Agistment activity prompts biosecurity warning
As extremely dry conditions cause stock feed and water shortages and increased stock movements to agistment, producers are being urged to remain mindful of biosecurity precautions. NSW DPI beef development officer, Todd Andrews said producers seeking agistment need to check with the landholder if there are any pests and diseases that stock might encounter at the new location. “For example, stock heading to areas with buffalo flies might need an insecticidal ear tag or other preventative treatment,” he said. Producers also needed to consider the risk of weed spread to and from properties involved with agisting livestock. “Weeds that can attach to the animals, such as African lovegrass, serrated tussock and especially Chilean needlegrass can be identified via prior inspection,” he said. “It is necessary to keep animals in quarantine paddocks and to look out for new plant incursions after the stock returns to the home property.
$50,000 grants for ag business with China
Agricultural businesses seeking a chance to network and create new customers can apply for grants of up to $50,000 for projects which grow agricultural trade cooperation between Australia and China. Agriculture and water resources minister David Littleproud said this year’s funding program will focus on advanced agriculture technologies, water in agriculture, eCommerce innovation, science and technology, food safety, animal husbandry, farming sustainably and exploring niche markets. “These grants fund projects including technical exchanges, staff secondments, working groups, training programs, research and development, feasibility studies and information exchanges,” Minister Littleproud said. Previously funded projects include the introduction and demonstration of the ‘e-Bale’ tracking system for wool bales, the development of bilateral applications of new spatial and digital technologies for cropping between Australia and China and the promotion of opportunities and benefits under ChAFTA by the ABC Landline program. Applications open 13 February 2018 and close on 13 March 2018. To apply for funding and for more information on the ACACA program, visit agriculture.gov.au/market-access-trade/acaca.
Low-rate loans on offer for NSW farmers
NSW Department Primary Industries (DPI) has provided over $35 million in low-interest-rate loans to primary producers through the Rural Assistance Authority’s (RAA) Farm Innovation Fund (FIF), and says another $30 million still available. The FIF helps farmers identify and address risks to their farming enterprises, improve permanent farm infrastructure, ensure long term productivity and sustainable land use, and adapt to changing seasonal conditions. The fund provides long-term, low-interest loans to farmers across the state for permanent, on-farm infrastructure. Farmers can access up to $250,000 at an interest rate fixed at 2.5 percent over 20 years. Loan applicants are asked to address one or more of the main criteria: drought preparedness, environment, farm infrastructure and natural resources. For more information on how to apply for the Farm Innovation Fund visit the DroughtHub website or phone DPI’s Rural Assistance Authority on 1800 678 593.
Farm Debt Office welcomed in Qld
AgForce has welcomed the establishment of a new Farm Debt Restructure Office to assist Queensland farmers in financial distress to access expert advice. AgForce General President Grant Maudsley said with more than two-thirds of Queensland drought declared, many primary producers were still doing it tough and the new office could assist those with debt difficulties. Mr Maudsley said access to affordable financing was vital for the development of agriculture and debt was a fact of life for many agribusinesses, with the total national rural debt reaching $72 billion in November 2017 and an average debt of about $637,000 per Queensland farm. More information about the Farm Business Analysis Assistance program and the Farm Debt Restructure Office is available at www.qrida.qld.gov.au/fdro or Freecall 1800 623 946.
Cross loading win at SA-WA border
Cross-loading of cattle and sheep will not longer be required at South Australia’s border with Western Australia thanks to a new ruling from the National Heavy Vehicle Regulator. NHVR CEO Sal Petroccitto said the regulator has agreed to allow 27.5 metre B-double livestock trucks entry to the SA Livestock Exchange at Dublin north of Adelaide. Previously B-double livestock carriers could only operate 26-metre vehicles under the Livestock Carrier Notice in South Australia which required cross loading of stock at the SA-WA border. Livestock and Rural Transporters Association SA president David Smith said end of cross loading at the border could save up to three hours. The 27.5 metre B-double general dimension limits are length 27.5m, height 4.6m, width 2.5m. For more information click here.
EU expands beef access for Mercosur countries
The European Union has offered to open its markets to more beef from Latin American bloc Mercosur to try to conclude negotiations for what could be its most lucrative trade deal to date. Reuters reports ministers from the Mercosur countries Argentina, Brazil, Paraguay and Uruguay met EU trade and agriculture commissioners in Brussels this week to discuss how to drive forward negotiations stuck on the issue of beef. The EU has raised its offer for beef access to 99,000 tonnes per year from a previous 70,000 tonnes, people close to the talks said on Wednesday, though it was not clear how much would be more expensive chilled meat and if it would be tariff-free. The EU hopes an improved offer will encourage Mercosur to open its markets to cars and EU dairy produce more rapidly and allow EU companies to bid in public tenders. Full report from Reuters here.