Lamb week 7 day lambathon

January 28, 2019


We love our lamb

January 27, 2019

Original Sam Lambassador ad

January 26, 2019

Share the lamb to bridge the ditch

January 21, 2019

Meat and Livestock Australia (MLA)’s  annual Australia Day advertisement promoting lamb, suggests sharing the lamb to bridge the ditch – or should that be breedge the deetch?


Word of the day

May 24, 2018

Lamb – a young sheep, especially one that is less than one year old or without permanent teeth; the young of various animals (such as the smaller antelopes) other than sheep; the flesh of a young sheep used as meat; give birth to lambs; a gentle or weak person; dear; encourage someone to squander their money, especially on alcohol.


How Do I Love Ewe?

February 15, 2018

Jim Mora mentioned the anniversary of the first shipment of frozen meat on the Pre-Panel this afternoon and read a snippet from my ewenique rewriting of Elizabeth Barret Bronwing’s poem:

How Do I Love Ewe? (With apologies to Elizabeth Barrett Browning)

How do I love ewe? Let me count the ways

That lamb tempts the taste buds and any hunger stays.

Of course I love ewe roasted, but still a little rare.

And I love ewe butterflied, from all the bones carved bare.

I love you chopped or diced and threaded onto sticks,

With capsicum and onion to get my vege fix.

I love you minced with salad in a burger bun

And chewing on the chop bones is always lots of fun.

I love ewe tender barbequed, the smokey taste sublime,

And shanks cooked long and slow for flavour that’s divine.

I love ewe marinated, with mint or coriander,

And many other ways my appetite ewe pander.

Though, proud Kiwi that I am, would be hard to find one keener,

My favourite way to cook ewe is how it’s done in Argentina:

 

The sheep for that first shipment came from, and were slaughtered at, Totara Estate in North Otago.

It’s now owned by Heritage NZ and is open to the public.

NZ History tells the story of that first shipment here.

 


Rural round-up

December 28, 2017

Lamb prices surprise in good year for farmers – Dene Mackenzie:

The year was one of surprises, consistency, comebacks and consolidation for New Zealand’s agricultural industry, ASB senior rural economist Nathan Penny says.

Lamb prices surprised by surging over the year, while beef prices were consistently strong.

Butter made a stunning comeback during the year, helping the dairy sector consolidate its position with another positive year.

The meat sector took centre stage in 2017 and the year was one out of the box for lamb prices, he said. . .

Sale marks new era for rail trail – Pam Jones:

A business that has transported thousands of cyclists over the Otago Central Rail Trail has notched up another milestone in its own journey. Pam Jones talks to Neville and Barbara Grubb about the beginnings of Trail Journeys and where the business will travel to next.

In the early days of the Otago Central Rail Trail it was not only the businesses and operators along the trail that were working things out from scratch, one of the biggest operators on the trail says.

”Those very first cyclists, they were the real pioneers of the trail,” Trail Journeys co-founder Neville Grubb said. ”They were just great. They didn’t mind what was there and they didn’t mind where they stayed. All they wanted was somewhere to rest their head at the end of the day.” . . 

MyFarm $13M Rockit apple investment offer closes oversubscribed – Tina Morrison:

(BusinessDesk) – MyFarm Investments, which pools funds for rural investment, said its $13 million offer for growing miniature Rockit snack apples closed oversubscribed.

The company said its offer, under the Rakete Orchards Limited Partnership, closed on Dec. 15 having attracted 67 investors with an average investment of $195,000. The partnership will lease and fund the planting of 55 hectares of the Rockit apple variety across four orchard blocks in the Heretaunga Plains of Hawkes Bay, the only planting of new orchards of Rockit apple trees in the country in 2018. . .

Sealord’s annual profit falls 19% on write down of now-exited UK business – Rebecca Howard:

(BusinessDesk) – Sealord’s annual profit fell 19 percent largely on an impairment charge of its British-based Sealord Caistor processing business, which was sold to shareholder Nippon Suisan Kaisha.

Net profit fell to $18.5 million in the year ended Sept. 30 versus $22.9 million a year earlier, according to holding company Kura’s financial statements, lodged with the Companies Office. Discontinued operations contributed a loss of $3.2 million to the bottom line, including an impairment charge of $4.9 million. Sealord’s income tax expense was $6.4 million versus $3.7 million in the prior year. . .

Dale Farm announcement widens North-South dairy split – Richard Halleron:

Confirmation of the two new production incentives announced last week by Dale Farm is further evidence of the growing production divide that now exists between the dairy industries on the island of Ireland.

