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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 …

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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  • 1. Delve TRANSFORMING OUR INDUSTRIESwww.dpi.nsw.gov.au 2011
  • 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. 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. 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. 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. 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. 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. 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
  • 9. BEST BEEF Choosing the best beef for a casserole or BBQ is now much easier thanks to a new ‘truth in labelling’ initiative designed to help consumers know more about the beef BEEF RECIPES Slow Sensation they’re buying. Standard retail descriptions have been designed to help Tracking shoppers understand the age of the animal their beef comes from. Age can impact on the tenderness and Serves 4 flavour of beef. Generally, younger cuts are more tender Preparation tim e 15 minutes. Co and ideal for something like a BBQ. Increasing age means oking time 2 h tucker ours. more flavour with the older cuts best suited to stews, 600 g chuck b eef, trimmed casseroles or curries. couscous, read y to serve zucchini, cut in The NSW Food Authority has created posters and flyers to to large chunks 3 Roma tomat , steamed and oes, chopped ready to serve help retailers explain the descriptions to their customers. 1 large red swee Can a steak be Ask your local butcher for a free copy of What’s the beef? 1 onion, chop ped t potato, cut in to large chunks tracked from paddock 2 tsp olive oil 2 tsp sweet pap to plate? Sure can! STANDARD RETAIL Approximate age 2 tsp ground cu rika min DESCRIPTION at processing T 750 ml bottled tom he National Livestock 400g can chickp ato passata sauce (or sieved Identification System (NLIS) One advantage of the system is that eas, drained canned tomatoe s) Producers must notify the database Yearling 18 months or less 1/2 cup water is Australia’s scheme for when animals move from property to it allows meat products to be traced identifying and tracking livestock. property. to the property and the producer. Young 18 months to 2.5 years Method Australia has a national herd of 28 Processors can identify the producers million beef cattle—so there is plenty 1. Cut beef into 2. This system provides whole-of-life of the best cattle, and seek out their Intermediate 2.5 to 3 years 5–3 cm cubes. to keep an eye on! Add a little oil Season with pe traceability and helps Australia respond product again. and mix. pper. quickly to major food safety or disease Mature 3 to 3.5 years 2. Heat a larg NLIS Cattle involves using electronic NLIS Sheep & Goats and NLIS Pork are e frypan over m incidents. Your local butcher as well as two batches. Re edium-high he identification devices in the ears move and plac at. Brown beef our overseas trading partners can be also used to identify and trace sheep, Economy 3.5 years or more e in a heavy-ba in of cattle. Each device contains a 3. Reduce he sed pot. confident in the safety and integrity lambs, farmed goats and pigs. at in frypan, ad unique number and is used to for two mins. A d oil, onion an of meat under this quality assurance dd passata and d spices and co over the beef, water, stir until ok identify where the animal was born. system. add tomatoes it boils. Pour Every animal that passes through a and sweet pota 4. Partially co to. saleyard is scanned by an electronic ver pot, keep he Australia is the second largest beef tender. Stir occa at low. Simmer There are sionally. Add a until meat is ve reader, recorded and allocated the exporter in the world (after Brazil). NLIS cooks. little water if ne ry property identification code of their 48,866 farms eded as it is an important program in maintaining producing 5. In the last destination. This information is stored access to our key export markets in Australians eat an ten minutes, ad d chickpeas to in a centralised national database. Japan, the United States and Korea. beef cattle in warm through. average 35.7 kg SERVE WIT H COUSCOUS, Australia. of beef and veal ZUCCHINI & CO RIANDER per person, per Recipe courtesy w ww.themainm year. eal.com.au16 17
  • 10. carbon H clues ave you ever wondered what fish do NSW trials with the DIDSON showed that black 7.5 7.5 at night? NSW scientists have been bream “really freak out” when they encountered trialling cameras which use sound fish ladders—devices used to help fishes’ natural 7.0 7.0 migration. Researcher Lee Baumgartner explains: waves to pick up the acoustic echoes of fish 6.5 6.5 swimming. They then convert the sound “They swim up to the ladder, get spooked and 6.0 6.0 waves into digital images, which can be then swim away quickly.” FABIANO XIMENES IS A RESEARCH OFFICER 5.5 5.5 viewed on a personal computer. Because it with the NSW government in Sydney and is the relies on sound, the camera—known as a Thanks to the camera, scientists no longer need to 5.0 5.0 physically catch fish to gather information about