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Good afternoon. The Queensland

Premier says it's too soon to gauge

the full extent of the damage from

cyclone Ului. The category three

system crossed the north Queensland

coast near Airlie beach early this

morning but quickly lost strength.

Premier Anna Bligh says the heavy

rain is still causing problems and

the danger is not over yet with

initial reports suggesting the

is moderate-to-severe. Both major initial reports suggesting the damage

parties say Federal issues did not

really have an impact on the

Tasmanian and South Australian

elections. Labor has welcomed the

probable re-election of Mike Rann's

Government in South Australia as

good news. While the Liberals say Government in South Australia as very

Will Hodgman should be given the

opportunity to form a minority

Government in Tasmania. Both sides

concede there are lessons to be

learned from the polls as to the

style of government Australians want.

An Australian Victims Group says the

Pope should apologise to abuse

victims in Australia, as well as

people who were abused by priests in

Ireland. In a letter to the Irish

Faithful read across europe Pope

Benedict XVI rebuked Irish bishops

for "grave errors of judgment" in

handling clerical sex abuse. He also

ordered a Vatican investigati on

claims the bishops covered up the ordered a Vatican investigati on into

abuse of thousands of Irish children

from the 1930s to the 1990s. We'll

have more news this evening.



adapting crops to a changing climate. On Landline today, technology and methods and whatever There will be more advances in to use what moisture we do get that'll mean that we'll be able as time goes on, I'm sure. more and more efficiently Flick go the shears, black sheep of the ovine family. clean skins are no longer the for these guys. I think there's a massive future share of the sheep industry I think there will be much greater in 15 to 20 years time.

of the rural property market. And taking the pulse coming on the market And with so many properties

and that will increase, a 10 to 25% reduction I believe we'll see levels of value. on the, perhaps, the 2007 welcome to the program. Hello, I'm Anne Kruger,

research heavyweights In a week when a couple of Australian the science of global warming. got right in behind the Bureau of Meteorology The CSIRO and say the evidence is unquestionable. with human activity, beyond doubt. Climate change is real and the link around the world Our scientists and organisations are now about 90% confident

at the same time and are linked. that these things are happening

of climate records According to a century's worth the hottest the past 10 years have been up to 2 degrees since 1960. and temperatures have risen by scientific based evidence, The weather bureau says it's not speculation. than any in the world It's as good or better the size of Australia and particularly for a country it's a remarkable record.

We'd see it as a national treasure and that's the sort of thing for 100 years an agency that's been around

ought to be able to develop. need no reminding Australian grain growers one of the toughest on record. that the past decade or so has been has been the weather. Nor that the biggest factor that Australia continues to be But it's also the case wheat exporters. one of the world's largest

How have they managed it? to cope What have they done differently

and driest seasons on record? with some of the hottest on the east side We're farming predominantly in the Wimmera of Victoria. We farm about 5,500 hectares.

for Cam Penny and his family. Harvest time means all hands on deck our two most predominant crops. We grow wheat and barley, they're we grow a little bit of veg We also grow lentils, and we also run some sheep. and some chick peas of the operation though. Sheep are a fairly minor part changed a lot. The way they farm this land's on cropping Fewer sheep means more emphasis

cropping and longer rotation cycles. which in turn means more continuous in a row. So perhaps five or six crops year, as you can see, it's wheat. This was lentils last year and this using knife points and press wheels. This was sown in a no-till method of the seeder the day it was sown We knocked the weeds down in front

a broad leaf herbicide spray and since then it's had to the paddock and we haven't been back until we've harvested it today. seven cultivations prior to sewing. 20 years ago it would've had six or can influence. These are things farmers is beyond their control. The most profound change in this part of the world The climate is definitely different certainly. compared to how it was 15 years ago has dropped by about 20% Our annual rainfall and as far as cropping goes, of what you can do. well, that 20%, that's the cream Peter Taylor tells a similar story. A bit further south and shut the gate Dad would sew the crop in June

and start harvest. and arrive 1st of December is a case in point. His latest winter crop Today he's sending off some barley. The season began with some promise he needed but in the end the sort of finish of what he got. was exactly the opposite in the early part of November We've had a heatwave

at the end of November. and we've had 70mm of rain at the start of November Had we have had it 70mm of rain we would have had a bumper year. and the heat in November

with unpredictable weather Farmers are used to dealing change in the pattern. but many can also point to a distinct In my time, which isn't that long, back three weeks, but we've brought our sewing date came home. I suppose, from when I first they've shortened up. We used to get good springs,

know from their own observations What grain growers in the region is backed up by the broader numbers. rainfall is down Across Southern Australia and temperatures are up. of dry conditions We've seen about 10 to 13 years across most of southern Australia of wet weather like late last year. with small intervening periods