The aforementioned measures, one targeting new entrants and the other encouraging the production of milk the year-round, confirm yet again that processors north of the border are committed to securing milk 12 months of the year.

And, what’s more, they are prepared to pay for this commitment on the part of farmers. 

Meanwhile, the southern co-ops and Teagasc remain totally wedded to the principle of getting as much milk as possible from grazed grass. At one level, this makes perfect sense. Irish dairy farmers should be getting as much milk from the cheapest source of feed available to them – grazed grass. . .


Never lamb alone

January 13, 2016

Full credit to the Aussies for another Australia Day lamb promotion with lambassador Sam Kekovich and Lee Lin Chin:

Although it has offended some vegans.


Rural round-up

June 17, 2015

What to do when you have two farms and three sons – Kate Taylor:

After decades of hard work, 64-year-old David Humphries would have been debt-free on his two farms near Waipukurau by the end of next year. But he has three sons – all farmers. So he bought another farm.

It wasn’t a matter of three farms for three sons, but creating a business big enough and diverse enough to allow them all to do what they love and to make a living at it.

At 364 hectares, Glen Moraig was the original family farm with 324ha Awaraupo added later. Now 600ha Te Tui has been added to the business. It is on the same road, but 10km closer to Waipukurau. It is hoped the business will carry 11,000 stock units across the properties once development has been carried out on the new farm. . .

The Trans Pacific Partnership (TPP) gets caught on American rocks – Keith Woodford:

Last Friday (12 June) was a bad day for proponents of the twelve-country Trans Pacific Partnership. To the surprise of many, the American House of Representatives has thwarted, at least temporarily, President Obama’s request for fast-track authority. Without that authority, other countries will not put forward their bottom line positions.

The irony is that the House has in theory offered Obama exactly the fast-track authority that he needs. However, the differences between the House and Senate versions of legislation are such that in reality he has been defeated.

The importance of fast-track authority is that the American Congress would then only be able to accept or reject the TPP without amendment. Without that agreement, ratification becomes unmanageable. . .

Safe Relationship Seminars Applauded:

Rural Women New Zealand is partnering with the Sophie Elliott Foundation and the It’s Not Ok campaign to present a series of Safe Relationships seminars.

The purpose of the seminars is to increase awareness and education to stop domestic violence in rural communities. Lesley Elliott MNZM will be the guest speaker and the event will include discussion about what makes a safe relationship.

Lesley established the Sophie Elliott Foundation after the tragic death of her daughter, Sophie by her former boyfriend. Lesley says, “I applaud this initiative by Rural Women New Zealand and I am thrilled to have the opportunity to talk to rural groups. Domestic violence isn’t a problem just in towns and cities, every community and socio-economic group throughout the country is affected. . .

 

Consistency of New Zealand Lamb is Second to None:

Peter Gordon ONZM has been an ambassador chef for New Zealand lamb in the UK market since 1998. He credits the success of the 17-year partnership to the product itself.

“I fully and wholeheartedly believe in the product. I am not just doing this to earn a fee. I do it because I believe in New Zealand lamb. Without integrity, campaigns fall flat. I can easily demonstrate to the public the genuine enthusiasm I have in cooking it and showing others how to do so.

“As a chef, the quality of the produce I cook with is paramount. The consistency of New Zealand lamb is outstanding and second to none.” . .

 

NZ industry backs US meat labelling move:

The meat industry here is hoping the United States will dump its law requiring compulsory country of origin labelling for meat imports.

The House of Representatives has voted to repeal the law, in response to a World Trade Organisation (WTO) ruling that country of origin requirements for beef, chicken, pork and some other products discriminates against imports.

Canada and Mexico are proposing retaliatory trade penalties against the US after winning their WTO case.

The US Congress also needs to repeal the law for the compulsory labelling to be scrapped. . .

 Moocall now available in New Zealand & Australia:

 Moocall is expanding its international operations by making their calving sensor available for purchase in New Zealand & Australia. The devices will be on sale via au.moocall.com and also through some local distributers.

Moocall is a calving sensor, worn on a cows tail that measures over 600 data points a sec- ond to determine the onset of calving. The device then sends an SMS text alert to two mobile phones to ensure the cattle breeder can be on location when calving takes place.

Moocall was invented when Irish farmer Niall Austin, lost a calf and a cow due to an unexpected difficult calving. . .

Seeka’s commitment to innovation drives top avocado returns:

Seeka will harvest all of next season’s crop for its avocado growers using the new efficient blue plastic bins it has been introducing as part of its commitment to innovation, says Chief Executive Michael Franks.

