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TAS Country : December 16th 2010
Friday, December 17, 2010 Tasmanian Country 3 News Kind rain for Tassie cereals KAROLIN MacGREGOR WET spring conditions have wiped more than a billion dollars off the national wheat crop, but for many Tasmanian cereal growers it is shaping up to be a bumper season. Rain across many parts of Tasmania in the past few weeks has been good news for local grain growers. Crops in some parts of the central and southern Midlands and Derwent Valley have not received sufficient falls, but in other areas growers could be facing excellent yields. Northwest contractor Greg McDonald said cereal crops were look- ing excellent after weeks of rain. ''I reckon this rain would have been good for most things -- the dairy farmers are happy because the grass is growing like mad and the poppies are looking pretty good as well,'' he said. Mr McDonald said it was too early to tell if the mainland crops losses would have any impact on the local grain market, but a tight supply of feed grain across the globe was likely to keep export prices up. ''Until we see the numbers it's hard to tell,'' he said. ''Some of the crops in northern New South Wales they aren't going to even bother harvesting be- cause they've been under water.'' Conara grower Ian MacKinnon said: ''There's still a long way to go, but if we don't get the same sort of weather at harvest time we could get some quite good crops.'' Many of Tasmania's cereal crops are grown dry land, but Mr MacKinnon said there were also quite a few grown under centre pivot irrigation. He did not think the damage to mainland grain crops would have much impact on the Tasmanian grain market. ''The grain market in Tasmanian is still under supplied so I don't think it will have too much affect,'' he said. In the Bothwell area some well-timed rains in spring have saved what was looking like a disastrous season. Hollow Tree farmer Richard Hallett said after a very dry start to the year, most cereals crops the region had improved after some good falls a few weeks ago. ''It just goes to show what you can do with a little bit of water if you get it at the right time,'' he said. ''The good thing about cereals is they're an annual crop, so you can decide to put them in or not just depending on what the market is doing.'' HEALTHY OUTLOOK: Oatlands community outreach worker Vyv Alomes outside the Men's Shed. Picture: JAMES KERR Funds to shed light on men KAROLIN MacGREGOR MEN'S Sheds around Tasmania have been given a much-needed boost thanks to $130,000 in funding from the State Government. The money will be shared between 26 Men's Sheds around the state, which will each receive $5000. Tasmanian Men's Sheds Association treasurer Greg Hunt said the money could be used for a variety of needs, from improving infrastructure to providing activity programs for members. Despite the name, women are also welcome at the sheds, which provide informal programs to members, with a major focus on health issues. Mr Hunt said the sheds played an important role in helping farmers during the recent drought. ''A lot of the time the shed is somewhere that people can go just to get away from the farm for a while and think about something else,'' he said. ''It also gives people the chance to talk to other people they normally wouldn't get the opportunity to.'' Mr Hunt said the activities that Men's Sheds were involved with varied from region to region, but helping the local community was a common theme. He said the sheds often took part in helping local schools make props for plays, and in the case of the Oatlands Men's Shed a float for the upcoming Christmas parade. ''People involved with the sheds often have a large range of skills and they really enjoy doing things to help out the community,'' Mr Hunt said. He said most Men's Sheds did not have access to regular funding but relied on grants to keep operating. Mr Hunt said this week's funding presentation would help some of the newer clubs install vital infrastructure such as electricity. As well as adults, the sheds also encourage involvement from students who may not be academically focused, but prefer to learn more practical skills. Mr Hunt said improving men's health, particularly mental health, was an important focus of the sheds' activities. The State Government money was presented by the Labor Member for Lyons, Michael Polley, who pushed hard to secure the funding. ''These Men's Sheds are outstanding community resources which are helping increase trust and respect in our communities,'' he said. 1300 654 142 www.polarisindustries.com.au BUY ONE GET ONE FREE# Conditions apply. 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December 9th 2010
December 23rd 2010