AgMemo Northern Agricultural Region

Setting common runlines for machinery in a controlled traffic farming (CTF) system

Tractor pulling a deep ripper driving along main AB guidance lines set up for a 12.2m controlled traffic farming system.
Setting main AB lines and exporting them to all machines helps minimise compaction and takes the guess work out for machinery operators.

Developing a fully matched Controlled Traffic Farming (CTF) system based on wide seeders such as 60ft/18m is a challenge facing many growers.

Due to increasing size in area cropped, limited access to labour and the seeding window for optimal yield is narrowing, there is an unwillingness to reduce seeding width of machinery.

The ideal machinery matching ratio for controlled traffic farming is a 3:1, such as 36.6m sprayer and 12.2m seeder and header.

This is a nice neat fit to match wheel tracks however it is a challenging ratio to match with machinery over 50ft/15.24m, because sprayers over 150ft/45.72m are often not very practical.

Current options for matching machinery to an 18m seeder:

1) 18m header front

These are emerging into the market and can have some associated challenges with swathing, spreading straw and logistics of harvesting higher yielding crops, including distance travelled before unloading and difficulty unloading into a chaser bin from the main wheeltracks.

2) Two 12.2m seeders

This is a neat 3:1 matching ratio and requires two smaller tractors that can provide versatile use for more operations i.e. spreading, chasing.

However for low rainfall areas sourcing tractor drivers can be a challenge. Widening seeding row spacing to increase speed and increasing bin capacity can help achieve similar coverage to a larger seeding bar, although risks of weed infestation at wider row spacing and potential yield penalties need to be considered on a farm-by-farm basis.

3) Compromised 2:1:3 system

This system uses an 18m seeder, 36.6m sprayer and 12.2m header.

There is some overlap required on the edge of the paddock by either the seeder or the sprayer and header to line up the seeding and spraying wheel tracks.

The header lines up on the main wheel-tracks every fourth run.

The compromised system is becoming the preferred option for many growers.

It can achieve 18% wheel track coverage of a paddock.

This is not the 9-12% target of a 3:1 ratio but better than an unmatched system which results in approximately 40% of the paddock wheeled (often higher if duals are considered).

Setting run lines

It is possible to set up common run lines for all machines using appropriate farm precision agriculture software to take the guess work out of which lines to follow when starting each operation in the paddock.

3:1 machinery matching ratio (12m:36m or 40ft:120ft)

For a 3:1 ratio i.e. 12m:36m system all AB lines can be set from the boundary at the appropriate implement width and the wheel tracks will line up (Figure 1).

diagram showing a 3 to 1 matching machinery ratio of a 12.2m header, 36.6m sprayer and 12.2m seeder. The main AB line is the first sprayer run.
Figure 1 - 3:1 matching ratio 12.2m seeder (brown), 12.2m header (yellow) and 36.6m sprayer (green) (40 foot Seeder, 40 foot Header and 120 foot Sprayer). Each square represents 3m. All AB's can be set from the paddock boundary and will match.
2:1:3 machinery matching ratio (18m:36.6m:12.2m or 60ft:120ft:40ft)

Overlapping the sprayer and header in a 18m:36.6m:12.2m requires a bit more planning initially.

The choice of machine to overlap comes down to personal preference.

Some farmers opt to overlap the sprayer and header, because the sprayer commonly has section control so there is less excess input cost.

Others will overlap the seeder as the sprayer is in the paddock 4-5 times.

Growers using this system have observed that it doesn’t really take up extra time overlapping machines as paddocks are generally not perfectly square so some overlap is required on the edges.

If overlapping the seeder in a 2:1:3 ratio e.g .18m seeder, 36.6m sprayer, 12.2m header use the first sprayer runline as the main AB line for all machines (Figure 2).

