The PRWIRE Press Releases https:// 2020-02-19T04:38:39Z Upcoming events reveal latest innovations and findings to help boost productivity for lamb farmers 2020-02-19T04:38:39Z upcoming-events-reveal-latest-innovations-and-findings-to-help-boost-productivity-for-lamb-farmers With farmers looking to capitalise on the current trend for strong lamb prices, PGG Wrightson Seeds is set to host two key events next month, each designed to boost lamb performance and profitability for Australian farmers. Coming to Naracoorte, SA on March 4th, and Hamilton, VIC on March 5th, the proprietary seed company’s latest Grow Lamb, Pastures + Profits events will be packed with learnings on how optimise your pasture, grazing management and animal health. Speaking at both events will be Veterinarian and PGG Wrightson Seeds Veterinary Nutritionist Charlotte Westwood, a highly regarded specialist with a particular interest in how crops and pastures impact on the health, reproductive performance, productivity and profitability of sheep and cattle. Representatives from Incitec Pivot Fertilisers, Gallagher and Virbac Australia will also be in attendance to offer a range of insightful information to boost your profits. As PGG Wrightson Seeds National Sales & Marketing Manager Jason Agars explains, “when it comes to lamb production performance and profitability, seed choice is key. We’ve already witnessed major profit increases in independent on-farm trials using some of our latest pasture varieties. Our speakers will be revealing these findings, along with other key insights in forage finishing systems – and they’ll also explore related topics like grazing system management best practice and key profit maximisation strategies. “This is set to be an incredibly valuable source of information for prime lamb producers to learn from,” he continues. “Given that there’s been a global rise in demand for protein, information and innovation are key to helping lamb farmers capitalise on this opportunity. We’re looking forward to sharing our latest findings to support Australian farmers in improving their operations for 2020/21.” Both events run for a full day, and include refreshments and a lamb lunch. Following each event, attendees will also be able to speak to representatives from PGG Wrightson Seeds, Incitec Pivot Fertilisers, Gallagher and Virbac Australia, as well as take a paddock walk and learn more about some of the latest and greatest innovations in pasture improvement. While each event is free to attend, advance registration is required. “We expect both events to be very popular,” says Jason, “so for anyone interested, it’s a good idea to register ASAP so you can secure your spot.” Interested attendees can visit or call 0425 700 442 or 0437 945 864 to reserve a place. WHAT: PGG Wrightson Seeds Grow Lamb, Pastures + Profits 2020 WHEN: March 4th and March 5th 2020 (Lunch & refreshments provided) WHERE: March 4th: Struan House, Struan, SA (17 km South of Naracoorte) March 5th: 1559 Branxholme-Byaduck Road, Byaduk North, VIC (16 kms South of Hamilton) WHO: Media are invited to attend the event and interview: - Veterinarian and Keynote Speaker, Charlotte Westwood - Representatives from Incitec Pivot Fertilisers, Gallagher and Virbac Australia - Local farmers in attendance - ENDS - Media enquiries: Adam Arndell, C7EVEN Communications 02 6766 4513 / 0403 372 889 Charlotte Westwood Bio: Veterinarian Charlotte Westwood has spent the best part of her career working in veterinary practices, farm consultancies and agribusinesses on both sides of the Tasman. With a veterinary degree from Massey University (New Zealand), Charlotte initially worked in a Waikato cattle practice before heading to the University of Sydney. After completing a PhD that looked at the effects of nutrition and cow genetic merit on the reproductive performance of dairy cattle, Charlotte returned to New Zealand, working initially with Wrightson Seeds before setting up her own New Zealand-based veterinary nutrition consultancy business. A move back to Australia in 2006 saw Charlotte working with Cattle Production Consultants (now SBScibus) and farmers in southern NSW, northern Victoria and South Australia, before she returned to PGG Wrightson Seeds in 2009, where she now works as a veterinary nutritionist at the Kimihia Research Centre in Lincoln, New Zealand. Photo credit: Veterinarian and PGG Wrightson Seeds Veterinary Nutritionist Charlotte Westwood PGG Wrightson Seeds National Sales & Marketing Manager Jason Agars Rural Aid with APT Travel Group to deliver approximately 326 hay bales to Jingellic, NSW farmers 2020-02-18T06:11:12Z rural-aid-with-apt-travel-group-to-deliver-approximately-326-hay-bales-to-jingellic-nsw-farmers Five road trains loaded with approximately 326 bales of hay, valued at $75,000, will roll into Jingellic on Wednesday, 19 February, bringing relief to 27 local farmers. The Jingellic hay drop is thanks to the generosity of the APT Travel Group and their agents at Focus Travel Vietnam and Focus Travel Cambodia. In 2019, APT Travel Group, through their One Tomorrow Charitable Fund Foundation, raised over $50,000 through donations and workplace giving for our Aussie farmers. Added to this, when APT Travel Group’s agents, Focus Travel – based in Vietnam and Cambodia – heard of the devastation caused by the Australian