Seeka currently has 6,000 of the bins in service and will be doubling the number this year. The Surestore bins were built by TCI New Zealand, with development and design strongly influenced by Seeka’s operational experience. The Surestore bins are stronger, safer to handle, easier to clean than wood, and are lighter, allowing more fruit to be loaded onto a truck. Importantly, they are also less damaging to the fruit and have helped improve the quality of harvested fruit. . .

 

 


Never lamb alone

January 15, 2015

We Love Our Lamb’s contribution to Australia Day:


Generation Lamb

January 26, 2014

Australian Lambassador Sam Kekovich does it again for Australia Day:

SAM Kekovich is about to hit our TV screens again with his annual Australia Day Address to the Nation, his 10th year in a row as “Lambassador”.

In the past he has launched a music video, set out on “dip-lamb-attic” missions to encourage the rest of the world “to be more Australian” and sparked a trans-Tasman furore over his remarks about New Zealand’s former prime minister.

This year he breaks with entertainment convention and is working with both animals and children when he is seen thrusting a lamb chop into the hands of a child or “Generation Lamb” in an irreverent ad which also features a swipe at the remaining original Wiggle and a giant baby crushing a vegan barbecue. . .

A decade down the track Kekovich still takes the campaign with a grain of salt – and maybe a touch of pepper and some tomato sauce.

“I’ve always been fighting the good fight for lamb, there is no doubt about that,” said the former Australian Rules footballer on Thursday. . .


Rural round-up

August 29, 2013

In quite pursuit of the perfect lamb – Peter Watson:

Drive past Brent and Bernadette Hodgkinson’s farm in the Tadmor Valley and you would barely give it a second glance.

There is no flash house and garden and the property is far from immaculate.

But behind the modest appearance is a very smart, profitable business.

Not only were the Hodgkinsons finalists in the recent national sheep supplier of the year awards, they grow the meatiest lambs supplied to our largest co-operative, Alliance, by any farmer in the country. And they have been producing high-quality, high-yielding lambs year after year from a property where soil fertility is naturally poor and the climate can range from bitterly cold in winter to drought in summer. . .

Unsung hero recognised – Sally Rae:

Kevin Smith loves farming and he enjoys passing on his knowledge and skills to the younger generation.

Mr Smith, from Middlemarch, was recently named the AgITO Sheep Industry Trainer of the Year at the Beef and Lamb New Zealand sheep industry awards, beating fellow finalists Telford (a division of Lincoln University) and Waipaoa Station Farm Cadet Training Trust.

No-one was more delighted than the woman who nominated him, AgITO’s Rebecca Williamson-Kavanaugh, who was ”extremely excited” and very proud. . .

Employing migrant workers in the primary sector

With the rapid expansion of the primary sector, particularly in dairy farming, an international farm advisor specialising in labour management from the University of California, Professor Gregorio Billikopf, is visiting New Zealand to discuss labour changes and the increasing levels of migrant workers being employed.

In New Zealand for two weeks, Professor Gregorio Billikopf will have a number of speaking engagements, including addressing delegates at the Australasia Pacific Extension Network International Conference being held at Lincoln University from 26 to 28 August 2013, and a speaking engagement in Ashburton on Thursday 29 August. 

“Professor Gregorio Billikopf is an internationally recognised expert when it comes to migrant workers in the primary sector,” says Lincoln University’s Associate Professor in Employment Relations, Dr Rupert Tipples. . .

No more old tyres for silage stacks:

A THROW away remark – “there has to be a better way” – by Toni Johnson while helping her father place tyres on a silage stack cover, led to one of the best innovations at National Fieldays.

Aqua Anchors are either 14m or 16m long and 75mm or 65mm sections of lie-flat hoses hermetically sealed at both ends and filled with water. 

They lie over and around the edges of silage stacks to hold the cover in place and keep the crop from the elements. They replace traditional tyres. A patent is pending. . .

Nothing humble about the bumble:

Avocado growers are keen to hear the latest research findings on the use of bumblebees as pollinators, says AVOCO technical manager Colin Partridge, so they can plan to put the findings into practice and improve the consistency of harvests.

The topic will be addressed at the Australia-New Zealand avocado conference in Tauranga next month, and AVOCO, as principal sponsor of the conference and the largest grower group, appreciates the significance of the research.

“If avocado growers could soon be able to call in special reinforcements to pollinate their trees – the not-so-humble bumblebee – it will do a lot to stabilise the industry and could even help overcome the persistent boom/bust nature of the harvests,” says Mr Partridge. . .