Diagram showing the machinery line up from the edge of the paddock if the seeder is over lapped in an 18m seeder, 36.6m and 12.2m header controlled traffic system. The main AB line is the first sprayer run.
Figure 2 - 2:1:3 ratio overlapping the seeder (40 foot Header, 60 foot Seeder and 120 foot sprayer). Each square represents 3m. First sprayer run  sets the AB run line for all machines. First lap of seeder has a 9m overlap.

By overlapping the sprayer and header the sprayer will match every second seeder run and the header will have its own wheel tracks in between.

The third seeder runline will be the main AB line that will match the tracks of all machines (Figure 3).

Diagram showing the machinery line up from the edge of the paddock if the sprayer and header overlap in an 18m seeder, 36.6m and 12.2m header controlled traffic system. The main AB line is the third seeding run.
Figure 3 - Layout of a 2:1:3 matching ratio controlled traffic farming system overlapping the sprayer (40 foot Header, 60 foot Seeder and 120 foot sprayer). Each square represents 3m. Third run in for the Seeder sets the AB run line for all machines. Outside lap of sprayer is from the boundary, second lap is with 9m off set. Header starts with 3m off set from boundary or just pick up the AB from the 3rd Seeder run.  


The following method will help set up common run lines in a 60ft: 120ft: 40ft system for overlapping the sprayer and header.

  1. Create accurate boundaries either by driving the boundary or using a coverage map. Ideally use an RTK 2cm GPS signal however a slightly lower accuracy GPS system such as the RTX Centerpoint (4cm) is proving to be a workable option as long as it is set up correctly. Accurate boundaries are critical as your machine guidance will be working from these surveyed boundaries to steer the outside laps! They are also important for machines fitted with auto-switching and section control seeders switching off on headlands prior to it being seeded.
  2. Seeder 18m- From the selected edge of the paddock you will need to set a main AB line or master runline (choose a name you will remember).  This will be three seeder widths from the boundary. Set the swath width to 36.6m then use it to create the master runline from the boundary.
  3. For the 36.6m Sprayer-the first outside lap is a full sprayer width run which is also set from the boundary.  For the second spray lap create a 9m offset back towards the boundary which should be compensated for on the boom by the auto section control. This step needs to be done in the paddock then once you have driven these run lines you can re-export them back to your software for duplication.  Alternatively, you can import the main AB lines from the farm software and do the 9m shift in the display once they have been imported, but do not move them back to the software.
  4. Header 12.2m –There are several ways to do this. You could set up headland guidance at the same time then use this for the first two laps and overlay it on to the master AB. This will give you a line with only 3m of crop (the required overlap on the header) and also allows for mis-shaped paddocks. Alternatively, start on the master runlines in the paddock and work back from these, which will leave the 3m (or more) depending on the paddock shape to clean up.
1:3:2 machinery matching ratio (24m:12m:36m or 120ft:40ft:80ft)

In a 24.4m seeder, 12.2m header, 36.4m sprayer system the second run of the seeder sets the main AB line for all machinery (Figure 4).

Diagram showing the machinery layout of a 24.4m seeder, 36.6m sprayer and 12.2m header from the edge of the paddock. The main AB line is the second seeder run.
Figure 4 - Layout of a 1:3:2 matching ratio 36.6m sprayer, 12.2m header, 24.4m seeder matching ratio controlled traffic farming system overlapping the sprayer (40 foot Header, 80 foot Seeder and 120 foot Sprayer). Each square represents 3m. Second run in for Seeder sets the AB's for all machines. First lap of sprayer is from boundary, then with a 18m off set to then match Seeder AB's.  Second Header run is with a 6m off set.

Once common AB lines are created they can be exported along with paddock boundaries and uploaded in to the guidance screens in the cab of all machines.

This will help minimise compaction and assist collecting good quality data for precision agriculture apps such as yield mapping.

Remember, John Deere and Trimble systems operate different geographic straight line guidance calculation so you must remember this when operating a mixed guidance fleet.

You can record runlines in a John Deere machine to calculate with the Trimble system (non john deere guidance 2) but not the other way round. To get around this problem some farmers have driven a machine with each system behind the other to set the master AB line in the paddock.

