NT Rural Review - November 2021

Note from our guest editor: Angus Duguid

Portrait shot of Angus Duguid

Welcome to another packed issue of the Northern Territory Rural Review. As we head into November, thoughts inevitably start to turn to end of year plans as well as hopes for good summer rains or an early start to the wet season. It can be a hectic time. While the Top End is hopefully through the worst of its fire season and enduring the build-up, in the south we are entering our highest fire risk period. Luckily, Bushfires NT are not expecting a bad summer for fire in the south and have been working with cattle stations to prepare; especially in areas with accumulated pasture and spinifex.

Since you are reading this editorial I hope that means you have found at least some time to relax, maybe with a good cuppa. Check out some of the great articles in this issue. Remember that with the on-line presentation of Rural Review you can choose the order of articles so that those for your region or industry sector are shown first.

Speaking of regions I have to confess to a strong southern region bias, having lived in and around Alice Springs for most of my working life. In fact I moved here from Darwin 30 years ago. I started at the Arid Zone Research Institute (AZRI) in October 1991, and some of the people that I met then were still here when I took on the regional director job last year; notably Bryan Gill, Coral Allan, Greg Crawford and Jocelyn Coventry. All good things must come to an end and we recently said farewell to Greg Crawford who has retired after more than 40 years in the cattle industry. You can read more about Greg’s work in one of this issue’s articles. In November, Coral Allan will follow his lead into retirement. They will both be greatly missed at AZRI and in industry. Of course we do have new people coming through in all our regions, with recent arrivals and others starting in coming months. Check out the article about the young dynamic pastoral team in the Katherine Office; they are inspired to support the cattle industry while also adjusting to Dr Kieren McCosker’s elevation to a major northern Australia role with Queensland University.

The pastoral team at AZRI have been getting out and about lately and you can read about some of our activities: the Aileron Landcare event, and the meet and greet session in Tennant Creek, at the Camp Draft. There are more events coming up soon with a dinner to celebrate 100 meetings of the Alice Springs Pastoral Industry Advisory Committee and the Alice Springs BeefUp where we will be very pleased to have Jason Strong from Meat and Livestock Australia as a guest. The Katherine region also has some events on the horizon and you can read about them too.

This edition has some great articles about horticulture and biosecurity which I recommend to readers. I also recommend the new agriculture Facebook page that is helping connect our department with people in the various sectors of agriculture. The still ‘new-ish’ Department of Industry, Tourism and Trade recently celebrated its first birthday, and it is also not much over a year since this digital format for the Rural Review took over from the paper based regional newsletters.

On behalf of the department and all our staff that support regional industries I wish all readers a great festive season. I know that many people are doing it tough as families and businesses continue to be impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic. Sometimes it can be a real challenge to stay optimistic but I really do believe that we can look forward to 2022 with expectations of easing restrictions and opportunities for growing our business in the agriculture and associated sectors.

Please remember that we welcome feedback on the best ways of getting information out to rural people and the rural industries which are such an important part of the Territory.

Angus Duguid
Regional Director Agriculture - Southern
Department of Industry, Tourism and Trade | Arid Zone Research Institute

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

Adding the SURF to the TURF to reduce greenhouse gas emissions of cattle

Feeding Asparagopsis seaweed to suppress methane production in livestock is being researched. This is not the only anti-methanogenic compound that has been trialled.

Topic: Livestock | Nov 2021

Greater Darwin, Katherine Region, Barkly Region, Central Australia
Bob Purvis and Alison Kain

All for one and one for all!

The Sustainable Land Management on Central Australian Rangelands Field Days were filled with “good quality presenters covering a wide range of relevant topics” Mike Clarke, event organiser. An event full of 'great people' and 'good vibes' was how Mike described the environment.

Topic: Livestock | Nov 2021

Barkly Region
Symbol brands

Avon Downs centenary of operations

This year, the Australian Agricultural Company celebrates 100 years of ownership and operations at the historic Avon Downs, a cattle station in the Barkly district of the Northern Territory.

Topic: Livestock | Nov 2021

Greater Darwin, Katherine Region, Barkly Region, Central Australia
Map of the Northern Territory

Back on track - the role of rail in transporting livestock

It has been approximately 20 years since livestock travelled by rail in the Northern Territory. A recent examination of the costs of livestock movements by road, and the comparison of total freight rates when a rail journey is included, reveals that there are significant economic gains to be made when a train is used for long-distance haulage.

