For a second year in a row, growers in the NSW Riverina are hoping for flooding rains in spring to plant a rice crop this season.
NSW Department of Primary Industries co-ordinator wildlife management Patrick O’Brien said that whilst the majority of NSW is still in drought, average rainfall in some parts of Victoria might mean improved conditions across NSW are hopefully just around the corner.
“The prolonged drought across NSW has meant reduced inflows so far this season, but we are hoping the culmination of the snow melt with average spring rains will improve inflows and see allocations commence to southern NSW irrigators,” he said.
In NSW, duck hunting is only allowed under the NSW Native Game Bird Management Program, which is administered by the NSW Department of Primary Industries — Game Licensing Unit.
The program allows landholders to sustainably manage native game birds that are impacting on their agricultural land with the assistance of volunteer licensed hunters who have passed the Waterfowl Identification Test (WIT) and hold a current NSW Game Hunting Licence.
“Both the landholder and hunter register access systems will again be available to landholders should they require assistance from licensed hunters this season, particularly for those growers who decide to plant rice, or who are experiencing impacts on their other crops,” Patrick said.
NSW DPI researches are conducting research on duck demography (survival rates, reproduction and movement) and how these rates are influenced by the environment.
The research should provide a much better understanding of what drives waterfowl population changes and, in particular, a more complete understanding of future population size.
“At first, satellite trackers will go on Pacific black ducks, Grey teal and Wood ducks, as they are the most commonly harvested species in NSW. After that, the aim would be to expand the survey to some of the other species,” Patrick said.
Game Licensing Unit compliance officers will again be conducting regular checks across the Riverina during the rice growing season on those hunters who are hunting and operating within the guidelines of the Native Game Bird Management Program, as well as responding to any reports of illegal hunting or untoward behaviour.
Hunters who are endorsed for the game bird program and renew their game hunting licence this year will also be provided with a free Don’t Wing It — be an effective game bird hunter kit. The kit comprises a dry bag, duck caller lanyard, a Don’t Wing It information booklet and a copy of the Duckwise DVD.
“We have limited stock of these sought-after kits, so don’t miss out,” Patrick said.
For further information on the NSW Native Game Bird Management Program go to the NSW DPI website: www.dpi.nsw.gov.au/hunting.
- Climatic influences: A positive Indian Ocean Diploe (IOD) remains the main driver of Australia’s climate over the coming months. A positive IOD is typically associated with below average rainfall and warmer than average days for large parts of southern and central Australia.
- Rainfall outlook: A drier-than-average end to the year is likely for much of Australia, although for western Tasmania and southwest WA indicates a wetter than average September.
- Water allocations: General security allocations in the NSW Murray and Murrumbidgee regulated river water have not yet commenced for 2019.
- 2019 rice crop: A small rice crop is expected for 2019. Growers with access to bore water are expected to plant some rice.
- 2019 duck surveys: DPI conducted their annual duck population surveys across the southern NSW during May and July 2019.