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The US secretary of state Hillary

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importance of the relationship

between Australia and the United

States. Ms Clinton is due to hold

talks with the Prime minister Julia States. Ms Clinton is due to hold

Ministe Gillard later today. The Prime

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Minister says the government will be

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Opposition has accused the

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above Reserve Bank movements. And

the countries people of Burma have begun voting in above Reserve Bank movements. And the

the countries first national

in 20 years. It's a vote critics say the countries first national election

is calculated to be an illusion of

progress to keep

military rulers in power. Democracy progress to keep the country's

icon, Aung San Suu Kyi has called on

people to boycott the people to boycott the election. And

again. The in surfing, Kelly Slater has done it

again. The 38 -year-old from the US

has clinched an unprecendented 10th

world surfing title with a win has clinched an unprecendented 10th Puerto Rico.

Puerto Rico. Inaccepting the victory. world surfing title with a win in

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tonight at seven o'clock. This Program is Captioned Live THEME MUSIC On Landline today -

in the pork industry. it's time for truth in labelling a free-range pig? Just what does constitute

about animal welfare We've had thousands of complaints is to the forefront of that. on pork and sow stalls for Australian mango producers. Slim pickings this season seems to be, I expect, Overall the Darwin region about 30% lower than last year. Australian wine industry right now, And when it comes to the perhaps less is more. for wine makers We offer the premier forum who do less than 500 tonne

and be judged against their peers. to enter their wines welcome to the show. Hello I'm Anne Kruger, will vote on an historic motion Australia's pork industry this month to phase out controversial sow stalls intensive piggeries. from the nation's by the Tasmanian government It comes on top of a move to ban the stalls from 2017 announcing a deadline and Coles supermarkets for its fresh pork suppliers sow confinement. to end the practice of But as Sean Murphy reports, is just as controversial. exactly what defines free-range it's the changing face pork industry. of Australia's multi-billion dollar of New South Wales At Corowa in the southern Riverina are being farmed by Riverlea, these free-range pigs Australia's biggest pork producer. sown with barley On an 8-hectare paddock the company's 400 free-range sows about 100 pigs a week. are now producing for us in this system The big challenges particularly sucker mortality. is productivity of the sow herd, piglets after birth Basically, you'll lose more prior to weaning, can be double at times, and that could run another, above a normal intensive piggery. So that's the challenge for us,

of weaners per week to produce the same number out of the same sow herd, we're probably about 10% down and at the moment

in an intensive system. on what we would aim to be production of 14,000 pigs a week, Compared to Riverlea's overall is minuscule, the free-range operation of growing consumer demand. but it's a recognition a supermarket request There's certainly on offer, to have a free range product a lot of pressure coming on them and that's no doubt in response to from their customers. to create a free-range brand We see an opportunity and we do see that growing. which is what we're currently doing, Riverlea is also leading the industry in its intensive piggeries. in a move away from using sow stalls Because of biosecurity concerns

to film inside its sheds, we weren't allowed but these are the sort of stalls Australia's national pig code. which are backed by that they protect pregnant sows The argument for them is

and possible miscarriage. from fighting each other to discontinue using sow stalls, Riverlea is spending $16 million the world's only large-scale research and is conducting of sows indoors. into stocking densities what we saw as a commercial reality. I suppose it's a recognition of

sow stalls going forward. The consumer will not accept a major undertaking to remove them, Our view was that it was

get started on that process early. we needed to make a decision and with our customers as well, We've done that in conjunction getting that completed and we're moving towards in the next few years. Is it justified on welfare grounds? is at best, debatable. Look, the welfare argument

of scientific data You can stack up a whole bunch of sows in stalls is significant. which says that the welfare which is contrary to that fact. You can also get data as far as we're concerned, This is not a welfare argument about the consumer this is an argument and the consumer's perceptions. out of it altogether. We've left the welfare argument is building. Consumer pressure on sow stalls that it will ban them from 2017, Tasmania has announced it won't sell any fresh pork and Coles now says from 2014. from farms using the stalls, customer complaints We've had a lot of about animal welfare standards, one of the biggest complaints. and pork has been about animal welfare on pork We've had thousands of complaints is the forefront of that. and sow stalls So we've made a decision to remove sow stalls from the pork that we sell. Given that you're buying large amounts of imported bacon and ham products from countries where they still use sow stalls

and will continue to use them, isn't it hypocritical? We're talking about fresh pork at the moment. So, all of our fresh pork is Australian and it's from Australian manufacturers and suppliers.

