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Christmas warning for farm visitors

Christmas warning for farm visitors

Racing around on motorbikes, riding horses, swimming in dams and generally getting dirty is a dusty dream-world for the many children visiting farms these summer holidays. But they’re not always as aware of potential dangers as those who live there, so it’s important to set some rules and boundaries to keep everyone safe.

Children under 15 years old make up about 20 per cent of the on-farm deaths in Australia each year, and nearly one-third of those children are visitors, according to the Australian Centre for Agricultural Health and Safety (ACAHS).

Historically the biggest risk has been drowning, but quad bikes are an increasing issue, with two deaths involving children recorded in the first half of 2015.
Friday, 18 December 2015/Author: Kate Schwager/Number of views (2023)/Comments (0)/
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Protesters tell Santos to hit the pause button

Protesters tell Santos to hit the pause button

ANTI-coal seam gas activists have followed up on their promise to continue disrupting Santos activities in the Pilliga forest by staging a road blockade at the gates of the energy company’s Leewood wastewater treatment yesterday morning.

About 20 people prevented contractors from entering the site for two and a half hours.

Construction started at the site last week, despite the facility being at the centre of a court battle over the legality of its approval.

Wilalla farmer Alistair Donaldson took part in the protest and said he was “deeply concerned” construction was under way before the outcomes of the court case were determined. “If I was in court about the legality of the development application for my house, do you think I’d be allowed to keep building before the case was determined?” Mr Donaldson said.

“If the court finds that Leewood has not been properly assessed, Santos will have to go back to the drawing board in the assessment process and all the work currently under way will have been completed without  valid approval.

“There’s double standards at play here and Santos should be required to press pause at least until it’s clear its approval is legal.”

Santos general manager of energy NSW, Peter Mitchley, said the protest activity at Leewood had no impact on Santos operations and the company had all approvals in place to undertake the work.

“The Leewood Phase 2 Project was approved following a rigorous and detailed assessment process which was carried out in accordance with the relevant regulatory guidelines.



Wednesday, 9 December 2015/Author: Kate Schwager/Number of views (0)/Comments (0)/
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EYCI eases to 589.5c/kg

EYCI eases to 589.5c/kg

By KAREN BAILEY The Land

YOUNG cattle prices have eased slightly in the past week due to bigger yardings at some centres in NSW. 

On the back of last week’s near record prices, the prospect of a hot, dry summer had some producers opting to offload any surplus stock on Monday and Tuesday this week.

As a result, the Eastern Young Cattle Indicator slipped to 589.5 cents a kilogram (carcase weight) on Tuesday - back 5.5c/kg on the same time last week.

Wednesday, 9 December 2015/Author: Kate Schwager/Number of views (0)/Comments (0)/
Categories: AgricultureCattle
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Boggabri Coal lodges plans for groundwater bores

Boggabri Coal lodges plans for groundwater bores

By Kerrin Thomas ABC

The operators of the Boggabri Coal Mine, located in northern New South Wales, are seeking permission to extract groundwater from a site close to the existing mine.

Boggabri Coal's operators, Idemitsu Australia Resources, want to construct two new water production bores and four back-up bores, to complement two existing bores.

In an application before the Department of Planning and Environment, the company said it needs the bores to ensure the nine megalitres of water the mine requires per day can be sourced.

The water is primarily used for washing coal at the handling plant and for dust suppression.

In its application the company said the groundwater model developed for the proposal identifies the potential for a drawdown of the alluvial aquifers in the vicinity of the bores.

Tuesday, 8 December 2015/Author: Kate Schwager/Number of views (0)/Comments (0)/
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Anti-mining groups and farmers claim hypocrisy over Pilliga gas well fire rules

Anti-mining groups and farmers claim hypocrisy over Pilliga gas well fire rules

By ALEX DRUCE The Land

FRUSTRATIONS are burning over a NSW Rural Fire Act exemption that allows mining companies to burn gas flares during intense fire conditions when farmers are forced to cease harvest. 

The Act says fires are not to be lit or maintained during a total fire ban.