bushfires, they also rallied to help their regional neighbours. Focus Travel Vietnam and Cambodia employees and their industry contacts raised $3500 to assist our Aussie farmers impacted by bushfires. Rural Aid’s Business Development Manager in Victoria, Nicole Whelan thanked APT Travel Group, their One Tomorrow Charitable Fund and Focus Travel Vietnam and Cambodia for their generosity in supporting our Aussie farmers experiencing hardship caused by our natural disasters. “APT Travel Group have been a great support to Rural Aid and our Aussie farmers through their generous donation and their employees stepping up to volunteer at the recent Hay Mate concert held in Victoria,” Nicole Whelan said. “I look forward to continuing this relationship with them in whatever capacity they decide to assist our Aussie farmers and their communities impacted by drought, fire and in some areas – flood.” Focus Travel Vietnam and Cambodia have been agents for APT Travel Group for over 10 years and many Australian travellers have utilised their expertise when travelling in South East Asia. “Their Australian bushfire relief story, below, is a wonderful story of empathy and generosity towards a nation experiencing hardship caused by natural disasters,” Nicole Whelan said. “A nation that has supported Vietnam and Cambodia through tourism and many other avenues, which is now being supported in return.” Rural Aid Counsellor, Glenda Carter, will also be attending the APT Travel Group hay drop at Jingellic. OneTomorrow Vietnam & Cambodia Bushfire Relief Story “When you eat the fruit, be grateful to the planter.” Popular Vietnamese proverb. In the wake of disaster, hope can spring from the most unexpected of places. 2019 saw the beginnings of Australia’s worst bushfire season to date with fires burning well into the new year. The devastation rallied Australians to raise money to support those affected by the natural disaster, as well as emergency services and volunteer organisations. This compassion extended beyond our borders, to our friends over in Vietnam and Cambodia. Those who, while not directly affected by the fires, felt the nation’s pain as though it was their own. Donations were raised by the staff at Focus Travel Vietnam and Focus Travel Cambodia, as well as current and former Tour Directors and local guides in these countries. Together, the Vietnam and Cambodia team raised an incredible $3500 AUD. Special mentions must be made of Focus Travel Cambodia, who responded instantly to the cause. Also, to Focus Travel Vietnam’s director Minh and employee Nhan, who were the driving forces behind the wonderful effort made by the Vietnam office. When asked, staff of Focus Travel Vietnam were emphatic that this was all Nhan’s initiative. From a young age, Nhan has lived by the popular Vietnamese proverb, “When you eat the fruit, be grateful to the planter.” It’s all about a mindful way of living with gratitude. Now, as a mother of two, Nhan’s philanthropic ethos is mirrored by her two children. Often, Nhan and her sons visit children’s centres to show their support for kids in need. Described as having a heart “as big as a whale”, upon seeing much of Australia in a state of emergency and holding a deep appreciation for APT Travel Group (ATG) as her employer, Nhan felt she had to help. So, after mobilising her colleagues and inspiring Minh, Nhan was able to pull together an impressive portion of the overall donation. Minh made the largest contribution on behalf of Focus Travel Vietnam, by pledging to triple all donations raised by the Vietnam office. Minh will be in the Melbourne ATG office on 17th February to personally hand in the money raised by the Cambodia and Vietnam offices. Our gratitude towards Nhan and our friends over in Vietnam and Cambodia cannot be expressed enough. Generosity shown by those who, despite their circumstances and the oceans of distance between them and the bushfires, still rallied together for a country in crisis and opened their hearts. About Rural Aid Rural Aid is one of Australia’s largest rural charities. Well known for the highly successful ‘Buy a Bale’ campaign, the charity also provides financial assistance, water and counselling to farmers in times of drought, flood or fire. Other initiatives support its vision that farming and rural communities are safeguarded to ensure their sustainability both during and after these natural disasters. Visit for further information on these programs and other support for our rural communities. Visit for Rural Aid’s latest assistance statistics. Follow Rural Aid for updates on:FB: @ruralaidaustralia | @buyabaleofhayIN: Rural Aid LtdTW: @ruralaidaust | @buyabale On-site contact: Nicole Whelan - Rural Aid Business Development Manager Victoria - 0408 593 348 Craig James - OneTomorrow Charitable Fund (APT Travel Group) - 0423 121 711 ENDS Cannabis Cultivation regulation compliance in Australia 2020-02-14T02:36:19Z cannabis-cultivation-regulation-compliance-in-australia Starting a medicinal cannabis business in Australia can be a daunting process. Investors and operators need to have access to technical and engineering expertise to produce healthy, sustainable and saleable cannabis crops, pharmaceutical products and source materials.   