Rural round-up

 Green light for kiwifruit boosts orchard sales – Carmen Hall:

Record forecast prices for green kiwifruit have driven up horticulture property sales in the Western Bay of Plenty.

Tauranga PGG Wrightson Real Estate salesman Stan Robb says confidence in the industry is rebounding.

Values for well-located green kiwifruit orchards increased 30 per cent in the past six months and by 100 per cent since spring last year, he said.

“Even at the present benchmark price of $230,000 per canopy hectare, a 15 per cent return on investment appears achievable with a high-producing green kiwifruit orchard. . .

 It’s summer: Beware cruel stock disease – Carmen Hall:

Facial eczema is not a problem in the Bay of Plenty at the moment but farmers are advised to check stock for any outbreaks over summer.

Bay of Plenty Federated Farmers’ provisional president, Rick Powdrell, says it is a production killer and one of the nastiest diseases stock can get.

From an animal welfare perspective, it’s one of the cruellest stock can suffer from, he says.

Dairy and beef cattle, sheep, deer and goats are susceptible to facial eczema.

It attacks the liver and is picked up by animals ingesting fungal spores from the pasture. . .

Electronic Tongues Measure Grape Ripeness:

Electronic tongues can become an ally of grape growers as they offer detailed information on the degree of grape maturity and this could improve competitiveness. The study has been carried out by researchers at the Universitat Politècnica de València, in collaboration with Valencia winery Torre Oria.

The conclusions of this work have been published in the journal Food Research International.

In the study, researchers applied electronic tongues developed in his lab to measure the maturity of eight different types of grapes (Macabeo, Chardonnay, Pinot Noir, Cabernet Sauvignon, Shyrah, Merlot and Bobal) in several locations of vineyards of Utiel and Requena (Valencia) and observed a good correlation between the response of the tongue and parameters analysed in traditional tests: the acidity of the fruit and its amount of sugar. . . .

Sheep and wool – year in review – Cara Jeffery & Dannika Bonser:

BACKFLIPS and sidesteps were made by the Sheepmeat Council of Australia (SCA) and Wool Producers Australia (WPA) prior to the introduction of the mandatory Sheep Health Statement (SHS) in July.

It was part of the national plan to tackle Ovine Johnes Disease (OJD), with the new document encouraging farmers to take ownership of their individual management plans and create regional biosecurity areas.

Following backlash from the public consultation period in January, the document was simplified and slim-lined, and now features several ‘yes/no’ questions and a comments section for additional information. . . .

Sheep and wool in review part 2 –  Cara Jeffery & Dannika Bonser:

ONE of the most talked about issues in sheep circles this year was the Uardry stud naming rights.

Dubbo Merino breeders Graham and Susan Coddington, purchased the Uardry stud trademark and intellectual property from Tom Brinkworth, who purchased the Uardry property last year, however, Mr Brinkworth failed to transfer the registration of the stud to his name.

This is where the waters get muddied; the Coddington’s were given approval in June from the NSW Stud Merino Breeders’ Association to use the Uardry stud trademark they had purchased.

However, this decision was controversially overturned by Australia Association of Stud Merino Breeders (AASMB) in July. . . .

Sheep and wool in review part 3 – Cara Jeffery & Dannika Bonser:

ITALIAN luxury apparel giant Ermenegildo Zegna marked its 50th anniversary of the Zegna wool trophies in Australia in April.

The Zegna Group headed up by company chairman Count Paolo Zegna flew in more than 200 fashion and lifestyle journalists from the northern hemisphere for the event in an effort to showcase superfine woolgrowing operations to the world.

The contingent visited superfine properties in the New England and capped off their visit with a gala event in Sydney attended by 1000 people.

Count Paolo’s message: “Don’t treat wool as a commodity. Wool is not a commodity, wool is a very precious fibre”. . . .

A record year for lamb export:

LAMB exports reached a record high last year as combined totals climbed 13 per cent on the previous year, according to Meat and Livestock Australia.

Driven by 12 months of elevated lamb turnoff, combined with strong international demand, total Australian lamb exports surpassed 200,000 tonnes in 2013, reaching a record 213,715 tonnes swt.

This total was up 25,097 tonnes (13pc) on the previous record set in 2012, and was topped off by the second largest monthly export volume on record in December, at 20,250 tonnes swt, up 23pc year-on-year.

In 2013, the Middle East was Australia’s largest lamb export market, totalling 59,752 tonnes swt, up 15pc, or 7940 tonnes year-on-year – accounting for 28pc of total Australian lamb exports. . .

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