Wairarapa Water Use Project Appoints Project Director:

The Wairarapa Water Use Project has appointed Michael Bassett-Foss to lead future investigations into what could be one of the largest economic and social development projects in the greater Wellington region.

Still in its early stage, the project aims to develop a multi-purpose water scheme to collect and store water then distribute it in the dry season for a variety of economic and community uses in an environmentally sustainable way.

Previously Mr Bassett-Foss has had regional development, investment and strategic roles in the private and public sectors in New Zealand, South America, Eastern Europe and South East Asia. . .


Rural round-up

July 25, 2013

Korean visit to address fears about trade direction – Marie

Prime Minister John Key heads for South Korea on Thursday for an official visit warning that New Zealand’s fifth biggest trading partner will slip down the rankings without a free trade agreement.

War commemorations will be a central feature of the visit, with 30 New Zealand veterans joining Key’s entourage to mark the 60th anniversary of the Korean War armistice. 

Key said outside those events, the priority was to make progress on reaching an FTA. . .

Farmer Confidence Rebounds, New Survey Finds:

Federated Farmers’ New-Season Farm Confidence Survey, undertaken at the start of the 2013/14 season, has shown a major turnaround in farmer confidence.  This result is in keeping with other recent farm and business confidence surveys.

“Farmers are showing a lot more optimism in both the wider economy and individual farm prospects,” says Bruce Wills, Federated Farmers President.

“You could say farmers are in recovery mode but this bounce back comes off a low base.  There is still a large gap in the sentiment of dairy farmers when compared to the other farming sectors.

“Six months ago, farmers were fairly negative about the wider economy and were very pessimistic about their own profitability.   This was particularly the case for sheep and beef farmers. In contrast, dairy farmers were feeling more optimistic than they had been at this point last year [July 2012], thanks mainly to better dairy commodity prices and growing conditions. . .

Alliance lamb in Oliver’s Russian eatery – Alan Williams:

Alliance Group lamb from New Zealand will be on the menu at the new Jamie Oliver restaurant due to open in Russian city St Petersburg.

The contract was a good boost to the business Alliance had built with Russian food service companies and restaurants over the past 12 years, marketing general manager Murray Brown said.

It highlighted the growing status of the group’s Pure South brand as a leading red-meat export, he said. . .

Eliminating wool’s dirty secret:

With New Zealand’s main-shear approaching, Federated Farmers and the NZ Shearing Contractors Association are backing moves to cut the woolshed contamination of wool. If successful, it could boost farmgate returns by a couple of million dollars each year.

“When you are dealing with a $700 million export, cutting wool contamination translates into a big opportunity for fibre farmers,” says Jeanette Maxwell, Federated Farmers Meat & Fibre spokesperson.

“As a farmer, the easiest way for us to increase our returns is to focus on what we can control. Woolshed contamination is a perfect example of this. . .

Head in a bucket – he does that every morning – Mad Bush Farm:

 He’s old, muddy, grumpy and he wasn’t making it any secret he wasn’t going to be sharing his breakfast with Ranger and the other little horses. As for me well the black eye has at last waned to a faded reminder of Muphy’s visit last week to the farm. The cows and naughty little Tempest, are finding out the hard way that an electrified wire is now on the road fence. We’ve had a few fine days, it’s still a bog hole here. My complaints are going unheeded by Mr Winter. He won’t be leaving until the end of August – darn. I’m going back to the mud now to complain some more or mayube I’ll just go and have a coffee instead

Talking of horses I found this beautiful tribute to the Arabian horse done with clips from the Black Stallion and other films. . .

Jousting for poll position – Milk Maid Marian:

Scuffles broke out right across the paddock as the weak winter sun lit the stage for a bovine pugilism festival. The cows were feeling magnificent and, unable to contain their energy, were ready to take on all comers.

The kids and I love watching the cows “do butter-heads” and the cows seem to love it, too. For every pair or trio engaged in warfare, there will be a group of curious onlookers and one scuffle seems to inspire more outbreaks.

Does butter-heads have a serious purpose though? Yes, it does. The herd has a very structured pecking order. Cows come into the dairy in roughly the same order every milking and the smallest and most timid are inevitably last. Mess them up by splitting the herd into seemingly random groups for a large-scale vet procedure like preg testing and you can expect trouble. . .


Rural round-up

July 21, 2013

Lamb price tipped to rise – Tim Cronshaw:

The return of $100 lambs for the 2013-14 season will go some way to lifting the spirits of sheep farmers.