Mark Howden is one of CSIRO's senior scientists

looking at how Australian agriculture can adapt to a changing climate. He's just edited this book looking at precisely that challenge. Last year was our hottest year ever in southern Australia, according to our instrumental record and that was over a degree warmer than the 1960 to 1990 baseline. So we've seen a situation where the average has gone up

and there's always variation around that average, we always get years which are hotter than average, colder than average, but because the average has gone up those cold years we experience now are hotter than the hottest years experienced by our grandparents. The climate's changing, what do we do with marginal spaces? While the country's farmers are getting on with what they know best, the country's scientists are doing the same. There's a lot of money and effort going into trying to understand what a changing climate means for agriculture. In Melbourne recently the Australian Academy of Science hosted a think tank where 60 researchers came together to do just that, think and talk. As much as anything, about what we don't know for certain but need to know. The Silent Tsunami was the headline on The Economist

just over a year ago. The keynote speaker was Professor Peter Gregory, a soil scientist and director of the Scottish Crop Research Institute and he offered this analysis on world cropping. The end result actually is a compression, a compression of the zone in which cereal crop production is likely to be possible on a global scale. A lot of this is about intelligence, being aware that these things are happening, that the future is not going to look like the past because quite simply we don't know how variable the climate is going to be in the future but to have a business model which doesn't leave you exposed but we're certainly not going to get through this by standing still or waving our hands and saying,

"there's no more that science and technology has to offer." In trying to understand what climate change might mean for the world's grain crops, a good starting point is to ask what it means to have more carbon dioxide in the atmosphere. Even if climate change models are wrong and southeast Australia doesn't become hotter and dryer, the extra carbon dioxide in the atmosphere will affect plant growth. Well, this is a very large carbon dioxide storage tank, inside is a vacuum sleeve, the carbon dioxide is at a very cold temperature under pressure.

So at the Victorian Department of Primary Industry they're running experiments designed to calculate exactly what higher CO2 levels will do to wheat. As it warms then of course it becomes gas and it then floats through the series of valves and regulators through the pipe and underground. In this experiment they're trying to create conditions as they might be decades from now. So through this process and then pumped out to the trial site? Yes, exactly, all underground. Out in the paddock you can get a better feel for it.

A series of pipes pour extra carbon dioxide over a trial plot of wheat. You can hear and feel the gas coming out. So how much are you putting over this area? In the centre of the ring there is a little sensor, a little cup that maintains that centre concentration at 550 parts per million

which is the concentration we expect in the atmosphere over the whole planet in the year 2050. The experiment's in its third year. CO2 is called a fertiliser, it's a CO2 fertilisation effect which means that carbon dioxide is a food source for plants if you will, that's the carbon that goes into the bulk of the biomass of the plant. So raising levels of CO2 actually increases that growth, increases the biomass and in agriculture, increases the yield.

Given, of course, that there's sufficient water and sufficient nitrogen and that is what we're seeing here. We have a number of different varieties in this trial and we're seeing overall on average 20% yield increase due to elevated CO2. They're not just measuring how much wheat is grown. An important part of this experiment is temperature and temperature relates to water use.

More carbon dioxide should increase the plants' water efficiency but then it gets complicated. If you assume a dryer, hotter future. CO2 can increase water use efficiency that sounds pretty good

however there are assumptions there. The assumptions first of all, is that there's water in the soil profile for the plant to use, in other words,

that the rainfall patterns don't change but we know they are changing. Temperature affects the growth of the crop, it affects its ability to deliver yield. And there are further complexities to consider. In another part of the paddock Glenn Fitzgerald's colleague Roger Armstrong is studying the influence of different soils. And what we're looking at here

is the effect of elevated versus ambient CO2 but with particular emphasis on the effect of different soil types.

Soil can have a huge impact on a plant's ability to take up moisture and nutrients. Higher CO2 levels need to be seen as part of a complex system. Some soils give up their moisture and nutrients more readily than other.

