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Farmers know the climate is changing

The consistent refrain coming through from many of our farmers is the climate is changing, they don’t know or care what is causing it, but they are in trouble right now and need help.

I certainly agree with helping them now in whatever way we can. Immediately, they need financial relief, feed for their animals, and, if possible, free labour to help with the feeding even if just to give them a few days respite. They may need bulk water deliveries for home at least.

Most of all they need rain but the long-term forecast isn’t looking good.

The August to October outlook, issued 26 July 2018, shows most of mainland Australia is likely to be drier than average.

Days and nights are likely to be warmer than average during August to October for most of Australia, with August days very likely to be warmer than average.

These forecast warmer and drier conditions suggest that much of eastern and southern mainland Australia are less likely to see widespread respite in the coming season from current dry conditions.

While we help them through this time of crisis, they also need to start opening their ears and taking a more long-term interest in what causes climate change.

Adaptation must be part of the approach. Much work is being done on drought-resistant crops. More work needs to be done on water management.

But most of all, they have to accept that greenhouse gas emissions are making things worse and that we must, as a matter of urgency, cut them as far as we possibly can. We cannot eliminate them but we have to get back on a trajectory below the tipping point to catastrophe.

That means putting pressure on politicians because they are the only thing standing in our way.

Most farmers vote Nationals. They need to make their voices heard and drag the party into the 21st century or consign them to oblivion.

Barnaby lied to you. Matt Canavan is purely out to further his own ambition and is also lying to you. George Christensen is just wrong, about soooo many things.

It is time farmers understood the role they have played in thwarting our attempts to take action on climate change and took some responsibility for righting that wrong. This is not, as they so often put it, some inner-city greenie thing. It is their livelihood at stake.

If Nationals MPs want coal then they no longer represent farmers’ best interests.

Vote them out.

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  1. townsvilleblog

    The farmers should know that the climate is changing because in Queensland alone under the Newman LNP government laws the farmers cut down one and a half million hectares of bush trees thus bringing the effects of climate change upon themselves, and yet the taxes paid by the workforce are being raided to pay the same farmers welfare payments because of drought. Can anyone else see the stupidity involved in this exercise? They are being paid for bad behaviour!

  2. Kaye Lee

    Very good point townsvilleblog.

    The largest proportion of signed contracts in the emissions reduction fund (which is just about out of money) have involved planting trees or reducing emissions from savannah burning.

    The ERF has supposedly secured 191.7 million tonnes of emission reductions, at a price tag of A$2.28 billion, but currently only about 16% of the announced 191.7 million tonnes of emissions reduction have actually been delivered.

    All of this is fluffing around the edges. We need a carbon tax.

  3. Michael

    Does this call for a city-country, direct, each to their own, one family on one family, staggered exchange mechanism/process for city families using eg holidays, bringing supplies enough for selves country families with sleeping arrangements to physically assist whatever way possible (company, feeding, maintenance, etc) during this crisis as a means of bypassing dividing, toxic, incapable, chest beating, politicians, disingenuous sectional interests, self interested government instrumentalities by offering immediate, direct, practical assistance?

    In exchange, at a later date, after crisis, a city-country/country-city exchange at student level, eg one/two week/s, attend school under appropriate inclusive guidance (eg service clubs, Rotary, Lions, etc) with the aim of increasing understanding, learning, appreciation, leadership, morale and communication enhancing, confidence boosting, circumventing our self-corrupted MainStreamMedia.

    Where there is a means, there is a way?

  4. Kaye Lee

    What an interesting idea Michael.

  5. John Boyd

    We have had one of the driest winters on record, and BoM is saying that climate models are predicting an El Nino situation developing mid to late spring. It may not happen of course, but the global warming driven trends are becoming clearly apparent, even to the ‘natural variation’ school of thought. Farmers are noticing the long term trend, although, sadly they still tend to vote for the party that has done everything it can to undermine moves to mitigate global warming. Even the NFF and NSWNFA have until recently denied the reality of global warming, and even now that recognition is muted.. Short term assistance for farmers caught up in this situation is probably needed, but we need a long term strategy to address a situation in which some farmers are just forced out of business.

  6. John Adams

    While I might feel sort of sorry for the actual farmer for the stress he is going through, When it all boils down they are a business and should realize that.
    They don’t give a damn for the ordinary Australian when they get high prices for their beef and pass it on to us,

    They continually vote for a party that only cares about mining and setting up high paying jobs for their retirement from Parliament.

    The likes of having Water guzzling crops like cotton and rice in the center of Australia is a joke as it takes water away from farmers. downstream thus causing a domino affect
    I continually hear them say that Labor doesn’t look after them when in Power, maybe they are right but no party puts much effort into a seat held by another party. I know as I have lived in Labor seats under LNP governments and seen them neglected while the LNP are in power.

  7. Terence Mills

    This item from ABC Rural is baffling, these cattle station on Cape York are on prime cattle country with regular monsoonal rains yet, for reasons best known to themselves, they are being destocked and the cattle sold off with this prime country being handed back bare to traditional owners.

    These cattle stations were to be a much needed commercial enterprise to train and to be operated by indigenous people under the auspices of the federally funded Indigenous Land Corporation.

    If there is anywhere in this big brown land where you can be guaranteed of annual monsoonal rains and generally lush pastures, it is this region in the Far North of Queensland but despite the NAIF and the best intentions of many, it has all come to nothing. Read this :

  8. Michael

    Kaye Lee @ August 2, 2018 at 10:41 am

    Thanks Kaye Lee.

    Bridge building is what is urgently needed to overcome the way we Australians have been divided and continue to be played by vested interests.

    A ground up initiative.

    Out of initial chaos, self-organising learnings, co-operation, collaboration, assistance, action, skills, sharing, wisdom, developing and nurturing good old Australian mateship – immediate hands over crisis and once done followed by facing the future, looking in the same direction.

