Important reminder about on-farm recycling

Colin Jackson Bush Chat, Enviro-Safe

AUSTRALIA’S WASTE is growing around six times faster than the population, according to Planet Ark, and National Recycling Week is a timely reminder for all Australians, including farmers, to look at their recycling habits. Assistant Minister for Agriculture and Water Resources, Luke Hartsuyker, has stated that this National Recycling Week (November 13 to 19) is a great opportunity for farmers and rural Australians to think about the ways they manage waste and to encourage future generations to think sustainably. “Our farmers manage 61 per cent of Australia’s landmass and can make a significant contribution to the protection of vital assets such as our soils, water, vegetation and biodiversity,” the Minister said. “Farmers can support the ‘circular economy’ by being conscious of how they dispose of things like worn tyres and used scrap metal from old machinery — and by purchasing products made from recycled materials. “There is now a vast range of products that can be made from recycled materials, including fencing, containers, and construction material like bricks and timber. Purchasing recycled products closes the loop and keeps products and material out of landfill, groundwater and oceans. “There are already organisations promoting recycling in rural Australia — drumMUSTER provides farmers …

France votes ‘non’ on glyphosate

Colin Jackson Current News, Enviro-Safe

FRANCE has signalled it will vote against Glyphosate being used in Europe. The world’s most-used weedicide has been under investigation by the European Union for fears it may be carcinogenic (cancer causing). While US studies have concluded European fears are unfounded, Europe remains unconvinced, perhaps in part because of their fear of the chemical being owned by an American corporate. The French President’s office says it will not vote to extend glyphosate’s use in Europe for another ten years. If France succeeded in getting other European countries to join their ban, European farmers would have 12 to 18 months supply left. One impact may be a global glut and then price fall for the weedicide in the rest of the world.

High-tech biosecurity hub to protect the north

Colin Jackson Current News, Dairy, Enviro-Safe, Farm-Safe, Horticulture, Livestock, Sugar

A NEW biosecurity hub to guard against foreign pests and diseases will be built in Darwin as part of an $8 million joint project by the Australian and Northern Territory Governments. Deputy Prime Minister and Minister for Agriculture and Water Resources, Barnaby Joyce, said the Australian Government was delivering $3.5 million to create a cutting-edge biosecurity hub at the NT Government’s Berrimah Farm facility in Darwin, plus $500,000 to fight bluetongue virus. “The new biosecurity hub will be more than ten times the size of the current facility, and will house the latest technology in molecular diagnostics, a technique to diagnose and monitor disease and detect risk,” Minister Joyce. “This significant investment in biosecurity in the north, under the Agricultural Competitiveness White Paper, will support faster testing of potential biosecurity threats as they emerge. This includes quickly separating local, sometimes beneficial, insects from exotic fruit flies that could devastate our horticulture exports. “It also means a more effective early warning system for destructive threats, such as new banana diseases. And it means expert rapid diagnosis of exotic diseases that could cripple Australian agriculture.” Northern Territory Minister for Primary Industry and Resources, Ken Vowles, said the improvements made possible through this joint investment, …

Garbage in — garbage out

Colin Jackson Current News, Enviro-Safe

NEWS THAT New South Wales is exporting one million tonnes of garbage a year to Queensland (actually news that’s been around since 2012 government reports) should put government concerns about land clearing to rest. A tonne of garbage, depending on its make-up from the household or industrial waste bin, emits the same greenhouse, and often worse, chemical emissions as between one and ten thousand hectares of land clearing. A million tonnes of garbage, if it is as typically made-up of one-third plastics or oil-based fibres (as we are told is typical of the NSW exported waste), is more than all the agricultural chemicals of any type used in Queensland. A tonne of typical NSW waste dumped in Queensland emits more CO2 and nitrous and sulphuric emissions than 10 tonnes of low sulphur coal used in our power stations. The emissions from the million tonnes of waste exported from NSW and dumped in Queensland with the express permission of the Anna P government creates more emissions than the desperately-needed coal-fired power station in North Queensland that the same government has ruled out. Those are the facts. So why does the Queensland government allow NSW to dump a million tonnes of polluting …

