Saturday, May 17, 2014

May 15

May 15, 2014

carrots offered in Sydney Market
The group was off to an early start this morning with a 5:30 am departure to the Sydney Markets, the central hub for all produce and floral trade done in the area. A tour of the flower, banana, and produce “sheds” revealed a bustling community of growers, venders, shippers, buyers, and consumers. Here, the market offers fresh products to individual and wholesale buyers from 5-9am five days a week, and several smaller vendors offering their produce through the weekends.
flowers at Sydney Market
flowers at Sydney Market
flowers at Sydney Market
Australia is home to the world’s largest genus of plant life, which was on display within the flower sheds of the market. Native foliage most notably of emerald, topaz, ruby, and pearl colors are delicately harvested, packaged and put on display down every aisle of the sheds.

 As a main warehouse of sorts for the market, the bananas are a popular enough commodity to have their own section of the market. Here, green unripened bananas are transported in from the north daily where they are then placed and stored in heat and gas regulated ripening sheds. The green bananas are placed under 13-15°C conditions and infused with their own ripening gas until they reach an optimal maturity to be transported more prominently to grocery and convenient stores

Dairy cows at Leppington Pastoral Company
Our next stop was the Leppinton Pastoral Company, a 2,000 head family owned and operated dairy in Bringelly, New South Wales. The dairy is unique in comparison to other Australian dairies in that it more similarly resembles that of dairies back home. The free-stall, “climate control” facility features a Magnum 40 double 36 Westfalia- surge Harringbone parlor with the bulk of the milking components and electronics being housed bellow in a “subway.” Milking happens 24 hours a day with each cow getting milked three times a day. Outside of the milking parlor, the cows have an option of paddock turnout, and individual, sand-bedded stalls. Each barn is equipped with automatic fans and misters that turn on when temperatures reach 20C. According to our resident dairy experts, the Leppinton’s have excellent conception and pregnancy rates within their program while their milk production rates are nearly average in comparison to a majority of dairies back home. 

Cows in the parlor being milked
From there, we took a three hour southern trek through some of Australia’s less productive eastern country side into the Australian Capital Territory, Canberra. Canberra became the capitol of Australia when the country failed to agree on a location for the capital in a debate between Sydney and Melbourne.  Once in Canberra we found our way to the United States Embassy where we were able to visit with the FAS Agricultural Counselor, Hugh Maginnis, on the commodity regulations between Australia and the US. Topics of discussion included comparisons of US and Australian imports and exports, the Australian-U.S. Free Trade Agreement, the World Trade Organization, and the Trans-Pacific Partnership.

Lastly, we trekked up to Mount Ainslie, where we could look out on the city of Canberra and see the lights of the Capital. A full moon was about to rise, but the cold temperatures got to most of us and ended up leaving early. We then went back to the hotel, which was a shock to all the students, saying it was smaller than our SDSU dorm rooms and the bathrooms resembled a “porter potty” or “camper bathroom.” We then went out for dinner in the center of Dickson, where we all wandered to find a place to eat. Many of us went to a local pub, where we got to cook own steaks. The night ended early for most of us, who got a good night’s rest before the next day’s adventure.

Katelynn and Caitlin

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