But some mining activities are exempt, with companies allowed to burn gas exhaust through a chimney as long as sparks or incandescent materials can’t escape from the site. 

Anti-mining groups and landowners in fire-prone regions say the rule is hypocritical and potentially dangerous.

The NSW Rural Fire Service (RFS) said its Special Hazards Working Group found the risk of bushfire from gas wells to be minimal. 

Tuesday, 8 December 2015/Author: Kate Schwager/Number of views (0)/Comments (0)/
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Mature cow weight a balancing act

Mature cow weight a balancing act

By Shan Goodwin the Land

SAME BUT DIFFERENT: Non-genetic factors can influence mature cow weight. These two, six-year-old cows by the same bull were managed identically up until weaning, when the smaller was fed under drought-like conditions. The smaller cow weighs 505kg and has a fat score 1, the larger one 658kg, fat score 2.

MATURE cow weight and the impact it has on the profitability of beef operations is becoming a hot topic as thoughts turn towards herd rebuilding.

Determining the optimal cow size for an operation and whether there is more money in producing a larger number of lighter weaners versus less but heavier calves was a key topic at beef producers field day held at Casino last week.

Tuesday, 8 December 2015/Author: Kate Schwager/Number of views (0)/Comments (0)/
Categories: AgricultureCattle
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I live daily with the stress that farmers are powerless to refuse access to coal seam gas

I live daily with the stress that farmers are powerless to refuse access to coal seam gas

Sara Ciesiolka Opinion piece in The Guardian today

Farmers and traditional land owners are petitioning the Coag meeting of mining and energy ministers to control their livelihood, and their land

As a large scale food producer on the extremely valuable and productive lands just downstream from the largest of the State’s proposed gas hotspots at Narrabri, I live daily with the knowledge, and the stress, that ultimately we are powerless to refuse access for coal seam gas extraction on our land.

This is land that we have successfully toiled over for generations to build into a sustainable and productive enterprise capable of feeding hungry mouths both at home and abroad.

For our city cousins, it’s like someone knocking on your front door, demanding to be let inside, and taking up residence in your living room and making a mess. Sometimes they don’t even bother to knock.

The balance of power is skewed heavily in favour of the coal seam gas companies, who have all the rights, against individual landholders, who have nothing but risk.

On Friday there is a meeting of Council of Australian Governments (Coag) mining and energy ministers, and federal energy minister Josh Frydenberg has promised landholders that the issue of a farmer’s right to say ‘no’ will be on the agenda.

Seventy-nine farmers, landholders and traditional owners, including myself, from every state and territory across Australia have sent a letter to minister Frydenberg and the state ministers, calling on them to grant us this right.

The signatories include beef graziers, wine-makers, and landholders struggling in the centre of the Queensland gasfields, the coalfields of the Hunter Valley, and traditional owners from the Kimberley, the Northern Territory and New South Wales.

In NSW, Santos and AGL have signed an agreement not to enter freehold landagainst the express wishes of an individual landholder. But this agreement only covers drilling activities, not the extensive range of critical infrastructure such as gas and water pipelines which are essential to coal seam gas extraction.&

Friday, 4 December 2015/Author: Kate Schwager/Number of views (0)/Comments (0)/
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North West Local Land Services Tree Give away

North West Local Land Services Tree Give away

Free trees available from North West Local Land Services

Yes, that's right - the ‪#‎TreeGiveaway‬ is here again!

If you are keen to plant a few native trees in our region, then take a look at the details attached.

Expressions of interest are being taken until 12 February 2016.


North West Local Land Services is seeking requests from landholders, nongovernment organisations,
government departments, clubs, schools and community groups for free trees.

• trees will be available for pick up in winter 2016
• all species are native to North West NSW and come in hiko trays
• over 30 different species available
• up to 1000 trees available per request
• to apply, complete all sections over page.

Requests must be submitted by the 12th February 2016

Thursday, 3 December 2015/Author: Kate Schwager/Number of views (1803)/Comments (0)/
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Rise in deadly parvovirus

Rise in deadly parvovirus

By Rebecca Belt Nov. 29 - the Northern Daily Leader

Narrabri has even been named as one of the top 10 hotspots for the disease, with 22 cases in the past few months and Tamworth vets treating more dogs in recent weeks. 