It's one thing to have a potential for higher yield, higher biomass production and higher water use efficiency

but what effect do these inherent subsoil constraints have on the ability of roots to actually access water. And it doesn't stop there. After three years of looking at wheat, they will be changing the experiments and looking at other crops too. We're going to change the structure of the experiment

in the next couple of years and look at a rotation system with field peas so we bring in a whole other component

which is the nitrogen fixation, which is the interaction between the soil, carbon and nitrogen, the above ground part of the crop, and try and understand their whole systems. Because that's what grain growers need to understand as well. Nitrogen fertiliser is a critical part of the wheat grower's arsenal. Growers need to match fertiliser to the crop's potential and apply it at the most productive times.

We should see the nitrogen treatments pre-drilled

really start to show now and the later applications show up more green than the pre-drilled treatment. So just going to run the green seeker over it. Peter Taylor's been running wheat trials on his Wimmera property focussing on different fertiliser management. Yes, so 4.5 tons here, was it, Peter?

Yep. It's really good stubble.

The aim is to become more precise in applying fertiliser, to put it on when the plant needs it and maximise growth. Which is where this piece of equipment comes in. A farmer can run it over the crop and it will tell him whether it needs nitrogen. This trial that we're standing in front of now is looking at nitrogen rates particularly so we're trying to calibrate this machine to be able to tell me or Peter whether the crop is nitrogen-deficient and how much nitrogen he needs to put on. These trial plots show the differences in the final crops. Three samples - the first with no nitrogen fertiliser. That's the controller so that's had no nitrogen whatsoever and this here is 100kg of nitrogen at sowing.

The second one all the fertiliser applied at sowing time, a bit more growth, and the third, where fertiliser was added later at a critical growth stage. The result - larger grains and more grains per head of wheat. And do you think out of all of these this would produce

the more profitable crop this year around? I'm hoping so, yes.

This region is going to get drier,

we're going to have to be incredibly smart

about how we put inputs into our crops. If we put inputs on and know we're going to get a return on investment it's going to be a lot better for the farmer. Peter Taylor's technological edge isn't confined to the paddock.

He uses a computer program to calculate what sort of harvest he will get for a given amount of fertiliser by comparing rain fall figures over the past century. Back when it used to rain we used to go and put all our nitrogen upfront before we even sowed the crop and that would be the end of it.

The computer can't make it rain but it can help cut the risk. So effectively you have to use this

to pick a point along this blue line and say how much fertiliser am I going to put on there and what sort of yield might I expect if I do that? Yep, yep. Exactly.

Of course farmers were adapting to the prolonged dry spell in southern Australia

well before the term climate change became common place. So it's useful to know exactly what they've been doing to discover what's worked and what hasn't and what might be worth trying. This is a stubble management trial, Chris.

It's to demonstrate the different types of stubble management

that are used in the district currently. This trial's being run by the Victorian Department of Primary Industry

on a real farm scale. One of the big things about this project was to try and get trials up and running which involved farmers in their own paddocks so they can see it first-hand but also bring them together with the researchers from, in this case, the Department of Primary Industries. The department's also surveyed some Wimmera farmers to quantify what they're doing differently. Over a 14-year period from the mid '90s they found a 20% decline in rain fall and a move to less risky crops. Fertiliser use has become more targeted, there's less burning off and more stubble retention. These results come as no surprise to a lot of growers but I guess it's not often that we actually get to validate what is occurring on farm and so that will help with hopefully in the future with policy decisions that are being made and also future research that can be applied on farm too. Research into new varieties that will be better suited to hotter, dryer conditions with more carbon dioxide. There have been farmers who have come up to me and said, "Well this isn't relevant to me", etc. This is long-term research.

We're looking forward, we're trying to inform the farming industry,

we're trying to inform policy makers, etc, to try and understand what will happen in the future. As the CSIRO's Mark Howden explains it's about being ahead of the game. We're also looking at breeding climate change ready crops

or climate change ready trees as well. So instead of being breeding for the climate of the last 10 years we're actually looking to breed for the climate of the next 10 or 20 years and so when those crops actually come out,

they will actually be suited to the climate and the carbon dioxide concentrations that exist in that time. And while that's happening, growers will do whatever they have to do to keep their businesses profitable -

diversify like Peter Taylor's done by growing hay. We were forced to in the droughts two or three years ago

where the crops were failing and we decided to cut them down and try and retrieve something

out of what was going to be a lost season and the dairy industry was short of hay and we capitalised on it. It's probably now a third of our business, yeah, and it levels our income out during the year.