Farmer confidence was hard to find during the worst drought in 70 years in parts of the North Island, spreading to a dry summer in Canterbury, and with an average lamb price of $85.

Meat companies believe $100 could be the average price for lamb for the new season starting in October, with industry good organisation Beef + Lamb New Zealand setting only a slightly more modest $98.50. . .

Lamb slide “will be bigger than expected” – Richard Rennie:

IDA Valley farmer Rob Gardyne believes Beef + Lamb New Zealand analysts risk significantly underestimating how far lamb numbers will fall this year.

His flock of Perendale stud ewes in Central Otago is expected to deliver a 200% lambing rate, alongside 135% from a mixed commercial flock.

However, he estimated the hit to the sheep sector overall this year would be greater than anticipated.

This was due in part to heavier-than-estimated losses of ewes to slaughter in the drought, as well as continuing conversions to dairying. . .

Optimism on meat progress – Tim Cronshaw:

Sheep farming leaders sense that a group of meat companies are coming closer to announcing a decision on whether they can find a way to work together in reforming the red meat industry.

Federated Farmers president Bruce Wills said he felt talks were “imminent”.

He said he would be surprised if farmers did not see some announcement in the next two to three weeks.

“We are going to have more in-depth industry discussions the next few weeks when the meat company proposal comes out. . . .

Pasture growth exceeds expectations – Tony Bennie:

As a few early calves arrived on Canterbury dairy farms this week, there were positive signs for the new season with good pasture covers throughout the region, says DairyNZ regional leader Virginia Serra.

“When we are talking to farmers, they are feeling quite positive and the main thing you consider now is the pasture cover on the milking platform. Is it where it should be for calving? And yes, in most cases it is,” Serra said.

Pasture growth had exceeded expectations in both June and July.

“The Methven area has been quite affected with the snow and they are perhaps just a little bit below target, but they are still quite happy with the amount of feed on the platform.” . . .

Westland enters infant formula market in China:

Westland Milk Products is the latest to enter the rapidly expanding infant formula maket in China, with the launch of three new products in Shanghai.

The West Coast co-operative is producing infant, follow-on and growing up powders, at a new plant in Hokitika as part of a move to reduce its reliance on bulk dairy commodties.

Westland has also appointed it’s first Chinese based representative, Harry Wang as nutritional development manager for China and is working with Chinese companies to distribute the formula products. . .

Time for an update – Cabbage Tree Farm:

It’s Winter here at CTF, and we’ve had a few frosts, but some lovely fine days too. Fortunately not too cold being at the Northern end of NZ. We don’t get snow here, it’s usually just wet, with a cold southerly wind or else fine and sunny during the day but frosty at night.

I’ve been out pruning our many fruit trees, some of the bigger ones have needed quite a bit of work and that’s very time consuming. I’ve been fairly brutal to them poor things but they did really need to be ‘minimised’ – we don’t want huge fruit trees with inaccessible fruit for one thing! While we may not get such a great crop this next season, I’m hoping the following one will be good. . . .


Rural round-up

March 17, 2013

Alumni awards honour Luxton:

DairyNZ chairman John Luxton has been honoured by Massey University at its Distinguished Alumni awards.

Luxton, QSO, a former MP and current Dairy NZ chairman, received the supreme honour, the Sir Geoffrey Peren Medal.

Named after Massey’s founding principal, the award recognises a graduate who has reached the highest level of achievement in business or professional life or who has been of significant service to the university, community or nation. . .

Alliance confident about lamb sales in northern markets

Southland-based meat processor the Alliance Group is quietly confident of a better season for meat sales in the pivotal Easter trade in northern hemisphere markets.

The last shipments of the company’s meat products for the Easter markets left New Zealand early in February and were still in transit, said chief executive Grant Cuff.

“We’ve only had early indications from those markets, but we’re more optimistic this Easter than we were last Easter,” he said.

Lamb prices were very high in northern hemisphere markets last Easter and customers were more pessimistic, with high unemployment and a lot of uncertainty around the world. . .

Working on quality – Terri Russell:

Southland meat processor Alliance Group is working on new initiatives after a visit from leading British retailer Marks and Spencer last month.

It was the retailer’s first visit since agreeing on an exclusive supply deal late last year. Marks and Spencer representatives visited the company’s Lorneville plant, near Invercargill, to look at processing techniques and product specifications.

Alliance Group, in partnership with Marks and Spencer, will work together to improve shelf life and quality of product.

