Rural round-up

February 16, 2013

OSPRI New Zealand seeking to add value to primary sector:

The name of the new organisation being formed through the merger of the Animal Health Board (AHB) and NAIT has been announced.

Chairman of the board, Jeff Grant, told a Stakeholders’ Council meeting today that in line with its intention to provide operational solutions for New Zealand’s primary industries, the organisation would be called OSPRI New Zealand.

“I would like to think that in five years’ time we will have gained recognition for having one of the best biosecurity and pest management strategies anywhere in the world,” said Mr Grant after the meeting. . .

Purchase of unique North Otago reserve announced:

Critically endangered plants and a rare limestone ecosystem have been protected through the purchase of a 20 hectare reserve at Gards Road, near Duntroon in the Waitaki Valley, Minister of Conservation Dr Nick Smith announced today.

The purchase of the new scenic reserve, from David and Lorraine Parker’s farm, was completed through the Nature Heritage Fund and is the first of its kind in the region.

“In the past we have seen a greater focus on protecting the high country in this area through processes such as tenure review, so it is a credit to the Parkers that we have now secured the protection of this threatened lowland habitat,” Dr Smith says. . .

Improvement in Bay dairy farm compliance:

Bay of Plenty farmers are doing better in complying with Bay of Plenty Regional Council’s dairy farm effluent requirements – but they could improve.

This week’s Regional Council Operations, Monitoring and Regulation Committee meeting heard that 74 percent of the 297 farms visited during the dairy season were fully complying with their consent conditions, an improvement on last season’s 67 percent. Significant non-compliance, where effluent is overflowing to land where it could, or did, flow into a water course, dropped from 14 to 11 percent.

Regional Council Pollution Prevention Manager Nick Zaman said the number of significant non-complying farms was the lowest since the 2008-2009 season. . .

Crowds turn out for Southern Shears – Terri Russell:

About 100 people have braved Gore’s wet weather this morning to catch the start of the 2013 Southern Shears.

The event kicked-off at 9am with the open wooldhandling competitions. There are junior, senior and open heats, semi-finals and finals, as well as a North v South challenge.

Southern Shears chairman Chas Tohiariki said it was good to see such strong numbers in the lower grades, with fifteen entries in the junior heats.

Woolhandlers were judged on their workmanship on the board, sorting and quality of fleece, throws, tidiness and times, Mr Tohiariki said. . .

More products in UK store tainted by horse meat:

Wal-Mart Stores Inc’s British supermarket arm, Asda, said on Thursday it had discovered horse DNA in its beef bolognese sauce and was withdrawing that product and three others from its stores.”We have a preliminary test result that suggests the presence of horse DNA in our 500g Beef Bolognese sauce. As you’d expect, we have withdrawn this product from our shelves,”

Asda spokeswoman Jo Newbould said. Asda has about 550 shops across the UK.”We are taking a belt-and-braces approach so in addition, as a precaution, we’re also withdrawing three other beef-based products produced by the same supplier,” she said.The three other products are beef broth soup, meat feast pasta sauce and chilli con carne soup. Asda said it does not have positive test results for horse DNA in those products. It said the products were made at the Irish food group Greencore’s plant in Bristol. . .

Goats Chuffed, Not Gruff:

An agreement among various producer representatives to have equal representation on the Federated Farmers Goats Industry Group means the industry can look forward to a brighter future, says John Woodward, Mohair New Zealand (Inc.) chairman.

“Goat meat is the world’s most consumed meat and, with fewer calories, fat and cholesterol than chicken, is a very healthy option, but at present the New Zealand goat industries remain under rated and under utilised,” Woodward says.

“We expect that as a result of changes made at the Federated Farmers goats industry group conference held at Pukekohe earlier this week, this will start to change. . .


Traceability counter to horsemeat scandal

February 15, 2013

The introduction of the traceability for New Zealand sheep and beef hasn’t been universally popular but the horse meat scandal in Ireland and the UK shows how important it is.

With New Zealand beef traceable under the National Animal Identification and Tracing (NAIT) scheme, Federated Farmers believes the current horsemeat scandal in Europe provides an opportunity for NAIT to deliver on its value-add promise for our farmers.

“The horsemeat scandal in Europe provides an acid test for the NAIT concept of traceability,” says Jeanette Maxwell, Federated Farmers Meat & Fibre chairperson.

“Europe was held up as the gold standard for traceability but in reality, it is New Zealand that now has one of the most rigorous systems on earth.

“I know Kiwi beef farmers are shocked by the almost daily revelations that stretch from Ireland to Romania. We keep asking how systems designed to ensure traceable meat there could have broken down so spectacularly.

“Aspects of European meat procurement resemble something out of an Ian Fleming novel.

“While our beef exports to the European Union are small, at over 12,000 tonnes, it is a lucrative market worth $149 million in 2011/12. This uncertain climate regarding European beef must surely make our traceable beef stand out; especially at the premium end.

“It is time for the NAIT value-add promise to deliver for farmers and don’t we need it. It may also be a golden chance to cement ‘NZ Inside’ European premium processed food products too,” Mrs Maxwell concluded.