The ham and bacon industry is a different proposition and we are working through with our suppliers as to what our policy would be on that in the future. We as an industry have no objection to that. That's what Coles is meant to do, that's their core competence to look after their consumers. Of course we had an issue with the fact that they didn't apply it across the board, to all of their pork products, and that's something we've been talking to them about. I think they made a misjudgment in the early days, and I hope they come around to actually making that a consistent policy

across all their products. Australian Pork Limited says the industry is facing a difficult decision. Consumers don't understand the use of pregnancy stalls,

but to phase them out could cost as much as 10% of Australia's annual farm gate turnover. We have a consultation process at the moment with our whole industry, and it's culminating in a vote at our annual general meeting in November. That's all about whether the industry actually believes that we should voluntarily cease the use of gestation stalls at some point in the future. Now that's a very difficult decision because it's going to cost the industry potentially $100 million or more. So clearly very expensive, but if it's going to happen anyway because consumers want that to happen, then that's something the industry's got to face up to, and that's a very big debate, and that will be a very big decision for us. Whatever is decided at the AGM,

demand for pork bread and grown outdoors is on the march. Growers such as Mudgee veterinarian, James Casper, and his animal behaviouralist wife, Georgie, are unable to satisfy the demand for their product. Their customers are prepared to pay

for what they perceive are superior animal welfare standards. So yeah, being able to, you know, dig in the ground and lie with other pigs and build nests and farrow outside and mate naturally, I think all those things allow them to, you know - be pigs, and that's really what we wanted them to be able to do when we set up the farm. Just having the freedom to choose what they want to do, whether they want to be warm or cold, wet or dry, you know, sun or shade. Those sort of choices are the things that I think are really important to, you know, to animal welfare. We're not organic, but we farm on organic principles. We don't use a lot of sprays, we don't use any chemicals,

we don't use any antibiotics, we don't use any growth promotants. The reason we're not organic is to do with the food because we'd have to truck the food from a lot further away and also the killing when they go to the abattoir, they'd have to travel a lot further to go to an organically certified abattoir. I don't think that's in the interest of the pigs, and I don't think it's in the interest of the environmental footprint that we leave, to be trucking stuff from each end of the country. So as I say, we're free-range and true free-range. In Australia now there are no uniform standards about what constitutes free-range pig farming. Matt and Sue Simmonds have invested in a 60 sow free-range herd to complement their organic potato farm in the Sydney basin. From an organic point of view it's very hard to remove the potato from the soil without spraying it. But pigs do that for you, they'll turn the soil over, they find the potato and they eat it. Not only that, they leave behind plenty of manure which is ready for the next crop of potatoes.

The Simmondses sell their pork direct to restaurants for a 50% premium above the market rate. They're certified free-range by the humane society. Is obtaining the certification all about getting the premium price for your product, or are there other factors? I think it's about being fair dinkum as well.

It's like any certification, if you don't have the certification well I suppose you could call yourself anything. So, how many hutches are in here? Two. Two, and they've got shade from the trees? Yeah, they've got plenty of shade in this paddock. The Simmondses bought their pigs from Lee McCosker, who is also the compliance officer for the humane choice label. Hello ladies. Humane Choice is about a combination of animal welfare, foremost, that's how the standard originally started. It's about environmental sustainability, and it's about human health. It's about a holistic approach to farming pigs or other animals. And how do you differentiate it from other free-range certifications on the market? It's quite difficult at the moment because there is no legal definition for the term free-range. So there are producers out there that are legally able to call themselves free-range when possibly, they're not. There is confusion in the marketplace over the term bred free-range, where pigs like these are born outdoors but then moved to big sheds to be grown to market weight. James Knight has been producing bred free-range pork for 10 years at his family property near Meredith, in south central Victoria. He fattens his pigs for about four months in ecoshelters like this, and says it would be impossible to grow them to consistent market specification in an outdoor free-range system. On a larger scale, you're a very hard operation to run, just to sort of try to minimise the variation, I suppose,

in your sale pigs, because one thing the abattoirs do look out for is consistent product, and I would feel that a pure free-range system,

consistency might be a bit of an issue. At the end of the day it's pretty much the same product that they're getting. Whether it's bred free-range or pure free range, it pretty much comes under the same banner as far as I'm concerned. James Knight grows under contract for brands such as Otway Pork, and pays the RSPCA to certify his produce as bred free-range. So how often do you put fresh straw into this shed? Usually at least one bale every week... Melina Tensen is the society's scientific officer for farm animals. She says whether pigs are bred free-range or true free range, the important thing is their welfare. Rspca approval means no sow stalls and no husbandry practices like teeth clipping and tail docking. I think the RSPCA has always been out there raising awareness as to the animal welfare issues in the pig industry.

When it comes to free-range and bred free-range, from an RSPCA perspective,

animal welfare can be of an equally high standard

in both systems.

