With most of the district’s pastures being very short and in need of follow-up falls of rain, some farmers are looking to what hay supplies are available.
Oaten hay is in very short supply as very little was suitable for cutting last Spring.
I looked at one lot recently which was green and good quality.
It was offered for $300 a tonne and the 8 x 3 x 3 bales had an average weight of 320kg.
By contrast good quality lucerne hay was selling for $280 a tonne for 390kg bales. It is unusual to see lucerne cheaper than oaten hay, especially as much of the lucerne on sale has had to be heavily irrigated.
On a rush visit to Adelaide last week, I visited the new Turner exhibition at that city’s art gallery.
The gallery has some magnificent paintings on permanent display including Tom Roberts’ famous ‘Breakout’, which features a horseman trying to prevent thirst-crazed sheep from bolting into water and drowning. It also has some iconic McCubbins and Streetons, as well as that State’s favourite artist, Hans Heysen.
By contrast, Turner is regarded by many as England’s most famous painter, though my preference would perhaps lean towards Constable and his memorable landscapes.
A bit like choosing between Jack Hobbs and Herb Sutcliffe to face the first ball of a test. Anyway, I duly paid my $25 and joined the learned throngs oohing and aahing as we wandered through five rooms of Turner’s best, mostly on loan from the Tate Gallery in England.
It is hard for an ignorant amateur such as me to do justice to the quality of his work, mainly theatrical landscapes and dramatic action seascapes.
There can hardly have been a better painter at utilizing the medium of light to portray the mood of what he was trying to express.
I had not realized that Turner (1755-1851) began his craft so young.
They had beautiful watercolours of his there, drawn when he was only 13 years old, that his father used to proudly display in the window of his barber shop in Maiden Lane in London. He entered the Royal Academy Schools at the age of 14 and went on to become one of the world’s giants of painting.
Alas, barely half way through the exhibition, there was a blackout. After much mayhem and confusion, not unlike one or two of Turner’s canvasses, torches were produced and the building evacuated.
At the door they insisted on giving me my $25 back, so I bought a lovely book of Turner’s reproductions with the refund.
It was sad not to have seen the full exhibition, but I could hardly complain that I had not received wonderful value for my modest outlay.
WIND FARMS AND RATES
Later this year, the State Government could give approval for the Flyers Creek Wind Farm to go ahead. If that happens, and it is by no means certain, Blayney Shire councillors may find themselves being called upon to oversee an unusual decision.
I refer to the possibility that some or all of the properties surrounding the wind farm will be devalued because of the wind farm’s existence.
These devaluations, if they are accepted by the Valuer-General, would mean these properties would have their rates automatically adjusted downwards. This in turn would lead to a shortfall in total rates Council collects, so it could result in all other properties having their rights slightly increased if council were not to incur a shortfall.
You may think any such property devaluations are unlikely. Well, consider this.
In the last fortnight there have been two landmark cases with farms situated near proposed Victorian wind farms. The towers have not yet even been erected.
Both cases have set significant precedents with possible ramifications for other landowners in the same situation across Australia.
The first case involves the South Gippsland Shire Council.
After a complaint by one farmer, the councillors accepted that the value of his farm had been adversely affected by the proposed nearby wind farm.
The farmer was granted a cut in his valuation and his rates by a whopping 32 percent even though no turbines had yet been erected.
The Municipal Association of Victoria’s chief executive, Rob Spence, has stated that the issue was likely to gain momentum. Other councils will come under pressure to follow, he said, as there is a feeling in the community that wind towers devalue their property.
Backing this up, in western Victoria, Mayor Jim Doukas of Moyne Shire, also concedes lower rates are likely as a result of a proposed wind farm in his area: “Councils would have to adapt to potentially reduced revenue streams. We just don’t’ have a choice,” he said. “If property values dropped, then we would have to rate accordingly.”
The second precedent case of farm values being damaged also occurred in regional Victoria.
A Federal magistrate has accepted that wind farms slash the value of surrounding properties. This is the first time an Australian court, after considering all the evidence, has recognized the adverse financial impact of wind farms.
The magistrate, Kate Hughes, has ruled the subdivided property would fall in value by 17 percent overall and the worst affected part would fall by 33 percent. This legal decision was based on two separate valuation reports.
In releasing her verdict, Magistrate Hughes said: “Given the planning permit of the wind farm has been granted … it is hard to imagine any prospective buyer ignoring that issue.”
Before these recent decisions, of course, there have been several instances over the years of properties being devalued in this manner. One scathing critic has been Elders Rural Services national sales manager, Shane McIntyre. He says wind towers near a block for sale is a huge negative factor for potential buyers and can lead to devaluations of 30 percent to 50 percent.
With some residents in the vicinity of wind farms tragically having to abandon their houses, as well as properties being more difficult to sell, the wind companies have often elected to buy up several of these farms.
This has helped kill off much of the bad publicity associated with these cases.
The wind companies have also been very clever with their media statements in denying there is any problem at all.
However, with some councils and courts now starting to accept the validity of this damage, the victims’ complaints are starting to be taken seriously. It will be interesting to see what stance the Valuer-General and our council eventually takes on these evolving issues.
This story Administrator ready to work first appeared on Nanjing Night Net.