Delve                     TRANSFORMING                     OUR INDUSTRIESwww.dpi.nsw.gov.au                    2011
Why                                                                                                                       ...
SMS savvy    SAVVY FARMERS IN THE HAWKESBURY-NEPEAN                          The service is used by the turf, vegetable, o...
Lamb logistics                                                                                                     FUTURE ...
bug                                                                                   BARCODES                            ...
Precision                             Laser leaders                                                                       ...
Shadowing                                                                                                        sharks   ...
Under round                                                                                                               ...
Delve 2011
Delve 2011
Delve 2011
Delve 2011
Delve 2011
Delve 2011
Delve 2011
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Delve 2011

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Each year the Delve magazine is created for the Sydney Royal Easter Show. The magazine gives a brilliant snap shot of NSW Primary Industries and what they mean to the community. An excellent resource for teachers.

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Delve 2011

  1. 1. Delve TRANSFORMING OUR INDUSTRIESwww.dpi.nsw.gov.au 2011
  2. 2. Why TRANSFORMING OUR INDUSTRIES Delve? With one-third of Australia’s population living in NSW, our farmers, foresters, fishers, miners and a raft of other professionals, work hard to feed and house us and make a significant contribution to Australia’s exports. Delve magazine takes a peek behind the scenes of our everyday lives, at the technology and people working to This year, our focus is the remarkable work undertaken by government scientists and industry leaders to ensure the sustainable growth of NSW primary industries. Technology is one of the main forces transforming all parts of our society. NSW industries such as farming, fisheries, forestry and mining all use ever evolving advanced technology to make their work safer, more efficient and environmentally friendly. And this often leads to better outcomes for the entire population—fresher food, wiser use of resources and a healthier environment. Contents SMS savvy Irrigation advice via satellite 4 Water wisdom Farmers make every drop count 4 Robust rice Standing up to the cold 5 Underground ultrasound Minerals exploration 15 Tracking tucker Identifying and tracing livestock 16 Best beef Standard labels for beef 17 transform the industries we rely on each day. We hope you enjoy delving into the future of NSW industries. You can Canny croppers Big water savings in cotton 5 Slow sensation Recipe—Comforting beef dinner 17 visit our website www.dpi.nsw.gov.au for more information. Lamb logistics Matching ewes and lambs 6 Seeing sound Tracking fish through sound waves 18 Body builder Lamb meat for health 6 Fire finders Fire detecting cameras 18 WE’D LIKE TO HEAR FROM YOU … Future fishing Assessing fish stocks 7 Carbon clues A career amongst the trees 19 Dinner winner Fish recipe—Leatherjacket 7 Testing trees Simulating climate change 20 Delve 2011 aims to introduce readers to the technology and people Bat banter Locating bats in forests 8 Rethinking ruminants Breeding cattle for less gas 20 working to sustain and improve the Bug barcodes Recording insect DNA 8 Organic options Organic choices on the rise 21 primary industries we rely on. What do you think of this year’s issue? Cultivating communities Farming in urban areas 9 Simply spelt An ancient wheat variety 21 Any suggestions for 2012? Precision decisions Educating future farmers 10 Optimum oils Getting the best olive oil 22 Your feedback will help shape Delve. Laser leaders Lasers in forestry 10 Sensing sweetness Infra-red tests on fruit 22 Email Saline spotter Measuring salt in soil 11 Marking meat Grading meats to Aussie standards 23© State of New South Wales through Department of Industry and Investment delve.feedback@industry.nsw.gov.au Helping hand Tackling Aceh’s salinity 11 Outstanding oysters Super Sydney oyster developed 23(Industry & Investment NSW) 2011. ISSN: 1836-6759You may copy, distribute, display, download and otherwise freely deal with this pub- Shadowing sharks Shark tracking research 12 Tech training Radio-tracking rabid dogs 24lication for any purpose, provided that you attribute the department as the owner. Remarkable reefs Attracting fish for fishers 12 Fast-track forests Mechanised seed sowing 25However, you must obtain permission if you wish to: charge others for access to the PRODUCTION TEAMpublication (other than at cost); include the publication in advertising or a product Fluoro fingerlings Dyeing fish for research 13 Pulse pluses A healthy, sustainable crop 25for sale; modify the publication; or re-publish the publication on a website. David Alonso Love, Carmen Perry, Jo Bodley, Trudy Glasgow, Alan Hancock, Sophie Hansen, Squirt squirm