There are complex documentation requirements for licence applications, including site selection studies/soil tests, seed sourcing, crop planning programs, supplier audits, environmental monitoring, and mandated personnel training and security programs. Cost-effective climate controls are also necessary to avoid negative net incomes/declining profit margins.  Meeting national and international regulations, e.g., GACP, GMP requirements, can be challenging for individuals accustomed to working in less-regulated sectors. Globally, significant volumes of rejected cannabis crops and recalled medicines have had to be destroyed due to quality and safety concerns. These are some of the key factors that have impacted the industry’s profit margins and share prices.  Instability of corporate boards and/or management teams is also an issue for this industry, often initiated after a lack of profits and/or a steep decline in profit margins, over time. But like all businesses, start-up investment costs will take time to generate a return.  Despite unprecedented growth rates in demand --- in some regions, exceeding 200% to 400% a year – operational efficiencies are a necessity for sustainability. The fact is, it’s a lucrative industry, but an increasingly competitive field as more licences are granted across the world. Capital investment decisions and future expansion plans must be built into these businesses in the earliest stages of development, by experts in the sector. To reduce industry confusion about what’s required to meet stringent government and health product regulations for medicinal cannabis production and exportation, the 2nd Australian Medicinal Cannabis Conference is being held in Melbourne, over 2 days, 23 to 24 March 2020. For more information visit: …. or Infected meat and dairy 2020-02-13T11:56:04Z infected-meat-and-dairy Dear Editor, The news is full of reports of viruses and bacterial infections, some of which are resistant to antibiotics. Most come from animals being abused for human use. The latest shock is the recall of milk by Dairy Farmers due to contamination with E.coli, a bacteria that can cause severe abdominal cramps, bloody diarrhoea and vomiting. Earlier this month, researchers reported on meat and offal collected from NSW, Victoria and Queensland from 2016-2018. They found, in most chicken meat and offal, Campylobacter bacteria, the most common cause of human gastroenteritis in the world. The solution is obvious: stop raising, killing and eating animals. Crowded, filthy factory farms are perfect reservoirs for disease. Chickens are packed into sheds teeming with bacteria and ammonia fumes; many die from the unsanitary conditions. Cows are bred to produce enormous quantities of milk, resulting in mastitis (infection of the udder) before being forced onto a slaughterhouse truck. The Coronavirus originated at a fish market, where close contact between humans and live animals helped the virus to jump species. Eating animals has apocalyptic consequences. The most significant thing that you can do to help animals, the environment, and your own health is to go vegan. Desmond Bellamy Special Projects Coordinator PETA Australia PO Box 2352 Byron Bay NSW 2481 0411 577 416 Base AR37 tops Dairy Australia’s Forage Value Index for another year 2020-02-07T04:00:05Z base-ar37-tops-dairy-australias-forage-value-index-for-another-year PGG Wrightson Seeds Base AR37 perennial ryegrass has again come out on top of Dairy Australia’s latest Australian Forage Value Index (FVI) 2020 update. The FVI rating system helps Australian dairy producers make better-informed decisions when choosing a perennial ryegrass cultivar. It provides an accurate, reliable and independent assessment of the potential economic benefit of perennial ryegrass cultivars in different dairy regions of southeast Australia. The FVI is calculated by multiplying a cultivars dry matter performance value (PV) by its economic value (EV), and Base AR37 perennial ryegrass topped the rankings across all four areas tested in Southwest Victoria, Gippsland (VIC), Northern Victoria and Tasmania. Australian dairy farmers invest more than $100 million renovating pastures each year, with perennial ryegrass accounting for a large amount of this. “With that in mind, selecting the best cultivars helps to increase pasture productivity at key times of year, and ultimately boosts a farm’s profitability,” says PGG Wrightson Seeds National Sales & Marketing Manager, Jason Agars. “Base AR37 provides excellent late season feed, and has very high tiller density, which along with AR37 endophyte provides excellent persistence for a perennial ryegrass. As these results show, its performance across these four regions is unsurpassed.” “We’re proud of our leadership in the development of improved pasture plant genetics for Australia,” he continues. “I’m pleased to see further recognition of Base AR37 as the top performing cultivar across the south-east.” For more information on how Base AR37 perennial ryegrass can improve your pasture production contact your local PGG Wrightson Seeds’ Sales Agronomist at Additional information on the Australian Forage Value Index and the 2020 Forage Value Index Pasture Tables can be found at: The Australian Forage Value Index is a partnership between Dairy Australia, Agriculture Victoria, DairyNZ, the Australian Seed Federation and Meat and Livestock Australia. Ends For media