Concerns expressed for unregistered veterinary chemical products

Colin Jackson Bush Chat, Enviro-Safe, Livestock

RETAILERS are advised to use caution when stocking veterinary chemical products for use in or on horses, following Australian Pesticides and Veterinary Medicines Authority (APVMA) concern that a number of natural horse products may not be registered. According to APVMA CEO, Dr Chris Parker, the regulator is seeing a number of veterinary chemical horse products claiming to be natural, organic or chemical-free on the market that are not APVMA-registered and are therefore illegal to import, possess, advertise and supply. “The definition of a veterinary product is broad and inclusive under Australian law. This means both natural and man-made substances are regulated by the APVMA if they claim to have a therapeutic effect on an animal. “The market for veterinary horse products has expanded in recent years and many new products marketed as natural, organic, or chemical-free may not have been assessed by the APVMA,” Dr Parker said. “It’s a concern because some of these products claim to have a therapeutic effect or enhance the physical qualities of horses, but have not been independently assessed to confirm they are actually safe or work as claimed. “Businesses have a duty of care to make sure the veterinary chemical products they promote and …

Helping Aussie farmers access safe and effective agvet chemicals

Colin Jackson Bush Chat, Enviro-Safe, Horticulture

GRANTS up to $1.78 million are now available to improve farmers’ access to safe and effective agvet chemicals, and are available to rural research and development corporations as part of the Coalition Government’s four-year $8 million investment. The Federal Government HAS announced a third round to improve access to safe and effective agricultural and veterinary (agvet) chemicals, part of a four-year $8 million investment. Deputy Prime Minister and Minister for Agriculture and Water Resources, Barnaby Joyce, said the grants programme, opening on August 1, 2017, to research and development corporations, will help Australian farmers access new products and expand uses for existing chemicals. Applicants may seek up to $100 000 per grant for projects aimed at including a new use on the label of a chemical product, and up to $50,000 per grant for projects aimed at broadening or gaining new access to a use through an Australian Pesticides and Veterinary Medicines Authority (APVMA) minor use permit. “Australia is a relatively small market, which can sometimes mean that the cost involved in registering an agvet chemical can sometimes make the venture uncommercial,” Barnaby Joyce said. “This grant funding will make Australian producers more competitive by improving their ability to access …


Banana industry rolls-on despite Panama being identified

Colin Jackson Bush Chat, Enviro-Safe, Horticulture

FOLLOW-UP sample tests have confirmed the presence of Panama TR4 on a commercial banana farm in the Tully Valley. Agriculture Minister Bill Byrne, who was in Melbourne for the Agriculture Minister’s Forum AGMIN, said he had been advised that a vegetative compatibility group test provided a final and conclusive result. “The Palaszczuk Government understands the impact this positive result for Panama disease tropical race four will have on the producer involved, the industry and more broadly the community whose lives are intrinsically connected to the industry.” he said. “Biosecurity Queensland will ensure that the affected business can continue to operate as seamlessly as possible while we minimise the risk to the rest of the industry.” The Minister said the property owners were co-operating fully with the department. “The owners had already established high standards of biosecurity on their farm, and have shown a professional and proactive approach to management of the disease. “The effectiveness of the biosecurity measures implemented to date is supported by the knowledge that the latest detection is in close proximity to the first infected property, and not in a new production area,” he said. “Thanks to the hard work of government and industry, we have had over …

What price food safety and reputation?

Colin Jackson Current News, Enviro-Safe

NEWS THAT 11.1 per cent of Brazil’s beef exports to the USA failed food safety inspection protocols highlights the issue of food and biosecurity quality. The US Department of Agriculture found one-ninth of beef imported from Brazil failed basic food hygiene qualities. Mostly, they found partly digested food, unacceptable cuts (largely from the stomach and anus), water and medicinals and chemicals mixed with prime beef. The USDA inspectors found poor sanitation in eight beef processing plants they inspected in Brazil, along with poor quality carcase inspection. They also said that Brazilian meat inspectors had ‘conflicts of interests’ in their jobs — diplomatic speak that they were susceptible to bribes to turn a blind eye. They also suggested these issues were also seen or suspected in a number of growing developing world suppliers. So, that suggests processing in countries such as India, China and Vietnam competing with Australian meat and fish, as well as vegetables, are likely to have high levels of non-compliance. The white spot disease in prawns appears most likely to have come from imported uncooked prawns, although there seems some pushback from the federal Agriculture department on this, as they appear (under pressure from major supermarkets) to accept …