Cam Penny's in no doubt the climate's changed in Victoria's Wimmera but like many grain growers, he's an optimist. We have to keep getting smarter, I think, there will be more advances in technology and methods and whatever that'll mean we can keep tuning up and we'll be able to use what moisture we do get more and more efficiently as time goes on, I'm sure. Well, as usual

the markets provided some good news and some bad news last week with grain markets in struggle street and livestock markets OK but built around an ongoing lack of supply rather than overseas orders. The biggest factor for Australian farmers at present is our dollar. The NNF says farmers lose $190 million in income for every 1 cent the dollar rises. Here's what the dollar has done in the past year. And of course the rising dollar is a double whammy, the higher it goes, the easier it is for chain stores to import fruit and vegetables rather than buy the local product. Checking prices and let's start with grains where the market was again soft.

Overseas markets were firm on the back of weather concerns and a change to contract dates to May. In New York cotton steadied on light volumes and sugar flopped again although there is some talk the price drop has been too much too fast. Back home to the livestock business and sale yards report a slow return to normal as the sun shines. This coming week will be a real tester.

It remains a numbers game with lamb and sheep meat. Now to wool and that bale of ultra fine I mentioned last week eventually sold for 170,000 cents a kilo. It was brought by Raymond Ltd of India. Now the markets held up extremely well

considering the currency changes. Now, as promised, a brief check on trends in the rural property market. It's gone from flat to a real boom and now is it a bust? As you will hear the prognosis is not good. COUNTRY MUSIC PLAYS

Unlike most booms or bust, the rural property boom can be traced to a single event. I think you can blame it on a major rural bank that offered 15 years interest only in order to gain market share which they did very rapidly. After a while the other banks followed suit,

they started off at 10 years and then they caught up also to 15 years interest only and indeed one banker told me that they really don't want people to pay the money back, they want people providing they can meet their 15-year interest payment for the year but no redemption of principle. So the rural property boom was originally built on how much money was available rather than how much money a property could make? Oh yes, there was a mindset change from returns to capital gains and real estate and people saw themselves investing in real estate and while capital return on from the property was at the back of their mind too it was not in the foremost part of the mind. Perhaps this new book could help future rural property buyers. Co-author Professor James Baxter says too often in the past buyers ignored the fundamentals of any farming enterprise. Getting the sales information and being able to analyse the sales and come up with a reasonable amount of data on which to base your judgment. You know, some people have over inflated ideas in their abilities of what they can do with a property and some people are extremely good entrepreneurs and they will make the money out of it and some years people are doing much better than the average but, you know, it's a risky game. In the boom times does any one particular deal stand out for the money made? The Stanbroke deal. It was around about start of it. I think there were so many groups looking to buy and they were frustrated when they couldn't

and they'd already had their finance in place and the banks were all chasing market share and throwing money around and we find an almost stampede started not long after to the extent that the buyers of Stanbroke and the subsequent split up meant that they scored very, very well. Should AMP be embarrassed about that deal? Perhaps in hindsight they should be but at the same time,

at the time of the sale the market had been flat for quite some years and it was right at the beginning of the boom.

So where's the market headed? there are plenty of buyers. The agents insist, as always, in a plateau stage, Presently we see the market still but we're just seeing we're getting some good inquiries want to sell their properties that people that genuinely

can still sell them. Unlike in other markets sell your property there's been years where you cannot

but this year if you want to sell

to the plate to buy it there's somebody to step up disappointed in the price but you might be a little bit but at least you can still sell. is correcting Kerry Herron's view is the market for a long time. and it'll be a buyer's market that have happened And while the sales of a reduction generally don't show too much many properties coming on the market they have been so few and with so and that will increase, reduction I believe we'll see a 10 to 25% levels of value. on the, perhaps, the 2007 So where's the market headed and why on today's prices? and what are the major influences are much more cautious. Well, for a start the banks they haven't simply - While they're starting to lend again on their criteria they've tightened up real estate capital gains guide and they've switched back from that of principle as well as debt to earnings and repayment particularly for those so that's making it hard now anyway. who have diminished cash reserves such a flood of properties Secondly, there's going to be on the market. a bit of their patience The banks are starting to lose of the early '90s but they're also mindful

of properties because of the sheer number prices collapse rather dramatically that pushed on the market in the commercial field. particularly to happen in the same extent I don't think that's likely to realise it's a buyers market but I do believe vendors have properties are coming on the market and the longer they wait the more

that first in will be best dressed. and I've got a feeling changed their lending practices. The agents agree, the banks have of where they're at And the simplicity is they want good security. they've wanted equity, In the past where they now want serviceability. or the other. You just can't have one You've got to have both. from three or four years ago. And that's where we differ still a good investment? Are rural properties Absolutely. Now here's the real sting,