Tamworth Veterinary Hospital’s Dr Jess Bourke said they had two or three cases last week, with some of them having to be euthanased.

“There never really seems to be a break from (parvovirus), but we have had a bit of a surge recently,” she said.

The only way to stop your dog from getting the virus is to vaccinate them and ensure they have their annual booster. 
Monday, 30 November 2015/Author: Kate Schwager/Number of views (0)/Comments (0)/
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Santos waste water plant approval to face legal appeal

Santos waste water plant approval to face legal appeal

By Kerrin Thomas - ABC Sydney

The state's Environmental Defenders Office has launched legal action against the State Government and Santos, over the approval of a waste treatment facility near Narrabri.

The application for a waste water treatment plant at the Leewood facility should have been viewed as outside the scope of exploration and therefore required to face a higher level of development scrutiny, according to the EDO and its client, Narrabri-based group People for the Plains.

Under State planning laws, some CSG exploration works are exempt from requiring development consent but the EDO's Principal Solicitor, Sue Higginson, said this development should not have been exempt.

She said the approval processes are significantly different.

"The process that's been applied to this development required a less onerous environmental assessment," she said.

"It also didn't provide for the full public participation that, had it gone through the full and rigorous legal assessment and procedures, we say ought have been applied."

Thursday, 26 November 2015/Author: Kate Schwager/Number of views (0)/Comments (0)/
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Protesters Vs Santos - Wastewater court battle

Protesters Vs Santos - Wastewater court battle

By Jamieson Murphy Nov. 25, 2015, 9:30 p.m. - Northern Daily Leader

A NARRABRI anti-coal seam gas group is taking the energy giant Santos and the state government to court over the approval of the Leewood wastewater treatment plant in the Pilliga forest.

People for the Plains will argue the approval given to the CSG wastewater treatment plant last week is invalid.

CSG explorations works are exempt from requiring development consent under NSW planning law, but the group will argue the plant is not for the purpose of CSG exploration and required separate development consent.

They will be represented in the NSW Land and Environment Court by the NSW Environmental Defenders Office (EDO).

Principal solicitor of EDO NSW, Sue Higginson, said the case is about ensuring proper laws and development assessment processes are followed in approving such development.


Thursday, 26 November 2015/Author: Kate Schwager/Number of views (0)/Comments (0)/
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It's time to Celebrate - We're Still Gasfield Free!

It's time to Celebrate - We're Still Gasfield Free!

While Narrabri Gas Project is close to worthless we face a powerful moment to remind Santos of the social and investor risk it faces in North West NSW and to stop CSG spreading across our land. 

Pull out the stops. Just 2 -3 hours on a Sunday afternoon. We all need to be at this one.
Tuesday, 17 November 2015/Author: Kate Schwager/Number of views (1483)/Comments (0)/
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Small grants to fertilise sustainable agriculture knowledge

Small grants to fertilise sustainable agriculture knowledge

Media Release - 5 November

Farmers and fishers across the country are set to receive a boost, with $2.2 million in small grants announced to increase industry capacity and support the adoption of productive management practices.  

Minister for Agriculture and Water Resources, Barnaby Joyce, today said that these small grants would contribute to the overall resilience, competitiveness and productivity of Australia's agriculture and fishing industries. 

Friday, 6 November 2015/Author: Kate Schwager/Number of views (1974)/Comments (0)/
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On-farm deaths could be halved through simple solutions

On-farm deaths could be halved through simple solutions

RIRDC Research

Almost half of all deaths on farms could be prevented, simply by implementing solutions we already know about, according to new research exploring what’s stopping primary producers from improving their safety practices.

Focus groups were run with farmers, growers, pastoralists and fishers, along with a desktop audit of peer reviewed research. Funded by the Primary Industries Health and Safety Partnership, the study will guide efforts over coming years to improve the uptake of Work Health and Safety (WHS) initiatives.

