National Roast Day


It’s National Roast Day.

Almost every Sunday was roast day when I was a child. It was usually mutton but occasionally beef, put on to slow cook before we went to Sunday School and church.

Chicken was reserved for very special occasions like Christmas.

It would be accompanied by roast potatoes, boiled carrots and in winter swedes.

I loved it and enjoyed Monday’s lunch of cold meat sandwiches just as much.

How things have changed. I can remember roasting only once this year.

We have had plenty of meat but we generally barbeque or grill it and neither is on the menu today.

Dare I confess, more often than not, Sunday is meat-free unless we’ve got guests for a meal.

It’s national roast day


When I was a child every Sunday was roast day.

The meat was almost always mutton served with gravy and mint sauce and accompanied by roast potatoes, carrots and other vegetables in season. My favourite was swede and I dreaded early spring when it we had to eat broad beans.

Left over cold meat provided the filling for sandwiches for school lunches for the next couple of days. That was definitely preferable to the alternative of grinding it up and topping it with mashed potato for shepherds pie.

Ah how things have changed. Sunday dinners in our house are no longer the set pieces they were in my childhood and we rarely have roasts unless we’re feeding visitors. Even then we’re more likely to barbeque a boneless leg of lamb than roast it.

That’s probably the norm now which is no doubt why someone felt the need to make today national roast day.

To my farmer’s disappointment, we won’t be taking part.

UPDATE: Credo Quia Absurdum Est shows much more enthiusiasm for the celebration.

Lamb prices bouyant, crop down


The Southland blizzard, spring storms in the North Island and dairy conversions have taken their toll on this season’s lamb crop.

Beef + Lamb New Zealand’s (B+LNZ) Economic Service announced today after reviewing the provisional half-year lamb slaughter numbers that total lamb production is on track to reach the forecast figure of 19.3 million head for the current season. This season is 7.7 per cent less than the 2009-10 season and is less than the 19.5 million head forecast in the November 2010 Lamb Crop report. This is the lowest lamb slaughter figure since the 1960-61 season.

Supply is down and prices are up and look bouyant for the rest of the season.

Lower global supply, including lower than usual exports from Australia, have led to higher mutton prices with record highs throughout the season even though our export mutton volumes are higher.

 Based on the provisional half-year slaughter numbers, we still expect at least 4 million head of mutton to be processed, which is 9.9 per cent more than last season.” Anecdotal comment suggests farmers are culling the bottom end of their flocks to take advantage of higher mutton prices and this could lift the mutton volume a further 5 per cent (0.2 million). In turn this may have an offset with more lambs kept as replacements lowering the export lamb slaughter by a similar number. Lamb prices for April averaged $116 per head and were up 53 per cent on last year’s $76 per head for the same month. Similarly mutton prices are up 63 per cent on 12 months ago and for April averaged $97 per head.

The last three seasons have been very tough for sheep farmers. This season’s improved returns for lamb and mutton and  are very welcome, especially when pelts and wool are also receiving better prices.

Hot air will cost us dearly


Submissions on the review of the Emissions Trading Scheme closed at the end of February and how many farmers got round to expressing their views?

I suspect it was very few of us as individulas so thank goodness for organisations like Federated Farmers and Meat & Wool NZ which will have done full and well considered submissions on our behalf.

Just how necessary this is was brought home at an agri-business discussion group meeting in Wellington on Friday.

Chatham House rules applied so I can’t go into details but we were given a very bleak message about the very real costs and no real benefits of including agriculture in an ETS.

We were also left in no doubt about how strong the green (though not necessarily Green) voice is in policy formation and how important it is for the agricultural lobby to speak up so we’re not all drowned in greenwash.

Apropos of this issue, Lambcut who has joined Roarprawn  discovered that New Zealand’s battle against burps and farts from farm animals has reached the Wall Street Journal. 

It’s headed Mutton Methane: Reducing Flatulence to Reduce Global Warming  and says:

In the U.S., the climate-change wrangle focuses on remaking the energy sector. Globally, however, livestock emissions outweigh emissions from the entire transport sector. Add in emissions from deforestation—which is often a consequence of razing trees for fresh pasture land—the plant and animal world makes up about 40% of global greenhouse-gas emissions.

That will feed in to the growing lobby which wants us all to go vegetarian to save the planet and we can be only slightly reassured by the comments the article engendered, most of which thought it was much ado about nothing but hot air.  Jon Morgan  looks at the comments and notes:

These people missed that the US had a large number of cattle that would benefit from New Zealand’s research. Though agriculture produced 9 per cent of the US’s greenhouse gas emissions, its farm animals were responsible for 19 per cent of the world’s emissions. New Zealand’s livestock produced 0.2 per cent of the world total.

If our research can be applied elsewhere, so much the better but those figures makes the submissions to the ETS review even more important because if agriculture is included in the scheme it would have a huge economic impact, no environemntal gain and all over just .2% of global emissions.

That the issue is on the front page of the Wall Street Journal should serve as a warning because the campaign against meat will grow and we  need facts to counter the emotion of the environmental activisits or the hot air will cost us all dearly.

Mutton uses lamb’s id


A 33 year old woman has been charged with identity theft for allegedly stealing her 15 year old daughter’s id.

Why? Because she wanted to get her high school diploma and be a cheerleader.

Mutton dressed as lamb is unattractive, mutton posing as lamb is taking the pursuit of eternal youth to a new low.

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