the least of farmer's worries property values may be about a new tax if Kerry Herron's forecast comes to pass. or the reintroduction of an old tax of the Henry report I'm personally rather wary for an inheritance tax of some kind. and a probable recommendation An inheritance tax? 40-odd years ago When I started out in my job

doing evaluations my main money earner was actually for death duties and stamp duties gave that away in the middle '70s and Joh Bjelke-Petersen by Commonwealth and other States. and rapidly followed suit for Queensland at the time It was a great boom have been gnashing their teeth and a lot of treasurers ever since that that's disappeared. I believe it'll be one thing to be looking at very heavily. particularly a Labor Party is likely

will react to a inheritance tax? How do you think rural Australians Oh, quite some dismay. would do quite well I think the insurance companies being transferred and we'd find a lot of property rapidly taking place. to a lot of succession planning So maybe an inheritance tax. we used to call that death duties. In the old days that's my lot for another week. On that sobering note,

to fall to its lowest level Australia's sheep flock is predicted in more than a century this year. A struggling wool grower's bail out land market. will focus on the more lucrative in the meat game And some of the big movers have a once scorned shedding sheep. Kerry Staight reports Sheep Symposium in Adelaide. from the first Cleanskin It's a sheep sale like no other of exotic breeds and brands, with an assortment are somewhat bemused. even the seasoned agents

as a sideshow not so long ago But what would have been dismissed very seriously indeed. is now being taken It's just a hunger cleanskin sheep at the moment. for information about any it's fairly major actually, We have one little problem, is far outstripping the supply. in that the demand

as these breeds may appear, As widely differing they share one common selling point - naturally. they all lose their fleeces easy care, cleanskin And whether you call them shedding, as they do in the US, or hair sheep, more and more wool growers. it's a trait that's winning over

A lot of reasons for that,

of the wool industry, obviously the demise the economic climate, these sheep breeds in comparison the low maintenance of you know have been fantastic. and lamb prices, are way, way down Sheep numbers in the country and people are using this their enterprise. as an opportunity to change fleece the flick Among the producers who have given

is Jamie McTaggert. pastoral South Australia, McTaggert family started in past Port Augusta first people to take Merinos but a long time ago I'm not sure when we especially ran Merinos and five or six years ago in this country, yeah. So there's a few generations of it. but after years of poor returns Lanolin may be in the blood didn't think twice this former shearer about turning his back on tradition. deciding which way to go. The tricky part was he eventually settled on Dorpers. After initially dabbling with Damaras we very much especially linked When we first got into Merinos

and export to the boat trade when it was going good. and that seemed good we obviously wanted something When we move away from that so we really wanted a carcass that had greater market access

that was suitable for domestic and export market and we wanted a sheep that had good fertility, good returns, low maintenance cost so, yeah, we tried to tie it all together. The fast-growing and-drought tolerant Dorper breed, which was developed in South Africa,

ticked all the boxes. But the changeover to easy care sheep was hard work. While Mr McTaggert and his business partner bought an established white Dorper stud they had to start from scratch with the commercial flock.

When we started we just mated Merino ewes, kept first cross lambs, mated them, kept second cross lambs and continued that way. We did a lot of work shearing first and second cross ewes

for very little return and all the costs associated with that and we'd be reluctant to go through that again. It took three crosses with Dorpers

before they could hang up the shears and even then many sheep still sported a less than sleek exterior. Most Dorpers grow or probably 20% of our flock grows none, the rest of them grows some wool, it doesn't affect their production, it doesn't require maintenance. And invariably these patchy sheep perform where it counts. We run a block up near Woomera with our commercial sheep on it. That's 7 inch rain fall country and we turn them all out directly off that dry country

without the use of assistance of feed lots at sort of the 20 to 22 kilo weight range so they fit the ideal weight range for domestic lamb and they do it on pastoral country and they do it in droughts. How do they behave differently to say a Merino? They don't run off like Merino. Like when you used to muster country bigger paddocks up north when we had the property up there.