NAIT has added effort and costs to production. The horse meat scandal might prove its worth.

Consumers will be even more anxious to know where their meat comes from now. NAIT makes it easy which provides an opportunity for New Zealand beef.


Protection, subsidies incentivise meat cheats

February 11, 2013

The discovery of horse meat in burgers in Ireland has been followed by news that up to 100% of meat in some lasagne came from horses too.

Liberty Scott points out that protection and subsidies incentivise the meat cheats:

This is fraud, and should be treated as such.  However, secondary to this are the market distortions created by the Common Agricultural Policy.  Meat moves freely and tariff free within the EU.  However, the EU imposes strict quotas on beef from outside the EU, such as a limit of 1,200 tonnes a year from New Zealand.  It also imposes a 20% tariff within that quota.  Although it allows outside quota beef in, it must have a tariff of around 100-250%.  All NZ beef imported into the EU must meet strict labelling and traceability conditions, unlike the subsidised EU beef.

 
There are obvious pressures to source cheap beef for low priced products, but the EU Common Agricultural Policy prevents this by propping up inefficient producers in the EU.  The quotas on imports should be abolished immediately, and tariffs abolished, so that beef can be imported at low cost and high quality.  It wont stop fraud happening, but reduces the pressure to substitute real beef for cheap alternatives due to trade protectionism.
EU residents pay higher taxes to subsidise inefficient producers and consumers pay more for food, some of which is of lower quality, because of tariffs and reduced competition.

Horse meat is widely eaten in Europe so it might not be a food safety issue though it does call into question the effectiveness of strict food labelling requirements.

Whether or not it’s a food safety issue though is no excuse for fraudulently labelling horse meat as beef. However, there would be a lot less incentive for this if the EU had freer trade with countries outside its borders.


Rural round-up

January 23, 2013

Urgent inquiry after horse meat found in burgers – Cassandra Mason:

Food watchdogs in Britain have launched an urgent inquiry into beef produce after a number of products were found to contain horse meat.

Frozen burgers from processing plants in the UK and Ireland and on shelves at major retail chains like Tesco, were found to contain horse DNA, with some patties containing up to 29 per cent horse meat.

An investigation by British and Irish governments, food authorities and the companies involved is now underway. . . .

Awards the “tip of the iceberg”:

The Ballance Farm Environment Awards have gone from strength to strength as a showcase for sustainable farming and are more important than ever before.

“This is recognised by farmers and more of them are entering the awards each year which is continually raising the bar for other farmers,” says Ballance Chief Executive Larry Bilodeau.

“What’s important about the awards is that they do more than just acknowledge success. They are creating a growing pool of farmers who demonstrate great environmental leadership who are happy to share their advice and experience.” . . .

Federated Farmers welcomes cabinet reshuffle:

The announcement that the Hon. David Carter has been promoted to Speaker of the House and that Hon. Nathan Guy will take over as the Minister for Primary Industries is welcomed by Federated Farmers.

“This is not surprising news; we have known for some time that David Carter was likely to be promoted to Speaker,” Federated Farmers National President Bruce Wills says.

“David has built up a great working relationship with Federated Farmers and the rest of the agricultural sector in his time, as first the Minister of Agriculture and Forestry and, post ministry amalgamation, as Primary Industries Minister. We have a great deal of respect for what he has achieved for our industry over the past four years. . .

DairyNZ welcomes new Ministerial appointments:

Industry-good body DairyNZ has welcomed the appointment of Levin dairy farmer Nathan Guy to the position of Minister for Primary Industries.

DairyNZ Chairman John Luxton says the dairy industry is leading a renewed focus on responsible and competitive dairy farming, with a new Sustainable Dairying; Water Accord about to be released and a Strategy for Sustainable Dairy Farming under development and going to be launched in May.

“We know the Minister has first-hand knowledge of dairy farming and its challenges – and will be able to engage easily with farmers and talk their language,” he says. “That’s a huge plus when you are doing that job.” . .

Meanwhile down on the farm – Quilting Orchardist:

Meanwhile down on the farm….orchard actually things have been busy……yesterday and today and possibly still tomorrow we are picking avocados ( 2nd pick for the season )( there may yet be a 3rd pick in April! !!) 3 hydraladas; 2 ground pickers ( R and me ) one tractor driver R.  We have Lisa and Gavin back as our lada drivers. ( we asked for them as they do an excellent job ) . .

Freedman Eyeing Up Second $1,000,000 Karaka Million:

Last year’s $1 million New Zealand Bloodstock Karaka Million winning trainer – Australian-based Anthony Freedman – is in search of another Karaka Million title with Minaj who arrived in New Zealand last week and had her first gallop on Ellerslie’s track this morning.

Freedman has so far stuck to last year’s winning formula, having also galloped Ockham’s Razor (Any Suggestion) at Ellerslie a few days prior to the colt winning the 2012 running in emphatic fashion.
A two-year-old filly by Commands, Minaj (ex Ms Seneca Rock) has had two starts in Australia, winning her debut at Flemington by 2.5 lengths before running fourth at Mornington on 12 January. . .


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