It’s the market that matters

July 15, 2012

Quote of the day:

. . . It’s not the market’s job to consume milk as and when the farmer produces it. It’s the farmer’s job to produce milk when the market needs it. . . Dr Jon Hauser

In New Zealand, as in Australia about which Dr Hauser writes, milk supply is mostly seasonal.

That is less of a problem here when most of our milk is turned into milk powder, butter or cheese and exported. In most other countries most milk is consumed domestically in fresh liquid form and demand is relatively constant regardless of any peaks or troughs in production.

But regardless of what happens to the milk, the underlying principle is the same – it is up to producers to meet the market in terms of quantity, quality and price.

This is a concept which European and British farmers who have been protected from the market by subsidies are struggling to grasp:

Up to 2,000 dairy farmers are expected in Westminster today to protest at cuts to the price they’re paid for their milk. Last year, dairy farmers received a little under 29p for every litre they sold: this is set to fall to less than 25p. Since it costs about 30p to produce a litre of milk, the cuts constitute yet another catastrophe for a benighted domestic industry, and may put many thousands of dairy farmers out of business. “There has been an unprecedented outcry of anger and frustration among farmers,” says the National Farmers’ Union. “We are united in our demand for an immediate reversal” of the cuts.

Prices for farmers have stalled over the last 15 years: in 1997 they were receiving 25p for a litre of milk, while feed costs alone have doubled since 2010. Half of Britain’s dairy farmers went out of business between 2000 and 2010. Like the pig farmers who only save themselves from going out of business by growing their own feed, dairy farmers will likely attempt to make up the shortfall by reducing staff, which will of course have corollary impact. . .

Welcome to the real world, where, as Tim Worstall observes supply and demand rule:

. . . We’re in a rigged market because of the EU. That’s one cause.

But far more importantly, we’ve the standard interaction of supply and demand. Dairy farming is becoming more efficient: as farming has been doing since the Neolithic. That rising food production is what has enabled civilisation to develop. More milk is being produced from less land with fewer cows. It really is not a surprise that prices paid to producers are falling in real terms.

The effect of this is to bankrupt some producers and force them out of production. Which is, harsh though it may sound, exactly what needs to happen. Production is becoming more efficient thus we need fewer producers. . .

A Yorkshire farmer we visited last month said that message was the one good thing to come out of the foot and mouth epidemic.

All his cows were killed and before he replaced his herd he went through the figures. He realised that dairying didn’t stack up for him and rather than buying more cows he increased the amount of crop he grows.

The market matters. Rather than wasting their energy on protesting to politicians, farmers should be working out how to meet it.


Rural round-up

June 20, 2012

Beefing up the research team at Rabobank:

Rabobank Australia & New Zealand has announced the appointment of Sarah Sivyer as the senior animal proteins analyst in its Food & Agribusiness Research and Advisory (FAR) division.

Ms Sivyer will undertake high quality research of the animal proteins sector – beef, sheepmeat and pork– supporting Rabobank’s analysis of key markets in the food and agricultural sectors in the region.

Announcing the new appointment, Rabobank general manager for the bank’s Food and Agribusiness Research & Advisory division Luke Chandler said Sarah would be a valuable asset to the research team given her experience across a range of agricultural industries.

“Not only has Sarah been involved with the hands-on and strategic running of her family cattle property, she has also built a career working with leading global agricultural companies, which gives her an excellent foundation for her role at Rabobank,” Mr Chandler said. . .

Beef + Lamb NZ supports wool innovation:

Funds left over from wool levies collected by Meat & Wool New Zealand – now Beef + Lamb New Zealand -have supported the development of a new fabric that blends waste rice straw and New Zealand strong wool.

Beef + Lamb New Zealand Chief Operating Officer, Cros Spooner welcomed the innovation from Wellington company,  The Formary, the same company that transformed Starbucks coffee sacks into upholstery fabric for the coffee chain’s furniture.

“The Formary and Managing Director Bernadette Casey have made some valuable contacts in China which produces about two hundred million tonnes of rice a year. This makes vast amounts of waste rice straw and this latest innovation uses the waste rice straw and blends it with 29 micron wool to make upholstery weight fabric. . .