program leader for New Forests—a program DIDSON—is able to observe fish at night and 4.5 4.5 their biology and ecology. They can now work focused on research in the areas of carbon in dirty or cloudy water. This opens the door 4.0 4.0 for new underwater research, including ways with fish non-destructively, without nets or traps. sequestration, salinity management, land 3.5 3.5 to help migratory fish. By directly observing how fish behave when they rehabilitation, bioenergy and soil carbon. Working 3.0 3.0 migrate, feed and spawn, researchers will be better in forests for ten years, he has spent the past few placed to develop management and survival plans. years digging up landfill sites to determine how metres much carbon is stored in wood and paper products. Delve magazine asked Fabiano to explain. Golden perch can travel up to 2000 km in a single upstream migration. Delve: Fabiano: Fabiano, what role do trees play in the carbon cycle? The differences are quite noticeable. Here in Australia, there is a Fabiano: wide-spread view that forestry activities are not environmentally sound. In contrast, in Brazil the general public has much Trees absorb carbon dioxide from the air through a process called more acceptance of the scientific management of forests for photosynthesis. As a tree grows, the absorbed carbon dioxide is production. Over there the forestry debate is more concerned converted to carbon and stored in the wood. In fact, 25% of the with whether pulpwood plantations should replace native forests weight of a growing tree is carbon. rather than a more fundamental question of whether native forestry should be undertaken at all. Fire Delve: What do you currently do in forestry? Delve: FINDERS 2011 is the UN International Year of Forests. What do you hope for? Fabiano: T he ability to find and attack fire fighters with information on where a fire in its early stages can a fire is and how big it is. Each camera I study the carbon cycle in forests and forest products. One of my Fabiano: main areas of research includes examining the fate of carbon in I would like to see forestry professionals take a more prominent mean the difference between is able to monitor 10,000 square wood and paper products from landfill sites. We have discovered Speed is everything a few burnt hectares and an inferno kilometres, scanning 360 degrees every that when trees are harvested and processed into products the role in the climate change debate. that can ruin lives and destroy six minutes, non-stop, day and night. in a bushfire. communities. carbon doesn’t disappear. It remains stored in the wood for a very I would also like to see forestry professionals more involved in Fire managers will assess trial results long time. We can now accurately determine how much carbon is important decisions about forestry and a better understanding CSIRO has been trialling the latest from the three camera systems before stored or has potentially been lost. If we can demonstrate long- among the general public of the balance that can be achieved weapon to detect summer bushfires. deciding whether to adopt them on a term carbon storage in wood and paper products in landfills we between conservation and production. I would like everyone to Three new bush fire detection broader scale. Until then, fire towers can more properly realise their positive greenhouse credentials. know that NSW State forests are managed sustainably for a variety cameras have been put through their manned by trained human observers of uses and values and this has been independently certified. paces near Tumut in southern NSW. keep watch over fire prone areas Delve: The cameras are designed to provide during summer. You studied forestry in Brazil. What differences and similarities are there between forestry work in Brazil and Australia? Of the 1.9 million hectares of native State forest in NSW, less Temperature, humidity, wind speed and direction, atmos- than 3% is harvested annually to supply timber.18 pheric stability and rainfall influence bushfire behaviour. 19
  • 11. Re- thinking RUMINANTS Testing trees Australia’s native trees have Cattle and sheep have become involved in an revealed themselves to be international push to reduce greenhouse gas emissions. Both animals are ruminants (animals that true ‘Aussie battlers’. chew their cud) and they produce large quantities of the gas methane as they digest grass in their stomachs. Methane has a global warming potential around 23 times that of carbon dioxide. R esearchers from the NSW government and options Simply spelt the University of Western Sydney are using Just as scientists elsewhere are working to reduce high-tech tree chambers—like enclosed emissions from cars, in NSW agriculture they are glasshouses—to imitate conditions predicted researching how to cut emissions from cattle and under climate change. The results are being sheep— without compromising the quality of the used to devise management strategies for the meat, milk and wool. The answer lies in good-old- fashioned animal breeding. If you’ve eaten something grown organically 21st century. David Booth is an organic wheat NSW government researchers have