Managing marine pest threats 13 Milking machine Robotic rotary milking system 26You may freely link to the publication on the Industry & Investment NSW website. Annette McCaffery, Craig Vaughan and I&I NSW staff. Forest fuel Making fuel from waste 14 Super savers Save on power, fuel, water and food 27The information contained in this publication is based on knowledge and understand- Design: Miriam Oetikering at the time of writing (January 2011). However, because of advances in knowledge, Delve Rabbit round-up Managing wild rabbits 14users are reminded of the need to ensure that information upon which they rely isup to date and to check currency of the information with the appropriate officer to carry on intensive or thoroughof Industry & Investment NSW or the users independent adviser. Recognising that Corporate Strategy & Communicationssome of the information in this document is provided by third parties, the State of 516 High Street, Maitland NSW 2320 research for informationNew South Wales, the author and the publisher take no responsibility for the accura-cy, currency, reliability and correctness of any information included in the document t: 1300 736 122 or 02 4931 6666 2011provided by third parties. Photos page 11 courtesy Arup Food and Agriculture. www.dpi.nsw.gov.au2 3
  3. 3. SMS savvy SAVVY FARMERS IN THE HAWKESBURY-NEPEAN The service is used by the turf, vegetable, orchard, flower and region can now receive free daily irrigation dairy industries. It is part of the Hawkesbury-Nepean River recommendations by SMS. These text messages Recovery Program and is provided through the Water Smart are saving water, improving crops and increasing Farms Project. The Project aims to have 250 farmers from across productivity. This means cheaper food prices, higher the Hawkesbury-Nepean region using the service to save water ROBUST product quality and a better environment. by September 2011. rice The system uses a combination of satellite, weather NSW government researchers are leading the way in harnessing station and on-farm data to provide simple SMS modern technology to deliver specific information directly to messages. These advise farmers about where to those who need it. irrigate, how much water to use and how long to run their irrigation systems. Some people think that Australia Canny croppers is too dry to grow crops like rice. Not all farmers rely on rain to But NSW government researchers In full operation provide water for their crops. Water wisdom are developing varieties of rice that the SMS program flourish with less water. will prevent up Irrigation farmers move water—mostly from dams and I to 38,800 kg rivers—to their crops to produce milk, fruit and vegetables, Rice plants are sensitive to the cold. of nitrogen and lots of other crops we depend on, such as wheat, cotton, Lower temperatures can make the magine you could save 40% of the water you use at home… and 7200 kg of canola and rice, as well as animal feed. An enormous amount of anthers—the pollen-bearing part of you’d be pretty impressed. That’s the saving that cotton phosphorus irrigated produce is grown in the Hawkesbury-Nepean region, the flower—become sterile, and so growers and irrigators across northern NSW are achieving from entering right on Sydney’s doorstep. unable to produce the seeds that we with the help of NSW government irrigation advisory staff. the river system eat. Even though rice is a summer crop, Australia’s variable climate means that Adapting to the reduced availability of water is a major each year. Less than 1% of all temperatures here can still drop low irrigation farmers need great skill to challenge for cotton growers. It calls for innovation and a agricultural land in enough to make the pollen sterile. 215 pairs of positive attitude to ‘making more with less’. Reducing water keep ‘producing the goods’ and run a Australia is irrigated; One solution is a technique called jeans can be losses is an expensive and high tech business. Irrigators successful business. An irrigation farmer and more than half deep watering. This generates a water made from a need feedback when they introduce new technologies, and has to know ‘truckloads’ about soils, of that irrigated land vapour that protects the rice from cold. 227 kg bale our irrigation experts can help them to work out plants, scheduling crop water needs, But there is a down-side—it still uses a of cotton. their water use. sowing, harvesting, machinery, pest and is in NSW. disease control, finance and marketing. lot of water. New products that form a thin reflective film on top of NSW government staff assist irrigators to maximise NSW government researchers like water help reduce evaporation from dams and channels. production from water by providing advice, conducting Peter Snell are developing varieties of Electromagnetic technologies can help identify leaky research, and delivering irrigation training courses to keep rice with a much better ability to resist spots in dams and channels. And switching irrigation irrigators up to date with the latest methods. cold. The good news is that rice can now systems to more efficient options such as centre be grown successfully with less water. pivots—like a dangling sprinkler—is effective. When you next tuck into a delicious, fresh salad think about the irrigation farmer who grew it—there’s one near you. In Luckily, the partnership between NSW government fact, there are seven main inland irrigation areas in NSW staff and irrigators translates into great improvements in located on major river systems—Murray, Murrumbidgee, The Australian rice industry today uses efficiency. In fact, Australian cotton growers are three times Lachlan, Macquarie, Namoi, Gwydir and Border Rivers. 50% less water than the world average more efficient than the world average, producing 7.8 bales per to grow one kilogram of rice. mega litre of water used, compared to 3.3 bales in the 1970s.4