    Establish guidelines

    Make it all inclusive, traditional owners, extendable to active retirees, grey army, real unemployed (one is employed if work 1 hour in a week), etc?

    Who’s in? Shake the bushes of one’s contacts – spread the idea.

  9. king1394

    The tendency to organise charity and hay runs is all very well but we cannot continue to encourage boom and bust thinking. We have to recognise that there will be long and dry periods and the drought may well become the usual climate. We need now to embark on programs that get away from the capitalist model of selling surpluses and start to create commonly owned and managed local community systems to build a buffer for the dry / difficult times. For example, only a year or two ago, you couldn’t sell hay, excess pasture grass was being cut and left to lie. It should have been purchased and stored for the next drought. In good seasons, extra effort should be being made to create stockpiles for the poor times.

  10. Kaye Lee


    I wonder if that has anything to do with this….

    In February this year, as part of the Close the Gap statement to Parliament, Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull announced a series of changes to legislation relating to the Indigenous Land Corporation (ILC), and the related Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Land Account which provides the Corporation’s annual funding. Prime Minister Turnbull stated:

    “A new Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Land and Sea Future Fund represents a significant reform in the land rights journey of our country, as the $2 billion land acquisition fund set up following the Mabo (No 2) decision has been plagued with poor returns, meaning lost opportunities for the Indigenous Estate. Our reform will see the fund transferred to the Future Fund, delivering a $1.5 billion benefit over 20 years.”

    the Bill provides a range of mechanisms for consultation and provision of advice and information between Ministers, the Future Fund and the Minister for Finance – but there is no requirement for information to be provided to the ILC Board.

    the Fund [which] was established with a clear intent of going some small way to addressing the dispossession of Indigenous peoples from their lands, is itself being progressively removed from their influence and control. It reinforces the original physical dispossession with institutional dispossession.

  11. Kaye Lee


    We also need to do more about purifying and recycling waste water and harvesting storm water. Maybe investigate pipelines.

    (PS I would really like a body language expert to interpret the photo at the start of this article)

  12. David

    You say that you want farmers to understand their role in climate change and to either change the National Party from within or abandon it.

    The problem is in finding the means to persuade them of the necessity of this action.

    There is no independent authority on climate change in Australia that is permitted to publish the full range of research and the tested scientific conclusions drawn therefrom. We do not have an independent scientific organization that can publish with authority and freedom.

    At the NSW Farmers’ AGM at the end of July 2018 the newly elected president described State control of land clearing as ‘statutory theft’ completely ignoring that the High Court has ruled that such controls are legitimate and are not equivalent to stealing property rights. The new president said of the legislation, “It’s not science based, it’s emotionally charged”.

    The issue was presented as only relevant to habitat protection and no reference was made about the significance of forest and understory in the preservation of water in the soil and atmosphere and in encouraging rainfall.

    Even the ABC’s Landline has included stories that have provided a platform for assertions about the benefits of pasture over trees for moisture retention in justifying land clearance which assertions are not supported by mainstream science. For many farmers “Good Science” allows them to do what they want, and “Bad Science” places resented limitations on their “freedoms”.

    We desperately need, not just public access to authorititive scientific information, but regular publication of objectively and scientifically produced reports that reveal the latest research and recommendations on all the major issues confronting us.

    As of now anyone can trawl the internet and produce supposed science to support their desires and views without having to face a coordinated body of legitimate scientific knowledge. The Liberals and the Nationals do not like objective properly reviewed science – hopefully Labor will learn that open reliance on science may be a saving grace

    I have been a farmer for 35 years and, like a lot of others, I have been planting trees for all that time. I have never voted for the National Party

  13. Kaye Lee

    Thanks for the input from the farmers’ side David. Yes, I hesitated to say farmers vote National. One shouldn’t generalise.

    That is the problem about most things – we are not given the real information.

    Craig Kelly is the chair of the Coalition backbench environment committee. When three eminent scientists came to parliament to brief politicians on the real state of affairs regarding climate change, and also the reef, Kelly invited three people from the IPA to “balance the debate”. The scientists didn’t know how to respond to people yelling debunked theories at them in a scattergun of ignorance.

  14. David

    Perhaps we should be asking, “How do we educate politicians about science and the nature and value of rigorous research and peer reviewed publications?”

    Hopefully we can get to the stage where enough people choose not to vote for parties that reject science?

    But this probably also means educating enough people to respect science that is responsibly delivered.

    How do we teach responsibility in a society where so many people are focused on preserving a publicly defensible personal image?

  15. Kaye Lee

    I just found a rather interesting document from ABARES which is the research arm of the Australian Government Department of Agriculture and Water Resources.

    “After removing the effects of climate, a clearer picture of underlying trends in farm productivity emerges. The results suggest that the vast majority of productivity growth in the cropping sector has occurred within two key periods: 1987–88 to 1993–94 and 2007–08 to 2013–14. Together, these periods account for 91.6 per cent of the total productivity gain between 1977–78 and 2014–15. A very similar pattern is observed in climate-adjusted wheat yields—the same two periods account for 91.1 per cent of the total gains.”

    Hmmm….which political party was in power during those periods?

    It goes on….

    “The recent changes in climate have had a significant negative effect on the productivity of Australian cropping farms, particularly in south-western Australia and south–eastern Australia. In Western Australia, climate conditions between 2000–01 and 2014–15 lowered TFP by an average of 7.7 per cent—relative to what would have been seen under long-run average conditions (1914–15 to 2014–15). In New South Wales climate conditions post 2000–01 lowered productivity by an average of 6.5 per cent.

    A similar pattern is observed for wheat yields, although the climate effects are larger. Climate conditions between 2000–01 and 2014–15 lowered national wheat yields by around 11.9 per cent relative to long-run conditions (16.3 per cent in Western Australia and 14.8 per cent in Victoria).”


    How do we get politicians to read the research from their own departments?