enquiries: C7EVEN Communications Kate Munsie, 02 6766 4513 KUHN Expo to showcase the best in farm machinery innovation 2020-02-03T22:00:00Z kuhn-expo-to-showcase-the-best-in-farm-machinery-innovation-1 On the back of a successful expo in Cowra, NSW in 2017, KUHN Farm Machinery are set to welcome customers and dealers to the KUHN Expo in Naracoorte, S.A. on Thursday, 5 March 2020. This is the first year KUHN has chosen to stage their expo in South Australia. It is a unique opportunity for customers and dealers to meet industry experts, international KUHN factory representatives and see firsthand the remarkable range of KUHN farm machinery. Attendees will see impressive live demonstrations, machinery displays, product workshops and presentations on over 30 of KUHN’s cutting-edge hay and silage, tillage, spraying, spreading and feed mixing machines. Also, all KUHN Expo attendees will be able to purchase machines in a silent auction and have exclusive access to special finance offers through their preferred dealers. One of the live demonstrations will be of the long-awaited KUHN SB 1290 iD large square baler. Designed for extreme high-density baling in the most challenging Australian conditions, the SB 1290 iD model produces square bales with up to 25% higher bale density than conventional 120 x 90 balers. At the centre of this is the KUHN patented TWINPACT double plunger system that ensures intelligent, efficient bale compaction whilst avoiding high peak loads on the machine. KUHN Australia Marketing Manager and Baler Product Specialist, Michael Murer explains, “The KUHN SB 1290 iD is designed with simple, efficient techniques like integral rotor and power density that produce rock-hard, perfectly shaped bales”. KUHN are also pleased to showcase the newly presented OPTIMER L12000 disc cultivator for the first time in Australia. ‘’The OPTIMER L12000 is wider, stronger and faster and meets the requirements of large-scale farmers looking for high work output, optimal comfort and a perfect ground tracking system without compromising work quality,’’ said Michael. In addition to live demonstrations of the SB 1290 iD and OPTIMER L12000, attendees can also look forward to presentations of some of KUHN’s other machines, including the following: KUHN’s recently released Auto Spray System used for precise chemical application; The Euromix 4570 which is KUHN’s vertical triple auger mixer; The Merge Maxx 950 will demonstrate how it is an adaptable, adjustable clean raking solution to create regular windrows; The Axent 100.1 is KUHN’s high precision spreader for granular and powdered products; and The GA 13131 (which is a smaller model of the GA 15131 which was awarded the Raking World Record in 2019). Notably, all hay bales made during the live demonstrations at the KUHN Expo will be sold at market price and all proceeds will be donated by KUHN to a rural charity. For more information and to register your attendance at the free event, visit or contact your local KUHN dealer. Limited spaces available. Ends. Media Contact: C7EVEN Communications, Luci Smith P: 02 6766 4513 / 0419 618 845 E: Girl Guides calls for volunteers to support the next generation of Australian women 2020-01-30T23:45:57Z girl-guides-calls-for-volunteers-to-support-the-next-generation-of-australian-women-1 Girl Guides NSW, ACT & NT, one of the largest organisations in Australia dedicated to supporting girls and young women, are calling for more volunteers to play a vital role in the organisation by sharing their experiences and wisdom with the Girl Guide Community. After the success of the A Place To Grow campaign in May 2019, memberships significantly increased creating a need to recruit volunteers. State Commissioner, Sarah Neill said that volunteering is not only about helping others, studies have shown volunteering helps increase your health, happiness and sense of fulfilment. “From our own research – Girl Guides NSW, ACT & NT Insights Research 2018 – we know that our volunteers are making lifelong friends, gaining personal fulfilment, develop a sense of belonging and learn new skills,” Girl Guides NSW, ACT & NT, offer a range of flexible volunteering positions available to suit different schedules and needs. “When considering becoming a volunteer, we encourage people to choose a position that reflects one of their passions and/or experience; to add greater value to the team, the girls and gain personal satisfaction,” said Mrs Neill. NT Region Manager, Letitia Baldwin, who has been involved in Girl Guides for 16 years said, “We are constantly looking for volunteers with unique passions to share them with our community. It is incredibly important for volunteers to love what they are doing as this provides the greatest benefit to our girls.” District Manager, Tegan McAnulty, has been a member of the Guiding community for 22 years both as a Guide and a Leader. When asked why she has been a part of Guiding for so long, her answer is simple. “The biggest opportunity – at the heart of the Girl Guiding movement, is the girls we work with; it’s the greatest privilege,” said Ms McAnulty. Tegan has participated in the recruitment campaign with other Leaders sharing their experiences as a volunteer. View the recruitment video series here: With all these amazing benefits and the start of a new year, why not become a