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TAS Country : March 3rd 2011
Friday, March 4, 2011 Tasmanian Country 3 News Anger as grain rejected KAROLIN MacGREGOR Continued Page 19 HUNDREDS of tonnes of Tasmanian grain have been turned away from receival depots this season because of moisture reading anomlies. Tests by the State Government's Measurements and Standards Branch recently revealed variations of up to 2 per cent in grain moisture readings at some of the state's major grain centres. Angry growers and contractors say the system must be standardised so they can confidently supply at the right price and not be forced to dispose of their crop cheaply. ''This has been going on for years and it needs to be sorted out,'' Agricul- tural Contractors of Tasmania chair- man Doug French said. Mr French said with much of the state's wheat crop yet to be harvested, it was a difficult situation largely due to the fact that it had been a particularly wet season. ''In a year like this when growers are struggling to get crops low enough, when you turn up at the depot and they won't take it, that can cost the grower and the contractor. ''In a year like this, two per cent can make a huge difference. ''This could end up costing some growers a significant amount of money.'' Mr French said there was no legis- lation to regulate grain testing in Tasmania. There are moves by the National Measurement Institute to introduce a nation wide standard for grain testing, but that is not expected to be intro- duced until later this year, which will be too late for this year's Tasmanian grain harvest. Mr French said this season's harvest had been delayed by prolonged wet and moist weather and the situation was likely to worsen as more crops were harvested. ''A lot of blokes have got a meter in their truck or in the header and if they test it and it's right, they'll send it,'' he said. ''So it's pretty frustrating to turn up at the depot with a truck load of grain and be told that's it's tested up to two per cent higher and they won't accept it.'' CUTTING IT FINE: Poppies being harvested at White Hills at the start of the season. Picture: ROSS MARSDEN Flop goes poppy season KAROLIN MacGREGOR TASMANIA'S poppy industry is battling through one of its worst harvest seasons as constant wet weather takes its toll. Unseasonable summer weather, including heavy rain and strong winds, has caused extensive crop damage around the state, particularly in the North-West. Poppy companies are trying to get crops off as quickly as the weather conditions allow, but this year's harvest is proving extremely difficult. Crop quality is also being affected because the rain leaches out valuable alkaloid. Tasmanian Alkaloids field operations manager Rick Rockliff said this harvest season was one of the most challenging the industry had ever faced. ''We just get start harvesting and it rains again, which causes delays -- and they're long delays too,'' he said. Mr Rockliff said about 65 per cent of the company's crop had now been harvested. ''I can understand growers are anxious to get their crops off, but unfortunately we can't have a machine working in every paddock,'' he said. Mr Rockliff said the combination of wind and rain had knocked over some crops, which made harvesting more difficult and lowered quality. The worst-affected areas are west and north of Westbury, where many of the company's top growers live. Early assay tests on harvested crops have shown lower alkaloid levels this year due to leaching. Mr Rockliff said that, despite the difficult season, the company would have enough product to supply all its existing orders. He said ideally the company liked to have harvesting completed by the end of February, but this year it could stretch well into March. It is a similar story for GlaxoSmithKline. Research and field operations manager Mike Doyle said it was a disappointing end to a promising season. Mr Doyle said that with about three-quarters of the company's crop now harvested, he was confident of getting enough product to fill orders, but it was unlikely the company would be able to put away any excess product this season as hoped. ''The impact varies a lot from crop to crop, but unfortunately there will be a number of growers who are disappointed this year because of the unseasonable weather,'' he said. Mr Doyle said while most of the company's southern crops had fared quite well, rain in January and February had affected many northern crops. ''We'll come out of it reasonably well, but overall it's quite disappointing because it was looking very exciting at the beginning of the season,'' he said. Tasmania's third poppy company, TPI Enterprises, has also faced some challenges this harvest season and so far has about 45 per cent of its crop in. TPI managing director Jarrod Ritchie said with most of the company's crops in the Midlands, the rain had not had a huge impact. However, he said a combination of rain and wind had knocked down some crops, which would make harvesting them more difficult. Mr Ritchie said it was too early to tell if crop quality had been affected because assay testing was still under way. With some of the company's late- sown crops still at flowering stage, Mr Ritchie estimated that with the right weather conditions the harvest should be completed in the next four to six weeks. 2086471-110304 For further details please contact:- Cilla Lawrence, SFS Tas Branch Coordinator • Ph: 0438 765 775 • Email: firstname.lastname@example.org • Website: www.sfs.org.au • RSVP Welcomed but not Essential Free Event All Welcome This project is funded by GRDC and the Australian Government's Climate Change Research Program Food & Drink Available for Purchase BYO Soil Sample for Carbon Testing Precision Ag Agricultural Machinery Services -- 2cm Autosteer GPS System, Goldacre Sprayer Midland Tractors - JD Greenstar3, Autotrac Steer Tasmania Farm Equipment - Trimble RTK Stubble Management Moreton Hill Investments - HE-VA Gaffney Machinery - V derstad William Adams - Lemken Tasmania Farm Equipment - Agri-Sem Disc-o-mulch SOUTHERN FARMING SYSTEMS PRECISION AG FIELD DAY Friday, 11th March -- 10.00 am Start "Glenroy", 1347 Cressy Road, Cressy Guest Speakers:- Andrew Whitlock (Precision Agriculture VIC) "Getting Started with PA -- Tools & Technology" Reuben Wells (Rural Smart) "Practical PA in Tasmania -- Current Examples & Future Thoughts" Scott Strong (DPIPWE) "CORS Network" Richard Heath (NSW Grower) "Farmer's Perspective" Machinery Demonstrations:-
February 24th 2011
March 10th 2011