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# Theme music

On Landline today -
the latest on the live cattle trade.

On Landline today -
the latest on the live cattle trade.

I intend to take a delegation
up into Indonesia

to try and rebuild this relationship

so that we can start getting money
flowing back onto the ground

here in the Northern Territory.

We also need the Federal Government
to fast-track trade negotiations

for free-trade agreements
with Korea, Japan and China.

They moo when you squeeze them,
you're hurting them. Is it time for live video feeds
in abattoirs?

Temple Grandin thinks so.

We have to look at everything we do
in ag and say,

'Would you show it
to your wedding guests from Sydney'

And if you're squirming right now,
you better not be doing it.

And the challenges
facing Tasmania's scallop fishermen.

The mind set we've got now

is fishermen are rape, pillagers
and plunders.

There will be nothing left
if we don't stop them.

Well, they've pretty much
stopped us.

There's pretty much only one
endangered species out here

and that's me.

Hello, I'm Pip Courtney,
welcome to Landline.

Coming to you this week
from BeefWorks 2013

at Jondaryan
on Queensland's Darling Downs.

It is the lot feeding industry's
biggest event of the year

with several stand-out
overseas speakers

including acclaimed animal
behaviourist Dr Temple Grandin. I will speak to Dr Grandin
later in the show.

First, to the northern beef industry

and key stakeholders meet
in Townsville this week

to consider the next steps towards
restoring trade with Indonesia,

Australia's most important
live cattle market.

A change of government in Canberra

has already proven to be a circuit
breaker in negotiations with Jakarta,

paving the way for increased quotas

and more bilateral cooperation to
boost beef production in Indonesia. At the same time,
Australia's biggest beef company

is looking to develop alternative
production pathways for cattle

out of the north.

Here's Peter Lewis.

They call this part of the
Northern Territory the Never-Never,

a nod to Jeannie Gunn's
classic Australian bush novel

about life on the frontier,

a story set on neighbouring
Elsie Station.

But given the turmoil

that has swept through cattle
stations like Cave Creek

over the past couple of years,

never never might just as well apply

to underestimating the determination
of families like the Sullivans

to stick with the northern
cattle game

and its important single market,

the much maligned
live trade to Indonesia.

Was there ever a time when you
thought, 'This is all too hard,

we should think about doing something
else and going somewhere else?' No, I think if you -
I don't think we would be here

if we ever thought like that.

That's farming from whoa to go,
really.

You don't pull it on if
that's where you're gonna end up.

Two years ago

the Sullivans found themselves at the
epicentre of the live cattle storm.

He is not happy about how
his animals will be killed but nor can he afford
to stop sending them.

We need to be patient about it
because there is lots of reasons why stunning is not going to be
taken up straightaway.

You say we've got to have patience

but why should the animals suffer

while we help Indonesia
get its act together on stunning?

Because I think that...

It is a tough question, isn't it?
Yes, it is.

Yeah, I guess,
when the live export ban hit

Rohan was the president
of the Cattlemen's Association

so that was a pretty wild ride
in our place on the political scene as well as in our personal lives
and the children were -

I think they were affected by it
in a lot of ways,

just worrying about

whether they were going to be able
to stay in their school

and that sort of thing as well.

What time's your lesson today?
11:45.

Right now, it's a waiting game
on most northern cattle stations,

waiting for the wet season
to replenish pastures,

waiting for the youngsters to get
to the optimal live export weight

and obviously waiting for bigger
orders from Indonesia.

Already they have agreed to take
75,000 slaughter weight cattle.

It is a good first step, I think.

Those heavy cattle, even though
we haven't got many heavy cattle,

we have sold most of ours,
the ones we did have,

and this time of year

it is difficult to get heavy cattle
out of northern Australia anyway

because it's just the time of year.

But it is a good move

and the thing we need to open up
is the feeder market again.

That's what the north -

the trade out of north Australia
was based on, the feeder cattle,

and that is where the comparative
advantage between the two countries

really comes to the fore.

David Warriner,

who manages one of the best known
cattle stations in the country,

Tipperary Station,

succeeded Rohan Sullivan

as President of the Northern
Territory Cattlemen's Association

and he has been closely involved
with mending fences

with their most important customers.

Incrementally, I think those of us
who are in the trade,

we lent on the relationships we've
had in Indonesia over the years

and some of us,
and my father and people like him,

have been in Indonesia
for 30 or 40 years

and I believe those relationships
were fundamental

in how we have got the trade
to the point we are at now.

The new Federal Agriculture Minister

is keen to draw on the experience
and expertise

that northern cattlemen
like David Warriner and his family

have with Indonesia.

Dry enough, isn't it?
Yeah, bloody oath.

He made a flying visit recently to
Tipperary

to discuss the positive reception

the Coalition Government
is already getting in Jakarta

and what needs to happen next.

We will continue that negotiation
with the Indonesians

and I intend to take a delegation
up into Indonesia

to try and rebuild this relationship

so that we can start getting money
flowing back onto the ground here in the Northern Territory.

Beyond that, David Warriner's
urged the Minister

to tackle
the more fundamental problems

undermining confidence
and competitiveness

in Australian agriculture.

Fundamentally, our cost structures
aren't competitive in this world

at the moment

and that is due
to a number of reasons,

but the main ones being
we are over regulated,

particularly in the regional areas.

We have a food boom going on
in Asia.

Beef prices, or meat prices
in the markets up there

are 100,000 rupiahs a kilo,
$10 here. It has never been higher up there,

yet we aren't making any money
down here,

so something is wrong
in the supply chain somewhere.

