Warwick Daily News - South West Queensland Rural Weekly - - Bush Banter -

EVERY­THING is up for grabs when it comes to re­build­ing the dairy com­pe­ti­tion at the Royal Mel­bourne Show, said Royal Agri­cul­tural So­ci­ety of Vic­to­ria chief ex­ec­u­tive Paul Guerra.

This comes as last week’s show had only 16 en­tries, un­der­stood to be the low­est in the his­tory of the com­pe­ti­tion.

It also fol­lows the RASV de­ci­sion to pull its spon­sor­ship from International Dairy Week, at Tatura in Jan­uary, choos­ing to fo­cus on its own an­nual com­pe­ti­tion in Mel­bourne.

Ex­hibitors ex­pressed dis­ap­point­ment with the lack of en­tries last week.

There was a jersey class with $1000 prize­money that was not awarded be­cause no jer­seys com­peted.

Win­ner of the supreme cham­pion heifer, Justin John­ston, would like to see more en­tries and said he en­tered to sup­port the in­dus­try’s youth. A NEW type of slow-re­lease fer­tiliser that re­sults in bet­ter plant health and less wasted nu­tri­ents has been in­vented at Flin­ders Univer­sity by Dr Justin Chalker and his team in the In­sti­tute for NanoS­cale Sci­ence and Tech­nol­ogy.

The fer­tiliser is re­leased slowly into soils be­cause it is en­cap­su­lated in a re­new­able poly­mer made from canola oil, which is an abun­dant food waste prod­uct.

“We are tak­ing re­cy­cled cooking oil, con­vert­ing it into a fer­tiliser com­po­nent, and us­ing it to grow more food,” ex­plains Dr Chalker.

Dr Chalker and his team have cre­ated a poly­mer from waste canola oil and el­e­men­tal sul­phur (a by-prod­uct from the cre­ation of pe­tro­leum prod­ucts) as an or­ganic coat­ing for the fer­tiliser com­po­nents am­mo­nium sul­phate, cal­cium hy­dro­gen phos­phate and potas­sium chlo­ride. AS ANY wine­maker will tell you, there’s an art and sci­ence in mak­ing the per­fect drop.

Even the ex­perts get it wrong some­times.

Yet, when about 40 stu­dents in the Yarra Valley this year pro­duced their first re­serve ti­tle caber­net sauvi­gnon, hor­ti­cul­tural teacher and farm and vine­yard man­ager Tim Thompson was not in the least bit sur­prised.

“With­out ques­tion work­ing with stu­dents in­creases the de­gree of difficulty and there’s po­ten­tial for it to be ru­ined at ev­ery stage,” Tim con­fesses.

“So it’s a credit to the ca­pac­ity of stu­dents that we have cre­ated our first re­serve wine.

“De­spite all the ob­sta­cles they are a suc­cess and man­age them­selves beau­ti­fully be­cause they love the idea that they’re trusted to pro­duce a com­mer­cial-qual­ity prod­uct.” THERE is an old say­ing that the ap­ple doesn’t fall far from the tree, and when four-year-old Matthew Patterson took the reins in the novice de­liv­ery class at the Mel­bourne Show, spec­ta­tors said it was true.

With his father, Shane, be­side him as back-up he con­fi­dently pi­loted a jinker round the course for se­cond place.

Matthew’s grand­fa­ther, John “Patto” Patterson, is prob­a­bly the best known horse­man in Aus­tralia, as clerk of the course at the fa­mous Flem­ing­ton track, lead­ing in count­less Mel­bourne Cup win­ners.

“He’s mad keen,” said Shane Patterson, “and drives around the place at home. There were only two in the class and I knew John Mul­lenger (the other com­peti­tor) wouldn’t mind at all, so he drove.”

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