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TAS Country : September 2nd 2010
their fair exchange LONG-TERM WATER: Liz Beattie surveys the kilometre-long pivot irrigator on Styx River Farm -- one of the longest in Australia. Pictures: JENNIFER CRAWLEY 'They were saying it doesn't pay us to produce the milk. They had exactly the same problems that we had here.' milk prices last year, the same time as French farmers staged a similar protest over low milk prices. Fifty French farmers filled their slurry spreaders with milk instead of slurry and spurted milk across a paddock opposite Mont St Michel, monastery on an island just off the coast of Brittany. ''They were saying it doesn't pay us to produce the milk,'' Liz said. ''They had exactly the same problems that we had here.'' Their 14-year-old son Oscar has picked up some French words from the students. ''Oscar will come and work in the dairy and chat in French to the two young men,'' Liz said. ''They've been fantastic, easy to get on with, we will miss them very much.'' The Beatties milk 850 cows over winter, and 100 of them are calving. It takes 2½ hours to put the herd through a 50-unit rotary machine. The Beatties send 19,000 litres of milk away a day. They calve 600 to 700 cows from January to March. ''I think the contrast between a small French dairy farm and here is useful,'' Liz said. ''To see our cows are still outside in winter, it just doesn't happen in France, they're all housed inside be- cause it's so much colder and wetter.'' The Beatties moved to Tasmania from Hampshire in the UK. ''We do things differently here than what we did in England,'' Liz said. ''As we've changed, we've adapted, we've learned. ''I rear my calves now with much access to running about,'' she said. ''As soon as they can drink they can run around the paddocks. ''I wouldn't ever change back to keeping them shut up.'' Snow on the foothills of Mt Field to the west of Styx River is a sure sign of a wet winter with plenty of mud underfoot. ''Mud, mud all the time,'' Nicolas said. Friday, September 3, 2010 Tasmanian Country 9 News BACK BY POPULAR DEMAND. BUY CYCLONE GATES. GET CA$H BACK. Cyclone is offering you $10 cash back* on every gate you purchase from September 1st to October 31st 2010. *For Terms and Conditions refer to www.onesteelcyclone.com.au Registered trademark of OneSteel Wire Pty Limited ABN 59 000 010 873. Ingall St, Mayfield NSW 2304. CYC0010/TC ON NOW Most farmers full of optimism KAROLIN MacGREGOR TASMANIAN farmers are still optimistic despite a record dry winter in the south. The latest Rabobank Rural Confidence Survey has shown that about 75 per cent of Tasmanian primary producers expect the agricultural economy to improve or stay the same over the next 12 months. This is down from about 88 per cent last quarter. Rabobank regional manager for Tasmania Greg Bott the mixed results were understandable given the variable winter rainfall. ''In contrast to last year, rainfall over winter has been localised mainly in the north,'' he said. ''Southern and some central regions experienced a very dry winter, however solid falls, which have come post survey, should see sentiment in these areas improve.'' About 1300 farmers across the country are interviewed as part of the quarterly confidence survey. With good sub-soil moisture levels in many parts of the north, spring pasture growth should be good. Mr Bott said while some, dairy producers were suffering because of low spring milk prices and a jump in grain prices, conditions should improve. ''While this will impact on margins over the course of the season, it is not likely to derail what promises to be a very good year,'' he said. For those farmers expecting conditions to improve, favourable seasonal conditions and an improvement in commodity prices were the main confidence-drivers. Mr Bott said while prices for grain, milk and lamb remained favourable, prices for horticultural products, particularly vegetables, were expected to be lower this season. ''Vegetable prices are down and many major buyers have successfully negotiated prices down recently,'' he said. About 50 per cent of farmers reported higher incomes over the past three months compared to the same period in the previous year, while 24 per cent said their incomes had fallen.
August 26th 2010
September 9th 2010