What we're asking the consumer is to look for animal products from alternative systems where the standards can be guaranteed, where there's high animal welfare standards supporting that production system, and where the farms are regularly assessed to ensure that those standards continue to be met. But Australian Pork Limited has conducted market research which suggests the bred free label is misleading. Our research has shown a couple of things

about the free-range bred descriptor. One is, that consumers don't actually understand it, they think that it's a type of free-range. They think that it's really free-range. However, when we explain it to them, they don't feel deceived by the descriptor. So they're willing to accept it as still a good system,

but not quite what they thought that it meant.

Across the industry, criticism of the RSPCA-approved labels has been much stronger. I think the RSPCA standard has focused too much on animal welfare. They have neglected to take into consideration environmental issues, and they've even neglected to take into consideration the consumer perception of what free range is. An area only 1.5 times the size of the inside of a shed is not in my view,

and I don't think it's in the public's view either of what free-range means. For free range to capture its place in the market, it must be based on sound free-range principles, rotational grazing, and that's really tied up with environmental management aspects of free-range. So we are desperately requiring proper and true labelling of what free range, definite and absolute requirements of what free-range constitutes and we need everybody from APL, the industry, to all the other organisations who wish to label free-range to come together and to get a definition which is able to be reliably, sustainably managed. And, at the moment that's still not happened. Australian Pork Limited is now working on a new free-range standard as part of its existing quality assurance program. The RSPCA is reviewing its environmental standards.

When it comes to environmental management, we will be asking producers to ensure that they meet all the legislative requirements. To go any further than that would be going beyond the remit of our standards and of our aim of the standards, which is to get animals out of intensive confinement into more extensive systems where their behavioural needs can be met. So far, the marketing of free-range pork and deli lines has focused on animal welfare, but there's a growing recognition from within the industry that environmental sustainability should be part of any compliance system, that factors like stocking densities, cropping rotations and effluent management should also have minimum standards. The sow is struggling with deep wallows and that's an issue in some systems. There's a high level of soil compaction around these systems that are hard to regenerate. There's bare paddocks which can promote run-off and nutrient leachings with a profile and nutrient run-off into any waterways and that sort of thing. And, there are dead trees. Ian Kruger is an environmental engineer with the New South Wales Department of Industry and Investment.

He reckons stocking rates on many outdoor pig farms are up to 10 times too high, with consequences such as soil degradation and pollution. When you're stocking above say 20 pigs per hectare, and we're getting into the numbers of 250 or even 800 pigs per hectare, growing stock, that could create real environmental damage. Ian Kruger has developed a draft environmental standard for outdoor pig farming.

It suggests stocking rates only a third of what is currently recommended under Australia's model welfare code. I think some that are currently operating in terms of hundreds and thousands of sows, may find it difficult

to meet the sort of standards I'm suggesting, but it can be done. I think better rotations, not leaving stock on a paddock for more than a year, maintaining some ground cover, are all good environmental outcomes that we should be aiming for, and calculating nutrient management plans, so that there is a good understanding of the amount of nutrient that goes into a paddock can be sustainably removed by cropping and grain production or hay production, or whatever off that paddock. I think when the system builds up and it's allowed to build up, that's when we are going to see environmental problems. Demand for free-range farming is growing rapidly but it still only accounts for about 5% of Australia's pork production. For the other 95%, there is likely to be even greater consumer driven scrutiny on their farming standards. Certainly, you know, customers are really concerned about the environment,

about animal welfare, they're really concerned about provenance, so they want to know what happens to the food that they eat before they eat it. They want to understand what happened to the animal

and whether it was kept in good conditions. They want to understand what goes into that animal. Its that time of year when one of the most popular tropical fruits, the mango, hits Australian supermarket shelves. Harvesting's well underway in the Northern Territory and the word is that supply's going to be tight after the Top End trees were hit by a heat wave during winter. In a moment we'll hear about the national outlook for mangos but first, Anthea Kissel reports on research in Darwin aimed at weather-proofing future crops. A sweet and juicy fruit ripened under the blazing top end sun. About 16,000 tonnes of mangos are exported from the territory each year. The industry is worth around $40 million. The territory mangos are always seen as definitely being in big demand, being the start of the season, people are always hanging out for their first feed of mangos. But growers have faced their fair share of challenges this season. The weather has toyed with an already temperamental fruit. Overall, the Darwin region seems to be, I expect, about 30% lower than last year. Though last year was a high year for most people. So yeah, sure, as a region

we're slightly down on what we'd normally expect. (Thunder rumbles) I think it's totally climatic really. I think that the late wet, the variable dry season weather conditions that we got

