Welcome back to Getting the Upper Land, where senior journalist Denis Howard and livestock editor Rebecca Nadge give a rundown of some of the stories featured in the paper. Making news this week:
Agriculture's long held reputation as an industry for "older blokes" is being turned on its head by a surge of young women joining its ranks. The number of young females in the 25- to 34-year-old age group working in the farm sector has jumped 42 per cent in the past 17 years. They now share equal representation in the industry with young men in the same age bracket, whose numbers have also risen.
Rural Fire Service volunteers joined a peaceful protest in Sydney on Monday, in the hope they didn't have to quit the service because of flaws they see in the Rewiring the Nation program. Firefighters and landowners say overhead transmission lines have real safety risks and are concerned that underground lines aren't being considered.
Recent rain has not just freshened up pastures, it's also put a spring in the prices at lamb sales in the past week. As much as 100 millimetres of rain was recorded in the southern half of the state and lighter falls in the north. Wagga Wagga's weekly prime sale led the dearer trend late last week as some heavy lambs lifted as much as 75 cents a kilogram (carcase weight) and topped at 525c/kg or $197 a head. Riverina Livestock Agents director James Tierney, Wagga, said the rain had helped boost prices, but the limited supply of heavier export lambs was also at play.
Deliberately drenching sheep with worms has brought some promising results for a Victorian producer. Matt Kelly, Low Footprint Lamb, Croxton East, introduced chemical-naive worms to his maternal shedding composites Nudie breeding operation. Over the span of three years he has been able to change chemical resistance from an original worm population to chemical naive worms, with "ewes going from one drench per year at lamb marking to no drench at all".
Maximising profit through maternal efficiency will be the focus for 2024 Nuffield Scholar Jack Courts of Wellington. Mr Courts, who is a farm manager at Mumblebone Merinos while also running his own Santa Gertrudis stud, will travel overseas and visit a number of cattle and sheep operations and meet industry representatives. He believes the industry has great potential to improve survival rates in lambs and calves.
Balancing spring lambing with dry times will involve careful nutrition planning, a solid pregnancy scanning program and being mindful of ewes' body condition, consultants say. With dry weather conditions biting in many parts of Australia, producers are finding themselves in the position of balancing spring lambing with supplemental feeding.
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