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TAS Country : November 17th 2011
Friday, November 18, 2011 Tasmanian Country 7 News Rural Briefs Encouraging young leaders YOUNG Tasmanians passionate about the wool and sheep industry are urged to apply for next year's Breeding Leadership course. The course, funded by Australian Wool Innovation and coordinated by Rural Directions, is open to people aged 20 to 35. Twenty participants from across the country will be chosen to take part in the four-day course, which covers such topics as leadership skills, personality typing, marketing, strategic planning, time management, innovation and managing change. Next year's course will run from February 27 to March 1 at Clare in South Australia. It costs $330 per participant. All meals, accommodation and travel costs are paid for. Participants must be an employee or owner of an agricultural-focused business with a wool enterprise. Applications for the course close on December 9. Details available from firstname.lastname@example.org Fine wool wears better WOOL is a better wear than cashmere, latest research by the Sheep Co-operative Research Centre reveals. Or more specifically, that is the opinion of 25 women, aged 25 to 40, contracted to assess a range of next-to- the-skin Jersey knitwear made from ultrafine merino wool, cashmere and high-grade 12.8-micron cotton. Each woman wore garments for two hours under a range of environments and temperatures. The leader of the Sheep CRC textile program, David Tester, said the women were invited to assess each of the garments for nine characteristics, including prickle, clamminess and feel. Mr Tester said the ultrafine wool garments were made in Italy from 14 to 15.7-micron wool. Using an index developed by the Sheep CRC, the ultrafine garments consistently outscored cashmere and cotton. The ultrafine wool garments averaged a score of 94, compared with cotton's 92 and cashmere at 87. A conventional retail garment averaged 70. For softness, the ultrafine averaged 71, with cashmere (64) and cotton (54). Contractors' pay to rise TASMANIAN agricultural contractors are expected to receive a 3 per cent pay increase this year. The Agricultural Contractors of Tasmania published the rise in their latest pocketbook guide. The chairman of the association, Doug French, also said Tasmania would host the national fodder conference in Hobart next August. Hunt online for a career PROFESSIONAL careers in agriculture will be easier to search for with a new website, Career Harvest. The website is the work of the Australian Council of Deans of Agriculture. For the first time, it provides a detailed account of the range of professional careers in agriculture, horticulture, animal production, fisheries and forestry. Details are at www.csu.edu.au/special/ acda/careers/ Wary of trade hurdles ROGER HANSON JAN DAVIS: Guarded approval THE Tasmanian Farmers and Graz- iers Association is not ''holding its breath'' with the renewed commit- ment to concluding the Trans- Pacific Partnership (TPP) by the end of next year. TFGA chief Jan Davis welcomed the Asia-Pacific free trade move, but said it was still a matter of ''if'' it happened rather then ''when''. If it goes ahead, Australian ex- porters will secure access to a free- trade bloc covering one-third of the world's gross domestic product af- ter agreement from the US to lead the development of the TPP. But the Gillard Government faces a 12-month negotiating battle to ensure the final design of the pro- posed TPP includes abolition of all tariffs among the nine member nations, amid fears Japan could seek exclusions for agricultural products, which would significantly devalue the deal. ''Tasmanian farmers already op- erate in the most deregulated mar- ket in the world, so the trade bloc could open up further opportun- ities,'' Ms Davis said. She said several factors could prevent the deal being finalised. ''There is a US election next year, and it would be a brave president to deregulate the US farming sector in that political environment,'' Ms Davis said. The TFGA's position is backed by the National Farmers Federation (NFF), which has challenged world leaders to back up the political rhetoric by forming an agreement that improves the market access environment and lifts prices re- ceived for Australia's farm exports. ''Australia's farmers are under- standably feeling jaded by past hollow promises of an improved trading environment for farm pro- duce through mechanisms such as the TPP,'' NFF president Jock Laurie said. But Japan's intention to join the TPP is seen as a positive sign The TFGA and NFF have no doubt that Australia's relationship with Japan will continue to grow. Also late last week, the