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The Northern Rivers Times News Edition 107
The Northern Rivers Times | NSW Northern Rivers News
The Northern Rivers Times Rural News Edition 107
The Northern Rivers Times News Edition 107
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Rural News

FARMING FORWARD TO BUILD RESILIENCE, SUSTAINABILITY AND PRODUCTIVITY

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FARMING FORWARD TO BUILD RESILIENCE, SUSTAINABILITY AND

PRODUCTIVITY

Farmers across NSW will be able to better manage drought, increase productivity and improve sustainability under the NSW Government’s Farming Forward program.

Minister for Agriculture Dugald Saunders said Farming Forward will run over the next year or two, delivering three flagship projects focusing on planning and preparedness, enhanced soil health and best practice animal production.

“Over the past four years, farmers have done it tough, whether it’s been dealing with the worst drought on record, bushfires or devastating floods,” Mr Saunders said.

“As a government, our priority has been supporting landholders through these challenging times, but we also need to look at how we can drive sustainable growth and boost resilience in our
agricultural industries.

“The Farming Forward program is an exciting initiative to help build more profitable, productive and sustainable practices by helping farmers invest in drought preparedness and planning, soils
intelligence, and livestock production”.

As part of the Farming Forward program, Local Land Services will deliver a series of workshops and extension services including:
• Drought preparedness workshops to help producers understand their current enterprise capacity and how to manage it through drought.
• Soil intelligence testing programs and soil health workshops to educate landholders on soil constraints, nutrient requirements and moisture to optimise pasture and crop growth.
• Pro-graze and Tactical Grazing Management courses to boost technical knowledge and practical skills in livestock production.

Mr Saunders said farmers in NSW will always look for new opportunities to improve their production systems.

“Our industry can move forward in light years by investing in these key areas.”

“Drought preparedness and boosting livestock production are both no regrets investments and soil health is critical to growing clean green produce.

“We want to look after every arable clump of arable soil in NSW to get the best results for our farmers.

“I am excited to launch the Farming Forward Program and encourage farmers from across to state to take up the opportunities through Local Land Services to get stuck into new ways to improve their farming systems,” Mr Saunders said.

For more information visit www.lls.nsw.gov.au/farming-forward or contact your closest Local
Land Services office on 1300 795 299.

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Rural News

Varroa tracing confirms additional detections

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NSW Northern Rivers Breaking News

Varroa tracing confirms additional detections

NSW Department of Primary Industries (NSW DPI) Varroa mite tracing and surveillance work has confirmed two new detections of Varroa, as field officers continue hive inspections with beekeepers across the state.

This brings the total number of infected premises to 64 since Varroa mite was first identified during routine surveillance at the Port of Newcastle on 22 June.

NSW DPI Deputy Chief Plant Protection Officer Chris Anderson said the new detections at One Mile and Anna Bay fall within existing emergency zones.

“Having conducted significant surveillance around the edges of the most affected eradication zone around Newcastle, we are confident that we have a clearer picture of the current spread of varroa mite,” he said.

“We have now refocused our efforts on tracing and euthanising hives within this zone, which has led to an increased number of detections in recent days.”

“The good news is that all the confirmed cases either have clear links to existing cases or are geographically linked through the movement of hives or equipment, which continues to give us confidence we are on the right track.”

DPI’s response plan for the eradication of Varroa mite in NSW follows a strategy agreed between the apiary industry, NSW DPI, neighbouring jurisdictions and the Commonwealth.

“Along with staff from Local Land Services, the National Parks and Wildlife Service, the NSW Environment Protection Authority, the apiary industry and horticulture industry, NSW DPI has made significant progress in reducing the risk of any further spread of Varroa mite,” Dr Anderson said.

Australia is the only major honey producing country free from varroa mite, the most serious pest of honeybees worldwide.

More information is available from www.dpi.nsw.gov.au/varroa.