this week, you’re part of a growing trend. Research scientist Dr Craig Barton of the Dr Robert Herd leads the research team from his base farmer in Cootamundra. He says been trialling different spelt wheat at the Armidale Beef Industry Centre of Excellence. He The production and consumption of organically people like organic produce for cultivars for organic production Hawkesbury Forest Project says the team explains, “We have established that if you take a bull that grown produce—food grown without the use of two reasons—health concerns on David’s property. Spelt is a very has already uncovered promising data about produces less methane and breed a herd from him, then chemicals and pesticides—has increased almost and knowing where their food old variety and even though it is how our forests might adapt. ”Because these those sons and daughters will also emit less methane.” 50% in the last two years. The organic meat sector comes from. “It’s people wanting to highly nutritious with an appealing chambers encase the whole tree canopy, we‘re has also reportedly grown in turnover by 25% in the reconnect to the land,” he says. nutty flavour, it has a low yield. So, able to study the trees’ water, carbon and Mating for the project’s ‘next generation’ began in July past year. David says, big multinational seed nutrient cycles and the way they all interact Unlike more conventional 2009. According to Dr Simon Bird, who is overseeing companies won’t take it on because under different conditions,” Craig said. From organic eggs, fruit, milk and meat to chemical- agriculture, organic farming looks this stage, “The low emitting offspring will be a world- they want a big return and to sell to first demonstration of breeding cattle that produce free wine and even essential oils for cosmetics, to old solutions. “I don’t think we’re ”Most trees can acclimatise to changes in their as many growers as they can. “That’s less greenhouse gas without sacrificing growth consumers are embracing organics and farmers reinventing the wheel but there’s environment. But these trees—growing in why we need support to help us trial performance.” are rising to meet the demand. More than 60% of certainly a lot of going back to the soils low in nutrients, typical of most Australian what might work,” David says. Australian households now buy organic on occasion, old way of doing things. Organic conditions—are actually adjusting how they up from 40% in 2008. farming pays more attention to So far in a trial with the NSW use their resources and becoming more water efficient. This means they continue to grow as the seasons. We adjust to what’s government, Biological Farmers, The organic industry employs around 25,000 people, before but use less water.” available whereas conventional and Grains Research Development with organic farmers tending to be younger on agriculture can tend to push things Corporation, 20 spelt cultivars that average than non-organic farmers. With the number The rocket-like While the experiment provides information to the maximum.” might be good for organic production of organic farmers increasing by 4-5% annually, the tree chambers are about how trees will respond, it’s still early days. have been trialled and narrowed industry continues to grow in NSW. designed to hold The data needs to be fed through complex down to three of the most viable. entire trees up to models to predict how larger scale ecosystems Greenhouse gas emissions from 10 m tall. may respond. livestock were reduced by 31.7% in There are over 1000 certified organic Above—Spelt trials being inspected by farmers. NSW between 1990 and 2008. farmers in NSW.20 21
  • 12. OPTIMUM MARKING OUTSTANDING How long can olive oil be stored NSW government scientists at Wagga Wagga are searching for the answer. They already use nine different tests to work out the authenticity and quality of oil samples. MEAT Choosing quality meat oysters In 1995, an oyster disease and still taste great? Chemist Jamie Ayton says the tests help to reassure consumers. known as QX almost killed off “We’re also looking at a new project to identify how to extend oil can be a daunting task. stability so that the fruity olive oil flavour lasts longer.” NSW’s largest aquaculture industry. Sensing Make a poor choice and your family will soon “Some oils made from younger, early-harvest olives have a let you know. The guess work has made buying The virus, which only affects Sydney rock pungent, bitter flavour which is not popular with some consumers; meat a gamble—until now. oysters (Saccostrea glomerata), all but wiped Curious about QX? and while oils from older olives taste mellow, they may have a out oyster farms in the Georges River and shorter shelf-life,” Jamie said. “Our research is examining how to Meat Standards Australia is the world’s first Find out more: devastated those on the Hawkesbury. get the best of both worlds.” paddock-to-plate grading system for meat. The program grades beef, lamb and sheep meat and www.dpi.nsw.gov.au/fisheries/ NSW government scientists played a key role Other factors that impact on how recommends appropriate cooking methods pests-diseases/animal-health/ in