Rural round-up

April 15, 2015

Don’t use high NZ dollar as excuse – MacPherson – Phil McCarthy:

Southland farmers need to look beyond the short-term constraints of a high New Zealand dollar and put pressure on meat and milk processors to perform better in the global market-place, Federated Farmers Southland president Russell MacPherson says.  

Yesterday the New Zealand dollar was sitting at about 99.4 cents against the Australian and 76 cents against the US Dollar. Along-side the high dollar, European dairy producers are on the verge of an end to quotas meaning they could ramp up milk production.

But MacPherson said that rather than seeing the developments as threats, farmers should recognise the other side of the coin with lower costs for farm inputs and less pressure on labour costs. . .

The hills are alight – Laird Harper:

A world first on east Taranaki’s unforgiving slopes has set the dog trial community alight.

Twenty-one huntaway dogs tackled the community stage of the Tarata Sheep Dog Trial under lights on Saturday.

Club president Bryan Hocken said the innovative approach proved pivotal to the trial’s success.

The large crowd and competitors were “fizzing” and “buzzing” all night and interest from outside the region was growing.

“It was a perfect night, a perfect site, everything was magic,” he said. . .

Maternal longevity traits closer – Terry Brosnahan:

A longevity breeding value for sheep will be released later this year.

Beef + Lamb New Zealand Genetics senior geneticist Mark Young said Sheep Improvement (SIL), B+LNZ Genetics and ram breeders recently reviewed the first version of a longevity breeding value for sheep.

Young said SIL would introduce it by the end of June this year. He was responding to an article in the March, 2015 issue of Country-Wide regarding compelling arguments for genetic selection to increase longevity of ewes and beef cows. 

Maternal longevity is a key trait missing from selection indices that characterise profit for a ewe flock or a beef cow herd. . .

New pieces to the puzzle – Ginny Dodunski:

The impacts of ewe body condition, variations in pasture components and the effects of salt topdressing on bearings have produced some surprise results.

The Beef + Lamb New Zealand farmer-initiated technology transfer (FITT) programme-funded trial investigated bearings on a large South Island sheep and beef property.

Lochiel Station, bordered by the Waiau River in north Canterbury, runs 42,000 stock units and has a history of high ewe losses from bearings.

“We have worked hard on improving our feed management and ewe body condition, plus have stabilised what was genetically a very variable flock,” station manager Kim Robinson said. . .

Diversity of opinion welcomed at Federated Farmers – Chris Lewis:

A few weeks ago I went through a bit of a learning curve about how to inadvertently make headlines. 

I’d thrown out a few thoughts at a Federated Farmers’ executive meeting on where our industry might be heading.  Those musings of mine morphed into front page news and down in Wellington what was claimed to be fixed Federated Farmers policy in parliamentary question time.

But I shouldn’t be too thin skinned about this.  Most of Waikato Federated Farmers’ meetings are fully open to whoever might want to turn up and we have always had a diversity of opinion expressed.

Our organisation has flourished the most when members have shown passion for a topic and offered to roll up their sleeves and offer their services to help on an issue.

This is how we initially attract most out our elected people to our organisation. . .

Lighting the way to dairy savings – Matthew Cawood:

ENERGY is a a major cost for dairy farmers, and one that keeps inexorably rising – which is why Dairy Australia has launched an initiative to identify energy waste in dairies.

The organisation secured $1 million in funding from the federal government to deliver the ‘Smarter energy use on Australian dairy farms’ project, which aims to improve energy efficiency on dairies.

Many of the potential energy leakages on farms, and the options for resolving them, are written up in a Dairy Australia booklet, Saving energy on dairy farms.  . .

 


Inaugural Beef + Lamb New Zealand Sheep Industry Awards

August 9, 2012

The dairy industry is good at celebrating success, the sheep industry is catching up with the  inaugural Beef + Lamb New Zealand Sheep Industry Awards.

The B+LNZ Award for an individual or business making a significant contribution to the New Zealand sheep industry was presented to sheep breeding science pioneer Dr Jock Allison.

And a very deserving winner he is. Jock has spent decades working for the industry.

The Silver Fern Farms Award for sheep industry innovation was presented to Rowan Farmer, responsible for introducing and promoting sheep pregnancy and eye muscle scanning technology to New Zealand. Smedley Station and Cadet Training Farm was named winner of the AgITO Business Farm Trainer of the Year Award.

The terminal sire flock rated highest for genetic merit across the SIL-ACE evaluation was “The Burn”, Joseph and Judy Barkers’ Texel stud in Mid Canterbury. The dual purpose (ewe breed) rated highest for genetic merit was “MNCC”,Edward Dinger’s Coopworth stud in the Waikato.

The idea to hold an awards ceremony was initiated by B+LNZ Farmer Council member and ram breeder Russell Welsh. Mr Welsh says the dairy industry’s track record of celebrating success prompted him to suggest the awards ceremony. “It highlights best practice and, by default, that lifts all farmers.”

B+LNZ Chairman Mike Petersen says it is great to see farmers driving an initiative which celebrates the sheep industry, while also highlighting the immense value of SIL’s database to the sector.

“Any of us in the sheep business know that choosing a ram is a farm-by-farm decision– that we all have different priorities with regard to finishing, wool production and animal health issues. Consequently, these awards by no means represent ‘the top list’ for all. But it is very interesting to crunch the numbers and see what comes out the other side.

