Thursday, December 7, 2023

Business & Farming


Thumbs up from visitors after Babinda Quarters gets a glow-up

After years of neglect, the glory days of Babinda’s historic nursing quarters have been returned with a new lease of life, transforming the Art Deco beauty into a popular guesthouse in the heart of nature’s playground ... In carrying on her mother’s tradition of bringing old buildings back to life, Maggie Perpetua Nelson’s daughter, Kim Marsden, undertook the considered renovation of Babinda Quarters, reimagining it into a fresh iteration oozing creativity, character, and a good dose of quirk.


Wallaroo sites welcome first lentil deliveries

Michelle Daw. Both bulk grain handling companies operating at Wallaroo have accepted lentils into their local storage facilities for the first time this season. T-Ports loaded export lentils from the port for the first time yesterday ... Viterra will load lentils — including from YP and Mid North growers — onto a vessel at Inner Harbour ...

Flood recovery

Demolition of flooded supermarket, new design plans with ‘submarine room’ almost finished

Woodburn IGA is being knocked down. Tanya and Neale Hundy have gone away during the demolition because it’s “emotional” to watch ... The IGA supermarket was renovated and modernised a year before it was flooded to the ceiling in the 2022 floods.


Aussie farmers are more prepared for adverse weather conditions now, than in the past five years: Kellanova ANZ

This World Soil Day, Kellanova ANZ, parent company of Kellogg’s, is shining a light on how farmers are preparing for the upcoming El Niño summer season, with soil health at the very heart ... New research reveals that 9 in 10 Aussie farmers already have a plan in place to deal with drier weather; Almost a third are confident the practices they use will help them prepare for potential drought.


Kaniva A & P Society – Wheat Crop Competition 2023

Judging of the district wheat crops entered into the Kaniva A & P Society competition was conducted on Monday November 20th by Hamish Mines – Agronomy Teacher Longerenong College/ Agronomist Driscoll Ag. Twenty crops were entered in the competition for 2023 made up of 5 Durum and 15 bread type wheats, 7 on heavy ground, 7 on mixed ground and 1 on light ground. An even spread of crops were inspected from Lawloit to South Lillimur, Serviceton and north to Dinyarrak.

Work safety

Feedlot fined $140,000 after telehandler operator electrocuted

A Wimmera feedlot operator has been convicted and fined $140,000 following the electrocution of a worker while operating a telehandler in 2020 ... The court heard the 29-year-old worker was using a telehandler to stack hay bales at the Gerang Gerung property in November 2020 when the raised boom and bale lifting attachment made contact with overhead power lines.

Ag machinery

Header demonstration

Last week Nhill and District Sporting Club hosted CLAAS Harvest Centre Swayn & McCabe for their CLAAS LEXION Auspro Header Demonstration in the community paddock on Park Street ... It was great to see the machine in action...

Ice cream

Norco’s ice cream factory’s sweet comeback

After being wiped out in Lismore’s biggest flood in living memory, the Norco Ice Cream factory reopened last Friday following a $100 million dollar rebuild. Challenges faced during the rebuild included securing electrical equipment due to global supply chain shortages...

Event management

Running an event – pros and cons

Unpredictable weather, compliance issues, increasing costs, the ever-present prospect of a COVID wave - these problems and more are faced by event organisers. As these problems become more difficult to negotiate, is there a possibility that the region might lose some of its events? ... To examine the logistics of holding a public event, the Times spoke to Mark Blythe ...


Beauties and the beasts

They would come from Queensland to Tasmania and all parts in between. Some would come ‘just over the hill there’ from a place called Perth. And as anticipated, in they came for the 35th Truck Show held last weekend at the Campbells Creek Sports Ground.


Director spreads the word from the hill tops

Hilltop provides motel style accommodation, at a heavily subsidised cost, to regional cancer patients undergoing treatment at the adjacent Cancer Centre and also their carers if required .. The Cancer Centre was expected to be treating 250 patients a week but this figure has already risen to 350 people.


Tourism silver and gold for Love Lord Howe!

NSW Tourism Awards were held at the White Bay Cruise Terminal in Rozelle ... Love Lord Howe was nominated in two categories; Tourism Restaurants and Catering Services as well as Excellence in Food Tourism.


Female tradies get head start

Eight young women have been given the head start they need in seeking a potential career in the trades sector. The Girls Can Too! program is designed to teach and empower the next generation of female tradies.


