Posted by: jkirkby8712 | December 29, 2011

Wednesday, 28th December 2011 – the ‘real’ Summer is around the corner!

Today’s ‘Weekly Times’ rural newspaper had an Editorial, which provided a nice little summary of the State’s rainfall situation through 2011 –  headed ‘For wetter or for worse’, and I felt it worthwhile sharing and retaining as a perspective on what has passed in the rural sector.

‘This has been a pretty good year for rural communities across southeast Australia. It has been a year where, yet again, the weather dominated. After a decade of drought, 2011 will go down as the year the rain returned with a vengeance. And with it came all the good and bad wet weather can bring. Of course, the floods early in the year across Queensland and Victoria will dominate any discussion about the weather. But we can’t lose sight of the good that has come from the rain. Water storages are almost full, crops and pastures have hit their stride and the financial stress of drought has been somewhat alleviated [though I’m sure not all the farming community will agree with that]. It has been a year where commodity prices rose in unison, despite what should have been a cripplingly high Australian dollar.  For a major exporter, the dollar should have decimated our farming industries. Yet beef, lamb, dairy and wool confounded the experts and continued to rise. The only lowlight has been the steady drop in grain prices, just as grower hit the paddock to harvest a near-record crop. The quiet achiever this year has been the wool industry, where the action finally moved from the boardroom to the paddock. After years as the whipping boy – the commodity that once was – wool came into its own. In June, it hit its highest price in 23 years and while it has come off the boil to more sustainable levels, it remains strong enough for many growers to contemplate a return to the fibre.  Of course, all livestock industries are a replacement game. When prices are high it means buying replacement stock will also be high. It has always been this way. But farmers are happy to pay good prices if they are confident of the year ahead. It is this sentiment which makes next week’s annual weaner calf sales such an important indicator of the year ahead. Early this year the talk was of exorbitant calf prices. They are expected to be even higher next year. If producers believe they can stand to make a quid, they will pay accordingly. Let’s hope they do’. [Of course, there’s the other side to that, faced by us poor customers – meat prices, for quality meat, or otherwise, have been quite high for a year or so now –  and if those indicators are correct, we can expect the prices to be even more out of the reach of many consumers in 2012. I’m certainly glad these days, that I don’t have to buy a week’s meat to feed a family, there’d be not much left over for anything else judging by current lamb and beef prices, etc. The chicken must be quite prosperous these days, as the meat alternative!].

 The Bureau of Meteorology puts a slightly different perspective on things – yes, a year that began, and ended, with floods, but while many people will perceive this as having being a very wet year, most of it occurred at the start and end of the year – the growing season, from April through to October, had been drier than normal in most of Victoria, but the rest of the year had balanced out to a picture of pretty high ‘annual’ rainfall figures. While the annual total won’t be a record, it is expected to be somewhere just inside or outside the top 10 records. Perhaps the rain on Christmas Day might push it inside! Meanwhile the rainfall records for the summer of 2010/2011  did break some records [and the drought] –  339mm for that period [average summer rainfall is 119mm, and the previous highest was 237mm in 1910/1911].  A few individual figures of places I’ve visited in 2011 for eg, showing 2011 rainfall as a percentage of the average, revealed for Melbourne [128%, Sunbury probably similar], Bendigo  [138%], Ballarat [114%], and Charlton [104%, yet that town, which I visited in September, has still not fully recovered from the disastrous floods in the town, early in 2011].

I was able to make reference to some of those facts during this morning’s early radio show  –  from 6am, for 3 hours, as I filled in  for that time slots normal presenter. Ron usually mixes his music up with lots of news, sport and phone interviews. I gave the latter a miss [most of Ron’s regular interviewees were away also], although I did have a guest in the studio at one stage. I must say, that after a night of not feeling well, it was difficult to want to get out at 5am this morning, but once I was out in the morning air [overcast, chance of drizzle, but sunny conditions expected for most of the day, and some very hot weather ahead of us this weekend] and on the road to my destination, felt much fresher and enthusiastic. Bit more traffic around this morning, compared with Christmas morning – from memory, on that drive, around 6.30am, I think I only passed one other vehicle, and one pedestrian, which surprised me, as I had expected to find a few kids around the streets with new bikes, etc, perhaps it was even too early for that, though not from my memories of Christmas mornings when my children were younger. Anyway, the first hour this morning was devoted to country, and them we brought in a variety of music genres for the rest of the program.  I do enjoy being able to play a range of music types – one reason, I ‘created’ the Monday night format!

A little ‘lazy’ at home today, after I eventually returned, from the radio, and a bit of shopping, etc. Lazy, that is, from the point of view of external physical work [it’s a ‘holiday’ week, the cricket is on, some great books to read, etc, etc, etc – those are my excuses any!], but I did catch up with an old ‘online friend’ that I have not ‘chatted to’ for some years. Bronnie and I met up on the internet, over 12 years ago, and for some years, had many lengthy ‘chats’. But over the past 5/6 years, I came to find that sitting at the computer ‘chatting’ [irrespective of how friendly I might have been with the person at the other end] simply tired me out, even bored me at times, with the feeling of other things I should have been doing. Lost a few friends because of that, although Bronnie is one of the few I have stayed in touch with through the occasional email, Face Book etc!!  Anyway, it was a pleasant change to be able to ‘converse’ for a while today.

Rang Shirley this evening  – she’d had her car booked for a windscreen replacement, but with all the storm damage done to cars on Christmas afternoon and evening, I wondered whether she’d been able to have it proceeded with? A bit of a wait, but yes the job was done – however, had she not had the prior booking for the job, would probably have had no hope!! Expensive  but satisfactory outcome. Meanwhile, Susie away all day, working, and the disappeared again quite quickly late this afternoon, after returning home – not back until ‘late’!!

Today’s cricket  – Day 3 of the 1st Test against India, and after a day in which 15 wickets fell, including another poor performance by some of Australia’s batsmen who should have done better, India was in a strong position to win the game, at the close of the 3rd day’s play. As the ‘Times of India’ described it ‘On a topsy-turvy day, when Test cricket resembled a rollercoaster ride, India and Australia took turns to seek comfort in discomfort and left the first Test at the MCG poised on a razor’s edge’.  Yes, on a bright and sunny Day 3, during the course of which the pendulum swayed crazily and as many as 15 wickets tumbled, Mike Hussey redeemed himself and rescued his Test career with a gallant unbeaten 79. With two days remaining in the Test, Australia, with 179 for eight on the board in their second innings, enjoy an overall lead of 230 runs. Obviously, only the 4th day will be needed to finish this game – tomorrow is the day I was considering going to the cricket myself, and if Ricky Ponting and Mike Hussey had still been batting together at the end of the day, I would have been on my way. But this match might be over very quickly, and despite the optimism of some of the TV commentators, I think India are a sure winner of this First Test.  Ricky Ponting scored another 60 runs, and while his two innings in this game might be enough to keep his place in the team for now, I don’t think that he personally, would be satisfied with his innings on both occasions  – good strong starts, but individual mistakes cost him a wicket, when a century looked on the cards both times!  Anyway, at Stumps on Day 3 –  Australia: 333  and 8 for 179.  India 282, with Australia’s lead just 230 runs, two wickets left.  I’m predicting the India team will win this match rather easily, later on today!!





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