Rural Notebook | That's right as rain for this district

SON SHINES: Moysayter is a classically bred son of UK sire Storm Cat and stands at Argyle Stud, Panuara.
SON SHINES: Moysayter is a classically bred son of UK sire Storm Cat and stands at Argyle Stud, Panuara.

THIS week's rain has fallen at exactly the right time to give tablelands crops and pastures the lift that they needed to bounce into early spring.

Cereal crops that have been grazed during winter will need to be shut up by mid-August if they are intended to produce a reasonable grain harvest by Christmas time.

Producers who like to keep a conservative stock of livestock fodder on hand will probably buy or produce a store of silage or hay on the present sale market that is pretty competitive.

This week's rain measured from 40 to 80 millimetres and has caused rivers and creeks to carry muddy streams.

Surely our major water storages will benefit from the district's rain at exactly the right time.

WRINKLE IN TIME: The type of wrinkled skin that merino breeders produced until very recent years.

WRINKLE IN TIME: The type of wrinkled skin that merino breeders produced until very recent years.

Bad news on expo

BATHURST Merino Association has reluctantly cancelled this year's Ram Expo and Working Dog Auction that was scheduled for August 15.

The B and L working dog auction will still be held, with alternative plans for an online sale; videos of dogs at work and on-farm inspections are all being discussed.

Full details will be available shortly and the website will keep readers up to date.


Favourable forecast

WE are starting to look at the end of winter.

There are predictions of a strong La Nina weather event during spring and early summer and even the climate change doomists are quiet.

So we must all get on with the job and hope for good times ahead.

Some market musings

MARKETS for good quality cattle and sheep are staying at daunting levels for buyers and very viable levels for sellers.

Buyers of breeder cattle are showing a preference for quality, a likeness for black females and low birth weight bulls, and a premium for quality regardless of breed.

In the sheep pens, I see strong demand for plain bodied merino ewes, much interest in shedder breeds and a younger generation who hate any wrinkles on a merino sheep.

Since we've seen breech wrinkle scoring of merino ewes, I believe that for each numerical increase of breech score there is a 10 per cent drop in lambing percentage.

Those that came before

BILL Walker at Classings laboratory, Murray Bridge posted a report on his recent ewe classing at Bellbro Merinos, Tintinara, SA.

His father classed the flock for the first time in 1964 and the Walkers have classed the flock every year since.

Present day breeders all learnt their trade from fathers, grandfathers, employers or workmates and no-one ever provides advice to their peers; opinions are vastly different to advice.

The late Peter Bowyer, who was regarded as a sheep and wool expert, once told me "all the Seamans have good sheep", which sounded good, but was really a recognition of the generation before mine.

Have a think about it

THERE is much discussion in wool industry circles of the effect of the 35 per cent year-on-year fall in auction wool prices and some of the comments are worth remembering.

If a graduate of ag science is asked his plans, he might well say his future is as a grain cropper; if that entailed carrying 85-kilogram bags of grain into stacks every day of harvest and every day of sowing and not having a Gruper or a cabin, would our graduate be as keen?

Our wool industry still breeds wrinkly sheep, wrestles them at shearing, marking, drenching, etc, and our industry is still arguing about mulesing.

How will our wool industry look in 2050?

The price is right?

HAS there been a correction in real estate values in Bathurst and district or are we immune to a softening of values in the Sydney CBD and some suburbs?

Vendors of some rural properties have probably set unrealistic prices on their real estate, but some properties in dress circle locations will always attract premium prices.

Probably the biggest percentage price increases during the past two decades have been for some of the least attractive small to medium farmlets, sometimes with plenty of weeds and scrubby bushes.

In towns and villages, there isn't much evidence of reduced values, but of course there's always a big difference between having to sell or will sell if the price is right.

Laugh lines

"NOBODY likes me, everybody hates me, nobody cares about me," he complained to his missus.

"Now, that's not true, love," she soothed him. "Some people haven't met you yet."


HE was asked his place of birth.

"Sydney," he answered.

"But which part," he was asked.

"Oh, all of me," he happily answered.


GEORGE and his wife were asleep when the phone rang at 10pm.

Bemused, he told her: "That mug has phone numbers mixed up. That's the third time he's rung. He thinks we're the coast guard and keeps asking if the coast is clear."