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Rural News

Next phase in Varroa mite response turns to wild European honeybees

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Next phase in Varroa mite response turns to wild European honeybees

The next stage in the fight to keep NSW Varroa mite free starts next week, with the commencement of destruction of wild European honeybees in the red eradication zone of Jerry’s Plains, in the Hunter region of NSW.

NSW Department of Primary Industries (NSW DPI) Chief Plant Protection Officer Dr Satendra Kumar said ensuring wild European honeybees are removed from the red eradication zones is the next significant step as part of the national Varroa mite response plan.

“Wild European honeybees, which are the same species as honeybees kept in managed hives, build their nests in tree hollows and other enclosed spaces,” said Dr Kumar.

“Removing these bees from the environment of red zones is necessary to reduce any chance of the Varroa mite parasite existing undetected within wild hives.”

Dr Kumar said the baiting program has been developed to include strict guidelines to protect and ensure the safety of all people, animals, livestock, and the local environment.

“NSW DPI has been authorised by the Australian Pesticides and Veterinary Medicines Authority to use fipronil to remove wild European honeybees.

“The bait stations are designed to exclude other animals and insects, and to prevent contamination of soil and water.

“Bait stations will remain in place for up to 12 months, but only in active use with insecticide for very short periods of time, to a maximum of 3 hours each session.

“During active use, bait stations will be monitored by trained staff, to minimise the risk of off-target impacts. Trials to date have shown zero feeding in stations by off target species.”

Dr Kumar said bait stations are placed at least 2 kms away from the edges of the red eradication emergency zones to prevent attracting honeybees from outside zones.

“To reduce the risk of bees in the purple zone being affected by this baiting program, there will be a minimum 2km buffer area between bait stations and from the edge of the purple surveillance emergency zone, to reduce the risk of European honeybees from outside the eradication zone interacting with the bait stations.”

Beekeepers in red eradication emergency zones in the Hunter, Nana Glen, and Narrabri areas whose hives have been euthanised continue to be eligible for compensation.

“We have heard from beekeepers working with our response teams, that the application process for reimbursement is a smooth process and is working well,” Dr Kumar said.

“I strongly encourage any beekeepers in those zones to make sure they’re a registered beekeeper in NSW.

“In line with the program guidelines set by the NSW Rural Assistance Authority, only registered beekeepers will be eligible for reimbursement.

“We don’t want beekeepers in the red eradication zone to miss out.”

Planning and preparation of the baiting program has been conducted by NSW DPI in consultation with the Environment Protection Authority and NSW National Parks and Wildlife Service.

NSW DPI has also worked closely with industry representatives of the Australian Honeybee Industry Council, NSW Apiarists’ Association, Amateur Beekeepers Australia and the Australian Native Bee Association.

More information on the NSW DPI Varroa mite emergency response can be found at www.dpi.nsw.gov.au/varroa.

Local News

Reflections Holidays and OzFish Embark on NSW Community Roadshow Partnership

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Reflections Holidays and OzFish Embark on NSW Community Roadshow Partnership

 

Reflections Holidays, the premier holiday park and adventure camping group in NSW, has initiated a statewide roadshow to announce its collaboration with OzFish and unveil its refreshed identity.

Marking a pioneering partnership between Reflections, the sole holiday park group in Australia certified as a social enterprise, and OzFish, the nation’s sole fishing conservation charity, this alliance aims to identify projects enhancing fish habitats within Reflections Holiday parks across NSW.

Kicking off the roadshow at Byron Bay Reflections on Wednesday, April 3, Reflections CEO Nick Baker and OzFish Director of Habitat Programs Cassie Price launched the tour, which will traverse south along the coast to Eden and inland to engage Reflections parks and communities in promoting the OzFish program.

With the objective of aiding recreational anglers and communities in enhancing the health of rivers, lakes, and estuaries, Reflections will facilitate ‘voluntourism’ at its parks, inviting OzFish to conduct programs for habitat restoration, waterway cleanup, and sustainable angling education for future generations.

OzFish CEO Craig Copeland expressed the charity’s commitment to empowering fishers to play an active role in preserving their beloved fishing spots. “Through partnerships and community engagement, we aim to drive positive change, fostering healthier waterways and enhanced fishing experiences,” said Copeland.

Mr. Baker affirmed that the OzFish partnership would be implemented across Reflections’ 40 holiday parks, campgrounds, and 45 nature reserves across NSW.

“By leveraging OzFish’s expertise in fishing conservation, we can make a tangible difference by encouraging anglers to safeguard our waterways and initiating projects in areas requiring assistance,” Baker stated.

Celebrating a decade of operation, Reflections unveils its refreshed brand identity, transitioning from Reflections Holiday Parks to ‘Reflections Holidays.’ This rebrand underscores the company’s commitment to reimagining camping, fostering nature-centric experiences for guests, and preserving the land under its stewardship.

“Our new identity advocates for reconnecting with nature, enjoying outdoor experiences with loved ones, and contributing to the community,” Baker explained. “While we’re renowned for our campsites in stunning NSW locales, we also oversee vital community reserves, reinvesting profits to maintain these spaces for future generations.”

Reflecting on Reflections’ economic contributions, Baker highlighted a $121.5 million boost to the NSW visitor economy in the 12 months to January 31. Moreover, the company allocated $18.5 million to park renovations during the same period, benefiting both local communities and tourists.

