Monday, June 21, 2021

Business & Farming

ESG

ESG governance – Australia’s competitive advantage

[Agribusiness Australia] "Rather than wait for test cases to set the benchmarks, we can choose now to adopt more self-regulation and work with regulators to co-create frameworks and accountability that customers can understand and trust. This is an opportunity for Australia, as a developed, mature, food-producing and export-dependent country to differentiate from its peers and create new sustainable competitive advantage," says Mark Barber.

Trade

Farmgate value hits new record $66 billion

Australian farmgate production is on track for a record-breaking $66.3 billion year. ABARES’ June quarter 2021 Agriculture Commodities report shows how the sector has navigated the uncertainties and challenges posed by COVID-19 and changes in the international trade landscape.

Stars align for Australian agri sector

Farmers believe 2021 is shaping up to be an “instrumental” year in the long-term prosperity of the Australian farming sector, as commodity prices and seasonal conditions buoy confidence across the country. Despite a small fall from the previous quarter, Rabobank’s latest quarterly Rural Confidence Survey showed almost 90% of Australian farmers are expecting the “generally excellent” business conditions currently being experienced in the agricultural sector to either continue or improve over the year ahead.

High global prices boost local producers

Australia is expected to see above average levels of winter crop production in 2021-2022, with climate conditions and high global prices set to make this season bountiful for many of the country’s producers. According to the latest ABARES, Australian crop report for Junes, winter crops are forecast to reach well above national averages, though there will be different levels of production across different regions.

Wine tourism

The Wine Adventurer – new WA wine tourism guide

The first of its kind in Australia, a new online and interactive wine tourism guide called The Wine Adventurer has been published designed to inspire and inform international and domestic visitors to help them plan their trips into WA’s wine regions. Eight wine regions are featured in the e-brochure that includes each region’s unique wine tourism experiences and hero wine varieties.

Smart agriculture

Yamaha tech revolutionising global farming

Yamaha Motor Australia Director Tom Okamoto today announced the Yamaha Motor group has entered into a joint development agreement with Australian smart agriculture technology company The Yield. The development partnership will see Yamaha and The Yield working towards a goal of improved global agricultural productivity through the utilisation of digital technology and robotics.

Tourism

Australian Regional Tourism Convention 2021 coming to Ballarat

Australian Regional Tourism and convention partner, City of Ballarat, is pleased to announce that Ballarat, Victoria will be hosting the 2021 Australian Regional Tourism Convention (ARTC) to be held 11-13 October 2021 ... The ART Convention is a must-attend event for local councils, regional tourism organisations, tourism professionals and businesses, and government personnel wanting to contribute to the future of regional tourism in Australia, with the 2021 Convention theme ‘A Robust Visitor Economy – navigating our new future’

Lyttle Eat Street food precinct launches global street food

Bendigo’s newest food precinct, Lyttle Eat Street, has been launched on the footpaths at Lyttleton Terrace in the city centre to celebrate and indulge in delicious global street food. Fourteen local businesses from Lyttleton Terrace have joined forces to create Lyttle Eat Street, an initiative to create a new ‘street food vibe and neighbourhood’ in the city centre. It is the first in a winter-long series, Slow Smoking Saturdays, to entice more people to visit the area on weekends to enjoy unique dishes and drinks.

Sign up to Wagga Wagga City Council’s tourism partnership program

Tourism businesses and organisations are invited to come on board to work together to build greater awareness and encourage visitation to the Wagga Wagga + Surrounds region ... “Domestic travel is booming in regional areas as people are exploring a little closer to home, which is a significant opportunity to leverage off.”

Business

Food artisan back on the winner’s list

Geoff Helisma. Multi award-winning, Yamba fine food manufacturer Peter Nicholson hasn’t entered his creations in shows around Australia for about four years – but that changed recently when his Spiced Beetroot Finishing Vinegar took out the champion trophy at the recent Royal Tasmanian Fine Food Awards ... "What food would I put it on?" "Vanilla bean ice cream, and I implore you to try it."

