From the editor

Welcome to issue # 342 of the Katherine Rural Review (KRR).

Moving forward, the Department of Primary Industry and Resources (DPIR) is looking to an exciting new format for delivering Northern Territory (NT) pastoral industry news – watch this space!

The end of the wet season in Katherine was no more exciting than the beginning, with very disappointing and patchy falls. Katherine experienced the driest wet season to date with only 457mm falling at the Tindal rain gauge. This compares with around 800mm of rain in the 2018-19 season and equates to just 41.9% of the long term Katherine average rainfall of 1103mm.

Staff in the Livestock Biosecurity Branch continued to be busy with preparedness activity in the exotic disease control and quarantine space. In the last quarter, this has involved dump and swill-feeding audits as part of African swine fever preparedness, and training workshops for producers, veterinarians and livestock industry staff around ongoing vigilance and surveillance in animal health. The outbreak of a novel coronavirus this year has lately taken all of our attention, and has brought the work of animal health professionals into sharp focus. There is currently specific and urgent attention towards work done in the One Health space, which looks at links between human and animal diseases. Read on to find out more in the Livestock Biosecurity news.

Producers will be aware of the important role played by DPIR staff, in supporting the pastoral industry to help solve business continuity issues posed by COVID-19 movement restrictions. Rapid development of protocols, management plans and permits was achieved through the hard work of a number of key DPIR staff in collaboration with other NT and national agencies, to find solutions and enable work to go on. At the time of writing, an important change has been made to limits on in- and outdoor gatherings, such that NT primary producers with an approved COVID-19 property management plan, are exempt from the 10-person limit. This is an important move towards protecting and supporting these vital industries and employers, and allowing your work to continue. As this pandemic continues to play out, we are all hoping for continued reassurance that the NT is the safest place to be on earth.

Read on to find out more about weed control, uncover the mysteries of the Madden-Julien Oscillation, meet Katherine’s new research agronomist and more.


Megan Pickering

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