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TAS Country : September 30th 2010
Friday, October 1, 2010 Tasmanian Country 9 News Tasmania Together in uences the decisions that shape our lives. So speak up, and let us know what matters to you. It s easy to get involved. Have your say at a community forum (see website for details), online, over the phone or complete our questionnaire delivered to your mailbox. www.tasmaniatogether.com.au or 1800 759 920 WIN an iPad Have your say and go in the draw to win an iPad. For terms and conditions visit the website. the community's plan Tasmania Together 10 Year Review QUALITY: Doug French, who attended the Australian Fodder Industry Association annual conference Picture: KAROLIN MacGREGOR Fodder farmers raise the bar KAROLIN MacGREGOR FARMERS from across the country gathered in Adelaide for the annual Australian Fodder Industry Association's annual conference and Tasmanian producer Doug French joined the crowd. Mr French, who is also chairman of the Agricultural Contractors of Tasmania, regularly attends the national conference and said the focus this year was on fodder quality. This was in line with this year's conference theme, Raising The Bar. ''Quality was the big thing this year,'' he said. ''There's not much hay sold on the mainland now that doesn't have a fodder test done on it, and it's starting to happen down here as well, especially with the dairy farmers they need to know what they're buying.'' Participants at the conference each year have the opportunity to take part in a three-day tour of agricultural enterprises in the surrounding districts. Each year the conference is held in a different state and normally attracts about 300 participants. Mr French said a highlight of this year's tour was visiting a major hay export business, Balco at Balaclava. ''It's absolutely huge and it's a bit hard to get your head around some of the figures they're talking about,'' he said. The company processes and exports about 800,000 tonnes of cereal and lucerne hay a year. About 80 per cent of the company's hay, which has to be absolutely top quality, is sold to Japan for the dairy and horse industries. Mr French said the hay is bought in to be processed in large square bales which are then re- baled by a specially designed machine into extremely dense bales, a little smaller than the average small bale size. The bales are then packed into containers ready for shipping. ''They can fill a forty foot shipping container every hour,'' Mr French said ''It's a huge market . . . what they're sending over there doesn't even supply 20 per cent of the market in Japan.'' While Tasmanian farmers would struggle to meet the hay quality requirements due to the state's cooler climate, Mr French said the booming export market would produce some benefits for the domestic fodder industry. Mr French said the subject of re- cycling silage wrap was discussed during the conference and something that was highly relevant to Tasmania. ''It's a big problem here and a lot of farmers end up just chucking it in the skip or burning it,'' he said. Mr French said in other states local councils had come on board to help co-ordinate central drop-off points for silage wrap. About 5000 tonnes of silage wrap is thrown out or burnt across the country each year. If it is recycled, the wrap can be used for a number of products including timber replacement products. Research into new cereal varieties for fodder production is another area of interest that Mr French said Tasmanian farmers could benefit from. To find out more go to www.afia.org.au It's show time in Burnie KAROLIN MacGREGOR TASMANIA'S spring show season kicks off in Burnie today. With the highest level of livestock entries for years, Burnie Show organ- isers have been busy all week con- structing extra pens to house the animals for the two-day event. Show secretary Anne Kaine said they had been inundated with entries this year. ''It's the most entries we've had in the livestock sections for a long time,'' she said. Entries in the beef cattle section are up by about 50 per cent compared with last year. Dairy competitors will also be out in force after a 60 per cent jump in entries. ''It's a long time since we've seen the dairy sheds totally full, but they will be this year,'' Ms Kaine said. Burnie has also developed into a showcase event for the state's alpaca breeders and will once again host the Tasmanian championship. While most of the equestrian events are held off the showgrounds, the heavy horse section and the harness program will be on full display in the central arena this year. Equestrian entries overall are also up by a significant amount this year. Most of the horse events are held at the Fern Park Pony Club grounds, which suffered significant damage in last year's horrific wind storm. Ms Kaine said despite still not having an official club room at the grounds after it was blown down, preparations for the show's horse section had progressed well and everything was ready for the start of classes today. She said while tomorrow's AFL grand final rematch may keep some patrons away, she expected good crowds for the two-day show. ''The game doesn't start until after two o'clock, so I think we'll see a lot of families come out early on Saturday to enjoy the show and then make sure they're home in time for the game,'' she said. The Tasmanian show calendar continues next week when competi- tors will head to the Royal Launces- ton Show, which kicks off on Thursday. Interested in Integrated Pest Management (IPM)? Registrations are now open for an interactive, practical workshop series delivered by Serve-Ag and IPM Technologies for potato, onion and brassica primary producers, agronomists and field staff. Learn how to: • Identify and monitor key crop pests and beneficial insects • Make informed decisions on pest control practices • Develop and implement a crop IPM matrix Register today for workshop #1 with Paul Horne and Jessica Page: Ulverstone Civic Centre - 13 October, 12pm - 4pm Cost is $60 primary producers, $120 field staff/agronomists. Includes notes, take-home ID resources and a follow up workshop. To register call Alice at Cradle Coast NRM on 6431 6285 or online at www.cradlecoastnrm.com This project is supported by Cradle Coast NRM, through funding from the Australian Government s Caring for our Country.
September 23rd 2010
October 7th 2010