Trade

Alpaca jumper for a Chile journey

Australia's alpaca producers are well positioned to develop new export markets following the opening of trade in alpacas with Chile ... "Health certification requirements are the foundation for trade in animals and this agreement means we can continue to build on trade opportunities as we work to revitalise our primary industries."

Property

NT pastoralists offload central Australian farm

Northern Territory pastoralists Roy and Janet Chisholm have sold a central Australian farm for $6.1 million to Caason Group. The 1,047-hectare Oolloo Farm, which produces irrigated hay, sits 200kms north of Alice Springs and included a 1,000-megalitre per year water extraction licence, as well as six centre pivots.

Williams acquires 718ha Sorell Creek

Agribusiness identity David Williams has added to his rural portfolio with the $3 million acquisition of Sorell Creek, spanning 718 hectares on the Derwent River north of Hobart. About 19 kilometres from the capital, the property reportedly may be used by Williams for sheep or salmon farming, and as a future land bank play. It previously held a permit for a 43 lot subdivision. About 241 hectares is zoned for rural living.

Telecommunications

The great Kyogle disconnect

The greatest black hole in the universe is how Michael Donnelley describes mobile phone connection at the Country Inn Motel in Kyogle ... Kyogle mayor Danielle Mulholland said reliable and affordable high-speed internet was vital, “this is just as important in terms of infrastructure as some of the more traditional kinds like roads, bridges, footpaths and so on. People are making real estate purchasing decisions on a range of factors important to them and telecommunications connectivity is now one of them.”

Film

Barrumbi Kids to inject $2.8m into Territory economy

The Territory is becoming a big player in Australia’s screen and film industry, with the announcement of another large production Barrumbi Kids to be filmed in Beswick and the production expecting to inject $2.8m into the economy.

Economy

Mice madness

The Murrumbidgee valley’s multi-million dollar winter cereal crop has dodged a bullet with minimal mouse damage and recent rain lifting grower’s spirits ... The promising cropping outlook and buoyant land values have resulted in three blue-ribbon corporate holdings in the region hitting the market in the same week.

Renewable energy

Wind to power 108 Woolworths supermarkets

Woolworths Group is buying into wind in its first renewable power purchase agreement (PPA) as the group moves towards 100% green electricity by 2025. The PPA of a newly built NSW wind farm will add 195,000 Megawatt hours of green electricity into the state’s energy grid every year and will power around 30% of Woolworth’s energy needs in the state.

Research

The future of honey: from a pantry staple to the medicine cabinet

Research led by the University of Technology Sydney and funded by AgriFutures Honey Bee & Pollination Program aims to provide evidence required by modern medicine to reposition honey from a staple in the pantry to a health food. The work seeks to use honey as a prebiotic to promote good digestive health and to help combat the onset and progression of gut related disease.

CSIRO finds sticky fingerprints reveal true origins of honey

DNA testing Australian honey can reveal where it was produced and its main floral sources, according to research published today by Australia’s national science agency, CSIRO, and partners at the University of Melbourne and Curtin University. The $100 million Australian honey industry exports 4,500 tonnes of honey every year, and could benefit from the findings, which could be used for a honey certification program to confirm the floral composition and provenance of commercial honey.

Pest

Biosecurity kicks up a stinky bug

The 2020-21 brown marmorated stink bug (BMSB) season is wrapping up and Australia’s measures have again remained strong against this serious pest ... BMSB is a serious threat for Australia’s agriculture industries and environment, because of the damage it can do to vegetable crops and fruit and ornamental trees.

Tourism

Experienced tour guides happy to be on the Cape

Weipa's newest tour guides are loving life on the Cape. Darren Corke and partner Jane Monacella are five weeks into their stint for the tourist season ... “I’m really impressed with the area and how many crocs there are in the water. The amount of wildlife; from fish to dolphins, turtles, snakes and birds ... there’s something different to see with every boat trip,” says Darren.