Notaras brothers honoured with Saraton Theatre ‘Blue Plaque’

The Notaras name now ranks in Australian history amongst legendary cultural figures including Sir William Dobell, Caroline Chisholm, and Dorothea McKellar, after Ioannis (Jack) and his brother Antonios (Tony) were awarded a Blue Plaque by the NSW Government for their contribution to the state’s history through their construction of the iconic Saraton Theatre.

EVs - Vic

EV chargers for regional Victoria

As a part of the ongoing “Charging the Regions” project, Donald has seen the completion of its very own electric car charging station, located at 68A Woods Street.


Research begins to reduce shed of microplastics during laundering: Deakin University

A new collaboration between Deakin University researchers and Australia’s largest commercial linen supplier Simba Global is tackling a critical global issue, the spread of harmful microplastics through our laundry.


Barkly vets head bush for vital pet services

Kate Foran. A dedicated crew from Barkly Veterinary Practice spent three weeks in some communities of the Barkly region recently, providing a remote service to pet owners who don’t often get to town. They visited Elliott, Marlinja, Ampilatwatja, Ali Curung, Murray Downs and Wutunugurra.


Club gets back on track

After being closed for the past seven years, a new committee hopes to restore the Khancoban Country Club to its glory days. The committee is intent on "nursing the club back to health." ... Named ‘The Weston’ the bistro is being run by Benjamin Weston, a young local who moved to Khancoban just over one year ago.


Safari Lodge in spotlight at Brolga Awards

The Safari Lodge Motel was represented at the annual Brolga NT Tourism Awards in Darwin after the business was nominated in the 3 - 3.5 Star Accommodation category ... The Safari Lodge has been owned by the Manungurra Aboriginal Corporation since 2018...

Best in dough – Mount Alexander Business Awards 2023

A balmy Wednesday evening last week at Theatre Royal in Castlemaine was the setting for the 2023 Mount Alexander Business Awards ... Rebecca Barnett’s Maldon Bakery just edged out Franco’s Restaurant and Splash Literacy as best new business of 2023.

Chemical use

Spray drift: not on our watch

Michelle Daw. Prompted by its investigation into 26 reports of off-target impacts of the herbicide Overwatch on Yorke Peninsula, Primary Industries and Regions South Australia says it will crackdown on non-compliant use of agricultural chemicals ... PIRSA has referred the reports to the Australian Pesticides and Veterinary Medicines Authority but has not yet received feedback. Manufactured by FMC Australia, Overwatch is a pre-emergent herbicide which is applied during seeding time in April/May to control annual ryegrass and some broadleaf weeds in broadacre crops.

Gardener says he’s counting the cost

Alford gardener John Peters says Overwatch drift has affected about 100 plants in his garden, including roses, fruit trees, and ornamental and aquatic plants. “I noticed the damage at seeding time and I’m noticing it now, when they are supposed to be putting out leaves and flowers,” he said.


John grows a gourd champ for giant pumpkin festival

John Leadbeatter has been growing giant pumpkins for so long he can’t remember when he started. He has several pumpkin patches in his garden in Rukenvale … to increase the chances of growing the heaviest pumpkin to enter at the Summerland Giant Pumpkin and Watermelon Festival...


Guiding pomegranate production for a fruitful and flavourful tomorrow: AgriFutures

A $10.4 million industry with 275,000 mature trees the potential of pomegranates is largely untapped. AgriFutures Australia has funded the latest literature review and industry consultation into the sector, captured in the newly released Australian Pomegranate Management Guide.


Australian beef production lifts against a backdrop of global declines: Rabobank

Southern hemisphere beef-producing nations – including Australia – are continuing to increase production volumes, despite a global trend of production decline, Rabobank says in its recently-released Q4 Global Beef Quarterly report ... "we forecast that 2024 will play out in a similar fashion": Rabobank.


October records mixed results for rural commodity prices: NAB

Australian chickpea, dairy and lamb prices recorded notable increases in October, partially offsetting the downward pressure on the NAB Rural Commodities Index* from declining cattle prices ... NAB’s November Rural Commodities Wrap reports the Index fell 1.8 per cent in October...


Ensuring best practice in the buffalo supply chain: AgriFutures

A new research project by AgriFutures Australia and the Cooperative Research Centre for Developing Northern Australia (CRCNA) is set to examine the wild-harvest buffalo supply chain in the Northern Territory (NT). The first-of-its-kind project … aims to identify the barriers and potential opportunities to ensure the industry’s sustainable growth.


