Rockhampton, Australia
Rockhampton, Australia

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Chauhan Y.S.,Economic Development and Innovation
Agricultural Water Management | Year: 2010

The growing demand for maize (Zea mays L.) in intensive livestock and other industries has opened up fresh opportunities for further expansion of the maize industry in Australia, which could be targeted in relatively water rich semi-arid tropical (SAT) regions of the country. This crop simulation study assessed the potential productivity and water requirements of maize peanut (Arachis hypogaea L.) rotations for the SAT climatic zone of Australia using the Agricultural Production Systems Simulator (APSIM) model. APSIM was configured to simulate maize (Pioneer hybrid 3153) either in the dry (May-October) or wet season (November-April) and peanut (cv. Conder) in the following season for three soils found at Katherine (14.48°S, 132.25°E) from 1957 to 2008. The simulated mean total yield potential of the dry season maize and wet season peanut (DMWP) rotation (15-19.2 t/ha) was about 28% greater than the wet season maize-dry season peanut (WMDP) rotation because of the higher yield potential of maize in the dry season compared to in the wet season. These high yields in the DMWP rotation have been achieved commercially. The overall simulated irrigation water requirement for both rotations, which varied from 11.5 to 13.8 ML/ha on different soils, was similar. The DMWP rotation had 21% higher water use efficiency. Similar yield and water use efficiency advantages of the DMWP rotation were apparent for eight other agriculturally important locations in the Northern Territory, Western Australia and Queensland. The simulations for Katherine also suggested that the irrigation requirement of the two rotations could increase by 17.5% in El-Nino years compared to La-Nina years for only a small gain in yield, which has implications for climate change scenarios. © 2009.

Burns B.M.,Economic Development and Innovation | Fordyce G.,Economic Development and Innovation | Holroyd R.G.,Economic Development and Innovation
Animal Reproduction Science | Year: 2010

A review of factors that may impact on the capacity of beef cattle females, grazing semi-extensive to extensive pastures in northern Australia, to conceive, maintain a pregnancy and wean a calf was conducted. Pregnancy and weaning rates have generally been used to measure the reproductive performance of herds. However, this review recognises that reproductive efficiency and the general measures associated with it more effectively describe the economic performance of beef cattle enterprises. More specifically, reproductive efficiency is influenced by (1) pregnancy rate which is influenced by (i) age at puberty; (ii) duration of post-partum anoestrus; (iii) fertilisation failure and (iv) embryo survival; while (2) weight by number of calves per breeding female retained for mating is influenced by (i) cow survival; (ii) foetal survival; and (iii) calf survival; and (3) overall lifetime calf weight weaned per mating. These measures of reproductive efficiency are discussed in depth. Further, a range of infectious and non-infectious factors, namely, environmental, physiological, breed and genetic factors and their impact on these stages of the reproductive cycle are investigated and implications for the northern Australian beef industry are discussed. Finally, conclusions and recommendations to minimise reproductive inefficiencies based on current knowledge are presented. © 2010.

Orr D.M.,Economic Development and Innovation | O'Reagain P.J.,Economic Development and Innovation
Rangeland Journal | Year: 2011

Rainfall variability remains a major challenge to sustainable grazing management in northern Australia with perennial grasses the key to the stability of the resources that maintain a sustainable grazing industry. This paper describes the dynamics of five perennial grasses Bothriochloa ewartiana (Domin) C.E. Hubb., Chrysopogon fallax S.T. Blake, Aristida spp., Panicum effusum R. Br. and Heteropogon contortus (L.) P. Beauv. ex Roem. Schult. in relation to three grazing strategies moderate stocking at long-term carrying capacity, heavy stocking and rotational wet season spelling. The research was conducted in permanent quadrats on the predominant land type in an extensive grazing study in an Aristida-Bothriochloa pasture in north Australia between 1998 and 2010. Summer rainfall was above average for two periods-1998-2001 and 2008-2010 with drought and below-average rainfall from 2002 to 2007. Low rainfall affected the dynamics of all grasses by reducing survival and basal area through its effect on plant size; this impact was most noticeable for the shorter-lived Aristida spp., P. effusum and H. contortus. The impact of grazing was greatest on the long-lived B. ewartiana and C. fallax; this effect was accentuated by the 2002-07 drought. Heavy grazing during this period further reduced the survival and size of B. ewartiana in comparison with the moderate stocking and rotational spell treatments. In contrast, the survival of C. fallax was reduced in the moderate stocking and rotational spelling treatment during drought, relative to that under heavy grazing. The density of B. ewartiana declined even under moderate grazing and despite two sequences of above-average rainfall because seedling recruitment failed to offset mature plant death. Results from this study emphasised the importance of maintaining the existing populations of key long-lived species such as B. ewartiana through good management. These results also supported the overall findings from the grazing study indicating that stocking at the long-term carrying capacity is sustainable in managing for climate variability. © 2011 Australian Rangeland Society.

