What exactly is Foot and Mouth Disease and why is everyone so worried?

Michael Ward, Chair of Veterinary Public Health and Food Safety at the University of Sydney, recently published an excellent article in the Conversation discussing Foot and Mouth Disease (or FMD), the most feared livestock disease in the world.  The article provides plain-English descriptions of what the disease is, how it affects animals and why it is so difficult to control.  Read the article here.


AW Howard Trust Scholarship winner to study bird communities in the southern Queensland rangelands

Brodie Crouch, an Honours student from the University of Queensland was recently awarded an AW Howard Memorial Trust Scholarship to further his studies in pasture research.  Brodie is investigating whether strips of brigalow vegetation retained on grazing properties in southern Queensland is of habitat value to woodland bird communities and also how these strips affect pasture productivity.  Fieldwork will be carried out in southern Queensland, on grazing properties in the Morven and Augathella regions.  Read more about Brodie’s project here.


Why Wool Matters

A short documentary Why Wool Matters was recently released as part of the international Campaign for Wool.  This film aims to demonstrate ‘the positive contribution that wool and the grazing of sheep make to the continued well-being of the planet”.  Further details about the Campaign for Wool and a link to the documentary can be found on the Wool.com website or directly through this link.


New CELEP study on pastoralism and renewable energy projects

In early June 2022, an online webinar was held to launch the CELEP study on “Pastoralism and large-scale renewable energy & green hydrogen projects” undertaken by Ann Waters-Bayer and Hussein Wario.

Rangelands are often perceived as offering perfect conditions for renewable energy. However, the CELEP study found that the huge solar and wind plants built to achieve the global climate goals may compete with traditional uses for land and water.  The study concentrated on renewable energy plants in India, Mexico, Norway, Morocco, Canada, Mongolia and Kenya and found that “without careful planning, green hydrogen installations fed by large-scale wind and solar plants may have serious negative impacts on local pastoralist communities and serve to intensify inter-ethnic and intra-community conflicts”.   This is in contrast to Australia, where David Phelps is quoted as saying that landholders generally regard ‘solar parks’ as positive as they expect additional income and few negative impacts.

The video recording of the webinar can be found here.


2022 National Landcare Conference – Register for FREE as an on-line delegate

The 2022 National Landcare Conference will be held in Sydney from 23 – 25 August.  This year’s conference will include speakers on urban landcare, landcare farming, wellbeing and mental health, cultural land management, innovation and technology, soil health, young farmers, building community capacity and resilience, communication and storytelling, volunteering and partnerships, sharing knowledge, navigating new opportunities to fund good land management, the natural environment, and climate change adaptation and mitigation. You can register to attend the event in-person, or register for FREE as a virtual delegate and participate online (all sessions will be live streamed and recorded).  Further details are available on the conference website at https://nationallandcareconference.org.au.


Latest FutureBeef Reports

The FutureBeef website has recently uploaded a number of articles that may be of interest including:

Rewarding cattle to graze more evenly — the benefits of self herding   This article looks at self herding using attractant stations to encourage cattle to graze pasture around the new watering points rather than returning to familiar watering points.

GrazingFutures case study: Using a drone on farm – a grazier’s experience  David Bone, manager of a 125,000-acre beef cattle property near Mungallala in western Queensland, shares the benefits and limitations he has experienced when using drones to assist with mustering and monitoring over the last four years.

The Beef Industry trifecta  Bob Shepherd, Principal Extension Officer – Grazing Land Management, looks at the options available to producers given the recent high cattle prices, historically low interest rates and a good season.


Latest Northern Territory Rural Review looks at climate services, proactive fire planning and rangeland management courses

The May issue of the NT Rural Review includes some interesting articles including:

  • A description of the new Climate Services for Agriculture website which has easy-to-read rainfall forecasts
  • Pro-active fire planning for Central Australia using insights gained from previous fire events in the Northern Territory.
  • On-station Rangeland Management Courses run by the Department of Industry, Tourism and Trade (DITT) for less experienced station staff.


What are the Muster Dogs up to now?

You might be wondering what the stars of Muster Dogs, the massively popular ABC TV series are doing now.   The trio who stole hearts across Australia, grazier Frank Finger and his working dogs Annie and Lucifer, are bringing joy to nursing home residents in central Queensland.  Read more about their visits at ABC Rural News.