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Rural News

Australian Plague Locust (Chortoicetes terminifera)

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Australian Plague Locust (Chortoicetes terminifera)

The locust population was likely to have remained at low levels across inland eastern Australia – except for southern parts where some medium-level populations were identified. Limited surveys in January identified Concentration-density adults in the Buckalow area of New South Wales, plus Numerous-density adults in the Orroroo area of South Australia and the Weethalle area of NSW. Isolated – Scattered-density adults were detected in south-western parts of the SA North East Pastoral district, and in the NSW Riverina and Central West districts. Only occasional Present-density nymphs were identified in the NSW Riverina district. No surveys were conducted in January in other regions due to persistent widespread flooding and adverse weather. The light traps at Dulkaninna (SA), Fowlers Gap and White Cliffs (NSW) did not capture any locusts during January. Thought, the Insect Monitoring Radar in Hay (NSW) detected several nights of short-range migration in mid-January, reflecting some a general redistribution of spring-generation adults. Several reports of locust banding activity have been received from the Berrigan and Deniliquin areas of NSW and the Durham Ox area of Victoria since mid-January.
January rainfall ranged from 5 mm in south-western parts to over 150 mm in north-eastern parts of inland eastern Australia, with less than 50 mm rainfall received across much of the arid/semi-arid inland, generally reflecting average to above average levels. January temperatures were above average levels across the arid inland but below average levels over the north-eastern parts of the inland, within the range of ±2 degrees. The slowly weakening La Niña has been influencing inland areas especially in Queensland. Below average rainfall and cooler temperatures are likely for February, but average rainfall and warmer temperatures are expected for March and April.
The outlook for February to April is for a low – moderate population increase up to medium density levels. Some localised areas of higher density are possible from current low background populations in the arid and semi-arid interior areas plus persistent medium – high-density populations in southern parts of inland eastern Australia. Further medium density populations are possible after any successful breeding in the northern and north-eastern parts of inland areas.
Localised bands of summer generation nymphs will continue to develop in the southern portion of inland eastern Australia. Some small bands may also develop in the arid/semi-arid inland areas. Summer generation adults should continue fledging from now on in southern parts, with overlapping generation adults likely to appear in the interior. Redistribution by nocturnal migration and daytime dispersal is likely to occur in the inland areas from now until mid-April.
There is a low-moderate likelihood of region-wide infestations developing in the southern portion of inland eastern Australia during February to April. Widespread high-density infestations are unlikely between now and mid-autumn.

Spur-throated Locust (Austracris guttulosa)

The overall population was likely to have remained at low to medium levels. Limited surveys in January in southern parts of inland eastern Australia identified only Isolated-density adults in the South Australia areas and the Riverina district of New South Wales. The light trap at White Cliffs (NSW) captured only a single locust in late January, but neither the light trap at Dulkaninna (SA) nor at Fowlers Gaps (NSW) caught any locusts in January. Though, suitable habitat conditions will encourage localised breeding that could still result in medium density populations.
There is a low-moderate risk of a widespread medium density infestation. Some localised high-density infestations may develop in Queensland between now and mid-autumn.

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Migratory Locust (Locusta migratoria)

The population was likely to have remained at a very low level. Limited surveys in January in southern parts of inland eastern Australia did not detect any migratory locusts. Localised breeding should continue under favourable habitat conditions, especially in subtropical Queensland areas. Nevertheless, high-density infestations are unlikely to result from the current very low background population level.
There is a very low risk of a widespread infestation developing between now and mid-autumn.

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Last call on senators to vote NO on the Biosecurity Levy and #ScraptheTax

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Last call on senators to vote NO on the Biosecurity Levy and #ScraptheTax

 

As the Biosecurity Protection Levy looms for consideration in the senate today, the National Farmers’ Federation (NFF) issues a final, impassioned plea to senators, underscoring the critical importance of standing in solidarity with Australian farmers and decisively voting to #ScraptheTax.

NFF President David Jochinke conveys a sense of urgency, acknowledging the persistent threat posed by the levy’s potential passage, despite months of concerted opposition from within the agricultural sector and throughout the broader supply chain.

Expressing profound dismay, Jochinke laments the apparent disconnect between the government’s stance and the genuine concerns voiced by farmers nationwide. He emphasises the government’s failure to engage in meaningful dialogue, address substantive issues, or heed the resounding call to reconsider this deeply unpopular policy.

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In a remarkable display of unity, the NFF and its extensive membership, representing the full spectrum of Australia’s agricultural commodities, have mobilised to send an unequivocal message: the Biosecurity Levy is unjust, ill-conceived, and detrimental to the livelihoods of Australian farmers.

Jochinke further underscores the troubling disregard exhibited by the government towards expert advice, including recommendations from reputable bodies such as the Productivity Commission and the Australian National University. He highlights the levy’s potential to confer a competitive advantage to foreign competitors, while burdening local farmers with unnecessary financial constraints.

