Monthly Archives: July 2016

Farm Biosecurity Newsletter July 2016

Written by : Posted on July 13, 2016 : Comments Off on Farm Biosecurity Newsletter July 2016

 

Farm Biosecurity 
Newsletter   Friday 8 July
Which plant pest is the greatest risk to producers?
In a recent audit of around 300 exotic plant pests affecting growers overseas, the pest that came out on top with the greatest potential impact if it made it to Australia was Xylella fastidiosa (pronounced Zylella).
That’s partly because over 200 types of plants are known to be susceptible to infection by Xylella, and every year tests show it is capable of infecting more plant species. It’s also because a variety of insects that feed on plants are all thought to be able to spread the pathogen. More

Biosecurity – it’s time for everyone to act!
A new approach to managing biosecurity is underway with new biosecurity acts for NSW and Queensland, placing greater responsibility on producers and reducing government regulation.

Queensland implemented its Biosecurity Act 2014 on 1 July, and NSW is expected to officially implement its new legislation next year.
Queensland’s Chief Veterinary Officer Alison Crook explained what the changes mean to producers. More

Pest identification in Grassroots Agronomy classes

Women with little or no agricultural background who move into farm businesses often bring welcome new skills, but consultant Louise Flohr says many are keen to be more involved with their farming systems.
For the past three years, Ms Flohr, from Agrilink Agricultural Consultants, has been running workshops in South Australia to develop newcomers’ knowledge and practical skills. More

New approach to Johne’s disease in cattle has begun

The new, national approach to Johne’s disease (JD) officially commenced on 1 July and all Australian cattle producers are encouraged to become familiar with the changes.
The new approach, endorsed by the cattle industry and Australian governments, is guided by the BJD Framework and focuses on managing on-farm biosecurity risks rather than controlling disease through regulation, said Animal Health Australia’s (AHA) Executive Manager of Biosecurity Services, Duncan Rowland. More

Congratulations to our winners

Congratulations to the winners of our recent ‘Subscribe and Win’ competition:
Tony from South Australia
Helen from Western Australia
Kathy from Queensland
Melissa from Victoria
Their $100 RM Williams gift vouchers are on the way.
Hope you continue to enjoy reading our newsletter.
In other news
Detection of Asian honey bees in Townsville
Asian honey bees with varroa mites were found in a container stand in a storage yard at the Port of Townsville in Queensland on 27 June. More
Which disinfectants work against Fusarium fungus?
A comparison of disinfectants is shedding light on their effectiveness in killing the fungal spores that cause Panama disease, when used in wash-down facilities, footbaths and dips. More
Please keep reporting unusual ahpids
Please keep reporting any unusual aphids on growing grain crops to 1800 084 881. We need the data for AusPestCheck to map how the pest is spreading. See map
Join AHA on social media
AHA now has a social media presence! We’re now active across FacebookTwitter andLinkedIn.
Media snapshot
Spice wars: winning the battle against ginger disease
In a victory for on farm biosecurity, Australia’s biggest ginger growing family, has returned to fertile fields that disease forced it to abandon five years ago. More
Successful breeding program the first step to Russian wheat aphid-resistant wheat
Murdoch University researchers have bred plant resistance to five of the eight known biotypes of Russian wheat aphid. More
Biosecurity – where do you fit in?
The term biosecurity is becoming more familiar to many people. The practice of biosecurity includes the steps we should all take to manage the negative impact of pests, diseases, weeds, and contaminants entering, establishing, or spreading.More
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Koolies Nose Knows – training your dog

Written by : Posted on July 11, 2016 : Comments Off on Koolies Nose Knows – training your dog

DSC_0125Where to start?

A little over 12 months ago my dog Silhouette Luca (an Australian Koolie) and I joined a K9 Nose Works class. Luca had developed reactiveness to some other dog breeds and could be quite anxious thanks to a scare he got from a huge thunderstorm. Nose Works gave us the opportunity to work alone with no other dogs.

I remember sitting in our first class watching K9 nose Works trainer Angela’s, presentations and when she asked if any one has any questions I popped up saying how does one find truffles? Yep the class all laughed!

Luca loved this sniffy game and with each class his confidence grew and he was slow and very methodical, most of the other Koolies were fast and furious.

We moved on from scenting Birch to Anise and finally in level 3 class we added Clove oil. We attended a ‘scent trial’ with ‘Scent Games Australia’ and it was a big experience for him and I.

It was about this time my truffle dream popped back into my head and I went off and did a seminar on growing Hazelnuts and Oak trees for truffle production with the Noel Fitzpatrick and Colin Carter. The dream was ignited again. I also went on a ‘Truffle Tour’ where I took Kyra (as Luca is ‘entire‘ that counted him out) where we visited a lovely winery or 3, watched a Lagotto Romagnolo and its handler demonstrate how his dog finds truffle (they pre buried a truffle into the ground an hour or so before we all arrived for this demonstration) and then had a 3 course meal with truffles, of course.