Daniells J.W.,Economic Development and Innovation
Acta Horticulturae | Year: 2011

Fungal and bacterial wilts of banana are currently rampaging through many parts of Asia and Africa, greatly reducing the profitability of production and impacting very significantly on food security. Fusarium wilt and the "bacterial trinity" of Moko/bugtok, blood bacterial wilt and Xanthomonas wilt are causing major problems to both commercial and subsistence plantings. Most recently tropical race 4 of Fusarium wilt has destroyed in excess of 20,000 ha of Cavendish bananas in China and it threatens the huge export industry of the Philippines. Resistant cultivars are often touted as the solution to banana disease problems, including the wilts. However, resistant cultivars must be part of an integrated disease management programme to maximise the chances of their deployment being successful in combating banana wilts. Experience has also shown that gaining marketplace acceptance of replacements for susceptible cultivars is far from a simple matter, and that cultivars resistant to wilts will likely have their own set of pest and disease problems. Cultivars with known and likely resistance to wilts are presented along with best-bet management procedures for good results.

Offler R.,University of Newcastle | Murray C.,Economic Development and Innovation
Gondwana Research | Year: 2011

The tectonic setting of the Devonian rocks in the New England Orogen has been the subject of considerable debate and controversy for many years. Our studies reveal that they have formed in intra-oceanic island arc and back arc basin (BAB) settings based on Th/Yb, Nb/Yb, Ba/La and Zr/Y ratios. Further, many of the samples that formed in a BAB have a mixture of MORB and arc-like characteristics, a few are almost entirely MORB-like. The arc-like features are believed to be due to the presence of a subduction component in the basaltic magma, the amount of which is controlled by the distance from the arc. Those samples with MORB-like compositions are thought to have originated at spreading centres. The compositions of Late Devonian basalts become more arc-like to the west suggesting a west facing polarity. Based on the tectonic setting and spatial relationship of Late Devonian sequences, we propose that two subduction zones existed during the Late Devonian, one dipping west beneath the Lachlan Orogen, the other dipping east beneath a rifted intra oceanic arc. Obduction of this intra oceanic arc over the continental margin of the Lachlan Orogen in the latest Devonian at approximately 375. Ma led to the development of a new west dipping subduction zone oceanward and commencement of continental, arc magmatism. © 2010 International Association for Gondwana Research.

O'Reagain P.,Economic Development and Innovation | Bushell J.,Economic Development and Innovation | Holmes B.,Economic Development and Innovation
Animal Production Science | Year: 2011

Several grazing strategies are recommended to manage sustainably for rainfall variability in northern Australia, but there is little objective data on their profitability relative to less sustainable management systems such as heavy stocking. In 1997, a large cattle grazing trial was initiated in northern Queensland to quantify the relative performance of a range of grazing strategies in a variable climate. These strategies were (i) moderate stocking (MSR) stocked at the calculated long-term carrying capacity (LTCC), (ii) heavy stocking (HSR) at twice LTCC, (iii) rotational wet-season spelling (R/Spell) at 1.5 LTCC, (iv) variable stocking (VAR), with stocking rates adjusted in May based on available forage and (v) a southern oscillation index (SOI)-variable strategy, with stocking rates adjusted in November based on available forage and SOI-based seasonal forecasts. Rainfall varied over the 12-year trial period, with sequences of dry and wet years. Gross margins (GM) in the HSR were initially high but collapsed in drier years due to high costs and reduced product value. GMs only recovered in later years with a reduced stocking rate and increased rainfall. The VAR and SOI were also initially very profitable, but GMs plunged as rainfall declined due to reduced animal performance and the sale of poor-condition cattle. This sharp cut in stocking rates nevertheless allowed GMs to recover well in subsequent years. In the MSR, GMs remained relatively constant across most years due to low costs and a higher product value. The R/Spell also performed relatively well despite being compromised by an ill-timed fire, drought and the subsequent sale of poor-condition cattle. Net present value (NPV) after 12 years was highest in the VAR ($11962/100 ha), followed by the MSR ($11873/100 ha), the SOI ($11167/100 ha) and the R/Spell ($10665/100 ha). NPV was by far the lowest in the HSR ($6930/100 ha). Profitability also varied the most in the HSR, with a negative GM in 6 of the 12 years. Incorporating the costs of natural resource decline would further reinforce the case against heavy stocking. These results challenge the assumption that sustainable management in a variable environment is unprofitable. © CSIRO 2011.

