Archive for April, 2019

Farmers won’t be bogged down by problems

TOO BOGGY: Perthville Feed and Rural’s Matt Seaman with rolls of lurcene that can’t be delivered until the paddocks across the region dry out following well above-average rainfall this month. Photo: CHRIS SEABROOK 062016cbigwetWELL-ABOVE average rain this month has left Bathurst farmers with boggy paddocks, but they remain hopeful they can get their stock to market in time.
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June’s long-term average rainfall is 44 millimetres, but so far this month 80.4mm has been recorded at Bathurst Airport by the Bureau of Meteorology.

This past weekend’s soaking contributed 31.2mm towards the total.

Perthville Feed and Rural is often the place the region’s farmers catch up, and owner Matt Seaman said sheep graziers are saying they remain hopeful they can get lambs to market in time.

“It’s starting to happen that people can’t get trucks in or out,” he said.

“They have to go to markets with lamb teeth, if they loose those the price drops significantly.”

At the markets lamb teeth signify the animal is a certain age, and younger lambs are worth a premium price.

“It’s certainly in their best interest to sell them with the lamb teeth,” Mr Seaman said.

While the rains have brought some pasture and crop growth, it has not been enough for the region’s pregnant ewes.

“While the paddocks are green, there’s not enough nutrients in what is there to sustain them,” Mr Seaman said.

“People have had to buy nutritional lick blocks and supplements [for the ewes].”

But with the challenges also comes some benefits, and Mr Seaman said the region’s saturated paddocks means that rain is now starting to run-off and fill dams.

“Above-ground [water] storage has been a problem for a while,” Mr Seaman said.

NSW Farmers Association Bathurst branch president David McKay said despite the 39mm of rain recorded at his Evans Plains property on the weekend, his paddocks are not too boggy yet.

“It’s pretty sloppy, but I’m getting around in the tractors and four-wheel-drives,” he said.

Mr McKay said the 80mm of rain he has received at his property so far this winter has been very welcomed compared to the 27mm in June last year.

“It’s the best winter we’ve had in years,” he said.

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Junior Rugby Union competitions are looking into how to keep players safe after a Sydney junior board was accused of not protecting player welfare. Photo: FILE

THE body mass index is one tool but the Central West Rugby Union leans heavily on parental involvement when it comes to protecting smaller players.

The CWRU’s board delegate for juniors, Vincent Gordon, said the zone had strong guidelines in place to protect players from the serious injuries the Sydney competition’s junior board had been blamed for after it was accused of not enforcing weight restrictions.

Mr Gordon, from Dubbo, said parents could apply for their child to play in a younger age division if they had concerns about a size mismatch, while the clubs were also proactive in keeping kids safe.

“There are a number of points but first is the BMI [body mass index],” he said, adding observation was also key – some small players had the skills to thrive, others developed slower and this was where parents and club officials had to step in.

Mr Gordon pointed out rugby was a contact sport. But he agreed its positional structure encompassed all body shapes and that provided opportunities for children of all shapes and sizes to take part.

“I think the game [in the Central West] is certainly doing its bit to look after players,” he said.

Orange Emus juniors president Keryn Holland, who had close to 160 players under her watch, said headgear and mouthguards were mandatory for training as well as playing.

Juniors who did get a bad head knock were also required to sit out the next three weeks.

But she admitted the under 12 championships in Sydney, where her son Bailey was a member of the Central West side, was an eye-opener for her.

“My son is not a big kid but he’s tall for an 11-year-old… the size of the kids playing down there – he was one of the smaller kids,” she said.

“I think that just reinforces that Central West is doing the right thing.”

Emus have enjoyed a strong year in the junior ranks, fielding two under 7s and four under s9 sides in the Walla rugby ranks, as well as two under 11s and 13s teams and one under 15s outfit.

Ms Holland sais sometimes size was not the defining factor in grading players.

“We had two under-7s went up [to 9s], not because they were bigger but because they had older brothers who played, they’d already learned some of the skills,” she said.

The body mass index is a formula in which a player’s weight is divided by their height squared. The healthy range is between 18.5 to 25.

Former NSW Waratah player Brad Harrison sent shockwaves through Sydney’s rugby union community when he banned his 14-year-old son from club competition.

Mr Harrison, who oversees the welfare of more than 2000 children at Gordon Junior Rugby Union, said he could stand by “no longer” and watch “late-developing teenagers” being pitted against same-age players who were often more than double their body weight.

He was calling on the Australian Rugby Union to introduce a compulsory safer, weight-for-age system, but Mr Gordon said that wasn’t as simple as it sounded.

“For 12 years I’ve been involved in junior rugby and this is a regular discussion,” he said.

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AN avenue of trees on Durham Street has been given a winter woollies makeover as part of a protest against a planned council removal.
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Members of the River Yarners group on Monday tied crocheted messages that read “love”, “hope” and “life” to the mature London plane trees between George Street and William Street.

Spokeswoman Sally Neaves said concerns raised with council over the planned removal of the trees had fallen on deaf ears, leaving the group to find other ways to get the message across.

“Nothing seems to be getting through to council,” she said.

“We are concerned if they take them away there will be very little shade in the area and it will be less beautiful.”

Council adopted a three-stage project in April 2015 in which the London plane trees, as well as some crepe myrtles, would be removed and replaced with different varieties that better suit the area.

