Tuesday, May 26, 2015

This Week In Agriculture

It has been so long since I have posted on the blog that it was starting to feel a bit unloved. So I've applied a fresh coat of paint and am steadily revamping everything.

Once of the new challenges I have set myself is to do a weekly discussion on the Week that was in Agriculture. I'll be updating with my take on the weeks events of the week on all matters agricultural - I am also aiming to do some guest spots and commentary from the U.S.A. when I head over there later this year.

I'll post the main discussion on this page and update the page tab up the top each week so you can see the back catalogue of entries.....

Stay Tuned & Watch this Space!

Sunday, June 16, 2013

Dairy: It's Legendairy Stuff!

Being at a University that is essentially a working farm is one of the best experiences I can possibly have. I wake in the morning and am greeted by the smell of the silage pits and to me that is as good (some may beg to differ) as saying Welcome Home!
One of the best aspects is having a dairy facility on campus. Campus life is wonderful, but when you want to escape it all there is nothing better than going down and watching and learning at the dairy! Whether it be going for a walk to look at the calves in the paddocks by the Ring Road or volunteering to do a session milking the cows, there is nothing better than it. And when you need it the dairy proves to be a welcome distraction from study!
The Australian dairy Industry doesn't just support me in my endeavor to learn and graduate, it supports everyone, every day! From that glass of Milk you have in the morning, to the cheese and crackers you have for morning tea it: is there every day supporting us! I think it's time we give back. Popular CBS TV Show How I Met Your Mother Character Barney Stinson has many catch phrases of varying notoriety. One of the most popular is his phrase "this is going to be legen - wait for it - dary!".

Source: Devinatart ("Southern Designer") - click HERE for page

How this ties in is just recently Dairy Australia started a campaign to take the dairy industry from being just Legendary to LegenDAIRY. The Legendairy program aims at showing what an awesome (yet another Barney Stinson quote) part that Dairy plays in our lives, and in particular The Australian Dairy Industry.

Heres a few tips on how to show your appreciation:
  • Do Your Homework - Whatever brand is suited to you have a look at it, and support your local farmers that supply it.
  • Support Legendairy - If you find a legendairy dairy don't be afraid to tell people about it, jump on Facebook (yes it has hashtags now), twitter, instagram, whatever and make sure you tell people about it don't forget to put a #legendairy at the end.
  • BUY AUSTRALIAN! - Australia has some amazing dairy products available, many of which are made right here in Australia! Make sure you support YOUR Aussie brands by buying them at the checkout!
  • Thank A Farmer - If you know a farmer - don't be afraid to go up to them and thank them! They work from sunrise to often past sunset, there wouldn't be a person or a farmer that I know that it wouldn't make their day if someone came up and said thank you!
  • Check out the Dairy Australia Page on Facebook, Twitter and YouTube.

Here's the new video which has started it all:

  • "Southern Designer" (Deviant Art) - click HERE for page
  • Dairy Australia YouTube - click HERE for videos
  • CBS's How I Met Your Mother Airs Nationally on the 7 Network.

Thursday, June 6, 2013

The lengths some will go to...

I was reading through some news bulletins this evening at half time whist watching the State of Origin game (one of the few luxuries I allow myself during Swot-Vac) and came across this story whilst reading through the news-feed on Twitter:

Source: The Land (Fairfax Agricultural Media)
Full Story can be read HERE

It got me thinking about the lengths some people go to, and what they will do to get what they view to be "a good story". The purpose of this post is not to critique the article that has been printed in the land as on the majority it is a fairly balanced piece taking into account both sides of the story.
Now being a University Student I don't pretend for a second to think that I know all about Pig Farming operations, but one of the biggest things I have learned with regards to farming operations of any nature is the need for a quarantine (or biosecurity as it is commonly referred to as) system to be in place. Some industry like the pig and chicken industries use much more stringent protocols than other industries.The primary method of application for these systems is to minimize the chances of exposure to foreign material that could otherwise cause detrimental effects to the well being of animals.
In the case of the pig industry this is often a system that begins at the front gate whereby operations access is only available to that farms staff or those visitors that have not had exposure to pigs from other herds or been to other quarantinable areas (such as overseas trips or other farms). This time frame is usually set by the managing body and can range from 2 days to 2 weeks quarantine before access to the farm is granted.
Other protocols include wash down facilities for vehicles or designated parking areas and internal transport options.
Once on site general biosecurity protocol dictates that ALL clothing is removed and stored in the "non-clean" area and that you shower for a designated period of time to access the "clean" area. In this area employees are provided with a full change of clothes including undergarments (usually consists of socks, underwear and overalls + undershirts/jackets for colder months). Once changed into the piggery attire the employee is not permitted access to the "unclean" area unless they remove all of their garments  and shower out to access the other area. 
This is a very basic overview of bio-security systems. Some farms possess very complicated systems, but all are based on this standard system.
I find it interesting that Animal Welfare activists could risk jeopardising the health and well being of the very animals that they are trying to so called "protect". By what would seem blatantly ignoring the signs that clearly indicated they should not be in these areas without the proper permission and authorities. Never mind the fact that alone their actions are considered trespass and breaking and entering and there are people who consider this action to be commendable. A suggestion to compare this to: How would you feel if someone snuck in. during the dead of night, ignored all the warning signs that said your house was private and installed cameras to "monitor" you or your family? Feel like your privacy has been invaded? Now consider if you were in hospital, in a quarantine area and someone did the same - ignored all the signs and potentially brought in something that although they thought it was a simple sniffle, turned out be something much worse and threatened your well being? A bit scary isn't it? Well that's a simple analogy of what has happened here.
Another problem with entering these facilities without undertaking the proper protocols (IE- actually seeking permission in the first place from the owners/management staff.) is the fact that many piggeries (and other industries) require a biosecurity protocol that has to be followed for the purposes of their export market. Many farms (this may or may not apply to the farm in this case) require this chain of controls to maintain their contracts with buyers as this presents assurances that the product is fit for market. Illegally entering a facility of this nature is not only potentially compromising the wellbeing of the animals it is also compromising the ability of the enterprise to sell their product - again this ONLY applies in certain cases and differs depending on the market, and without further information is hard to determine in this case.