However if the non JD guidance 2 is NOT used AB lines can often be up to 0.5m out in a 1km run therefore using one type of guidance system if possible is preferable.

Acknowledgement: DAFWA’s GRDC funded project DAW243 “Minimising the effect of compaction on crop yield”.

For more information contact Bindi Isbister, Development Officer, Geraldton, on +61 (0)8 9956 8555.

Co-authors of this article were Nigel Metz, South East Premium Wheat Growers Association and Julien Coles, Precision Technology Solutions.

Pulpy kidney a risk to lambs this spring

Lambs in yards at Esperance
Vaccinating lambs for pulpy kidney is a cost effective way to prevent Pulpy Kidney.

The expected feed conditions this spring may increase the risk of pulpy kidney occurring in sheep, particularly in weaned or un-weaned lambs.

Vaccinating lambs for pulpy kidney is a cost effective way to prevent the occurrence of this disease.

Pulpy kidney, or enterotoxaemia, is a disease that causes deaths in sheep, goats and cattle.

Pulpy kidney is caused by a toxin produced by a bacterium, Clostridium perfringens type D.

These bacteria and the toxins they produce are present at low levels in the intestines of normal healthy sheep.

Under certain circumstances the bacteria are able to multiply rapidly within the intestine and produce lethal quantities of toxin which cause extensive damage to blood vessels throughout the body.

Death results from damage to blood vessels in the brain, however, the name pulpy kidney developed because the kidneys putrefy rapidly after death.

Two things are necessary for the bacteria to start rapid multiplication:

  • There must be highly nutritious food material in the intestines.
  • The movement of food along the intestinal tract must stop temporally.

These conditions occur most often in lambs on lush spring pastures – ones with the greatest feed intake are most susceptible – the best lambs in the mob.

Rapid feed changes predispose sheep to pulpy kidney particularly if the new feed is rich in carbohydrates.

Changes in feed should be made over a few days to reduce the risk of pulpy kidney when sheep are introduced to grain, or grain feeding is increased.

Most lambs with pulpy kidney are simply found dead, often on their side with limbs extended and head thrown back.

This is because the disease develops so quickly and convulsions and death occurs within hours of disease signs becoming apparent.

Mature sheep with pulpy kidney survive longer than lambs, but usually no more than 24 hour and may stagger and/or scour before they die.

Pulpy kidney is a preventable disease and a change in paddock and diet may stop an outbreak.

However, giving lambs two pulpy kidney injections prior to a high risk period like spring is a cost effective husbandry tool.

Without vaccination, deaths from this disease could reappear later in summer when fed grain.

The vaccine is available in various combinations:

  • With tetanus and cheesy gland (CLA) vaccine (3-in-1 vaccine).
  • With other clostridial vaccines, such as that for tetanus, blackleg, black disease and malignant oedema (6-in-1 vaccine).
  • With selenium and vitamin B12 (or both).
  • With moxidectin (in an injectable form) to treat worms.

Sheep not previously vaccinated must have two injections, four to six weeks apart, to achieve high-level immunity for 12 months.

To maintain immunity, booster doses are needed at yearly intervals. Giving annual booster injections over the next two years should protect sheep for life.

For more information go to the Pulp Kidney webpage on the Department of Agriculture and Food, Western Australia's website.

For more information contact Danny Roberts, Veterinary Officer, Albany on +61 (0)8 9892 8535.

Farm biosecurity remains vital in the wake of cucurbit virus

Two men standing with an example of farm entry signage that states "Visitors, please respect farm biosecurity"
DAFWA Technical Officer David Tooke and Truyen Vo from Vegetables WA explaining the imporantce of front gate signage at a Farm Biosecurity Information Workshop held in Geraldton in August.

Farm biosecurity remains vital in the wake of cucurbit virus

With Cucumber Green Mottled Mosaic virus (CGMMV) now confirmed on commercial cucurbit properties in Kununurra, Geraldton, Carnarvon and Perth, it is imperative that growers start developing and implementing farm biosecurity plans.