volunteer? -ends- Notes to editor: Girl Guides NSW, ACT & NT are devoted to the growth and development of girls. They provide a place where girls can learn, build their skills and connect with like-minded peers. The benefits also extend to the volunteers who play a vital role in supporting the girls. Guides work to serve their community and support those in need by offering to help where they can. They participate in many local activities and initiatives aimed at giving back to the community. Girl Guides NSW, ACT & NT offers girls, women and volunteers A Place To Grow. For Media Enquiries please contact: Simone Gur | ZADRO Agency | | 0417 778 511 Oakley Grioli I ZADRO Agency I | 02 9212 7867 IMAGES Images are available for use. For high-resolution images, please contact: Image: Girl Guides at Lark in the Park, Sydney, 2019. Image: Volunteers at Lord Mayor’s Picnic. Image: Recruitment Campaign Artwork. Horror in an eggcup 2020-01-30T11:05:39Z horror-in-an-eggcup The Editor Dear Editor, Most people don’t know the secret ingredient of egg dishes – unimaginable cruelty. Egg producers consider male chicks to be an unwanted by-product, because they cannot lay eggs and are a different breed to chickens raised for the flesh on their oversized breasts and legs. They are therefore routinely killed by being thrown, live, into shredders or gassed. The French government has announced it will ban the shredding of live chicks by the end of next year, and we hope other nations will follow suit. The sisters of those male chicks, however, will continue to endure a hideous fate as long as people eat eggs. Intelligent, curious, and easily frightened hens are commonly kept in extremely crowded and filthy conditions and are often painfully mutilated when the ends of their sensitive beaks are cut off. They, too, are slaughtered, when deemed no longer fit for egg production. Shoved into small crates—sometimes with broken wings or legs—they endure a harrowing journey to the slaughterhouse, where their throats are cut, often while they're still conscious. The best way to help chicks is to make the ethical decision to stop eating eggs and flesh altogether and to switch to vegan foods. Mimi Bekhechi Campaigns Strategist People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (Australia) PO Box 20308 World Square Sydney, NSW, 2002. (08) 8556-5828 Time’s up for bees 2020-01-29T00:01:12Z time-s-up-for-bees Continued and expanded access to public lands was identified in June as the number one concern across Australia by professional beekeepers and there is no more time for decision makers to delay. Peter McDonald, Chair of the Australian Honey Bee Industry Council (AHBIC) said, ‘The bee industry, like so many others, has been devastated by the fires and while I’m pretty sure that decision makers know the extent of the damage they don’t necessarily understand the implications for our almond and avocado growers - even those that have not been burned out. ‘No bees, means no pollination. ‘Where honey-bees have escaped the blazes, they will starve before Spring unless urgent action by both industry and government is taken to save them,’ said Peter. Two things need to happen, in order: 1.        Hives need sugar syrup and pollen patties. These simulate pollen and can be used in the short-term to keep bees alive. They are expensive and Government subsidies would help.  The NSW Department of Primary Industries has already provided a short-term food source of sugar supplements for bees in the affected fire areas. Even with supplements some mortality is expected because of the extended period. Pollen patties contain pollen or a substitute. It should be noted that crops such as almond and avocado will provide pollen for some bees but only for the short period of flowering, not for the rest of the year. 2.        Alternative nectar and pollen sources must be found and for this, access to National Park areas that have not been burned is vital. This is not a 12-month panacea, it will be an ongoing requirement for years to come as the natural bush regenerates. Peter said, ‘The AHBIC is seeking urgent action from the Federal Government to coordinate State Government land managers in providing immediate and ongoing access to unburned public land such as National Parks and State Conservation areas over autumn and winter. ‘This is a national problem which threatens food crop production and will also lead to shortages of Australian honey,’ said Peter. Individuals and corporations can also help struggling beekeepers, sometimes referred to as Australia’s “Forgotten Farmers”. Hive Aid is a drought and bushfire relief campaign managed by Rural Aid, one of Australia’s largest rural charities, Hive Aid contributes financial assistance and practical support to professional beekeepers impacted by the ongoing drought and bushfires and donations can be made at The Australian Honey Bee Industry Council (AHBIC) aims to ensure the long term economic viability, security and prosperity of the Australian Honey Bee industry in Australia. Coronavirus: anagram of carnivorous 2020-01-27T19:09:28Z coronavirus-anagram-of-carnivorous Dear Editor, The coronavirus is among us. Medical authorities are urgently seeking the people who travelled on the same planes as patients who have shown symptoms of the new deadly virus. The virus, an