Merino would run 10 or 15km if you scared them in the morning on a motorbike. These guys won't do that. They will run a little way but will pull up. They're essentially a lazy animal and will essentially sit there and get fat and happy which is what we want them to do. For someone who always fancied going into cattle Jamie McTaggert is relieved he opted for these more compact meat converters. His company now turns off 200 lambs a week

which is sold to local and Adelaide butchers. And he says on average Dorpers have delivered much healthier returns over the past decade than Merinos. Basically we think in our country one breeding ewe will give us 1.5 lambs a year with the rams running all year around. At a $70 lamb that's sort of $105 a head for a breeding ewe. A Merino probably gives you 6 kilos of wool at $4.50 around there and maybe a $45 lamb out of the same country in the same period of time. $30 a head around there, So probably, you know, more, for a Dorper breeding unit cost of production and then there's your that the Dorpers don't. that the Merinos attract of a curiosity Shedding sheep are still something at Australian Meatworks here coming from cleanskin breeds. with less than 10% of lamb processed

But livestock buyer Paul Leonard the abattoir, is seeing more come through and says they measure up. especially Dorpers, These are Dorper lambs sale yards two days ago. that we bought out of the Dublin

They're outstanding lambs, of weight they're within the correct category for the export market, that we require

cover, the fat cover, they've got the correct muscle they're ideal lambs. our traditional agricultural lambs. They're as good a lambs as any of by Meat and Livestock Australia A recent survey part of the sheep industry right now. confirms meat is the money making

enterprises increased their returns, Last season 60% of prime lamb 14% of wool growers. compared to only that has many farmers It's a trend more on food than fibre. planning to focus

another former Merino producer In the Adelaide Hills you will find sheep some time back. who made the change to easy care meat as a bit of a hobby It started off really for a while and once we'd trialed them up on our property at Broken Hill up there, and we could see how well they did the whole property that it's gradually just taken over shedding ewes increased, and so as the numbers of wool

have decreased. the numbers of Merinos a Wilty Poll stud near Strathalbyn Annie Hughes and her family own

at Broken Hill. and a commercial flock but one they've developed It's another bare backed breed

years of crossing and back crossing. from British stock through eight and fabulous breed, We started off with Wiltshire Horn, we realised that a horn - but it wasn't long before of cattle and sheep I mean, we have polled other breeds

in a commercial scene and a horn was not an advantage of that horn so the aim was to get rid qualities of the Wiltshire horn but keep the shedding and the meat

and that's what we've done. is paying off She says the long-term commitment is 30% better off and estimates the family than it would be in the wool game. OK, you don't get the wool clip at weaning but you get 50% more live lambs and they're quite a feisty breed, with this Wilty Poll breed is part of their ability to survive they're very hardy and this

and they can handle wet weather. quite well. So they can live in the tropics conveniently around Valentine's Day, As mating season kicks off, will show off their virility Annie Hughes is hoping the rams skyrocketing in the past 12 months. with demand for the versatile breed In the beginning sheep for sale, ewes and rams, when we started having Wilty Poll the lifestyle farmers our main clientele were the demise of the wool industry, but as time's gone by with the cost of shearing the mulesing debate, and availability of shearers, a much more attractive position it's put our breed in for mainstream farmers. recently flocked Large- and small-scale farmers

Sheep Symposium in Adelaide to the first International Cleanskin and shakers. to hear from the industry's movers

were difficult, The first half dozen years

not enough information, misinformation,

fear factor of wool contamination, all sorts of different issues. an amazing turn around The past six years have just been and so on with your sheep and you can go to field days

walking past, you know, and you don't get sort of people

and trying to ignore you. taking a wide berth wanting information. Now they're all there with these foreign fleeceless breeds But despite the growing fascination of sceptics. they still attract their fair share What do your neighbours think? Nothing, I've fixed the fences. Oh, they don't like them, no.

Potential for cross-contamination - they didn't choose to have them. it's different, A lot of fairly good reasons. whether they wanted them or not They just got the sheep and that's not the way it should be. Certainly never liked it in my place. when somebody else's sheep came

Wool Testing Authority says For its part, the Australian if the breeds are kept apart, while there's no risk wool does become contaminated with shedding sheep. if Merinos are run for Merino industry We feel that it's not a risk

these ram - because we have been running Wilty Poll and Wiltshire rams - for 16 years with our Poll Merino ewes from those ewes and the wool has been shorn and the wool has been tested, the normal way been sold through Landmark never been a contamination issue. and over all that time there has the agenda at the cleanskin symposium While contamination was off

it's unlikely to go away in the national flock. as more shedders show up Until the mid-90s were the Wiltshires. the only shedding sheep in Australia

the South African breeds But the introduction of

a new level. has taken the industry to cleanskin breeds There are now more than a dozen of all shapes and shades many producers are getting a chance and today is the first time to see exactly what's out there. (CALLS AUCTION) the auction process The deal is once we go through

thank you. first in, best dressed, to a fist full of dollars. Curiosity though didn't translate sale at the symposium found a buyer. Less than half of the animals up for

is on the market and for sale. 2,500 now, I can tell you the ram the top prized ram for $2,500, Hugh Bygott who took home an accurate indication says the slow auction isn't of how the industry is travelling. in the last couple of years. I've had no trouble selling rams In fact I've had to turn people away this year particularly, so I've been very encouraged started slowly but the momentum's gathered and we've been averaging pretty good prices really. While many of these breeds are not new, efforts to get the best out of them are still in their early stages in Australia.