CGMMV infects cucurbit crops - including watermelon, cucumber, melons, zucchini, pumpkin, squash, bitter gourd, and bottle gourd. CGMMV can cause substantial crop losses.

The Department of Agriculture and Food, Western Australia (DAFWA) stresses that farm biosecurity planning is particularly important for growers in the north and south west preparing for the summer growing season.

DAFWA Manager Paul Findlater said farm biosecurity planning and implementation was vital even if CGMMV has not been found in an area, as the threat from other pests and diseases remained ever present.

“Farm biosecurity measures are applicable to the management of any pest and disease threat,” he said.

“In Carnarvon, growers not only need to consider the threat of CGMMV, but also Zucchini Yellow Mosaic Virus (ZYMV), with reports of this virus increasing.

“Most importantly, biosecurity measures should include removal and destruction of old crops and wild or volunteer plants before planting. Any plants showing virus symptoms should be removed before fruit set.

“Of course, biosecurity should also include good hygiene practices and avoiding the movement of vehicles, machinery and people.”
Mr Findlater said these suggested measures were also relevant for growers in the southern part of the state who are about to start planting summer crops.

“Even where cucurbits are not being grown over summer, such as in Kununurra, farm biosecurity should not be ignored.

“Growers in Kununurra should also be removing weeds and volunteer cops from fruit that has been ploughed in, as they could become hosts for CGMMV.

“Correct disposal of any possible host material is also very important to prevent spread of the virus to next year’s crop. DAFWA and the Australian Melons Association are preparing instructions on various management options, including how to dispose of infected crops to minimise spread and level of infection. These will be made available to growers in the near future.”

DAFWA also hopes to provide growers with sampling kits, as self-sampling should be part of ongoing farm biosecurity.

DAFWA has been delivering these messages through a series of CGMMV information sessions and farm biosecurity practical demonstrations throughout the state. This has included Kununurra, Carnarvon, Geraldton, and Jandabup (north of Perth).

Further workshops will be held in mid-January in Manjimup and Harvey.

DAFWA Technical Officer David Tooke, who has been delivering the workshops, advised there was no ‘one size fits all’ when it came to farm biosecurity plans.

“The onus is on the growers to tailor these measures to their own properties,” he said.

There is no clear indication of how CGMMV entered WA – possibly through a number of different pathways. Therefore, farm biosecurity is the only effective means of preventing infection and spread.

Basic farm biosecurity measures

Farm biosecurity workshops throughout the State have been delivered by David Tooke, with Vietnamese translation provided by Truyen Vo from Vegetables WA.

The workshops highlighted the imprtance of:

  • a front entry gate and signage instructing visitors to report to the office
  • designated visitor car-park
  • sign-in procedures for visitors
  • enter clean, leave clean – footwear and hand washing stations at entry to farm and at each plot or glasshouse
  • tools and equipment remaining in each workspace
  • vehicles being washed down each time they are moved between work areas
  • disposable protective equipment to prevent clothing contamination
  • preparation of virus-specific cleaner
  • disposing of used cleaner in a safe manner at the end of each day.

All workshops have been well attended with attendees receiving farm biosecurity signs.

In addition to the workshops, DAFWA staff from across the state have been working in Geraldton, Carnarvon, Kununurra and Perth to sample properties and determine the extent of the virus.

More information about the CGMMV response can be found on the DAFWA CGMMV web pages.

For more information contact Paul Findlater, CGMMV Incident Controller, Geraldton Office on +61 (0)8 9956 8555.

Backgrounding beef for benefit

DAFWA NBF Market Analysts Roger Verbrugge (far right) and Dale Miles (centre) with Brooke Forsythe and other members of the Mingenew Irwin Group. 

The Department of Agriculture and Food, Western Australia (DAFWA) Northern Beef Futures (NBF) project is collaborating with industry groups to evaluate returns from the value-added beef method of backgrounding cattle.