  4. 4. Lamb logistics FUTURE Which lambs come from which ewes? Orange Agricultural Institute livestock researcher Steve Semple BODY fishing FISH RECIPES BUILDER was trying to answer this question in the far west of NSW. Leatherjacket “To select the best sheep for breeding you need to know who their mothers are,” says Steve. “That means running around a paddock and catching them as soon as they are There may be more reason to bite Do you eat fish? Nutritionists recommend might be considered the ugly duckling of the fish world. But despite Dinner Winner born. It’s a lot of hard work.” After many days of running into lamb than just its yummy taste. LEATHERJAC we eat fish twice a week for appearances, leatherjackets KETS WITH B around, Steve and sheep breeder Mark Mortimer decided It’s healthy too! URNT BUTTE improving brain function, are proving a winner for Serves 4 R AND CAPER to try and invent something to make life easier. They S along with other health dinner. The fish is a good came up with the Pedigree Matchmaker System. Many Australians need to increase their intake 4 medium leat benefits. A growing concern stand-in for snapper, dory herjackets, h of essential fatty acids like omega-3 to reduce the is whether we can eat fish steamed rice eads and skin “The maternal bond is strong in sheep. Lambs and whiting with attractive ready to serv off risk of chronic disease. Most health recommenda- rocket leaves e will follow their mothers around for six and seafood sustainably pearly white flesh and no for presentati tions suggest eating more fish. But NSW govern- 2 lemons, cu on, optional to eight weeks after they are born,” said so that there is enough for strong ‘fishy’ smell. t into wedges ment researcher Dr David Hopkins says red meat future generations. 16 sage leav Steve. “So we tag the lambs with a radio es might hold the answer. Although it contains Plus, leatherjacket is fast 1/3 cup caper frequency ID tag, then we set up a data s in brine, rin less omega-3 fatty acids per gram than seafood, Many government agencies growing and fished at a ¼ cup extra vi sed and dried reader between the feed and the water. rgin olive oil Australians eat more grams of red meat. around Australia—including sustainable level in NSW 120g butter It records data about the proximity of NSW—assess the status of fisheries. 1 cup plain fl particular lambs to particular ewes as they The benefits of omega-3 include improved our fish stocks in our waterways. salt flakes an pass. After four to six weeks, a list of tag cardiovascular health, improved foetal and early d freshly grou This information gives some Leatherjackets are great nd black pep numbers is created and farmers can locate a per, to taste childhood growth and development, reduced guidance about which for barbecuing, roasting Method lamb’s mother with about 95% accuracy,” he said. type-2 diabetes, and reduced asthma. or simply pan-frying. species are in danger of 1. Dust fish Steve took his system to ABC Television’s New Inventors being overfished, and which Undeservedly neglected by thoroughly in David is studying* what influences omega-3 pepper and sh flour seasoned program and was AWARDED ‘BEST INVENTION’ can be sustainably harvested. consumers, it is inexpensive, ake gently to with salt and levels in lambs. This is the largest study of its 2. Heat a la remove excess of the episode. The judges were impressed and selling for $6–10 a kilogram. rge frypan ove . kind ever undertaken in the world, analysing Want to know more about r a high heat described it as a well-designed, practical and original When oil is ho and add olive 4000 lambs across Australia. Early research where NSW seafood comes t, reduce hea oil. solution to a common problem. Cook on one t to medium suggests that feed choice is the primary driver side for 4–5 m and add fish. from, who catches it and Add butter an inutes, until g The invention means that farmers can achieve but sire (male parent) selection also plays a part. how they do it? Visit the YOU CAN HELP d as soon as it star olden. turn fish over. Aussie Seafood website to Learning to cook less commonly Cook for anoth ts to bubble and foam, improved breeding value from sheep with very So far, lambs produced at the Cowra Research flakes easily w er 2–3 minute used fish is the most direct hen tested w s, until flesh little extra expense or effort. Station in central west NSW have produced the hear our fishers talk about then remove ith a fork, bas from the pan ting a few tim sustainability and their way you can help and keep war es, highest levels of omega-3 fatty acid levels in 3. Return th m. industry. Don’t miss the keep our fisheries e pan to a hig lamb meat. These Cowra lambs grazed quality and cook unti h heat, add sa simple, scrumptious recipes sustainable. l the butter st ge leaves and lucerne and perennial (year round) pastures. squeeze of le arts to brown capers, mon juice an . Ad developed by the Sydney d remove from d a good Fish Market. 