Milking the carbon question – Dr Jon Hauser:

This month I have been asked to comment on the dreaded carbon tax and associated government policy. It is a massive question and the Australian government is pouring an enormous amount of taxpayer’s time and money into the issue. This article provides a perspective on what is it all about and what it means for Australian dairy farmers.

Why is carbon a problem?

Many would say that the climate change is the underpinning driver for the carbon tax and associated government policy changes. Depending on your viewpoint climate change issue is either (a) a fiction and a conspiracy propagated by scientists and other political and economic opportunists (b) it is real but a natural climate cycle outside our control (c) a man-made phenomenon arising from our consumption and emission of CO2 and other greenhouse gasses. Irrespective of your personal view, governments around the world are taking option (c) very seriously. At an international level co-operation and direct action to reduce CO2 and the associated climate effect remains patchy. There is none-the-less a consensus that something should be done to reduce the rate of increase of greenhouse gas emissions and work towards a net reduction. . .

Top price for Gimmerburn bull – Sally Rae:

Maniototo stud cattle breeder Bev Helm was thrilled to    achieve the top price at the South Island Shorthorn sale in Temuka.   

 Rough Ridge Primo 1004 sold for $10,200 to Bill Callwood, of      Northland. It was also the top-priced Shorthorn bull in New  Zealand this year.   

 Mrs Helm, who farms at Gimmerburn with her husband Malcolm      and their three children, was “absolutely stoked” with the result. . .

Sainsbury cadets visits Alliance :

Representatives from one of the UK’s major supermarkets have gone behind the scenes at Alliance Group.   

      Two cadets from Sainsbury’s have been visiting the meat  company to gain an insight into the industry including meat processing, research and development and livestock procurement.   

  Lisa Quinn, of Ireland, and Mark Chaddock, of Manchester, were in New Zealand as part of the supermarket’s six-week Taste the World programme, in which students worked with Sainsbury’s suppliers and partners around the world. . .

Grass growth key to farm improvement – Sally Rae:

It is all about grass. Forget the stock, or even yourself –      Farmax Ltd general manager Gavin McEwen reckons the biggest asset a farmer has on their farm is the ability to grow      grass.   

 Farmax, which is 50% owned by AgResearch, specialises in decision support systems for pastoral farming enterprises.   

 Mr McEwen gave an address entitled “Converting Pasture Into Profit” during the recent PGG Wrightson seminar series at  Waimate.   

  New Zealand was very good at producing protein, particularly safe, reliable high quality animal protein, he said. . .

RX Plastics launches major product innovation at Fieldays:

This year’s Mystery Creek Fieldays was the platform for New Zealand pipe and irrigation specialists RX Plastics to launch their biggest range of pipe fittings yet for the farm irrigation market.

The result of a year’s worth of research and development time, prototyping and tooling up, the injection moulded range is glass reinforced nylon, and will firmly cement the company’s position as New Zealand’s premier fittings manufacturer and distributor.

According to industrial designer and project engineer, Chris Clay, this is the first time in the company’s history that such a major product development process has been undertaken. . .


Rural round-up

May 7, 2012

Slow down speed bumps ahead! – Dr Jon Hauser:

There’s an old joke that if you ask three economists a question you’ll get four different answers. Despite this, the one thing everyone agrees on is that global milk production over the last year has been going up, up, and up! The million dollar question, and the one that has been causing the dismal science’s split professional personalities, is: ‘will global demand keep pace?’.

The final numbers are in for 2011, so this week we’ve decided to throw our analysis into the ring . . .

“Kaitiakitanga”  nurturing our natural resources and people for a prosperous future – Pasture to Profit:

Kaitiakitanga” in Maori means to nurture our natural resources & people for a prosperous future.

This is one of 5 Farm Business Management values set out by Tauhara Moana Trust, one of three finalists in theBNZ Ahuwhenua Maori Excellence in Dairy Farming Award 2012. Maori Trusts have different business objectives to most other NZ dairy farmers.  . .

Why does wool polarise farmers? – Alan Ememrson:

Derek Daniell’s remit to the Beef + Lamb New Zealand annual meeting regarding a wool levy achieved, if nothing else, a positive plethora of emails to my inbox.