Backgrounding is the practice of moving cattle from a breeding property to a secondary property to grow-out cattle to a specific weight to suit a target market.

By backgrounding cattle, pastoralists can gain access to higher-value markets and turn-off cattle at times of the year when cattle prices are higher, but stations are inaccessible by road due to weather conditions.

The Mingenew Irwin Group’s North South Beef Alliance (NSBA) project, supported by the department’s Agriculture Science Research & Development fund, aims to increase the number of cattle headed south for fattening and solidify the supply chain integrity from northern pastoralists to southern backgrounders.

NBF Market Analyst Roger Verbrugge said that backgrounding cattle opens up more market options, including live exports, and entry to feedlots or South West-based meat processors.

New market opportunities are emerging for branded, rangelands grass-fed boxed beef, and new live export markets, including China, Thailand, Vietnam, the Middle East and South East Asia (Cambodia).

These markets could have different specification requirements which could provide pastoralists an alternative market option through backgrounding.

NSBA spokesperson Brooke Forsyth said that under the alliance, various agreements were available for pastoralists to retain ownership of cattle and pay backgrounding fees based on weight gain, including a fee per kilogram or profit share arrangement on kilograms added.

The NSBA project is developing a repeatable, quality controlled production system removing management risk for the backgrounder and providing a production guarantee for the pastoralist.

The Alliance expects the first intake of cattle from the pastoral regions to take place in May 2017. For further information, contact Brooke Forsyth on 0487 281 007.

The department’s NBF project is also developing a backgrounding model to illustrate the economics of backgrounding northern cattle in the southern areas of WA.

Mr Verbrugge said a prototype of the model is being developed into a smart device application which will enable producers to input data specific to their property to see the return from a north-south alliance system under different conditions and using different cattle specifications.

The prototype, which he presented at the North South Beef Alliance field day held in September, received significant interest from producers.

More information can be found at the fllowing links:

For more information contact Roger Verbrugge, Market Analyst, Northern Beef Futures project, Bunbury on +61 (0)8 9780 6166.

Producers warned that ARGT may strike early this year

Sheep in paddock
Producers are being warned to be on the lookout early for annual ryegrass toxicity this year.

The Department of Agriculture and Food, Western Australia (DAFWA) is warning producers to be on the lookout early for annual ryegrass toxicity (ARGT) this year.

Department Veterinary Officer Anna Erickson, of Narrogin, said she would normally expect to see cases of ARGT, which can affect all grazing animals, from about November onwards.

"However, the exceptional season we have had means that annual ryegrass is flowering very early and this year I have been receiving samples of flowering ryegrass since August."

Farmers need to be on the outlook for ARGT from now onwards, with first cases appearing about two weeks after ryegrass starts to flower.

Incidence is usually highest in spring, with another peak in summer when sheep go into stubbles.

The first major clinical signs of ARGT include shaking (due to body tremors), clumsy gait (also accompanied by stumbling and falling), adoption of a wide-based stance when stationary (keeping their balance) and convulsions after they have fallen to the ground and are lying on their sides.

Some also show very characteristic types of gait. One form is a high stepping gait with their forelimbs while holding their heads up and the other form is described as a stiff-legged or “rocking horse” gait.

One of the other extremely characteristic features of the clinical signs of ARGT is that they can be episodic. That is, animals may appear to become completely normal again between episodes of showing clinical signs.

Signs are made worse by stress or movement, and commonly a mob of apparently normal animals will suddenly show severe signs of ARGT (collapse, seizures, and death) when driven.

Dr Erickson said the signs of ARGT were similar to some reportable diseases not present in Australia, such as mad cow disease and scrapie.

“For this reason, we are always keen to have a private or department vet take samples to submit for laboratory testing for animals with these signs,” she said.

“These reportable diseases can be ruled out with correct testing. Data from this testing helps to protect public health and our valuable livestock export markets, as trading partners ask us to provide proof that Australia is free of these diseases."

Any outbreak where several animals die or show disease signs may qualify for the Subsidised Disease Investigation Pilot Program.

