NTCA Newsletter I 15 July 2021

Note the article about buffalo.

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15 July 2021
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NT COVID-19 hotline1800 490 484

Big week in Darwin as 15,000 cattle successfully loaded and shipped amid COVID lockdown

Cattle exports from Australia reached a seven month high in May, boosted by a return in normal monthly shipping volumes to Vietnam.

A total of 88,424 cattle were exported during May, according to the latest departmental data, the highest monthly volume since October 2020, when 90,754 head were exported.

May exports comprised shipments of 40,582 feeder cattle to Indonesia, 25,499 breeder, feeder and slaughter cattle to Vietnam, 8,513 breeders to China, and 7,175 feeder cattle to the Philippines.

Exports to Vietnam dropped to zero in March and improved only slightly to 3,713 head in April before returning to more usual monthly volumes in May.

A total of 118,400 cattle have been exported in the calendar year to date from Darwin, including 26,935 head shipped in May.

Exports from Townsville for the year to the end of May have totalled 104,510 head, including 30,888 head in May.

The 2021 export season also got underway from Broome in May with 13,521 cattle exported.

Read more here.

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Genetic selection for tick resistance is feasible, multi-nation study shows

A GROUND-BREAKING multi-nation research study has shown that breeding strong tick resistance into all cattle breeds is feasible, indicating that cattle tick may be much more effectively managed, or even eradicated.

The study demonstrates proof-of-concept for using the cattle genome to tackle a pest that costs the Australian cattle industry more than $175 million a year.

Researchers from Australia, Brazil, Scotland and South Africa contributed to a multi-nation, multi-breed analysis – a first of its kind – which concluded that genomic breeding values can be estimated across a wide range of unrelated cattle breeds and used to improve tick resistance.

Globally, 80 percent of the world’s cattle are at risk of tick-borne diseases. The economic loss from cattle ticks worldwide is estimated to be US$22-30 billion per annum.

In Australia, and globally, the range of cattle ticks is expanding as the planet warms. As a result, the range is shrinking for cattle breeds with low tick resistance — which includes all the Bos taurus breeds that underpin Australia’s high-value beef export markets.

Read more here.

Cattle Council welcomes levy payer register, stresses need for access for democratic work

Cattle Council of Australia has welcomed news that Meat & Livestock Australia (MLA) has started the development of a Levy Payer Register for cattle producers, but has also stressed that it is vital the register be made available for important democratic work on behalf of levy payers.

The Levy Payer Register is a database of the details of individuals and organisations who pay red meat industry-specific transaction levies – read more here.

As it is currently drafted in the legislation, ‘eligible recipients’ of levy payer information are Research and Development Corporations (RDCs – in the case of the cattle transaction levy that is MLA) and the Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS). The ABS cannot establish a Levy Payer Register but can seek access to the data to perform any of its functions.

Once established, an RDC can use the levy payer information from their register for the specific purposes:

  • to maintain a register of who has paid a levy and/or charge
  • to maintain a register of persons eligible to vote in a poll conducted by, or on behalf of, the RDC
  • to make public information of a statistical nature
  • in performing its functions under law of the Commonwealth or under a contract or agreement with the Commonwealth
  • to determine whether a person is or remains eligible to be a member of the RDC.

The legislation says levy payer information may not be used for purposes such as:

  • agri-political activities
  • increase the membership of an industry representative body
  • an activity that would give a commercial advantage to a participant in the industry
  • an activity unrelated to the function of the RDC.

Access to the levy payer information by a third party (ie, anyone outside of MLA) can only occur with the approval of the Secretary of the Department of Agriculture.

Read the full story here.

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Having been trucked around 3,000 kilometres from the Top End, these buffalo cows settle into their new home at the River Light Goat Depot where they will be fattened before being supplied to butcheries in two states. (Supplied via ABC: Paul Blacket, River Light Goat Depot)

Top End buffalo shipping to South Australia feedlot as consumer demand soars

For more than 20 years, Paul Blacket and his family have successfully fed bush goats in their feedlot, as an addition to their on-farm cereal production, 70 kilometres north of Adelaide.

However, in the past 12 months at the River Light Goat Depot just outside Mallala, they have taken on a slightly larger ruminant: Northern Territory buffalo.