The digital age: Are we ready to go cashless?

As the fallout from the Optus outage … continues to be felt across the country, the push to transition Australia into a cashless society has come under scrutiny … several local businesses have reported an increase in cash payments, with hundreds of customers opting to hand over notes and coins in lieu of tapping their cards.


New telehealth trolleys bring great benefits to WWHS’ aged care residents

New telehealth trolleys, offering greater access to health professionals without the need for travel, have been rolled out across all West Wimmera Health Service’s ten residential aged care facilities ... these trolleys are now being wheeled around our aged care facilities...


IGA returns to town with a bang

Patrick Goldsmith. Edithburgh has an operational supermarket for the first time in 14 years, with the new IGA officially opened ... Large crowds greeted the staff, including owner-operators Ron and Peta Turnbull, for their first day, as Yorke Peninsula Council mayor Darren Braund cut a ribbon to commemorate the occasion.


Muzza’s has the lolly business licked

The story about the renowned Muzza’s Milk Bar begins with Murray Powell, aka Muzza ... And it is where Petria and her daughter Caroline Powell remember Muzza in every ice cream and milkshake they make.


Work to commence at Warwick saleyards

Southern Downs Regional Council has awarded the construction tender to redevelop the Warwick Saleyards with the primary objective of addressing animal welfare and workplace health and safety concerns ... Southern Downs Mayor Vic Pennisi said works are expected to commence shortly and the necessary upgrades will secure a sustainable future for the saleyards and support the region’s biggest industry.


Optus outage outs Clarence Valley businesses and customers

Emma Pritchard & Rodney Stevens. Across the country, more than 10 million Optus customers were left red-faced on November 8 when one of Australia’s leading telecommunications networks experienced a nationwide outage, leaving many without phone and internet access for more than 12 hours ... Following the Optus outage, Australia’s transition to a cashless society has continued to fall under scrutiny.


Agri commodity markets research 2024 outlook: Rabobank

Global food commodity prices are set for respite in 2024 after three years of record highs caused by war, adverse weather and rising energy and input costs, according to Rabobank’s annual Agri Commodity Markets Outlook report. The specialist food and agribusiness bank predicts that global prices of key food staples sugar, coffee, corn and soybeans will fall...


Latest ABS data shows increasing livestock slaughter and decreased saleyard values: MLA

The latest livestock products data from the Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS) shows that Australia has entered a destocking phase for cattle and sheep, according to MLA ... Mr Bignell said the latest ABS statistics for the September quarter showed a 5.7 percent increase in red meat production, with cattle slaughter increased by 10.5 per cent to 1.9 million head…


Buloke Times Editorial: Genetic activity and grains

Of the grain crops, barley is the second largest in Australia. Australia produces just over 9 million tonnes of barley each year, and most of it is exported to Asia.  Overall in this country, it is one of the most widely planted crops, and covers about 4 million hectares of land, from southern Queensland through eastern states to Western Australia.


Coast’s screen industry shines bright and takes centre stage

Plans to propel the region as a centre of artistic excellence and complement the thriving Queensland screen industry have been unveiled in a landmark report at the recent Sunshine Coast Screen Summit. The highly anticipated Screen Production on the Sunshine Coast Report has been a year in the making, and outlines the strategic direction required for the region to foster growth in the screen industry.

Regional air

Golden day for domestic tourism as Bonza launches its newest base in time for Christmas

The Gold Coast just got closer to more of Australia with Bonza launching operations there ... Australia’s newest low-cost carrier will progressively introduce 14 routes over November and December to have wheels up on its newest base before the peak summer travel season.


New awards seek out Australia’s best pool

Online pool marketplace Poolz is searching for Australia’s best pool as part of the first national Poolz Awards. Around 140 pools have been nominated across 23 categories for a total of almost 1000 entries including Most ‘Insta’ Worthy Pool, Best Hamptons-Style Pool, Best Pool on a Steep Slope, Best Pool and Slide, and Most Expensive Pool (pool builds over $300,000).


Rex cabin crew best in South Pacific

Rex Airlines has been recognised as having the South Pacific’s Best Cabin Service in the 2024 Airline Passenger Experience Association (APEX) Awards. The award was presented in Singapore last night where Rex’s Executive Chairman, Lim Kim Hai, accepted it on behalf of the airline.