This program is an investment of Royalties for Regions to help offset the cost of disease investigations by private vets and to ensure that we obtain enough data to verify our animal health status.

Older affected animals may also qualify for the National Transmissible Spongiform Encephalopathies Surveillance Program (NTSESP), which allows producers who have suitable animals autopsied for the program to claim $330 for cattle and $110 for sheep (GST inclusive).

Producers may claim this payment for up to two animals per disease outbreak per property.

ARGT is more common in the wheatbelt but has been found in the west in shorter growing seasons and to the north.

Research has shown annual rotations between crops and pasture increase the risk of ARGT.

When ARGT is suspected, pasture testing will show the presence of the toxin.

Pasture test kits are available from local department offices.

It is recommended that producers, when they buy in feed, obtain a commodity vendor declaration that states that the feed has been tested for ARGT.

For more information on ARGT, the NTSESP, or the Subsidised Disease Investigation Pilot Program, visit the Annual ryegrass toxicity in livestock webpage of the DAFWA website or contact your private or local department veterinarian.

For more information contact Roy Butler, Senior Veterinary Officer, Merredin on +61 (0)8 9081 3111 or Dr Jeremy Allen, Principal Veterinary Officer, South Perth on +61 (0)8 9368 3466.

Farm water rebates available

Dam with a solar panel
Farm water rebates are available to assist with the development of reliable water supplies

Watering WA is a six year, $30 million State Government initiative, led by the Department of Water (DoW) and made possible by Royalties for Regions.

It aims to secure regional non-potable water supplies for community and agricultural use and to support healthy, sustainable environments.

Watering WA accelerates the work of the highly successful state government Rural Water Plan, which has helped secure water supplies for regional farms and towns for the past 20 years.

The program is made up of three strategies (Watering WA Towns, Watering WA Farms and Clean Waterways).

Watering WA Farms incorporates the existing Farm Water Supply Planning Scheme (FWSPS) (audit and call-back) and Farm Water Rebate Scheme (FWRS) (on-ground works).

It now extends to farms that have scheme water connections.

How much funding is available?

DoW is offering farm water rebates up to $20 000 to commercial farmers who experience water shortages in the dryland agricultural regions of Western Australia.

The rebates are to assist with the development of reliable water supplies to overcome water shortages and secure on-farm water supplies for the future.

Rebate Description Funding
FWSPS - Audit Completion of a farm water audit 50% of auditor’s fee up to a maximum of $500
FWSPS – Call back Inspection of completed on-farm water supply improvements 50% of auditor’s fee up to a maximum of $250
FWRS Rebates for on-farm water supply improvements listed on the Schedule of Approved Works 50% of the estimated standard industry rate on the current Rebate Schedule up to the maximum rebate value.


Applicant type Date of Audit Maximum rebate
Scheme connection After 1 October 2016 $20 000 paid after 1 July 2017
No scheme connection Before 1 July 2017  $15 000
No scheme connection After 1 July 2017 $20 000


Are you eligible?

  • Are you a commercial famer, registered for GST and have an active ABN?
  • Do you experience on-farm water shortages?
  • Do you operate primarily as an extensive livestock or grain producer?
  • Does your farm receive less than 600 mm average annual rainfall?
  • Is your property more than 400 ha in total? Less than this will trigger a commerciality check.

If you answered yes to each of these questions, you may be eligible for a rebate.

What infrastructure is eligible for a rebate?

  • Production bores
  • Dams
  • Roaded catchments and grade banks
  • Distribution poly pipe
  • Guttering
  • Pumps and power sources
  • Tanks and troughs

Please note infrastructure must be new, not replacements or refurbishments.

Please note that an on-farm water audit must be undertaken by a Department of Water approved farm water auditor prior to undertaking any works.

A list of approved auditors, rebate schedule and information for applicants can be found on the Farm Water Rebate Scheme webpage or call 1800 780 300.