"We’ve been doing goats for 25 years, processing them and delivering to shops all over Australia and we just started getting more and more requests for [buffalo].

"We thought, okay, [there] could be an opportunity here."

Read more here.

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Community animal health workers assist The International Committee of the Redcross (ICRC) as they vaccinate cattle at Kirgui village in Udier, South Sudan March 9, 2019. – The vaccinations are a way of protecting the livelihood of the herders. (Photo by SIMON MAINA / AFP)

Ten years on, Rinderpest eradication highlights the value of vaccines

By Mariana Marrana, OIE
The global eradication of Rinderpest gives reason to be optimistic when it comes to fighting infectious animal diseases. While the recent COVID-19 pandemic has shown the devastating impact emerging infectious diseases can have, it is also a reminder of the critical role vaccines can play in protecting us all.

For centuries, Rinderpest outbreaks caused the death of millions of cattle, buffalo, yak and wild animals across Africa, Asia and Europe. These outbreaks meant consecutive food shortages resulting in starvation, economic and social unrest, as well as disrupted cattle-powered ploughs used in rural areas to cultivate land. Decades of concerted efforts from governments and local organizations supported by the World Organisation for Animal Health (OIE) and the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO), along with other partners, resulted in the eradication of Rinderpest through mass vaccination campaigns of cattle. Global victory over this devastating disease was declared in 2011, ten years after the last case had been reported to the OIE.

Read the full story here.

New research open for participation: Detecting disease outbreaks early

What is the research about and what is it trying to achieve?

  • An important part of the biosecurity system is ongoing surveillance so that if a disease is present, it is detected and responded to as early as possible.
  • This new project is investigating factors that influence farmer-decision making when disease is suspected on a farm, specifically relating to the role of trust.
  • The aim is to understand the role of trust and how it can help facilitate early detection of disease, rapid response, and minimise impacts on business and the environment.

What is involved if I participate and how will my data be used?

  • The views of all aquaculture, plant and livestock sector farm owners, managers and health managers are being sought in a short, anonymous survey that is open now. Multiple responses from within a business welcome.
  • This survey is part of an honours project conducted through the ANU and is seeking a wide range of views from across aquaculture, livestock and plant industries.
  • The questions focus on trust in the context of a hypothetical disease outbreak. It should take 10-20 minutes to complete at the most.
  • All data collected will be anonymous and aggregated at a national level. Data will not be collected on a sector or state level.

Keen to participate? Click here to do the survey.

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New Agriculture Visa to address labour shortages

On 16 June 2021, the Minister for Agriculture, Drought and Emergency Management, the Hon David Littleproud MP, announced a new Agriculture Visa to fill the labour shortage in Australia and provide a sustainable source of motivated agricultural workers for future harvests. The new agricultural visa will be open to the ten ASEAN nations, including Vietnam, Thailand, Singapore, Philippines, Myanmar, Malaysia, Laos, Indonesia, Cambodia and Brunei.

The Government will work through the detailed arrangements and further information will be forthcoming. Any new arrangements will build on the successful Pacific Labour Mobility schemes that have proven invaluable to the agriculture sector, particularly since they restarted in September 2020.

Read more here.

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Farmers forecast by ABARES to sell $66.3 billion of produce in 2020 –2021

Australian farmers are on track to record their most valuable year yet, expected to sell $66.3 billion worth of produce in 2020-21.

The latest forecast by the government forecaster, ABARES, said high prices for livestock and the quick-moving export of Australia’s second-largest winter crop — barley — will lift farm gate returns up 8 per cent on the drought-riddled 2019–20.

But the shine is expected to come off next year with the forecast farm gate value to fall to $65 billion in 2021–22, reduced due to the number of farmers choosing to breed livestock rather than slaughter.

Read more here.

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Resources and Agribusiness Exports Underpinning Australia’s Economy

Data released earlier this month by the ABS showed Australia posted a $9.7 billion trade surplus in May, which is not far off the record high of $9.87 billion set in January.

The data is very much in line with the Territory’s Economic Reconstruction final report and its focus on our mining and agriculture sectors as key contributors to the Territory economic rebound.