Webinar: Biochar as a livestock feed supplement – implications for carbon, profit and sustainability, 21 November 2023

Brief webinar to showcase research conducted on a commercial farm in Tasmania, where steers were allowed ad libitum (free) access to feed-grade biochar. The webinar will discuss results measured for liveweight gains, pasture composition and growth, manure and soil organic carbon, enteric methane emissions and cost-benefit modelling


Achieving sustainable food production and reducing greenhouse gas emissions

Scott Duxbury from YF.TV discusses the challenges and opportunities in achieving sustainable food production and reducing greenhouse gas emissions with Matthew Harrison, lead author of the research report 'Clarifying confusions over carbon conclusions' from the University of Tasmania. The discussion explores strategies such as soil carbon sequestration, regenerative agriculture, and reducing food waste that can help us move towards a more sustainable and equitable food system.

Tourism - Yamba

Join the Yamba 2023 Hot Rod Trail

In an innovative initiative to boost business, created by the Yamba Chamber of Commerce in partnership with Clarence Valley Council, both Hot Rodders and the public are invited to participate in the inaugural Hot Rod Trail this weekend with more than $2000 in prizes to be won.

Tourism - Wimmera

A new Golden Era for Nhill and the Wimmera?

Last week members of the community attended an information evening convened by John Deckert at the Nhill Noske Silo ... The following is a short summary of Chan Uoy’s presentation on the night – "Nhill Silo Heritage Centre’s mission is to become an Australian cultural icon and community asset by creating a world-standard facility.


Hay season’s early start

An earlier hay season has Victorian farmers and CFA talking about the dangers of high moisture content in hay as they begin cutting, baling and storing it in warmer conditions. Just this week we saw the repercussions of hot northerly winds, when seven hay sheds, each with 800 bales of hay, caught on fire in Kerang following a damaging ember attack.


Birchip Probus visits our wonderful Sharp’s bakery

From Maureen Donnellon, Birchip Probus Member. Friday, October 13, was a day 22 Birchip Probus members will remember forever as one of the best outings they have ever had, when they visited our own Sharp’s Bakery for a crash course in what a day in the life of the bakers could involve and to learn about some of the methods and machines involved and the sheer huge scale of the local business.


Biologist claims western openings hampering inlet oyster growth

A trial oyster hatchery in Wilson Inlet will need steady marine exchange to maintain salinity for the spats to continue their promising growth ... Marine biologist Zak Launay, who previously harvested mussels commercially in the inlet, said the oysters could grow to commercial size in about half the time of the standard growth cycle.

Banking - Vic

Bank – Increased profits

‘Tis the season of the Annual General Meeting, and an attentive audience gathered at the Maldon Community Centre last Wednesday evening for the Community Bank Maldon & District’s AGM ... Bank Chair Ross Egleton thanked the Board’s directors and welcomed new Board members Michael Annear and Jessica Clarke-Hong.

Banking - NSW

Bendigo Bank continues commitment of providing local banking services

The 2023 financial year was another significant one in the Bendigo Bank Narrandera branch (Narrandera District Investments) history of the company, both operationally and financially. Chairman Jack Langley said the year ended 2023 saw a substantial rise in margins due to increased rates.


Tasmanian premium food and beverage on show in China: Rockliff

This week, 14 premium Tasmanian food and beverage producers will be showcased at the annual China International Import Expo in Shanghai. China is the largest import market in the world and remains Tasmania’s top export destination, valued at $1.35 billion per year.

Queensland beef sizzles in Shanghai: Palaszczuk

The best of Queensland beef has been showcased in Shanghai at the China International Import Expo (CIIE), the world’s largest import trade fair. Choice cuts were prepared for canapes, sirloin beef rolls and mini wagyu burgers by world class chefs for close to 80 guests...


Australia, US scientists team up on African swine fever vaccine: CSIRO

Scientists from Australia and the United States are teaming up to tackle one of animal science’s biggest challenges: a safe and effective vaccine against African swine fever, a viral pandemic devastating the world’s pig industries. CSIRO, Australia’s national science agency, is working with US biotech firm MBF Therapeutics to evaluate their novel DNA vaccine candidate for African swine fever.


Reduce harvest losses to minimise mouse risk: GRDC

Despite low mouse activity reported around Australia, grain growers are being asked to remain vigilant and harvest cleanly to enhance future baiting effectiveness and increase on-farm profitability. Leading mouse experts recently spoke at the National Mouse Group Meeting supported by Grains Research and Development Corporation (GRDC) investment, where the link between harvest losses and baiting effectiveness was discussed.