New members for industry biosecurity committees

A canola paddock with stacks of square hay bales in the background.

New Chairpersons and members have been appointed to the industry-based management committees that oversee the biosecurity-related Industry Funding Schemes (see below).

Industry Funding Schemes for the cattle, grain seed and hay, and sheep and goat industries were initiated in 2010 under the Biosecurity and Agriculture Management Act 2007. The schemes enable West Australian producers to raise funds for programs that address their industry’s respective biosecurity priorities.

Nominations for the committees were sought from industry, and new members were appointed by the Minister based on recommendations from an industry-based Appointments Committee.

Mr Steve Meerwald has been appointed as Chairperson of the Cattle Industry Funding Scheme management committee. Mr Meerwald, who has specialist knowledge of the Australian meat and livestock industry, is looking forward to working with the management committee to ensure the scheme delivers value to the WA cattle industry.

"The scheme currently funds surveillance programs for bovine Johne’s disease, enzootic bovine leucosis and bovine tuberculosis, which are an essential part of maintaining Western Australia’s enviable animal health status and support our access to export markets,” Mr Meerwald said.

Mr Ron Creagh, a grain and livestock producer from Nungarin, is now the Chairperson of the Grains, Seeds and Hay Industry Funding Scheme management committee after three years as the deputy chair.

The Grains, Seeds and Hay Industry Funding Scheme currently funds programs to address skeleton weed and eradicate three-horned bedstraw.

Mr Creagh highlighted the significance of the Industry Funding Scheme — “With the biosecurity risks to the WA grain, seed and hay industries increasing, the importance of the scheme to our industry is becoming more and more apparent and we will continue to talk to growers to make sure their funds are working for them”.

The new Chairperson of the Sheep and Goat Industry Funding Scheme management committee is Mr Ed Rogister, a sheep producer from Albany.

Mr Rogister will continue to build the scheme to enable timely access to funds to maintain the industry’s biosecurity.

“We currently target funding toward controlling virulent footrot, including research into the usefulness of a new footrot vaccine in WA conditions,” Mr Rogister said, “but we continue to work with the industry to identify other biosecurity priorities threatening the productivity, profitability and sustainability of the WA sheep and goat industry”.

Cattle Industry Funding Scheme

Grains, Seeds and Hay Industry Funding Scheme

Sheep and Goat Industry Funding Scheme

Mr Steve Meerwald (Chair) – Cottesloe

Mr Ron Creagh (Chair) – Nungarin

Mr Ed Rogister (Chair) – Albany

Ms Renata Paliskis (Deputy chair) - Mundaring

Mr Jim Sullivan (Deputy chair) – Holt Rock

Ms Danielle England (Deputy chair)– Narrogin

Ms Wendy Brockhurst – Fitzroy Crossing

Mr Rob Beard – Meckering

Mr Guy Bowen – York

Mr Craig Forsyth – Dongara

Mr Rohan Day – Burracoppin

Mr Jorgen Jensen – Mt Magnet

Mr Jim Motter – Badgingarra

Mr Brad Jones – Tammin

Mr Steve McGuire – Kojonup

Mr Graham Nixon – New Norcia

Mr Drew Mutter – Three Springs

Mr John Moyes – Yornup

Mr Mike Norton – Capel

Ms Suzanne Woods - Calingiri

Mr Charles Wass – Perenjori

More information on the three Industry Funding Schemes and management committees can be found on the Department of Agriculture and Food website.

For more information contact Rebecca Heath, Industry Funding Scheme Executive Officer, Northam, on +61 (0)8 96920 2171.

Customer is king – key element of a successful supply chain

sheep meat supply chain infographic
Western Australia’s chilled and frozen sheepmeat value chain

Currently CEO of the company Mareterram, David was previously with Craig Mostyn Group and Chair of the Western Australian Meat Industry Authority. He is extremely well respected in the meat industry being a strategic thinker with proven success in optimising supply chain efficiency.

David describes a supply chain as being more than logistics, ‘it is a network of functions and relationships that takes product from producers to consumers’.