Instead of breaking into facilities to illegally install video recording equipment, here's a simple suggestion - Why not give the farm a call? If you are up front about it from the beginning some farms will be more than willing to talk to you. Or by doing a little research on company websites you can gain an understanding of how they work.
Now many farms have a no camera policy and the reason behind this is images can tell many different stories. Without explanation the image something as simple as a farmer assisting a cow (or any animal for that matter) to give birth could be misconstrued or even warped and tailored to appear to be something completely different. No producer likes the public to have the wrong story that is why they don't want footage released without the proper explanation of what is occurring so that the viewer is aware of what is occurring. It's easy to use tactics of shock value to influence a viewer into seeing what you want them to see if you don't explain it properly.

In summary I find the contempt displayed by these activists to be unsettling as it has not only jeopardised the health and well being of the herd, it has also potentially affected the trading of the company in question and the actions employed by the activists are quite simply AGAINST THE LAW. Trespass and Break & Enter are offences which can result in arrest and potential prosecutions against both the individual and the organization that they are representing. The instalation of recording equipment in Private Property by an unauthoaurised or non government group is also against the law and again can result in potential prosecution.
Generally speaking if you want to know about a husbandry practice that is being undertaken contact a farmer or an industry professional such as an industry group or lecturer/trainer/teacher etc. If you are UP FRONT and clear about why you want to know the information than generally most will be happy to respond.

If you are interested in learning more about farming feel free to check out the Ask An Aussie Farmer Page on Facebook (HERE) and the admin team are generally all too happy to help or point you in the direction of someone who can help.
Source: Ask An Aussie Farmer (Facebook Page)
Full Page Can Be Viewed Here

Saturday, September 1, 2012

You know that you're an Ag Kid when.....

I think the title says it all really. Lately I've been having a lot of those moments that can only be explained by the statement that I'm an Ag Kid.
Here's some of my You Know You're moments....

You know that you're an Ag Kid when......
1. When someone is talking about a Jersey or Guernsey you think breeds of cattle not sports team uniform.

2. When you can't remember your sleeve length for ordering a new shirt on the internet, so you just use the size listed on the side of the Preg Testing Gloves (OB Sleeves) Box.

3. A normal morning getting up at college isn't complete without the smell of fresh sillage from the dairy on the other side of campus.

4. Your college barracking song mentions the word Tractor.

Undoubtedly there will be more of these to come as my time at Uni progresses, keep an eye out and I will update the page regularly.
For some fun in the comments section below tell me one of your best "You know that you're an Ag Kid" moments.

Friday, August 31, 2012

It's Show Time!

A few weeks ago I had the wonderful opportunity to go to the Brisbane Exhibition or Ekka for short.
The Ekka is a true "Country Comes to Town" experience as competitors from all around Queensland and New South Wales battle it out for the coveted Blue Ribbon.

I was lucky enough to spend two nights and three days at this years show and got to see a lot of the Ekka, I brought along the trusty Nikon and snapped over 3000 images over the three days (this led to a lot of processing time, and I don't think my laptop has forgiven me yet!). Here is just a snapshot of the event:

Every morning arriving nice and early to Roma Street Station:

 An Ekka Tradition for Breakfast:
 Scones with Cream and Jam made by the lovely QCWA Ladies with the Courier Mails in the John MacDonald Stand

Off Visiting the Beef & Dairy Pavillions:

Corporate sponsorship played a great role this year in the beef pavillion with McDonalds providing keynote messages throughout the pavillions allowing consumers to be educated on just where their produce comes from. So too did the Dairy industry with their encouragement of consumers to buy branded milk as oposed to home brand due to the impacts that it is having on our Dairy producers.
It was wonderful to see so many taking the time to walk through both these areas gaining an education on where their produce comes from.

