In the forbidding old days of Imperial China, many a poor miscreant suffered the death of a thousand cuts. A punishment so extreme it was reserved for only the most damned.

If you are not familiar with the practice, let old Whacker once again dazzle you with his all-round intelligence.
Basically, the victim was crammed into something akin to a chicken-wire sack and left there for a short while - to ponder the pain that was coming and for their skin to swell under the pressure and poke through the chicken wire.
Then, to the delight of either the emperor in a private screening, or with a crowd of cronies, the executioner would literally run a sharp knife down the outside of the chicken wire, trimming off all the parts sticking out.
Followed by a delay while the punters waited for more flesh to be pushed through and the executioner was again summoned to apply his particular skills.
We've come a long way since then.
Chicken wire is for the chooks.
And the executioner, in Australia anyway, was retired for all time back in the 1960s.
Except for the farmer that is.
Who to this day continues to be bled by a more pain free but equally bloody torture.
Called levies and taxes.
In what, like those good old Chinese spectaculars, is an incredibly one-sided affair.
Federal, state and local government all demand, and get, their slice.
So do financiers, financial advisers, agronomists, farm advisers, suppliers, power companies, agents, peak industry bodies, car dealers, machinery dealers, processors, exporters, transporters, this army with its hands out just keeps marching over the horizon and rampaging through the bank book.
Everyone seems to be harvesting the farmers.
They only go away when they get money and are back again the next season.
Rain, hail or shine.
Bartercard has not reached the bush. Why should it when the good old cocky is sitting there all plump and juicy and so easily plucked.
The days when bills could be paid with produce are just a footnote in history.
If the running costs get much higher, that's where a lot of today's farmers will be consigned as well.
Something has got to break somewhere.
Julia is doing her best to make sure it is in Canberra.
With her carbon tax.
You will remember that one. The one she managed to sucker just enough voters with by assuring them, indeed promising them, it would never happen on her watch.
So she must have been deliberately looking the other way when she allowed legislation to be drafted for its passage through parliament.
And bugger me, guess where the bottom line of that debacle is?
Yep, back in the bush.
Almost immediately with fuel and power costs - and then wait for the rest of the implications to sink in over the next few years.
At this rate it won't be long before farm produce adopts a whole new profile on retail shelves.
Forget the quality cuts, your steaks and lamb roasts.
The humble snag won't be getting sold by dollar per kilo. It will be getting sold by dollars per snag.
Because by the time every finger in the farming pie has taken its cut in the expensive world just around the corner, sheep will have to be walking out of the yards with a price double, or triple, the current historical highs.
As for cattle, well buyers will need a bank guarantee just to get one of them.
But when the dust settles, will it be worth all the hard yakka and all the frustration and pain?
Well truth be told, it may actually all soon be moot.
What with iron ore, coal, diamonds, gold and coal seam gas starting to gobble up the broadacre country as fast as it can.
With 100 per cent government support.
And bloated corporate and super funds with much, much more cash than brains buying up properties and the Chinese, you remember them and their death sentence stuff, buying everything else.
Ah, who'd be a farmer?