As Reflections anticipates a 15% increase in tourist revenue in FY24, recent data from the Caravan and Camping Industry Association NSW reveal a record-breaking 5 million visitor nights recorded in the state in the 12 months to September 2023.

 

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Local News

NSW taskforce takes action to destroy tropical soda apple

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NSW taskforce takes action to destroy tropical soda apple

 

Farmers, land managers and the environment are set to benefit from the NSW Tropical Soda Apple Taskforce’s new best practice manual URL following the launch in Coffs Harbour. 

North Coast Regional Weeds Coordinator, Ashley Donges said the new manual supports the NSW Tropical Soda Apple Strategic Plan.

“The plan is to suppress, destroy and contain existing tropical soda apple infestations and rapidly eradicate all new incursions of this insidious weed,” Ashley said.

“It’s important we all work together to control and contain tropical soda apple as it has the potential to spread in coastal regions of NSW and Queensland and inland through cattle movements.”

“This new manual shows you how to identify the weed and what to do if you find it, how to control and dispose of the weed and how to stop its spread when selling, buying and transporting livestock or moving vehicles, fodder and machinery.”

The manual is a collaborative initiative delivered by the NSW Government, including NSW DPI, Local Land Services, National Parks and Wildlife Service and the Forestry Corporation of NSW, with NSW Farmers, Queensland Government, Rous County, Clarence Valley, Coffs Harbour City, Bellingen Shire, Nambucca Valley, Kempsey Shire, Port Macquarie Hastings, Tenterfield Shire and Midcoast councils and the New England Weeds Authority.

Tropical soda apple is subject to a state-wide Biosecurity (Tropical Soda Apple) Control Order 2022 under the NSW Biosecurity Act 2015.

The best practice manual gives landowners information they can use to meet the requirements of the control order.

Landowners and occupiers must keep their land free from the weed and prevent further germination.

They need to ensure no part of a tropical soda apple plant which could produce a new plant, including stems, leaves, fruit, and seeds, is moved off their land, which includes movement by machinery, fodder and livestock.

Solanum viarum, is an aggressive, prickly, perennial shrub which has invaded areas from the Hunter to Northern NSW.

It invades open to semi-shaded areas, pastures and riparian zones, forests, roadsides, recreational areas, and horticultural and cropping areas. It reduces biodiversity by displacing native plants and disrupting ecological processes.

The weed grows in thorny thickets, creating physical barriers to prevent animals from accessing shade and water, hosts diseases and pests of cultivated crops and contains solasodine, which is poisonous to people.

For more information visit here.

 

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Marquis Macadamias Reveals Uplifted 2024 Price Strategy and Shareholder Dividends

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Marquis Macadamias Reveals Uplifted 2024 Price Strategy and Shareholder Dividends

 

Following the strategic restructuring that led to Marquis Macadamias Australia parting ways with its South African partner, the prominent player in the Macadamia industry disclosed its 2024 Notional Price Offer at the end of March.

The 2024 Notional Price was set at $3.20/kg, considering a 33% Premium Kernel Recovery and 10% moisture content, marking a significant increase from the 2023 Notional Price of $1.80/kg (which included a $0.10/kg Shareholder NIS bonus). Despite this increase, Marquis acknowledges the price is still lower than what is required on a long-term basis to maintain a healthy industry.

The boost in the 2024 Notional Price has been attributed to the combined impact of the improved selling prices and the marginally weaker Australian dollar, which has bolstered the valuation of exports.

“As part of our strategic efforts to elevate returns for our Shareholders, Marquis Macadamias is seising every opportunity, with a renewed focus on markets that appreciate the premium quality of Australian macadamias,” said CEO Ben Adams. “The company recognises that the pace of recovery in farm gate prices is slower than desired. Hence, it is committed to enhancing operational efficiencies and diversifying the product range to optimise Shareholder value.”, concludes Mr Adams.

Marquis has also introduced a “Variety Bonus” of $0.05/kg for growers delivering segregated A203 suitable for the Chinese NIS market, rewarding the extra effort in segregation through the harvest, processing, and transportation phases. This bonus is slated for end-of-season payment.

Mr. Adams shared insights on the sales dynamics, “Our Sales Team has reached a substantial increase in sales value for both Kernel and In-Shell products, although with slightly extended negotiations due to the revised pricing structure in 2024.”

During the 2024 Season Opening Sessions held in Lismore and Bundaberg at the end of March, Clayton Mattiazzi, Marquis Board Director and Chair, announced that a dividend of $1.00 per share will be paid to all Ordinary-class Shareholders in April.

“Our priority is to maximise returns to our Shareholders,” Mr Mattiazzi stated. “The $1.00 per share dividend reflects Marquis’ strong performance despite the adversities encountered during the 2023 Season. Thanks to increased sales and decreased inventory, the company finished the financial year in a strong working capital position, which permits the distribution of dividends to Shareholders.”

In light of an anticipated increase in the Australian crop, with forecasts suggesting an annual production of 60,000 tonnes, Marquis is expanding its intake this Season, including NIS from non-shareholders. For individuals interested in becoming a Marquis Shareholder or supplier, the company directs them to their official website for more information.

 

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