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TAS Country : March 8th 2012
22 Tasmanian Country Friday, March 9, 2012 The Stock Report A new watch on the state borders CHEWS theFAT David Byard RECENTLY I met with Biosecurity and Product Integrity Division's new gen- eral manager, Lloyd Klumpp. Before I spoke to Lloyd I thought I better educate myself about bio- security. Thank goodness for the internet. Biosecurity is the protection of in- dustries, environment and the public wellbeing, being health amenities and safety from negative imports of pests, diseases and weeds. It includes quarantine, animal wel- fare, plant health, weeds, veterinary chemicals through to food safety and pests like rabbits and marine pests. They also run a service testing for a range of diseases. I had never realised what a broad church biosecurity was. Looking at the list certainly enforces in my mind the importance of a well- run and efficient biosecurity service if Tasmania wants to keep its disease free image, and the confidence for other buyers of our produce. Lloyd is a veterinary surgeon who ran his own practice for 25 years, but decided that his bones were starting to ache, so he looked for a job that was not so physically demanding. He's not your average career bureaucrat. He decided to take a job as Victoria's principal veterinary officer for live- stock management standards. This involved regulation and he was engaged with Quality Assurance stan- dards. A vet in Victoria who had worked with Lloyd said he was a very capable operator, and it was ''no wonder'' that he had such a rise through the Victorian system. Lloyd became manager of field and animal health in Victoria, and then operations manager after Biosecurity Victoria was set up. On holidays in Tasmania with his family, Lloyd realised he had a soft spot for the island state and he and his wife felt a suitable position were to arise in Tasmania, he would take it. So he had no hesitation in applying for general manager of biosecurity in Tasmania when it was advertised, and that's now his position -- and passion. To listen to Lloyd talk about bio- security and his vision for the future was nothing short of a breath of fresh air.Biosecurity is part of the Tasmanian Department of Primary Industries, Parks, Water and Environment, and there is a vast range of tasks for the department. We discussed how Tasmania as- sessed risks which lead to the frame- work for how we regulate imported products, from live animals through to apples. Every state has its own regulations and requirements for the import of livestock and other produce, and it all comes under biosecurity. Lloyd stressed that assessment must have a cost benefit. It is nice to have a bureaucrat who understands the econ- omic issues associated with legislation. In the case of regulation, care must be taken to ensure that it doesn't backfire and we don't get retaliation. Vegies from South East Asia and other regions that may have been treated with chemicals that are banned for use in Australia. Lloyd pointed out that a zero-risk approach would mean that we test everything, and that's not possible. On the other hand, we can insist on testing before that product leaves its country of origin, then test a percent- age of that product when arriving in Tasmania as an audit. It appears that nothing is foolproof and there is an element of risk in everything. For example, birds migrat- ing from other side of the world could bring a disease to a poultry farm. Lloyd says biosecurity is not the sole responsibility of government but should be dealt within a partnership of the community, producers and bio- security. It is critical that we have the blocks in place to work as a strong team if anything goes wrong, he said. And systems can get difficult to manage. One example is in times past, when sick animals were killed by local knackeries, the local agricultural vet would do a post-mortem to identify disease. Now, the regulations have become so prescriptive that knackeries have trou- ble keeping up, and livestock is dragged away for burning or burying. In practice, most animals are simply dragged into the bush. Lloyd Klumpp is a new broom in biosecurity with a can-do attitude. He is keen to make sure that no stone is left unturned to control any prob- lems that may exist now and in the future. We are lucky to welcome Lloyd and his services to Tasmania. No-plough crop saves the earth NEW WAYS: At the cropping workshop were Tim Johnson of Kempton, Antonia Gretschman of Moltema, presenter Colin Seis, Chris Worthington of Bushy Park and Barry Hardwick of NRM South. Picture: ROGER HANSON ROGER HANSON TASMANIA is tapping into the global movement of ecological farming. A broad cross-section of the rural community attended a recent pasture cropping workshop at Kempton. The workshop about the innovative land management system was led by NSW farmer Colin Seis. NRM South brought Mr Seis to Tasmania to demonstrate the technique and its practices to farmers. The system involves cropping and grazing combined into a single technique, with each enterprise enhancing the other economically and environmentally. ''We are not throwing out all the principles of more conventional farming practices, but [we are] also encompassing organic farming principles,'' Mr Seis said. Mr Seis runs 4000 merino sheep on his 1000ha property in central NSW and augments income from wool production with annual cropping of oats, wheat and cereal rye. He alternates his paddocks between grazing and cropping, first grazing the paddocks, then sowing cereal crops directly into the pasture. Mr Seis said Australia leads the world in ecologically sustainable farming practices. He travels all over the world and was in Kansas, USA, two weeks ago conducting seminars. ''The practices are being adopted in the USA and we will be doing a lot more work over there,'' Mr Seis said. His technique is becoming so popular it is now used on more than 2000 farms across Australia. Mr Seis said pasture cropping is growing in Tasmania. ''It is picking up the pace here. It is growing with more interest being shown,'' Mr Seis said. ''We are fine-tuning for use here. Tasmania's landscape is different from the mainland.'' Mr Seis first used the technique in 1992 and has been working with it ever since, growing a range of winter and summer crops to improve the perennial pasture base. He said the real advantage to farmers included reduced costs, resulting in more profit and repairing soil structure. ''Originally we sowed oats into a dormant stand of summer-growing native grass as an inexpensive method of growing stock feed,'' Mr Seis said. ''When you plough a paddock it becomes unproductive until the crop grows. However, with this management system we opt for zero tillage. ''Sowing crops with zero tillage is a great step forward so that crops can be sown in one pass.'' Mr Seis said zero tillage did away with ploughing the ground five or six times and chemical herbicides. ''The pasture cropping technique takes advantage of the natural dormancy of perennial plants by zero tilling an annual crop into the dormant perennial plants,'' Mr Seis said. ''Pasture cropping is adding elements to the ecosystem -- for example, carbon and nitrogen.'' The workshop got the thumbs-up from participants. Dairy and cropping farmer Joe Gretschman, from Moltema in northern Tasmania, said it was important to think outside the box in farming practices. ''Learning and hearing about new techniques is really important,'' Mr Gretschman said. Kempton farmer Andrew Johnson, from Lauriston, said the course helped to fill in the gaps. ''I have better understanding of the reasoning behind pastoral cropping,'' Mr Johnson said. ''By not flogging the ground, it helps to reduce costs and to get better soil health results.'' The Johnson family runs sheep on their Lauriston property and grows oats and lucerne crops for feed stock. A group of 10 Oatlands farmers has been testing the technique with about 200ha sown in 2011. Information sharing through pasture-cropping group activities has helped farmers to share experiences and speed up the improvement process. For more information on pasture cropping email firstname.lastname@example.org
February 23rd 2012
March 15th 2012