Yea Saleyards to be Covered

Monday, June 06, 2011

 

 

If all goes to plan, Yea's saleyards will be roofed within a year, according to Murrindindi Shire councillor John Walsh.

Roofing of the yards is part of a $1.12 million redevelopment earmarked in the Murrindindi Shire Council 2011-2012 budget estimates.

Cr Walsh said the project had been made possible with a proposed $400,000 state government grant, secured last year as a Coalition election promise. The remaining funding would be provided through council loans.

Cr Walsh said the redevelopment would be in three stages, beginning with an $800,000 roof over the 2.5ha pens and loading races.

This would be followed by a canteen and offices, and then weighing facilities and a truck wash.

Cr Walsh said a project manager had been appointed to finalise planning issues and designs, which would then go to tender. He said the shire was confident that construction could proceed with minimal disruption to the 18 sales scheduled for 2011-12.

And while Yea saleyard fees were among Victoria's lowest at $6 plus GST per animal, or $7 plus GST for a cow and calf, Cr Walsh said the saleyards were very profitable.

Last year, Yea, had a throughput of 25,000 head, generated revenue of nearly $170,000 and had a profit of $50,000.



MLA board seeks directors

Monday, June 06, 2011

Meat and Livestock Australia is seeking three independent directors to its board.

Experience and industry knowledge in on- and off-farm production, research and development and marketing are a must.

Additionally, the successful candidates will ideally have experience in corporate governance and strategy development and a background in northern beef production or sheepmeat production.

Applications close June 10.

For more information, please go to:  http://www.weeklytimesnow.com.au/article/2011/05/26/335621_opinion-columnists.html

 



DNA tests quality of live sheep

Monday, June 06, 2011

Australian scientists are confident they can now tell the eating quality of a lamb while the animal is still alive.

In fact they are confident that such epicurean qualities can now be determined at the point of birth.

It is as simple as taking a DNA sample from a lamb and using the latest in genetic analysis - the SNP or single nucleotide polymorphisms - to determine a lamb's propensity to produce intra-muscular fat and a loin muscle with a low shear force.

Both measures, following extensive local research at Western Australia's Murdoch University and the Sheep Co-operative Research Centre (CRC), are critical indicators of a lamb's eating quality.

Last week the Sheep CRC released details of these quality traits along with four other lamb carcass traits that can be identified with DNA SNP analysis.

The other traits were for lean meat yields, carcass weight, eye muscle and fat depths.

Sheep CRC chief executive Dr James Rowe said the analyses were still in the research phase though there was already one year of on-farm testing with another season of pilot trials scheduled for this year.

While the carcass weight and eye muscle and fat depth have been measured and reported as Lambplan breeding values for several decades, Dr Rowe said the DNA analysis would improve the accuracy of the traits.

"But the beauty of the DNA analysis for the lean meat yield, intra-muscular fat and shear force traits was that they were hard-to-measure traits, which, until now, could only be assessed on a processed animal or through extensive consumer evaluation," Dr Rowe said.

He was also confident the release of the carcass traits would be timely to prevent the prime lamb industry damaging its eating quality reputation through any pre-occupation with growth rates and lean meat yield.

Validation of the DNA analysis for carcass traits is part of the Sheep CRC seven-year Information Nucleus program, where the progeny of research flocks of Merino, and terminal and maternal breeds have been extensively evaluated and analysed for an exhaustive array of wool, carcass, growth and animal health traits.

The release of the carcass traits last week followed the release earlier this year of several wool traits.

Dr Rowe envisaged that once the DNA SNP analysis was commercially available, stud breeders would be paying between $50-$100 for a once-off analysis of traits.

Dr Rowe said the analyses would be combined and reported with the existing sheep breeding values, currently administered by Sheep Genetics.   



MLA's eat meat campaign

Monday, June 06, 2011

Food envy — there is nothing worse. And,  just in case you're not sure what it is, watch Meat and Livestock Australia's latest television commercial in its "Nothing Beats Beef" campaign. The commercial - which went to air this week - shows a couple in a cosy restaurant on a chilly winter's night. He orders the beef curry. She orders the salad.The plates arrive, one steamy and succulent and the other a pile of lettuce.  And there you have it — food envy!

