manager Eric Hutchinson, who is standing as a Liberal candidate for the rural elector- ate of Lyons in the August 21 federal election. The sheep auction, which was held at Killafaddy on Wednesday, sold 420 sheep, two cattle and two tonnes of oats. ''Eric has put a lot into the industry,'' Mr Gardiner said. ''He's pretty well the bloke that drove the Roberts Wool Link.'' Roberts Wool Link is a mar- keting tool that enables wool producers and buyers to have direct links with each other. Epping Forest farmer James Walsh donated 15 sheep to the campaign. ''It doesn't matter what you gave,'' Mr Walsh said. ''People gave whatever they want --- a couple of prime lambs or a few wethers or ewes or whatever was in the mob.'' A core group of 25 farmers contacted between five and 10 people each to ask for do- nations for the campaign. ''There's a real network op- erating,' Mr Walsh said. ''Even though some haven't donated sheep, it's prompted them in supporting Eric. ''We just hope it goes further than a novel idea.'' Mr Hutchinson said there were 79 vendor declarations on Wednesday, when ''a wide as- sortment of the breed'' went up for auction. ''We had everything there,'' he said. ''There were the black ones, the old rams. ''I'm just really chuffed that these people that I've been involved with over the years want to support me in this way.'' Beef levies blasted PRODUCER levies paid to the Australian Cattle Council and Meat and Livestock Australia are a waste of money, according to Australian Beef Association chief Brad Bellinger. Austalian beef producers were forced to pay the highest levies in the World yet received the second lowest prices, Mr Bellinger said. ''The levy is intended for promotion and R&D, however consumption of beef has fallen steeply and the R&D program has blown out to a $700 million scandal,'' he said. MLA promotion had seen huge increases in supermarket mark-ups, while MLA measured success by the level of consumer spending. ''They never looked at pro- ducer share of the consumer dollar, as the rest of the world does,'' Mr Bellinger said. ''If they did, they would see our producers get 27 per cent of the dollar, while other countries' producers get over 40 per cent. ''After 10 disastrous years, MLA has got rid of the ob- scenely paid officer responsible but it is 10 years too late.'' Mr Bellinger said the ABA had done an analysis of meat industry R&D for the Pro- ductivity Commission Inquiry into R&D. ''The results are appalling and can be explained by the attitude of MLA to the pro- ducers who pay the levy. ''Minister Burke is respon- sible for the levy and its correct usage. He has failed beef pro- ducers dismally,'' he said.
August 12th 2010