diagnosing and controlling the disease. long oil will last include crop for consumers—taking the guess work out of aquaculture/qx-oyster-disease And since then their research has helped management, olive variety eating quality. revive the $40 million a year industry. and harvesting techniques. According to NSW government principal research NSW researchers worked with Georges QX stands for ‘Queensland scientist Dr Paul Greenwood, the new system is River oyster famer, Bob Drake, to develop a unknown’ and is a seasonal backed by consumer-based research and considers disease-resistant Sydney rock oyster known parasite, which is often important factors like taste and tenderness. as the ‘super oyster’. The new variety was responsible for the deaths literally ‘born’ in a NSW government oyster of large numbers of oysters. “One of the many good things about this system hatchery in southern Sydney. is that it considers what families really want to sw eat,” he said. “This means happier consumers… eetness who can now buy meat from their supermarket and feel confident about what quality product they are taking home to enjoy.” The program was recently awarded a NATIONAL EUREKA PRIZE FOR EXCELLENCE IN RESEARCH by an Interdisciplinary Team. Buying There’s no way to tell if your peach is sweet, or your orange tasty, until you take that first bite. The fruit responds differently to the light depending on its internal fruit But NSW scientists at Dareton research characteristics and the camera is able to measure the levels of substances can be a station are now trialling camera technology and infra-red light to determine the such as sugar in the fruit. The main citrus fruits grown in NSW are navel gamble. sweetness of fruit without damaging it. As the fruit travels along a sorting machine it The machine can process up to 10 pieces of fruit per second, per lane, and Valencia oranges, mandarins, lemons, limes passes underneath a detector which beams and has the potential to improve the and grapefruit. the infra-red light. overall quality of our fruit. There are 5.9 million beef cattle in NSW. A healthy oyster farm in the Hawkesbury area.22 23
  • 13. HOW DO YOU FIND RABID DOGS IN INDONESIA? Ask an Aussie scientist, that’s how. NSW government vertebrate pest experts Glen Saunders and Paul Meek, in a collaborative effort with the Australian Centre for International Mother Nature took centuries to create the majestic Agricultural Research, have been assisting our Indonesian neighbours forests of NSW. But with a little help from technology, track and monitor dog populations on the islands of Bali and Flores. By NSW government staff have managed to create their own developing effective management techniques including vaccination, miniature forest of six million trees in just under one year. the ongoing project aims to manage the spread of the fatal rabies virus. With support from the Invasive Animals Cooperative Research Centre, the The secret weapon behind this success is a new pair provided intensive training to Indonesian Masters students on the mechanised seed-sowing machine, developed by fundamental principles of dog ecology, field investigation, dog capture, Forests NSW. The machine has already produced handling and radio tracking technology. more than six million containerised pine seedlings at the Blowering Nursery near Tumut. The $120,000 “Hands-on training in radio tracking provided valuable experience in mechanised sowing line and $130,000 worth of new the type of research techniques they need,” Dr Saunders said. “After equipment has automated most tasks that used to be consultation with village chiefs and residents, two dogs were captured done by hand. using blow darts with tranquillisers and the students were shown how to fit radio tags,” he said. “The dogs were released and observed for The technology has increased seedling survival two days prior to our departure.” and nursery productivity. Forests NSW now have a ‘ready made’ forest they can plant, this year or next, Forests NSW manages the largest plantation Rabies kills tens of thousands of people around the depending upon the weather. estate in Australia. world each year. The virus attacks the central nervous system of warm-blooded animals including humans and is usually transmitted by a bite from an infected animal. Overseas, animals that carry rabies include: dogs, Pulse Pulses can ‘fix’ nitrogen from the atmosphere into the soil, which means a farmer doesn’t have to use as much manufactured fertiliser. This can lead to reduced costs. PLUSES foxes, jackals, cats, bats, raccoons, skunks, monkeys and other animals that can bite Pulses have been shown to use less water from the soil than cereal crops. This and scratch. Infected dogs remain the means they make good ground cover plants to assist water capture after rain highest risk for human transmission. Pulses such as chickpeas, lentils and faba and leave more moisture in soil for the next crop. That’s important because beans could offer a win/win situation for research is showing that 50% of a crop’s yield is predetermined by the amount Currently Australia is rabies-free but with large of soil moisture at the time