MLA general marketing manager Glen Feist said the latest campaign was designed to drive beef demand during winter.

"Australians crave hearty, warming slow cooked meals such as beef casseroles, curries, pies and beef roasts in winter," Mr Feist said. "This phase of the campaign aims to remind them of their love for these tasty, value for money beef meals as the weather cools."

The campaign includes radio promotions, television segments and competitions



Live export ban bill

Monday, June 06, 2011

Independant MP Andrew Wilkie wants to ban all live exports within three years.

The Tasmanian independent will meet with Federal Agriculture Minister Joe Ludwig this afternoon to outline his private member’s bill to immediately ban cattle exports to Indonesia and a three-year phrase out plan for all live trade.



The food desert in your own backyard

Monday, June 06, 2011

America's national image may be one of waving wheat fields and overflowing platters, but the reality for many communities is much less plentiful. A new interactive map built by the United States Department of Agriculture allows users to locate the food deserts in their neighborhood and across the country, simply by typing in an address or zip code.  Click here for more information

 



Hi-Fert collapse won't affect supplies

Thursday, June 02, 2011

Elders and Landmark - the two joint venture shareholders in the now-worthless fertiliser importer and manufacturer, Hi-Fert - say farmers won't be left short changed by the business' financial collapse. The two big farm supply networks intend to keep sourcing Hi-Fert fertiliser and remain solid customers of the company as its future ownership options, including a possible break up, are considered by receivers.

Hi-Fert was put into administration last week after its bankers declined an offer from Landmark's new parent company, Canadian fertiliser giant, Agrium, to take over the independently operated business, its 102 staff and its (undisclosed) debt.

Elders chief executive officer, Malcolm Jackman, believed Hi-Fert's administrators would achieve a "fairly speedy outcome" for the company, given other newly established competitors in the local market may be keen to buy part or all Hi-Fert's eastern States assets and market ties. Landmark managing director, Richard Norton said his farm supplies network would be working with all its various fertiliser suppliers, including Hi-Fert, to make sure farmers had the products they needed.

Hi-Fert administrators have allowed trucks to be loaded for dispatch to Landmark and Elders clients for immediate supply.

Landmark orders represent up to 25pc of Hi-Fert's business, while Elders clients have taken about 15 to 20pc in recent years. The bulk of the client base has been to independent resellers.

Mr Norton said although a significant portion of fertiliser needed for the 2011 grain cropping season had already been supplied to customers, large supplies were currently on hand, or in transit to Australia, as most product was ordered three months in advance.  "From our perspective it is business as usual at Landmark with fertiliser requirements," he said.

"There are numerous suppliers to the Australian market and we'll work with all suppliers to ensure our customers have the products they need."

However, he said it was disappointing the major player in Australian market had not been able to stay solvent and a competitive player may now be absorbed by other big fertiliser companies.

For more information, please go to:  http://fw.farmonline.com.au/news/nationalrural/agribusiness-and-general/finance/hifert-collapse-wont-affect-supplies/2182135.aspx



Blind Eye Turned to Cattle Cruelty

Thursday, June 02, 2011

The directors of Meat and Livestock Australia and LiveCorp have failed in their duty of care for the Australian livestock industry and specifically beef cattle welfare in Indonesia.

The cattle abuse is so bad and has been going on for so long under their watch that they should apologise to Australian beef cattle farmers, then resign. New regulations on live cattle and sheep exports need to be introduced to ensure Australian livestock are only processed in works which meet Australian animal welfare standards.

The unconscionable component of the cattle welfare abuse in Indonesian abattoirs is the direct involvement by staff of both organisations in the installation of restraining boxes that facilitated the cruelty. Such restraining boxes were designed to allow the animal’s legs to be roped and when the side is opened to ensure the animal falls onto the concrete slab. All cattlemen know this approach is a recipe for an animal to panic and a struggle for it to try to escape – stress, injury and pain are unavoidable.