with a lot of warm, humid weather

and that sort of thing's confused the trees somewhat. Heavy rainfall at the start of the dry season meant orchards flowered late. Weather researchers put the unseasonal rain down to the La Nina effect across northern Australia. The Pacific ocean gets cool and the waters around Australia get very warm. And those warm waters pump a lot of moisture into the atmosphere. It has a reasonably strong influence on the temperatures in Northern Australia. Temperatures are typically warmer than average, particularly overnight, the overnight minimum temperatures are much warmer than average. That's what we've certainly seen this year. Warmer temperatures aren't good news for mango farmers. And an intergovernmental panel on climate change predicts average Darwin temperatures will rise by around one degree by 2030. The prediction has prompted scientists to look at the effect of climate change on the famous fruit. I think it is concern. One degree most people would think is quite a minor increase,

in terms of the physiology of the tree you have flowering and you already, here in outer Darwin at least, the temperatures are already quite high. We're talking about 32, 33, 34 around about flowering time so we don't know whether we're right on the edge of whether the trees here can actually stand that temperature. So from a departmental point of view we're just trying to help the growers and see if it is a point and then, you know, what can we do to help them. Dr Peter Stephens' research identified temperatures in the month of July as a crucial factor. Trees capable of producing up to 13 trays of fruit yielded only four trays when exposed to temperatures above 32 degrees. Scientists trialled a cooling irrigation system on trees during flowering. Temperatures soared above 32 degrees on all but one day during the trial. Through overhead irrigation you get evaporative cooling and it actually causes the trees to cool. When we put the temperature probes on the tree we actually get a 4 degree decrease in temperature on those trees on average. The cooling by irrigation resulted in a 52% increase in yield and a 48% increase in fruit weight. More research is needed, but the early data have excited growers. Definitely the preliminary results we've got from peter stephens' trial work is a very significant increase in yield. While we've had a fairly exciting result, we need to figure out how to actually put that into a commercial procedure. We're probably applying too much water. We're applying about 2 litres per minute through the sprayers. They're using for up to five hours a day during the hot time of the year. So from a grower perspective, probably using that methodology is probably not viable either economically or sustainably. Ian baker has been involved in the Northern Territory mango industry since the 1980s. He says until now, there's been little research to confirm what growers have long suspected. We always presume that a cool dry season was the biggest influence of flowering. But until we had a long-term history of some yield data that we could use that to correlate with weather data, we really didn't have any - that was just a presumption on our part. So the analysis that has been done is very interesting, and it's also very important as we go into what may be a period of climate change. We're all very, very concerned

we have to live with the weather every year. And we're all very concerned about the year to year variances. The weather bureau says this year's hot and wet conditions are a sign of what to expect when climate change takes hold. It's probably a little bit of a taste of the future, this warm year we've experienced, 2010, we've observed over the dry season period, we've observed temperatures on average one to two degrees above normal, so while 2010 will go down as an exceptional year, an exceptionally warm year, come 2030 it's probably going to be more of the norm. The industry body says farmers are now beginning to realise how changing weather patterns will impact on production. We've been under a lot of pressure in most seasons recently from reducing margins and that, and so anything we can do to increase yield while maintaining quality will be very significant to our operation. Further research will depend on funding and access to facilities, like a special climate controlled space for monitoring the effect of temperatures on mango trees. We're talking to a variety of companies at the moment to try to get funding. We're talking to a variety of universities. Universities have access to funding which our department does not have access to.

So we're looking at a whole range of different ways to further this work and ensure that it does get done. Mango crops in Katherine are now ready for harvest and growers are hoping that the cooler temperatures there will mean yields won't be depleted. To the north, growers remain optimistic.

Production may be down, but prices have been steady and the fruit is as popular as ever. Farmers have been striving for decades to produce the perfect mango and they're confident the challenges of nature can be overcome. Oh yeah. Always. Farmers are always positive. Always optimistic. You couldn't be a farmer if you were a pessimist. So you have to be an optimist. There's always more to learn and always more things to try and always more things to find out. The Territory government is optimistic a new breed of mango will take off. One that may even get some added pizazz to stand out in the market. Of course when it comes out, it's got a very strange name like K1234. I thought it's small, it's beautiful, it's an Australian icon. What comes to mind? Kylie! # I should be so lucky # lucky lucky lucky # I should be so lucky in love... # Three new varieties of mango have been developed in the top end. Oh beautiful.

And the primary industries minister wants one of them named after the Australian singer. The idea has attracted worldwide attention. We want to send a box of mangos to Kylie. I think it would be really nice, if we're going to name it after her, at least for her to get a taste of the fruit that's named after her. But I tell what you I'm going to eat it before Kylie gets the first box.

Kylie: thank you! (cheering) joining me now is Queensland grower Gavin Scurr who is on the board of the Australian mango industry association. Welcome to Landline, Gavin. G'day, Anne.

We've just seen what impact Mother Nature has had on the top end crop this season. What's the outlook in mangos' traditional heartland, Queensland? The Queensland season's just started, anne. This week, literally. I'm out in the Burdekin area just south of Townsville.