Timber

Grant to help Wik timber ramp up Cape production

An Indigenous logging company will start initial milling of timber and create more than 50 new jobs, mostly in the Cape, thanks to a grant from the state government. Deputy Premier and Minister for State Development Steven Miles said the government has given a $480,000 grant to Wik Timber Holdings to purchase and install a Gibson sawmill. “Wik Timber is an Indigenous-owned company that specialises in harvesting timber on mining leases that would otherwise have to be incinerated,” Mr Miles said.

Business

Clarence Correction Centre revealed to be quite quiet

Emma Pritchard. A quiet gaol is a good gaol according to Glen Scholes, General Manager of the Clarence Correctional Centre, the largest prison in Australia ... Mr Scholes also revealed the Clarence Correctional Centre is running at “about 30 percent procurement” in the local community, and he spoke encouragingly to the Grafton Chamber of Commerce, asking “if you have consortiums, the capacity to join forces is there, to create further opportunities for local people.”

Hospitality

New future opens for Club Evans

Greg Targett said he is here to make hard decisions. He was a publican in Tennant Creek in the Northern Territory for years and owned his first hotel in the Territory in 1988 when he was 20 ... Now in ‛semi-retirement’, he lives in Yamba and is the new chief executive of Club Evans.

Beef

Cattle comp at Beef Week

Check the form of some of the winners at Beef Week at Casino.

Chinese demand for Australian beef still strong

Australian Property Journal. Low cattle supply across the country is a major driving force in the current tight conditions in the global beef cattle market. According to the Rabobank Q2 Beef Quarterly report, the beef market is so tight, with growing demand, that localised disruptions, including conditions in Australia, are having a far greater impact on trade and prices than typically seen.

Beef

Gentle giant takes grand champion title at Rocky

Mateo managed to knock off the competition and win the ribbon for Australian champion at Beef Australia in Rockhampton last week. Now the 20-month-old Mateo Little Valley Braford bull is headed to Primex and Beef Week.

Regional airports

PHI International settle into residence at Onslow Airport

The Shire of Ashburton is pleased to welcome PHI International to Onslow Airport. PHI International are leaders in high quality helicopter services and boast an advanced and varied fleet of helicopters that supports a range of international businesses across Australia, New Zealand, the Philippines, Ghana, Cyprus and Saudi Arabia.

Airport brings economic and job benefits to Lismore community

TAFE NSW and Airways Aviation will start delivering world-class training to students at Airways Aviation’s base from July at the Lismore Regional Airport, Lismore City Council’s Commercial Services Business Manager Kevin Trustum said. “Along with the university, it strengthens Lismore as the educational centre for the Northern Rivers and beyond,” he said.

Whyalla Airport set to soar

The new Whyalla Airport is taking shape, as work continues on the expanded terminal, enhanced facilities, upgraded runway and improved safety and security measures ... Whyalla City Council Mayor Clare McLaughlin said the upgrades would deliver a modern, future-proofed facility, well placed to service Whyalla and the region.

Upgraded Wagga Wagga Airport taxiways complete

Upgraded taxiways designed to accommodate Regional Express, Qantas and larger passenger aircraft at Wagga Wagga Airport has opened to air traffic this week. The scope of the project included widening and strengthening the existing taxiways and extending taxiway A to the runway end to allow for the passenger traffic to enter onto the runways without having to perform a turnback to take-off.

Report to recommend commitment to north south runway extension, new governance model for Ballarat Airport

A report to be considered by the City of Ballarat Council this month will recommend the commencement of works to extend Ballarat Airport’s north south runway. The report to the 23 June ordinary meeting of Council will also recommend a commercially focused board be appointed to oversee the management of the Airport, with Council retaining ownership of the facility.

Dairy

Rabobank Dairy Quarterly – returning to normal but risks abound

Global dairy prices continue to trade at elevated levels, despite being “stuck in neutral” for the past three months, as the market slowly returns to normal from the pandemic-led channel distortion, according to the latest Rabobank Global Dairy Quarterly report.