The subsequent abhorrent and random slaughter process (plus the cruel treatment forcing animals into the box) would have been witnessed by MLA and LiveCorp staff who oversaw installation of the equipment and arranged training with it. It is impossible to believe these people did not report how the slaughter process worked to their management with the information ending up with directors to decide on the moral and ethical outcomes of funding the construction and installation of these restraining boxes and the training needed to use them. In opting to fund and supply these restraining boxes rather than to recommend cessation of supply of cattle to sub-standard abattoirs in Indonesia (and recommending cessation of supply of animals to Middle East markets where sheep are abused), the directors have abrogated their responsibilities.

 

For more information, please go to:  http://fw.farmonline.com.au/news/nationalrural/opinion/comment/blind-eye-turned-to-cattle-cruelty/2181484.aspx



Lotfeeding a prime proposition

Thursday, June 02, 2011
  

There's a certain amount of passion required to lotfeed large numbers of sheep. This is particularly the case if you have anywhere between 5000 to 7000 sheep going through a feedlot each year, such as the two at Brad and Jan Eastough's property between Northampton and Chapman Valley.

In 2002 Brad and Jan moved to Utikka and they farm together with Brad's brother Ashley, his wife Belinda and their parents Kevin and Maureen, over the six properties that make up their 5400 hectare farm.

Brad admits he had always wanted to run as many sheep as possible.

"I would rather run sheep than cropping," Brad said. "What's better than working outdoors on the best days of the year, instead of sitting in an air-conditioned cab?"

Even though the Eastough family has seen their share of tough years and devastating droughts, Brad held onto his sheep when many in the area couldn't. They started lotfeeding sheep in 2006 and purchased any breed of sheep he could from surrounding areas, as many farmers needed to off-load their numbers due to the drought.

"I had always wanted to do it (lotfeeding) and then in 2006 when there was a drought we built a feedlot here," Brad said. "We bought a lot of sheep that were going cheap in the area and later we purchased our own stock truck to cut down on freight."

Even though nearly every type of breed might be purchased to go onto feed for 21 to 28 days, Brad remains truthful to his own flock of 1000 mated Merino ewes, 1000 older Merino ewes mated to Poll Dorset and 350 Merino ewe hoggets.

The Poll Dorsets were purchased in addition to the Eastough's traditional Merino flock 16 years ago and Brad chose the breed for its white wool, good pool of genetics and large frame. After being mated for the first few years with Merino rams, the Merino ewes were then joined with Poll Dorset rams when they reach four years to produce lambs for the prime lamb market.

With a sire battery of 16 Merino rams and 40 Poll Dorset rams, many of which are from the Eastough's own breeding program, the Poll Dorsets are joined on October 25, while the Merino rams are joined on New Year's Eve.

For more on this story, please go to : http://fw.farmonline.com.au/news/state/livestock/sheep/lotfeeding-a-prime-proposition/2175805.aspx?storypage=1

     

Floods Lead to Fall in Australian Output

Thursday, June 02, 2011

The devastating impact of Australia's summer of floods and cyclones was underlined on Wednesday when official data showed the nation's economy suffered its largest quarterly contraction in 20 years. Gross domestic product in the three months ending in March fell 1.2 per cent, down from growth of 0.8 per cent in the quarter ending in December, after Australia's flood-hit coal exports fell 25 per cent.

Australia, boosted by Asia-powered demand for iron ore, coal and agricultural products, has had one of the strongest economies in the developed world with an uninterrupted annual growth streak spanning two decades.

However the floods, which also hit the farming sector, led to the first quarterly decline in the economy since the final quarter of 2008, following the collapse of Lehman Brothers, the US investment bank, when output fell 0.9 per cent.  Housing and retail spending have also softened this year, while manufacturing and tourism operators exposed to the high Australian dollar are also suffering.

Wayne Swan, Australia's treasurer, said the natural disasters had taken a heavy toll. He added Queensland's economy appeared to be bouncing back.

For more information on this story, please go to http://edition.cnn.com/2011/BUSINESS/06/01/australia.floods.gdp.ft/index.html?iref=allsearch

 




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