David provided some key insights into successful chains as well as broken supply chains. Dairy was cited as an example of the latter.

It is essential that a supply chain is sustainable. If a supply chain is not working, it is because not every link is getting a fair return.

The supply chain will not be sustainable and parties will exit. Thus the supply chain requires long term commitment achieved through contracts, relationships, ownership and manages risk.

Putting the C (i.e. Chain) into Agriculture was how he put the transformation from a production ‘push’ to a market ‘pull’ business approach. This involves having a view of the entire supply chain to drive maximum value and assure consistent supply to the customer.

A supply chain is a system of organisations, people, activities, information and resources moving a product from supplier to customer. 5 key attributes for a successful supply chain are:

  1. Cultural Shift. Here the need is to look across the entire supply chain rather than to simply optimise the profitability of your own individual component. (See diagram of what might be included in a meat supply chain). Each link in the chain needs to get a fair share of the return.  Otherwise in time there will be elements that consolidate, close down and exit thereby disrupting the remaining elements of the chain.
  2. Consistent Supply. Supply must be consistent to enable suppliers to build up markets (i.e. customers and their customers want to build up markets). So there is a need to plan ways to maintain supply at a consistent level all year.
  3. Customer is king. The focus must always be on the customer, to respond to the price signals based on the value that a customer puts on the product, whilst maintaining consistent supply at reasonable price.
  4. Linking the Chain. Linking the chain ensures security of supply and is influenced by the level of risk and level of return that are prepared to be shared. This is achieved through relationships, contracts, partnerships and levels of ownership between elements.
  5. Competitive Advantage. This takes various forms such as a low cost, a brand that people are loyal to, a product whose attributes the customer wants (such as specific quality), or an asset  specific to the supply chain.

David’s presentation was a highlight of the program and fitted in well with the theme of “Sharpening the sheep business”.  The question is how much of the sheep meat industry works this way now and where do we start to make our supply chains work better in the future. Food for thought!

For more information contact Justin Hardy, Development Officer, DAFWA, Albany on +61 (0)8 9892 4808.

New rabbit virus detected in WA

Rabbit grazing
A new strain of calcivirus may impact pest rabbit populations.

A new strain of calcivirus has been confirmed in rabbits in Western Australia, following detections in other parts of Australia.

Department of Agriculture and Food, Western Australia (DAFWA) Research Officer Susan Campbell said the haemorrhagic virus strain known as RHDV2 had been confirmed in the Perth metropolitan and Great Southern areas.

RHDV2 was detected in a wild rabbit in Canberra in 2015 and the virus has since been found in New South Wales, Victoria, South Australia, the Northern Territory and Tasmania.

A Czech strain of RHDV1 (commonly known as rabbit calicivirus) has been used as a biocontrol for rabbits in Australia since 1996 and has had a significant impact in reducing pest populations.

It is important to note that RHDV2 is different, and it is not known how it arrived in Australia.

Researchers were monitoring how rapidly RHDV2 was spreading across the country and what impact it may have on pest rabbit populations.

RHDV2 can cause death in young rabbits and vaccinated rabbits. The currently available vaccine is not known to be protective against disease from RHDV2.

The NSW Department of Primary Industries is investigating options to develop a new vaccine that has improved effectiveness against both RHDV1 and RHDV2 variants.

Whilst the new vaccine is being developed, a revised vaccination protocol using the existing vaccine has been suggested for rabbits, although it is not known to what extent this will confer protection.

Owners of pet rabbits or breeding stock are urged to implement strict biosecurity measures to protect their animals from infection. More information is available from the Australian Veterinary Association website.

WA landholders are encouraged to report suspected outbreaks of RHDV2 to the department by contacting the Pest and Disease Information Service on 1800 084 881.

Further information on the Invasive Animal CRC’s National RHDV Monitoring Program can be found on the PestSmart website.

Even if an outbreak reduced pest rabbit populations, it was vital that follow-up conventional control methods are used.