Study author, Richard Franklin of James Cook University, says the rates of death and injury on farms and fishing vessels have improved, but are still unacceptable.
Wednesday, 4 November 2015/Author: Kate Schwager/Number of views (1252)/Comments (0)/
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Forum informs gas compensation

Forum informs gas compensation

Financial compensation for landholders affected by coal seam gas exploration and production was the focus of a public forum convened by the Independent Pricing and Regulatory Tribunal (IPART) in Narrabri on Tuesday.

IPART has been commissioned by the NSW Government to make recomendations on draft compensation models as part of the Gas Plan for the state.

The forum, led by IPART chair Dr Peter Boxall AO, was gathering feedback to help inform its report and final recommendations to the Minister for Industry, Resources and Energy Mr Roberts by the end of November.

Friday, 16 October 2015/Author: Kate Schwager/Number of views (0)/Comments (0)/
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Draft North West Local Strategic Plan

Draft North West Local Strategic Plan

North West Local Land Services want your feedback on our strategic direction

North West Local Land Services Draft Strategic Plan is out for 
community Consultation.

We want your feedback on our strategic direction.

This plan sets the direction for our work priorities, customers, partners and areas of investment.

Tell us your thoughts and let us know if you agree with its direction.
Our online survey, fact sheets and FAQs can be found at northwest.lls.nsw.gov.au - follow the link in the updates section, alternatively hard copies are availble at all North West Local Land Services offices.
Monday, 12 October 2015/Author: Kate Schwager/Number of views (0)/Comments (0)/
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Train plan a goer - sort of

Train plan a goer - sort of

A major rail development that is expected to slash the number of times the Newell Hwy level crossing is blocked during harvest season - as well as reduce train movements past Narrabri West Public School - has been given the go-ahead, but not exactly as expected.

Friday, 9 October 2015/Author: Kate Schwager/Number of views (0)/Comments (0)/
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Two Wilgunya Merino rams make $2400

Two Wilgunya Merino rams make $2400

By Andrea Crothers Oct. 8, 2015, 5:13 p.m.

TOP PRICE: Jim Hunt, Elmore Spring Plains, Wee Waa, bought the equal top-priced ram for $2400 at Wilgunya Merino sale, pictured with stud principals Heather and Max Wilson. Picture: ANDREA CROTHERS.

WHEN Wilgunya Merino Stud principal Max Wilson saw the first hammer fall at $2400 for their annual ram sale today, he thought “you bloody beauty!”

The winning bidder was Walgett’s David Harthog.

His purchase of the auction opener toppled last year’s highest price by $250 to plant a firm smile on the Dirranbandi stud principal’s face for the remaining 79 single-pen auction rams as they all cleared.

“She starts strong and you’ll finish strong,” Mr Wilson later commented.

He was right.

Friday, 9 October 2015/Author: Kate Schwager/Number of views (0)/Comments (0)/
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Celebrate international Rural Women's Day at the Festival for Rural Women

Celebrate international Rural Women's Day at the Festival for Rural Women

15th October,

If you want to do something special, be inspired and connect with rural women sharing their stories on the 15th October 2015 then join

It's completely FREE, 100% online and is LIVE - so you can interact, ask questions and engage with all of our presenters.

Try something new and experience the joy that brings!

If you are worried about #datadrought or internet usage, please get in touch support@therw.biz as we have teleconferencing facilities available too.

Register today
Thursday, 8 October 2015/Author: Kate Schwager/Number of views (0)/Comments (0)/
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Drought continues in the west

Drought continues in the west

Wee Waa and western regions are still in need of drought breaking rain, with the dry conditions persisting as the weather warms up.

Crops are struggling with the warm change and more rain is needed to ensure plants mature properly.

Gary Wooldridge from the Pilliga Community Links Centre said conditions have not improved.

“It’s still pretty shocking out here, wheat crops are going back into the ground and it’s not looking good,” he said.

“There have been a few little cloud bursts here and there, but there has been no decent rain events yet.

“We’re hoping for storms for the wheat crops, but it does seem to have dried up.