Innovative tools to manage agricultural risks

Colin Jackson Bush Chat, Current News, Enviro-Safe

A SUITE of innovative software tools to support farmers undertake Agricultural Risk Management (ARM) activities and enable better planning and decision making in the industry went live today. Department of Agriculture and Fisheries Senior Agronomist, Howard Cox, said the new web-based interactive support tools would help farmers, farm advisors, policy makers and researchers in the agriculture industry. “Farmers endure widely varying rainfall conditions whilst needing to make critical management decisions prior to every cropping season,” Mr Cox said. “Crop producers and advisors will now be able to go online or use their phone or tablet devices and examine the full range of possible outcomes given that a hundred years of rainfall data drives these programs. “This new website uses advanced climate and crop models to allow users to produce hypothetical scenarios regarding the financial effect of different levels of inputs, such as fertiliser, or resources such as water and nitrogen in the soil.” Mr Cox said the website would be known as The site hosts five tools known as CropARM, FallowARM, NitrogenARM, ClimateARM and the Deep P Calculator. ARM had previously been developed by the Department of Agriculture and Fisheries with investment from the Grains Research and Development Corporation. The …

Budget provides for big stick to enforce environmental laws

Colin Jackson Current News, Enviro-Safe

YESTERDAY’S Queensland Budget ensures agriculture will be mercilessly flogged in the name of environmental protection with the provision of 28 new inspectors between Sarina and Mossman in the far north. That equates to one new environmental inspector for every 30km of coastline — so farmers can expect special attention as the incumbents make their presence felt. According to Environment Minister Steven Miles, the Budget commits close to $275 million over five years. “To ensure strong environmental standards in Queensland, the Budget has delivered increased funding for enforcement activities — $23.3 million over four years and $5 million ongoing. “Priorities for the record funding for the environment include climate change, protecting the Great Barrier Reef, and enforcing stronger environmental standards,” he said. “This funding will enhance the delivery of environmental regulatory services to protect our environment,” Mr Miles said. “The environmental regulator will target areas of environmental risk and improve engagement with industry and the community. “To protect the Great Barrier Reef and improve water quality, the Queensland Government has committed $175 million ($35 million per year) over five years from 2017-18. “This is in addition to the $100 million provided over five years from 2015-16 to address the recommendations arising …

Bitumen and cement
Research shows the biggest warming is from increased urbanisation.

Warming cities the real climate change

Colin Jackson Bush Chat, Current News, Enviro-Safe

WHILE THE green movement — largely inner city based — continues to blame farmers for global climate change, research shows the biggest warming is from increased urbanisation. With the Queensland government trying to win the Green vote with heavier regulation on farmers — from land clearing to reef rescue — new research shows the really big increases in global warming come from increased urbanisation. Universities in the United Kingdom, The Netherlands and Mexico collaborated in the research. It backs research done by the Queensland University of Technology (QUT) on the inner and middle suburbs of Brisbane, where increasing density with high rise buildings has increased the amount of concrete and bitumen and reduced green space leading to higher ambient temperatures. So the suburbs with the highest green votes in Queensland (such as the electorates of South Brisbane and Brisbane — Jackie Trad and Grace Grace respectively) have the fastest rising ambient temperatures and greenhouse emissions. And it is these voters being pandered to as the Labor left faction tries to stem the green vote by bashing farmers. CLICK HERE: Urban ‘heat island’ effect could intensify climate change, making cities up to 7C warmer ‘Any hard-won victories over climate change on …

Xylella fastidiosa INRA

Brisbane to host global experts discussing Australia’s #1 priority plant pest

Colin Jackson Bush Chat, Current News, Enviro-Safe, Horticulture

EXPERTS FROM across the globe will come together from May 17 to 19 to share knowledge and strengthen Australia’s defences against one of the world’s most devastating plant pests, Xylella fastidiosa. Australian Chief Plant Protection Officer, Dr Kim Ritman, said diagnostics, management, control, research and collaboration would be on the agenda at the 2017 International Symposium on Xylella fastidiosa being hosted by the Department of Agriculture and Water Resources in Brisbane, followed by a Surveillance and Diagnostics Workshop. “Originating in the Americas, and now present in Europe, China and Iran, Xylella fastidiosa is a deadly and highly invasive plant pest that has wreaked havoc for Californian grape growers and wiped out more than a million ancient olive trees in southern Italy,” Dr Ritman said. “While the quickly spreading bacterium is not yet present in Australia, last year Xylella came in at number one in Australia’s Top 40 National Priority Plant Pests. “The department is hosting the first ever Australian conference on the pest to ensure we are on the front foot in managing the high risk Xylella poses to Australian industries. “The exotic Xylella bacterium has the potential to severely hurt our citrus, grape, olive, peach, plum and forestry industries. “The 2017 International Symposium on Xylella fastidiosa is a critical forum for addressing our ability …

Tracey Beikoff
Tracey Beikoff, creator of Rescue Swag: “I vowed that I would never allow myself to be in that situation again.”