One man on a mission to do just that is Denis Russell who manages a property at Parrilla in the Mallee country of South Australia. After spending almost three decades trying to make a living

out of Angora goats and mohair he swapped the shearing shed for shedding sheep. It's an industry in development and there's lots of scope for improvement especially to tune sheep to different environments for maximum production. All breeds aren't all things to all men. So how many different breeds have you got? Six at the moment. And he believes to tweak the traits he needs a selection to pick from. So he's brought in some extra South African breeds. I'm a bit of a colour fancier, I've got no inhibitions about making meat out of coloured sheep.

One of the new and improved breeds he's come up with for the Australian environment is the aptly-named Droughtmaster.

Why have you focused on the red colour? The red animals have stood out in this environment and in the station environment. They've always been a fitter looking animal, shiny, clean, and performed very well on hard conditions. What are they a mix of? They started off with Damara Wiltshire and we introduced some Dorper, there would be a little dash of Van Rooy in some of them as well because the red colouring has appeared in all those breeds.

This is not just a colourful breeding experiment. It's a commercial enterprise with meat from three of the breeds including the Droughtmasters sold into the prime lamb market. It took all our resources and all our time but these days it's turned a profit and I can approach it at a much more relaxed pace. There have been different people in different breeds doing their own thing and not crossing over because of the parochial boundaries and breed loyalty and all those sorts of things but we're basically in a prime lamb production industry and that's the name of the game we're following. Just makes good economic sense to me. I mean, if you look at these things, the guy that likes muscleing can see muscleing, you see length of body, you see balance.

Clinton Colette's start in South Africa has supplied a good portion of the shedding sheep gene pool in Australia. And he agrees that local producers need to look at the bigger picture. The problem I'm seeing in Australia is everybody trying to have these little empires that he can have control over and he's missing - if I really become big

something that is really commercially-driven and big in the commercial market out there and if they can get that vision I think the sky's the limit. Shedding sheep now make up around two thirds of South Africa's national flock which used to be dominated by Merinos. He says for the Australian industry to really find its feet it's going to have to move in much the same way. They're not being used in the environments where they should be used.

They're still being seen as a stud industry and some of the breeds should be shifting out into the outback

and that type of thing and that's where they should be farmed on a big scale and that's where they really perform best. Learning where and how to get the best out of these breeds is also a key message from Western Australia's Department of Agriculture. It's horses for course, pick what suits your system. It's compared the productivity of Merino dual-purpose ewes with three shredding breeds.

Researchers deliberately used a farm management system tailor made for the Merinos and found that under ideal conditions they come out on top. If you managed the Merino well out of your wool and you will get great production out of lambs so, you know,

there's no reason why you can't be profitable in the Merino industry and obviously as wool prices improve this will just get better, lamb price is at an all-time high so you can make money out of both incomes. On the other hand if you want to get away from wool and run an operation that is equally as profitable and potentially less effort the cleanskins have a place if you get your reproduction rates right. If this parade of Damara leather outfits is anything to go by the cleanskins have potential as a dual-purpose sheep too. Any hair follicle - skin's soft, supple, durable, in South Africa they call them glover skins and they're exports to Europe to make gloves, fine apparel and that sort of thing. But for most of these farmers fashion is the furthest thing from their minds. Lamb chop, lamb sausage, roast lamb and lamb rissoles. It's all about the meat. We're happy to put all our eggs in one basket. The meat game looks like it's going to be good for a long time yet and the world's crying out for protein.

We can produce it cheaply in Australia and a lot of our areas that aren't suited to other crops can produce cheap protein. We've got as much of an uptake from cattle producers as we have for Merino producers of more recent times because they're used to only having one product. As the dinner conversation flows,

it's clear wool is no longer on the menu. But if these producers have their way, cleanskins will be as familiar in sheep as they already are in the wine industry. I think there's a massive future for these guys. I think they will be a much greater share of the sheep industry in 10 or 15 or 20 years time. We're not saying that there's not a place for wool, it's the most beautiful, natural fiber in the world but some people just can't grow it well and they need an option to be able to make money off their properties. So they have an option now.

