My thoughts yet again go out to those who find themselves in a COVID lockdown situation. Having spoken to many people this week – fodder industry members, former and current colleagues, neighbours and relatives – I know that many people are finding this current situation very challenging.
Each situation is different and unfortunately there is no magic solution, but we will emerge. Hang in there! Please practice COVID safe guidelines, make the time to enjoy the emerging spring season, and speak to your GP to get your ‘jab’.
Thanks to everyone who participated in our first Fodder Forum last night which featured SafeAg Systems, Krone and an update from members in central west New South Wales and Queensland. We look forward to seeing everyone at 7pm (AEST) next Thursday for our second Forum.
We are thrilled to have secured Steven Camilleri from SPEE3D who some may have seen on a recent television episode of the ABC’s Movin’ to the Country where he spoke about their 3D printing business based in Darwin.
Our fifth and final Fodder Forum will include AFIA’s 2021 Annual General Meeting (AGM), so please ensure you have registered to attend this on Thursday 30 September. Members will receive their AGM papers next week.
The Board met over two days on 9-10 August and the main focus of this meeting was a strategic planning session. I must say that for me, it was the first time I have facilitated a strategic planning session via Zoom while writing on butcher’s paper stuck to my office wall!
All-in-all it was a very productive few days and we look forward to the next steps in this process which will include member input.
As we head into the busy season, a reminder to all to stay safe – that’s COVIDsafe and safe in all other practices!
Tiredness can lead to shortcuts and these may not bring good outcomes. Your health and safety and that of your family, employees and community is paramount.
Your news: It has been a cracking season in many parts of Australia.
"We grow our crops sky high in northern Victoria," says AFIA's Industry Development Officer Pip Robinson who is growing vetch and barley for hay, and ready to cut pasture silage.
Q&A - navigating borders
The ever-changing pandemic situation across the country, and particularly in New South Wales and Victoria, and the resulting border restrictions can be challenging to keep abreast of, and as harvest approaches, the information will become more relevant. Border permits, COVID testing and quarantining are all issues to keep abreast of.
What are the best sources of information?
The Departments of Health are leading the information directives, but most State and Territory's have information specifically for the agriculture sector.
Caption: PIRD research scientist Geoff Moore (left), talking to agronomist Owen Mann at a field day at Walkaway, says there is an opportunity to sow pastures and grasses in the next few weeks to mitigate the risk of wind erosion on bare paddocks.
Research coming out of Western Australia is providing guidance for landholders with bare sandy paddocks to plant pastures and grasses to protect their soils from wind erosion in coming months.
Despite widespread rainfall, there are still areas of the Grainbelt that have insufficient ground cover to prevent wind erosion – particularly over the warmer months.
Department of Primary Industries and Regional Development (DPIRD) research scientist Geoff Moore said with plenty of subsoil moisture available, spring seeding pastures provided a possible solution to reduce the risk of wind erosion.
Mr Moore said there were three short-term options to implement in coming weeks to provide ground cover on sandy soils, with the possibility of providing an additional stockfeed option a bonus – providing there is surplus biomass.
Up until mid-September, there is a small window to sow a mixture of temperate, or C3, annual grasses, like cereal rye, Shirohie millet and feed barley
After mid-September the preferred option is to sow warm season, or C4, annual grasses, such as hybrid sorghum, Sudan grass and pearl millet, which require warmer soil temperatures to germinate and will grow rapidly if there is summer rain. Note that hybrid sorghum has a risk of prussic acid poisoning so if planning to graze it would be safer to sow pearl millet or Sudan grass.
The third option from mid-August through to early September is to sow subtropical warm season grasses.
The department recommends landholders aim to have at least 50 per cent of groundcover, of which about 30 per cent should be anchored, by the beginning of autumn to prevent wind erosion through to autumn 2022.
Farm visits during lockdown – yes or no?
Lockdowns seem to be growing in regional areas, especially right now in NSW and Victoria. They present huge challenges for people, both logistically and mentally. It’s fortunate that agriculture is seen as an essential service – rightfully so too as we feed and clothe Australians and the world.
If you have people coming to visit your property during lockdown, perhaps consider if their visit really is essential or not and consider alternatives. Rescheduling is quite reasonable, as is asking for the visit to be done virtually instead. Ask yourself if you really need that person from the city coming on farm now, especially if they are coming from a hotspot like Sydney or Melbourne. Of course, we need vets, agronomists, suppliers, etc. as they are essential to the wellbeing of our livestock and crops which has a direct impact on our income. Other business needs could perhaps be managed virtually as there isn’t really a need to be on-farm.
