Tuesday, September 27, 2011

CSG Again....

The announcement today by the QLD State Government to protect those areas of Strategic Cropping Land from the impacts of coal mining has done a small amount to bolster industry confidence.
But the legislation as it stands does not consider the impacts of CSG mining as it to the best of my knowledge and understanding does not cover this technology. The legislature as it stands will protect some producers but others will be left out, with clauses like it only applying to land with a gradient of less than 3-5 degrees, which means producers particularly those in hilly areas will experience difficulties.
 More information on the SCL Policy and Maps: DERM                (http://www.derm.qld.gov.au/land/planning/strategic-cropping/index.html)
Interestingly I have noticed that the only areas that Have been mapped are those located directly inland from major borders and coastlines, leaving over % of the state unmapped and uncounted for. I think for this to be an all encompassing policy all areas need to be considered and mapped.

But I digress, a quote in today's ABC Rural Blog has revealed that today a new CSG company is setting up shop in the Richmond area. One fact that had me more than a little bit concerned came from the article regarding the potential or known impacts CSG will have on the Great Artesian Basin:
"A senior hydrologist said from the government that it could be 30 or 40 years before you know whether the water is contaminated in the Artesian Basin, due to the fact it's so big." 
Source: ABC Rural (http://www.abc.net.au/rural/news/content/201109/s3326487.htm)
This is somewhat concerning, as I can now see a large pattern of events evolving, namely that the Government seems to be gambling with the productivity and long term viability of its producers. This to me looks like one big science experiment, with the Government diving in rather gung ho with little regard for the consequences for its action. Yes I can see the CSG being a terrific money, jobs and resources boom for the state, but for how long? And at what cost? Have we got to see contamination of a major water aquifer before something is done? If a major catastrophe does occur will the companies and Government groups involved be willing to commit to a proper compensation package and to fixing the problem?

Thursday, September 22, 2011

Photo Friday- 23rd September 2011

So as promised (albeit slightly delayed) here is this weeks Photo Friday update:

Fire On The Mount

Fire whether intentional or not forms a big part of farming life. From the stories we have seen in the past few weeks with entire grazing properties losing valuable grazing pastures we have seen that fire can have a detrimental effect on productivity and the livelihoods of farmers. This in many aspects is true but there is also the beneficial points as it can work through controlled burning to reduce fuel loads and promote the growth of native and introduce pasture species.

Below are some photos of a controlled burning exercise that I shot during the evening. This process was being undertaken by a local landowner to reduce fuel loads on his property. Shot at night as I was driving past these fires provided for some spectacular images to be captured. Here is just a small sample of these images:

However beneficial fire can be it also has its detrimental effects as I touched on earlier, I would ask those that read this in passing to be mindful especially when traveling in Rural Areas that all it takes is a spark, please reminder before flicking that butt or throwing that bottle out the window, not only is it illegal, but it can also cause a problem a lot bigger than littering.

Fires Update:

Thursday, September 15, 2011

Photo Friday Week #4- 16th September 2011

Looking Back.....
2010 saw events that changed the face of Australia and helped promote stronger ties of mateship and camaraderie.
The Queensland Floods saw an area the size of France and Germany combined! Inundated with flood waters.
I had the opportunity to get out and about and take some photos for the local paper and got some good photos and some interesting shots:

 Picture #1: The Stewart River in Flood.

 Picture #2: The lead up to the Stewart River, 15m of bitumen road base removed and deposited into a nearby paddock by water up to 5m over the road deck height of the bridge.

 Picture #3: Looking down the bridge back to the damaged section.

Some of the more interesting shots from the day I got was when I drove through the town of Kumbia and I shot these interesting photos:
In what I have entitled "Nothing Keeps a Farmer from his Beer"

 Picture #4: Tractors outside of the Kumbia Hotel.

Picture #5: A closer shot of the Tractors with their "Little Brother" from town outside of the Hotel.

Picture #6: A closer shot of the Tractors with their "Little Brother" from town outside of the Hotel.

Sunday, September 11, 2011

Farming 101.....