of sowing. numbers of people and animals moving between both farmers and consumers. Australia and Indonesia, reducing the risk of the disease reaching Australia If farmers increased pulse production to around 20% of farm activity, they is essential. The learning experience wasn’t all one way with Glen and Paul Pulses are a great option to balance our meat-heavy could achieve enhanced benefits from nitrogen fixing, water use efficiency and gaining valuable experience in rabies control techniques in Indonesia. Western diet, helping prevent heart disease, diabetes, ground cover. and obesity. They can also help farmers use less Glen and Paul now receive regular updates from the Indonesian students fertiliser and less water. So get more pulses into you. There are plenty of pluses all round! on their progress. Currently 12 dogs have been radio collared in Bali and the information being collected is critical to future management of this disease. A pulse is an annual legume crop yielding seeds within a pod.24 25
  • 14. T his edition of Delve Milking showcases the effort our primary producers and scientists are making to use natural resources in a MACHINE sustainable and environmentally sensitive way. We all have a role to play when it comes to making the most of the One of the hardest parts of dairy resources we use. There farming is the early starts. are many ways to use less, Every day! get more out of things and improve our natural Imagine how nice it would be for dairy farmers if the cows environment. Try these tips and website resources to could milk themselves. What sounds like a crazy idea is inspire change at your place and start saving today. now a reality. In a world first for the dairy industry, Swedish company DeLaval joined forces with FutureDairy and other Australian organisations to develop a robotic rotary dairy. The robotic dairy is located at Elizabeth Macarthur Agricultural Institute site in south-west Sydney. SAVE POWER Designed for Australian grazing herds with more than 300 cows, the 1 Hang your clothes outside to dry. A medium sized 2-star SAVE FUEL robotic rotary automates most milking tasks. The job can now be 1 Stuck in a traffic jam? Turn performed as a background activity, without the presence of a dairy clothes dryer used just twice a the engine off. Re-starting uses farmer. So dairy farmers can finally sleep in! week will use more power in a less petrol than idling. Chair of FutureDairy, Shirley Harlock, said the robotic rotary was a major year than a medium-sized 4.5-star two-door fridge. 2 Use car air conditioners only SAVE WATER step towards addressing two of the key challenges facing the industry— when needed. At speeds over 1 Wash fruit and vegetables 2 Use a fan instead of an air the availability of labour and the lifestyle associated with dairying. conditioner and slash your power bill by $115 a year and 50 km/h however, an air conditioner is more efficient and rinse dishes in a plugged sink instead of under running SAVE FOOD “This is one of the most exciting developments that has occurred in the than having your windows down 1 Plan meals and snacks, reduce carbon pollution by water. 40 years I’ve been dairy farming,” Shirley said. “Although it won’t suit all because of the excessive drag. noting down what you need and dairy farmers, the robotic rotary offers considerable benefits in terms of 550 kg. 2 Buy water efficient products. 3 Change gears sooner rather then stick to your shopping list. enabling more flexible working conditions and improved lifestyle.” 3 Switch your charger off at A 6-six star rating indicates the than later to keep revs below highest level of water efficiency. 2 Avoid shopping when you’re the wall—its using electricity 2500 rpm. If you drive an While automatic milking systems have been widely adopted even when its not connected hungry—you’re likely to buy overseas, their application on Australian farms has been slower. This automatic, ease back on the 3 Water your lawn less more than you need. to your phone. accelerator when the car gathers frequently. Give it a good is mainly because the technology was developed for European herds momentum, and your gears will soaking now and then. This 3 Freeze overripe bananas which are smaller, and housed indoors for most of the year. The newly and use them for smoothies or change up more quickly and encourages deeper roots and developed robotic rotary offers a better solution for larger Australian baking. smoothly. more drought tolerance. dairy herds. Switch on to power saving tips: Get moving on fuel saving tips: Tap into water saving tips: Be tempted by food saving tips: NSW dairy farmers produce www.savepower.nsw.gov.au www.livinggreener.gov.au www.livingthing.net.au www.lovefoodhatewaste.nsw.gov.au26 over one billion litres of milk a year. 27
  • 15. We work with a wide variety of primary industry sectors throughout NSW to increase productivity and sustainability.INNOVATIVE RESEARCH COMPETITIVE EFFECTIVE INDUSTRIES SUSTAINABLE PARTNERSHIPS GROWTH To find out more about the technology, people and products transforming NSW primary industries: phone our head office on 02 6391 3100 or visit www.dpi.nsw.gov.au