anagram of carnivorous, appears to have emerged from a fish market that was also selling wild animals such as beavers, porcupines and snakes in the city of Wuhan, in central China. The 2002-2003 SARS pandemic was similarly traced to civet cats. In these markets, urine, faeces and other bodily fluids from live, wild animals end up mixing with blood from butchered ones, providing ideal breeding grounds for viruses and bacteria. Overwhelmingly, human diseases start with the abuse of animals. Hunting and the appropriation of animals’ habitats has led to diseases such as Hendra and Ebola. The 2009 H1N1 epidemic started in pigs. Measles originally came from cattle, and whooping cough from dogs. The Professor of communicable disease control at the University of Queensland said of the growth of pathogens that spill-over to humans “The most significant driver of emergence is food production.” This is not a solitary event – such epidemics are becoming regular events, and diseases thought to be long vanquished are returning with the spread of superbugs, largely due to the use of massive doses of antibiotics in factory farms to promote faster growth and counter the diseases that spread in filthy conditions. Scientists have warned for years that filthy farms crammed with sick and suffering animals are breeding grounds for new, antibiotic-resistant bacteria. We create these problems from the violence we impose by torturing and slaughtering gentle animals who are trying to live their own lives. As the Nobel Prize-winning author Isaac Bashevis Singer said: “as long as human beings will go on shedding the blood of animals, there will never be any peace”. Our best defence against disease is to go vegan. Desmond Bellamy Special Projects Coordinator PETA Australia PO Box 2352 Byron Bay NSW 2481 0411 577 416 Victims of bushfires 2020-01-24T00:09:31Z victims-of-bushfires The Editor, Dear Editor, Of all the animals who have suffered and continue to suffer in recent bushfires, sheep are perhaps the most ignored. Staggering numbers were killed – around 100,000 on Kangaroo Island alone. Survivors are often badly burnt. The worst get a bullet in the head. Those who can walk, even if badly burnt and in great pain, may be sent for what the industry calls "salvage slaughter" – trucked on an agonising journey to an abattoir. Bushfires occur regularly in Australia, and are becoming more severe. As the Earth warms, we need urgent reductions to emissions, and sheep are second only to cows in the production of methane, a potent greenhouse gas. There are over seventy million sheep in Australia, and they produce huge amounts of manure, polluting water, land and air, as well as spreading faecal bacteria. Forests are denuded for grazing, and kangaroos, already killed by the millions by the fires, are shot as they "compete" for grass. It's time to say no to the wool industry. No bushfire relief should be allowed for restocking animals who may well be victims of the next fires. And if you see a wool label in a shop, please don’t buy it. Mimi Bekhechi Campaigns Strategist People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (Australia) PO Box 20308 World Square Sydney, NSW, 2002. (08) 8556-5828 Designing gardens that are more fire-proof 2020-01-21T05:00:01Z designing-gardens-that-are-more-fire-proof Media Release- For Immediate Release               20 January 2020   Designing gardens that are more fire-proof Some gardens increase fire risk. Other gardens may diminish fire risk and even reduce the damage caused when a fire does occur. Knowledgeable gardeners – amateur or professional – can make better decisions about garden design and ongoing maintenance when they consider fire risk. Ill-informed people might think the best way to avoid a fire is to clear all trees and tall plants away from their house. Reality is a little more complicated though. When a building doesn’t have plants around it, it becomes more exposed to wind and heat. Embers can be carried long distances by wind in a firestorm, and buildings can ignite up to tens of kilometres from a fire front. Totally eliminating a garden does not guarantee protection from fire. Smart landscaping may not guarantee 100% fire protection, but it is probably a better solution. Ignorance of plant selection, garden design and property maintenance can often heighten fire risk in fire-prone areas. Fire can damage gardens horribly, some gardens more than others.  Some plants and landscape materials will burn far more readily. There are three important areas that need to be considered-- garden design, plant varieties used, and garden maintenance. 1. Garden Design. In some ways, plants can help in fire zones, so long as they don’t catch on fire themselves. Plants keep an area significantly cooler, and filter pollutants including smoke from fires. Placement of plants can change the way air moves through and over a property. Clear access routes need to be designed into a garden. A wide track with stone walls on either side will give better access than a narrow track with overhanging, highly flammable trees. When choosing landscape materials, favour materials that are less likely to fuel a fire or be damaged by a fire.  