 

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Rural News

Red zone expanded due to new Varroa detections

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NSW Northern Rivers Breaking News

Red zone expanded due to new Varroa detections

NSW Department of Primary Industries (NSW DPI) Varroa mite tracing and surveillance work has confirmed three new detections of Varroa mite, as field officers continue hive inspections with beekeepers across the state.

Two new detections near Salt Ash and another at Butterwick in the Port Stephens LGA brings the total number of infested premises to 59 since Varroa mite was first identified during routine surveillance at the Port of Newcastle on 22 June.

NSW DPI Chief Plant Protection Officer Satendra Kumar said the new infested hives fall within an existing red zone, but with a new biosecurity order being made, the eradication zone around the Butterwick detection will expand slightly to the west.

“NSW DPI has put significant measures in place to arrest the spread of the threat any further and has been working with apiary industry bodies and stakeholders to ensure all 13,000 registered commercial and recreational beekeepers in the State are up to date with the latest information,” Mr Kumar said.

“We are continuing to work closely with the apiary and horticultural industries to ensure beekeepers are able to manage their hives to prevent swarming as the weather warms up and that they can safely move hives for pollination.

“It’s critical that we take every precaution to ensure the threat is contained, but it’s also vital that the industry is able to safely continue operations where possible so that beekeepers and producers can maintain their businesses.”

Australia is the only major honey producing country free from varroa mite, the most serious pest of honeybees worldwide.

Beekeepers work side-by-side with government as part of Australia’s early warning system to detect exotic honeybee pests, the National Bee Pest Surveillance Program, which includes surveillance hives and catch boxes at strategic locations around our ports and airports.

More information is available from NSW DPI: https://www.dpi.nsw.gov.au/varroa

 

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Rural News

Port bottlenecks holding Australia back

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NSW Northern Rivers Breaking News

Port bottlenecks holding Australia back

The state’s peak farming organisation has warned Australia will be left behind without significant improvement and investment in freight infrastructure at Port Botany.

NSW Farmers President Xavier Martin said access to export markets was critical for farmers, but high port charges, poor rail quality and port bottlenecks were limiting Australia’s competitiveness.

“Agricultural industries are an economic dynamo in New South Wales, but we’re being outpaced by other countries because of the situation at our ports,” Mr Martin said.

“We have three ports and we need to get them up to scratch; look at Port Botany, at the eastern end of the country’s biggest city, it can’t take big trains and requires trucks to travel Sydney’s congested roads – that’s hardly a recipe for success.

“Our members grow food and fibre and want to get it to market, but they’re held back by these issues that need urgent attention.

In a submission to the Port Botany Landside Improvement Strategy, NSW Farmers highlighted the fact our farmers produce more than $17 billion worth of food and fibre every year, or around 25 per cent of total national production, and contribute significantly to the state’s total exports. Data from the NSW Department of Primary Industries shows primary industries exports increased by 17 per cent to $6.6 billion in 2020-21. But without significant improvement in the rail access to and operations at Port Botany, supply chain challenges will increase over time and reduce the competitiveness of NSW grain exports.

“We need the NSW Government to continue to regulate access until there are significant improvements, and only consider increasing fees if services improve and costs reduce,” Mr Martin said.

“There needs to be a priority for the regional freight that drives so much economic activity, and I think there’s a role for the state government here in removing the roadblocks to future success.

“Ultimately we want to see more efficient, more cost-effective freight options for farmers, because that will have benefits for everyone.”

At the recent annual conference, NSW Farmers members voted to advocate for priority access for rail food freight, and more efficient port access.

“There was a real sense in the room that farmers want to get on with the business of farming without having to worry about these transport bottlenecks,” Mr Martin said.

“We’re really pleased to see the Port of Newcastle invest in mobile harbour cranes and move into the container trade – this is a common sense move in the right direction.

“The state government needs to embrace every opportunity to improve freight efficiency so we can take the handbrake off agriculture and grow our economy.”

 

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