You can't expect them to keep paying
more and more and more money

to cover our inefficiencies.

We've got to fix our act up.

Our role is to try and, as much
as we can, effect a better price, by opening up markets

so you get paid more
for the product that you produce

and to make sure
we keep a tight control on costs

and do what we can over
the longer term, and through planned infrastructure

to make sure that we bring down
such things like transport costs

and these sort of things,
with good planning, can be part of a process
that actually achieves that.

Australia's biggest beef company
has ambitious plans of its own up here in the north

and many of them focus
on its new $85 million abattoir

on Darwin's outskirts.

There is a herd of two million
cattle up in the north,

probably the addressable herd

that will be relevant for
the abattoir number around 350,000

and on a full two-shift basis, which is what the abattoir will run
on when it is up and running fully,

we will draw on about
220,000 head of cattle a year.

It is a heroic investment
given the track record of others

that have opened and shut
across northern Australia

over the past 30 years,

but one the company believes is
necessary,

not only for its own future

but for the viability
and profitability

of the entire Territory cattle game.

It is probably important
to just see the abattoir, perhaps,

in the broader context of where
we are trying to go as a company

and that is with a vertical
integration strategy.

We want to play at each point
in the value chain

right from production processing,
sales marketing distribution, and ultimately,
it is a pretty simple strategy

and that is that we want to reach
through

and touch what is a rising
demand for beef at much better global beef prices

than are currently achievable within
the Australian domestic market.

But until the new meat works opens,

the live cattle trade remains
the main game.

Cedar Park is an export depot
near Adelaide River,

a staging area where shipments
are put together,

where the cattle undergo vet checks,
inoculations,

and where they are introduced
to the feed ration

they'll get aboard the company's
fleet of two live cattle ships.

In a good year, as many as 150,000
cattle pass through here.

But since the trade was
disrupted,

they have been handling less than
half that many,

which has had a knock-on effect
right across the Territory.

While there has been no shortage
of finger pointing,

Nick Thorne says the industry itself
must accept part of the blame

and the responsibility to do better.

I think as an industry
we probably failed pretty badly in explaining the situation

and the need for why the
live export market is so important

for the beef industry in the north
and pretty much Australia.

I think it has been a lot of work
addressing that,

more importantly,
it has been a lot of work

addressing the welfare issues
that we were criticised of.

The industry in both those areas
is moving forward pretty well.

A day later, the former Queensland
Senator and deputy Nationals leader

was in Mount Isa, talking drought
relief with the Curr family,

who have steadily lightened the load
on Yelvertoft Station

in the face of a deteriorating
season.

We had about, I don't know, 100ml
or something in October/November

and basically from then,
2013 has been -

I think we had about 20ml
or something for the whole of 2013.

As you can see around you,

they're getting a bit lighter,
the cows,

and we are hanging in there.

Another 1,500 weaners are
on the long paddock near Camooweal

while they focus on hand-feeding
their breeding stock and calves. We've also got a property at Juda
Creek, so we got some down there,

it's obviously very dry down there
as well.

Feeding a few in the feedlot
and just hanging in, basically.

Obviously, the effort here among
the breeders and weaners

is to keep supplements up to them
to try and get them over the line?

Keep supplements up,
keep bringing the weaners off -

you don't want to put them through
the yards too much now

because it knocks them around.

We do the second round as well.

So get the weaners off,
keep the supplements up,

after that, basically,
now you gotta hope for rain.

Graziers here in Queensland's
north-west

often feel overlooked
by politicians and bureaucrats

whose attention is focused more
on issues and agendas

much closer to our big cities,

so they are impressed
that the Minister has found time

so early
in the life of a new Government

to come up here for himself

and see what is happening
on the ground here.

I always take my cue
by listening to people

and saying,
'How would you run the show?'

Then I test my skills on how
I can negotiate with my colleagues

to turn those ideas into policy,

once we see that they are practical.

Great to see he's come out.

He's shown that much of an interest
to come out.

It is a big change than
the last Government, I can tell you.

He can't make it rain,
but I guess, you know.

Just the fact that Barnaby is here
showing an interest

and realises the pain people
are going through is a big plus.

Queensland rural lobby group AgForce
extended an early invitation

and handed the Minister
a long wish list.

One of the first and most
critical things is for this new government, and not
only the Agriculture Minister,

but the new government,

to get back to building
our relationship with Indonesia

to make sure that the live cattle
export market

gets back into full swing
and is more assured of a future. We also need the Federal Government
to fast-track trade negotiations

for free-trade agreements

with three of what would be
our potentially biggest markets,

so that is Korea, Japan and China.

That certainly had stalled
under the previous government,

so then we come back from that

and we need to start looking
at some support measures

to help people persist through what
is becoming a worsening drought,

dry condition period. From Mount Isa, it was north
to Georgetown in the Gulf country,

where once again graziers
were looking for firm commitments

from the new Federal Agriculture
Minister.

There is a diabolical
cashflow shortage right across the northern
Australian beef industry.

Minister, this is the key
to 99.9% of our industry's problems. We can't wave the magic wand
and do everything that people want and there are certain
policy settings

that people have asked for today
that -

I was honest with them,

and I said I don't know whether
I will be able to do that.

Create the targets on their behalf
for the things I think we can hit.

What is the real priority?
Well, it is water.

It is fodder and finance.
There's your troika.

It is trying to make sure
that we get some sort of deal that works in that space.

