Rural Notebook | Overflowing Lake Eyre raises hopes for eastern farmers

RIBBON GANG: Prize winners in the Royal Bathurst Show's Hoof and Hook steer competition included (from left) Will Clements, Max Clements, Jayden Falcke, Harrison Guy, Emily Watterson and Samuel Guy.
RIBBON GANG: Prize winners in the Royal Bathurst Show's Hoof and Hook steer competition included (from left) Will Clements, Max Clements, Jayden Falcke, Harrison Guy, Emily Watterson and Samuel Guy.

LONG range forecasts for winter and early spring are hardly optimistic, but there are plenty of reasons for grassroots producers to be hopeful.

Television footage of the Channel Country floods that are filling Lake Eyre are a great sight and are a snapshot of what our early explorers visualised as an inland sea.

The edge of this flooding rain has caused minor floods in the Paroo and Warrego rivers but was too far west to put any new flow into the Darling.

There is always a school of thought that when Lake Eyre is overflowing there will be good pastoral seasons in the eastern states.

Already we hear of "waist-high buffel grass" across parts of Central Queensland and useful fodder crops being seen in parts of our state.

Of course, there are horrible conditions in many districts and our own is in very ordinary condition. Please don't put the prayer beads down for a second.

Hoof and hook

BATHURST Agricultural, Horticultural and Pastoral Society staged its inaugural Hoof and Hook steer competition in conjunction with this year's Royal Bathurst Show.

Local stock and station agent Justin Guy of Bowyer and Livermore Bathurst organised the event and results are as follows:

  • Champion on the hoof: Will Clements.
  • Reserve champion on the hoof: Max Clements.
  • Champion on the hook: Harrison Guy.
  • Champion school and exhibit on the hoof: Kelso High School.
  • Reserve champion on the hook: Samuel Guy.

Seven schools were represented in the event, including Wee Waa and Tullamore.

Thirteen steers were processed at Brooklyn Meats, Oberon, and buyers were A&B Quality Meats, South Bathurst Butchery, Farmgate, Mountain Meats, Barkers Oberon and Harris Farm.

Big day out

THE Kildara Glen Stud, operated by the Treanor family at Duramana, had a great day out at last weekend's Orange Show.

The stud exhibited the champion Australian white ewe, champion Australian white ram, reserve champion poll dorset ewe, champion poll dorset ram and Supreme Sheep of the Orange Show with a poll dorset ram.

Living legends

CONGRATULATIONS to all seven of Bathurst's new Living Legends who were announced on Proclamation Day.

I don't have the pleasure of knowing five of the legends but I do know the former long-time council ranger at the Sir Joseph Banks Nature Reserve on Mount Panorama, Ian MacArtney, and the co-proprietor of Watson Tractors, Millie Watson.

These two people are Bathurst to their bootstraps and it's great to see them acknowledged.

Mutton prices

STRONG demand from China has driven mutton prices to levels that have never been seen in Australia.

Merino wethers that were quoted at last week's regular Wagga sale: 35kg, $12 skin, 600/kg dressed weight $232 each.

Damian Drum from Landmark, St Arnaud quotes a run of heavy wethers, three weeks off shears, cut 7kg of wool at a nine-month shearing, sold for $210. This makes them $310 units.

To be fair, these wether units at that money make it difficult for any owner to retain them when this price is probably the value of three wool clips.

BIG BOYS' TOYS: An eye-catching line-up of New Holland and Kubota tractors was a highlight of the machinery displays at the Royal Bathurst Show.

BIG BOYS' TOYS: An eye-catching line-up of New Holland and Kubota tractors was a highlight of the machinery displays at the Royal Bathurst Show.

Poll position

IT'S just two more sleeps until voting day for the three-fifths of electors who didn't vote early.

If the opinion polls are anywhere close to correct, we may see another hung parliament.

Both federal leaders have campaigned well with Scott Morrison being quite statesman-like, in the mould of former Labor leader Kim Beazley.

Bill Shorten has continued to be the spokesman for his party and this gives an impression of party unity.

Barnaby Joyce is obviously a shoo-in for New England and has kept a low profile in support of Nationals leader Michael McCormack.

Here are my stab in the dark predictions:

  • Labor to win with a thee-seat majority.
  • Tony Abbott to hold Warringah and Dave Sharma to regain Wentworth for the Liberals.
  • Andrew Gee to hold Calare.
  • Clive Palmer to win one Senate seat at a cost of about $35 million. We will all be grateful when his advertising campaign has finished.

Laugh lines

GEORGE rang home from the office: "The boys have arranged a week's fishing at Jindabyne and it's a great chance for me to work on my promotion. Could you please pack some clothes and a fishing rod, dear, and also those light blue satin pyjamas."

He arrived home after the week, reported good vibes and good fishing, but mentioned that the satin pyjamas were missing.

His wife said: "Oh, I packed them in your fishing box with all your hooks and knives."

***

A PASSER-BY admired the parish priest's rose garden.

Father told him that Black Death caused many problems to his plants, and added that Black Death arrived in the guise of "nuns with scissors". (Sorry, Sr Ruth.)

Wool report

DROUGHT-affected lots with low yields and poor style have continued to impact on the Australian wool market.

Lots with good or inferior style dominated the selection which saw the Northern Market Indicator lose eight cents in the week finishing May 10, ending the recent upward trend.

Crossbred lots continued to be the star performers and were the only ones to record gains in the week, with better prepared lots recording the highest gains.

The Northern Market Indicator ended at 1952c/kg clean.

Auction quantities continue to decline with 33,361 lots currently on offer.

Mark Horsburgh, TWG Landmark