Weeds vigilance urged
Farmers and graziers are being urged to remain vigilant with weed monitoring and control in the wake of growth after widespread heavy rain and flooding. NSW DPI invasive species manager, Scott Charlton, there had been a significant increase in the prevalence of most annual summer weeds, such as fleabanes and wireweed. Weeds such as variegated, saffron and true scotch thistles, and Bathurst burr were much more evident this year, with thistles showing significant range expansion. New outbreaks of tropical soda apple were being found in the Richmond River catchment, radiating out from the original Casino infestation, with cattle movements in the area being a significant means of spread. “Drought and eventual favourable conditions provide the ideal opportunity for weeds to demonstrate their competitive ability as they often have very deep seed banks which are activated by soaking rains,” he said. “Local council weed officers are an invaluable source of identification and technical information on regional weed species and management strategies.”
VFF conference to tackle animal welfare
Animal welfare standards and food production will in the spotlight at the Victorian Farmers Federation’s Annual Conference in Bendigo on April 19-20. The conference will include a panel discussion between animal activists and agriculture experts on how consumers’ animal welfare expectations could affect food production over the next decade. The panel includes Glenys Oogjes from Animals Australia, Maria Mercurio from the RSPCA, Professor Paul Hemsworth from Melbourne University’s Animal Welfare Science Centre and Chris Nixon, President VFF Livestock. VFF President Andrew Broad said he hopes the debate will be “informative and honest”. “Obviously there will be a number of differing viewpoints in the room and no one will be tip-toeing around the issue. For both sides, it’s a highly emotive topic,” Mr Broad said. “There are many Victorian livestock producers who are concerned groups like Animals Australia and the RSPCA are distorting the debate on animal welfare. Generally, consumers have poor understanding of agriculture. Often campaigns will play on this weakness by demanding farming practice changes overnight. It’s just unrealistic. The VFF has always supported good animal welfare outcomes and hopefully this panel can open up some honest dialogue.” The VFF Annual Conference will take place on 19 – 20 April at the All Seasons Resort in Bendigo. To register, visit www.vff.org.au or call 1300 882 833.
Weaner management in northern herds
A new publication has been released to provide northern cattle producers with practical insights for best practice weaning to improve herd productivity and profitability. Meat and Livestock Australia’s Weaner management in northern beef herds outlines the best management practices for weaning, as well as the benefits of early weaning of calves in difficult conditions to improve breeder fertility and reduce mortality. The publication is a compilation of all the research, demonstrations and practical knowledge available on weaning and weaner management in northern Australia. It was written by a team of representatives from agricultural departments in the Queensland, Northern Territory and Western Australian Governments and features producer case studies of various cattle breeding operations.
Pair fined for mistreating three horses
Two people from a property near Kingaroy have pleaded guilty in court to treating three horses so poorly one of the animals had to be euthanised. Following a Biosecurity Queensland investigation, a man and a woman appeared in the Kingaroy Magistrates Court last week. They pleaded guilty to three counts of breaching their duty of care to three horses on a property near Nanango. They were fined $1500, ordered to pay court costs and prohibited from owning a horse for five years.Investigations Manager Jason Tews said the pair failed to provide adequate food, water and living conditions between 29 March and 22 April 2011. He said the case highlighted the gravity of mistreating animals and the importance of caring for them properly."Having a duty of care means if you´re in charge of a horse you're legally obliged to meet its needs in a reasonable way, including the provision of food and water, accommodation, treatment for illness, and freedom to express normal behaviour," he said. “Ensuring animals are in good condition can be a big job but it is essential. The basics include supplying shelter, clean water, an appropriate amount of fresh feed, and properly maintained fences and gates. Horses must be groomed and regularly exercised. Carers are also responsible for administering preventive treatment for worms and ticks, providing appropriate vaccination for disease and for providing special care when the animal is sick or injured.”
Woolworths agricultural scholarship
Applications are now open for the 2012 Woolworths Business Agricultural Scholarship. Each year Woolworths offers 30 young Australians the opportunity to participate in its Agricultural Business Scholarship program. During the fully-funded 12-day course, participants gain a broad academic perspective on the business of agriculture from key academics, Woolworths business leaders and other industry experts. The course is practical as well as theoretical, and covers topics such as: business strategy and planning; agricultural value chain; successful business leadership; business finance; logistics and supply chain management; the role of government; doing business with retailers; and sustainability and environmental issues. For application details click here