I know that the purpose of this
is to come out and test the issues

that you believe will be
the issues on the ground.

I must admit most of them are
exactly as I thought they would be.

We have also seen that the current
settings of current programs,

such as the farm finance package,

need to be re-twigged
so that they're more accessible

and deal in a more pertinent way,

more reality to the problems
that are before us.

I would like us all to fall
to our knees and pray for rain

and then we can move on

but I don't think that
is going to happen.

Renowned animal behaviourist
Dr Temple Grandin

is visiting Australia to talk about
humane livestock handling.

She says while huge improvements
have been made in animal welfare here

and in the US,

there is still a lot more
the animal agriculture sector can do to explain itself
to its urban customers.

According to Time magazine,

Dr Temple Grandin is one of the 100
most influential people in the world. When she speaks,
America's biggest food companies

like McDonald's,
JBS and Cargill listen.

The USDA listens, farmers listen.
Farmers in America and Australia.

There are very few people
in the world

that have the degree of influence
in their chosen sphere like Temple.

Temple Grandin has influenced
the construction of facilities

for animals in this country,
in the US and throughout the world.

She's had an influence over the way
we manage those animals

and I think a lot of people don't
even know she's had that influence.

Temple Grandin says her unique view
comes from the way her brain works. She can see things
from an animal's point of view.

An animal mind is in the detail

and one of the things where Autism
helps me is, I think in pictures,

I'm an absolute total visual
thinker.

I don't think in words.

You ask me something,

it is like putting a search term
into the picture,

the Google picture service
on the Internet

and I start to see pictures.

You asked me about pigs,
I would see pigs

or you ask me about chickens,
I start to see chickens

and then I can search through
my memory file.

And this has helped me with animals

because animals don't think
in language.

They are sensory-based thinkers.

It's visual. They think in pictures,
it's not in words.

You want to understand animals,

you have to get away
from verbal language.

She is an amazing visual thinker.

Her message might be simple
but it has resonated with the public.

Her books are best-sellers.

Even Hollywood's listened.

Her story - troubled autistic child
finds salvation,

a brilliant academic career
and fame as an adult

Mooing? You want to do research
and write your Masters on mooing? I can see a chute
just as a cattle will,

'cause that's something
my Autism lets me do.

You whacko.

I know my system will work,

because I've been through it
1,000 times in my head.

I have worked all my career on
improving how animals are handled.

Dr Grandin made her mark in the '70s

with her groundbreaking theories on
managing livestock in a humane way. On the farm, in a feedlot,
and at an abattoir.

A lot of little things
we don't notice can scare cattle,

like a little chain hanging down.

She designs yards, corrals and chutes

an animal is comfortable
to move into and through.

She also designs auditing systems that measure how well the humans
working her designs are doing.

Many of the big abattoirs in the US
have adopted her systems

and McDonald's won't buy
from companies that don't follow her ideas.

Her systems have led to improvements
in animal welfare standards.

Her philosophy is nature can be cruel
but we don't need to be.

Another thing I want to make sure,

we've got to be really careful

not to squeeze cattle too hard with
the squeeze chute.

I've been in four feed yards now
here in Australia

and one of the feed yards had a
squeeze chute

that was making hamburger patties
at the feed yard

and it was squeezing cattle
dangerously tight.

You've got to make sure
you adjust your pressure relief

so it'll automatically stop.

If they moo when you squeeze them,
you're hurting them.

Her ideas are very structured,
very simple, and they work.

And I think that's why she's been
so successful

in getting people to understand
how an animal thinks

and if you can understand
how the animal thinks,

you can understand
how to manage them.

Dr Grandin has designed
cattle-handling facilities

assorted facilities
across four continents,

and just under 50% of the animals
restrained for harvesting in the US are presently restrained
using Dr Grandin's systems.

Feedlot veterinary and nutritional
consultant Dr Matt George

studied under Dr Grandin.

He says she is a legend.

Some people make a difference,

very, very, very few
make a profound difference.

Dr Temple Grandin.

I have a lot of things
to talk about today

and as clock is up here
counting down,

so I'm gonna have to get going
really fast.

Temple Grandin got straight
to the basics.

A basic principle in animal handling

is when you force animals
to do things

they get a lot more stress.

When animals voluntarily cooperate
with handling,

'cause you have handled them well,

you get less stress.

An animal's first experience -

and this is important
out on the properties -

with a new person, a new piece
of equipment, or a new vehicle,

needs to be good.

That is really important.

And she is big on keeping your cool.

People get way too aggressive
with driving aids.

No yelling and screaming.

It is OK to talk
when you're handling the cattle,

but no whistling,
no yelling and screaming.

Cattle know that's directed at them
and their heart rates go up.

Calm down. You've got to calm down.

As well as being calm,

she says cattlemen need to get
into the heads of their animals

and be more observant.

This is one of my big ones.

A man on the horse is viewed
as something completely different as a man on the ground.

It is really important,

before cattle leave a feed yard
to go to the meat works,

that they have had experience
going in and out of pens

by a person on foot.

I have seen feed yards
that have wonderful handling

but everything was done on the horse

and when they got to the meat works
they met their first man on foot

and they are bouncing off the walls
and going crazy

and really dangerous to handle.

Think about it, man on a horse
is a different picture

than man on the ground.

What was the key message you wanted
people to get from your speech?

The importance
of good cattle handling.

The first step in cattle handling
is keeping animals calm.

The first thing people have got
to do,

if they want to do any low-stress
handling,

is calm down and stop screaming
and yelling.