It was an innocent enough remit calling for an “evaluation of the result of the discontinuation of the wool levy and investigation whether a future collective investment would add value for wool growers”.

The problem is, as it seems with all things wool, people are either firmly on one side of the fence or the other.

For the record Derek is a good bloke and a highly successful farmer. His remit is well worded. How it is handled from here by B+LNZ will determine if it is successful. . .

Lincoln honours palm oil alumnus – Tim Fulton:

An executive in the global palm oil industry has been awarded Lincoln’s international medal, backed by an assurance from the university that his company is the “socially responsible standout” in the industry.

Just over 40 years after leaving Lincoln College with a diploma in Valuation and Farm Management, John Clendon was recognised last Friday for his involvement with coconut, cocoa and oil palm production in the south-west Pacific and Asia.

Clendon is managing director of Univanich, a Thai company which Lincoln credits as “the world’s leader in the production of sustainable palm oil”. . .

Tight unit wins Farmer of Year award – Sally Rae:

It was cattle that brought the 2012 OtagoSharemilker/Equity Farmer of the Year winners James and Helen Hartshorne together.   

 Mr Hartshorne, originally from Shrewsbury in Shropshire, was showing Holstein-Friesians at the Royal Welsh Show in 1999,      while his future bride, from Wales, was exhibiting Guernseys .. .

Farm managers of  year love their job – Sally Rae:

Gareth Dawson always knew he was going to pursue an    outdoors career.   

He did not want to be “stuck indoors” and chose dairy farming, after helping a friend herd testing one day “and      just never left” the industry.   

Mr Dawson and his wife Angela, who now manage a 560 cow 186ha property at Clinton, won the 2012 Otago Farm Manager of the Year title.   . .

Rabobank builds rural business:

Rabobank New Zealand Ltd (RNZL) continued to build its rural banking business in 2011, recording net lending growth of $724 million, despite a contraction in the total rural debt market over the same period.  

Rabobank New Zealand CEO Ben Russell said the bank’s rural portfolio growth during 2011 was a positive result which primarily reflected refinance activity rather than organic growth of existing customers. . .

Kiwi avocado comapny wants slice of food service market:

A New Zealand owned avocado company has targeted the billion dollar food service market, with a goal to switch consumers from imported to locally grown produce.

Fressure Foods, a mainly grower-owned organisation, is encouraging Kiwi food trade companies to source locally produced avocados wherever possible to support local farmers and meet with growing consumer demand.

Currently the imported avocado industry in New Zealand is valued at around $1 million and around 200 tonnes of the fruit are brought into the country each year.

The February issue of Country-Wide is on-line here.


Rural round-up

April 26, 2012

Push to reduce workplace injuries on farms:

Farm workers have spoken of their horrendous accidents at the      launch of an initiative to reduce the “unacceptable” number      of workplace injuries on New Zealand farms.   

 Labour Minister Kate Wilkinson released the Agriculture      Sector Action Plan at Parliament today.   

 The plan targets four areas that account for half of all      injuries and deaths in the agriculture sector – use of      agriculture machinery, mental health and wellbeing of      workers, slips and falls, and animal handling. . .

Lawrence farmer top farm-forester – Sally Rae:

When Dennis Larsen bought his Lawrence farm in 1980,    there were no trees – just “a bit of scrub”.   

More than 30 years later, the 611ha sheep and beef property boasts 92ha of forestry .  . .

Farm-foresters called heroes – Sally Rae:

“You’re my heroes.” That is what Prof Henrik Moller, from the      Centre for Sustainability: Agriculture, Food, Energy,      Environment (CSAFE) at the University of Otago told those      attending the New Zealand Farm Forestry Association’s recent      conference.   

The 56th annual conference, which was hosted by the South and      Mid Otago branches, was based at Telford, Balclutha.   

With the theme Taking Care of Our Water, it included field      trips to Mid Otago, Lawrence and South Otago.

A once a day milking system needs a different mind-set? – Pasture to Profit:

I wonder if OAD (Once a Day) Milking farmers should be farming like TAD farmers (Twice a Day Milking)?  After all they are completely different farming systems. Or are they really different?

