Rural Notebook | Let's stay calm amid coronavirus concerns

TAKE A MOMENT: Maybe it's time to walk slowly with the drover.
TAKE A MOMENT: Maybe it's time to walk slowly with the drover.

THE Australia that we knew in December 2019 seems to have vanished with a sharemarket crash, lots of business closures, real concerns for community health and a keep-to-yourself attitude.

We must be grateful for Prime Minister Scott Morrison, Opposition Leader Anthony Albanese and Premier Gladys Berejiklian for their calm leadership in a time of near crisis.

Mayors and councillors in our local councils are also taking a practical approach to the virus situation and the general impression seems to be "don't be silly, be really careful and we'll get through this together".

How quickly has the pendulum swung from climate emergency to Corona lockdown?

Personally, I would like to see Mr Albanese added to the PM's "war cabinet" as he has a calm approach.

LEAN IN: Megan Rutherford taking a close look at the wool at "Blink Bonnie", Tarana on ewe competition day.

LEAN IN: Megan Rutherford taking a close look at the wool at "Blink Bonnie", Tarana on ewe competition day.

Our archbishop

FOR the first time in memory, churchgoers have been advised to stop at home because of crowd restrictions.

While we're at the church doors, I must make mention of "soon to be" Archbishop of Adelaide, Bishop Patrick O'Regan of Sale, Victoria.

Raised in the little Perthville village where his parents and grandparents operated the shop and servo, Patrick was very much a local boy and Rosemary (my bride of 54 years) well remembers him as a toddler at St Joseph's Church, Perthville for Sunday night devotions.

Rosemary was a boarder at Perthville Convent and the boarders all admired the chubby little cutie in his brown check dressing gown climbing over the seats.

His elevation to the Archbishop role is a great recognition for a local boy.

OTHER RECENT RURAL NOTEBOOK COLUMNS:

Lighter side

AUSSIES can still see a bit of humour in these troubled times:

  • When we are all supposed to keep some distance apart, a copy of the "Corona Sutra" is doing the rounds.
  • As Chinese couples in Wuhan emerge from several weeks of forced isolation, upwards of 300 couples have filed for divorce.
  • Remember, laugh and the world laughs with you, weep and you weep alone.

N.B. Every one of us must stick together now and do what we can to help each other. This situation is really serious and will continue for many months.

Nervous wait

ACROSS most of our tablelands, the autumn season is balanced on a knife edge.

Regular, steady rains will soothe most livestock feed problems, while a lack of rain will cause a lot of stock feed carts to come out of the shed for the umpteenth time.

In some areas south of Bathurst city, surface water supplies are at extremely low levels, but surely the run-off downpours aren't far away.

Lice gripes

SHEEP lice control can be a pretty boring subject, but it can be a costly failure in some circumstances.

Split shearings are renowned for causing problems and clean musters and attention to detail are absolute musts.

Lice pour-ons can give good results, but application techniques are important and a lot of owners finally employed a Rippa Dippa contractor with products such as Diazinon or Assassin or something similar.

We all realise that bought in sheep, including rams, should be isolated for as long as possible to help identify lice or foot problems.

Good workers

KOOKAROO rural contractors at Hill End are available for shearing, fencing and general farm work.

I saw this family at work on a pretty tough job recently, and they were reliable, solid workers who gave good value for money.

Details from Tales on 0403 820 406 and Mingo on 0475 375 876.

Talking tags

TEAMS of ewes in a recent local competition showed just how important it is to apply sheep tags correctly.

Most of the teams carried their colour of the year tags in the left ear, with the property's registered earmark in the ewe's right ear.

The tags were fitted on snugly in the front of the ear.

This simple fitting makes drafting, shearing and visual identification really practical for the lifetime of the sheep.

Very few (less than one per cent) tags should be lost during a ewe's six-year productive life and applying the registered earmark should be mandatory.

The current premiums for unmulesed wool have caused much discussion on the most practical tail length for unmulesed merinos and the majority of breeders favour short tails (second joint) for plain breech lambs and a hope and pray approach for any lamb with a breech wrinkle.

Diary date

FRIDAY, April 3: Pastures with Pete, 10am to noon, 941 Sodwalls Road, Tarana. Agronomist and pasture specialist will be on hand. Light lunch provided by Local Land Services. RSVP to Peter: 0419 011 398.

Wool report

THE wool market felt the full brunt of world uncertainty this week due to the effect of COVID-19 as all merino types lost around 130c/kg.

Crossbred wools lost around 25c/kg and the merino cardings lost 50c/kg.

The Northern Market Indicator finished the week on 1469c/kg, down 88c/kg.

The Northern Market Indicator is now 530c/kg below the same period last year.

One bright spot in all the gloom is the Aussie dollar trading so low could actually create a rise in the market this week.

Everyone is wondering about the future of wool sales because of the virus.

At this stage, they will be going ahead as normal on a weekly basis.

The only change at this stage is the auctions will be held on the showroom floor, not in the selling rooms, to give more room for social distancing.

This situation could change, however, if someone in the selling centre becomes infected.

Next week will see 49,874 bales on offer nationwide.

Mark Horsburgh, Nutrien Wool

Laugh lines

THE difference between winning Lotto or him winning an argument with his wife: he has a one-in-25 million chance in Lotto and a zero chance with his missus.

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A LOW point in life is reached when:

  • Vinnies decline your donated clothes.
  • The 6pm telemarketers hang up on you.
  • The Jehovah's Witness have your house as a "No Go Zone".