Lambkin T.A.,Economic Development and Innovation | Furlong M.J.,University of Queensland
Journal of Economic Entomology | Year: 2011

The susceptibility of six Australian broiler house populations and an insecticide susceptible population of lesser mealworm, Alphitobius diaperinus (Panzer) (Coleoptera: Tenebrionidae), to cyfluthrin, ββ-cyfluthrin, γ-cyhalothrin, and deltamethrin was investigated. One broiler house population had equivalent susceptibility to the susceptible to β-cyfluthrin and γ-cyhalothrin, with higher susceptibility to cyfluthrin and deltamethrin. The remaining five populations demonstrated strong resistance to cyfluthrin (19-37-fold), the insecticide used most widely for management of A. diaperinus in Australia. Each cyfluthrin-resistant population demonstrated reduced susceptibility to ββ-cyfluthrin (resistance ratios were 8-17-fold), deltamethrin (2.5-8-fold), and γ-cyhalothrin (6-12-fold) compared with the laboratory population, but cross-resistance patterns varied considerably between populations. Adding piperonyl butoxide (PBO) had no effect on the susceptibility of the susceptible population to any of the insecticides, but it increased the susceptibility of each of the five cyfluthrin-resistant populations: to cyfluthrin (synergism ratio range, 1.9-5.0-fold), ββ-cyfluthrin (1.6- 4.1-fold), and γ-cyhalothrin (1.7-2.0-fold). PBO had a more variable effect on susceptibility to deltamethrin, with three of the cyfluthrin-resistant populations being more susceptible to deltamethrin in the presence of PBO, but susceptibility of the remaining two populations was unaffected by adding PBO (synergism ratio range, 0.9-2.5-fold). Overall, the addition of PBO to the four pyrethroids had variable effects on their susceptibility. This variability indicated the presence of other resistance mechanisms in beetle populations apart from metabolic resistance. In addition, the relative importance of metabolic resistance in each beetle population varied widely between pyrethroids. Thus, it cannot be assumed that PBO will reliably synergize pyrethroids against cyfluthrin-resistant lesser mealworm populations when using it to mitigate insecticide resistance. © 2011 Entomological Society of America.

O'Reagain P.J.,Economic Development and Innovation | Scanlan J.C.,Economic Development and Innovation
Animal | Year: 2013

Inter-annual rainfall variability is a major challenge to sustainable and productive grazing management on rangelands. In Australia, rainfall variability is particularly pronounced and failure to manage appropriately leads to major economic loss and environmental degradation. Recommended strategies to manage sustainably include stocking at long-term carrying capacity (LTCC) or varying stock numbers with forage availability. These strategies are conceptually simple but difficult to implement, given the scale and spatial heterogeneity of grazing properties and the uncertainty of the climate. This paper presents learnings and insights from northern Australia gained from research and modelling on managing for rainfall variability. A method to objectively estimate LTCC in large, heterogeneous paddocks is discussed, and guidelines and tools to tactically adjust stocking rates are presented. The possible use of seasonal climate forecasts (SCF) in management is also considered. Results from a 13-year grazing trial in Queensland show that constant stocking at LTCC was far more profitable and largely maintained land condition compared with heavy stocking (HSR). Variable stocking (VAR) with or without the use of SCF was marginally more profitable, but income variability was greater and land condition poorer than constant stocking at LTCC. Two commercial scale trials in the Northern Territory with breeder cows highlighted the practical difficulties of variable stocking and provided evidence that heavier pasture utilisation rates depress reproductive performance. Simulation modelling across a range of regions in northern Australia also showed a decline in resource condition and profitability under heavy stocking rates. Modelling further suggested that the relative value of variable v. constant stocking depends on stocking rate and land condition. Importantly, variable stocking may possibly allow slightly higher stocking rates without pasture degradation. Enterprise-level simulations run for breeder herds nevertheless show that poor economic performance can occur under constant stocking and even under variable stocking in some circumstances. Modelling and research results both suggest that a form of constrained flexible stocking should be applied to manage for climate variability. Active adaptive management and research will be required as future climate changes make managing for rainfall variability increasingly challenging. © 2011 The Animal Consortium.

