Rural round-up


Global milk production 7 – climate 1: Dr Jon Hauser  at Xheque blog writes:

Here at Xcheque we have for some time been warning about the pace of growth in global milk production. Year on year Production from the major global exporters increased by more than 4 billion litres in the 7 month period from May to November 2010 (EU27, US, NZ, AUS, ARG). 

To put 2010 milk production growth in perspective, average annual milk production growth from 2006 to 2009 was 1.8 billion litres. During the runup of global commodity prices in 2007 the total increase for the year was 3 billion litres. Dairy commodity prices fell steadily from the peak in September / October 2007 and then, with the onset of the global financial crisis, collapsed dramatically in the second half of 2008. . .

Industrial agreements should reflect modern work practice – Allan Barber at Barber’s Meaty Issues writes:

In spite of the enormous improvements from the bad old days, starting with the Employment Contracts Act’s (ECA) introduction in the early 1990s, there remain anomalies in the meat industry’s agreements which hinder the achievement of greater efficiency. The main challenges for meat processors stem from the combined impact of traditional worker agreements, employment law, processing complexity and reduced livestock volumes on an increasingly seasonal industry. . .

Allan also writes that the sector strategy is vulnerable to grass growth:

At the end of the sector strategy’s first stage there will be a plan which draws on the interviews with farmers, processors and stock agents, analysis of a huge amount of data, and input from the consultation meetings held round the country. I’m assured, and have no reason to doubt, there has been a robust consultation process across the industry and the meat processors are cooperating fully, because they are serious about showing leadership in the market.

Of course it’s easy to avoid cutting each other’s throat in the market place when there’s keen demand for every kilo of product on offer; in fact the only danger is under achieving on price, because it will probably be higher tomorrow than the contract concluded today.

What is a GB Olympic oarsman doing sharemilking in New Zealand? Pasture to Profit writes:

Richard & Louise Hamilton are highly successful sharemilkers in the Bay of Plenty in New Zealand. However Richard was in the 1996 Great Britain Rowing team at the Atlanta Olympics. This 6.5ft giant of a man was in the GB Rowing Men’s Eight.

So why is this English Olympian milking cows in New Zealand?…did he ever imagine he would be milking cows in NZ?….

Plagued by Politics –  the Economist  writes:

“THIS is the craziest thing we’re doing,” says Peter Brabeck, the chairman of Nestlé. He is talking about government biofuels targets which require a certain proportion of national energy needs to be met from renewable fuels, most of them biofuels (ie, ethyl alcohol made from crops, usually maize or sugar).

The targets are ambitious. Brazil, Japan, Indonesia and the European Union all say biofuels must supply 10% of energy demand for transport by 2020. China’s target for that date is 5%. America aspires to meet 30% of such needs from biofuels by 2030.

(Hat tip Biofules and Food at Anti Dismal.

Why we don’t actually want to be self-sufficient in food – Tim Worstall writes:

The attractive-looking vegetable, which has become a staple in many chattering class households, has suffered due to the long, wet and cold winter.

Britain’s biggest farmer of the vegetable said “100 per cent” of her winter crop had been wiped out and that there would be a severe shortage in supermarkets over the next few weeks, traditionally the peak season.

OK, purple sprouting broccoli is hardly an essential part of anyone’s diet. But…

(Hat Tip: What I’m Reading at  Quote Unquote)

Rural round-up


Optimism prevails despite tough year – Allan Barber at Barbers Meaty Issues writes:

The noises coming from the three meat companies that have declared an annual result to September 2010 are optimistic, although tempered by the knowledge there’s less livestock around this year and farmers need to achieve better profits. The companies with the most reason to be happy are Alliance and AFFCO who have both posted solid profits and reduced debt, as well as increasing their share of EU lamb quota.

Chicory and plantain downunder in New Zealand – Pasture to Profit posts:

I’m in very dry New Zealand awaiting the arrival of my French Discussion group from Brittany.(very impressed with the exciting range of milk products in the supermarkets..much bigger range than when I last visited NZ).

NZ has had very little rain (unlike the poor farming souls in Queensland Australia who are getting floods that are up to 15metres high!!) so since November the dairy farms have struggled for grass.This photo is of Neil & Barbara McLeans farm just north of Hamilton in the Waikato..the cows are getting some pasture plus Barkant turnips. . .

The global dairy industry – who’s to know? Dr Jon Hauser at Xcheque writes:

At a meeting with a client earlier this week I was issued with a “Please Explain”. As something of a market skeptic I have been banging on about EU and US milk production growth and that this was all likely to end in tears. I was looking good up to the end of December – US butter and cheese prices had dropped from October to December, the corresponding futures were ordinary and the EU market was flatlining – the correction was underway.

Then in the first week of January the Fonterra Auction went north and the US dairy futures market followed soon after . . .

Giving up not an option – Sandra Taylor writes in Country Wide:

Determination and tenacity are qualities Bryan Harris has in spades.

Which is just as well, as without them Harris Meats would never have grown beyond a butcher’s shop on the main street of the small North Canterbury town of Cheviot to be the highly regarded abattoir, processing and retailing business it is today. . .

Western Waikato wordsmith Mike Bland in Country Wide:

Waikato farmer Wallace Knight has been playing with words since he was “old enough to pick up a raddle”.

Now living on a 60ha drystock block just outside Te Kowhai, west of Hamilton, Knight has just issued his first book, called Friar Tuck is a Spoonerism.

Laced with humour, the book is a collection of poems written in the past 40 years. It has a distinct rural flavour and while most of the poems are about people not places, much of the inspiration came from the western Waikato district where Knight was  raised. . . worth checking


A post at Phil Clarke’s Business Blog on how to translate $NZ per kilo of milk solids into British pence per litre led to .

It’s a website with a wealth of dairy industry news and views which includes a global milk calculator and blogs.

The people behind are Neil Lane and Jon Hauser:

Neil Lane who grew up on his parents dairy farm in Gippsland and has been involved in the dairy industry for most of his working life. For the past 8 years Neil has run his own consulting business specialising in the provision of farm systems advice. He consults to individual dairy farmers, dairy industry projects, and milk processors as part of the Intelact group of consultants. . .  

Jon Hauser holds a PhD in Chemical Engineering and has accumulated 30 years experience in research, manufacturing, and commercial management of dairy and other food processing businesses. He has also had an active role in the dairy co-operative sector as a CEO and Director.  . .

They are Australians but the website covers global dairy industry news and issues.

Oh dear, I’ve found another opportunity for work avoidance.

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