Mother of invention arrived by accident

Colin Jackson Bush Chat, Current News, Enviro-Safe

THERE’S AN advertisement presently appearing on television showing an inquisitive ostrich that inadvertently attaches itself to a virtual reality viewer; the over-arching message is that although a flightless bird, anyone can ‘fly’ if they have the right attitude, motivation to achieve and strength to last the distance. A similar message has come out of the Queensland finals of the Rural Industries Research and Development Corporation (RIRDC) Rural Women’s Award — that although there were three finalists, and there can only be one winner — all three women can be considered winners for what they have achieved. And for one of the finalists, virtual reality is involved. The Rural Industries Research and Development Corporation’s Rural Women’s Award is Australia’s pre-eminent award for rural women, identifying and supporting emerging women leaders who have the desire, commitment and leadership potential to make a greater contribution to primary industries and rural communities. The Award acknowledges women’s leadership capacity in effecting change and influence through connecting and collaborating, and creates opportunities for women to drive innovation and build resilience. The award also encourages primary industries and their communities to embrace diversity in leadership to successfully navigate future challenges. The winner of the Queensland Rural Women’s Award for …

Rebate encourages substitution of unsafe vehicles in NSW

Colin Jackson Enviro-Safe, Farm-Safe

THE NSW Government has launched a $2 million rebate package to encourage farmers to either replace quad bikes with safer vehicles like side-by-side vehicles, or fit them with operator protective devices. Farmers could also use their rebates of up to $500 each to buy compliant helmets or undertake training courses. Dr Tony Lower, director of the Australian Centre for Agricultural Health and Safety, applauded the move, saying it would “fast-track action” to reduce the high number of “needless injuries and deaths” from quad bike incidents. “Quads have been the leading cause of on-farm fatalities across Australia for the past five years,” Lower said. “In years gone by, the NSW tractor rebate program that supported the fitting of roll-over protection structures was amazingly successful in reducing deaths, and has also been replicated in other countries. We see no reason why this rebate as part of the larger quad safety initiative, cannot have a similarly positive impact in NSW.” NSW Minister for Innovation and Better Regulation, Victor Dominello, said the development of the program was influenced by recent New South Wales and Queensland coronial inquiries into multiple quad bike fatalities, and a SafeWork NSW-commissioned study into quad bike stability, which found the …

Grant monies available for community defence fire brigades

Colin Jackson Bush Chat, Current News, Enviro-Safe

FIRE BRIGADES without fire trucks — arguably the most needy of all community defenders — are being advised that they only have a few weeks left to apply for $50,000 in 50 individual lots. The 50 individual grants of $1,000 are being made available by the Rural Fire Brigades Association Queensland (RFBAQ), Rural Fire Service Queensland (RFSQ) and Queensland Fire and Emergency Services (QFES) — and by responding via a simple application process, the money could pay for a range of much-needed items. The PPB Community Defence Grant Program — for brigades without a fire trucks — closes in just over a month, and the RFBAQ needs more brigades to apply for funding before the closing date of Monday, March 20. And the brigade is taking a simplistic approach in a red-tape-filled world if they get too many applications: “If we get more grant applications that we have budget for, both the RFBAQ and QFES will have a dig behind the couch to find some more money for the brigades.” Apparently portable UHF radios are among the most commonly requested equipment from those brigades that have already applied for this grant. The radios improve members’ safety, they can be bought …