Wood decking will burn, but masonry paving won’t. Some mulches burn more readily than others. Some soils hold more moisture than others. Water features may offset flammability. Extra water storage may enable better firefighting. Irrigation systems can be used to wet a garden when fire approaches. 2. Plant Selection Some plants are less likely to burn or may not burn as fast. These include plants with watery foliage like cacti, ones with a high salt-content (e.g. Tamarix), ones with dense, insulating bark and ones with dense crowns. Plants that burn more readily include ones with volatile oils in their foliage such as eucalypts, and those with fibrous loose bark, dry foliage, or resinous foliage like conifers. Some plants can recover better from fires than others. Knowing how well a plant can recover is an important consideration when choosing plants to grow in fire prone areas. A very high level of plant knowledge is critical to better fire management through better selection of plants for gardens, farms and landscapes. Sadly, there has been a decline in teaching this aspect of horticulture over recent decades in many countries. 3. Garden Maintenance It is paramount to keep burnable material cleared from gardens as much as possible during fire seasons. Remove low hanging branches and flaky bark that might ignite trees. Keep trees and shrubs watered, if possible, over summer with drip systems located on the windward side of the garden. This keeps water levels higher in plants and makes them harder to ignite. Dig in any dry mulches or leaf litter that might ignite. Flammable mulches such as lucerne hay are better used after a fire season. They can then settle and largely decompose before the next fire season. This can improve a soils capacity to hold water; and plants therefore may have higher water content if faced with fire. After a fire, act to help a garden revive as soon as possible. Adding biostimulants, mulching, watering and pruning can help damaged plants revive.  Sometimes though, a burnt soil can develop water resistance. If this occurs, digging the soil surface and/or using a soil wetter may be needed.   Written by John Mason, Principal, ACS Distance Education, For any comments, please contact our Marketing & Public Relations Department or telephone 07 5562 1088. Livestock trace mineral challenge – Entries closing soon! 2020-01-20T22:26:07Z livestock-trace-mineral-challenge-entries-closing-soon There are less than 10 days left to enter Virbac Australia’s $34,000 Multimin Performance Ready Challenge. Widespread rain and storms providing useful falls across QLD, NSW and Victoria over the past week has re-built graziers’ confidence to improve the condition of their drought-affected stock and one leading animal health company want to assist producers to do this. If your goals are to improve the health and productivity of your livestock, then this is the perfect opportunity. With less than 10 days to go, beef, sheep and dairy producers are being encouraged to get their entry in for Virbac Australia’s Multimin Performance Ready Challenge, focused on the effective use of trace mineral injections for cattle and sheep. As part of the Challenge, up to seventy-five producers will receive discounted Multimin product in exchange for sharing their experiences and results from following a Multimin program, and one lucky competing individual or team will win an overseas study tour and free Multimin product. With the total prize pool valued at more than $34,000, the prize will offer professional development tailored to the winner and their enterprise. “Current entries across all states indicate that round one of the Multimin Challenge will be full of healthy competition among cattle and sheep producers,” said Dr Jerry Liu, Nutritionist and Livestock Nutrition Marketing Manager at Virbac Australia. Last year’s Multimin Challenge saw Renee Murfett, dairy producer from Framlingham, Victoria take out first prize. “With the guidance of Multimin Challenge experts, we ran a trial on our calves to see what effect Multimin may have on their general health and disease rates. The trial confirmed the critical roles that trace minerals play in immunity and animal health, and we certainly saw improvements in our calves within the first 12 weeks of treatment. Optimisation of trace minerals at high demand time points provided us with improved animal health and productivity,” Renee said. Virbac Australia have brought together some of Australia’s best vets and livestock nutrition experts to work with the challengers. The panel of experts will use their experience to guide and judge the challengers as well as share their knowledge and advice with Multimin Challenge followers. “All in all, the competition is perfect for any livestock producer wanting to work with some of Australia’s most experienced livestock nutritionist experts. They will have the opportunity to improve conception rates and immune function, as well as see tighter calving intervals, reduced disease, and better general health in 2020. And in some situations, I've seen weight gain benefits in prime lamb and beef cattle,” said Multimin Challenge expert Dr Graham Lean, Principal Consultant at Agrivet Business Consulting. Round one entries are closing soon on Friday 31st January for those producers wanting to compete in March to June. Now is the time to nominate a mate or enter yourself at Ends Media Enquiries: Kate Munsie - C7EVEN COMMUNICATIONS (02) 6766 4513 / 0421 935 843 Photo captions: 1. 