That's the first thing
you've got to do,

because once the animals get excited
and scared,

it takes half an hour to calm down.

So don't get them all excited.

In your speech,
you said feed yards and abattoirs

have a hard time recognising
they have a problem

and that bad can become normal.

What do you mean
about the bad becoming normal?

You see, when you measure things,

then I can prevent bad
from becoming normal.

We've had a terrible problem
in our dairy industry

with bad becoming normal
on lameness.

We have some dairies now with 25%
lame cows, they think that's normal.

No, it's not normal.

You see what happened is,
it slowly got worse

and when things slowly get worse
people tend to not see it.

So one of my big messages is,
let's start measuring handling.

What percentage of cows
you use electric jigger on?

That needs to be under 5%
out on a feed yard or property.

How many cattle fell
during handling?

That needs to be extremely low. How many cattle mooed
due to being caught by their head?

How many cattle were walking in
and walking out?

That is what I want.
These are things that I can measure.

When you spoke to my colleague
Sean Murphy four or five years ago,

you told him that animal agriculture
needed to sell itself better

to middle America,
middle Australia.

In the last four or five years,

has animal agriculture
done a good job of that?

Animal Ag's
gotten a little bit better,

but animal agriculture
has a long way to go

on communicating with the public.

We've got to realise
the general public is who we need to communicate with.

I am very impressed
with the feed yards here.

On this trip,
I have been to four feed yards.

These are beautiful,
gorgeous feed yards.

These are the kinds of things -
you need to show it,

put videos out there
that show what we do.

Well, today we're going
to have a tour

showing how things work, done right.

Just recently in the US
there is a new video out -

beef plant video tour
with Temple Grandin,

pork plant video tour
with Temple Grandin,

that just shows how meat works
works.

It starts with the unloading
and it explains how it works.

It doesn't say it is marvellous,
it just explains how it works.

And the thing is,
now every phone is a camera

and Ag has a choice of showing it
the way Ag wants to show it

or having it shown for us.

Now with electronics, we can open up
the door electronically and we don't have to worry
about biosecurity.

I can understand concerns
about visitors.

You don't want someone from a
foot-and-mouth country

coming into this feed yard,
totally understand that.

but video cameras
don't spread germs.

In fact, we've got one
chicken company right now

that has a hen cam
that you can tune into.

We need to be doing more
of those kind of things.

We need to be opening up the door
and showing what we do.

I think we have to look at
everything we do in Ag and say,

'Would you show it
to your wedding guests from Sydney?'

Or if we're back in America,

'Would you show it to
your wedding guests from Chicago?'

And if you're squirming right now,
then you better not be doing it.

Now one of the good things
about beef -

most everything we do in beef,
I can show.

Some of the other species,
we got a few more problems.

In the US there are now video cameras
inside abattoirs

and auditors can check any time.

How is that going?

Two major abattoir companies,
Cargill and JBS,

they now have video cameras

over the stunner,
the truck unloading ramp,

and the bleeding area,

and auditors over the Internet,
any different random times,

can look and see what is going on.

And boy, the parts of the plants
where those cameras are,

it's clad, it is like church,

everything is working
just absolutely fabulous.

It has really improved their
handling.

You used to go into the room and
everyone was screaming and yelling

and jiggers
and everything like that,

and now they have to make certain
numbers on their audits

compared to the bad old days
in the late '90s

when I worked on implementing the
McDonald's audits,

the plants saw the difference
between night and day.

They're so much better.

Also, our USDA has gotten
a whole lot more strict.

Do you believe people who work with
livestock understand their animals

and how to keep stress levels down?

What I have found,
on people working with livestock,

is there's about 20% of people
that if you take them out

and show them how to do cattle
handling and stuff right,

they just do it.

I'm gonna call them
the natural stock people.

Then you have a big bunch
of people, 60-70%,

where they will do it
if you supervise them.

You have to be really careful
not to understaff and overwork,

because people get too tired.

Then there's a bottom 10% of people

that I don't think
should be working with livestock,

they actually enjoy hurting them.

And I know that's not
a nice thing to say,

but I've been around for a long time

and for years I mainly just worked
on equipment design and construction

where I couldn't do anything
about some of the bad behaviour,

I just had to watch it.

And there's some people that
just shouldn't be working there

and when the video auditing got
started,

they really started monitoring
the plants,

there were some cattle drivers
they had to let go.

They just would not
put the electric jigger away.

When it comes to electric jiggers,

I am not suggesting banning them,
but get them out of your hand

and they only should be picked up
and used on the occasional animal

that refuses to go in the stun box

or refuses to go
in the squeeze crush.

You have had a Hollywood movie
made about you,

Time Magazine has said

you're one of the 100 most
influential people in the world.

How do you handle fame?

I figure it is a responsibility.
People come up to me,

and there is a lot of young people
that look up to me, and I have to be responsible,
always behave in the right way.

Because I want to see those
young people become successful.

I think I have motivated
a lot of young people

who are quirky and different.

Yes, they can succeed.

But we need to be getting
these young people out

when they are in middle school,
7th and 8th grade,

and get them exposed
to career things.

Do you feel you have more to learn
and more to teach us?

I am always learning

and I want to get young people
interested in doing these things.

I've been around now for 40 years

and we have a lot of young people
coming in now

that don't know anything about Ag

and this brings up the thing if we
want to get young people interested,

we have to expose it to them.

People don't get interested
in things they're not exposed to.

Temple Grandin, thank you for
your time, it has been a pleasure.

It was great to be here.