Topic: Livestock | Nov 2021

Greater Darwin, Katherine Region
Surveillance marks of where ants have been found

Browsing ants won’t become perman-ant!

The National Browsing Ant Eradication Program Northern Territory has been extended until November 2023 to tackle the latest detection of browsing ants.

Topic: Biosecurity | Nov 2021

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

Case report: Phosphorus deficiency in a steer

This report explains a case of phosphorus deficiency in a steer from the Katherine region. Producers can take some simple steps to prevent phosphorus deficiency in their cattle.

Topic: Livestock, Biosecurity | Nov 2021

Barkly Region, Central Australia
Cattle

Celebrate the 100th Alice Springs Pastoral Industry Advisory Committee meeting

Join the Department of Industry, Tourism and Trade for a dinner at Arid Zone Research Institute to celebrate the 100th meeting of the Alice Springs Pastoral Advisory Committee on 11 November. Pastoralists and cattle industry representatives travelling to Alice Springs for the event are also invited to the Meat and Livestock Australia BeefUp forum the next day.

Topic: Livestock | Nov 2021

Greater Darwin, Katherine Region, Barkly Region, Central Australia
Measurement of row spacing for planting cotton

Choosing a row spacing configuration for rainfed cotton in the Northern Territory

A field trial was conducted to investigate the effects of row spacing configurations of 0.5m, 1.0m and 1.5m on crop development and yield of rainfed cotton under the semiarid tropical environment of Douglas Daly, a cropping area located about 150km south of the territory capital of Darwin.

Topic: Horticulture | Nov 2021

Greater Darwin, Katherine Region
Jackfruit cuttings

Demonstrating next-gen resilient orchard production systems for tropical crops

Topic: Horticulture | Nov 2021

Katherine Region, Barkly Region
Aerial view of tower

Installing towers on the Barkly to identify calving events

Staff from the Katherine Research Station have designed and installed four towers on the Barkly Tableland in support of the ‘Reducing calf loss from exposure’ and ‘Calf 48 Hour’ projects. These two projects, funded by Meat and Livestock Australia, rely on remote detection of calving events to increase our understanding of the causes of calf mortality in commercially managed herds.

Topic: Livestock | Nov 2021

Greater Darwin, Katherine Region, Barkly Region, Central Australia
Minister Manison meet Plant Biosecurity staff

Institute’s impressive research sparks interest

The Department of Industry, Tourism and Trade’s latest research efforts in Central Australia were on display during a recent visit from Minister Nicole Manison in early October.

Topic: Livestock, Horticulture, Biosecurity | Nov 2021

Greater Darwin, Katherine Region, Barkly Region, Central Australia
Cattle in paddock

Introducing Agriculture NT, our new Facebook group

We are trying to improve the way we engage with growers so our new Facebook group, Agriculture NT, is targeting growers from the Northern Territory. It will provide factual, relevant information on current research, snippets of our team working in the field, and general growing information.

Topic: Livestock, Horticulture, Biosecurity | Nov 2021

Greater Darwin, Katherine Region, Barkly Region, Central Australia
Decorative

Keep your pigs vegetarian!

Keeping pigs vegetarian is an important way to keep Australia free of serious exotic livestock diseases. Swill feeding can carry exotic diseases that could devastate our livestock industries.

Topic: Livestock, Biosecurity | Nov 2021

Greater Darwin, Katherine Region, Barkly Region, Central Australia
Road train

Livestock movement requirements within the Northern Territory

There are requirements for keeping certain animals on your property in the Northern Territory as well as transporting livestock. In some cases, livestock being moved will need to be treated for cattle ticks..

Topic: Livestock, Biosecurity | Nov 2021

Greater Darwin, Katherine Region, Barkly Region, Central Australia
Example of lumpy skin disease on cow's neck

Lumpy skin disease on the radar

Northern Territory producers should be on the lookout for lumpy skin disease, an exotic virus of cattle and buffalo that is moving closer to Australian shores.

Topic: Livestock | Nov 2021

Greater Darwin, Katherine Region
Mango tree

Mango common dieback

Many Botryosphaeriales can cause common dieback on mango trees. This mango disease is widespread in the Greater Darwin rural area and Katherine region. The background and symptoms are covered in this article.