    I have farmers in my own family who vote National because “they understand country people” which is why Barnaby gets away with drinking his way around Australia. He’s a real bloke because he has a beer with you and wears an Akubra. He sympathises with you. But when the f#ck will people realise he’s got nothing in the way of solutions and is just looking after Gina and Barnaby. Sure, they may sling you some cash now but that doesn’t fix the long-term problem.

  16. Joseph Carli

    The Son’s Heritage.

    Bleached, white bones all awry,
    Road-kill bares to the open sky.
    The windmill there clunks and sighs
    The windmill where beside it lies.
    Golden wheat on the paddock rise,
    Golden heat in summer skies,
    Pummel the cloth of countryside.

    The whitened bones.
    The mill that groans.
    The crop all golden , all golden shon’
    That leads the eye on and on,
    And on under an aching, searing sun,
    From an empty soul all forlorn,
    With regret of the place to which he is born.

    They are not going to change from old habits..and it will just go from bad to badder to badder still to even badder still and their hearts will break and farms will be lost and people will die and THEN…and then..perhaps ..something will change…How do I know this pessimistic outlook?…because it has all happened before around this district …several times since settlement and all brought on by themselves.

  17. Stephegb

    Thanks Kaye Lee, terrific article.

    Recently I have been pilloried by the Right for suggesting that farmers who vote LNP, a party whos policies abor welfare, now expect welfare, from the public purse.

    I got a mout full about being unAustralian and stupid etc, even though I clear stated right up front that the farmers certainly SHOULD get assistance from the public purse.

    I also thought that those farmers who voted for the LNP should actually refuse the assistance from the public purse because as decent honest people they SHOULD have the courage of their convictions.

    In the course of the vitriolic response from the Right, I was able to get over the point that farming is a business, and like any other business is a choice, that whilst I support welfare for those who are sick, unemployed, homeless and of course I support the Aged care social security payment, I did not believe that a business can suffer from any one of these welfare items. Yes the farmers once they become unemployed or sick or homeless must get the same welfare as any other citizen, in spite of their political stance.

    Boy did I get a mouthful for those comments. And Yes Yes I did make it clear that the animals must be cared for full stop.

  18. Athena

    Farmers need to smarten up. Most of them vote for the Liberals or the Nationals. These parties don’t believe in welfare and demonise welfare recipients, yet farmers want government assistance during tough times. They don’t believe in climate change, and are actively seeking to increase emissions, while farmers are buying in food and water to keep animals alive. Cotton farmers are using huge quantities of water and we don’t even need cotton farms in Australia. The LNP is allowing mining to adversely farming land. The Libs in NSW prevented farmers from protesting about mining that will adversely affect their land. What on earth are either of these parties actually doing to help farmers? Why do we have widespread Stockholm Syndrome throughout the farming community?

  19. Joseph Carli

    Athena..: ” Why do we have widespread Stockholm Syndrome throughout the farming community?”…..It’s not really a syndrome, but rather a symptom from a long time ago when conservative politics went looking for the vote of the majority of ordinary citizens, realising (at least here in SA.) that once everybody gained the right to vote, they would need to get the most votes in those country seats that had the least amount of people…hence they sent out political lobbyists to speak to the farmers groups and town committees..already conservative by the nature of their lives and repetitive farming cultural activities..and convinced them through fear and false camaraderie that the political conservatives will be their friend in times of need…and it has become habitual to fall back on that false promise.


    Persuasion.. (The language of sedition).

  20. shea mcduff

    A large majority of farmers [larger among on -farm managers than absentee owners] have known for at least 10 years that the climate is changing, that it is effecting their farms and that they have had to change farming methods accordingly.
    That’s the clear result shown by a massive ABS survey in 2008 linked above with this just a summary of the results:

    “Nationally, 65.6% of agricultural businesses reported that they considered the climate affecting their holding has changed and 62.4% reported that the perceived change in climate had an impact on their holding. Approximately half (49.5%) of agricultural businesses reported a change in the management practices on their holding in response to perceived changes in climate.
    The most commonly reported perceived change in climate affecting the holding was a change in rainfall patterns (92.1%), followed by more extreme weather events (74.2%) and warmer temperatures (49.6%).”

    Yet they persisted in voting Nationals/LNP in that 10 years.
    Stubborn folk.

  21. Joseph Carli

    And it is only a “drought” because the natural environment has been altered to function in an artificial farmed system. In the times before settlement there were “drys”..long or short mild or severe..but they had much less devastational effect on the native plants and animals than now because these things had evolved WITH such climates. It is only a drought for farming and cultivated western lifestyle activity..

  22. Graeme Henchel

    Many farmers are good time capitalists and bad time socialists. They are anti union, anti labor, anti welfare except of course when the welfare is provided to them when times are tough.

  23. Michael

    Flick cotton – grow hemp?

  24. Michael

    shea mcduff August 2, 2018 at 3:38 pm

    Farmers, like us have been and continue to be played by those whose success formula is to divide society, blame others and have no effective solutions themselves – all of us have been played – all of us need to recognise how we have been played, give ourselves permission to take the problem in hand and work collaboratively on solutions before the whole shebang is taken away from us by banks.

    When the latter happens, won’t see the players for dust?

    Strength lies in self honesty.

  25. Peter F

    Graeme, I agree with your assessment of most farmers. The problem for us is that if we believe in supporting those who are in need we cannot ignore the farmers’ plight. What we need to do is educate them into accepting the reality that help to them is not basically different from help to others in need. This is not an easy task.

  26. corvus boreus

    Hemp make a lot more sense than cotton as an Australian fibre crop.
    Hemp rates favourably in terms of water usage and pesticide vulnerablity, has far greater ultimate yield per acre, and the end product has much broader diversity of function (including structural).
    Basically, with cannabis fibre the entire stem and branches of the plant are harvested, whilst with cotton, only the wadding inside of the fruit is deemed valuable (the rest of the plant is raked up and burnt).
    Just one of the many ways that shit could be done a hell of a lot smarter down here..