NFF was pleased to see Russia agree to a package of trade reforms, paving the way for it to join the World Trade Organisation (WTO). ''Russian accession to the WTO has significant positive impli- cations for Australian agriculture, for which Russia has been a major market for commodities,'' Mr Laurie said. WELL OILED: Their second triumph took Tony and Carol O'Neil by surprise. Olive oil blend is gold TASMANIAN olive oil producers Tony and Carol O'Neil have won the country's most prestigious olive oil award for the second time. A blended oil from the couple's Cradle Coast Olives enterprise has won the Australian Olive Oil Association Best Oil In Show award. The O'Neils also won the award in 2007. Mrs O'Neil said winning it a second time had come as a surprise. ''We were sitting there are the dinner and when they announced that we'd won, Tony nearly fell off this chair,'' she said. ''It really is a once-in-a-lifetime thing, so I think the fact we won it again says a lot about Tasmanian olive oil.'' Mrs O'Neil said the win was even more surprising given the very difficult season they experienced. ''We lost three varieties because of all the rain we had in January, so that's why we had to blend the oil this year to make up enough to meet the 200-litre criteria,'' she said. The winning oil was a blend of verdale and paragon oil, which the judges described as elegant. The oil beat a record 223 oils from groves across the country to snap up the gold medal in the sought-after single-estate-grown, minimum-volume 200 litres category. ''We didn't have enough of any one oil this year because of the season, so we sat in the tasting room and just mixing the different oils and measur- ing them, and when we had something we thought was OK we decided to just run with that,'' Mrs O'Neil said. The O'Neils' grove at Abbotsham in the state's northwest has about 400 trees. The latest win has sparked the interest of more locals and some interstate visitors keen to sample the oil. Imported oil warning, P14 Grain storage a smart option SOFTER grain prices going into harvest may get growers to choose on-farm storage rather than selling immediately. According to the NAB Agribusin- ess Rural Commodities Wrap for October, wheat prices are forecast to weaken in the medium term, although tight world corn stocks will provide some support over the remainder of the year and into 2012. The trick, according to National Australia Bank (NAB) Agribusin- ess, is to have a clear plan already in place on when to sell. NAB director of commodities Tim Glass says February is the month to watch, if you're ready to capitalise on market opportunities. ''Australia is set to see another bumper grain harvest this season. However, that's contributing to a forecast for the global surplus of wheat to balloon to over 200 million tonnes,'' Mr Glass said. ''The first chance of a real funda- mental move upwards in price will be on the back of any issues with northern hemisphere crops. ''However, we won't get a picture of what this may look like until early next year. ''It's important that growers work closely with their financial and farm advisers to understand the current market drivers and develop a plan and realistic price target. ''It will cost around three dollars a tonne per month to store grain, and this needs to be factored into any grain-marketing strategy.'' The decline in wheat prices since they hit their peak in late August has been driven by increased global supply coupled with significant volatility in the financial markets. Concern over sovereign debt in Europe and slow US growth have all weighed heavily on financial and commodity markets. APPLICATIONS OPEN FOR TASMANIAN FORESTS INTERGOVERNMENTAL AGREEMENT CONTRACTORS VOLUNTARY EXIT GRANTS PROGRAM Are you a contractor looking to exit the Tasmanian public native forest industry? The Australian Government is seeking applications from eligible public native forest harvest and/or haulage and/or silvicultural contracting businesses for exit assistance. This program seeks to assist eligible businesses exit the Tasmanian public native forest harvest, haulage and silvicultural sectors in Tasmania. Funding of up to $45 million will be provided to help Tasmanian forest contractors. Eligible native forest harvest and/or haulage contracting businesses can apply for exit assistance of up to $3 million (GST exclusive). Only one grant will be paid to an eligible business. Applications for the program close at 5.00pm AEDT on Thursday, 24 November 2011. For more information, guidelines and application forms, visit www.daff.gov.au/forestry/igacep or phone 02 6272 5079 (business hours) or email IGACEP@daff.gov.au. AG5490
November 10th 2011
November 24th 2011