“My congratulations to all those named. You are part of a critical group of top performing ram breeders who are firmly focused on improving your animals’ traits and performance, so that we commercial farmers continue to improve our flocks year on year.”

B+LNZ Geneticist Mark Young says the process of identifying the top-performing flocks involved analysing the top 25-50 per cent of rams for each specified set of traits, before then adjusting the results to account for variations in flock size.

“This exercise also identified highly-rated sires that were making a big impact in industry. The Beef + Lamb New Zealand Super Sires are rated in the top 10 per cent for genetic merit in indexes of merit across key traits. They are also rams which have been used a lot, so have the most progeny.”

The awards are an excellent idea, it is high time sheep farmers celebrated their success.

Full results:

Top Flocks for Genetic Merit

Terminal Flock (Index: Lamb Growth + Meat Yield) Winner: The Burn (Texel), JT & J Barker, Winchmore Commendations:Tamlet (Texel), GA & K Smith, Wyndham Mount Linton (SufTex), Mt Linton Station, Otautau Kepler Supreme (Lamb Supreme), Focus Genetics Kepler, Te Anau Blackdale (Texel), LG & WI Black, Riverton

Dual Purpose Flock (Index: Reproduction + Lamb Growth + Adult Size + Wool) Winner: MNCC (Coopworth), AE Dinger, Cambridge Commendations:Ashgrove (Coopworth), DH Hartles, Maungaturoto Ashton Glen (Coopworth), R & R Mitchell, Clinton

Alliance High Performance Flock (Index: Reproduction + Lamb Growth + Adult Size + Wool) Winner: MNCC (Coopworth), AE Dinger, Cambridge Commendations:Ashgrove (Coopworth), DH Hartles, Maungaturoto Ashton Glen (Coopworth), R&R Mitchell, Clinton

Dual Purpose plus Meat Flock (Index: Reproduction + Lamb Growth + Adult Size + Wool + Meat Yield) Winner: MNCC (Coopworth), AE Dinger, Cambridge Commendations:Ashgrove (Coopworth), DH Hartles, Maungaturoto Marlow (Coopworth), S Wyn-Harris, Waipukurau

Dual Purpose plus Worm FEC Flock (Index: Reproduction + Lamb Growth + Adult Size + Wool + Parasite Resistance) Winner: Nithdale (Romney), A Tripp, Gore Commendations:Nikau (Coopworth), E & S Welch and K Broadbent, Tuakau Hazeldale (Perendale), Longview Farm, Tapanui

Dual Purpose plus Facial Eczema Flock (Index: Reproduction + Lamb Growth + Adult Size + Wool + FE Tolerance) Winner: ARDG (Romney), R & G Alexander, Tirau Commendations:MNCC (Coopworth), AE Dinger, Cambridge ARDG (Romney), RL& A Steed, Whangarei

Beef + Lamb New Zealand Super Sires

Terminal: 2960.101/03 (Texel), WTD, D Clarkson, Wairarapa Dual Purpose: 712.5203/04 (Coopworth), Marlow, S Wyn-Harris, Waipukurau Dual Purpose High Performance: 712.5203/04 (Coopworth), Marlow, S Wyn-Harris, Waipukurau Dual Purpose plus Meat Yield: 712.5203/04 (Coopworth), Marlow, S Wyn-Harris, Waipukurau Dual Purpose plus Worm FEC:406.486/07 (Romney), ARDG, R &G Alexander, Tirau Dual Purpose plus FE Tolerance: 2529.152/07 (Romney), ARDG, RL & A Steed, Whangarei.

BUSINESS AWARDS– BACKGROUND BIOS

B+LNZ Award for an individual or business making a significant contribution to the New Zealand sheep industry

Winner: Dr Arthur John (Jock) Allison, ONZM

Dr Jock Allison’s rural achievements are too numerous to cover in depth, but two highlights include:

• Initiated work with the Booroola Merino, which has lead to the discovery of a major gene fecundity gene. This gene has been transferred out of the Merino type into other long wool breeds.

• Imported the East Friesian sheep to New Zealand. The infusion of the East Friesian – known for its reproduction and milk producing characteristics – has been described as “the greatest advance in the sheep industry in the past 50 years”.

Silver Fern Farms Award for sheep industry innovation

Winner: Rowan Farmer

Pregnancy scanning in sheep was commercialised when Rowan Farmer set up Stockscan in 1991. The primary aim was to scan sheep for eye muscle area, but Rowan’s experience with quarantined sheep at Invermay gave him an insight into the management benefits of pregnancy scanning. Since then, the practice has expanded to include the identification of twins and triplets. Scanning has revolutionised the reproductive management of sheep throughout New Zealand.

AgITO Business Farm Trainer of the Year Award.

Winner: Smedley Station and Cadet Training Farm

Bequeathed to the King in 1919, Smedley Station and Cadet Training Farm is a 3186 hectare property, wintering 31,000 stock units. It is located in Central Hawkes Bay and operates as a commercial farm, as well as a self-funding training facility for 22 farming cadets annually (11 per intake, for a two-year programme). Since 1931, Smedley Station has trained more than 500 cadets. Graduates have gone on to roles, including working on farms, rural property advisors and finance experts, or into further education.


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