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TAS Country : May 31st 2012
Friday, June 1, 2012 Tasmanian Country 5 News DIRTY JOB: Muddy conditions add to the difficulty at the ploughing competition. Picture: CHRIS KIDD Challenge in fields of mud From page 3 In the conventional section, it was competitors from Victoria who proved the ones to beat. Brett Loughridge won the conventional section with a score of 412.3 points over the two days of competition. Fellow Victorian competitor Adrian Tilling earned second place in the championship with 401.7 points and Shayne Neal came third with a total score of 366.8 points. In the reversible section it was Tasmanian Chris Williams who came out on top with 376.6 points. Fellow Tasmanian Geoffrey Reid was second with 267.2 points. Both Mr Williams and Mr Loughridge will now have the opportunity to represent Australia at the world championship contest in Canada in July next year. Long-time ploughing competitor and judge Gordon McGee was one of two National Ploughing Association members to be awarded a life membership for his contribution to the sport. Donald Badcock, from Selbourne, was also presented with a life membership. Mr McGee, who has also judged at four world championship ploughing events, said there was a lot more technique involved with the sport than many people realised. ''The main aim behind it is to produce the perfect seed bed -- that's what it's all about,'' he said. ''Ploughing challenges in Tasmania started from the local blacksmiths competing against each other to make the best ploughs.'' During a contest the competitors have three hours to plough an area measuring 100m long and 20m wide. They are judged on 12 different categories, which can each earn them 10 points. Four judges oversee the competition and work in pairs. Each pair judges one end of the competition plots and combine judging scores. Mr McGee said some of the things he looked for while judging was complete coverage of the grass or stubble in each plot. Straightness, evenness of the furrows, and how the plot is finished off with just one wheel track allowed to be showing along the edge are all factors that are considered. While they are not allowed to use any electronic guidance systems, competitors are allowed to use a tape measure to ensure their ploughing lines remain even, right across their plot. Mr McGee said with wet and muddy conditions at last week's championship it was a real challenge. ''This is about as bad as the conditions get,'' he said. Mr McGee said while most competitors used similar type ploughs, it was how they were set up that would make all the difference. ''Competition ploughing improved my farm ploughing a lot, because you get a better eye for it,'' he said. Mr McGee said while there were a number of farmers involved in competition ploughing, about half the competitors who took up the sport did it as a hobby. ''You get a lot of different people competing,'' he said. ''Fellowship is a big part of the sport and you can meet people from around the world through ploughing.'' In the teams competition, Victoria came out on top with 369.54 points. Tasmania was second with 275.54 points, with New South Wales finishing third with 260.95 points. Timely boost to poppy price KAROLIN MacGREGOR DOMINANT CROP: Glynn Williams AN INCREASE in poppy prices by Tasmania's two major processors has given growers plenty to smile about this season. Price negotiations between Poppy Growers Tasmania and processors Tasmanian Alkaloids and GlaxoSmith- Kline have recently been completed and the results are good news for growers. PGT president Glynn Williams said it was an exciting time for the state's poppy industry as global demand for products continued to grow. ''It's very positive and poppies are fast becoming the dominant crop in Tasmania, whereas some other crops appear to be dropping,'' he said. Mr Williams said Tasmania's pos- ition as a low-cost producer gave it significant advantages, despite the high value of the Australian dollar. ''We are a very low-cost producer here and whereas in other countries growers are walking away from con- tracts because it's just not viable to grow, here we're still going strongly,'' he said. This season Tasmanian Alkaloids plans to bump up its crop area to a record 17,000ha -- a jump from last year's 13,000ha. To achieve this the company will introduce new harvesters, together with five additional field staff. GlaxoSmithKline will grow an area of crop similar to last season's, with 9000ha. New markets will see Tasmanian Alkaloids lift its prices for Thebaine TED variety crops by 3 per cent and Oripavine EVE crop by 10.5 per cent initially, though based on last year's results this could increase to as high as 12.5 per cent. The prices for codeine poppy variety Tasman will be decreased marginally to account for predicted increases in assay levels. GlaxoSmithKline will also increase its prices this season. For morphine growers, prices will increase by 9.5 per cent. Noscapine will also be paid on the same level as morphine. Thebaine prices will be lifted by 7.5 per cent. Crop treatment moddus will no longer be needed for thebaine crops, so the company estimates an extra cost saving of 0.75 per cent. The company also plans to im- plement harvester upgrades and improvements to ensure crops can be harvested when needed. Mr Williams said it was encouraging that both companies had recognised the need for growers to be adequately funded to keep growing poppies. ''To grow poppies successfully you need fertile soils, good weed control and access to water, so it's important that growers get the returns they need to be able to keep growing the crop year after year,'' he said. ''Tasmania is now a crucial part of the global pharmaceutical scene.'' Aust Post joins card campaign ONE Country Cards are now available at Australian Post retail outlets. The card provides access to discounts and special offers. Funds raised go to rural awareness and agricultural education programs. THE GATES OFFER IS BACK. OPENS 1ST MAY. CLOSES 30TH JUNE. *For Terms and Conditions refer to www.onesteelcyclone.com.au Registered trademark of OneSteel Wire Pty Limited ABN 59 000 010 873. Ingall St, Mayfield NSW 2304. CYC0015/TC Buy Cyclone gates. Get cash back. Cyclone, the name you know for quality Australian gates, is offering you $10 cash back* on every gate you purchase from 1st May to 30th June 2012. Visit www.onesteelcyclone.com.au for more details. TASMANIAN ALKALOIDS Value Adding in Tasmania Tasmanian Alkaloids are expanding our growing area this season. Talk to your local TasAlk Field Officer, or Phone 6393 5202 2058341-120413
May 24th 2012
June 7th 2012