NT Rural Review - May 2021

Note from our guest editor: Phil Hausler

Portrait shot of Phil Hausler

Welcome to the NT Rural Review for May 2021.

We are over a quarter of the way through 2021 and I am reflecting on how much things have changed from 12 months ago with the disruption and uncertainty that occurred in 2020 with COVID-19.

With the formation of the Department of Industry, Tourism and Trade and a renewed focus on Agriculture development in the Northern Territory (NT), I am very happy to be working alongside Luke Bowen as he takes on the role of deputy chief executive for Agriculture, Fisheries and Defence. We have previously worked together on several complex projects and I’m sure that we will continue to work very effectively together to develop agriculture across the NT.

My life in agriculture began on the family farm near Warialda in North West NSW where I was very much involved in the cattle, sheep and summer and winter cropping activities on our properties. I also did seasonal work for several other large local farming properties.

With a keen interest in the land, I took the opportunity to study and earn a Degree in Applied Science at Charles Sturt University in Wagga Wagga and returned back to the family farms until my move in 1989 to the NT.

I knew there were many opportunities for young people in the north. This was towards the end of the Brucellosis and Tuberculosis Eradication Campaign and the later years of the Douglas Daly pilot farm initiative. There were many things happening in the agriculture sector!

I started as a base level technical officer at Douglas Daly Research Farm and progressed successively through the technical and professional levels as I worked in the Douglas Daly, Katherine, Alice Springs and Darwin regions. I have worked in technical, professional and managerial roles across the primary industry and resources sectors and I have worked for governments in an advisory capacity on both sides of politics before taking up a senior executive role in mining regulation in 2014.

Through my senior roles in government I have been very much involved in high-level policy and strategic planning for the Territory’s agricultural sector and I bring a high level of practical experience to my senior roles within government. Responsible for research, development and extension staff throughout the Territory, I also oversee the government’s seven research facilities and four regional offices.

I am committed to developing the NT through the enormous opportunities presented in agriculture and I am focussed on building effective relationships and partnerships with stakeholders to achieve strong investment, development and environment outcomes.

I am married with three children who were all born in the NT and we are a very committed Territorian family.

Phil Hausler
Senior Executive Director, Agriculture
Department of Industry, Tourism and Trade

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Greater Darwin, Katherine Region, Central Australia
Young female farmer leaning on a gate

A busy year ahead for the NT Young Farmers group

The NT Young Farmers group is a dynamic group for young farmers and agricultural professionals to network with one another and voice opinions.

Topic: Event | Jan 2020

Greater Darwin, Katherine Region, Barkly Region, Central Australia
Horse with African horse sickness

African horse sickness - what is it and what is the risk to Australia?

African horse sickness is a serious viral disease of horses which is spread by biting midges. It can also affect donkeys, mules, and, less commonly, camels and also dogs which have eaten infected horse meat.

Topic: Biosecurity | Jan 2020

Greater Darwin, Katherine Region, Barkly Region, Central Australia
Prize bull

Annual bull sale - Wednesday 7 July 2021

The Department of Industry, Tourism and Trade’s annual bull sale is an opportunity to purchase quality Brahman and Tropical Composite bulls from the department’s high-fertility research herds.

Topic: Livestock | Jan 2020

Greater Darwin, Katherine Region
Buffalo in truck being cooled down with water spray

Beatrice Hill buffalo start a new chapter in southern Western Australia

Riverine Buffalo have safely made the 4,410km journey from the Beatrice Hill Research Farm in the Top End of the Northern Territory, to their new home on a 400 hectare farm near Quindanning, two hours south of Perth in Western Australia.

Topic: Livestock | Jan 2020

Central Australia
Example of homemade wind chime

Benefits already obvious from the Central Australian Self Herding (CASH) producer demonstration site

The first year of the Central Australian Self Herding (CASH) project saw multiple properties north and south of Alice Springs join the project.

Topic: Livestock | Jan 2020

Greater Darwin, Katherine Region, Barkly Region, Central Australia
Heifers with sensor systems on collar and tags

Calf 48 hour

The ‘Calf 48 hour’ project is evaluating and enhancing technologies to detect parturition events in cattle.

Topic: Livestock | Jan 2020

Greater Darwin, Katherine Region, Barkly Region, Central Australia
Student moving cattle through yards

Central Australian research stations provide training opportunities for NTCA programs

There was a buzz of learning at the Arid Zone Research Institute (AZRI) cattle yards during February 2021 with 18 young adults undertaking practical skills training in rural operations.

Topic: Livestock | Jan 2020

Barkly Region, Central Australia
Dead mitchell grass

Does it look like the grasses have died?

There has been some concern across the Barkly and Central Australia that a large number of perennial grass tussocks have died.

Topic: Livestock | Jan 2020

Greater Darwin, Katherine Region, Barkly Region, Central Australia
Cattle eating the supplement

Easy P phosphorus supplementation producer demonstration site

The Department of Industry Trade and Tourism is seeking expressions of interest for properties to host a producer demonstration site.

Topic: Livestock | Jan 2020

Greater Darwin, Katherine Region, Barkly Region, Central Australia
Blue eyed dog

Ehrlichia canis update

The exotic tick borne disease, ehrlichiosis was detected in the Territory in June 2020. The disease is also present in the Kimberly region of Western Australia and APY Lands in South Australia.

