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TAS Country : April 14th 2011
Friday, April 15, 2011 Tasmanian Country 9 News Demand defies rampant dollar Tim McRae 'It's one thing to pass on the higher cost of saleyard prices and it's another to pass on the costs associated with the high Aussie dollar.' AGRICULTURAL commodities are defying a rampaging Australian dollar. Demand for wool, beef and lamb remains strong despite the dollar hit- ting a record high of US105.8c last week. Australian Council of Wool Ex- porters and Processors president Mi- chael Avery said the dollar was charg- ing along and there seemed to be no chance of Federal Government inter- vention. The wool market eased slightly last week with the Eastern Market Indi- cator falling 8c/kg to 1375c/kg. However, this time last year, the EYCI was at 900c/kg while the Aust- ralian dollar hovered at about US90c. ''For the market to be so strong at a time when the dollar is going up is hard to comprehend,'' Mr Avery said. ''Last time we had a price run like this was 2005, when the dollar moved up from US60c to US75c.'' Mr Avery said if the wool price did fall, the high dollar could be a factor because there was some resistance to the high prices from Chinese cus- tomers. ''I wouldn't say we're going to see a drop because at the moment demand is OK and supply is relatively low,'' he said. Meat and Livestock Australia chief economist Tim McRae said tight supply was also keeping the lamb market buoyant despite the rising dollar. Mr McRae said saleyard prices hadn't been affected but it was tough for exporters and processors. ''For the lamb processors, the higher costs of buying the lambs and high Aussie dollar is not good,'' he said. ''It's one thing to pass on the higher cost of saleyard prices and it's another to pass on the costs associated with the high Aussie dollar.'' He said Australian beef processors were also being squeezed, while US processors were enjoying greater ex- ports due to the weaker US dollar. Mr McRae said the high Australian dollar was not putting downward pressure on saleyard prices. ''A week ago the Eastern Young Cattle Indicator hit an all-time high and so did the Australian dollar,'' he said. ''The ball is very much in the farmers' court.'' The Weekly Times ENTHUSIASTS: Farmer James Hallett, right, and navigator Peter Bailey with their rally car. Picture: ROSS MARSDEN From humble harvester to Targa hellcat KAROLIN MacGREGOR AFTER spending much of the past three months driving a grain harvester at 4km/h, getting behind the wheel of a V8 Holden for one of the world's premier tarmac rallies is quite a contrast for James Hallett. Last weekend, Mr Hallett completed his fifth Targa Tasmania rally in a 2005 HSV Clubsport alongside first time Targa navigator Peter Bailey. The pair placed 30th in the event's modern class -- Mr Hallett's best result to date. Mr Hallett said he had always been interested in cars and motor racing and had grown up with Holdens. Last November he travelled to the mainland and competed in the first Targa High Country rally at Mt Buller. ''The thing about tarmac rallying is you can't practise for it,'' he said. ''When you go out there you have to have your mind 100 per cent on the job. ''You can't be thinking about anything else. ''It's mentally and physically tiring but it's also a lot of fun.'' Weighing almost two tonnes, Mr Hallett's two-wheel-drive car is not a typical rally vehicle, but he said that made things even more interesting at times. ''I love the car and I love driving it,'' he said. ''We're never going to win with the car we're in, but it's more about the fun factor. ''The tarmac stuff is different to track driving because there aren't any safety barriers or run-off areas. ''It's all trees and fences and houses, so while you try to go as fast as you can, you must stay on the road.'' Mr Hallett has modified his car specifically for rallying. ''It's all about the power to weight ratio,'' he said. ''And the car is pretty heavy so the longer stages are where it performs best. ''It's not as good on the shorter stages. And it's a two-wheel-drive so we have a distinct disadvantage in the wet compared to the guys with four-wheel-drive vehicles. ''But the car is very reliable and we've never had a major breakdown.'' Mr Hallett said getting through a rally like Targa was a team effort. ''You certainly have to have a lot of trust in your navigator because the information they're giving you is confirming what you can see in front of you and it lets you know what's coming up. ''It's a team effort, that's for sure -- you can't get through it without a good navigator.'' During Targa Tasmania, competitors cover about 2200km. About 500km of the event are competition stages. Mr Hallett said his two favourite stages were Cethana and Rossarden. When he is not rallying, Mr Hallett farms with his family on their property Llanberis at Hollow Tree. He lives there with his wife Alison and their children Bella and Max. During the summer, he harvests cereal crops. ''I've spent quite a bit of time in the header going 4km/h so this is certainly a bit different,'' he said. Mr Hallett said apart from the driving one of the most enjoyable aspects of the event was social afterwards. ''A pretty cool part of this tarmac rallying is the social side of things,'' he said. ''You meet people that you wouldn't normally get a chance to meet. ''Some people have got big budgets and some people have got small budgets but it doesn't matter because we've all got a common interest.'' Mr Hallett said Targa Tasmania was extremely well organised and much of the credit had to go to the thousands of volunteers who helped each year. ''Without the volunteers, it just wouldn't happen,''he said.
April 7th 2011
April 21st 2011