Thursday, 8 October 2015/Author: Kate Schwager/Number of views (0)/Comments (0)/
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Variable results expected for north west harvest

Variable results expected for north west harvest

Harvest time is near, but local agronomists and farmers are expecting highly variable results across the region.

ABOVE: Narrabri’s George Scilley, Shaun Thomson and Richard Scilley and a row of headers ready for hopefully a busy harvest.

For some grain growers this year’s crop will be the best they have had for many years, but for others, crops won’t be worth stripping.

Pursehouse Rural Agronomist James Fleming is currently seeing growers at both ends of the spectrum.

“There is patches that will go quite well and other patches that are fast running out of moisture,” he said.

“Some of my clients are having a really good season, while others aren’t having such luck.

“Rain is probably too late for most crops but some that were planted late would benefit.”

Thursday, 8 October 2015/Author: Kate Schwager/Number of views (0)/Comments (0)/
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Rural Support Service Network for Narrabri

Rural Support Service Network for Narrabri

Rural support services in the local area have resolved to set up a network to improve the delivery and effectiveness of support for the rural sector.

ABOVE: Cattle on the road near Pilliga.

The newly formed Rural Support Services Network (RSSNs) held its first meeting in Narrabri recently, with financial counsellors, Centacare representatives, landholders, government representatives and other organisations in attendance.

RSSNs are usually made up of local rural service providers including agribusiness and government, but also include interested landholders and representatives from community groups.

The network meets quarterly to discuss the needs of the local rural community with a view to working towards servicing these needs.

The meetings also allow for the sharing of information between service providers and the identification of any gaps in service delivery.

Narrabri Rural Financial Counsellor Fiona Mead said the first meeting of the Narrabri RSSN was an overwhelming success.

“We had 17 people at the meeting which was a great turn out, we plan on meeting every three months at this stage with the next meeting to be held in February,” she said.

Friday, 2 October 2015/Author: Kate Schwager/Number of views (0)/Comments (0)/
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University of Newcastle tours region to investigate local attitudes to development, changing land use

University of Newcastle tours region to investigate local attitudes to development, changing land use

Researchers from the University of Newcastle are currently seeking to interview local people within the Narrabri Shire about their attitude to changing land use.

ABOVE: University of Newcastle researchers Dr Meg Sherval and Dr Hedda Haugen Askland. Interested parties should contact Hedda Askland on 0405 066 470.

Researchers from the University of Newcastle are currently seeking to interview local people within the Narrabri Shire about their attitude to changing land use.

The collaborative pilot project is run by both the University of Newcastle and the NSW Department of Primary Industries and will form part of a planned state-wide study exploring changing land use in rural and regional communities.

Friday, 25 September 2015/Author: Kate Schwager/Number of views (1159)/Comments (0)/
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Local farmers urged to promote agriculture

Local farmers urged to promote agriculture

A local farmer has called on all involved in agriculture to start actively promoting the industry.

ABOVE: Drew Penberthy, Bellata, Penny Blatchford, Gurley and James Tydd (Bellata) at the recent agribusiness forum in Narrabri.

At a recent conference held in Narrabri, agronomist Drew Penberthy argued that people in agricultural industries were failing to communicate their good news stories to the wider community.

He said the farming sector had much to be proud of.

“A lot of people have no idea how scientific agriculture has become, I think they’d be amazing if they knew what we’re actually doing out here,” he said.

“Robotics are coming in and new varieties released in the last few years have led to massive inroads.

Friday, 25 September 2015/Author: Kate Schwager/Number of views (0)/Comments (0)/
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Plan points to CSG problems

Plan points to CSG problems

MOREE Plains mayor Katrina Humphries has criticised the Independent Pricing and Regulatory Tribunal’s (IPART) draft report into coal seam gas landholder benchmark compensation rates, calling it an “admission of guilt”.

The NSW government asked IPART to undertake the review, under Action 12 of the NSW Gas Plan, to provide benchmark compensation rates for landholders who host gas exploration and production activities on their properties.

Friday, 25 September 2015/Author: Kate Schwager/Number of views (0)/Comments (0)/
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