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Rural roundup: Less gas; rivals closing the gaps; condition feeding trials

Rural roundup: Less gas; rivals closing the gaps; condition feeding trials
Here is a selection of current stories from agridata.co.nz Long dry spell leads to less greenhouse gas A long, painful dry spell for farmers has helped cut the country’s greenhouse gas emissions. As farmers suffer, the latest official tally from the Ministry for the Environment reveals NZ is doing better than expected in the carbon stakes, partly because farms have had to cull more animals reports The NZ Herald. Because the national herd is smaller than expected the amount of greenhouse gas the country is expected to make by 2012 has fallen by 1.8 million tonnes. But that is likely to come as little comfort to farmers. Dairy farmers north of Taupo have been cutting milk production earlier than usual, and so far rain has failed to penetrate soils in the most parched regions. In the Waikato, figures from the Ministry of Agriculture and Forestry show the drought has cost farmers an average of between $100,000 and $200,000 this year. Read the rest of this entry » Rivals put the heat on NZ farmers NZ agriculture has as little as five years before large-scale intensive farming in South America, western China and central Asia erodes its cost advantage in producing bulk commodities, according to accountant KPMG. Their Agribusiness Agenda report observes that these regions have the benefit of lower-cost land and labour and less complex regulatory regimes. “In addition, they are traditionally closer to key markets, enabling them to deliver food to the customer at a significantly lower cost than a competing new farmer or grower in NZ could achieve,” KPMG agribusiness chairman Ross Buckley said in Stuff. “This gives NZ companies a short buffer, maybe as little as five years, before low-cost regions are producing bulk commodity products in significant volumes and undercutting NZ’s pricing in our traditional commodity markets.” Because of this, it was now time to start revising industry structures, practices and products to give NZ produce better value well in advance of large-volume commodities from these new suppliers. Read the rest of this entry » “The Big Dry” feeding trials The outcome of condition feeding trials will give farmers plenty to chew over. DairyNZ principal animal scientist John Roche, of Hamilton, has just released the results of condition feeding trials reports the Taranaki Daily News. It’s particularly relevant for farmers on the dry Taranaki coastal strip between Okato and Manaia, where supplements are being heavily used to compensate for bare paddocks as winter approaches. Dr Roche says the amount of harvested or purchased feed required is less than was thought. The recommended pasture to achieve a body condition score (BCS) unit was 200-220kg of dry matter equivalent per hectare and that was based on liveweight gain in pasture-fed lambs in Britain in the 1960s. “That’s how little information we had and, to be honest, I didn’t believe it,” he says. “So we carried out trials on dairy cows last year, funded by the Sustainable Farming Fund and DairyNZ. Read the rest of this entry » For up-to-date schedule and saleyard prices, see - Bulls - Steers - Lamb - Wool - Dairy cows - Stags

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