The three stages were budgeted to cost almost $190,000, with council planning to bring in mature replacement trees rather than saplings.

While members of the River Yarners support council’s advance tree planting program, they would much prefer to see the mature London plane trees saved.

They believe the benefits of mature trees in a warming climate outweigh the inconvenience and possible extra expense of managing the trees’ root systems.

“The message is that we really value trees and we don’t want to see them torn down,” Ms Neaves said.

The idea for the crocheted banners was devised several months ago, and members of the River Yarners have since worked on the patches.

The River Yarners joined with other environmentalists last December to create a yarn project against the proposed sale of council’s treated effluent to a new gold mine near Blayney.

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Flames blaze on despite wet

FLAMES tightened their grip on the Tamworth women’s first grade lead with a four-goal win over second-placed Waratahs on Sunday.
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Flames’ Bek May shapes to tackle Waratahs’ Anita Collins during their wet women’s clash on Sunday. Photo: Geoff O’Neill 190616GOB09

After conceding an early goal, Flames returned fire to lead 4-2 at half-time and run out 6-2 victors in a game played in persistent and at times heavy rain.

They didn’t take long to level after Anita Collins had put Waratahs ahead about five minutes in, with Julie Rodda converting a penalty corner on the left post, coach Barrie Pritchard said.

“All players struggled with the very wet surface,” Pritchard said.

“In the 27th minute Kate Ferguson beat two defenders in a great run to the top of the circle and passed to Tegan Smith who scored.”

Another strong midfield run to the circle, this time by Naomi Spark, was finished by Maddie Doyle to take Flames to 3-1.

Waratahs clawed back a goal in the 31st minute with a well-placed pass across the face of Flames keeper Tracey Freeman but in the final minute a Flames intercept saw Doyle score her second.

Pritchard said they built their first half on strong defence, with Freeman in the action on several occasions and Mel and Ash Allen strong in deep defence.

“Wing halves Bek May and Sophie Littlejohns backed that up by linking well in the wet conditions and getting their strikers away with good passing,” he said.

Flames adapted well to the conditions and were continually pressing the Waratahs players.

That bore fruit when Kim Resch picked off an intercept and “found Julie Rodda in the circle who beat the goal keeper and ran the ball in to score in a spray of water”.

Pritchard said Waratahs continued countering until the end and narrowly missed the post on two shots in the final seven minutes.

Doyle finished off the scoring for Flames from a right-side counter attack to give her three for the game.

“The midfield led by the mercurial Ferguson, with Kim Resch and Naomi Spark on her flanks are beginning to make a formidable combination and their linking with strikers Rodda, Smith, Doyle and Ash Horniman is creating a lot of scoring opportunities,” Pritchard said.

The win pushed them four points clear of Services at the top with the loss seeing Waratahs slip back to third.

Waratahs were a bit undermanned and coach Graeme McKenzie was quite happy with the way they played.

They did, he felt, concede a couple of soft goals but also did some “nice stuff”.

“Flames certainly took their opportunities better than we did,” he said.

“But I was really pleased with the way we moved the ball around in phases.

“When we shifted the ball around we looked good.

“We fell into the trap a couple of times of trying to hit long, which was hard in those conditions.”

He added that if they are going to be a serious threat to Flames they have to start getting everyone there and functioning more consistently.

It was a bit of sister act for them, with Collins and sister Maddie Cryer having strong games along with Tahlia and Katrina Rekunow.

Tayla King was also very strong at the back.

McKenzie is also busily in the throes of organising what is shaping up to be the biggest York Cup/Kim Small Shield yet.

At this stage they’re looking at 45 teams for the July 15-17 tournament.

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Picture: FILEHORSHAM Rural City Council has adoptedits2016-17 budget that includesa 3.5 per cent rates rise and noextra discountfor farmers.
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Councillors present on Monday night’s meeting, David Grimble, Tony Phelan, Robin Barber and Sue Exell, voted for the budget motion.

Victorian Farmers Federation vice president David Jochinkemade a submission on the draft budget thatcalledfor greater rates relief for farmers.

The submissionrequested an increase to the farm differential rate to compensate forchanges in property valuations for the farm sector that have created a“significant rate burden”.

Cr David Grimble chaired the meeting in the absence of Mayor Heather Phillips.

“Local government is unsustainable, we are moving toward a very unsustainable environment, Cr Grimble said.

“This council has a history of raising rates to keep abreast of maintenance.

“The issues raised by VFF are real concerns.”

Cr Grimble called forthe state and federal governments to provide more money to councils.

The draft budget was not amended to increase discount farmers receive from the differential rates scheme.

Councillor Tony Phelan said farmers were concerned about the affect of rates on their businesses, which are already under drought stress.

“It isto come up with a $45 million budget when 50 per cent comes from rates and 50 per cent from the government,” Cr Phelan said.

“The government side isoften unknown.”

Other changes in the final budget included$330,000 cut to a state grant for ApexIsland playground;almost $1 million cut from expected Roads to Recovery program; and a$296,000 boost to Children’s Hub project.

Councillor Robin Barber said property rates were atax on wealth.

“It’sa very difficult thing, unlesswe come up with a new system,” he said.

Cr Sue Exell said the Victorian government rates rise cap had kept residential costs down.

“Having a rates caphas been a lot of work butyou look at council to see whatyou can tighten,” she said.

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