Without water, serious doubt remains over production nurseries’ viability

Colin Jackson Bush Chat, Current News, Enviro-Safe, Horticulture

QUEENSLAND’S production nurseries are experiencing first-hand the consequences of State Government not listening to industry’s water use needs. Nursery and Garden Industry Queensland (NGIQ) Executive Officer, Kerry Battersby, said the viability of the industry was dependent on access to reliable and affordable water for irrigation. “Working with government is vital to ensuring the future of the industry. During the consultation process for the Wet Tropics Water Resource Operating Plan 2013, there was insufficient consideration given to the production nursery industry’s water requirements,” said Ms Battersby. “Despite consultation and members of the Nursery and Garden Industry Queensland attending community consultation meetings, the water use guidelines ignored the specific needs of the industry.” Nursery production is a unique cropping system within horticulture due to the crop being produced in artificial growing media in a defined container with limited capacity to store irrigation water. Unlike soil based crops, that have an entire soil profile from which to store and draw water, nursery production must irrigate crops daily to maintain available water within the container from which the plant survives. An average production nursery requiring 22.5ML/ha to grow a crop. The Wet Tropics Water Plan has converted existing area based licenses in areas such …

Quad Bike Safety
New laws in Queensland mean that children under eight must “turn their backs” on quad bikes, even as passengers. 

Positive steps to save youngsters from utility vehicle trauma

Colin Jackson Current News, Enviro-Safe, Farm-Safe

NEW QUAD BIKE LAWS in Queensland making it illegal for children under eight to be carried as passengers have been heralded as a positive step towards enhanced on-farm safety by the Primary Industries Health and Safety Partnership (PIHSP). The laws came in to effect this week (February 1, 2017) and also prohibit children under eight travelling as passengers in utility off-road vehicles that are used on any road. Additionally, the legislation requires all Queensland quad bike and utility off-road operators and passengers wear a motorbike helmet. Failing to comply could mean the loss of licence points or a fine of $365. PIHSP Advisory Chair Patrick Murphy said the move is a welcome one. “The incidence of loss of life and minor to serious injury as a result of quad bike use on farms is all too common,” Mr Murphy said. “Any steps to ensure the safety of the people who work or are involved in the agricultural sector and rely on the use of quad bikes are positive, especially when it comes to the younger generation. “Safe Work Australia statistics show that from 2011 to 2015, there were 97 quad bike fatalities in Australia and eight of those were children …

Foot-and-mouth disease — what are the chances?

Colin Jackson Bush Chat, Current News, Enviro-Safe, Livestock

By Dr Pat Kluver, Livestock Biosecurity Network Manager Biosecurity & Extension HOPEFULLY, we will never see an outbreak of foot and mouth disease (FMD) in Australia in our lifetime. That is, after all, the aim of our quarantine and on-farm biosecurity protocols. We have had a number of emergency animal diseases (EAD) in this country over the past 40 years, including equine influenza in 2007, and some serious disease outbreaks in poultry like Newcastle disease and avian influenza. To date they haven’t involved the grazing industries. The Australian Bureau of Agricultural and Resource Economics and Sciences (ABARES) estimates that a small FMD outbreak, controlled in three months, could cost around $A6 billion, while a large outbreak would cost $A52 billion in lost revenue over 10 years. We haven’t had an outbreak of FMD in Australia for over 100 years, with the last suspected case from an imported bull in Victoria in 1872. But the lack of an outbreak does not mean we should become complacent. As an industry we need to be vigilant about biosecurity and ready to respond. The most significant risk of entry of FMD into Australia is through the illegal entry of meat and dairy products. It …

New WSSA factsheet explores weed seeds and their longevity

Colin Jackson Current News, Enviro-Safe

LAWRENCE, Kansas — December 6, 2016: DID YOU KNOW some weed seeds can lie dormant in the soil for more than a century and then sprout when conditions are right? A new factsheet available for free download from the Weed Science Society of America (WSSA) dives into the topic of weed seed longevity, as well as how weed seeds travel, when and why they germinate, and ways they can be eliminated. “Understanding weed seeds and their lifespan is critical for both farmers and backyard gardeners alike,” says WSSA member Greta Gramig, Ph.D., associate professor of weed science at North Dakota State University. “Seeds can remain viable in the soil for extended periods of time. That means if even a single weed is allowed to go to seed, you may be battling the aftermath for years to come.” Here are just a few of the many facts about weed seeds that are covered in the new WSSA fact sheet: Moth mullein seeds buried by a researcher in 1879 were still able to germinate more than 130 years later; Weed seeds can easily be spread and transported far from their original location; some have found their way into the earth’s planetary boundary; Earthworms are …