Kuballa A.V.,University of The Sunshine Coast | Holton T.A.,University of Queensland | Paterson B.,Economic Development and Innovation | Elizur A.,University of The Sunshine Coast
BMC Genomics | Year: 2011

Background: Crustacean moulting is a complex process involving many regulatory pathways. A holistic approach to examine differential gene expression profiles of transcripts relevant to the moulting process, across all moult cycle stages, was used in this study. Custom cDNA microarrays were constructed for Portunus pelagicus. The printed arrays contained 5000 transcripts derived from both the whole organism, and from individual organs such as the brain, eyestalk, mandibular organ and Y-organ from all moult cycle stages.Results: A total of 556 clones were sequenced from the cDNA libraries used to construct the arrays. These cDNAs represented 175 singletons and 62 contigs, resulting in 237 unique putative genes. The gene sequences were classified into the following biological functions: cuticular proteins associated with arthropod exoskeletons, farnesoic acid O-methyltransferase (FaMeT), proteins belonging to the hemocyanin gene family, lectins, proteins relevant to lipid metabolism, mitochondrial proteins, muscle related proteins, phenoloxidase activators and ribosomal proteins. Moult cycle-related differential expression patterns were observed for many transcripts. Of particular interest were those relating to the formation and hardening of the exoskeleton, and genes associated with cell respiration and energy metabolism.Conclusions: The expression data presented here provide a chronological depiction of the molecular events associated with the biological changes that occur during the crustacean moult cycle. Tracing the temporal expression patterns of a large variety of transcripts involved in the moult cycle of P. pelagicus can provide a greater understanding of gene function, interaction, and regulation of both known and new genes with respect to the moulting process. © 2011 Kuballa et al; licensee BioMed Central Ltd.

News Article | February 28, 2017

As a followup to our earlier article reporting that Trollhättan, Sweden, may be working to bring Tesla’s next Gigafactory to the area, we now have confirmation that this news was correct, as well as additional details. Sweden’s Economic Development and Innovation Minister, Mikael Damberg (S), confirmed the efforts by Business Sweden to attract Tesla to the region in a conversation with Sveriges Radio P4 Väst earlier this week. His comments (as translated for us by our Swedish friend Viktor Irle of EV Volumes) read: “I know a letter has been sent to Tesla and that they (Tesla) have marked that there is interest for Sweden. There will likely happen more things to this area in the near future,” said Mikael Damberg. As we noted in our earlier coverage, the city of Trollhättan could potentially be a good choice for the location of the next Gigafactory (despite high labor costs) because of the largely idle ex-Saab plant there, the workforce in the area that has experience with auto manufacturing, and the proximity to Gothenburg’s rail-hub. The ex-Saab plant is currently owned by China-based NEVS, but the company is reportedly open to leasing it and has a lot of extra space. Viktor adds the note that, “Trollhättan is located on top of a hydropower plant that has been running for ~100 years and still produces about 1–2% of Swedish electricity. Infinite power. 😉 It even uses a natural dam, so no extra land was covered in water to make it. Very ecologically friendly.” That definitely seems like a powerful selling point for Elon/Tesla. But it doesn’t end there. Viktor adds: “About 100 meters from Saab, GKN aerospace makes jet engines and rocket boosters (major parts). So, there’s a lot of engineering competence here in related fields.” The potential connection to SpaceX must also be appealing. Back to the local news source: “We will see what we can do to draw them here to Sweden,” Damberg continued. Not letting the point sit too subtly, the news source summarizes: “According to Mikael Damberg, the Swedish government can support [the Gigafactory] if Tesla Motors will go ahead with this plan.” Sweden has a lot of competition, though, as we noted previously, with more or less every other country in Europe having now expressed interest in attracting the next Gigafactory. Tesla will reportedly be revealing the location of the next Gigafactory (or the next 2 or 3) by the end of the year. In addition to a new facility in Europe, Tesla is also looking likely to begin building new Gigafactories in Asia and the US within the near future. How else will it keep up with demand for the Tesla Model Y & Model 3, Tesla Model S & X, Tesla semi trucks & pickup trucks, Tesla mini buses, Tesla Powerwalls & Powerpacks, and who knows what else? Buy a cool T-shirt or mug in the CleanTechnica store!   Keep up to date with all the hottest cleantech news by subscribing to our (free) cleantech daily newsletter or weekly newsletter, or keep an eye on sector-specific news by getting our (also free) solar energy newsletter, electric vehicle newsletter, or wind energy newsletter.

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