This month we saw the first shipment of iron ore from processed waste materials at Frances Creek Mine celebrated, as iron ore prices hit record highs, reaching more than US$210 per tonne as demand for the mineral soars.

Last month we saw MT Todd Mine get the green light, with the Project creating around 450 jobs during construction and 350 jobs during peak production.

This is the fifth major mine approval over the past 12 months in the Northern Territory and a further step to strategically position us as a globally-significant industry hub.

The Territory Government has also awarded $1.7 million in grants to support 18 projects from 15 companies under the latest Geophysics and Drilling Collaboration program.

Agriculture is Australia’s fastest growing sector. The Territory has a diverse and well-established agriculture, forestry and fisheries sectors, with plant-based industries alone worth over $350 million and over 135,000 tonnes of produce grown annually.

Agricultural developments will also bring significant ongoing development opportunities and sustainable economic benefits to the Northern Territory – along with 150 local jobs.

This month we saw the Territory Government announce the next steps to support large scale agricultural land developments which will see northern Australia capitalise on the increasing demand for premium quality Australian produce, ensure sustainable continuity of food supply for domestic and export markets and enhance the profitability and economic resilience of the region.

Work to develop a new Agribusiness Strategy has also progressed this month at an industry forum in Darwin. The strategy will outline the Territory’s vision for the agribusiness sector for the next decade in collaboration with key agribusiness partners.

Quotes from Minister for Mining and Industry, Nicole Manison:

“We know the investment potential of the Territory and that our mining and agribusiness sectors will deliver more jobs, significantly boost the economy and keep us on track as the Comeback Capital."

“There are currently 20 mining projects working towards a Final Investment Decision (FID) in the Territory with a combined value of $6.2 billion and potential to create 5700 construction jobs and 3400 ongoing jobs."

“The Territory’s agricultural sector has a significant role to play in the recovery of our economy. The potential for growth in food and fibre production in the Territory will attract private investment, create long-term, sustainable employment and diversify the Territory’s suite of exports."

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Alleged cattle duffing operation raid in Katherine uncovers firearms, $700k worth of stolen cattle: NT Police

A raid on an alleged cattle duffing operation near Katherine has resulted in the discovery of more than $700,000 worth of stolen cattle, as well as seizures of firearms, a quantity of fireworks and “part of a protected animal species”, NT Police said.

Two men a currently facing multiple charges following the raid.

Detective Acting Senior Sergeant Ian Kennon said police remained on the station for four days to recover the cattle, valued at more than $700,000.

“Police are further investigating a large quantity of calves located, some of which are believed to be stolen,” he said in a statement.

“Since the implementation of Taskforce Starlight in late 2020, a joint operation between NT Police and the Department of Industry, Tourism and Trade, there has been an increase in the reporting of this type of offending.

“All matters reported to police will be investigated thoroughly and offenders prosecuted where possible.”

Anyone wishing to report cattle theft can call 131 444.

Read the full story here.

Administrator visits Tipperary Station

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Craig and I extend our gratitude to David Connolly and Susan Brosnan for hosting us at Tipperary Station.
The Women’s Morning Tea was a wonderful occasion to meet with your diverse and energetic team who clearly enjoy their challenging yet rewarding work.
Thank you also for taking the time to show me your rain grown (dryland) cotton crop, this was a wonderful opportunity for me to learn more about the pioneering work you and your team are carrying out in the Territory. I look forward to hearing of your progress.
Thank you for your warmth and generous hospitality.
Go Well.

– Her Honour, the Administrator of the Northern Territory

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If you can’t make it to a voting centre for the 2021 Local Government Elections between 16 – 28 August the NTEC offers you the opportunity to cast your vote by post.

You can apply for a postal vote by clicking on the following link on the NTEC website.

You can also email the NTEC at with your name and address details or call us on 1800 698 683.

If you apply early your postal vote will be sent to you in the first mail out from the NTEC after the candidates for the 2021 Local Government Elections are declared on Friday, 6 August.

Further information about the 2021 Local Government Elections and the location of early voting centres can be found on the NTEC website here.

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nbn Sky Muster survey

The RRRCC are working with the NBN Co (nbn) to help ensure customers within regional, rural and remote Australia have access to fast internet. To build on the work undertaken by the team at Better Internet for Rural, Regional and Remote Australia, nbn would like to gather more information about customers’ experiences on services over the nbn™ Sky Muster™ and nbn™ Sky Muster™ Plus satellite services.