Alliance Group general manager marketing Murray Brown said the initiatives offered opportunities for farmer-suppliers. . .

Five star treatment for Camelot cows – Michelle Nelson:

In the shadow of the Mid Canterbury foothills lies a modern-day Camelot, where something magical is happening – huge super cows are milked by robots, and a dedicated team of humans attends to their every need.

Camelot Robotic Dairy Farm is owned by the Beeston family’s Blumoon Trust, and is a place where animal welfare and sustainable farming practices are kept at the forefront of decision making.

At 26, Frances Beeston manages the state-of-the-art robotic dairy farm, home to the Blumoon Holstein Fresian and Triann Brown Swiss studs. She says life doesn’t get much better.

The daughter of Bryan and Annette Beeston, Frances grew up with elite dairy cows, and wasted little time thinking about where her future lay.

“I worked on the farm with Mum and Dad when I was a kid. I had pet calves and loved going out at night to check on cows at calving – I always loved the lifestyle,” she says. . .

Alien weeds feared in imported hay – Terri Russell:

Southland farmers aren’t sending hay north to support drought-ravaged farms – and they would only accept North Island hay if they were “desperate” for the feed.

Truckloads of Canterbury hay have been sent to farmers in the North Island this week to underfed livestock in the drought-affected north.

While transport costs and dry conditions meant Southland farmers had shown no interest in sending hay north, industry leaders said if the situation was reversed farmers would need to be vigilant about hay coming to Southland. They did not want unwanted weeds in the hay to spread through the region. . . .

DoC tries to leave none behind – Tim Fulton:

Canterbury conservator Mike Cuddihy has a favourite song lyric, “I’ll be holding all the tickets and you’ll be owning all the fines”. Tim Fulton meets a top manager at the Department of Conservation.

Some trophy hunters shoot the bull tahr but leave the females behind to breed in great numbers, Mike Cuddihy has noticed.

His incidental comment on wild game captures his view of responsibility for the “huge canvas” of the environment.

DoC will happily work behind the scenes in conservation but the onus goes in all directions, the Canterbury regional manager says.

In the South Island high country, where DoC is a large landowner rubbing shoulders routinely with farmers, the bush-talk has been of a fractious relationship. . .


Why is NZ lamb tastier?

March 12, 2013

An email says:

A friend in London asked me about why Scottish lamb isn’t as good as New Zealand lamb. I thought you might know, or might know someone who knows what the actual difference in it is.

I’ve had lamb at Gleneagles and it was less dense in texture and a different flavour, perhaps more intense lanolin, but I am not sure.

All lamb isn’t equal.

John Key was one of the judges at the Glammies last year and said it was easy to detect  distinct differences in taste and texture between the entries.

A Spanish speciality is baby lamb which has a very different taste and texture from the older lamb we’re accustomed to.

Breeding and feeding both influence taste, even if the meat is prepared and cooked the same way.

I am not sure if climate and soils also have an influence which might explain why New Zealand lamb is tastier  than Scottish lamb and welcome answers to the email question from anyone who knows more.


Lamb cheaper here and there

January 17, 2013

Butterfly legs of lamb have been selling at an Oamaru New World supermarket for $19 a kilo.

I appreciate that as a consumer but as a producer realise that is reflecting lower prices for our stock.

The red ink in meat companies’ annual reports showed that last years prices were higher than they should have been and we’re paying for it now.

We’re not in this by ourselves, the National Sheep Association in Britain is calling for supermarkets there to favour local lamb ahead of ours:

The National Sheep Association has claimed supermarkets are not stocking UK lamb as it is ‘out of season’ and instead opting for New Zealand meat.

The association said it was a ‘bitter blow’ for sheep farmers at a time when many are not receiving financial returns to cover the cost of production.

Farmers are losing £29 on average for every lamb they sell at market after new figures revealed farm gate prices have dropped by a fifth in the past year.

Lamb prices are at their lowest in three years due to a poor summer, rising production costs and a longer finishing period.

“Given that New Zealand lamb on supermarket shelves is not as cheap as it has been historically, a better pricing structure in supermarkets, a wider selection of UK cuts and better presentation on the shelf would all benefit shoppers and farmers alike” the NSA said.

But Sainsbury’s pledged to increase the amount it pays for lamb until the end of February at more than 60p/kg above the market rate.

The news came after several farming groups called on retailers to show a ‘genuine commitment’ to their British suppliers and customers.

More than 800 farmers who supply Sainsbury’s own brands will receive £3.80/kg for lamb, in a move that will ease the burden on some already hard-pressed farmers struggling with the collapse in the price of lamb.