2019 Multimin Challenge Winner, Renee Murfett, Victoria 2. Dr Graham Lean, Principal Consultant at Agrivet Business Consulting RURAL AID LAUNCHES $25M DISASTER RECOVERY APPEAL TO ASSIST FARMERS 2020-01-14T06:23:45Z rural-aid-launches-25m-disaster-recovery-appeal-to-assist-farmers Today, Rural Aid launched a $25 million Disaster Recovery Appeal to assist over 10,000 farmers and over 10 million of their farm animals in fire affected zones. Rural Aid Co-Founder, Charles Alder said Rural Aid has started hay deliveries in north east Victoria and southern NSW and is asking Australians to assist our farmers who have experienced unprecedented hardship from drought and now catastrophic fires. “Over the past 18 months, Rural Aid has distributed $45 million in assistance to farmers and their communities, and we will continue to leverage its proven delivery model for drought and now fire affected farmers,” Charles Alder said. “In addition, Rural Aid has committed over $10 million to drought affected farmers, including the proceeds of the recent Hay Mate concert. Over the past weeks, Australians have come out in support and generously given to assist fire affected southern NSW and eastern Victoria. However, once the smoke clears and the ‘Firies’ drive away, Rural Aid arrives to step in and help farmers transition from emergency response to a period of recovery. “The $25 million Disaster Recovery Appeal will help Rural Aid expand its support offerings to farmers in affected fire zones,” Charles Alder said. “Rural Aid will also assist with domestic water deliveries, financial assistance (Visa Country Cards) and access to counselling. Many farmers spend their Visa Country Cards in their communities, supporting local economies. “With around 10,000 Aussie farmers affected by fires, our target from the $25 million Disaster Recovery Appeal is for each farmer to receive $2500 in assistance from Rural Aid. To help us to continue to deliver this much needed aid to our farmers, support Rural Aid’s ‘Buy a Bale’ program by donating at  Visit:  for updates on Rural Aid's assistance statistics.  About Rural Aid Rural Aid is one of Australia’s largest rural charities. Well known for the highly successful ‘Buy a Bale’ campaign, the charity also provides financial assistance, water and counselling to farmers in times of drought, flood or fire. Other initiatives support its vision that farming and rural communities are safeguarded to ensure their sustainability both during and after these natural disasters. Visit for further information on these programs and other support for our rural communities. Follow Rural Aid for updates on: FB: @ruralaidaustralia | @buyabaleofhay IG: @buyabale | @ruralaid IN: Rural Aid Ltd TW: @ruralaidaust | @buyabale *Data referenced from NSW Department of Primary Industries and Agriculture Victoria. ENDS Media enquiries: Raylee Huggett – 0447 116 757 Media spokespeople: Rural Aid Co-Founder, Charles Alder – 0410 714 379 Rural Aid Interim CEO, Sarah Hunter – 0421 943 683 Rural Aid National Business Development Manager, Wayne Thomson – 0476 647 281 Quick Stats: ·         In 2018 – 2019, Rural Aid delivered $31.6 million in assistance to farmers and their rural communities. ·         From July to December 2019, Rural aid delivered $14 million in assistance to farmers and their rural communities. ·         Over November and December 2019, more than 2000 farmers registered with Rural Aid. ·         Rural Aid has over 12,000 farmers registered for assistance. ·         In the recent Christmas and New Year period, Rural Aid delivered over 12,000 gift cards to farmers. ·         Between July and December 2019, Rural Aid delivered 372 truck loads of hay and 2094 water deliveries to farmers. Shot for being thirsty 2020-01-09T12:03:47Z shot-for-being-thirsty The Editor Dear Editor, People are deeply upset about what's going on in Australia: kangaroos trapped in barbed-wire fencing while attempting to flee the fires, cows and sheep being cooked alive in the flames, and an estimated one and a quarter million or more animals now killed in the conflagrations. Now, we add shooters being ordered to gun down thousands of camels desperately searching for water. There is something that can be done – a long-term fix for this horror and the others that will inevitably follow, as prolonged heat and drought have extended seasonal wildfire periods around the world and we're facing mass extinctions, rising sea levels, and record-breaking temperature changes. It's imperative that we take personal responsibility for the protection of our planet, and by far the easiest way to do that is to stop eating animals and go vegan right now. The UN has stated that meat consumption must decrease by as much as 90% in order for us to avoid the most catastrophic effects of climate change. This requires zero governmental initiative and no promises from giant corporations – it just means choosing to leave animals out of our shopping trolleys. It's a simple but revolutionary action that says, "We will not let this planet and countless sensitive animals die on our watch." We urge all caring people to join the vegan movement. The Earth and all its human and non-human inhabitants depend on it. Ingrid Newkirk Founder PETA Australia PO Box 20308 World Square Sydney NSW 2002 (08) 8556-5828