And it's a light to medium crop pretty much overall and the later into the season we go, the worse it's getting. That's the culmination of a couple of things. One is we had a farily warm winter, particularly the further north. So not a lot of flowering and even down here in South Queensland, where we've got reasonable flowering because of the cooler winter we've had a lot of rain which has damaged the flowers. So overall, a fairly light to medium crop.

So what's this going to do to the bottom line for Australia's 1,000 mango growers? Yeah, the impact at farm level will be depending on how your farm is affected. There's still some reasonable crops out there and there's some very poor ones.

If you have a very poor crop as far as very low yield, it's going to impact significantly financially. And if you're one of the lucky ones that's got a regional crop, you will do quite well out of it because of the increased price in the market because the demand is still very good, mangos are still very good eating, and in a lighter crop, demand is outstripping supply and keeping the price firm. So if you've got a good crop, you will doing ok and if you haven't got a crop, unfortunately, it's going to be tough. Most of the crop goes on to the domestic market so I imagine any shortfall in supply is going to put cost-pressures on consumers this summer? Yeah, mangos will be a firm price. However, I still don't think that they're expensive considering the image the fruit has, like they're king of fruits. All our consumer research shows that people love eating mangos, and to spend 3, even 4 dollars on a mango is a really good investment in our opinion and obviously consumers are lining up to buy them at that sort of money

so I think they're still affordable and represent good value. So I don't see a problem with being priced out of the market. We are domestic-based market, in that there is very little export and what export is out there at the moment is very challenging because of the high Australian dollar. So most of them are being sold domestically. Gavin Scurr, thanks for joining us again on Landline. No problem at all. Thanks. To our news summary now - and a disturbing story from the top end involving not only animal cruelty on a grand scale but according to the Northern Territory ombudsman, a university cover-up and bureaucratic bungling. And a warning - some viewers may find the following scenes disturbing. Charles darwin university staff received complaints and photos of dead and starving cattle on its Mataranka Station from students in September last year. But an ombudsman's report has found the head of the university's animal ethics committee

visited the station but took little action. Well, Professor Wasson remains the Deputy Vice-Chancellor of research and international. Government inspectors were then sent

and although they confirmed 'distressing conditions', the cruelty continued

and an ombudsman's report says within six months,

800 cattle had died. Even the ombudsman has said there is a case for prosecution. The government would have known this, and yet they've done nothing. Animal welfare groups are similiarly dismayed. In the end, it was the responsibility of the Northern Territory government to ensure these cruelty complaints were followed up. The top end cattle industry is adamant Mataranka is an isolated case. These standards aren't the norm, they don't make any sense at all, doesn't make sense to your bottom line. Still on animal cruelty -

the long-running trial of a former north-west Tasmanian dairy farmer, Roderick Mitchell, continued this week in Burnie. He's is facing close to 200 charges related to the alleged neglect of dairy cows under his care. The prosecution has tendered evidence showing animals allegedly left to die without food, water or veterinary care. Mitchell, who's 29 and now lives in the Northern Territory, has pleaded not guilty to the charges. Still in Tasmania, scallop fishermen in the Bass Strait say their industry has been decimated by seismic testing carried out by the Victorian Government. There's something in the vicinity of 24,000 tonnes of scallops that are either dead or dying, which is in the vicinity or in excess of $70 million worth of scallops. Fisherman say there is no disease or change in water temperature, the only variable is the seismic testing, which bounces sound waves off the seabed. The Victorian department of primary industries says an environmental report found no proven impact on scallops. But, private exploration company drillsearch

moved its tests away from the scallop beds, even though it believes the process is safe. We have to protect whatever's left in Bass Strait. And we have to get some research up and running as soon as possible. The Murray-Darling basin authority

says it might have to push back its 2011 deadline for the plan designed to save the river system. At a Brisbane meeting, the authority said extra consultation being demanded by communities could take longer than expected. The authority's been holding a series of meetings around the country where there've been angry scenes as farmers protested against the plan. Would he give us a guarantee that he will attempt to stop the bureaucratic bullshit that goes on? I'm as much against bullshit as the next man.

And I don't believe that the process that we are currently going through is necessarily going to produce the right plan. Under the scheme, water allocations for irrigators and other growers would be reduced by up to 40%. In South Australia, the country fire service has changed the criteria for catastrophic fire danger ratings in most districts of the state because the warnings may have been overdone in the past. The conditions didn't actually warrant the actual catastrophic warning in a number of our districts last year. The change in calculating ratings will affect 12 of the 15 fire districts, which have now been classified as predominantly grassland. Meanwhile, police will be targeting 180 people in South Australia known for starting fires. They can expect to be very, very closely monitored, and of course quite a few of them will get personal visits from the police. Seven planes and two helicopters will be stationed across the state, with the sky crane helicopter to return this season. To the west now - and water supplies in the eastern Wheatbelt have reached critical levels

as the drought takes hold across large areas of the state. Authorities are putting in place emergency measures to ensure there's enough water to last through summer but farmers are worried it's too late. The water situation in Kulin and within the shire as a whole

is almost desperate you would say, particularly on farms where there's been no run off for a couple of years. Darren Kirby has had to sell a quarter of the stock on his Dudinin property. He's been carting water to his property for most of the year, a 60km round trip to keep the rest of his sheep alive. We've heard a rumour that maybe the local standpipe could be closed which, well, if that happens, I don't know where we'll source water for sheep.

