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TAS Country : May 3rd 2012
10 Tasmanian Country Friday, May 4, 2012 News State climate a month of highs APRIL this year has been one of the warmest on record for some parts of Tasmania. The Bureau of Meteorology's monthly weather wrap-up shows several sites around Tasmania had their warmest start to the month on record between April 1 and 6. Daytime temperatures dur- ing that period were 3-6C warmer than average. The warmest day was recorded at Ouse on April 5, when it reached 29.1C. Overnight temperatures were also 1-4C higher than average due to a deep low-pressure system well south of the bight, which com- bined with a ridge of high-pressure over the Tasman Sea and directed a warm northwesterly air flow over the state. The bureau says the coldest part of the month was between April 7 and 10, when several cold fronts crossed the state, bringing chilly southwesterly winds. Snow fell to around 600m above sea level on April 9, when it was just -0.7C on Mt Wellington. Despite the cold snap, warmer conditions returned to the state on April 11 and temperatures re- mained above average for the rest of the month. That was until the arrival of another cold front on April 28, which brought with it destructive winds and large swells. The wave rider at Cape Sorell reached 15.3m early on April 29 and 6m at Cape Bruny. Overall, the bureau says maxi- mum and minimum temperatures across the state were about 2C higher than normal. Most of the rain that fell in the state during April came from cold fronts, which also produced a number of thunderstorms and exceptionally heavy rain. The bureau says this is unusual for Tasmania. On Maatsuyker Island, a storm cell dumped 67mm of rain in the region in just 90 minutes. For most of the state, however, rainfall was about average apart from the southeast and lower Midlands, which were slightly drier than usual. April was a particularly warm month in Hobart, which had a near-record average temperature of 15C -- just under the record of 15.1C. Nights in Hobart averaged 1C warmer than usual, while days averaged a record 19.6C. Campania recorded the state's warmest days, with an average temperature of 20.2C, while Ross recorded the state's coldest night -- a chilly -4.3C. Mt Read was the state's wettest place, recording 290.6mm for the month. Paddock to plate dream step closer KAROLIN MacGREGOR THE Thompson family's aim to supply paddock to plate products has just taken another step forward. A decision by Keryn and Don Thompson to lease the Lapoinya abat- toir just a few kilometres from their Black Ridge Farm will provide them with a number of benefits. The family moved to Milabena in 2009 and since then have built up a strong customer base in Tasmania and Victoria. They have been marketing their lamb and free-range Wessex Saddle- back pork since 2010. Before taking over the abattoir lease the Thompsons had to truck their livestock about 100km to be processed after the Cooee abattoir was burnt out in January. Being able to process their animals just a few kilometres from their farm is exactly what the Thompsons were hoping for, and will help ensure their products are top quality. ''Carting stock long distances to unfamiliar surroundings prior to slaughter can lead to stressed stock and tough meat,'' Mrs Thompson said. ''We really hope the move will make our business more efficient and enable us to take full control of our quality control systems from birth to delivery to our customers.'' Since March, the Thompsons have also been attending the Harvest Laun- ceston market every fortnight. ''We are finding that customers there really want to know exactly where the produce comes from, how it is grown and processed,'' Mrs Thompson said. ''Our customers are particularly con- cerned about the welfare of pigs. Having our own abattoir will provide our customers with additional confi- dence that our animals are treated well from birth through to slaughter.'' While running the abattoir will not save costs due to economies of scale, Mrs Thompson said they believed there would be other significant ben- efits. ''It would be cheaper for us to keep having stock slaughtered in Devonport, but we believe the additional economic cost will be worthwhile in terms of quality of our product and peace of mind it will bring,'' she said. ''Call us control freaks but we really need to be confident that everything that can be possibly done, will be done to ensure our livestock have the best possible life while they're with us.'' After an initial period to get their systems up and running, the Thomp- sons will offer other small producers the opportunity to have their stock slaughtered at the Lapoinya abattoir as well. The abattoir will be certified as an organic meat works which Mr Thomp- son said would also help fill a regional gap in the production and processing of organic meat. ''We are very keen to support small producers to ensure they can also put quality meat on their tables or those of their friends and families,'' he said ''In these tough economic times it is really important that local communities have the capacity to produce and process their own food as locally as possible.'' 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April 26th 2012
May 10th 2012