  27. Kaye Lee

    The Adani Carmichael project has received an associated water licence and surface water licence from the Queensland Government; both granted on 29 March 2017.

    The ‘associated water licence’ grants Adani the right to take or interfere with groundwater through dewatering the mining pit. This licence has no volumetric cap; allowing essentially unlimited take of groundwater. It is expected that Adani may require up to 9.5 billion litres of groundwater every year for the Carmichael project.

    The ‘surface water licence’ grants Adani a nominal entitlement to extract 12,500 ML per year from the Suttor River.

  28. Michael Taylor

    Couldn’t believe my ears a few years ago when that dinosaur Bill Heffernan was being interviewed by Philip Adams on Radio National …

    Heffernan, a farmer for most of his life, was telling Adams that he’s seen the results of global warming in his lifetime, and came out with:

    “Those people in my [political] party who don’t believe in climate change are bloody idiots.”

    And to think that I was only listening to the interview in the hope of finding something else to despise Heffernan for.

  29. Pete Petrass

    I look at the picture at the top of the story, the one of the three unwise baboons, and ponder why farmers even vote for them? They go out bush and drink beer with the locals in their pubs and talk about how they will look after them, but then head back to the city and start pushing for more coal fired power stations. WTF?

  30. Joseph Carli

    The mistakes that were made by the early Germanic settlers on the Eastern Mt Lofty Ranges and the Murray Flats in the nineteenth century carried over into the twentieth century …and where the too small allotments failed those hardy folk, the banks and severe environment did the rest.

    You can read and weep for those people who were swindled and plundered by Angas and his cohort speculators..I have written of it on this site many times..The sad fact was that many, many of those settlers were never farmers in the first place…On one Ships list ; The Skjold..1841. 213 passengers.

    Circa 51 died At sea. (mostly dysentery)

    There were : Shoemakers, ropemakers , butchers, sailors, masons, day-labourer, joiner, clothmaker, teacher, gardener, carpenter, miller, cottager, baker, coachman, tobacco-spinner, wood-turner, blacksmith, and some farmers…

    It seems obvious that almost entire villages, with all their variety of trades, including their Pastor, made the decision to immigrate…and they stuck together and gave farming a go in the new country , on virgin soil.

    There were springs and soaks and lagoons of fresh water as described by those who made the first journey from the hills to the River Murray..permanent water was got from springs at the foot of the hills and many creeks fed out into the flats, creating wetlands in a good season.

    By the twentieth century, these springs were mostly ruined through stock pollution or over drawn to become saline or dry through dams built further up-stream..fresh water became scarce and then any extended dry did the rest…

    I read in the archives of the times of one poor family out near Steinfeld (now Stonefield) , who, in a turn of the century drought, lost all their work-horses ; 17 of them through the drought, then his wife died, then he got his hand dragged into the chaff-cutting machine when he was chaffing the thatching off the shed roofs for his remaining stock and lost four fingers and so was left a crippled widower with 13 children. His neighbours pitched in to plant that season’s crop.

    You could just weep for the seeming limitless depth of tribulation they went through…yet, they survived.

  31. Kerri

    It is hard to support a voter group (and yeah this doesn’t describe them all)
    Vote for a party that allows fracking.
    Vote for a party that denies climate change.
    Vote for a party that has zero interest in environment.
    Approve of live animal exports.
    Steal water when it suits them.
    Support business owners who screw them. GR
    Support politicians who throw their hands in the air and cry “the world has gone mad” instead of looking after their interests.
    Vote for whom mumsy and papa voted for because that’s what we do.
    And besides, when the stock market collapses we don’t all rush to support the poor brokers.
    When live theatre performances dry up we don’t all support the poor actors, directors crew etc.
    Why do the farmers always demand assistance when they chose that lifestyle?
    Sorry but I feel as much sympathy for the farmers as they feel for we city slickers when they can charge us a fortune for their produce. At least most of them have a home.

  32. guest

    Charles Massy, an experienced farmer and qualified academic, published a book in 2017 called “Call of the Reed Warbler: A new agriculture, a new Earth”. He gives numerous examples of farmers who have given up old European methods of farming with Big Machinery and Big Fertilisers and have taken up a more Organic Regenerative approach. No doubt the science is there.

    As for making the Far North the bread basket of Asia, the fragile soils do not seem to be very successful, being easily leached by monsoon rains. The clearing of vast areas of trees only exacerbates the problem. The biggest crop in the Ord River scheme is sandalwood.

    Meanwhile between Hawaii and California is a gyre of flotsam twice the area of NSW. Not a good sign. The fear is that the total collapse of the oceans is imminent, especially with problems of fishing and the turning of the seas into plastic soup.

    Lomborg would tell us that these are the kinds of problems that we should be attending to and that climate change can wait and then we will have the technology to attend to it; meanwhile, adapt. Whereas, others tell us the longer we wait, the more it will cost. So what would be the cost of cooking the planet?

    The climate change deniers are not well enough informed – or they know, but have vested interests which demand that they remain stubbornly conservative. The Murdoch media caters to these people by not publishing anything which reveals what the IPCC scientists are telling us. Murdoch claims his ‘Australian’ newspaper is for ‘the informed reader’ but does nothing to inform them of the truth, preferring to cater for the uninformed with twice boiled cabbage denialism.

    How conservatives think was further revealed to me when I picked up an Advertiser in which Bolt was lamenting how Oz has lost its identity. He has been counting how many people of Chinese, Indian and Islamic people there are in Oz compared to decades ago. Does he ever think his attitude might be just a little bit racist? And what is the identity he claims has been lost. And where did Bolt come from, anyway?

    One thing he is worried about is the decline of Christianity in Oz, even after the problems religious groups have had with treatment of children. And I can assure Mr Bolt that so-called Christian people in history past have been despicable monsters to other people. I am quite confident that there are a large number of those plunderers who will not be flying up to heaven in a resurrection flight to glory.