4. Serve fis heat. *through the Co-operative h with sage, ca top and steam pers and butt Research Centre for Sheep Industry ed rice on the er spooned o wedge, and ro side. Garnish ver the Innovation (Sheep CRC). For the latest status cket leaves (o with a lemon ptional). report visit: Recipe courtes www.dpi.nsw.gov.au/ y of FISHline— Authorities suggest a daily intake of consumer advi Sydney Fi fisheries ce service, phon sh Market’s omega-3 oils of 430 mg for women e 02 9004 1122 and 610 mg for men. Most Australians www.sydneyfishmarket. www.sydney fishmarket.co consume only 30 mg per day.. com.au/aussieseafood m.au6 7
  5. 5. bug BARCODES In the old days, taxonomists—professional biologists who are trained to identify different species— Bat identified species of insects using careful observation. But the development of DNA barcodes has brought Banter new levels of speed and accuracy to the task. The new technology allows rapid and accurate identification of exotic insect pests for example, making it ideal for biosecurity and surveillance activities. Researchers have discovered that it’s possible to find Researchers have long known that bat chat is more than mere short unique sequences of DNA that can be used to babble. In fact many bat species emit calls and listen to the identify just about every species on the planet. The Imagine quarter-acre city gardens echoes that return from objects in order to navigate. researchers plan to build the largest database of its kind, by taking a snippet of DNA from all the known growing fresh vegetables and Listening to bat chat is an essential forests management tool. An accurate knowledge of the presence and abundance of bats, in species on Earth in what is known as the Barcode of teeming with fish. Cultivating particular threatened species, is necessary before planning for Life Initiative. They then link the genetic information to activities like timber harvesting can begin, as bat habitat needs to photographs, descriptions and scientific information. Imagine them dotted every few kilometres throughout cities be protected. across the globe. You could simply walk from home to the farm NSW government researcher Dr David Gopurenko communities on the corner to buy your healthy, fresh produce. Identifying bats has been difficult because just as people from and his team in Wagga Wagga are part of this global different regions have different speech patterns, so do bats living effort. They have recorded more than 5000 specimens, Imagine low or no transport, refrigeration or storage costs, along the east coast of NSW. Forest researchers once used a including leaf hoppers (which can spread bacterial and no extra labour costs above what farmers are paid to time-consuming process to detect the different bat dialects. They diseases in crops), other insects, fungi and weeds. produce the food. Say ‘hello’ to urban agriculture. integrated system, growers can Urban agriculture can include would record bat echolocation calls as a sound file on their laptop David Mason, a leader in urban agriculture, has worked in backyard and community use as little as 5% of the water and painstakingly compare these recordings with a reference Scientists have recoded DNA barcodes for 48,676 butterflies gardens, rooftops, school used by traditional aquaculture and moths and are planning to record a further 111,324. this area for almost 20 years and has helped developers of library of existing bat calls. urban agriculture systems in NSW. agricultural plots, and high-tech or farming systems to grow the set-ups. Each type has its own same amount of produce. NSW government researchers Brad Law, Mark Chidel and Maria David completed a world study tour of Singapore, distinctive benefits, values and Adams* took more than 4000 bat calls from their reference library Holland, England, USA and Canada thanks to the Churchill The very latest city planning planning requirements. and used the AnaScheme software program, devised by Matthew Foundation. He thinks urban agriculture will totally change around the world integrates Gibson from the University of Ballarat, to develop identification how we relate to our food. It will cut down on the carbon The NSW government has food production within the keys to bat calls that a computer can read. footprint of food and might help break down the ‘city versus encouraged and supported built environment. Planning country’ mentality. commercial efforts to develop buildings and city blocks as Now researchers can leave a recorder in the field for long periods, some of the more hi-tech their