Boon for Australia and India following Adani mine go-ahead

Colin Jackson Bush Chat, Current News, Enviro-Safe

IN A MAJOR step forward for infrastructure development in Queensland and also Australia — with major prospects for India’s advancement from being a Third World country — the final major government approval for the massive $22bn Carmichael coal project in Queensland’s Galilee Basin has been announced. Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull met with Adani group chairman, Gautam Adani, in Melbourne this morning, and tomorrow will meet with Queensland Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk in Townsville. The Indian corporate giant is widely expected to announce that Townsville will be home to its project headquarters. This morning, Queensland state development minister, Anthony Lynham, confirmed the Coordinator-General, Barry Broe, had approved an application for the project’s 31.5km permanent rail line into Abbot Point port. Mr Broe has also approved a temporary construction workers’ camp, with 300 beds. Dr Lynham said this is another key milestone for the project, which Adani has confirmed it will start construction on next year. Yet, in The Age (Melbourne’s version of Pravda) today, the Australian Conservation Council has taken-out a full page advertisement — advertising costs suggest well in advance of $20,000 — to condemn Mr Adani, PM Turnbull and Queensland Premier Palaszczuk for wanting to “dig one of the world’s …


Infrastructure upgrade a boost for fish and farmers

Colin Jackson Bush Chat, Current News, Enviro-Safe

A MUCH-NEEDED culvert upgrade is underway at Lilliesmere Lagoon, which could increase fish stocks by supporting them to breed, and also help deliver irrigation water to farmers more efficiently. NQ Dry Tropics is working with Lower Burdekin Water to install fishways and automated flow control gates at the lagoon, as part of a project funded under the Australian Government’s Reef Programme. Lower Burdekin Water has also committed funding to the upgrade. NQ Dry Tropics Project Officer, Scott Fry, said that many species of fish, including Barramundi need, to migrate between salt and freshwater to complete their life cycles. “Freshwater lagoons are nurseries for fish to grow during their juvenile stages before returning to the sea to breed. Most Australian fish migrate from the sea into the freshwater creeks when they are juveniles. They aren’t strong swimmers at this stage, and fast-flowing water prevents them migrating upstream,” he said. “Man-made structures such as culverts, weirs and dams create additional barriers because the fish can’t swim through them. “We are installing fishways that replicate the natural path that fish would take as they move between a series of pools, allowing them to rest as they go. They will provide fish with better connectivity, …


Duncan Fysh fights on against feral cats, native fauna’s number one enemy

Colin Jackson Bush Chat, Current News, Enviro-Safe

IN SEPTEMBER 2012 I visited Duncan and Judy Fysh’s property “Proa,” east of Julia Creek — named after the Malaysian seagoing canoes that littered the coastline when Matthew Flinders circumnavigated the coastline hundreds of years ago. Proa was a 17,000 acre sheep and cattle property which reeked of history — Duncan (pictured above) is the nephew of Sir Hudson Fysh, the founder of Qantas. Aquaculture was also being introduced to the property, with huge ponds filled with North Queensland crayfish, a native of the Gulf of Carpentaria. His wife, Judy (pictured right), was heavily involved with the QCWA in the area. Duncan had invited me to the property to discuss an environmental catastrophe in the making: “The government admits to 18 million feral cats, and they eat between four and six native animals/birds each night. “That can be up to 100,000 million per night,” he expounded emphatically. “The environment can’t handle it. “These cats can live in the desert without water because they get enough moisture out of what they eat on a daily basis.” Duncan told at the time that he captured 460 cats in one bore drain over a particular two days. Now retired from the land, and …

Duo chemical re-approved

Colin Jackson Current News, Enviro-Safe

DUO, a weed chemical combining glyphosate and 2-4D, has been re-approved by the US Drug Authority. In 2014, groups opposing the use of farm chemicals forced a re-appraisal of the chemical made by Dow. It has still been available in the USA and Australia, but with extra handling warnings. But, after further independent tests, USDA has approved it for use on farms and public spaces (eg, road verges). The chemical mix is popular because it is effective on grasses and woody or deep-rooted weeds.  

Inspecting successful control of the noxious weed Prickly Acacia near Aramac in western Queensland: Lachlan Millar, Member for Gregory, Leanne Kohler, CEO of Desert Channels Qld, and Dr Christian Rowan, Queensland shadow minister for Environment and Heritage Protection.

