Each year we host Year 11 students from a high school on the south
coast of NSW. They are studying Earth & Environment, Agriculture or Food
Technology and our farm is part of their six day camping field trip focusing on
the Murray Darling Basin.
It is always a pleasure to have them on farm… keen to
learn and not afraid to ask questions.
To the untrained eye this wheat sample looks mostly green
and healthy albeit short but reality is that it has run out of moisture and the
heads won’t fill for grain. We need to know if the crops are worth cutting for hay so we dry it down in the microwave to work out the dry matter yield.
If you have been following my blog for a
while, you’ll know that I try to focus on the positives; I try to find the beauty in each day. But in reality, things are not
quite so rosy. The Murray Darling Basin Plan and its rollout has devastated our
district. Last July at the start of the irrigation season Dartmouth Dam was 89%
full and we got 0% water allocation for the year. This year Dartmouth Dam was
63% and we are on zero allocation. Today’s water flow rate for the Murray River
at Tocumwal is 15,422ML/day. This river is not in drought. It is running very
high. So what will it take for us ever to get an allocation again?
In this week’s MDBA’s weekly report Dartmouth Dam storage capacity “decreased by 13
GL” and coincidently at the other end of the system i.e. lower lakes in South
Australia some 2,500kms downstream “13 GL of environmental water was released
through the barrages (out to sea) over the week… to provide environmental cues
and connection to support the movement of several migratory fish species”
So while dairy cattle are being sent to the slaughter, crops are
dying, citrus trees are being pulled out, and people are contemplating their
future…. while Australia is now importing wheat and dairy products the
migratory fish… in the ocean… are getting fresh water, through man made
barrages from a man-made fresh water lake that used to be a natural estuary. It
is nice to know where we all sit on the list of priorities with the government.
If you live within the Murray Darling Basin then I urge you to
take part in the Panel Engagement Sessions being held through-out the basin
over the next 2 weeks. If you can’t get to one of the sessions please, please
fill out the Community Experience Survey. This survey is for all in the community not just the farmers. I urge you to take the time to fill out the
survey. (Click on the blue text above to access websites)