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Newsletter: Tas State Report

By Michael Chilvers, 2012 Scholar and Chair

August 2017

As I consider composing the summary of highlights and activities Nuffield Australia has carried out in Tasmania since my last report, it is interesting to reflect on the seasonal conditions experienced over the last 12 months and our obsession with the concept and importance of averages.

The 2016 winter period broke many records for rainfall – it was considered to be well above average in many areas. Contrast to the 2017 winter where, as in many parts of Australia, the June rainfall in particular, broke records on the bottom end of the spectrum with single digit totals throughout the Midlands and East Coast.

If we take a slightly longer-term view, the two years are about average – not much help if one is in primary production and reliant on some level of consistency from year to year. The adage “it is when the rain falls, rather than how much” is proved to be the most meaningful yet again.

Having said that, the Midlands and Southern areas remain dry heading into spring, with parts of the North-West Coast relatively wet and the Central North about where most producers would wish it to be at this time of year.

The Tasmanian branch had an autumn tour focused on the North-West Coast, visiting a variety of agricultural businesses based on the rich volcanic soils found in the region. It is always a pleasure and an inspiration to mix with both the long-standing, and more contemporary Scholars in the Alumni. A big thank you to those Scholars who organised and supported the program.

This year, we were once again fortunate to have attracted a good number of worthy applicants. Two attended national interviews and it is a testament to our Alumni who are always looking to identify and encourage potential applicants.

This year the application period was brought forward by a couple of weeks, highlighting the need to be pro-active in spreading the message and bringing attention to the benefits of the scholarship to people early, ensuring time to consider applying.

Finally, a big thank you to the Executive Committee who make the role of State Chair simple and to the Alumni who continue to ensure involvement with Nuffield Australia is inspiring and rewarding for us all.

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