Sleeves up as science tackles citrus virus: Hort Innovation

Scientists are developing a vaccine-like solution to arm Aussie citrus growers with an effective way to combat citrus tristeza virus (CTV), a significant challenge for the Australian citrus industry ... The impact of CTV on citrus crops can vary from no effect to 100 per cent tree death, depending on the variant.


El Niño, insect populations and AI: a pest behavioural expert tells what to expect

"Our connected solution, PestConnect, collates and analyses emerging trends through millions of data points crunched by machine learning algorithms, identifying patterns and correlations that human observation alone might miss, which enables us to map and predict pest activity more effectively and then control pest activity sustainably": Andrew Stone, Rentokil Initial MD.


Ferrero shuts down hazelnut project

The Ferrero Group is selling its $70 million hazelnut development near Narrandera amid claims that the region’s climate played a key factor in its decision. The move to not proceed with its NSW project is considered a major blow to the establishment of a commercial-scale hazelnut growing industry in Australia.


Research breakthrough in genetic biocontrol striving to transform pest management: Centre for Invasive Species Solutions

A potential new non-lethal and ethical approach to control invasive mammal pests was showcased at a briefing held at the South Australian Health and Medical Research Institute in Adelaide ... Hosted by the Centre for Invasive Species Solutions and the University of Adelaide, the briefing introduced guests to a world-first breakthrough in gene drive technology.


AEGIC oat noodles and oat ‘rice’ destined for supermarket shelves

AEGIC’s oat noodles and oat ‘rice’ are destined for supermarket shelves, with a Western Australian based company set to begin producing the innovative foods. AEGIC’s oat scientists developed manufacturing processes for 100% whole grain noodles and a ‘rice’ product that can be eaten like regular rice.


How’s business? Panacea Estate

#7 of a series: Peter Christen, owner of Maldon’s Panacea Estate winery and cellar door ... "Maybe in 20 years the kids will thank me?” So, how’s business?


Emergency fodder for producers affected by Queensland bushfires: Furner

Primary producers significantly affected by bushfires in Queensland will soon be able to access emergency fodder. The recently established Bushfire Fodder Taskforce has contracted Rural Aid to provide five road trains of fodder to affected areas.

Current conditions driving demand for hay

Australian farmers are requesting donated hay at a phenomenal rate as drought and bushfire conditions bite ... Queensland cattle producer Betty Johnson, of Biggenden, this month received hay from Rural Aid ... “We’ve had no rain at all since about January which means that I’ve been feeding stock for ages. If you’re feeding stock, it costs money.”


Yagi launching Cotton iD, a proprietary system for clarifying the traceability of organic cotton

Yagi & Co., Ltd. announces that we have made and started operating a proprietary system for consistent traceability management, from field to yarn, via a proprietary management system that links the international certifications for the organic cotton produced in India that we handle ... This system enables consistent traceability management from the cotton field to thread.


Local creator joins forces with iconic company

Wiradjuri woman, artist and creator of Marara Designs Shelby-Rae Kschenka of Narrandera has entered a brand collaboration with the iconic Australian clothing company Sportsgirl. Shelby-Rae will work with the company to create a ‘meaningful, intentional and sustainable’ Acknowledgement of Country that will be present in all 130-plus Sportsgirl stores via physical in-store plaques and online.


McCulloch Agencies announces strategic expansion with the acquisition of Prosser Hutton Pty Ltd

In a bold stride for the livestock industry, McCulloch Agencies proudly announces the strategic acquisition of Prosser Hutton Pty Ltd and the Cliff Horton businesses, both highly respected and long-standing agencies based in Mungindi, NSW. Set to take effect on November 1 2023, this acquisition is crucial to McCulloch Agencies’ ambitious strategy of extending its livestock brand and influence across Northern NSW.

Forest management

Project to improve biodiversity at Niigi Niigi – Sealy Lookout: Forestry Corporation of NSW

A partnership of key local agencies will rejuvenate the bush to improve biodiversity at one of Coffs Harbour’s most visited natural assets. Forestry Corporation has partnered with Envite Environment and the Gumbaynggirr Ranger team of the Ngiyambandigay Wajaarr Aboriginal Corporation (NWAC) to undertake weed management and staged bush revegetation work within the Bruxner Park Flora Reserve.


Opportunity to showcase local products

Member for Groom Garth Hamilton is inviting local businesses to feature their products at Parliament House. The Parliament House Gift Shop has recently introduced the ‘National Showcase’ initiative.