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TAS Country : November 25th 2010
Friday, November 26, 2010 Tasmanian Country 7 News GROUNDBREAKER: Mike Nixon Award winner Nick Towns will visit the Calgary Stampede in Canada. Picture: KAROLIN MacGREGOR Stampede of a prize for country boy' Towns KAROLIN MacGREGOR LIVESTOCK agent Nick Towns has become the first Tasmanian to win the prestigious Mike Nixon Award. The national award is run through the Australian Livestock and Property Agents Association and is open to people who have been livestock agents for less than 10 years. Finalists representing each state were chosen for the award and then interviewed by a judging panel, before the award winner was announced at the association's annual meeting in October. Mr Towns said he was surprised and very happy to win the award, which has earned him a trip to the world renowned Calgary Stampede in Canada next year. A mechanic by trade, Mr Town grew up on his family's farm at Patersonia. However, the property was not big enough to allow him to go farming. Mr Nick started his career as a livestock agent with Tasmanian industry stalwart Ian Richards from Richards Rural Marketing, helping out at the Killafaddy sale yards. From there he started taking on more responsibility and was soon trying his hand at autioneering. Mr Towns made the move to Roberts Livestock three years ago and was recently promoted to assistant northern livestock manager. ''I enjoy what I'm doing and I think that's a big part of it,'' he said. ''I love dealing with the clients and trying to help them. It would be nice to be farming, but this is the next best thing.'' Mr Towns said when it came to auctioneering, having confidence seemed to be the key. ''I wasn't that keen to even have a go at it to start with, but Ian gave me a bit of a push,'' he said. ''Now I really enjoy it.''Roberts livestock manager Warren Johnston said it was great to see a Tasmanian win the national award. ''Nick's doing a good job, so it's good that's been recognised,'' Mr Johnston said. ''It's a pretty big award in the industry, so it's nice to see a Tasmanian win it.'' Auction action: Page 19 Councils aim to send weed packing NASTY INVADER: Serrated tussock KAROLIN MacGREGOR THREE councils in northern Tasmania will create history today when they sign the country's first Weed Free Zone Declaration for Serrated Tussock. George Town Mayor Doug Burt, Launceston Mayor Albert van Zetten and West Tamar Mayor Barry Easther will sign the declaration, along with National Serrated Tussock Manage- ment Group chairman Scott Chirnside and Tamar Natural Resource Manage- ment president Ian Sauer. Mr Sauer said the aim of the declaration was to create community awareness about serrated tussock and ultimately prevent the potentially dev- astating weed becoming established in the Tamar Valley. ''These councils are really signing on to a 20-year commitment to be involved with the monitoring and evaluation process . . . they're showing a leader- ship role,'' Mr Sauer said. ''It's about education and creating awareness in the community so that when this weed does arrive, we will be able to get the plant as it hits.'' Listed as a Weed Of National Signifi- cance, serrated tussock is a major problem in many mainland grazing districts. Mr Sauer said the grass could often be mistaken for the similar native poa- type grasses, but had potentially devas- tating consequences once established. ''It's such an invasive weed, there are parts in New South Wales where they have just given up trying to graze them because it has basically taken over the pastures,'' he said. While serrated tussock is normally highly unpalatable to stock, at certain times of the year sheep and cattle may eat it. ''They have found that when stock that is stone dead and emancipated is opened up they're full of serrated tussock,'' Mr Sauer said. ''That's because this stuff has about as much nutritional value as card- board.'' Small amounts of serrated tussock have been found in Tasmania in the state's South at Sorell, in some small areas at Macquarie Settlement and on the East Coast. Mr Sauer said serrated tussock seeds could spread up to 20km, meaning it could infest new areas quickly. ''Because we don't have much of it in Tasmania yet, a lot of landowners probably don't know what it even looks like,'' Mr Sauer said. ''So it's important that we let people know so they can be on the lookout for it.''He said having the ability to provide information quickly to people who phoned to inquire about the weed was also vital. To help increase awareness about the weed, a serrated tussock workshop will be held at the Churchill Park Function Centre in Launceston from 1pm-2.30pm today. Mr Chirnside and Bronwen Wicks from the National Serrated Tussock Management Group will run the work- shop. To find out more about serrated tussock, phone Tamar NRM on 6323 3310 or go to www.tamar-nrm.org.au Processors call for blanket mulesing ban OVERSEAS processors of wool want the Australian Government to ban mulesing, according to Wool- Producers president Don Hamblin. The processors' concerns, which they expressed at the International Wool Textile Organisation confer- ence in France in May, were outlined at Australian Wool Inno- vation's annual meeting in Sydney last week. Mr Hamblin said processors saw a government ban on mulesing as an easier way of meeting the needs of customers who wanted un- mulesed wool. ''Of course a ban is just not on,'' Mr Hamblin said. Last week's mulesing discussion began with a question from Vic- torian producer Jim Kennedy to AWI chairman Wal Merriman and chief executive Stuart McCullough as to what AWI was doing about the ''elephant in the room'' -- a reference to the issue of mulesing affecting wool sales. Mr Merriman said he could see little impact at this stage. ''The deadline [to end surgical mulesing] was to be at end of next month, but wool prices are going up,'' he said. Mr McCullough said he was invited to explain Australia's stance on the mulesing issue, but declined because he wanted to talk about animal welfare and AWI's research efforts in controlling flystrike. Mr Hamblin said despite the rise in the market he doubted the mulesing issue would go away. This week, Australia's wool in- dustry bodies were attempting to sign off on a belated response to the US National Retail Federation as to what Australia was doing to end mulesing. It was a request made to Aust- ralia in June. American apparel retailers are especially sensitive to mulesing. The Weekly Times 2029332-101105 TASMANIAN ALKALOIDS Value Adding in Tasmania A nitrogen application followed by rain or irrigation could significantly increase your poppy crop returns
November 18th 2010
December 2nd 2010