FOR my last Rural Notebook column for the year, it's probably a good time to glance back at the year that's gone and think of a few highlights:
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THE wind-down to Christmas has come down to its last eight days and an early summer has refused to warm up.
When we think of the bushfire smoke that clouded our region at this time last year, with visibility down to about 400 metres every day, we appreciate the coolness and the green grass that is still very obvious.
We must be thankful to all of our country's leaders, health officials and medical staff who have put in a huge effort to keep our country safe.
We know that COVID-19 cost Donald Trump his presidency because he took the virus too lightly and the new vaccine came too late to provide hope for his Republican Party.
TO stare into a crystal ball for 2021, we look to the forecast of a La Nina weather event with possible flooding until Easter at least.
Of course, this is just a forecast, but it may happen.
China's tariff policies will decide the viability of grain, wines, red meat and wool markets for the medium term and our iron ore exports will probably give our country its most significant bargaining tool.
The JobKeeper and JobSeeker stimuli measures will ease back and the anticipated financial shocks may not be so severe as they may have been as many of our hospitality businesses seem to have come back to life quickly.
Income tax write-off provisions are a big hand up to retail businesses with tractor, machinery and light truck sales reaching high points.
If several good seasons are to follow, we should see livestock numbers across our state build up gradually from a very low base.
With high livestock and red meat values, high stocking rates are now a memory and lighter stocking rates result in much better groundcover over the long term.
HARVEST operations will continue over the Christmas, new year break in our lovely Central Tablelands and all involved are urged to be extra careful of every job and to concentrate on everything we do.
Accidents happen in the blink of an eye and much of the harvest work is done in the poor light of early morning and dusk.
BEEF and lamb markets have held fairly firm as the festive season comes closer.
The early months of the new year will hold the key to meat markets, with China's trade strategies and the prospect of a La Nina rain event in North Queensland being key factors.
Cattle markets have maintained high levels right through 2020 and breeders of Highland and Belted Galloway cattle have found lucrative niche markets.
These breeds used to be shunned by butchers in saleyard pens, but they are now regarded as showpiece, front paddock cattle.
Some on-property auctions have had total clearances of large numbers of stud stock and returned excellent prices.
Studmasters Tom Bull (Lambpro), Nigel Kerin (Kerin Poll), Steve Phillips (Yarrawonga) and Ross Thompson (Millah Murrah) have led the way as hard-working marketers for the genetics of their studs.
A BIT of history: 1977 was the first meeting of the amalgamated Turon, Abercrombie shires and Bathurst City Council.
John Matthews was mayor, Les Wardman and Max Hanrahan went on to be mayors, and only four aldermen still live in Bathurst: Norah Taylor, Phil Smith, Graeme Spurway and John Seaman.
The names for the photo with this week's column are (front, left to right) Peter Foster, John Matthews (mayor), John Cousins, Les Wardman, Ray Bant, Norah Taylor; (back) Max Kingston (town clerk), John Seaman, Michael Connelly, Max Hanrahan, Noel McGrath, Tom Cuneo, Graeme Spurway, Phil Smith, Rex Mcdiarmid, Peter Allenby (dep. engineer). Engineer Peter Gannon was absent on the day.
A FEW thank yous to end a year that won't be forgotten.
To my readers, I hope this column was of some value and provided a few smiles; to the farming community, I hope that your year has been profitable and that your family stays happy and healthy.
To the editor and staff of the Western Advocate, Oberon Review and Blayney Chronicle, thank you for providing space for Rural Notebook each Thursday.
Rosemary and I wish our readers a happy and peaceful Christmas with your family and friends.
THIS week's market, the second-last before the Christmas recess, produced upward trends in all wool types.
All merino types were up 60 to 70c/kg and the crossbred wools were up around 20c/kg.
The Northern Market Indicator finished the week on 1257c/kg.
With only two days of selling left until the recess, the market is predicted to finish the year around present levels despite the large offering of 49,126 bales nationwide.
DAD was sent to the post office for Christmas stamps and was asked: "What denomination, sir?"
He was confused and answered: "I s'pose I better have 15 Anglicans and five Catholics, please."
TWO young women yarning; "Last night Henry told me he loves me for my brains. I've never been so insulted."
GEORGE said he could have any woman he pleased. He just hadn't pleased anyone yet.
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