I wish I could start
with some good news

but it is very tough out there
in farming country at present,

even the big boys like S. Kidman & Co
and the Ruralco mob

are reporting losses
or break-even trading.

So there's red ink everywhere

and I suspect it is at its deepest
in the saleyards,

where the numbers are down
but buying is very sluggish.

The big picture suggests
the drought,

or at least hot and dry conditions,
are moving south.

Meanwhile conditions in the north
and north-west of Queensland

are totally appalling.

I heard one old-timer the other day

describing the drought
in the Gulf Country

as the worst since the early 1960s.

Prices, well, every indicator fell.

There is a guessing game
about numbers

with an idea that turnoff must slow
down eventually

and there will be a shortage
of numbers when the drought breaks.

Lamb and sheep numbers
were down as well last week,

although year-on-year yardings
are actually up.

The National Livestock Reporting
Service says despite tighter supply

a lot of the younger lambs
are presenting in poor condition

and demand for mutton is flat.

Prices eased again.

The reality appears to be the market
needs to see widespread rain

before livestock gets some fizz
into prices.

However, I can tell you where there
is real fizz in the live trade

across the north

just ahead of the big Live-ex
Conference in Townsville

this coming week,

the trade has a genuine buzz.

Permits are being issued
from Indonesia

and ships are heading north as
fast as they can be loaded.

These ex Darwin prices have urged
substantially in recent weeks,

and when it was suggested there
might be problems finding the cattle

the response was, 'If the price
is right, the cattle will be found.'

And so it is proven.

Let's look at dairy prices now
and before I put them up,

let's check the latest in the battle
for Warrnambool Cheese and Butter.

Have a look at this share graph

following movements of the WCB price
since the takeover bid started.

This time last year WCB shares
were a little over $2.

The charts - you can see
the move along there,

floating between $2 and $4.

There's the first bid from Bega,

then the next bid from Saputo,
Murray Goulburn,

and then another bid from Saputo.

The shares are trading well over $8

and looming in the background,
watching and waiting,

Fonterra from New Zealand,

the world's fourth largest
dairy business.

This story is far from over.

These prices have softened
from recent highs

but are still well above
the five-year average.

Moving to grains, where wheat deals
in quality in eastern Australia

are proving a problem

as hot windy and dry conditions
bump into overnight frosts.

This is exactly what happened
Wednesday and Thursday night

across a fair swathe of southern NSW
and parts of Victoria.

This gave local prices some support.

Harvest is moving south in Queensland

and that sorghum price is $20 up
on what it was this time last year. Profarmer is reporting the sale of
100,000 tonnes of wheat to Iraq.

The price is $362.50 a tonne,
cost and freight.

Local futures were busy last week,
especially in the east.

Overseas now to Chicago, where there
has been mixed views on wheat,

but it's mostly been supportive.

That wheat price was above 700 cents
earlier in the week,

while corn continues to slide.

That ethanol rumour
won't go away for corn

and that is now $3 a bushel or $165
a tonne down on this week last year.

Across to New York now
for the soft commodities

and here we have cotton on the skids
and sugar barely holding on.

The big fire in Brazil ruined
200,000 tonnes of raw sugar and after an initial price spike,

the incident hardly caused a blip
on the sugar market.

Cotton, however, is another story.

Cotton has now lost 10%
since the start of October

and is 15% below the mid-August
rally.

China, again, is the key.

Last month China imported
a mere 200,000 tonnes of cotton,

the smallest monthly total
in two years.

Finally to wool,
which had another ordinary week

as buyers showed support for quality
and virtually discounted the rest.

The Eastern Market Indicator fell
13c Wednesday,

another 8c Thursday
to close at 1,092c.

Next weeks's roster is a substantial
offering, close to 50,000 bales.

I will leave you today

with an update on developments
in our food processing industry.

And it is hardly news,

this crucial sector is struggling.

The American-owned Simplot company
has decided to battle on.

Last week it announced plans
for its factories at Bathurst in NSW

and Devonport in Tasmania.

Jobs will go, but for the moment,
Simplot survives.

Fiona Breen reports.

The uncertainty is over.

Cans of vegetables will continue to
travel around this long conveyor belt in Simplot's Bathurst factory,

although the peas, beans
and mixed vegetables are out.

Bathurst will process corn

and the old Australian favourite,
the Chiko roll.

What we will be taking
from that plant is -

mixed veggies will be coming back
to the Devonport plant.

Can mixed vegetables
will be going to Echuca

and some of the seed beans we do
will be coming in from Europe.

Simplot announced in June

its two big vegetable factories
in NSW and Tasmania could close.

A review found rising operating costs
and falling profit margins. The American owners wanted the plants
turned around or closed.

The factory in Bathurst,

with its big canning operation
and rambling buildings,

was the most likely to go.

The news of a reprieve for
both factories is good for farmers

but the pressure is still on
to cut costs.

We are very much on probation

and it is up to everybody
in the frozen vegetable industry,

from the producers right through,

to prove that we can sustain
a viable business.

The Bathurst plant will scale back

the amount of vegetables
it processes by 50%

after this growing season.

Growing quotas in NSW
won't change though.

Any excess corn will be transported
to Devonport, Queensland or overseas for processing.

It is a win for Tasmania,
where processing will expand,

with the company to invest
$25 million in capital works. We are moving nearly 5,000 tonnes
of volume from the Bathurst plant

to Devonport,

then on top of that
with the Woolworths and Coles deal,

with the volume there,
there is another 6,000 tonne,

so the plant will receive between
11,000 - 12,000 tonne into it.