With a rallying cry, the NFF implores senators, particularly those from the Greens and the cross bench, to heed the voices of farmers and independent experts alike. They call upon the senate to fulfil its vital role as a check on rushed and flawed policy initiatives, emphasising the imperative of thorough scrutiny and critical evaluation.

In essence, the NFF’s message to the senate is clear: Australian farmers deserve better. By voting to #ScraptheTax, senators have the opportunity to demonstrate their unwavering support for the agricultural sector and uphold the interests of the communities they represent.

For more background on the Biosecurity Protection Levy click here.

 

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Don’t Miss Out! Early Bird Tickets Now on Sale for the 2024 AgriFutures Rural Women’s Award Gala Dinner & National Announcement

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Don’t Miss Out! Early Bird Tickets Now on Sale for the 2024 AgriFutures Rural Women’s Award Gala Dinner & National Announcement

 

The National Winner and Runner Up of the 2024 AgriFutures Rural Women’s Award will be announced at a Gala Dinner at the Great Hall, Parliament House in Canberra on Tuesday, 20 August 2024. The prestigious event celebrates female-led ingenuity in the regions. 

The AgriFutures Rural Women’s Award, with the support of platinum sponsor Westpac, showcases the critical role women play in rural, regional and remote businesses, industries and communities.

The annual Gala Dinner is an opportunity to celebrate the forward-thinking, courageous leaders who come from industries across some of the remote areas of Australia, including each of the State and Territory winners, Kate Lamason (QLD), Rebecca Keeley (NSW/ACT), Grace Larson (VIC), Belle Binder (TAS), Nikki Atkinson (SA), Mandy Walker (WA) and Tanya Egerton (NT).

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2023 AgriFutures Rural Women’s Award National Winner Nikki Davey will be the event MC with the black-tie evening attended by award alumni, government officials, industry and private sector representatives and media.

The event is open to the public to purchase tickets here.

AgriFutures Managing Director John Harvey said the long-running Award is a salute to the wonderful contribution that Australian women are making in the regions.

“The Gala Dinner is an event that champions the remarkable contributions of the 2024 cohort and is an opportunity to honour these extraordinary women who are the pillars of our rural and regional industries, businesses, and communities,” Mr Harvey said.

Background Information

Now in its 24th year, the AgriFutures Rural Women’s Award has gained a significant profile, growing in prestige and popularity, and is recognised as a program of influence among parliamentarians, industry, media and Award Alumni.

Each state and territory winner receives a $15,000 grant for their project, business or program, access to professional development opportunities and alumni networks.

The National Winner and Runner Up will receive an additional grant of $20,000 and $15,000, respectively, thanks to the awards platinum sponsor, Westpac.

AgriFutures Australia is committed to the future growth and advancement of the Award as a means of identifying, celebrating and empowering women. The Rural Women’s Award is one of many AgriFutures Australia initiatives ensuring our rural industries prosper now, and into the future.

For more information about the awards, head here.

 

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Better be-leaf it: celebrating International Day of Plant Health

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Better be-leaf it: celebrating International Day of Plant Health

 

In commemoration of the International Day of Plant Health on May 12, 2024, the Department of Agriculture, Fisheries, and Forestry is spotlighting the significance of regional collaboration in safeguarding plant health.

Regional achievements in plant health will be lauded during the Plant Biosecurity Research Initiative (PBRI) Symposium, a two-day event held at the Cairns Convention Centre on May 8 and 9. The symposium aims to foster better coordination among industry stakeholders, researchers, and governments to protect plant health.

Gabrielle Vivian-Smith, Australia’s Chief Plant Protection Officer, emphasises the critical role of plants in sustaining our region’s ecosystems. She underscores the staggering impact of plant pests and diseases, which annually result in the loss of 40% of food crops globally, with rural communities bearing the brunt. Vivian-Smith highlights the department’s commitment to research and innovation to combat these challenges and support farmers’ livelihoods.

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One notable initiative involves researching the efficacy of ethyl formate in controlling the khapra beetle at Australian borders, alongside collaborative efforts with the Queensland government to mitigate seasonal incursions of exotic fruit fly. Additionally, the department is enhancing biosecurity measures domestically and fostering partnerships with neighbouring countries to ensure regional plant health.

Recent endeavour’s include departmental visits to ‘high-biosecurity-risk’ sites in Honiara, where collaboration with Solomon Islands’ counterparts facilitated the detection of exotic plant pest threats. Furthermore, Papua New Guinea’s National Agriculture and Quarantine Inspection Authority will host biosecurity officers from Solomon Islands to exchange insights on target pests and surveillance techniques, aligning with the department’s Pacific Biosecurity Strategy.

The PBRI symposium will encompass diverse topics such as varroa mites in honeybees, the Indigenous Ranger Biosecurity Program, and biosecurity risks in the wine industry.

In addition to acknowledging regional achievements, it’s worth noting that the United Nations designated May 12 as the International Day of Plant Health in 2022, emphasising the vital role of plants in sustaining life on Earth. With plants contributing 80% of the food humans consume and generating 98% of the oxygen we breathe, safeguarding their health is paramount for global well-being.

 

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