“Sainsbury’s has recognised that sheep farmers cannot run businesses on current prices. It’s clearly time for the whole trade to now show they are committed to a sustainable UK lamb industry” said NFU livestock board chairman Charles Sercombe. . .

The recession has had an impact on demand and therefore prices for better cuts, notably lamb racks.

But the problem of low returns isn’t just due to meat prices, it’s also caused by low demand for wool and other by products.


Rural round-up

November 10, 2012

Synlait Farms Takes Out South Island Farmer of the Year title for 2012

Canterbury-based dairy enterprise Synlait Farms clinched the Lincoln University Foundation’s South Island Farmer of the Year competition for 2012 last night (Thursday 8 November 2012) with an entry that judges hailed as a prime example of New Zealand’s leadership role in innovative and entrepreneurial agricultural practice.

Chief Judge Bob Simpson said that all four finalists demonstrated leadership, excellence and innovation.

“Any of the finalists could have won this award tonight,” Simpson said. “But in the finish it was Synlait’s blend of family-based traditional farming practices with the very best of modern corporate innovation and management systems that saw this multi-farm company stand out. Synlait’s approach to its people, its stock and its land can be held up as an example of what can be achieved when good leadership and good people go hand-in-hand.” . . .

Landcorp ready to run Crafar farms – Andrea Fox:

State farmer Landcorp says its Chinese client Shanghai Pengxin will settle the Crafar farms purchase with receivers on November 30 and it is scheduled to start managing the dairy farming estate the next day.

Landcorp chief executive Chris Kelly said that to the best of his knowledge this was the timetable that would mark the end of the tortuous three-year Crafar farms sales process.

Landcorp’s management of the 16 central North Island farms is a condition of Government consent to the controversial sale to the Chinese company, which has waited through a string of court challenges and consent processes to put its money on the table as receiver KordaMentha’s preferred bidder. . .

Wool growers asked for $10m – Gerald Piddock:

Wools of New Zealand is asking for $10 million from strong wool growers in a capital raising offer to expand its sales and marketing capabilities.

The raising would give strong wool growers the opportunity to invest in a grower-owned sales and marketing, company, chairman Mark Shadbolt said.

The company has made significant inroads into transforming Wools of New Zealand into a commercial entity, aimed at connecting customer to grower, he said. . .

Wine sector senses a whiff of recovery – Claire Rogers:

The wine industry is on the mend after a gruelling few years that prompted a string of closures and collapses, New Zealand Winegrowers says.

One recent high-profile casualty, Hawke’s Bay winery and vineyard Matariki Group was put into receivership in September owing creditors, including the Government, about $11.2 million. Receivers PricewaterhouseCoopers said the winery struck financial trouble after reduced harvests in 2011 and 2012 led to weak sales, and that was compounded by a lack of capital.

New Zealand Winegrowers chief executive Philip Gregan said the 2012 harvest was down 19 per cent on 2011, and that had dealt another blow to the industry, which had been struggling since 2008 with over-supply and weak demand from the global downturn. . .

Sea air tenderises spring lamb – Jon Morgan:

Logan Brown’s head chef Shaun Clouston takes a bite, chews thoughtfully, swallows and then licks his lips.

“By crikey, that’s beautiful,” he says, shaking his head slowly, wonder in his voice.

On the plate is a lamb rump, finely sliced, with kumara, crushed peas and roasted tomatoes. It’s a simple dish. “I want the lamb to be the hero,” Clouston says.

This is not any lamb. The meat is from a young spring lamb, only 4 months old when it was sent to slaughter, and from a farm on the coast south of Whanganui. . .

Kiwi to Lead International Tree Society

A Dunedin arborist became the first-ever Australasian president of the International Society of Arboriculture (ISA) last week.

Mark Roberts, an experienced arborist and academic director of horticulture training firm Thoughtplanters, is the second non-American elected to lead the 88-year-old society.

More than 20,000 arborists from 18 countries are members of ISA today. . .


Rural round-up

November 2, 2012

Alliance Group secures exclusive deal with iconic UK retailer:

Leading meat processor and exporter Alliance Group has secured an exclusive deal to supply chilled New Zealand lamb to iconic UK retailer Marks & Spencer.

The   cooperative   will   be   the   sole   supplier   of   chilled  New   Zealand   lamb   to   Marks   &   Spencer   from Christmas 2012, sourcing lambs from approved farms across the South Island for processing at the company’s Lorneville (Invercargill), Pukeuri (Oamaru) and Smithfield (Timaru) plants.  