  33. corvus boreus

    A few days ago on one of you own scribble-pages, you not only declared Kaye Lee, a person who is tertiary qualified, career experienced, a businesswoman and a well-respected writer, to be (amongst other things) a petulant girl-child offering nothing worthy of note, you then brayed out the ridiculous claim that she was a ‘passive-aggressive sociopath’ .

    Now here you are, on the thread of an article written by someone you have repeatedly disparaged and near-slandered, completely unapologetic, offering nothing but generalized defeatist claims, aimless rambles and links to your own blog-site.

    Basically, your actions have been those of an egotistical attention-whore and a straight-up rude and ignorant arsehole.

    It is not my prerogative,to tell you to phuq off, but I, for one, certainly do not appreciate your self-serving crap intruding into the discussion thread of an author who I respect writing upon a subject of personal interest

    So I toss-pass to you, who professes such dewy-eyed adoration of Caesar, Stalin and Mao, and is so hyper-aggressive in self-promotion and blatantly enamored of your own opinions, a pop-psych link and an accompanying haiku


    plane-spoke carpenter,
    persecuted, crucified,
    initials; J C

  34. Max Gross

    Bingo! @KerriAugust 2, 2018 at 5:42 pm

  35. Joseph Carli

    It is interesting how you can use geology to determine the flows of water back in those days…Along the foot of the eastern ranges, there are many streams that come out of the steep hills onto the flats…now they mostly rarely run with winter water…but if you look to the banks of those streams, you can see massive deposits of shingles of stone, obviously pushed there by a large volume of water at some time…now, these shale-like stones have had their corners and edges “pencil-rounded” which indicates they have been tumbled and eroded by regular if not consistent volumes of flowing water…Now, if you go to one of the once permanent streams, you can see any number of larger boulders completely rounded and that indicates a steady and voluminous flow of water…the volumes can be calculated by the size and shape of the rocks …

    I remember talking to an indigenous descendant of the peoples of the area and she told of how some people would go from the Murray to the Barossa ranges to cut bark canoes from a certain type of tree there.

    “How did they get them back to the Murray?” I asked.
    “They would float them down the Marne River.”she replied.

  36. Joseph Carli

    Comment removed by moderator.

  37. shea mcduff

    The Marne hasn’t flowed for roughly 15 years since grape [and other crops] irrigators in the Eastern Adelaide Hills depleted the aquifer.
    They were allowed to ‘grandfather’ irrigation licences that captured excessive quantities of water out of the headwaters and have caused the demise of a river. Much to the chagrin of folks downstream – although the ‘stream’ bit is no longer applicable.

  38. Joseph Carli

    shea..there is a large aquifer centered just east of the road and old railway bridge…I buy hay from a farmer who draws from that aquifer…He says it is still good…but you can’t be dead certain of those farmer’s word..they are very secretive about their bores…When I was volunteering in Cambrai, I would ask every driver I saw at the water stand-pipe there (just out of interest) where they were from and why they came to get the potable water from there..and I spoke to those from the foot of the eastern hills to those from down near the mouth of the Marne into the Murray…and to a person they said because their bores were too saline..

    I used to accompany a person who tested water samples from the River Murray itself, the ground-water testing bores on the banks and islands of the river and the laying water in the billabongs and lagoons…The Murray water was mostly ok..but the bore waters were sometimes more saline than sea-water..The same for most of the aquifers now north of the Marne to god knows where!…It’s not good…I could say more, but there’s those it seems want me to shut up!……………………………f#ck ’em!….this is a open to the public forum the last time I looked…
    That you , K.?. Comment removed by moderator.

  39. Kaye Lee

    No it wasn’t me. I’ve been having a wine with my husband on the verandah. I was going to ask you what you said but that could be like asking what word activates the attack dog.

  40. Joseph Carli

    Oh..that’s alright, Kaye..I was just fishing…all in good fun…say! that wine you’re drinking a “bi’ o’ ruff” red ?

  41. Kaye Lee

    No. I am a lightweight. I prefer white or champagne usually. And if we are all in good fun….less unfounded accusations would be good.

  42. Keitha Granville

    How about we unsure that multi nationals pay tax, and then we give extra support to farmers growing food. No more rice, we are too dry, no more cotton, we are too dry. STOP the LNP from destroying the country with big mines, big coal, big business.

  43. Kaye Lee

    It seems so obvious Keitha. Let’s hope the farmers realise that the Coalition are harmful to them as well as to so many others. They want us to consider their situation. Absolutely. Some of them are in dire straits. But they aren’t the only ones suffering. Will they help us elect a government who will do something about it for all of us?

  44. deb

    we need to change the way we farm and what we farm – we need to farm smaller and eat far less meat – the planet is telling us but we are not listening – drought, fire, flood, pestilence are the symptoms not the cause – human demand, greed and waste is the cause – 8 billion mouths to feed, hotter longterm weather – we should be transition planning and supporting farmers to transition – our survival depends on it

  45. corvus boreus

    Trouble is, most farming in Australia has had less than a century and a half of history in leaning and evolving from ecological lessons and making suitable adaptive responses, and the rate of environmental change is in freefall acceleration.
    Additionally, much of the granted or purchased title for these earlier farm-holdings results comes from corrupt colonial-era land allocations, a legacy further fouled by the brutality often seen as necessary to remove the traditional occupants.
    On this foundation of terra nullius and poisoned flour are built our rural communities, where the rustic bane of limited access to information and education tends to lead to further entrenching of conservative viewpoints.
    Even this solidity of community has been increasingly eroded by corporate practices, as bank foreclosures and acquisitions corporatise farm ownership and techniques, and the nearby townships, hollowed out by the stripping of services, become pockets of desperate and embittered people.
    This, the sullen anger of the systematically uninformed, is easy meat for political exploitation through scape-goating, especially against ‘green tape’, where evolutions in environmental legislation have made previously normal practices restricted or illegal.