own mini-ecosystems that automatically recording bats’ echolocation calls. The recordings David became aware of some very forward-thinking urban systems. These can combine recycle nutrients and waste is at are then compared using the keys on the new software. This will agriculture innovation in his Churchill study tour. A study aquaculture (growing fish) the cutting edge of urban design. ultimately increase accuracy and speed in identifying bats in by the South Australian Department of Primary Industries with chemical-free greenhouse Corner store farms might just be forestry work and in programs to monitor biodiversity. suggests that this agriculture already represents up to 25% plant production that may be next. *with funding from the Australian Biological Resources Study of Australia’s total farm production ($7 billion of $28 billion). capable of organic certification. So, urban agriculture isn’t just about the future. By developing a completely Flying foxes do not use echolocation but fly by Australia is one of the world’s more urbanised nations, with just vision, so are not recorded in species surveys. over three-quarters of the population living in 17 major cities.8 9
  6. 6. Precision Laser leaders Helping hand decisions HOW MANY TREES ARE IN A FOREST? After the 2004 Indian Ocean tsunami, one of the biggest problems for villagers in affected areas like Aceh, Indonesia was that their soil became salty from all the sea water that Throughout the ages, Using high-speed lasers, NSW government forestry researchers are had washed over farm land. agriculture has benefited much closer to being able to answer that question. from technological Farmers in Aceh had no idea that the advances that were often Traditionally, small areas of forest were surveyed by field workers tsunami had caused their land to become developed for other to obtain a picture of the forest as a whole. With new airborne laser too salty to grow their usual crops. This industries. The industrial systems known as LiDAR (Light Detection and Ranging), the entire salt had to be leached away by rain before age brought mechanisation forest can be scanned using high-speed laser pulses. crops could be grown successfully again. Saline and artificial fertilisers; the An aeroplane or helicopter fitted with LiDAR simply flies over a forest NSW government staff worked with technological age offered and sensors rapidly collect information about the forest and send agricultural staff in Indonesia to assess SPOTTER genetic engineering. it to a distant location. This information is used to generate three- land for salinity using the EM38. This Now the information age dimensional (3D) data and paints a detailed picture of a forest. information was used to advise farmers when brings the potential for land was once again suitable for growing crops. In Green Hills State Forest near Tumut NSW a two year trial in a pine precision agriculture through plantation has shown that LiDAR can accurately determine forest satellite and global position boundaries, count the number of trees In Australia we have problems with systems (GPS) and digital imagery to assess and understand local variations in per hectare and measure tree height. salinity due to groundwater rising agricultural requirements. Precision agricultural systems The new technology means forestry through salt-bearing soils. are part of modern farming practices and allow land to be workers will be able to better managed by the square metre instead of the square mile. manage the health of the forest, Salinity is the build-up of salt in soil and water. For optimise the timber available farmers, too much salt in the soil can mean the These days, working in primary industries can be a high- for the harvest and plan for difference between a good harvest and none at all. tech affair with young farmers undergoing rigorous training. the future. For almost 50 years Tocal College, near Maitland NSW, has Understanding soil is probably one of the most specialised in agriculture and land management courses. important skills a farmer can develop. And while While courses have changed over the years to keep students knowing how salty soil is can help a farmer plan for the in touch with technological advances, students at Tocal season ahead, to do it properly has involved sending a consistently graduate with the practical skills that are soil sample to a lab and waiting weeks for a result. required by employers. Farmers can now tell if their soil is saline (salty) on the On-farm experience seems to make all the difference. spot with an instrument called EM38. It works by using Students are rostered on to work experience on large an electromagnetic field to induce a small electrical commercial farms and cropping properties in western current to flow through the soil. The amount of current NSW, where they have the opportunity to try out which flows indicates the amount of salts in the soil technology and study how it can be used to improve as salt is a good conductor. Having a quick, easy and whole farm management. inexpensive way of telling how much salt is present saves time and money. If you would like to consider a course in agriculture or land management, visit Tocal College’s website: Once farmers have an idea of how salty their soils are, they can work to improve their soil or change what www.tocal.nsw.edu.au they plant. Farmers occupy and manage 61% of Australia’s landmass. Airborne LiDAR can measure tree height more accurately than Rising groundwater also affects rural infrastructure traditional survey techniques on the ground. including buildings, roads, pipes and underground cables.10 11