The customer survey can be found linked below and should take 10 to 15 minutes to complete. The information gathered will provide extremely valuable insights to the team at nbn and will allow for opportunities to help improve and enhance the customer experience on services over the network.

This survey will be closing on 23/07/2021.

Start the survey here.

New Johne’s disease (cattle strain) cattle import conditions for Western Australia

New Johne’s Disease import requirements were introduced by the Western Australia Department of Primary Industries and Regional Development (DPIRD) for cattle and buffalo entering WA from 1 July 2021.

These changes relate to livestock owner/manager and veterinarian declarations and JD testing requirements.
For cattle which were not born on the NT exporting property, there is an additional producer declaration for the property on which the cattle were born and/or resided before 12 months of age. The JD sampling and testing import requirements for these introduced cattle will depend on when the cattle moved off the property on which they were born or resided before 12 months of age. These requirements are outlined on the additional producer declaration.

Import conditions

Key changes that apply from 1 July 2021 include:

  • new faecal sampling and testing requirements (not the same as the national JD in cattle guidelines) and corresponding amendments to veterinary and producer declarations
  • a veterinary-approved biosecurity plan requirement for cattle staying within WA (not imported for slaughter or export)
  • removal of the requirement for the Johne’s Beef Assurance Score (JBAS) and JD Dairy Assurance Score for cattle imported to stay in WA.

Find out more here.

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Stay safe this fire season

Rural landholders are being urged to have their properties and bushfire survival plans in place this Fire Danger Period for the Top End.

A permit to burn is required anywhere north of the 17th parallel of south latitude (approximately 50km north of Elliot) between 28 June 2021 and 30 November 2021. Failure to comply can result in substantial penalties.

Quotes by Bushfires NT Chief Fire Control Officer Andrew Turner

“Now is the time to make sure your property and family is prepared for this Fire Danger Period.

“This time of year is always busy for our brigades, and there is no guarantee we will be able to respond to every call which is why families need to have a fire management plan and a survival plan in place.

“This includes keeping fuel loads to a minimum around your property by clearing away dried grass, dead leaves and branches.

“Trim back trees that overhang structures and control or eradicate grassy weed species.

“Maintain a well-cut lawn around your home and install firebreaks that are free from slashed or dead material and don’t have any vegetation more than 50 millimetres high.

“Make sure you have plenty of water and the right equipment to put out a fire, if necessary.

“Also ensure your property is easily identifiable with a street and lot number visible on the front gate. Clearly visible signs are critical to help our firies find your home.

“We also urge the public to report illegal or suspicious activity in their community to police on 131 444 or anonymously via Crime Stoppers on 1800 333 000.”

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Recruitment: Value in boosting employees’ team spirit

Great workplace environments in the meat and livestock industry don’t just happen – they are a result of hard work from leaders, and buy-in from staff.

But if managers are able to achieve a great work environment, their team will pay them back with consistency, productivity and excellence.

So what are the secrets to an energetic, harmonious and productive workplace?

The Basics

As a leader, you first need to lay down the foundations for a good work environment. A cohesive team will come from doing the basics right, and setting a clear expectation of your team’s culture.

Honesty

Nothing kills team spirit like workplace whispers. What may have been something entirely minor and inconsequential can, through a series of half-truths and embellishments, mutate into something quite the opposite. As such, a policy of openness and honesty is a non-negotiable for a great workplace environment.

Employees that know what’s going on and are included in the conversation are far more likely to feel invested in where your organisation is heading. This will lead to greater output and greater work satisfaction.

Recognition

The number one reason that employees leave jobs is that they feel underappreciated. Everyone likes to be recognised for a job well done. It’s human nature. If an employee’s hard work does go unnoticed, it can have a severe effect on their current motivation, and ultimately on their future output.

Pats on the back for a job well done are a simple – almost token – gesture, but one that is the most effective weapon that a leader has in their management arsenal.

Collaboration

By solving problems as a team, you’ll bring the group together for a common cause. The unity that comes from this collaborative approach can be invaluable – employees feel like they’re contributing to the company’s success, and by doing so as a team, they can enjoy the subsequent accomplishments as a team.