    For instance, near Croppa Creek (northern central NSW), members of the Humphreys family, landholders of a legacy stemming from the massacres around Slaughterhouse creek, recently showed their displeasure at being repeatedly breached for illegal lbroad-scale land clearances (including of riparian veg) by having the family patriarch hunt down environmental officer Glenn Turner and murder the father of two in cold blood, holding his partner at gunpoint as Glenn bled to death..
    Although the murderous farmer was convicted and imprisoned, his sons and heirs have continued to illegally bulldoze in his stead, and many national MPs, state and federal (including Joyce) have cited this case of the murder of a public official at his duties as evidence for the need to change land-clearance legislation.
    I guess the take-home lesson is that the most effective way to lobby for a change in law is to murder the people who enforce it.

  46. corvus boreus

    David (2/8 @ 11:55am)
    A very lucid summation of some pertinent factors, such the effect of vegetative strata on moisture retention and weather generation, and the modern proliferation of consultancy-‘science’, which in practice often amounts to little more than the input of lobbyists-for-hire who specialise in the peddling of unsupported assertions to support corporate agendas.
    Even the once renowned CSIRO have, in their revenue desperation, jumped on board, and are now now offering ‘relexivity’ services as a method of helping mining companies overcome community-based resistance to their aims.

    Building trust between mining companies and communities

    Thanks for the intelligent input, and thank you for all your practical efforts towards revegetation.

  47. Kaye Lee


    I had a look at the reflexivity thing. All it is is surveys of people in mining areas paid for by Rio Tinto. If the people take part in the voluntary survey, they are given tokens which can be given to a local charity or organisation which can, when they get enough of them, be cashed in. They produce graphs and word clouds.

    “Using community surveys, the Reflexivity Group can deliver the top 5 things most important to a community and hence significantly improve understanding between company and community.”

    Pulse Surveys

    Surely a town meeting would do the same thing for free and allow the scientists to do something more important? But that’s what happens when you put a venture capitalist in charge. If the mining companies will pay then the CSIRO will do as asked.

  48. johno

    We have just reached overshoot day and us aussies need 4.1 planets to sustain our lifestyle, india .5 of a planet. Just a slight discrepancy. Us aussies could eat less meat and more pulses.

  49. Joseph Carli

    The conundrum facing the smaller, generational farmer..that is those smaller farms passed down through the generations, is that they have to compete with the mega Agri-Corp farms that are many times just a profit making machine that consolidates its security against drought by either cross-investments in other industries or produce, or they farm across several climate zones to guarantee a steady profit percentage…that is, they might have a beef-cattle property in the Pilbara and a fat-lamb interest on the Fleurieu Peninsula plus cropping interests in the more reliable wheat belt of Victoria…and so they can operate with unlimited credit from the compliant banks…whereas those smaller farmers who are sited in this or that marginal country (and it is THESE marginal areas that are first and MOST affected), have difficulty in presenting an acceptable business plan to their banks and so are hard pressed to purchase new technology that can cost hundreds of thousands of dollars per item…and then there’s the market control by the mega producers…and that’s another story..
    I have seen out here in the Mallee country where small farmers have to diversify (on the cheap) into other areas of produce just to try to make ends meet…but that too can devastate an already fragile environment…Like on this property where back in the 1950’s, the farmer decided that the farm was too marginal to keep cropping with horse-drawn ploughing and too expensive to “tool up” with new tractors…so he switched to sheep grazing which caused so much more erosion to the top-soil etc..
    Really, with the marginal farms now only drawing say..; one ..perhaps two years in five as a paying preposition, and THAT with extreme labour from perhaps the one farmer or if he’s lucky ; a child fit and old and enthusiastic enough to help..and perhaps another year break-even and the other two at a is only a matter of time before something gives..and we read about it in the papers..

  50. Joseph Carli

    johno..; “. . . Us aussies could eat less meat and more pulses.”…don’t you remember that old adage..: “Beanz meanz fartz!”…..think of the ozone layer!

  51. wam

    no cotton south of the ord????
    wish clarke and dawe were together oh what fun they could have with whether a data breech is a breech of privacy and so many other situations from these idiots.
    If you believe climate change is a ‘left wing’ conspiracy to frighten Australians(but ‘illegals’ isn’t a right wing conspiracy because it is the truth and we should be frightened of burqas) then climate change has happened for billions of years is completely natural and scientists are part of the conspiracy. QED it is fake news.
    I cannot understand why Australia doesn’t realised the potential profit in solar power?
    ps I wonder if anyone in the greens regret voting with the rabbott or have they all moved on?

  52. Kaye Lee


    Very good point that I had not considered before.

  53. johno

    Joseph, Where did that come from,.. Blazing saddles,, I eat plenty of pulses and fart no more than the average bear.

  54. Joseph Carli

    That’s alright, K…we aim to please… 🙂 (I take it you meant my take on the johno comment about pulses?)

  55. Kaye Lee

    I don’t need pleasing but I appreciate being made to think. I like learning. And, no, I didn’t even know what pulses were until I looked it up. Another thing learned.

  56. Joseph Carli

    Johno…an old schoolyard pun on a Heinz beans commercial back in the sixties..: ” Beanz Meanz Heinz “….

  57. Michael

    A book I was given for my birthday:

    The Biggest Estate on Earth by Bill Gammage

    Reviews (early google):

    The Biggest Estate On Earth review by Timothy Neale

    Assuming nothing is definite or finite, historically speaking, this book has certainly shifted my msm/political miopic, conditioned hitherto narrow focused mind to trying to understand how it was on square 1 to now on the land I inherited by citizenship.

    All your contributions (we need more from our collective mind banks to help us join the historical dots and then to re-examine the sequence of these dots, create new ones (with the benefit of hindsight) to find an indication for our collective future course) to this article has assisted me in this daunting but necessary task – thank you.