I did lots of reading and bought some ‘fake’ truffle product from France called Canitruff as the truffle dogs in Europe seemed to be trained on this. It was also coming into Truffle season and I contacted many truffle growers seeking a truffle for me and some for my dog (yep all but one thought I was nuts after they asked what breed of dog I had and were was my truffière?).

The truffle has a very short shelf life and the season is June to August, roughly, in Australia. My truffle arrived and I feed some mates (this has been a yearly ritual for me for a decade).

I sliced up some truffle and started to introduce it to Luca, back to basics I learned in K9 Nose Works! Over time Luca would find the scent over the yard, in trees, inside in all the places I hid it.

Stepping up our training I contacted our Koolie breeder (thanks to Silhouette) and asked if they had any dirt I could play in and spent many weekends driving four hours from home and scenting all over the place with truffle scent.

Through a friend I managed to make contact with a grower an hour away from Canberra. They were more than happy for me to come up and they would do a mock up truffle hunt in the orchard.

You need to understand a couple of huge barriers at this point.
1) Growers do not let people and dogs onto their farms for a multitude of reasons. Most have dogs, there’s the fear of introducing biological contaminants and, it’s a fledgling industry covered in secrecy (tighter than the FBI).
2) It looked like Lagotto Romagnolo were the ‘dog’ of choice.
3) Did I tell you when you say you have a Koolie (they all said “what is that?”) and when I add I don’t own a farm and want to test my training…. they think you’re nuts!
4) Farmers with truffle dogs help other farmers without dogs!

Many emails later and lengthy conversations, plus my friend’s hard work (unknown to me) in the background I get an email offering me and the dogs access to their Southern Tablelands truffière at Bredbo, NSW.

The 2nd of July sees Luca and Kyra compete in the first Victorian K9 Nose Works Odour Recognition Trials (ORTs). I, yes I, failed them! My nerves got to me and we didn’t pass as I called it too early with both dogs – I was shattered with myself.

3rd July we left for Canberra with doubt all in my head after I so messed up the ORTrials!

Macenmist_wintertrees
On the 4th July (AKA Koolie Independence Day) we drive 1.5 hours from Canberra to the truffière. Minus 1.5 degrees at 10.30am, heavy fog and ice everywhere, but no rain. I meet the owners, we chat and were offered coffee and headed to truffière with coffee and dogs in hand.

There was no guarantee there would be any ready truffles as the Lagotto’s had been over it the day before.

I was asked what dog did I wish to start with and said Luca. Coffee still in hand and Luca’s leash in the other off we go. (Silhouette Kyra is also on the scent however, not to the level of Luca).

There are a variety of trees 25+ in long rows (I think) and I don’t know how many rows all up. The first row Luca picks up a scent and heads to the tree. I am told ‘yep we pulled one out of their yesterday’. He does this another 3 times (by this time truffier Barbara can see he has sound ability) 4-5 rows in he is on scent again. This time Barb didn’t say ‘oh we pulled one out of there yesterday’, Barb coached me ‘let him smell, there is something there see him sniffing’ Luca looks at me (his signal to me he has found the scent) and I know he has something!

Barb said, ‘Ok time to dig, don’t move him away’ as Luca starts to lightly paw the ground. Both humans put human noses to ground to smell for the truffle and start to move the loose top covering of soil, Luca drops onto his belly and shoves his nose through 4 digging hands and Barb says ‘dig where his nose is’ and she lets me dig.

At the tip of Luca’s nose, I see what could be (remember I have only seen them cleaned up and ready to eat – not insitu) the very tip of a truffle, he had  shown us exactly where the truffle was growing.

Barb produces her speciality ‘digging up truffle tool’ and hands it to me saying this may be easier than your fingers, I take the dessert spoon (yep a dessert spoon) from her and scratch ever so gently around the edge, scared as hell I may damage the truffle. I lay it down and resume using my fingers until a huge truffle is exposed and soon in my hands,
free from the ground.

It’s at this point I forget everything in the exhilaration of what has happened! Thankfully Barb brings me out of this and says ‘let him smell it and treat him’! This reward went on for some time and then Luca started licking my face in favour of chicken treats, Barb said ‘let him, he did this for you, you are his reward, he did this for you let him lick you all he likes’

kooliesnosetruffle1Luca found an 85gm (uncleaned weight) truffle and as far as I know made history as the first Australian Koolie in the world to do such.

Luca and I hope you enjoyed our adventures, and it also reinforces and proves the diversity of the Australian Koolie breed. Anything is possible!  Dream BIG

Follow our adventures and like us on Facebook ‘Koolies Nose’ www.kooliesnose.com.au
Or contact me by email kooliesnose@gmail.com

Karyn Turnbull.


Karyn is an Associate Member of the ATGA (it costs just $200 a year to join) and she has said that she’s happy to help new growers who are just testing their maturing truffle paddocks to give her dogs more practice. Members will see from her story that there a lots of things that the ATGA do, which could have helped her learning process and taken away some of those ‘secrecy’ concerns.