The Land - Colin Bettles
May 25, 2016, 7:35 a.m.
THE Coalition will seek to implement a transparent milk price index if re-elected, to avoid a repeat of the dairy industry viability crisis caused by late season retrospective price cuts from Murray Goulburn and Fonterra.
Federal Agriculture Minister Barnaby Joyce today announced $2 million will be allocated to establish a commodity milk price index, in a package of support measures to support impacted dairy farmers.
Other key elements of the support package are:
•$555m in Dairy Recovery Concessional Loans
•$20m to fast track the upgrade of the Macalister Irrigation District
•$900,000 for an additional 9 Rural Financial Counsellors in Victoria, Tasmania, SA and NSW
•$900,000 for Dairy Australia’s ‘Tactics for Tight Times’ program
•Fast tracking Farm Household Allowance applications with 18 more Department of Human Services employees processing claims
•Appointment of a Department of Human Services Dairy Industry Liaison Officer
•Redirection of two Department of Human Services Mobile Service Centres to dairy regions
The Land - RUTH CASKEY
CHICKPEA planting won’t finish until early next month, but the state is already on track for a bumper crop thanks to recent rain and high prices.
About 750,000 hectares are expected to be sown to chickpeas in NSW and Queensland this year, up from about 600,000ha in 2015.
NSW makes up nearly half that area, with about 350,000ha to go in, according to Pulse Australia northern region industry development manager Paul McIntosh, Toowoomba.
Mr McIntosh said the bulk of the crop would be planted following rain early this week, but some croppers wouldn’t finish sowing until the beginning of June.
The Land - STEPHEN BURNS
PICKING is well underway for the current cotton crop, and expectations of higher than average yields is compensating for the less than average area sown.
Cotton Australia general manager Michael Murray, said the peak body was expecting 2.4 million bales nationally this year, similar to the amount produced last year.
“It is on the lighter side of our expectations, because we would like to see three million bales, which is the long term average,” Mr Murray said.
“We are hearing good yields, around 14 to 16 bales in some regions, but we think the seasonal average could be 10 bales to the hectare across NSW.”