This is potentially a very interesting debate. Should all pasture based farmers farm in the same way or are the systems sufficiently different that they should develop different methods & different objectives? Organic dairy farms have developed different systems & objectives from conventional farms. So should OAD farmers farm as TAD farmers or develop a completely different system? It’s early days so let’s debate the issue. . .
Canadian dairy regulation – a model for Australia? – Dr Jon Hauser:
In the last commentary I discussed the issue of global food security. The view expressed was that this is a legitimate concern of many sovereign nations. In many (but not all) cases, dairy industry regulatory systems have been put in place to address this concern – to ensure that there is a viable agricultural industry with sufficient capacity to meet the population’s needs, and to guard against the strategic risks of droughts, floods, pestilence, trade and physical wars.

The Dairy Industry Restructure Package is now a thing of the past and Australia has almost completely dismantled government regulation and support for the dairy industry. Since this happened: milk production has contracted by 20%; private processors have gained control of the industry; factories are closing; family farms are disappearing; regulations are more complex; cost and quality improvement is essential. 

Was deregulation a good thing for Australia? To provide a point of comparison I thought it might be interesting to look at Canada where, despite raging debate, pressure to deregulate has been vehemently and successfully resisted by the dairy industry. . .

Action plan to reduce farm injuries announced:

Labour Minister Kate Wilkinson has launched a new action plan to bring down the “unacceptable” number of workplace injuries in the agriculture sector.

The Agriculture Sector Action Plan targets four priority areas that account for at least half of all injuries and deaths in the sector, including:

• use of agricultural vehicles and machinery • the physical and mental health/wellbeing of agricultural workers • slips, trips and falls, and • animal handling.

Agriculture has one of the highest rates of workplace injury, disease and fatalities each year – double the average rate across all sectors. Provisional figures show that 15 agricultural workers were killed last year alone. . .

Winter blocks can be at more risk of nitrate leaching:
Winter blocks can be at more risk of nitrate leaching

Greg Costello of Ravensdown looks at practical steps to reduce nitrate leaching

It’s a familiar picture of winter grazing. Groups of cows feeding on narrow ‘breaks’ of winter forage crops. What’s not so obvious is the potential for nitrogen (N) losses from these activities. Wet, cold soils, pugging and winter rain increases the risk of nitrate leaching and emissions of nitrate oxide from the multitude of urine patches deposited. . .


Rural round-up

March 27, 2012

Fertiliser Use Increases As Farmers Reinvest In The Land:

Total fertiliser use on New Zealand farms increased for the first time in three years in the 2010/11 fertiliser year, reaching just over 3 million tonnes.

This is a significant increase in fertiliser use compared to the previous year, which was 2.3 million tonnes, but is below the peak use of 3.3 million tonnes recorded in 2004/05 and close to total fertiliser use in 2007/08 of 3.1 million tonnes.

The fertiliser use data are reported in the March edition of Fertiliser Matters, published by Fert Research. . .

New Zealand…A Place Where Talent Wants To Live & Proudly Farm –  Pasture to Profit:

“New Zealand…A Place Where Talent Wants To Live” this was the NZ strategic vision that Sir Paul Callaghan(New Zealander of the year 2011 & ex Massey University Scientist) spoke so passionately about before his death last week. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OhCAyIllnXY&feature=related  Sir Paul Callaghan was a world class scientist, leader & a passionate advocate for a better more prosperous New Zealand. . .

Are You Using Farm Business Management “Apps” on Your Farm? – Pasture to Profit:

The Centre of Excellence in Farm Business Management is a joint virtual centre of the Farm Management Departments at both Massey & Lincoln Universities in New Zealand. The Centre is conducting a number of research projects in Farm Business Management. One of those projects is investigating what Apps (Applications) are available for IPhones/IPads & Android mobile phones.  . .

If You Don’t Measure You Can’t Control…Basic Pasture Management! – Pasture to Profit:

What’s going on? Have New Zealand dairy farmers taken their eye off the ball…..or even worse “lost the plot”? What has happened to their famous pasture grazing skills?