Uninterrupted support necessary in Prickly Acacia battle

Colin Jackson Current News, Enviro-Safe

QUEENSLAND’S shadow environment minister, Dr Christian Rowan, has called on the Palaszczuk Government to provide funding certainty for local landholders to continue their successful battle against Prickly Acacia at a crucial time. Member for Gregory, Lachlan Millar, hosted Dr Rowan on a guided inspection with Desert Channels Queensland staff visiting Auteil and Leichhardt Farms in the Aramac District on October 27. “Western Queensland’s Mitchell grass plains are one of Australia’s most iconic landscapes, and since 1957 this declared noxious weed has been spreading uncontrollably across it,” said Mr Millar. “It is hard to envisage damage on a 23 million hectare scale, so it was great to have the Shadow Minister come and see for himself. I think a good analogy is the Crown of Thorns starfish on the Great Barrier Reef. Prickly Acacia has the same effect on this natural grass ecosystem and, in the bad infestations, we have lost 100 per cent of the grass,” he said. Dr Rowan said it was devastating to learn that only three or four years ago, the weed tree had gained such momentum that it covered 23 million hectares and looked like capturing the entire Lake Eyre catchment. “You couldn’t design a better noxious …

New workshops to help landholders tackle feral pests

Colin Jackson Current News, Enviro-Safe, Livestock

QUEENSLAND agricultural producers will be better equipped to deal with feral pests on their land with the roll-out of new pest animal management and chemical training workshops across the state. AgForce General President, Grant Maudsley, said AgForce was partnering with the Queensland Farmers Federation, the Australian Government and the Queensland Government to provide the new service to landholders. “Feral animals cost the Queensland agriculture industry hundreds of millions of dollars each and every year, so producers need to know how they can efficiently and successfully control these risks,” he said. “From banana growers in the north to sheep producers in the far west, Queensland primary producers are all battling various pest animals which threaten the viability of their operations if not controlled. “This new service will help landholders get ahead of the game and access the most up-to-date tools to manage pest animals.” AgForce Projects Vertebrate Pest Officer, Damien Ferguson, said eligible producers would qualify for a chemical accreditation card for nationally recognised units of training as well as a certificate of participation for the pest animal management training. “Over the next 12 months, we will be rolling out 50 one-day, no-cost workshops to train landholders in chemical handling safety …

Glyphosate does NOT cause cancer — USEPA

Colin Jackson Current News, Enviro-Safe

THE SCIENTIFIC debate on whether weed killer glyphosate causes cancer is coming to a head as the US Environmental Protection Agency issues 80 scientific papers on the chemical. The debate started in Europe, where the European Union has threatened to ban the most widely used weed killer — not just on farms, but also in households. Typically, the EU in conjunction with Greens started the banning bureaucracy rolling before all the scientific evidence was collated. Monsanto, which was the originator of the product through its RoundUp brand, was the subject of public protests in Europe with ‘F#%$ Monsanto’ t-shirts being big sellers and money-raisers for farm protest groups. The USEPA, which regulates chemical and food chains in North America, asked scientists around the world to submit all their scientific papers for a rigorous assessment. That assessment is complete, the papers have been issued and a final EPA conclusion will be made tomorrow. However, it is evident that the EPA has found glyphosate is safe to handle according the recommended guidelines — which will be a great relief to farmers, councils and households killing weeds. But the EPA may comment on some ersatz (copy or fake) glyphosates, especially made in third world …

Report reveals economic importance of Great Artesian Basin

Colin Jackson Enviro-Safe

The Australian Government has today released a report examining the significant economic value generated by Great Artesian Basin (GAB) water resources. The report, commissioned by the Australian Government and GAB jurisdictions based on advice from the Great Artesian Basin Coordinating Committee, was prepared by Frontier Economics and looked at the economic activity of industries reliant on Great Artesian Basin water resources. The report estimated that water from the Basin underpins at least $12.8 billion in economic activity annually. This includes $4.7 billion in value generated from livestock production, with over 14 million beef cattle for meat production and over 11 million sheep and lambs in GAB regions. In addition, the value of irrigated agriculture that uses GAB water is estimated to be greater than $60 million. Looking forward, the report identifies new or increased water demand from new or expanding industries as a key challenge in effective long-term management of the GAB water resources. The report will be used to inform the development of a new Great Artesian Basin Strategic Management Plan to help guide the future management of this vital resource. The report will also be a useful information resource to support the development of policies and programmes, and infrastructure investment, to …