The water department has now surveyed 50 shires to find out exactly how much water is available. To the Northern Territory where there's a plan to put the boot into the feral camel population

and create jobs in remote Aboriginal communities. Legendary football maker sherrin is looking at setting up a manufacturing base in central Australia.

It will involve using local Indigenous people to hand stitch the footballs which will be made from camel skins. If you look at all their artwork that they do, it's just beautiful. So if they've got the skill and the ability and the time to do that sort of work, to make an Australian rules football, it's quite possible. And finally - the central western New South Wales town of trundle is the latest to attempt to kick-start its community by offering 'tree-changers' a taste of country life on the cheap. They'll be able to rent farmhouses for just a dollar a week. Now, a lot of these farmhouses haven't been lived in

for 10 or more years, so they're in pretty bad state some of them and as part of the cheap rental, the families have to agree to do minor renovations on the home. The other thing that the town are asking for the families that are wanting to move is that they integrate into the community and that they can actually give something back to the community. They're looking for people with particular skills, people who are really wanting to become part of the small community. For more information, contact the trundle tree-changers on this website: A new trade deal has been announced with Indonesia -

and unlike some of the so-called 'free trade' agreements negotiated in recent years, this promises some real benefits for Australian farmers. It's worth pointing out that Indonesia has an annual live-cattle trade with Australia currently worth $748 million while boxed beef totals $178 million. Indonesia is our best wheat buyer - last year they bought wheat worth nearly $600 million. It's our second biggest cotton buyer - last year the market was worth $150 million. While dairy and horticulture are emerging as crucial destinations for Australian exporters. The live export of cattle picture moved again last week with the appointment in Jakarta of a new director of livestock services.

That, coupled with the trade deal just mentioned might - repeat might - help resolve the weights and permits imbroglio. At the saleyards this past week, prices were helped by a 13% fall in supply. Of note was the quality of cattle on offer, reflecting the good season in eastern states. Processors in the west are said to be so heavily booked, producers in w.A. re reportedly sending cattle east, such is the impact of the poor season over there. Now before I leave beef, let's touch briefly for the moment on the looming issue in cattle. of hormone growth promotants Coles supermarket has announced

from cattle which have used HGP's. they will no longer sell beef ceo of Australia's country choice, Last week David Foote, beef to Coles, the major suplier of told the Brisbane rural press club warned of production losses - Coles had been but that made no difference. of HGP's for nine years. We've been defending the use So about every spring, of why we must have HGP's. I build up my case of the economics up until Westfarmers took over, So I've won, international retailers I bought in a bunch of who had a course and an objective. it would cost, So, I told them how much and it's been printed in the papers, of increased costs of goods, it's a $13 million program so I was taken, we've been told - chain, we've known since March 2008 because we're such a long supply been known since January this year. and our actual suppliers have Part two of your question is - manufacturers, there is, according to the hgp loss of production. there could be 16% and the 7 before it We've spent the last two years measuring the impacts. as significant We think that they're not near or in the brochure as stated on the label and we've counteracted by - longer in the paddock, we think it'll take us 44 days

in our backgrounding phase in the feedlot and about six days longer to compensate for the HGP. from Country Choice. That's David Foote It'll be intersting to see how Coles their HGP-free beef decides to market

and how Woolworths repsonds. where turn-off in October Now onto lambs minus 28%. was way down on last year - Quality is said to be exceptional. The pig market is firming, while demand is rising. supply is steady Moving to grains now can't attract enough new plantings and it looks like high wheat prices to ease long-term supply concerns. The Profarmer Grain Newsletter supported through all of next year. suggests price should remain well Another piece of market chatter by the end of 2011. says expect $400 a tonne in the form of our lifting dollar. The local ASX struck headwinds Local spot prices followed overseas trends. Now to New York where, like most exchanges, there is what's called a limit up on prices every day, that is, price are not allowed to skyrocket.

They can just go up by a certain amount each trading period. Cotton is so hot, the first four contracts written Wednesday of last week were limit up.