 Throughout the low cost pasture dairying world NZ farmers have a reputation of being expert grazing managers & very efficient users of low cost pasture. Is this still true? From my observations I’d say it’s no longer the case that NZ farmers are the best in the world.  . .

We All Cast Our Shadow on The Environment..NZ Landcare Trust Conference – Pature to Profit:

  “We are born into the shadow of our parents & eventually we create our own shadow”. Powerful story telling from George Matthews (a NZ Landcare Trustee) opened the NZ Landcare Trust Conference in Hamilton NZ.

Although his Maori proverb has to do with life itself….we all do cast our shadow on the environment in which we live & farm. Our Earth’s environment is in trouble. It was Albert Einstein who said that …” Insanity: was doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results.”      . . .

The changing face of the global dairy industry – Dr Jon Hauser:

Australia – A switch from cooperatives to private processors

The Australian dairy industry has undergone vast changes over the last ten years. The biggest shift is in the composition of ownership of the industry; Bonlac, Bega, Tatura, Warnambool Cheese, Dairy Farmers, Challenge Dairy … almost all the major milk processors except Murray Goulburn have gone from being cooperatives to private processors.

In just over a decade 65 per cent of Australian milk, from all states, has been lost to the farmer co-operative sector. This is a monumental change in the culture and direction of the industry. . .

Meat and dairy prices off their peak for now  but outlook positive – Allan Barber:

The recent fall in Fonterra’s GlobalDairyTrade on line auction for the fifth time in six months means global dairy prices have fallen by 9% since last May and by 24% over the season when adjusted for the value of theNew Zealanddollar. The dollar has only just come off historical highs against both the UKpound and the euro, so the combined effect on our dairy, beef and lamb exports has been disappointing to say the least.

But the outlook in the medium term is still good, provided our exports are not derailed by one or more of the dire forecasts of Greek debt default, general lack of buoyancy inUKand Europe, and the lower growth forecast in China. . .

AFFCO able to operate despite lock-out – Allan Barber:

Interested observers of the argument between AFFCO and its unionised meat workers may be confused by a state of affairs which results in a portion of the workforce being locked out, another percentage going on strike in support of their colleagues, and the rest of the workforce being able to keep production going. Read the rest of this entry »


Rural round-up

December 24, 2011

Milk of corporate kindness:

You can’t twirl a milk moustache.

Though there’s no shortage of people ready to portray Fonterra as a giant corporate villain, it deserves better than that.

The company’s trialling of free milk to schools is no less welcome for being commercially smart.

Any focus on the upside for the dairy giant, while reasonable and relevant, needs to be measured against the potential for improved health for a great many children in schools throughout the country . . .

Born with grease under finger nails – Sally Rae:

Mervyn Horrell admits he likes an “older type” of tractor.   

      “If anything goes wrong I don’t have to ring up an electrician or computer expert. I can fix it with two      crescents and a hammer.”    

And if he could not fix it, then he could always “just go up to the shed and start another one”.   

For when it comes to tractors, the Southland farmer has a  plentiful supply – 74 “runners” and another 10 projects waiting.   

 The beautifully-restored tractors are housed on the sheep and  cropping farm near Winton which Mr Horrell (71) farms in  partnership with his son Bryce .  . . 

Meat companies likely tos ustain profitability – Allan Barber:

It’s becoming harder to track meat industry performance with only two companies, Silver Fern Farms andAlliance, reporting annually within two months of the season’s end. ANZCO will continue to report to the Registrar of Companies at the end of March, while AFFCO is no longer required to publish its result. Therefore performance comparison is a matter of studying the available annual reports and gleaning scraps of information from farmer meetings and the grapevine. . .

Dairy Statistics released for 2010/11:

New Zealand’s dairy cow population is increasing at a greater rate than its resident human population, according to the New Zealand Dairy statistics for 2010/11.

Released today by LIC and DairyNZ, the document is made up of statistics sourced from the LIC National Database, dairy companies, Animal Evaluation database, Animal Health Board Annual Report, Quotable Value New Zealand Rural Property Sales Statistics and Statistics New Zealand.

In 2010/2011 the total number of NZ dairy cow increased by 132,000 to just over 4.5 million cows (4,528,736), an increase of 3 per cent over the previous 09/10 season – whereas the resident human population (at March 31, 2011) increased by an estimated 0.9 per cent to 4,403,000.