The workforce at both plants
will reduce dramatically.

More automation in Devonport will see
the number of casual workers

cut by about 200.

In Bathurst, 110 permanent jobs
will go.

What that does mean,
it will be much smaller plant,

we are currently employing
around about 164 people.

That number will go down
closer to 50-59 people that we have at that plant.

A significant change for that plant,
so lots of discussions.

The company's Australian chief,
Terry O'Brien,

says the decision was made

despite recent long-term
supply agreements

with supermarket giants
Woolworths and Coles.

He says profit margins
still need to improve. If we can't get that cost base down
in the next three years,

we will need to do another
full review in those three years

to see if we're still competitive.

Simplot is just one of a number
of multinational companies

struggling to keep their
Australian factories open.

Others have given up.

McCains closed
its Tasmanian operation in 2009

and set up a factory in New Zealand.

It was followed by Heinz.

The SPC Ardmona plants
in the greater Shepparton area

are facing the same sort
of uncertainty.

They could close

unless the company is able to secure
a $50 million lifeline

from the Commonwealth and Victorian
governments.

The local community is hoping
to pressure governments

when it holds another rally in
Shepparton in support of the company

later next month.

In the 1980s, 300 boats fished the
waters around Tasmania and Victoria, catching 40,000 tonnes of scallops.

Now the fishery is a fraction
of what it used to be,

the allowable catch,
a tenth of what it was.

Today, the industry is struggling
with regulations

and trying to stay ahead
of a mysterious algal bloom.

Fiona Breen went scallop fishing
with the Hammond family.

In the shadow of the imposing natural
landmark known as the nut

on Tasmania's north-west coast,

a small fleet of scallop boats
sit at the dock.

This is a good proportion

of what is left of Australia's
scallop fishing fleet.

I think it was eight or nine boats
in there,

four are Tassie boats and the
other four are based in Victoria

but have got a Tassie licence
and Tassie quota.

They are pretty much
all family boats.

The fathers trying to keep the sons
in the industry, so to speak.

It is like the farmer on the land,
I suppose,

you can't afford to buy another farm

but if you want to be a farmer
you have to take over Dad's -

the generations of work that has
gone in front of you

and my young bloke is a fourth
generation in our family fishing

and he has gone away for a while
and has come back again

but it's just -
It's all getting too hard.

The whole bloody thing is too hard.

They are here to fish the paddocks,
as they call them,

about an hour and a half
off the coast.

It is 7:00am and
there is some last minute packing

before the Shandara is ready to leave
the shelter of the harbour.

There's one more bin to get off.
One more bulkhead at the factory.

The Hammonds and their crew

have been working out of
the small fishing village on Stanley

for the past month.

The scallop beds have so far
been good.

They have pulled out
about eight tonne a week.

There was some exploratory surveys
done earlier in the year

and they found some fish here,
so here we are, yeah.

There is not that many places
open, really, is there?

No, this is the only -

well, Triabunna was open earlier
in the year

and that didn't pan out
all that well.

Scallop fishing is a tough job.

There's long hours
and they work in all weather.

This trip, the forecast is perfect

and the skipper cooks
a hearty breakfast

preparing the crew
for a solid 24 hours of fishing.

Well, it's a perfect day
for scallop fishing,

a light north-westerly breeze.

The seas are calm.

We are heading about
eight nautical miles

off the north-west coast of Tassie

and the crew's confident
they'll get a good haul of scallops.

Scallop fishermen need a bit of luck.

They have endured
a tough few years.

Cheap imports, rising costs
and lower catches

are making it harder
to make a dollar.

There is also uncertainty
plaguing the industry

as fishermen try to stay one step
ahead

of a mysterious, naturally occurring
algal bloom.

The algae turns shellfish toxic,
making them unsafe to eat.

It has forced scallop fishermen
to move out of some fishing grounds. This year, yes, we have had a level
of toxin, in a sort of a low level,

off the east coast of Tasmania

and we had a higher level
in Bass Strait.

But in both instances,

we closed the fishery on a temporary
basis, on a voluntary basis, and then with further testing,
we were able to reopen the fishery.

They have been moving between
three scallop grounds around Tasmania

and in Bass Strait

to keep away from any algal bloom.

I guess the important thing

is that we ensure we always have
scallops on the market

that are safe for human consumption.

It is not just nature that's
frustrating fishermen,

it is the mass of regulation

that comes with fishing
in three different jurisdictions.

Commonwealth, Tasmanian
and Victorian waters.

This mind set we have now

is that fishermen are rape,
pillagers and plunders,

there will be nothing left
if we don't stop them.

Well, they've pretty much
stopped us.

There is only one endangered species
out here

and that is me, and Junior.

Yeah, we are managed to death.

Authorities from Victoria,
the Commonwealth and Tasmania have been talking about streamlining

the three different sets
of regulations, but nothing's happening fast.

Marine biologist Jayson Semmens

surveys scallop beds
in all three jurisdictions.

There's links between
all of the jurisdictions

and that is the really
important thing,

what happens in one jurisdiction

actually has potential effects
on the others

because the stocks are related.

That is something that may need
to be tweaked and maybe that is seen
as the area of over regulation.

Like anyone, we have to look
into what's there

and we don't make the policies,
we work within the policies, just like the fishers do.

The data his team provides

helps regulators decide which areas
can be fished

and how many scallops can be taken.

The current management regime
is around spatial management.

