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Beyond the Bale : February March 2009
February – March 2009 Beyond the Bale News laNdholders sWear By Kellie Penfold W hen Queensland’s Desert Channels Catchment Management Authority (CMA) received a poor response to its annual Landleader survey of landholders, it followed up with an email titled “pain in the arse”. Despite the scurrilous subject line, the email detailed the benefits of the annual survey to both participants and the industry as a whole. Thus, with the landholders’ attention, Desert Channels CMA proceeded to record one of the highest response rates of all participating CMAs. Funded by the Federal Government’s Pathways to Industry program in partnership with AWI and Meat and Livestock Australia (MLA), Landleader is a self-assessment tool for producers to assess land and livestock management. The data is collated, analysed against the industry best management practices (BMP) guides – Making More from Sheep and More Beef from Pastures – and returned to participants to help them assess areas for improvement. According to a study carried out on behalf of the program by consultants Roberts Evaluation Pty Ltd, landholders value the tool and are willing to continue their involvement with Landleader. The assessment also suggests ways producers can become more engaged in the process and how CMAs can follow the lead of others, such as the Desert Channels CMA, with innovative means of increasing the number of surveys completed. Of the 362 landholders from 19 catchments who completed Landleader 2 (the most recent survey) 59 per cent said they could identify minor changes to their practices through survey involvement, with three per cent identifying major changes. A total of 90 per cent said they would be willing to reassess their practices using the findings from the Landleader survey, for both their own interests and the good of the industry. The Landleader 2008 survey demonstrated: l landholders are adept at measuring, managing and monitoring practices that have a dual environmental and productivity benefit – for example, assessing pasture composition and adjusting stocking rates to protect pastures for persistence, ground cover and composition; l management of soil capability and practices that contribute to building and maintaining soil fertility are well recognised and adopted amongst participants; l the percentage of landholders inspecting stock on a regular basis is high, as expected, although active assessment – that is, weighing and/or condition scoring of stock for production purposes – is less commonly practised; and l greenhouse gas emissions can be reduced through best practice pasture management, grazing management and livestock selection. However, consideration needs to be given to maximising nitrogen efficiency, using practices such as rotational grazing to avoid stock camps, soil tests, and paddock performance monitoring to optimise fertiliser application. AWI plans to re-run Landleader in 2009 as an online survey. More information: www.landleader.com.au SHEAR SKILL MAKES by survey It took a blasphemous approach to get the attention of Queensland landholders during the 2008 Landleader survey 3 WARNEST THE GuN All roads led to Hay, NSW, when Shear Outback, the Australian Shearers’ Hall of Fame, hosted the 2008 National Shearing and Wool Handling Titles. It was an event involving 169 competitors, 150 volunteers, 1,650 sheep and hundreds of spectators. At the end of the day, South Australian shearer Shannon Warnest had defended his title of Australian Shearing Champion. As well as witnessing the individual competitors in action, visitors came along to watch the state teams battle it out for the right to represent Australia in 2009, and to see Australia take on New Zealand in the Trans-Tasman Test Match. Chairman of the governing body, Sports Shear Australia, Peter Atridge, says it was one of the biggest-ever national contests. “Saturday – the day of the main events – was electric from go to whoa,” he says. “The young up-and-coming shearers and wool handlers stunned the crowd with their amazing ability, technique and stamina. But when the big guns took to the stage everyone stopped to watch and nearly lifted the roof with their cheers of encouragement.” A wool bale pressing competition was held for the first time at Hay, drawing real interest, according to Peter. First place went to Albert Darlow, with Matt Stasinowsky taking second. The National Blade Shearing title was taken out by John Dalla from South Australia, who is now keen to switch to machine shearing competitions. The National Wool Handling title was fiercely contested, with Rachael Hutchinson of NSW first, and Angela Wakely of NSW second. Runner-up in the national shearing was Jason Wingfield of Victoria, with Damian Boyle of Western Australia third. The NSW team – shearers Hilton Barrett and Daniel McIntyre, and wool handlers Rachael Hutchison and Angela Wakely – won the National Teams Final. The Trans-Tasman Shearing Test was taken out by a team comprising Shannon Warnest, Jason Wingfield and Beau Guelfi, who were up against New Zealanders James Fagan, John Kirkpatrick and Nathan Stratford. But in the wool handling it was the Kiwis who won by the barest of margins, with Joel Henare and Keryn Herbert beating Australians Deb Chandler and Mel Morris. More information: Sports Shear Australia, www.shearingworld.com ? ? Jason Wingfield (centre) and shannon Warnest (right) took out second and first place respectively in the shearing competition at the 2008 National shearing championships. Western australia’s damian boyle came third in the shearing competition at the 2008 National shearing championships at hay.
Dec 08 - Jan 09
April May 2009