  7. 7. Shadowing sharks If you love fishing then you’ve probably come across one or two of the 60 million native fish released into the Murray-Darling Fluoro Basin over the past 30 years. But keeping track of these hatchery produced fingerlings to study their fate has been difficult. With no easy and painless way to distinguish wild stock from hatchery stock, fish Most of us would rather avoid sharks, but one NSW government scientist goes out of her way researchers were left in the dark—until now. to get up close to as many sharks as possible. Dr Amy Smoothey has been running a fascinating research project in Sydney Harbour, tagging and monitoring sharks. NSW government hatchery staff assisted researchers from the University of Adelaide and the Arthur Rylah The project aims to reduce the risk of an encounter between sharks and humans by tracking Institute for Environmental Research, to come up with a sharks’ natural movements. By finding out if there are any particularly dangerous areas in Sydney method called osmotic induction marking. This involves Murray cod are Harbour, scientists will be able to make recommendations about the safest areas for swimmers putting the fish in a salt bath for a short time, which a prized catch of and other leisure users. causes the cells to lose water, and then immersing them freshwater anglers in a fluorescent dye known as calcein. The calcein creates as they’re one of Since March 2009, 11 bull sharks, all male and a permanent mark on the bony parts of the fish. Australia’s largest longer than 2.5 metres, have been tagged. Each tag freshwater fish, has its own unique code and can transmit signals Researchers can detect this in the field for several years and although for up to 10 years. These signals are detected by a by shining a special torch on the fish. There’s no need to tiny as fingerlings network of underwater listening stations in Sydney harm or kill them and they’re perfectly safe to eat. Up I (centre in hand), Harbour and along the NSW coast. to 20,000 fish can be tagged in just 10–15 minutes. It’s a t sounds harmless enough, but a sea squirt they can grow up quick and effective way to measure the success of costly to 1.8 m and weigh got scientists squirming in southern NSW Results from tracking these sharks suggest that they fish stocking programs. This work is supported by the more than 100 kg! last year. Underwater divers spotted what can move very large distances in relatively short Murray-Darling Basin Authority’s native fish strategy. they thought was a non-native invasive marine periods of time. The data provides a fascinating pest known as a colonial sea squirt (Didemnum insight into one of the world’s most interesting vexillum), on a wharf in Twofold Bay. This shark species. species, which can be orange-yellow or cream Squirt squirm Dr Smoothey performing surgery in colour, attaches itself to wharves, boat ramps, Visit SharkSmart to learn more about sharks: www.dpi.nsw.gov.au/fisheries/info/sharksmart ropes and boats, and can spread easily. In just 17 days one tagged shark travelled Remarkable reefs from the Sydney Harbour to just off the The creature forms tendrils that hang vertically. coast of QLD—over 1174 km away. These look like dripping wax and can smother animals like mussels and oysters, potentially killing shellfish that are important to the economy and disrupting native ecosystems. The sea squirt has been known to ruin marine infrastructure, natural habitats, and aquaculture farms in other countries. F ish love to hang around structures. Whether it’s a natural coral reef Scientists are now working on an artificial reef to be To stop boats and other vessels spreading the suspected pest, Twofold Bay was or an artificial structure like a jetty or shipwreck, fish just can’t help built in the ocean. This will be a large, steel skeletal reef, immediately declared a quarantine area. Numerous samples were collected and, themselves. These sheltered areas become the aquatic equivalent custom made for the conditions in NSW oceans. Each fortunately, testing by NSW, Australian and overseas scientists showed that the of a large metropolis—crowded and pulsing with diverse life. reef unit will be 12 metres high and will weigh 35 tonnes. particular species being investigated was not a problem. The high quality reef will be used for recreational fishing, NSW government fisheries staff have led the way in constructing artificial while maintaining biological effectiveness for bottom- With an estimated 250 introduced exotic marine species in Australia, swift identification reefs in NSW estuaries. The man-made estuary reefs consist of up to 400 dwelling and ocean-living fish species. is essential. NSW government staff work to manage the pests, weeds and diseases which huge concrete balls, some weighing up to 1000 kilograms. Scientific threaten fisheries, agricultural and forestry productivity and environmental health. monitoring of these artificial reefs has found that they have attracted a high diversity of fish species while having little impact on existing habitats. Yellowfin bream were spotted schooling around an Carp, an invasive fish pest, are incredibly resilient artificial reef in Botany Bay just two days after placement. and out-compete our native fish species for food and habitat.12 13
