Rural Notebook | Leadership, drought support and common sense

RAGTIME: An infestation of ragwort with a lovely backdrop of the Turon River hills where the gold rush was triggered many years ago.
RAGTIME: An infestation of ragwort with a lovely backdrop of the Turon River hills where the gold rush was triggered many years ago.

THE highlight of last week was undoubtedly our nation's send-off for former prime minister Bob Hawke, which was attended by five former prime ministers and many people from all walks of life.

Mr Hawke is often quoted as saying "the reason for my credibility is that I don't exude morality".

He was one of our best prime ministers and never tried to kid anyone that he was someone that he wasn't.

BY GUM: A lot of our district was covered by this type of eucalypt in earlier days. I'm told that lucerne flats along the Vale Creek once grew stately river gums.

BY GUM: A lot of our district was covered by this type of eucalypt in earlier days. I'm told that lucerne flats along the Vale Creek once grew stately river gums.

Horribly good

RE-ELECTED governments in Canberra and Macquarie Street are back to the grindstone and our local councils also have their heads down as they get the jobs done that are vital to our regional areas.

A cheer for Bathurst Regional Council and its rural roads staff for the excellent condition of the gravel road from Limekilns to Palmers Oakey that crosses Mount Horrible.

Please take a bow for a job well done, council staff.

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Bale details

AUSTRALIAN Wool Innovation produces a regular glossy bulletin called Beyond The Bale which highlights the marketing and research work the company carries out.

Industry consultant Paul Swan contributed an informative tribute to former wool scientist Jim Watts, who died in recent months.

The recognition of Jim's work and his SRS sheep breeding scheme has often been understated and it's great to see this article in our wool industry journal.

Included in the bulletin are several articles on regenerative grazing schemes and former Severn Park Merino studmaster Charlie Massy gives a full page summary of his involvement in these systems.

It is written in a straight-talking manner that no reader would call "barking at the moon".

A flashback of almost 20 years when WRIST workshops drew crowds of several hundreds to Bathurst Showground: Paul Swan and Ron Rayner came with me to Milton Smith's woolstore in Lloyds Road, Bathurst to source suitable elite fleeces for the workshops. Local woolclasser Roy Artery selected many of the required fleeces.

Helping hand

STATE Agriculture Minister Adam Marshall and Premier Gladys Berejiklian chose Coolamon in the Riverina to announce further drought assistance to farmers across the state.

Much of the assistance is in the form of further loans and the loan ceiling for farm innovation has been lifted to $1 million per enterprise.

Innovation in this instance probably covers water supplies, grain and hay sheds and silos and perhaps direct drill machinery.

Once again, Local Land Services rates have been waived; every landholder appreciates this assistance.

I believe that registration fees for farm trucks are also waived and new state loans will be interest-free for 12 months.

The new minister Adam Marshall has made a good start and has impressed as a good listener and a man who appreciates the doggedness of country people.

State of sense

INSTANCES of partial restocking and store stock trading are evident in parts of our district and buyers are taking great care as they inspect animals that are for sale.

The South Australia Department of Agriculture has finally dropped its enforcement of OJD restrictions and trading now consists of "buyer beware" when deciding to bring in sheep from other states.

Vaccination of lambs as a routine practice has been a great success and sheep trading across borders will return to common sense - $70 million of public money later.

Wort warning

LANDHOLDERS across the tablelands are well-drilled in the control measures that need to be taken to attempt to destroy St John's Wort, but a closely related weed is ragwort and it seems to take control of many paddocks that formerly provided good grazing from mainly native pastures.

Apparently, ragwort is not listed as a dangerous weed, but I believe that it can be poisonous to grazing livestock at certain stages and it probably should be added to the weeds list with its St John's Wort cousin.

Bill farewelled

I NOTE the passing in Young of former long-time Bathurst resident Bill Burgess, who is remembered by my generation as a timber specialist at the former Pay O'Leary's timber and hardware in Bentinck Street, Bathurst.

Much of the hardwood timber was sourced locally with stringy bark, red gum and yellow box being popular trees.

Bill was always capable and courteous and customers appreciated his helpful manner.

Diary dates

July 12-13: Mudgee Small Farm Field Days.

July 19: Bathurst Merino Association annual general meeting at Perthville Hotel. All members requested to attend; visitors and ideas welcome.

Saturday, August 10: Bathurst Merino Association Ram Expo and working dog auction at Bathurst Showground.

Wool report

THE wool market fell significantly this week as all micron categories lost ground.

The 17 to 18.5 microns lost around 80c/kg, while the broader merinos lost around 50c/kg. The fine crossbred wools were firm, but the broader types lost around 20c/kg.

The Northern Market Indicator lost 41c/kg.

The trade war between the US and China is having a significant effect on the market as around 20 per cent of finished garments out of China end up in the US, which may be affected by the tariffs.

The continuing drought is also a major factor in the market, with many wools from western NSW only yielding around 50 per cent, which is making freight back to China significantly dearer as a container of 100 bales really only has 50 bales of wool on board.

Next week will see a very small offering nationwide of 19,745 bales.

Mark Horsburgh, TWG Landmark

Laugh lines

THE vicar asked why their marriage had lasted 50 years and George said: "Right from day one, we agreed that she would make the minor decisions and I would make the major ones. So she selected our home, the kids' schools and made all monetary decisions; I make the major ones like what to do about global warming, the Middle East and trade sanctions on South Africa."

***

A WIFE told the judge in the divorce court that her grounds were ill health and fatigue. "Yes, your Worship," she said, "I'm sick and tired of him."