Home' The Monaro Post : The Monaro Post, September 20, 2017 Contents GRASSROOTS
Wednesday September 20, 2017
PH: 6452 3511
6 COMMISSIONER STREET, COOMA
ALL YOUR FARM GATE NEEDS
MFS celebrates 10 years at Spring Field Day
Georgia Twomey, Wool Commodity Analyst for Rabobank presented the domestic
and international outlook for sheep and wool markets.
Marc Oostdijk, Georgia Twomey, Alex Hunt, Marita Fleming
and Sophie Toshack from Rabobank.
With a light scattering of snow on the ground, spring couldn’t
be further from a reality at the MFS Spring Field day hosted
by Rabobank on September 6. A crowd of 60 local farmers
attended the event, which also celebrated the ten-year
anniversary of MFS at the Nimmitabel Country Club.
Approximately 60 people gathered to listen to several
presentations which included two Rabobank speakers, Marc
Oostdijk, the General Manager of Marketing and Sustainability
and Georgia Twomey, the Wool Commodity Analyst.
Marc spoke about “finding value in sustainability”
and the industry image in a global perspective, while
Georgia covered the domestic and international
outlook for sheep and wool markets for 2017-2018.
Georgia expressed her nervousness around the
future stability of Australian wool markets in light of
increasing market specifications for “environmentally
sustainable products”. She said the wool processing
system does not sit as well compared with synthetic
products which can promote recycling as part of their
Phil Graham from Graham Advisory gave a three-
month outlook for feed availability and pasture
growth based on historical weather data and data
gathered from soil moisture probes located at four
Monaro sites; Rhine Falls, Bungarby, Bombala and
Delegate. By incorporating Grassgro farm systems
based around actual soil and pasture data at each of
these sites he was able to model the likely probable
scenarios in terms of green herbage mass and ewe
condition score. Delegate is currently in the most
challenging position in terms of soil water potential
percentage (water available for plant growth) showing
58 percent in the 0-10cm layer, compared to
Bukalong at 73 percent and Bungarby at 67 percent.
For the Bungarby, Delegate and Bukalong sites, late
September to mid-October is the critical point where
significant rainfall will be needed to ensure continued pasture
growth. Improved pastures show higher growth potentials
compared to the native pastures therefore the soil dries more
rapidly and rainfall becomes more critical.
Ewe condition/fat scores is holding at all sites and
heading in the right direction as of 31 August. Phil reminded
producers that stock do well in a below average spring
because feed digestibility remains higher.
The Bureau of Meteorology (BOM) is now reporting their
seasonal forecast on a fortnightly basis rather than monthly.
This will be a benefit for producers being able to be notified
on a more regular basis of any major shifts in factors that
influence our weather. Currently BOM is reporting a neutral
forecast which tells us we have no strong driver pushing the
odds to either dryer or wetter outlook probabilities. Therefore,
we can fall back on to historical data (last 56 years) which tells
us that for September at Delegate, Bombala and Bungarby
we have a 75 percent chance of getting more than 28mm,
22mm and 21mm of rain respectively. In summary, except for
the dry southern end, the rest of the Monaro represented by
the probe sites look like receiving a spring that sits within the
normal range, but at the tougher end. The next three weeks
will be critical in determining the spring pathway.
A dedicated ‘moisture probe website’ will be launched on
the September 22, which will give live access to the Monaro
soil probes (as well as ten others on the Southern Tablelands)
with easy to interpret graphs of cumulative
soil moisture and descriptions of each of
the sites. ‘Fuel gauge’ graphics will provide
a quick snapshot of current soil moisture
and how it compares to ‘this time last month’ and ‘this time
In terms of benchmarking data for the Monaro, Sandy
McEachern from Holmes & Sackett gave another entertaining
overview of farm business performance compared to previous
years and how it stacks up against the H&S Eastern States
database. There has been a slight reduction in profitability for
the Monaro (with approx. 25 percent increase in land values)
in 2016/17 with an average 6 percent ROAM
(return on assets managed) compared to 8.5
percent ROAM in 2015/16.
The top five Monaro businesses show a
ROAM of 11.5 percent, again demonstrating the
variation between businesses and the capacity for
improvement. Prime lamb was the least profitable
enterprise in 2016/17 with a profit of $17 ($/DSE)
compared to the most profitable, dual purpose at
$39 ($/DSE). This was followed closely by beef at
$32 ($/DSE) and wool at $25 ($/DSE). Again, the
disparity between the top 20 percent producing
businesses and the ‘average’ was highlighted with
the top producers enjoying a wool profit of 48 ($/
DSE) compared to 26 ($/DSE) for the average.
The Monaro appears to fall behind in terms of
water use efficiency (profit ($/Ha/100mm)) when
compared to the Holmes & Sackett database
across all enterprises. This suggests there is still
room for improvement gains in the areas of pasture
production and utilisation.
Jo Powells from South East Local Land Services
finished the afternoon by presenting the results
of the serrated tussock herbicide resistance
project. Thirteen sites were sampled across the
Monaro region in mid-December 2016 to test for
resistance to the herbicide flupropanate. Five of
these samples were found to have a high level of
resistance and were collected from the Bredbo and Dalgety
regions. Samples from the Bombala and Nimmitabel regions
did not show signs of resistance.
MFS would like to acknowledge Rabobank as the
sponsor for the day and thank them for all their assistance in
promotion for the event, financial contribution to costs and
providing quality speakers for the day.
Jonno Healey, Bea Litchfield, Jim Litchfield and Alan McGufficke.
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