  8. 8. Under round ULTRASOUNDS cientists around the world are racing to find alternative fuels to oil. A team from NSW is looking to plantation forestry prunings for the answer.Dr Tony Vancov and his team have been trying to turn ‘woody’ fast growingplants, which can be regularly harvested, into fuels such as ethanol.“The material has to be readily available in large quantities, easilytransportable, have no human nutritional value and very littlefinancial value,” Tony says.In NSW, sustainable plantation management involves regular‘thinning’ of trees, with the cut material often being left where it falls.These prunings, according to Tony, tick all of the above boxes. Also,they can be stored for extended periods, and because they aren’t tooheavy, can be easily transported in large quantities.Tony’s team is now gearing up for stage two of the project,researching how to produce a commercially viable fuel that, he says,should be on the market in the not too distant future. In over 150 years of mining operations, the vast majority of resources still E10 fuel contains a sit beneath our feet. To access these In addition, seismic surveys are carried Rabbit round-up mixture of 10% fuel valuable resources, we face new out, mainly along major roads, using ethanol and 90% WHETHER IT’S GOLD OR LEAD, challenges. These include how to state-of-the-art ‘Vibroseis’ technology unleaded petrol. copper or coal, mineral or metal— reach deeper mineral deposits, and MOUNTED ON SPECIALLY EQUIPPED mining is big business in NSW. how to maintain our intellectual and TRUCKS. This technique uses low- Mining accounts for 43% of our total technological edge, as well as better impact seismic (vibrating energy) It’s hard to believe that cuddly rabbits merchandise (goods) exports. This managing the use of land. The key to waves that travel down through the could ever be a problem, but wild rabbits makes it our largest single export achieving all this is exploration. earth providing almost an ‘ultrasound’ currently cause over $200 million in damage industry and a vital cog in the successful of the earth. The waves are reflected to Australian farms, forest plantations, rural Building an accurate inventory of running of our State. back to the surface and are recorded by communities and food production industries the Calicivirus still get rid of large numbers of rabbits. Myxomatosis, for precisely where the resources are sensitive monitoring equipment spread each year. example, kills around 50% of affected rabbits but these adaptive creatures Ultimately, mining is responsible for located is the first step. To achieve this, out along the surface. The seismic data are developing resistance to biological controls and sheer numbers mean the materials we need to run our Recent rain has created ideal the NSW government has invested is computer processed and allows they continue to survive. computers, offices, businesses and breeding conditions for rabbits; in exploration research in the New geoscientists to ‘see’ the geological industries—and to prepare our meals, Frontiers exploration initiative. and landholders, communities and NSW is a partner in a national program called RabbitScan which invites features deep below the surface. run our cars, build our houses and scientists are concerned that rabbit everyone—even people living in cities, to report rabbit sightings and any supply energy. NSW will soon boast Already, high resolution geophysical Mining is a major contributor to our numbers are set to skyrocket. evidence of damage. The data is revealing rabbit hot spots and is used by Australia’s largest underground mine, surveys from aircraft have been economy, in terms of business activity, landholders to better manage their properties. Unfortunately we can’t rely with the recent announcement of conducted, which now map more than investment, employment, regional on viruses alone to solve the Newcrest’s Cadia East gold and copper 84% of the State. These allow geologists development, and export revenue. Help stop the hop or find out more about the problem at: problem. Myxomatosis and deposit development. But even that’s to look deep into the Earth’s crust for www.rabbitscan.net.au just the tip of the iceberg. petroleum and minerals. More about the New Frontiers initiative: www.dpi.nsw.gov.au/ minerals/geological/initiatives/ Rabbits have high breeding rates and females can new-frontiers produce as many as 30-40 offspring in just 12 months. 15

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