Whether you agree or disagree with the current approach of managing COVID-19, one thing that is undisputed is that the virus doesn’t move – people move the virus. Reduce movement and interaction and you reduce the chance of COVID spreading in your community. When everyone gets this right, it should mean less restrictions, less lockdowns and hopefully opening up regions and state borders sooner.
The AgriFutures Rural Women’s Award is Australia’s leading Award empowering and celebrating the inclusive and courageous leadership of women involved in Australia’s rural and emerging industries, businesses, and communities. The AgriFutures Rural Women’s Acceleration Grant is a new program developed to foster growth and development in women involved in Australia’s rural and emerging industries, businesses and communities.
From tanks to tractors - Operation Grain Harvest Assist Grain Producers Australia - 26 August 2021
A nationwide operation has been launched today, aiming to bolster the supply of local workers to help deliver this year’s bumper grains harvest and relieve pressure on farming communities. Retired and former ADF servicemen and women are being motivated and mobilised under Operation Grain Harvest Assist, to answer the call-up and work on grain farms throughout Australia.
Ag Visa must deliver skilled workers for grain farmers Grain Producers Australia - 23 August 2021
Australia’s peak national grain grower group is cautiously optimistic about the Federal Government’s announcement today of new details in the ongoing process to deliver an Agricultural Worker Visa welcoming statements about the visa’s future operations; especially its ability to give farmers greater certainty with access to skilled workers from ASEAN countries and others such as the UK.
Finalists revealed in Australian Feedlot of the Year Competition Australian Lot Feeders’ Association - 23 August 2021
The Australian Lot Feeders’ Association (ALFA) has today announced the finalists in the coveted Australian Feedlot of the Year Competition. From an entry pool of 35 feedlots across the nation, nine feedlots have been revealed to be in the running to be crowned the winners at the ALFA SmartBeef 2021 Conference Industry Awards Dinner to be held in Dalby on 20 October 2021.
Winter is the best time to check for fire ants National Fire Ant Eradication Program - 23 August 2021
The National Fire Ant Eradication Program is reminding everyone to keep an eye out for fire ants over winter when their nests can be easier to spot. While many species like to hibernate in colder months this is not quite the case for fire ants. National Program General Manager Graeme Dudgeon says fire ants build their nests higher in cold weather to gather warmth - making them more obvious. Report suspected fire ants via fireants.org.au or call 13 25 23.
Pre Season Update & Hay Quality Awards Webinar Feed Central - 19 August 2021
Miss Feed Central's Pre-Season Update & Hay Quality Awards Webinar? The recording from the event is now available. At the webinar, Feed Central general manager Cieran Maxwell said high-end quality feed would find a good market with strong confidence running through dairy, beef and feedlot sectors. “It has been a tough season, but the animals will be there to feed when it’s needed,” Mr Maxwell said.
Through innovation and practice change, Australian farmers are part of the climate solution National Farmers Federation - 18 August 2021
NFF have launched Australian Farms: Where REAL climate action happens, a positive campaign talking to the community about the good work farmers are doing every day, in response to climate change. Since 2005, Australian agriculture has reduced its direct emissions by 65% by embracing new practices and technologies, such as rotational grazing, low-till cropping, and converting animal waste to renewable energy.
NHVR supports accredited operators during COVID-19 restrictions National Heavy Vehicle Regulator - 13 August 2021
The NHVR has re-instated temporary changes to the National Heavy Vehicle Accreditation Scheme (NHVAS) driver medical and audit requirements, to support industry during the ongoing COVID-19 restrictions. The changes include:
Drivers operating under AFM or BFM accreditations may continue to drive with an expired driver medical (that expired on or after 31 July 2021), until they can practicably obtain a new one.
Auditors can undertake all document and records validation and audits remotely, requesting electronic copies be emailed to them (or by another suitable method), and conduct conversations over the phone where applicable.
AgDay 2021 challenges Australians to choose an #AgVenture NFF Media Release - 06 August 2021
On this year's AgDay, 19 November, the NFF is challenging Australians to consider the career opportunities in agriculture and to embark on an #AgVenture. "There is a job for everyone in agriculture – whether it’s riding the boundary fences of a Top End cattle station or breeding the next breakthrough wheat variety in an inner-city laboratory, Australians really can choose their own #AgVenture," NFF CEO Tony Mahar said.
New online careers and training platform now live! ALFA - 02 August 2021
ALFA, in collaboration with Meat & Livestock Australia (MLA), have flagged the feedlot industry’s revolutionary online platform, Feedlot TECH ahead of its official launch at SmartBeef 2021. The platform is a ‘one-stop-shop’ to access online training for core feedlot skills, information on career pathways and professional development opportunities.
Krone's Lars Pasedag speaking with AFIA Chair Brad Griffiths on the Big Pack 1290 HDP Model at the AFIA Fodder Festival earlier this year.