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TAS Country : April 19th 2012
20 Tasmanian Country Friday, April 20, 2012 The Stock Report ERIC HALL: New grasses have been successful Next field really is greener ROGER HANSON 'There is a good indication that some mixtures shouldn't be sown together' ---ERIC HALL TASMANIAN producers are being encouraged to replace poorly-adapted tra- ditional grass species with new varieties that have proven successful in changing local conditions. A ''Pastures for Persist- ence and Productivity'' up- date on April 27, hosted by the Tasmanian branch of the Grassland Association of Southern Australia, will give producers and agribu- sinesses an opportunity to see the success of new species in trials in the north. The update will feature tours of the Tasmanian Institute of Agriculture (TIA) Burlington trial site at Cressy and the Strowan site at Nile. The research plots have measured differences in legume and grass compati- bility across a range of companion plantings to de- termine which species are best suited to growing in lower rainfall regions. TIA forage and pasture program chief investigator Eric Hall said seeing the trial results would give farmers confidence to change to more suitable species. ''Because of our chang- ing rainfall patterns, some species such as perennial ryegrass and white clover are no longer well adapted to local dryland con- ditions,'' Dr Hall said. ''Some old favourites such as phalaris and lu- cerne are still okay but new species of long-lived perennial grasses and leg- umes, chicory and plan- tain are emerging as good options.'' Dr Hall said Tasmania had been through the worst drought in memory, and farmers and advisers should consider what works in a changing cli- mate. The site includes seven different species and 11 different legumes and herbs. Dr Hall said producers could also learn about the competitive interaction of different species. ''There is a good indi- cation that some mixtures shouldn't be sown togeth- er,'' he said. The pasture update is one of a series of eight being run by the Grassland Society on behalf of Meat and Livestock Australia (MLA). It will also feature an overview from Peter Ball of the Department of Primary Industries, Parks, Water and Environment (DPIPWE) about Tasman- ian grazing operations. Ro- wan Smith, from TIA, will speak about the Tasman- ian pasture composition study. Rob Winter, from Heritage Seeds, will talk on establishing new pastures. And David Squibb, from Wrightson Seeds, will speak on grazing new pas- tures for long-term pro- ductivity and persistency. The event is being pres- ented with support from MLA and in partnership with Impact Fertilisers. Further information can be obtained by contacting David Squibb on 0425 790222 or Sarah Camp- bell 0417 574307. RSPCA calls for cage-free hens The RSPCA is urging con- sumers to put the hen first and only buy cage-free eggs. The RSPCA says it is time consumers demand a cage-free life for all layer hens. The RSPCA believes that the welfare of a caged layer hen is the most com- promised of all farm ani- mals. Pig housing makes progress KAROLIN MacGREGOR SUPPORT: Pork farmers are well on the way to phasing out the use of sow stalls completely by 2017 AUSTRALIAN pork producers are already making substantial progress in a plan to phase out sow stalls across the country. A recent survey of pig producers has shown that one in three sows are now kept stall-free. The survey, done by Australian Pork Ltd, follows a decision by the industry to voluntarily phase out sow stalls by 2017. APL chief executive Andrew Spen- cer said the survey was part of the industry's ongoing monitoring of the issue. A resolution to move away from sows stalls was overwhelmingly supported by producers at the APL annual general meeting in 2010. ''No other pig industry in the world has voluntarily moved to undertake such action,'' Mr Spencer said. ''The results of this first survey taken some 12 months later are resounding proof that Australian Pork producers are strongly commit- ted to walking the talk.'' The survey showed the peak time for sow stall use is between one and four weeks after mating, when about 67 per cent of sows will be in stalls. However, about 33 per cent of sows are now not housed in stalls at all during their pregnancy. About 80 per cent of production now already complies with the industry Model Code of Practice, which requires that by 2017 sows will be housed in stalls for a maximum of six weeks of their pregnancy. ''This actually means that 80 per cent of the industry is five years ahead of the regulations,'' Mr Spencer said. ''The other clear indicators of prog- ress are the fact that on average two- thirds of sows at any one point in time during pregnancy are not in a stall and are housed in groups.'' Mr Spencer said the Australian pork industry had given a strong commitment to phase out sow stalls by 2017 and this proved the industry was well on track to meet that target. The survey results have been wel- comed by RSPCA chief executive Heather Neil. ''It's good to see this commitment by Australian pork producers and a third of sows already benefiting from a stall- free environment,'' she said. ''The RSPCA appreciates the signifi- cance of the commitment these pig producers have made and we look forward to monitoring the industry progress towards a complete end to the use of sow stalls in Australia.'' The news had also been welcomed by federal Minister for Agriculture Fisheries and Forestry Joe Ludwig. ''The industry is making real prog- ress towards phasing out sow stalls,'' he said. 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April 12th 2012
April 26th 2012