  58. Joseph Carli

    Kaye…that is a good thing, and in the interest of furthering your education, I can tell you that ; ” The most instructive portion of education is observation” (that’s one of mine, but you can have it for free!)…And if we are to observe those “roly-polys” (tumbleweeds) that trip and trap across the paddocks when the wind blows, we will see them heap up against fences beside the roads, against trees and other shrubs and sit there…..Now if you have the time to stop and collect one of these roly-polys, take it to a flat, white surface and bash it a few times to shake the bits and pieces off, and then go REAL close and observe…you will in most cases see a multitude of seeds of various types along with a legion of the most minuscule to some regular bugs and insects that have traveled with the plant as it rolled and bounced across the paddock, picking up various passengers and seeds as it went..then when it jagged against tree or barrier with those little hook-like prongs it has, it sits there till the seeds and passengers alight to the ground and that is how many native ground-cover species (and no doubt some unwanted weeds) are transported….very clever!…They are a veritable portable environmental package of propagation of species.

    And we have to observe also that the Mallee tree, while intolerant of any intrusion into its canopy space and is a surface-water specialist, it will allow, indeed..seemingly encourage the thick mat of Chenopod understory as a complimentary plant. I believe, and have examined this quaint companionship closely and can see two reasons… 1) that the thick understory gives obviously good litter cover for maintaining stable temperature and 2) I have a theory that the saltbush plant, rather than taking precious moisture solely from the soil under the tree, it also takes in moisture from the air and transports such TO the soil and hence enriches the Mallee tree as well…though this is only a theory of my own..but I am still watching..watching………just like I watch you all……hmm?

  59. New England Cocky

    Body language interpretation:

    Carnavan; bored, “I wonder what we will have for dinner later”.

    Christiansen: bored, “I wonder why we will have for diner later”. Perhaps I can have double dessert”.

    Barnyard: bored; “I wonder if there is a lady available for some adultery”.

  60. Florence Howarth

    There was a great interview with a farmer on Stan Grant’s Matter of Fact last night.

  61. Joseph Carli

    Yes, Florence…familiar words becoming all too regular..One only has to look around here at the residual stands of certain types or flora to see that such plants which have been insitu for an awful long time show a different type of climate was here when they evolved….That climate and the in-ground reservoir of moisture has evaporated over the last few decades…the smaller aquifers are now saline and the soil is now gutless from lack of R&R…Don’t know where it goes from here…but you can bet your bootie it’s not to a good place.

  62. guest

    Michael @9:57am

    I mentioned Charles Massy’s book “Cry of the Reed Warbler” above and to that, and Bill Gammage, you could add Bruce Pascoe’s “Dark Emu”. All eye-openers.

  63. Kaye Lee

    I have just started reading Lorraine Muller’s book “A Theory for Indigenous Australian Health and Human Service Work”. The title doesn’t do it justice. It is very readable, immensely interesting, and offers invaluable insight and advice on the interaction between Indigenous and non-Indigenous Australians.

  64. corvus boreus

    Kaye Lee,
    Beanz meanz fartz. and polses grow leaves.
    Legumes, big bean family (FABACEAE) are one of the few events other than thunderstorm that make nitrogen (foliage growth element) available to plants as an in-soil product.
    (Nerdish sidenote, most plants tend to rely on associate root fungi for everyday nitrogen uptake These gut-flora equivalents predigest nitrates into a form that the plant can more readily absorb into it’s root system).
    This is why beans or similar so routinely feature in old-school rotational cropping, as well as being a central platform of most ‘new’ sustainable food-systems (eg Permiculture).
    It’s also why means of encouraging the establishment of Acacias or similar nitrogen fixing pioneer species is a big part in many of the (better) strategies employed for long-term land rehabilitation.

    I reskon Australia should less of the red meat that comes from heavy hard-hooved beasts that compact soils whilst close-cropping, particularly cuts from fat thirsty multi-gutted belchers like cattle.
    If Aussies ate more of our emblematic macropods when social-bonding around the scorching of flesh, not only would we be slimmer nation with lower rates of bowel cancer, but we would probably have more topsoil as well.

    Ps, Joseph Carli,
    There is a reasonable sounding idea regarding coastal vegetation that dunal salt-bush under-story associations around coastal Banksias, as well as providing the temp-moisture regulation you mentioned may also provide ‘salt-screening’ for their sheltering associate when roots draw rainfall from saline sands.
    Perhaps similar may apply in the mallee association, which I gather often occur on relatively saline soils.

  65. Kaye Lee

    I would be quite happy to eat kangaroo and it seems to make more sense ecologically but, as with all the flesh I eat, I hate the killing part. I love eating fish but I don’t want to catch them. It’s a real cognitive dissonance that I do not want to overcome.

    Is fish farming sustainable? Or more importantly, crustaceans and shellfish? I am willing to make the sacrifice and eat oysters, crab. prawns, mussels, abalone and lobster instead of steak.

  66. Joseph Carli

    Loquats are nice..but you got to peel them first, I’m told…eh, Crow?

  67. corvus boreus

    Kaye Lee,
    I wouldn’t ask you to slay and butcher a roo yourself, but I reckon roo-eating is a carnivorous trend worth cultivating.
    I see our current eating habis,, especially the heavy cattle addiction in our diets, as being unhealthy hot only humans but more especially for the well-being of our overall habitat.
    Anyone with half an eye can see the bovine effect on soil and water quality, and would have heard of their methanous flatulance.
    But I don’t think most people realise just how heavy our herds are.

    Humans and Big Ag Livestock Now Account for 96 Percent of Mammal Biomass

    Roo meat is a very lean and quite dense meat with a rich flavour. It loves savoury seasoning, garlic, peppers.
    Roo mince spag bol is a good starter to guage the taste.
    Most of the marsupial meat on supermarket shelves is Eastern Grey (Macropus giganteus!), sourced from quota culls conducted on farm properties where roos are classed as ‘competition pests’ for grain and grazing.
    I’d prefer to see kangaroos farmed in preference to hoof-beasts, but for now I’ll just eat the cull meat rather than let it rot.