By the close of the week the December contract was up over well over 17 % in just one week. That's a rise of almost 20 cents in one week and represents a bale value of around $670 although reports from paddocks indicate a lot of market volatility. I can tell you just a few weeks back cotton producers were very happy to sign off on $550 a bale. And if you can't grow cotton, sugar is the go. All indications point to strong support through next year. And what's happened to wool - last week saw substantial price rises across the microns, especially at the fine end and the action produced a three week rise in Aussie currency terms of 83 cents. Analysts expect this spike to flush out any wool left in storage but the tip is - there's not that much and this price firming could continue. And with those positive trends, that's the Landline check on prices. Many involved in the Australian wine industry

have had good cause lately to reach for a stiff drink. Its not just that they're sitting on warehouses full of the stuff,

oversupply has slashed prices to the point where an industry report recommends pulling out one in five grape vines. Yet for all that, it was hard to detect heartburn among smaller producers who gathered recently at Stanthorpe to show off their latest offerings. This is the 39th year the Granite Belt town of Stanthorpe has hosted the Australian Small Wine Producers Show. It's a major event on the national wine show circuit now, but it had very humble beginnings. We started as a local show where we had three judges and they all shared the same glass to judge from. Ian Henderson is the Chief Steward. Working behind the hessian, he and his team of stewards worked their logistical magic for the judges on other side. It's nearly 8,000 bottles of wine to be opened and poured. 1,800 wines by 21 judges is a glass of wine to be poured every 6 seconds for four days and we have to absolutely sure it went into the right glass at the right time.

We do double blind tasting so the judges, all they see is a glass of wine with a number on it. They don't know the maker, the manufacturer, the region, nothing. If it's a good wine, in that glass,

at that time, it will win a prize. Not influenced by label, brand or producer. There are nearly 60 wine shows held in Australia every year. Ian Henderson says this is one of the most important held outside a capital city. We offer the premier forum for winemakers who do less than 500 tonne to enter their wines an be judged against their peers. Wineries who do more than 500 tonne which is the big wineries of Australia aren't allowed to enter. These are small guys who love their wine, know their craft, typically grow the grapes themselves and make it themselves. We get to see who's the best. 90% of Australian wineries crush less than 500 tonnes. The fight amongst the guys with the same capacity is always good yeah.

You're not drowned out by these big volumes.

I believe that small parcels of fruit make better quality wine. A lot of small wineries do that, make better quality wine. The big wine companies are still involved, though. They send the judges. We go looking for the best judges from the most respected wine companies that we can find. We need judges to judge at a national level. The judges aren't here to go easy on little guys either. Is a gold medal here then still worth the same as if you won a gold medal competing against the big guys? Absolutely. This small wine show here is quality judged and the medals here stand alone anywhere. We're certainly not giving gold medals away for the sake of giving gold medals. We're giving awards based on absolute quality. The Chief Judge says the small players are worth watching, for they're often the innovators and trend setters. The small winemakers have got small batches, they can fiddle with them, they can try different things, where the big wineries only have big tanks and they're not game to have anything go wrong and so they try and probably control their winemaking a little bit more. No, the small winemakers are always the adventurous ones and great results have come from that over the past, I think. The most awarded winemaker in Australia, David Morris, led a team of 21 judges. And apparently rule number one is fuel up at breakfast. Even though they spit the wine out, judging on an empty stomach is a no-no. Judges mark wines out of 20.

There's three points for appearance, seven for aroma and 10 for taste and quality. That whole process of the sniff is probably five or six seconds,

the palate swirling is again five or six seconds. So all in all, looking, taste, spit out and then waiting for a few seconds for the flavours to go up through the canal at the back of the nose and assimilate through the rest of the mouth, you're probably talking 30 seconds overall. And you've got an assessment of how that wine fits in itself. Then the art is to compare that to another wine and see how it sits from a quality point of view. On a judging panel there are three judges and two associates, or learner judges. This year given my taste for sparkling, I was asked to be an associate. Ian Henderson wanted to embed a journalist so they'd realise judging wasn't one long dinner party. I think you're going to appreciate just how difficult a role it really is. I think I have 23 sparkling wines for you tomorrow, which sounds pretty easy, but your head will be spinning at the end of 23 wines and not spinning from alcohol

but spinning from how daunting a task it really is. And there were rules. So no perfume tomorrow. Am I allowed to wear deodorant? No you are not. (Gasps) Oh no! OK. No lipstick, no deodorant, no perfume.