This supply arrangement is the first time Marks & Spencer has agreed to an exclusive deal for chilled lamb from a single New Zealand supplier.  . .

AgResearch scientist gets funding for new TB vaccine:

An AgResearch scientist has won funding to investigate the development of a new type of vaccine to protect animals and humans against tuberculosis and, potentially, a wide range of other infectious diseases.

Dr Axel Heiser has been awarded a Grand Challenges Explorations grant from the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation.

It gives him a year to explore the concept of a new vaccination technique that would be more effective and longer lasting than what is available at present. . .

Wasps to fight colding moth ‘will reduce need for spray‘:

Pipfruit New Zealand says a new biological control agent for codling moth could save apple growers millions of dollars a year in spray costs.

The wasp, Matrus ridens, originates in Kazakhstan and has been successful in helping control the moth in the United States.

On Thursday Plant and Food Research released 1000 of the parasitoid wasps into a Hawke’s Bay orchard. . .

Wool growers asked to put money into another international marketing venture:

Strong wool growers are being asked for up to $10 million to step up the scope of international marketing firm Wools of New Zealand.

Wools of New Zealand has been funded by the wool market development fee since 2010 and wants to raise $10 million by issuing shares to wool growers at $1 apiece. The marketing company was spun out of PGG Wrightson into a grower’s trust last year and is the latest attempt to build a central promotional body for the wool sector.

The Christchurch-based company needs to raise at least $5 million, and plans to use some of the funds to repay a $1.87 million loan owed to its shareholder, Wools of New Zealand Trust. The remaining funds will go to developing marketing and royalty earning programmes and to build supply chains. . .

More Fonterra farms in China:

Fonterra has signed a dairy farm investment agreement with local authorities in China’s Yutian County.

The agreement – forecast earlier this year by NBR ONLINE – paves the way for two more large-scale dairy farms to be developed for $100 million in Hebei province, which will complete the dairy giant’s goal of a five-farm “hub”.

The company says in a statement the two farms, 120 kilometres east of Beijing, will house more than 3000 milking cows each and collectively produce up to 65 million litres of milk a year.


Rural round-up

October 12, 2012

Business skill vital for farming success – Ali Tocker:

Business skills are crucial to high-performing and profitable farms, new research from DairyNZ shows.

The research covered 150 dairy farms in Waikato and Canterbury, and identified the key characteristics of the top-performing farms.

It took the top quarter of farms surveyed, ranked on operating profit per hectare, and identified their common characteristics.

“It’s not animal husbandry, feed or people management – the biggest skill gap is in the business area,” DairyNZ economist Matthew Newman said. . .

Lamb prices hurting Americans – Gerald Piddock:

New Zealand farmers are not the only lamb producers facing tough times.

North American sheep farmers have had a 40 per cent drop in lamb prices with values now sitting where they were a decade ago, Beef+Lamb North American representative Andrew Burt said.

Mr Burt is back in New Zealand having recently taken up the role of Beef+Lamb’s chief economist.

US lamb producers were forecasting an over-supply of lamb for this coming season he said. . .

Alpaca breeders’ patience pays off – Peter Watson:

You need plenty of patience to breed quality alpacas.

New Zealand herds are invariably small and vary widely in quality, top animals are expensive to buy, females take almost a year to produce an offspring and twins are rare. . .

Apple orchardists on a roll south – Sandra Finny:

With little help from anyone outside of family, orchardists Peter and Danny Bennett are reaping the rewards after nearly six years of battling red tape to bring a lucrative apple growing franchise to South Canterbury.

The Bennetts, who own the established Waipopo Orchard near Temuka, are in expansion mode planting 50,000 apple trees on top of 40,000 they planted three years ago, which are already producing export crops to meet an insatiable demand for their trademark HoneyCrunch apples in US markets.

The apples are a point of difference with Southern hemisphere supply being market-led not producer-driven. . .

Unlocking the perfect sheep:

Imagine the perfect sheep; healthy, fertile, and high producing, with meat of unsurpassed eating quality and wool fit for high value markets. This is the sheep that will transform New Zealand’s sheep industry, providing higher returns to growers and elevating the fibre on which much of the New Zealand economy was built to new heights.

With assistance from the government’s Primary Growth Partnership (PGP), The New Zealand Merino Company (NZM) is investing in production science initiatives to unlock the potential of this perfect sheep, which will thrive across a range of geographic areas and combine great quality meat and wool traits in the same animal. . .

And an interesting infographic on the difference between natural cheese and processed cheese.


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