Being at University I got used to taking a lot of 101 subjects in First year, and so thanks to an idea from Michael over at "The Farmers Way of Life" Blog (Link: http://farmerswayoflife.blogspot.com/), I thought I too would come up with a 101 Guide to Farming, feel free to pitch in any thoughts and suggestions, I'd be happy to add them......

Farming 101
  1. No matter how dry the grass looks, wearing your new suede RM Williams shoes across it is never a good idea - Generally it's a lot wetter than it looks.
  2. Never let the Dachshund steal you boots and leave them for you to collect on the other side of the lawn- Especially if it's winter, -4 and you've just had a frost set.
  3. No matter how small the mob looks, always pack a spare pair of overalls when you are preg testing the heifers- By the second one a strategically placed tail and gloved hand will result in a very messy and destroyed shirt.
  4. Cow crap can, does and will bounce of any surface- Concrete, dirt and mud: Learned this all to easily at dairy placement.
  5. Gumboots are the equivalent of water-ski's/ice skates on a wet concrete walkway when you're chasing after that one stubborn heifer- Again lesson learned the hard way on dairy prac, Degree of difficulty - 7, Timing - 10 and Execution - 8. Lesson Learned: Always pack a spare pair of overalls/clothes.
  6. Patience is truly a virtue
  7. A soak in Napysan will remove any agricultural stain from cattle crap to grease.
  8. Anything smaller than 80kg is a microorganism - Learned from a cattle lecturer.
  9. Electric fences will ark, do not assume that because you are wearing gloves they won't.
  10. Do not sit on the fence in the foal yard - the cheeky little buggers will bite.
  11. The gate to the feed shed might look like Fort Knox but give it time and the brood mare will find a way to get in.
  12. The house cat can turn the laptop on when it wants something warm to sleep on.
  13. A hanging role of wire makes for an amazing replacement antenna for the radio. - Wonderful reception.
  14. No matter how clean and tidy it looks the dust from the shed will always come back and rest on a strategically placed iPod - Never a good thing.
  15. When the ladder won't reach then the bucket on the tractor generally will.
  16. The mulberry tree next to the stallion paddock is never a good thing for white rugs to be around.
  17. There is not a problem that: Bailing Twine, Gaffa Tape, WD-40 or a 10cm piece of plain wire won't fix (select appropriate, see graphic below)
  18. To a cat, bookwork & assignments is nothing but a distraction or toy.
  19. The only freak wind gusts to hit only occur when you are halfway down the back paddock only to realize you have left the office windows open.
  20. To a horse a flex tub is the greatest toy around.
  21. If you can't remove a stubborn steel picket, the combi bucket on the tractor is always a valid option.
  22. If the road to town is flooded then a tractor is a valid way to get into town for a beer - I have seen this, I kid you not.
  23. The gate on the hayshed presents a great challenge to the cattle & horses, one which they will readily accept and find a way to win.
  24. Mulching the front gardens with scrap hay is never a good thing if you have cattle that like exploring.
  25. Horses don't prune, they readily mulch.

For another great read, try The Farmers Way of Life: Golden Rules of Farming Parts 1-5 (http://farmerswayoflife.blogspot.com/2011/09/golden-rules-of-farming-part-5.html)

 Source: Facebook- Dodgy Technicians

Friday, September 9, 2011

Photo Friday: Week #3 "Zoom Zoom"- 9th September 2011

Ever wondered what your friendly crustaceans or other little critter look like REALLY up close and personal?
Well this week I got the chance to see just that when I was let loose on a Scanning Electron Microscope (Under guidance from the terrific team at the AARC) to image a claw of a small crustacean.
This image was taken as a composite and is actually two images blended together to form one image. To get this level of details in the image the sample that is submitted for analysis was actually covered in gold.

Here's the finished results:

The final image sizing is indicated by the sizing on the scale-bar. Bearing in mind the original specimen was slightly smaller than my thumbnail the limb has provided some stunning imaging opportunities.

Thursday, September 8, 2011

It's that time of the semester....

Mid semester exams have arrived and have hit......
Sorry for the lack of posts lately, once I've gotten over the exams and back into the swing of things all should return to normal.
Until then.......
Source: http://www.garfield.com/

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