Promotion of Work/Life Balance

All work and no play will risk making your team dull or dispirited. If your employees feel as though all they do is work, their motivation will drop. Employees need to feel as though their workload is manageable. If they sense that there’s no light at the end of the tunnel, morale will suffer.

Along with not over-burdening employees, managers can also help them achieve a healthy work/life balance by offering their team activities that are non-work related.

Non-work related activities – whether employed during working hours to break up the day, or outside work hours to allow your team to socialise more naturally – can be a boon for team spirit.

Sports or recreational activities

A social sporting event like a scratch game of cricket or tennis, a Cattle Baron board-game knock-out competition, or other pastime engaging your employees is a fantastic way to cultivate team spirit, as well as promote health and fitness within your business. It can create excellent intra-department banter in the coffee room, and the competitive juices generated may flow nicely into the workplace.

Getting Social

Another option is a more one-off activity. Taking your team for a half-day fishing in the local waterhole or Melbourne Cup day lunch at the local pub will offer excellent opportunities for them to bond over a shared experience.

Your team needn’t be bound by the weekday hours of 8 to 5. Offering to shout your employees’ dinner and a drink on a Friday night – perhaps as a reward for good work can strengthen their social bonds, and if all goes well, these events can also make for some excellent banter on Monday morning.

Taking some of these initiatives and boosting your workplace, your team will be able to get to know one another on a more personal level, creating familiarity that will go a long way to boosting the morale during the working week.

By combining good management foundations with a little bit of fun, managers should see a noticeable boost in team’s spirit. While a manager can’t control every aspect of their employees’ work experience, they can certainly lay some solid foundations for a fun, harmonious and productive environment.

Source: MeatProcessors Pty Ltd via BeefCentral

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Ensuring You Are Ready for Bushfire

Bushfires and the Australian landscape

Bushfires are an unfortunate way of life for many Australians, a part of living on such an arid island, but while some people are lucky, and able to rebuild and add water storage for bushfire protection after an incident, it is better to be prepared before. As the old adage goes, prevention is better than the cure.
A well prepared home is not only easier for you and firefighters to defend, it also helps reduce the risk for your neighbours, and increase your chances of survival if you are forced to shelter within the home.

Prepare your home

Ensure that you have a building protection zone as a buffer between any trees and shrubs, and your home, by managing and reducing fuel loads for a minimum of 20 metres around a building. Ensuring that any trees within this zone are located at least two metres from a building, and are skirted or pruned up to a height of 2 metres.

Understand your risk

Considering factors specific to your location can be crucial in understanding the risk to your home, and the extent of fire protection measures you’re likely to need.
These factors include; how long the fire season is, and when it takes place, if you live on or near a steep slope, how much vegetation is near your home, including grasses, scrub and bushland, how dry the vegetation is, how often you have bushfires in the area, and how good the roads are at providing ease of movement through the area.

Read more here.

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June beef exports slump, on back of rebuilding and JBS cyber-attack closures

JBS Australia’s dramatic week-long closure early last month due to a cyber attack on its operating systems played a part in substantially lower Australian beef exports during June.

While export volumes this year generally have been severely hampered by low rates of beef kill as the national herd enters post-drought recovery, the nation’s largest beef processor’s week-long closure only added to the trend.

Most of JBS’s Australian plants in Queensland (four), NSW (two), Victoria (one) and Tasmania (one) missed a week’s operations last month due to the cyber attack, returning to work on either Monday or Tuesday, June 7-8.

Total Australian beef export volumes to all markets last month fell to 73,551 tonnes, down 4pc on the month before, and back 24,000t or 24pc on June last year. Reflecting the very low current rates of cow kill due to breeder retention, frozen boneless exports last month were just 46,000t – down 28pc on the same period last year, despite sharply rising prices in some markets for manufacturing beef.

For the six months ended June 30, total exports reached just 422,412t – down 131,000t or 23pc on the first-half last year, and 26pc lower than the same period in 2019.

Read more here.

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2021 Elders & NTCA photo competition

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Craig Cook – Photobombed by the dog
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Anna Weir – Mother nature delivers
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