The idea is, like managing
the paddocks on a farm,

you only have a small area open
and you keep the rest closed. That way you're not impacting
on other areas.

The invisible fences
can't be breached.

Each scallop boat is tracked by
authorities in Canberra and Tasmania via a vessel monitoring device.

Then they have a track
of where you have been

and what speed you were doing
and what direction you were going.

You would get a call
from someone in Canberra?

In this circumstance -
well, depends.

If you went into
the Commonwealth marine park,

you will get a call
from someone in Canberra

and if you went
across into the State closed area,

you will get a call from
the fisheries or marine police.

This season, the fishermen
are allowed in three areas. There is a limit set
after a raft of pre-season surveys,

determining the scallop numbers.

I think this area here
that is open here now works out -

for our total available area
of fishing in Tasmanian waters

is less than half of 1%.

That is all we have to fish in.

How much of an area
do you have to fish in Bass Strait?

Call it a lot of things,
but we'll call it a bee's dick. Go to go fishing, you're not allowed
to go any bloody where,

you can't look anywhere.

We're locked in little paddocks
everywhere.

It's just crazy stuff.

Industry veteran, John Hammond,
is not convinced by the surveys. He wants more areas opened up
to fishing exploration

but the scientists are saying

there is just not the numbers
there used to be.

They are one of those animals
that are just so variable.

They can have - they are prone
to recruitment failures, they are prone to these die-offs.

That is not to say there aren't
particular things causing them

but they are the kind of animal
that is highly variable,

the numbers are highly variable
and populations are highly variable

and so it is a frustrating ride
working with scallops.

Just got to let us be fishermen.
Fishermen are hunter-gatherers,

we've got to go hunting
and find these things.

The one bright spot has been
these grounds off Stanley,

where the scallops have been perfect

and there has been no sign
of the toxin.

A handful of boats have been bringing
in about eight tonne

once or twice a week.

It is good news for John Hammond.
Magnificent, mate.

After 50 years in the business,
he is feeling a little jaded.

He still loves scallops but he's just
about had enough of fishing for them.

How is that?

That is worth every bit
of $40 a kilo.

Fresh. I should be carting tourists
out here

feeding them fresh off the knife.

It is magnificent. Magnificent.

You haven't got tired of them yet?

I usually eat three or four dozen
a night. Every night.

If there was anything wrong
with them, I should be dead by now.

It is about 20m deep, the dredge
is dropped every 15 minutes,

it rakes the sandy ocean floor
in a straight line for about a kilometre

before it is winched back up.

The skipper has been dragging
the dredge

in long lines in one particular block

and it keeps coming up
half-full or worse.

Today has been fairly slow.

Johnno is having a look around and
trying to find the better fish. Hopefully it will pick up soon

or when the sun goes down
it might get a bit better,

as it normally does.

John Hammond is itching to move on
and try another bed.

Day fishing is bringing in
intermittent loads. I've always been of the opinion

that the scallop can hear
the dredge coming

and they jump out of the road.

The longer you go up and down on the
one spot,

the fish get tired and run out of
puffing power and come dark,
they can't see the dredge.

They can hear it, but don't know
which way it's coming or going,

so that's when it starts to improve
and catch rates improve for us.

The dredge is dropped at regular
intervals throughout the night.

A tumbler working almost non-stop

tosses the scallop shells
to clean off all the debris

and a conveyor belt
makes the 23m Shandara

one of the preferred boats
for deckies.

A lot of mucking around together

and a bit of joking
to keep our spirits up.

When one's tired,
the other one will say a joke

and we will go from there.

The catch is disappointing,

about half their usual load
at about four tonne

and well under their allowable catch.

The Hammonds have the quotas
to catch much more.

The maximum is about 4,500 tonnes
that we can take in Tasmania.

If the determined catch level
is about a quarter of that,

well, each unit can only - each fishermen can only take
a quarter

of the units that he owns
or controls.

As a consequence,
they might have a unit worth 400kg

but they're only allowed to take
perhaps 100 kilos against that unit. That is a constraint that no-one
really likes or enjoys

but it is one way of limiting
the total allowable catch

to within the scientific
predictions.

This trip they'll cover the costs
of the expedition.

John Hammond is frustrated.

Others plying these waters are
desperate to improve the bottom line.

Some fishermen are sending
their scallops to Thailand to be processed.

We have our boats export-registered
to be able to freeze on board and when the boats come in
we unload directly

either into cold stores
or into containers

and from there they get straight
on the ship over and into Thailand.

They are coming back to Australia

to be sold locally
as half-shell scallops.

I think it's probably cheaper
to process scallops overseas

than it is in Australia,
unfortunately.

We are still promoting
those scallops

as new season Tassie scallops
and the demand is quite high.

Local processors can't find
enough workers to shuck scallops.

It is hard to get the workers.

It is hard to get people
that will stick at it.

If people stick at it, they can
make really good money out of it.

I just think,
with the future generation,

I don't think they're interested.

The Bass Strait scallop fishery

is still recovering after the grounds
were wiped out three years ago.

Johnno Hammond was one of the first
fishermen to pull up dredges

full of dead or dying scallops.

Fishermen blame seismic testing
for the Bass Strait deaths. They estimate the tests caused the
death of 24,000 tonnes of scallops. Pre-season surveys had been done
and it looked fantastic

and the previous two years
were phenomenal,

an unbelievable amount of fish
and catch rates, really good fish.

After the seismic boats
went through,

we went back up there to work
and it was just...just bizarre. All the fish were dying
and you tipped the dredge

and the shells would be
falling apart

and meat falling out of the shells,
just strange.

