Rural Notebook | Prime time for lambs as records tumble

ON THE FENCE: Kirby McPhee, Derek Treanor, Col and Sam McPhee and Glyn Sargent at Sheep Week Bathurst.
ON THE FENCE: Kirby McPhee, Derek Treanor, Col and Sam McPhee and Glyn Sargent at Sheep Week Bathurst.

RECORDS continue to be broken in prime lamb pens at saleyards in eastern states, with a $350-plus mark set at Wagga last week.

I'm told that pen of 20 lambs weighed over 100 kilograms liveweight, estimated dress weight 50kg, and they had all-you-can-eat lamb finished pellets for 16 weeks.

No wonder some industry pundits are betting on $500 first-cross ewes when this drought breaks.

Plenty of reports of running springs are coming in during the past few weeks and every farmer deserves a hand up from the rain-makers.

If opening springs are any sort of a weather guide, we may be getting run-off rains soon.

LOOKS GOOD: Bathurst Merino Association foundation members Andy Kajons and Richard Webb were impressed by the quality of stud sheep at Bathurst Showground.

LOOKS GOOD: Bathurst Merino Association foundation members Andy Kajons and Richard Webb were impressed by the quality of stud sheep at Bathurst Showground.

Water worries

BEFORE we stray from water supply issues, I want to mention David Goldney's practical letter to the Western Advocate as he discussed the present water supply issue as it applies to Bathurst city, its surrounding villages and some rural subdivisions.

With our city's population expected to reach at least 50,000 in the medium term and possibly continue to escalate, David's thoughts on future water requirements are certainly worthy of serious consideration.

Very few possible sites for a new dam are obvious, although sites on the Fish River have been mentioned and local irrigators on the Campbell and Macquarie rivers must be considered.

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Harsh truths 

A SUCCESSION of heavy frosts is showing us why our Central Tablelands is renowned for its harsh winters.

Reports of -7 degrees on the flats, and daytime maximums of about eight degrees in Bathurst, are reminders of why vehicle radiators are charged with anti-freeze coolant and motors are given a run before nightfall to warm their radiators.

Winter of 2019 is a re-run of most tablelands winters (minus rain) and reminds me of a long-gone farmer who lived high on the Trunkey range.

He often told me that there were days in July when he had to wear two overcoats at work on the family farm.

First attempt

THE first edition of Shearwell/The Land's sheep week was a very quiet (and cold and miserable) day at Bathurst Showground with not many visitors.

Perhaps we should not judge the first event as being unsuccessful, but it is obvious that many landholders in our district work off farm, in many cases both partners, and their sheep enterprise at home is fairly small.

The studs that were on display were of good quality and merinos from Capree (with Charinga, East Mundalla and Gowandale influence) and the dual purpose merinos from Ravecchia (Well Gully SRS) showed us what wool rams are now available locally.

Other local studs had good displays of their stock and I hope that they will continue to display.

Questions were asked of stud asking prices for meat breeds, and the dual purpose Corriedales for flock rams.

Good sport

THE recent death of Oberon identity Gil Schrader reminded us of a talented sportsman, harness racing owner and farm operator who produced many thousands of top quality prime lambs.

Others will detail Gil's sporting prowess, but my memory is also of an excellent sport.

Quiet advice

MENTION was made of "the quiet Australians" following the recent federal election and party leaders Morrison, Albanese and McCormack would each fit this description and hopefully point towards kinder times ahead.

Former Treasury head Ken Henry has just presented a report from a federal inquiry and it talks of a need for social cohesion and trust in authority.

Hopefully our leaders might realise that debates are often won by capable persuasion rather than arm-waving and yelling.

This could be an ideal time to be surrounded by positive friends who can be cheerful, thankful and want to get on with it.

Fields work

AUSTRALIAN Workers' Union general secretary Daniel Walton has conducted a tour of the proposed Santos gas drilling field on the edge of the rich Liverpool Plains near Narrabri in north west NSW.

He noted strong opposition from many landholders who are involved with the Shut The Gate movement, but also mentioned the landholders who had signed with Santos and are reaping financial benefits.

Daniel realises the job opportunities for AWU members on proposed gas fields, but opponents of the scheme believe that Australia should be retaining some 25 per cent of the gas that is already produced and not sell 100pc of it to overseas countries.

Wool report

ONLY Sydney and Melbourne operated this week and the 19,072 bales was the smallest offering for many years.

Despite the small offering, the market fell on the back of low buyer confidence.

Superfine merinos lost around 60c/kg fine and medium merinos around 50c/kg.

Crossbred wools lost around 20c/kg. The Northern Market Indicator finished the week on 1789c/kg, down 53c/kg.

Next week will see 30,872 bales on offer nationwide.

Mark Horsburgh TWG Landmark

Diary dates

July 12-13: Mudgee Small Farm Field Days.

July 19: Bathurst Merino Association AGM at Bridge Hotel, Perthville. Please come and bring a friend.

Saturday, August 10: Bathurst Merino Association Ram Expo and Dog Auction at Bathurst Showground.

Laugh lines

"YOU seem to have more than average intelligence for a man of your background," the lawyer sneered at the witness.

"Thank you, sir," our farmer friend replied. "If I wasn't under oath I'd return the compliment."

***

A 50-YEAR-OLD Romeo was in the jewellers with a pretty woman.

"Yes, I like the $40,000 ring you chose," he said.

He paid by cheque at 5.15 on Friday afternoon, but the jeweller phoned on Monday morning to say that the cheque had bounced.

"So sorry, sir," our friend said. "I'll return the ring right away, but I have had a great weekend."