Topic: Horticulture | Nov 2021

Greater Darwin, Katherine Region
Map of Top End showing known mango orchards affected by mango twig tip dieback

Mango twig tip dieback

Since mid-2017, different symptoms of mango dieback have been observed in 15 orchards in the Litchfield municipality, Northern Territory. Named mango twig tip dieback (TTD), the Department of Industry , Tourism and Trade will continue studying this disorder and would like to know how many more Territory growers are experiencing TTD in their mango orchards.

Topic: Horticulture | Nov 2021

Katherine Region, Barkly Region
Katherine Research Station

Meet and greet at the Katherine Research Station

The team at the Katherine Research Station would like to invite the local agricultural industry to a Meet and Greet on Friday 3 December from 5pm.

Topic: Livestock | Nov 2021

Greater Darwin, Katherine Region, Barkly Region
Ellen Fordyce with a horse

Meet the Katherine Livestock Industries team!

The Katherine Livestock Industries team has recently undergone a period of staff movements and additions. Meet the women behind the livestock research and extension activities happening in the Katherine region.

Topic: Livestock | Nov 2021

Greater Darwin, Katherine Region
Hemp leaf

Northern industrial hemp value chain study

The Department of Industry, Tourism and Trade is working on field trials to test which varieties grow best around Darwin and Katherine. There is a corresponding need to investigate industrial hemp uses and where the markets are for future products.

Topic: Horticulture | Nov 2021

Greater Darwin
Fresh ginger in a box

Northern Territory ginger production trial fires up for second crop

The Department of Industry, Tourism and Trade and Michael Jakobi’s collaborative ginger production trial begins preparations for second rotation at Ironstone Lagoon Nursery in the Darwin region.

Topic: Horticulture | Nov 2021

Greater Darwin, Katherine Region
Example of World View 3 satellite data

NT growers using satellite images for mango yield forecasting

Northern Territory growers are forecasting mango yield by taking advantage of the use of satellite images. Fruit yield prediction at the time of flowering / fruit-set assists growers to be better prepared with organising labour, packing material and logistics as well as to negotiate with markets.

Topic: Horticulture | Nov 2021

Greater Darwin, Katherine Region, Barkly Region, Central Australia
Cattle in paddock

Responding to emergency animal diseases

Do you know what would happen in an emergency animal disease outbreak?

Topic: Livestock, Biosecurity | Nov 2021

Central Australia
Men standing talking

Say farewell Crawf!

Alice Springs Regional Livestock Biosecurity Officer, Greg Crawford slips his penalty book back in the office drawer and calls it a day!

Topic: Biosecurity | Nov 2021

Greater Darwin, Katherine Region, Barkly Region, Central Australia
Harvesting mangoes

Seasonal workers arrive for mango harvest

Recently, more than 300 Pacific Island seasonal workers arrived in the Top End to support Territory farmers during this year’s mango harvest.

Topic: Horticulture | Nov 2021

Katherine Region, Barkly Region, Central Australia
Chris Materne and Dr Robyn Cowley looking at grass

Tennant Creek meet and greet

Staff from the DITT Livestock Industries and Biosecurity sections held a networking event at the annual Barkly Gold Rush Campdraft. The event was held in conjunction with award presentations from the day’s competition and provided an opportunity for department staff and members of the pastoral industry to reconnect and make new relationships. Conversations covered many of the current issues facing the Barkly, along with who had the best run on the day!

Topic: Livestock | Nov 2021

Greater Darwin, Katherine Region
Michael Finey

The Plant Industry Branch has a new extension officer

Michael Finey has joined the Plant Industry Branch of Department of Industry, Tourism and Trade as a new extension officer.

Topic: Horticulture | Nov 2021

Katherine Region, Barkly Region, Central Australia
Beef Up Forum - 19-20 November 2021, register now

VRRS Field Day relocated to the Daly Waters Historic Pub - Register now!

The Victoria River Research Station field day and BeefUp Forum will be held at the Daly Waters Historic Pub to be held on Friday 19 November and Saturday 20 November 2021.

Topic: Livestock | Nov 2021

Greater Darwin, Katherine Region, Barkly Region, Central Australia
Cattle in paddock

‘uSuckled’: Detection of maternal behaviours associated with suckling in beef cattle

The uSuckled project is investigating the ability to monitor suckling events remotely, using devices like accelerometers, sound monitors and GPS trackers attached to open-grazing beef cows.

Topic: Livestock | Nov 2021

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