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TAS Country : March 22nd 2012
4 Tasmanian Country Friday, March 23, 2012 News Rural Briefs Playing the right card A YEAR of the Farmer discount card has been launched, offering deals with some of the country's largest retailers. The One Country Card offers discounts on wine, entertainment, accommodation and travel and will also act as an entry to the Australian Year of the Farmer sweepstakes, with the chance to win a range of prizes from the $250,000 prize pool. Australian Year of the Farmer co-founder and chairman Philip Bruem said people were directly supporting farmers simply by using a One Country Card. ''Not only that, but you are helping to promote and communicate the role everyone involved in the agricultural industry plays in feeding, clothing and providing the building materials that house us all,'' Mr Bruem said. The One Country Card is available online at www.yearofthefarmer.com.au. Dairy great for gout A STUDY supported by Fonterra and published in the British Medical Journal Annals of the Rheumatic Diseases has shown that a daily dose of skimmed milk, enriched with two value-added ingredients naturally found in dairy products, may reduce the frequency and intensity of gout flares. The research has been driven by Fonterra's Premium Ingredients division, which has patented the use of the two ingredients in relation to gout and is investigating ways of marketing the enriched milk globally. Senator's organ donor plea TASMANIANS are being urged to be organ donors. Liberal senator for Tasmania Stephen Parry said it was important for more people to sign on. ''Every extra person who signs up to be an organ donor is significant -- remembering that one donor can help many different people -- dramatically increasing the chances of someone receiving a vital organ,'' Senator Parry said. The 2011 Donation and Transplantation Performance Report showed that of the average 145,000 deaths in Australia every year, only 1 per cent were potential organ donors. Scanning for Australia AUSBUY this week launched its iPhone application that will allow consumers to easily choose products that are produced in Australia by Australian-owned companies. The app can scan a product barcode to immediately find out if it is an AUSBUY-approved product. Fresh insight into crop disease RESEARCHERS are beginning to unravel the behaviour of the complex and damaging crop root disease rhizoctonia and finding new ways to manage crops to reduce its impact. The disease is estimated to cost southern Australian grain growers nearly $60 million a year in lost productivity. Grains Research and Development Corporation-funded research by CSIRO and other research partners is outlined in a new GRDC fact sheet Management to Minimise Rhizoctonia in Cereals. The latest findings show the soil fungus causes crop damage by pruning newly emerged roots. New oat varieties set for release A NUMBER of new milling oat varieties which have been providing outstanding yield results and better disease resistance over existing commercial varieties in breeding trials over the past few seasons look set to be available over the next two years. The varieties have been bred jointly by the Western Australian Department of Agriculture and Food and the South Australian Research and Development Institute and will be commercialised by Seedmark after successfully bidding for development rights. One of the first the new varieties is WA2332, a high- yielding, more disease resistant and early maturing oat. Seedmark research and development manager Richard Prusa said WA2332 was a mid-tall crop that flowered slightly earlier than Carrolup and about a week earlier than Kojonup varieties. Holding back on rates Little joy for farmers JOHN McKILLOP: Loan focus. ONLY one financial institution has reduced agribusiness loan rates in the past month, while two have increased their rates, accord- ing to the latest Loan Monitor released this week by the National Farmers Federation. The NFF said while ANZ had reduced its term loan rates by 0.14 per cent since the previous Moni- tor, the Commonwealth Bank and Suncorp both increased rates by 0.10 per cent during this time. Chair of the NFF Economics Committee, John McKillop, said while the Reserve Bank of Aust- ralia kept rates on hold at 4.25 per cent in March -- and the majority of banks followed suit by deciding not to move rates -- some bank rates continued to fluctuate. ''In many ways, this month's rates reflect the varying con- ditions facing farmers across Aust- ralia,'' Mr McKillop said. ''While many banks held steady, one chose to decrease rates while two chose to increase rates. ''Similarly, while the overall forecast for farmers across Aust- ralia is positive off the back of improved seasonal conditions and ABARES' recent predictions, many are facing challenging times due to floods and commodity price fluctuations. ''At the same time, the Aust- ralian dollar remains above parity with the US dollar, and is expected to remain relatively high for the time being, bringing additional challenges to our export- dependent farmers. ''Seasonal conditions, natural disasters and the movements in Australia's dollar are all outside the control of farmers. ''That's why it is critical for farmers to have accurate and up- to-date information about areas they can control -- like their decisions about banking products, loan rates and portability options should they wish to switch banks.'' ^Factory bonus applicable at point of sale, includes GST. See your participating Suzuki Dealer for full terms and conditions. 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