    The question of fish-farming sustainability? Beyond my absorbed info or lived experience, but I reckon it kinda depends on where the fish farms sit in the landscape matrix, and how the activities are conducted..
    I have disturbed appreciation for the salty-snotty taste and texture of oysters, but recognize that they are static inter-tidal filter feeders that accumulate impurities, so try to source ones from relatively non-putrid waters.
    Same goes for how and where with pond farming of fish and crustacean.
    Take prawns, they are benthos (bottom sludge feeders).
    If they are living in an environment where the nutrient enrichment is enhanced by human feces, and polluted with heavy metals and chems, that is going to come out on the table.
    For example I view Vietnamese Vannemai farm-prawns as being about as wholesome as Nanna’s frozen Chinese dangle-berries eaten straight out of the box. .

  68. Kronomex

    Thought bubbles for the photo at the top of the page:

    Canavan, “Oh look, the laces on my right have come undone. Should I retie them?”
    Christensen, “Big Macs, chips, thick shakes, Chiko Rolls, ice-cream. More Big Macs, chips…”
    Joyce, ” “

  69. corvus boreus

    To me it looks like all three are lost in collective thoughtlessness, distractedly staring at a glimpse of cleavage.

  70. johno

    What tucking into all the feral animals. Pig, camel , goat, rabbit etc ……

  71. corvus boreus

    Health reg complications aside, the large-scale scientific culling and marketed consumption of exotic feral meats is up there in my personal dreamland along with the idea of a global campaign conducted by both conservationists and fashionistas to promote the ethical practicalities of wearing feral furs.
    There really should be an actively encouraged market for products like Australian fox furs and New Zealand possum pelts, animal skins that could be worn with a certain amount of ecological swagger.
    Ps, with calicivirus taking out the bunnies, cat-hats should really be the next Akubra.

  72. johno

    Fish farming can very dodgy I am sure, this is something I watched recently on farmed salmon in Norway.

  73. John Barber

    It’s people who write lefty rubbish from their urban environments without understanding farming who are the problem. No one doubts that the climate is always changing. The question is whether man has contributed to the change. There have been two well known ice ages, in fact many more smaller ones. Therefore there have been at least 4 significant climate changes before man was present on the earth. How were they caused? What was the cause of the big droughts late in the 19th century and early 20th? Greenhouse gases? Don’t think so. How many people actually believed in the Y2K bug? If climate change is so obvious why is it more and more disregarded in the scientific community?

  74. Andrew Aitken

    John Barber, to which scientific community do you refer? Could you please inform me of the source of your information so that I can pass on your important message to my scientific colleagues and my students. Both groups currently think that you are an ignorant moron who can spell.

  75. Joseph Carli

    John Barber ” If climate change is so obvious why is it more and more disregarded in the scientific community?”…..Pox is obvious, yet people still root, obesity is bleedin’ obvious, yet people still eat fatty foods…dopey argument, John…”lefty rubbish”…yet it is the farmer out in the regions who are pleading for help from those very “lefties” in the cities…you don’t know sh#t from clay, John…and you are full of the former…There is five underground tanks on this property…all hand dug through calcrete to a 3x3x3m’ to a 5x5x5m’ volume..all plastered with (originally) lime mortar burnt on site…you don’t in your wildest insanity go digging such holes like those out here unless you had the idea they would fill with water..they haven’t filled (according to the original family member from the farm) in fifty years or longer…the swales leading to them are there and the same…the slope of the land is the same…the soil is the same…so what has changed?..only one bloody thing over the last fifty or so years…: THE BLEEDIN’ RAIN….you goose…the climate has changed you goose and it has changed around here because the trees are all gone, the weather system is buggered and if you don’t believe carbon/ atmospheric pollution causes any difference, try pulling the bedclothes over your head and drop a ripper of a stinking fart and see if you can notice anything different!

  76. Michael

    To avoid just an excuse for a possible bitching session, what would the AIMN believers think of the proposal that the writer (or ghost?) of a post summarises the justification for (based on the combination of the post AND comments) action (one or several, for against) as a solution to the post’s issue/s raised?


    My concluding comment (is with the fullest and utmost respect to the original inhabitants and caretakers of this “god’s” country):

    “Farmers know the climate is changing – when all else fails, start dreaming (and re-learning)” ?

  77. Kaye Lee

    John Barber,

    The problem is not people writing about climate change. It is the people who get their scientific knowledge from Andrew Bolt and Alan Jones. The climate is changing far more rapidly than at any time in the past because we are pumping greenhouse gases into the atmosphere at an unsustainable rate.

    Do some reading from credible sources rather than listening to shock jocks.

    It really aggravates me that some farmers refuse to do their bit about taking action on climate change and then ask for help in dealing with the consequences of their inaction and their support for political morons. Get on board. We all have to help reduce emissions or farming here will become impossible. Stop clearing land unnecessarily. Plant trees. I am no expert. I will leave that to others. But stop saying this is an urban concern. Farmers suffer first and most.

  78. Glenn Barry

    I was out through NSW a month or so ago, from the very sought east -> Bourke -> Sydney – stating the obvious – it’s dry, but what stands out most in some areas, it’s the complete lack of trees – everything has been bulldozed.

    They’ve created an ecological desert which is just hostile to all life

    So much about the farming practices in this country are just fundamentally incongruous with the landscape itself, egregiously destructive behaviour – the current generation may be the victims of the crimes perpetrated by others
    The imposition of British colonial thought processes and farming practices was just an atrocity.
    That atrocity continues with the frenetic, and accelerating pace of land clearing

    I’m seeing the conservative thought processes and refusal to learn and adapt as truly problematic in all of this

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