Workshops

Events to present weed testing and survey results

Preliminary results from a Western Australian research project suggest some grain growers are under-estimating herbicide resistance levels in cropping system weeds present on their farms.

Feral pigs

Farmers save big bucks from feral pig control programs

Groundbreaking research funded by the NSW Government has today revealed feral pig control programs can save landholders up to $100 per hectare, Minister for Agriculture and Minister for Western NSW Adam Marshall has announced ... “Feral pigs are one of the most wide-spread pests which cause significant economic losses to primary production and other agricultural enterprises in many parts of the State and also damage environmental and cultural sites."

Residents encouraged to report sightings of feral pigs

Rockhampton Regional Council is encouraging residents to report any sightings of feral pigs after some recent activity in the lower Mount Archer, Frenchville Road and Moore’s Creek/First Turkey areas.

Mouse plague

$100 million for farmers battling mice

Primary producers experiencing financial hardship due to the mice plague will be able to claim rebates for the purchase of the mouse control chemical zinc phosphide, as part of an extension of the NSW Government’s Mouse Control Program.

Hundreds of farmers get in early to secure free mice-killing chemical

More than 400 farmers have already signed up and registered to receive free bromadiolone to treat grain for perimeter crop baiting to help combat the mice plague affecting parts of regional NSW, Minister for Agriculture Adam Marshall said today.

Mice plague rebates backdated

Households and small businesses impacted by high numbers of mice across regional NSW will be able to claim rebates for purchasing mouse bait from 1 February 2021, with the NSW Government today announcing the rebate program will be backdated.

Counsellors urge farmers to speak up about ongoing mouse plague

Farmers are being urged to touch base with a Rural Aid counsellor for a mental wellbeing check-in, as mouse plagues continue to ravage rural communities. Rural Aid CEO John Warlters has urged primary producers to get in touch with Rural Aid. “Rural Aid can help farmers with a range of measures including financial, fodder and mental wellbeing assistance,” Mr Warlters said.

Research prompts increase to recommended mouse bait rates

A new research investment by GRDC, led by Australia’s national science agency, CSIRO, has enabled evidence-based increases to zinc phosphide (ZnP) mouse baits that will help grain growers battling above-average mouse numbers in eastern Australia. ZnP-coated wheat bait is the only registered in-crop rodenticide for the management of mice damage in broad-scale agriculture in Australia. The new Australian Pesticides and Veterinary Authority emergency use permit increases the concentration of zinc phosphide active per wheat grain from 25 mg/kilogram to 50 mg/kg.

Energy

Whyalla’s hydrogen ambitions strengthening

Whyalla’s ambitions to be a key player in both the State and Federal Governments’ hydrogen plans have been given a significant boost, with the State Government seeking expressions of interest (EOIs) to develop land at nearby Port Bonython. The Marshall Government has labelled the site ‘one of SA’s most prospective hydrogen export hubs’, which City of Whyalla Mayor Clare McLaughlin said was fantastic news for the city.

CSIRO research highlights Australia’s minerals key to its renewable energy powerhouse potential

New research from CSIRO, Australia’s national science agency shows how Australia's mining and manufacturing sectors can work together to turn critical minerals resources such as lithium and silicon into much needed products for renewable energy, like electric vehicles, solar panels and wind turbines.

CSIRO report confirms renewables still cheapest new-build power in Australia

Solar photovoltaics (PV) and wind continue to be the cheapest sources of new electricity generation capacity in Australia, even when the integration costs of renewables are included, according to the final 2020-21 GenCost Report.

RayGen solar hydro power plant a boost for entire Mallee region

Mildura Mayor Jason Modica has welcomed RayGen's plans for a multimillion dollar solar hydro power plant in the Mallee, which he says will further cement the region's reputation as a hotspot for innovative solar technology and stimulate the local economy.