Along with the growth in cow numbers it was also a record year for the average production per cow in the country – up 5 per cent – to an average of 334 kg milksolids (comprising 190 kg milkfat and 144 kg protein) per cow . . .

Chris Auld gets shrill – Offsetting Behaviour:

Yesterday Federal Agricultural Minister Gerry Ritz uttered insane lies about dairy supply management:
I would make the argument that I don’t see those inflated prices, certainly, depending on where you buy,” Ritz told a joint news conference with Alberta Agriculture Minister Evan Berger and Saskatchewan Agriculture Minister Bob Bjornerud.
I received a flyer in my mailbox last night when I got back to my apartment and I opened it up and it’s from Canadian Tire. They’ve got four litres of milk for $4.19. That’s completely comparable to the American price that we’re always being beat up over.
Canadian Tire Econometrics aside, consumers are of course harmed by high prices driven by quantity restrictions. Click here to see a graph showing how much higher our prices are than the EU, US, or New Zealand (all of which also have some sort of supply management, Canada’s is just more severe).

I’m a bit puzzled though by Auld’s claim that New Zealand has supply management. . .

Draft plan aims to reduce high work toll in agriculture:

Improving health and safety in the agriculture industry – a sector with one of the highest death and injury tolls – is the focus of a new Action Plan released for consultation today.

The draft Agriculture Sector Action Plan is part of the Government’s National Action Agenda to reduce the work toll in the five sectors where the most harm is occurring; construction, forestry, agriculture, manufacturing and fishing. . .

A meeting of science and experience – Jon Morgan:

Rambunctious is the best name for this ram. He’s a big bruiser, used to getting his own way, and he doesn’t like being manhandled.

He struggles out of Peter Tod’s grip and makes a break for freedom. But the Otane farmer’s determination is stronger and the ram is wrestled into submission for a photograph.

He is picked out from a small mob as the most photogenic because of his open face, long back, well-shaped legs, sound feet, and meaty hindquarters. . .

Water footprints what do they mean for us in New Zealand? – Dr Sarah McLaren:

  • Have you heard that the water footprint of 1 kg beef is 15,500 litres, and of 1 kg cheese is 5,000 litres? Did you know that Unilever has set itself a target of halving consumer use of water associated with its products by 2020?
  • Or that Walmart is in the process of asking all its 10,000 suppliers to provide information on total water use in their facilities, and their water use reduction targets?

These activities all reflect an increasing concern about the limited availability of freshwater for use in economic activities. . .

Dairy keeps title as 2011 commodity king – Jamie Gray:

The dairy industry has been a star performer for decades, but the time has come for others in the New Zealand family of commodities to share the limelight. APNZ business reporter Jamie Gray looks at some of the primary industries that didn’t make the headlines.

It’s been another great year for dairy, but several other commodities aren’t doing so badly either.

To have New Zealand’s commodities prices moving in the same direction is rare, but sheep meat, beef, wool and log prices have all done well over 2011. . .

But wait there’s more – milk production in Argentina – Dr Jon Hauser:

Argentina is the quiet achiever in global dairy industry trade.  They keep ticking along at a growth rate of about 2.5 – 3.0% and every now and then they put in a spurt. This year they are having a real crack. The chart below shows the monthly milk production for the past 7 years and our seasonally adjusted plot. The seasonal adjustment shows the extent to which milk production is ahead of or behind the long term trend line.  The percentage growth is calculated relative to this long term trend. It is not biased by unusually high or low milk production in the year prior. . .

NZ potato exports break through $100m:

New Zealand potato exports reached a record high in the past year as more than $100 million worth of produce left New Zealand shores.

Over 93,000 metric tonnes of potatoes, including 30,000 tonnes of fresh potatoes and 62,000 tonnes in frozen products, were sold overseas in the year to 30 June 2011.

In the previous 12-month period to the end of June 2010, $92 million of potatoes were exported. . .

A conference by farmers for farmers:

Dairy farmers from across the country are invited to participate in the NZ Dairy Business Conference, the 43rd annual event hosted by the New Zealand Large Herds Association and Altum.

