Rural Notebook | What about some Ord rail relief?

RAIL TRAIL: A 1.8-kilometre train leaving Crystal Brook, South Australia with 6228 tonnes of wheat for stock feed.
RAIL TRAIL: A 1.8-kilometre train leaving Crystal Brook, South Australia with 6228 tonnes of wheat for stock feed.

SOME comments have come regarding the possibility of transporting train-loads of hay for stock feed from Western Australia’s Ord River scheme to central NSW and Victoria.

Australian Standard White wheat, bound for drought areas in South Australia’s north east, was loaded and freighted by train last week and it totalled 6228 tonnes of bulk wheat in 101 wagons on a train that measured 1.8 kilometres.

It was loaded at the rate of 450 tonnes per hour.

Demand for grain is so high that a similar train was loaded at Crystal Brook, South Australia this week.

If the ASW is valued at around $300 per tonne plus freight, a train-load at destination will be really valuable.

BODY OF WORK: These young Winyar rams show the type of body structure that follows selection of breeders for structure, muscle and body weight as well as quality fibre.

BODY OF WORK: These young Winyar rams show the type of body structure that follows selection of breeders for structure, muscle and body weight as well as quality fibre.

At the limit

WIDESPREAD complaints from drovers and stock owners who are using stock routes, travelling stock reserves and roadside grazing tell us of a system that is strained to the limit and clearly is not working.

Since the demise of the Rural Lands Board system, the replacement Local Land Services is governed by ministerial appointees who are not closely involved with the rural communities in their districts and have little input into drought declarations.

Weekend newspapers presented a bucket list of drought relief measures that could be immediately implemented and I hope that National Party members, both federal and state, read those articles slowly and carefully.

A lot of farming families are almost stretched to their limit at present and are in need of proper support.

Heed the sign

STILL on the subject of roadside grazing of livestock, we see lots of stock grazing on the bit of roughage outside their owner’s front gate and all of these are guarded by signs and family members.

In a few instances, owners have set up flashing beacons and these are a great help in slowing the few crazies who charge past stock signs.

Perhaps a 20 kilometres per hour limit could be added to the stock signs.

Keep the faith

AS the dry season drags on and some tablelands producers have been feeding sheep and cattle for around 15 months, total feed costs on larger holdings must be heading towards the $3 to $4 million mark - and spring is still at least eight weeks away.

If we balance those costs with a 700c/kg lamb market, solid cattle prices for killable stock and a wool market that we hoped for over many years, we have every reason to be determined to be in a position to harvest meat, fibre and livestock in the months that follow the general rain that we hope to see in late winter and right through this spring.

We know that long-range forecasts have been hopelessly wrong during 2017/18 and only a mug would take notice of current ones.

Please keep praying thrice daily and hope like hell.

Risky business

THE current royal commission into the banking system has caused staff and directors of both AMP and the ANZ Bank to hold their collective breath and other financiers will be interviewed as the commission continues.

Some of the current problems occurred after the ANZ Bank purchased Landmark’s rural loan books and it seems that some of the loan conditions did not transfer to the bank.

Some of the farmer borrowers must have been really brave as amounts of $25 million and more to husband and wife partnerships have been mentioned.

A simple matter of rain or no rain can change a farm business from being quite sound to high risk within six months.

Lacking interest

STRONG demand continues for all types of rural land across our district.

Many buyers are from our local cities and they are probably looking at self-managed super funding to support the purchases.

During the past decade or so we have seen many established producers leave our industry and many of them were specialist wool producers.

Not many of the new owners show much interest in merino sheep as they can be labour intensive and hard on pastures during dry times.

Looking west

OF particular interest is the suggestion that a long-time flock under new ownership is looking for plainer bodied, thinner skinned bloodlines from the Western Riverina.

The McRabb-owned Avenel stud has been mentioned as a replacement source and these sheep performed well when crossed with AMS blood ewes in the Neville area some 25 years ago.

These decisions are looking to a future where lambs are not mulesed because of buyer discounts for wools that aren’t declared mules-free.

Diary dates

  • Friday and Saturday, July 13 and 14: Mudgee Small Farms Field Days.
  • Saturday, August 11: Bathurst Merino Association Ram Expo and working dog auction at Bathurst Showground.

Laugh lines

HE reported his wife of 20 years as missing for 48 hours.

“Age?” the lawman asked.

“About 45 to 50,” the husband said.


“About average height - maybe 160 to 170 centimetres.”


“Bluey-grey, sort of.”

“Hair colour?”

“Often dyed, maybe yellow.”

“Driving a vehicle?”

“A 2017 Ford Ranger, metallic silver, red flashing, black leather seats, premium sound 12 speakers, alloy wheels all five, LED lights, 5.2 diesel turbo, 40 channel CB, three USB ports,” he said, and then he broke down and sobbed.

“Don’t worry, son,” the burly cop comforted him, “we’ll find your truck for you.”


THE just-out-of-uni programmer was being interviewed by the HR manager.

“And what starting salary do you envisage?” the HR man asked.

Our job seeker suggested $75,000.

“Well, what would you say to five weeks holidays, full medical and dental, 14 paid holidays each year, 14 per cent super and a Mustang lease updated every two years,” HR said.

“Wow, are you kidding?” the applicant asked. 

“Of course I am,” HR replied, “but you started it.”