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    A property near MYRTLEFORD, NORTHERN VICTORIA..and in this district, one of the main industries is?

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    Script is copyright Reuters Limited. All rights reserved

    Background: A property near MYRTLEFORD, NORTHERN VICTORIA..and in this district, one of the main industries is growing HOPS. The harvesting season is now in full swing and approaching its peak, giving part-time work to scores of pickers. Among the normal chores of the picker - stripping the tall laden vines.

    More than four hundred acres of country in the rich OVENS VALLEY, around MYRTLEFORD, BRIGHT, POREPUNKAH and EUROBIN is under hops. The age-old method of stripping the vines - a tedious and tiring job, taking many hours.

    This season's yield in VICTORIA should reach nearly three hundred tons, and to speed up the process of picking and sorting some growers have mechanised their properties. The vines are brought to the shed - less labour is required in the fields, labour that has been harder to find in recent years. Mechanisation is taking over from the pickers. The metal fingers of machinery now strip the vines, in place of human hands.

    At present this machinery is undergoing extensive trials on one of the biggest hop gardens in VICTORIA. Only twenty are needed to operate it - replacing two hundred and fifty pickers. The machinery was imported and cost thirteen-thousand-pounds.

    The hops leave the stripping chamber on a belt and are given a final check before being stored. On other properties hundreds of pickers are still employed but it is predicted mechanisation will increase gradually in VICTORIA's hop fields in the next few years.

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    Reuters - Source to be Verified
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