Phil Butler, chairman of the Palmerston North team organising the event says it’s the program designed by farmers, for farmers that makes this event stand out.

“We address the topics that come up outside of the formal discussion groups, around the opportunities for progression and improvement, rather than the mechanics of cows and grass.  As the country’s biggest export earner, the dairy industry is vital to the New Zealand economy.  As participants in the industry, we need to ensure we are up with the play with research, technology and global trends, to help drive continued progress and improvement” says Phil. . .


Rural round-up

November 9, 2011

NZ”s grass-fed livestock a missed marketing opportunity:

Leading British ruminant nutritionist Dr Cliff Lister says that “you are what you eat” is as true for livestock as it as for humans.

For New Zealand’s sheep, beef and dairy industries, he says that translates to meat and milk with a higher omega-3 content, thanks to a grass-based diet, and a “missed marketing opportunity.”

“Grass-based diets encourage lean muscle development rather than fat, meaning that grass-fed beef and lamb is typically leaner than meat produced from silage or grain-fed stock and contains a higher level of omega-3 fatty acids.”

Lincoln Universtiy Foundation Sth Island farmer of the Year:

Innovative South Canterbury farmers win the 2011 Lincoln University Foundation South Island Farmer of the Year competition

Last night Ray and Adrianne Bowan of South Canterbury won the Lincoln University Foundation’s showcase event – the South Island Farmer of the Year.

“We are incredibly humbled and overwhelmed by the win, especially as all the finalists were of high calibre. It is quite a surprise,” says Mr Bowan.

Lincoln University Foundation chairman Neil Taylor congratulated the Bowans. “Their commitment to innovation is ongoing –year after year. They are exceptional managers and are environmentally aware, as are all of the finalists.” . . .

Nuffield farming scholarship winners named:

Three farmers who are all involved in highly diversified operations have won this year’s Nuffield Farming Scholarships.

Sandra Faulkner from Gisborne . . . Richard Fitzgerald from Methven . . . Michael Tayler from Temuka . . .

Kiwifruit vine disease clouds export outlook –  Doug Steele:

The ongoing European debt saga continues to dominate financial market headlines and movements. Uncertainty is high.

For New Zealand agriculture, any impact will partly depend on how the European issues affect growth in China, Asia, and wider emerging markets as important factors in determining what price we can achieve for our exports.

While prices are obviously very important, so too is how much produce we have to sell. . .

Indian milk production – multiply three times ten – Dr Jon Hauser:

I am ever on the lookout for a good discussion topic on the global dairy industry, especially when it involves the fundamental numbers like milk production and price. I therefore couldn’t resist the temptation to delve into the Indian dairy industry when the following article appeared on the news services: India, the milk bowl of the world, Rahul Akkara, fnbnews.com, October 31, 2011.

Mr Akkara provides a glowing account of the indian dairy industry and its growth opportunities. The headline and sentence that particularly caught my eye was this:

Triple production

In the next 10 years, India’s dairy sector is expected to triple its production in view of expanding potential for export to Europe and the West.” . . .

Grass fed Rose Veau what an exciting meat experience – Pasture to Profit:

This week I was fortunate this week to be present at the launch of this exciting new beef product which can be a byproduct from the pasture based dairy farms in theUK. Many influential people who would have been keen to be present sadly were not able to attend this low key launch.

Grassfed Rose Veau (pronounced Vo) is an opportunity for every pasture based dairy farmer in the UK. No farmer likes to dispose of male calves at birth. What a shameful waste of protein the world simply can not tolerate. In the UK we have a fantastic opportunity to take these animals thru to 7-8 months & produce a wonderful “low fat, high Omega 3” high quality meat . . .
 
Oh Joy – Tim Worstall:
Honey is a miraculous food. Properly stored, it can last for ever. Jars of the stuff, thousands of years old and still edible, have been found in the tombs of the Pharoahs and in the detritus of the Roman Empire. And one thing that honey has always contained is pollen, because foraging bees bring it back to the hive. It has never crossed the mind of beekeepers to list pollen as an ingredient in honey because, as one apiarist pointed out, it is “like saying peanuts contain nuts”.  . .
 

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