by clicking the arrows at the side of the page, or by using the toolbar.
by clicking anywhere on the page.
by dragging the page around when zoomed in.
by clicking anywhere on the page when zoomed in.
web sites or send emails by clicking on hyperlinks.
Email this page to a friend
Search this issue
Index - jump to page or section
Archive - view past issues
TAS Country : April 14th 2011
4 Tasmanian Country Friday, April 15, 2011 TFGA www.tfga.com.au More rain pain in North East From Page 3 ''Normally it's not a problem be- cause the dam is nearly empty by now,'' Mr Moore said. ''But this year is a bit different. ''We can get a fair bit of rain though winter so we're going to let water out of that dam.'' Mr Moore estimates he has lost about $500,000 worth of irrigation pumps and equipment because of the flooding. Leon Quilliam has worked on the Muirhead family's property Ort- awenah at Winnaleah for more than two decades and said he had not seen a season like it. Mr Quilliam said about 200mm of rain fell on the property earlier this week. ''This is the third big rain we've had since January,'' he said. ''The ground is totally saturated so it's got nowhere to go. ''Most of our creeks have got as much water in them now as you'd see in winter and some of the dams are so full they're almost overflowing.'' Mr Quilliam said some farmers in the district lost most of their crops during the first heavy falls in Janu- ary. But he said things had got a lot worse. ''We were digging potatoes last week and initially they looked pretty good. But once we got them to the factory, some were rotting from the inside.'' Mr Quilliam said the impact of the rain on the area's potato crops would be significant. ''I'd estimate there could be losses of between 40 and 45 per cent,'' he said. ''It's going to have a big impact.'' Mr Quilliam said while there was plenty of green grass around, the stock did not seem to be getting the usual weight gains from it. ''One theory is that because it's growing so quickly, the protein levels in the grass are too high and the stock can't absorb it all.'' JULIAN CRIBB: Lost in the Dark Ages of political neglect and disfavour''. Time to take bite at hand that feeds TFGA matters with Jan Davis One of the reasons governments are able to play god with investment in Australian science is that so many scientists are dependent on the taxpayers' dollar.' SUSPICION is mounting that the May 10 federal Budget may hit research funding --- a $400 million hit on medical research alone is being widely discussed. Now, I've been around for too long to accept this as gospel. Politicians have some predictable posturings before budgets: one is to leak bad news before it becomes official; the other is to exaggerate the size of any cut in the pre- publicity of the Budget so that they can make themselves out as good fellows when the Budget is actually brought down and cuts are smaller than were predicted. Researchers are mounting an intense campaign to try to fend off any such move by Treasurer Wayne Swan. And the only utterings from Prime Minister Julia Gillard are not intended to make us any the wiser. One person I do trust is Julian Cribb, adjunct professor in science communication at the University of Technology in Sydney. He does not speak with forked tongue. Dr Cribb warned recently that, once again, Australian science was being placed on the backburner. In budgetary terms, science does not rate highly, that ''Australian science is once more lost in the Dark Ages of political neglect and disfavour''. I won't detail all the evidence he cited when coming to that conclusion, but he noted the declining number of co- operative research centres (CRCs) being funded, cuts at CSIRO, the abolition of Land and Water Australia and, one that the TFGA has kept a special eye on, the Productivity Commission's call for a 25 per cent cut in agricultural research funding at a time of increasing concern about global food security. One of the reasons governments are able to play god with investment in Australian science is that so many scientists are dependent on the taxpayers' dollar for their continuing research, nay existence. If they stand up and squeal they might well find themselves at the head of the queue of those being made redundant. Far safer to keep your head down and please the paymaster. As Cribb says: ''The academies, the universities, the funding bodies, the science agencies, the CRCs are all beholden to government funding, and fearful of its loss should they earn political displeasure by saying the things which science often has to say, but which are not always pleasing to the political ear.'' Our view is that research is vital to the future of farming in Australia, as much as it is vital to the future of the country itself. It is time for our scientific community to come out from behind the shield in the lab and stand up for the national interest rather than keeping their heads down hoping it will be someone else's job, someone else's research that gets the knife. Australian researchers have a well- deserved reputation for their skills and for delivering world-class innovations. Without a meaningful commitment to science, this government, any government, will condemn Australia to a return to the days when we were technologically backward, reliant on other nations to do the hard work for us. We will lose our major talent to overseas labs. The world has changed; the climate has changed. We have to be masters of our destiny. We have to do the research work ourselves; Australian science for Australian conditions. Compo hopes gone to water THE latest flooding rains have swamped the autumn harvest and are now sig- nificantly affecting dairy and other animal sectors. Losses of the magnitude we are now seeing show the urgent need for a state- based emergency fund to compensate farmers. There is no provision, state or federal, to compen- sate farmers for accumu- lating losses through a par- ticularly bad season. Federal assistance is lin- ked to individual weather events. So we can have one flood or one cyclone and some farmers may get as- sistance, but when it just keeps raining, as it has since January here, we are stymied after the first round of assistance. This has to be rectified. It is unrealistic to say assist- ance has to be linked to one particular climatic event. It has to be addressed in the next State Budget. Tor- rential rains in January, March and now April show how an already bad situation can deteriorate. Tasmanian farmers esti- mate that after 25 per cent of the potato crop was lost in January, the latest rains will destroy at least an- other 5 per cent. With an annual farm-gate value of $98 million, it means the potato losses alone are in excess of $30 million. Some dairy farmers have had to tip out milk because trucks are unable to get to their farms due to washed-out bridges and roads. Some farmers are tread- ing water waiting to plant winter crops, and seed po- tatoes for next year's crop will be in short supply. If people in the cities are upset their garden is waterlogged, imagine your state of mind if your family income depended on it. A lot of people got together to help produce the Natural Resource Management Strategy for Southern Tasmania 2010-2015. We d like to thank all of them for contributing so generously of their time: community groups, research and industr y bodies, land managers, as well as state gover nment and local councils. Tasmania is one of the most diverse areas in Australia, with a wealth of natural resources underpinning the community s economic prosperity, social well-being and environmental health. This new Strategy is intended as a guide to managing the region s environment, but also make sure that our economic and recreation v alues are fully realised. The environment affects all of us and concer all of us, which is why we believe ever yone is natur al resources manager, and why we hop all parties will continue to work together to help improve it. nrmsouth.org.au Download the Natural Resource Management Strategy at: "Together we wrote it, together we ll put it into action." s oto nal rns sa pe l NRM1129
April 7th 2011
April 21st 2011