And there was something else I needed to know. How to spit. Apparently spitting is an art. Winemaker Warren Smith gave me some tips. I'd advise you tomorrow to watch a few of the different judges because you will see lots of different spitting techniques. I don't profess to be all that good at it. The secret is is to not have too much in your mouth at once. It's a lot easier to spit a little bit than it is to spit a lot. Have a good taste of it first though. That's the whole idea. (Laughs) Now lean over the bucket. (Laughter) Looks like I have a little work to do on my spit, Yeah, there's a little bit of practice to go there. That's getting better. That's much better! Feeling a bit of an imposter I was included in the judges' photos and then let loose on 23 sparklings. This morning we're doing class 81 which is sparkling wine. I love bubbles but this was not easy. There's just a few seconds to smell and taste and then write down your impressions. It's really hard, a lot harder than I thought. And I think I'm swallowing a bit more than I'm meant to, so it's overwhelming, my mouth is just full of alcohol. I'm finding it really hard to distinguish a lot of the flavours. Good at distinguishing the nose. But this is so much harder than I thought and I thought it was going to be fun. And it's really hard. Pick the lower end and the middle but embarrassingly the one good enough to be awarded a gold medal eluded me. Luckily associate scores don't count. The Chief Judge ticks off on the panel's choices. In this class, gold went to Stanthorpe winemaker Robert Channon's Singing Lake sparkling. Produced by a small producer on a product that's notoriously difficult and expensive to make

and normally made and dominoed by the big companies, it's a Queensland small producer making a national trophy wine. It's awesome.

I'm just glad I didn't have to judge the Shiraz class.

Got 158 kinds of Shiraz to judge. Which is nearly 10% of all the wines being entered in the show. That's actually up on last year. You can see why at the end of the day, the judges head for a beer. It's all about fixing up the PH in your mouth. So looking after our teeth, beer. Yeah, after a full day of judging, you just want something really refreshing. And then we do a whole night of wine tasting again.

We just need something different in there to refresh.

Consumers spend about 40 seconds choosing a wine in a bottle shop. The judges say the work they do allotting medals should help them choose well. Those medals are fought for and earnt. So a bronze medal means that the wine is a very good commercial wine. Silver means it's a next level up. Gold medal means it's in the top few per cent and it's an outstanding wine. If you see that it does mean that it's quality. However, you need to be sure

that it's from an accredited wine show of repute and not the local Netball Committee got together one afternoon, put 50 wines together and thought, we'll have a little wine show and give out some stickers. Who what do you think of the standards of the wines you have tasted here over the last few days? Very good.

I've been here a few years now and this is the highest standard show I've seen. Very high standard across Semillon in particular and Shiraz. They were great classes, very strong and a lot of medals there. I know from classes I've judged, 2010 Rieslings, absolutely fantastic. Reds, 2008s, absolutely fantastic. So it's doing really good. You do get some doozies in there, but there's a lot of great wines. The big winner from the show was the Queensland wine industry, with a record haul of 92 medals, including nine gold,

mostly for reds.

It's fabulous for the industry. I think that reinforces that you can make good wine in Queensland. Especially good red wine in particular. Queensland wine has been trying to shake off the perception that it's all about 'peanut' noir and tropical fruit wine. Very frustrating, very, very, very frustrating because we know as far as the Granite Belt goes that we do make excellent wines and we are fighting in amongst

the rest of Australia and winning awards. So for people to say that they are rubbish, it does hurt. We are still trying to get that image away. It's going to take a while but I think we're winning the battle.

If you asked me that question 10 or 15 years ago, I would say still got a little way to go. But you ask the question now and I think this region around Stanthorpe has come on in leaps and bounds. There are some absolute quality wines being produced here. Today's grand final day. All of the best wines from each class are represented to the entire judging panel. They're looking for the best red and white of the entire show. For Queensland winery Golden Grove Estate, the show was a huge success.

It was named champion small winery of the show. Its winemaker hopes the recognition will encourage more Queenslanders to try their own drop. What we find, it's all about getting it in their mouth. Once they get it in their mouth and try it they're like, 'Wow, this is really good. I didn't expect this'. The Southern Oscillation Index is going through an ever-so-slow transition out of its La Nina pattern. The Southern Oscillation Index ever-so-slow transition out of its La Nina pattern. It dropped again last week - but as we'll see in a moment, that fall made little, if any difference to rainfall. Here's the SOI and the 30-day moving average now stands at plus 17.2, still relatively strong - and still pointing to an above-average chance of above-average rainfall in the months ahead. And now the rainfall over the past week. The national map shows that big sweep of dampness over much of Australia, the exception being the bulk of Western Australia, much of that green area in the east is grain country and rain would not be welcome. To numbers - in Queensland's Goondiwindi had 19, 56 was the reading at Tumbarumba in New South Wales, Skipton in Victoria had 44, 21 was the reading at Fosterville in Tasmania, Hahndorf in South Australia scored 14, Humpty Doo in the Top End registered 76 while Kununnura in W.A. scored three millimetres. And that's the Landline check on rainfall. We are out of time for another week. When we return, we'll be assessing the impact of two significant pests - plague locusts, which are starting to swarm over Southern Australian wheat crops,

and the introduced 'rabbit of the river', european carp. Carp and locusts, two of our stories next week. We'll leave you with some stunning images