It wasn't just the scallops,
it was all the cockle shells

and all sorts of bits and pieces.

What were your thoughts on that?

My thoughts were,

we have just bought four or five
of these licences

because it looked so good up there

and I knew we were on the bottom end
of the bed

and there was a massive bed there
with a huge amount of fish in it

that was probably going to keep us
going for two or three years.

And I thought, 'Oh, well.
They're dead

and they've got nothing else up
there.'

The Victorian Department of Primary
Industries

has always said the testing
had no impact.

Either way, it was a huge blow
to the industry.

Fishermen believe scallop larvae
in the water was also killed,

destroying generations of scallops.

The repercussions
are still being felt now.

We have been back to those areas
and they are gradually recovering, two or three years later,

and we would hope Bass Strait would
be more productive in the future

but for the moment,

we are still a lot lower offtakes
than we would really expect.

The Institute
for Marine Antarctic Studies

is trying to find out
once and for all.

Jayson Semmens is researching
the effects of seismic activity

on scallops and rock lobsters.

Australia-wide, and worldwide,

everyone is wanting to know

what are the potential effects
of this testing, from tuna to lobsters to scallops.

There is a lot of potential
fisheries that could be affected

because there is a lot of overlap.

The waters where oil and gas
exploration happen

are the waters
where fisheries occur,

so we really need to get
an understanding of, you know, what could be done.

It is about,
can you manage these things?

The fishermen
are in a holding pattern,

hoping for some relief
from industry regulation,

waiting for information
on things like seismic testing,

the shellfish toxin
and unexplained scallop die-offs.

People are still eating scallops.

This processor has just received
the load off the Shandara, a good scallop splitter
will shuck 9-10kg an hour.

I think Tasmania
still loves scallops.

They want to see the quality,
which the quality is there.

We are getting rid of
as many scallops as we can,

as much as we get,
as much as goes out.

While some scallops are being sent
across to the Victorian markets

and small numbers trickle through
to other states,

Tassie is still the biggest market.

I will start today
with a significant new chart

I will start today
with a significant new chart

from the Bureau of Meteorology.

This one is checking
the national rainfall outlook

for November to January.

Essentially what the map
is telling us

is that a dryer-than-normal season

is more likely for most
of north-eastern Australia.

Let's have look here,
most of the country therefore,

will have a 50% chance
of above-median rainfall.

That's in the west,
in the south.

But over here, drought country,
Gulf Country, Channel Country

and western Queensland - 30-35%.

That is really bad news.

Let's check another handy reference

and that is the
Southern Oscillation Index.

There is the graph.

We'd like to see it
heading the other way.

It has fallen from +5.2 last week
to a barely measurable +0.1. Let's see where the rain fell
last week.

The national map again reveals

the hot and dry interior
of eastern Australia.

Some good rain across the
southern part of the continent

and perhaps the first signs of the
wet season emerging in the north.

Numbers now.

Cambooya - 24mm.

Khancoban - 45mm.

Harrietville - 58mm.

Ross - 10mm.

Kingscote, Kangaroo Island - 18mm.

Darwin Airport - 37mm.

Southern Cross - 23mm.

That is the Landline check
on rainfall.

That's the program.

Next week we are off
to the Royal Melbourne Show

and the prestigious
Garry Owen Trophy.

This year,
the first standard-bred

ever to compete in the 79-year-old
equestrian event

caused quite a stir.

He went out there
and he proved a point, you know,

a there is going to be that small
percentage that go,

'Oh, we don't want them there,'

and those are the people
who are frightened of change.

The little horse on a mission.

And Kerry Staight looks
at our unseen natural wonder,

the great Artesian Basin.

Pip, when you look across
this vast arid landscape,

it is hard to believe that
underneath is a water storage system that extends across
a fifth of the country

and supports many of the nation's
pastoralists.

Well, next week, we'll see what
they have been doing to support it

and whether it is enough.

You get dry times
every two or three years.

Without the water, the groundwater,
we'll -

we wouldn't be here.

That story next week, but until then,

goodbye from the Co-Ee feedlot
at Jondaryan.

# Theme music Captions by CSI Australia

Hello, and welcome
to Gardening Australia. I'm here in Sydney's Botanic Gardens,
and our focus this week is on plants.

COSTA, VOICEOVER: Sophie visits a
camellia garden in the Adelaide Hills that's in full bloom. Jerry meets a gardener and vet who's spent a lifetime studying
the toxic properties of plants.

And Jane visits
a native orchid grower to see how they're grown,
and to look at some varieties.

Some plants are a natural when it comes to protecting
themselves from predators, but other plants, like your vegies,
need a little bit of help. Let's catch up with Tino in Tassie, who's got some great techniques on
how you can protect your vegie crops from things like birds, bats,
and insects.

I've been working pretty hard
to establish my garden for about a year and a half now, and I'm pretty pleased
with the way it's coming along. The chooks are laying heaps of eggs,
the vegie patch is up and running, and the fruit trees
are maturing nicely, but as every gardener knows,
when your productivity increases, so does the competition
for your crops. Bats, birds, slugs,
snails, slaters, and diseases all wanna try and rob you
of your harvest, so I've got a few simple, natural
ways of protecting your crops so you can have your garden
and eat it too.

My berry patch
is a prime target for birds. They seem to love eating the fruit. I suppose, like most of us, they find
them really, really delicious. They're also attracted to colours
like yellow, orange, and red, which means there's no way they'll
fly past something like a raspberry.