The major weather influence this coming week will be the wash up or is that the backwash from Cyclone Ului. I guess more rain is hardly what many would want. Before the rain fall figures

here's a quick look at the Southern Osillation Index currently at minus 8.8. Now for last week's rain fall and here's the national map. This was done obviously before the cyclone and you can see the major rain events down through the Kimberley

across the Tanami and into central Australia, terrific rain for that area. To numbers, Maleny in Queensland had 88,

Dorrigo in NSW had 71, 6 was the reading at Coleraine in Victoria, Tasmania's Pioneer had 4, Cleve in South Australia has 33, Riveren Station in the Territory had 43 while 27 was the reading at Hall's Creek in Western Australia. And that's the Landline check on rainfall.

The Australian landscape has always been a rich source of inspiration to artists but until the 1920s it was virtually men's only territory. Hilda Ricks Nicholas set out to challenge that convention and won wide acclaim in the prestigious art circles of Europe. An exhibition of her rarely seen rural works is currently showing at the Bendigo art gallery in central Victoria. What's amazing about the exhibition in Bendigo is that we see all these rural works together and when you see the people in the land looking out from those canvases that's really exciting. I'm Bronwyn Wright, I'm the granddaughter of Hilda Rix Nicholas. She was born in Ballarat in 1884 and died in Deloitte in 1961

and this exhibition really looks at the second half of her career from the sort of early 1920s through to sort of the late 1940s. I had never seen the Australian landscape captured in that way before.

At the time really in Australia

it was male artists that undertook pictures of the landscape and so she decided that she wanted to produce landscape paintings and very much with her tongue in cheek

she said that she was the man for the job. In that time you needed to go overseas to both expand skills, learn, and make contacts. She studied in London and studied in Paris and eventually took a studio in the north of France in Etaples and spent several years until the First World War. They were evacuated in 1914 on the boats, I think it was the last boat across to London

and her mother and sister contracted enteric fever - which is typhoid basically - and her sister died soon after and her mother had a lingering illness. She married a young Australian officer in the army.

Unfortunately the honeymoon was only three days and he went back to the Front and was killed five to six weeks later. So she lost her mother, her sister and her husband

in an 18-month period.

These works were part of the grieving process and is quite cathartic for her to sort of start again and look at an optimistic side of Australia. She really saw it as this young country full of promise. In 1927 she and Dorothy had a little car

which was specially developed to hold her paintings and together they travelled all the way up through NSW and up to Queensland. Then she came back and married my grandfather and settled down in the country on the southern Monaro. She decided that because she had this love for her country

that she was going to take on the men in painting the landscape.

Women artists at the time were really expected to paint still lives and portraits and interiors. People sometimes mistake her for a landscape painter -

she painted the people. They were the subject matter as part of the land. Very much the protagonist and particularly women in the landscape as protagonists. That's what's missing in this mythology of the bush

is how much women took part in the land and that didn't mean just making the scones for the shearers, that meant out there mustering and it goes on today,

very active in the land and working the properties and so on. The artists at the turn of the century were painting for heroic pictures of the Australian landscape and Hilda did it in a different way. I think she captured the people really, really well. She trained at the National Gallery School in Melbourne

under Frederick McCubbin and you can see when you look at her landscapes that there is an influence of the Heidelberg school or the Australian impressionists as they're called now.

You also see the influence of her time in Paris and you see a lot of that beautiful colour that comes out in the post-impressionists' work. Taking on the male artists with landscape painting probably was one of her downfalls because not only did male artists paint the landscape but they also had a lot of the positions of power, I guess, in the art world, particularly in Sydney and Melbourne and at different times her work didn't get great reviews. She was considered very modern in early in her career but as other female painters really took on modernism

she, sort of, she was pushed to the side really because she stuck to her guns, so to speak,

and painted still what she was passionate about.

We're just about out of time for another week. Next time Pru Adams returns to a little farm in the Riverland which has had a huge impact on the development of a home-grown caper industry. And where I am at the moment is at Mannum on the River Murray in South Australia. Now farmers here have been hit pretty hard by slashed water allocations and some of them have decided to branch out into a salt- and draught-tolerant plant - capers. Capers are amazing plant that we should have been growing for a while back because it's drought resistant, full of nutrient soil, high salinity and I've discover the kangaroos and rabbits don't like them. A side serve of capers when Landline returns next week. I hope you can join us again then, bye for now. Closed Captions by CSI