Topic: Biosecurity | Jan 2020

Greater Darwin, Katherine Region, Central Australia
Damaged plants

Fall armyworm

Since its arrival in Australia at the beginning of 2020, the fall armyworm (Spodoptera frugiperda) has continued its spread and during the summer months has migrated to the southern states.

Topic: Horticulture, Biosecurity | Jan 2020

Greater Darwin, Katherine Region, Central Australia
Staff member inspecting insect specimens

Got a pest? We’ll test it and tell you the rest

Have you got something bothering your bananas? Is there a critter crawling on your cassava? Maybe there’s a monster munching your mangos?

Topic: Horticulture, Biosecurity | Jan 2020

Greater Darwin, Katherine Region, Barkly Region, Central Australia
Grader grass seed head

Grader grass - not a great grass

This year’s wet season has brought a vast improvement in pastoral growth in many areas when compared to the previous several years.

Topic: Livestock, Horticulture | Jan 2020

Greater Darwin, Katherine Region, Barkly Region, Central Australia
Map of Barkly region showing area to be surveyed

Gravity survey commences June 2021

The Northern Territory Government will be doing a gravity survey within the Barkly region starting in June 2021.

Topic: Livestock | Jan 2020

Central Australia
Students collecting data for heard management

High school kids to the rescue!

February is the start of a busy cattle handling period for the Northern Territory Government’s research farms in Central Australia.

Topic: Livestock | Jan 2020

Central Australia
Graph: soluble oxalate percentage in buffel grass

Investigating the risk of oxalate poisoning for breeder cows grazing irrigated buffel grass

Buffel grass is a valued pasture species for livestock in Central Australia. Typically, it occurs with native grasses and is capable of producing large amounts of palatable, nutritious feed.

Topic: Livestock | Jan 2020

Greater Darwin, Katherine Region
Attendees watching field demonstration

Irrigation workshop

Darwin and Katherine growers turned out to learn about best practice for irrigating at the recent irrigation masterclasses held in Darwin and Katherine in March 2021.

Topic: Horticulture | Jan 2020

Greater Darwin, Katherine Region, Barkly Region, Central Australia
Attendees in paddock at Douglas Daly Research Farm

Katherine Research Station and Douglas Daly Research Farm field days

The Northern Territory Department of Industry Tourism and Trade recently hosted two agricultural field events at the Katherine Research Station and the Douglas Daly Research Farm.

Topic: Livestock, Horticulture | Jan 2020

Greater Darwin, Katherine Region
Bee on melon flower

Managed pollination and the transmission of a plant virus - what’s going on and should we be worried?

HortInnovation VM18008: Understanding and managing the role of honey bees in CGMMV epidemiology.

Topic: Horticulture | Jan 2020

Greater Darwin, Katherine Region, Barkly Region, Central Australia
Attendees at the NABRC meeting

NABRC meeting Darwin - 16 to 18 March 2021

NABRC held the first of their biannual meetings in Darwin in March this year with members travelling from Queensland, Western Australia and across the Northern Territory to attend.

Topic: Livestock | Jan 2020

Greater Darwin, Katherine Region, Barkly Region, Central Australia
Gate into a property

New Northern Territory Biosecurity Facebook group

The Department of Industry, Tourism and Trade has launched a new Biosecurity Facebook group to raise awareness of biosecurity and the important role it plays in the Northern Territory in protecting our economy.

Topic: Biosecurity | Jan 2020

Greater Darwin, Katherine Region, Barkly Region, Central Australia
Weaners in the yard

Production and welfare benefits from managing potential pain during castration and dehorning in the Northern Territory

The Department of Industry, Tourism and Trade has recently started a joint project with Western Australia, Queensland and Meat and Livestock Australia to investigate the application of pain relief products during castration and dehorning in northern Australia.

Topic: Livestock | Jan 2020

Greater Darwin, Katherine Region, Barkly Region, Central Australia
Passionfruit flower

Sharing research and technology with the University of Florida

The Northern Territory Government has partnered with the University of Florida to collaborate on research and development in areas of mutual interest.

Topic: Horticulture | Jan 2020

Greater Darwin, Katherine Region
Black sesame crop

Spicing up the north

This wet season has seen an expansion of the black sesame trials at Katherine Research Station and Coastal Plains Research Farms.

Topic: Horticulture | Jan 2020

Greater Darwin, Katherine Region, Barkly Region, Central Australia
Group shot of Taskforce Starlight

Taskforce to fight stock theft in the Northern Territory

Taskforce Starlight will consist of a planning team and strategic operations teams made up of veterinary officers, livestock biosecurity officers and NT Police.

Topic: Biosecurity | Jan 2020

Greater Darwin, Katherine Region, Barkly Region, Central Australia
Crotolaria plant

Walkabout disease

In February and March 2021, a number of horses in the Katherine region of the Northern Territory were diagnosed with Walkabout disease.

Topic: Biosecurity | Jan 2020

Greater Darwin, Katherine Region, Barkly Region, Central Australia
Herd of cattle

Western Australia makes changes to cattle import requirements from 1 July 2021

The Western Australia (WA) Department of Primary Industries and Regional Development has advised that the Johnes Disease (C strain) requirements for importing cattle from the Northern Territory into WA will change from 1 July 2021.

Topic: Biosecurity | Jan 2020

Central Australia
Graph: number of growth events per year for Alice Springs Airport

Where does this summer fit in the long-term rainfall record?

The summer of 2020/2021 has seen pretty wonderful rainfall for most of Central Australia and it is a relief to see the landscape so green!

Topic: Livestock | Jan 2020

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