A little bit of Horsepower.....

 This year at the Ekka the Hilux Heroes Precision Driving team presented their fantastic "Unbreakable Hilux" demonstrations, putting these machines through their paces as well as supporting a terrific cause in the process.

Horsepower in the more traditional sense....

 Represented at the Ekka are many different types of breeds of horses. Two that took my particular interest this year were the Queensland Mounted who put on a terrific display and of course the heavy horses: which were also very well represented.


 Lunch at Ekka presents itself with many different choices from the classic to the award winning. Left is the classic Strawberry Icecream (it wouldn't be a trip to the Ekka without one) and on the right is the Highland Park Grass fed Eye Fillet 280g MSA graded, Minchinbury NSW, Champion MSA Graded (non Wagyu) Branded Beef of Show and Gold Medal Winner, from the Royal Queensland Steak House Restaurant (here).

Main Arena Puissance Jumping Action

The word "Puissance" I'm told losely translates to: "Really high Jump" (please don't quote me on that one). It involves horse and rider completeing a jumping course with optional fences and a final compulsary fence. The initial optional fences are aimed at warming up the horse before the final compulsary fence is attempted. These are raised in height as the rounds progress with the rider that achieves a fault free round overall taking home the prize.

 Ekka IgNites


 Horseman Guy McLean presenting the "Mates from the Bush" (left) and "Fire Dance" (right). McLean is an impressive horseman who demonstrates some incredible skills with his team of horses.

Back for their nighttime round were the Hilux Heroes, again putting their now clean Hiluxes through their paces. This time Faster, Higher and Harder than their day show.

Rounding out the day was a terrific Pyrotechnics display from Australian company Howard and Sons Pyrotechnics, presenting an amazing array of fireworks timed to a great selection of songs. This year featuring their amazing Fire Jet system just to warm you up a little demonstrating split second fire bursts that literally danced in time with the music.

It's not over yet...


For those that wanted to add a little more action to their day Side Show Alley certainly had a lot on offer this year.

Before you go I'll leave you with one final thought:

These photos are marked as Copywrite to Justin Matthews, however the content contained within them is the intellectual property of their respective owners.

Thursday, July 19, 2012

Some Humour with a Message...

These last few months have seen YouTube give rise to some absolutely terrific Farming Related Parody Songs, so I thought today that I would share them in my blog post.

 But before I do so I thought it would be important to comment on the great work these guys (and many others out there) are doing. By creating and producing the clever videos they are promoting in such a great way agricultural industries and the vital role they have in society. In both these videos they have worked really well on breaking any preconceived misconceptions that consumers have about agriculture and educated them in a fun and humorous way at the same time.
By producing these song parodies these young producers are being great 'agvocates' for their industry helping consumers understand what goes into their product in a fun way at the same time. By engaging with consumers in this way producers are breaking down these preconcieved misconceptions about the industry and promoting it at the same time. As you will see in the videos these groups love their industry, they love working in their industry and are very passionate about educating the public.
Hat's off to these guys for their efforts and I hope to see more videos like this to come!

So enough from me, and on with the show! Here are just two of the many videos out there that have caught my eye:

The Peterson Farm Bros.
I'm Farming & I Grow It

With well over 1 000 000 views this video has certainly taken YouTube by storm. Gaining success not just in America but across the world these gentleman have certainly got a hit on their hands! Going viral in a matter of days and leading to numerous appearances on US television, here is I'm Farming & I Grow It:

You can keep up to date with these guys on their Facebook (here) & YouTube Channels (here) for more news and insights into the production process.

Lil Fred
Farm It Maybe?

This one just popped up in my newsfeed this morning courtesy of some mates from college, the FFA and a few other Ag Industries that I follow on Facebook.
Lil Fred who is only 9yrs old, puts together and stars in these video's together with the help of his brother Justin (18yrs old). Well written and an absolute crack up, sure to be one of the next viral sensations, here is Farm It Maybe?:

Again you can follow Lil Fred on his own YouTube Channel (here) for new and upcoming projects!

Wednesday, July 18, 2012

Wet Winter....

This season has seen a large amount of rain fall for the Winter months this year. This has meant that the gumboots and the drizabone have come in handy a lot this season.

Just today I tipped over 24mm out of the rain gauge, this rain that has fallen in the past 24hrs.

This weather whilst it is great coming into the Spring & Summer seasons is great for buffering our pasture supplies is wreaking havoc with our work schedules and plans and also the temperatures.

So for now I am keeping a close eye on the weather to see when we have some clear days planned....

If it's any consolation for us this week revised climate prediction have indicated the strong liklihood of an el Nino event occuring.
This events results in a drying summer for the Southern Hemisphere and indicates at possible strong rainfall conditions for the Northern Hemisphere.
Check out the QLD Government Long Paddock Website (http://www.longpaddock.qld.gov.au/) for up to date information.
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