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Rural roundup: Intensive dairying; calf prices; Wool on come-back

Rural roundup: Intensive dairying; calf prices; Wool on come-back
Here are a selection of current stories from Intensive dairying can be sustainable Intensive dairy farming at double the current average stocking rate does not damage soil ecosystems, concludes a five-year study in Taranaki, the first research of its kind done in NZ. The results fill a critical knowledge gap and may challenge popular beliefs that intensive pastoral grazing causes gradual ecological decline. The work was funded by the Taranaki Regional Council and conducted by the council’s terrestrial ecologist, Shay Dean, between 2002 and 2007 at the DairyNZ research farm at Whareroa, near Hawera. Reporting the results at a meeting on Tuesday, the TRC’s environment quality director, Gary Bedford, said the soil “held up markedly well. The biodiversity was actually best in some of the most intensively stocked pastures.” Councillor Michael Joyce said it was “refreshing to see a good news story rather than the bad news stories usually associated with intensive dairying” reports The Taranaki Daily News. Read the rest of this entry » Calf prices steady at opening SI sale The new season weaner calf market opened at Owaka last Thursday with prices similar to last year’s. PGG Wrightson Otago livestock manager Chris Swale said steers sold for between 230c and 240c a kg liveweight, and heifers from 190c to 200c a kg. Mr Swale said demand was consistent, especially for steers, and quality was up with that expected from the Owaka region reports The ODT. The top price was $790 for a pen of 12 Charolais-cross steers sold by R. B. and Y. S. Murray, of Kaka Point. The same vendors topped the heifer offering, selling two pens of Charolais-cross heifers for $740 and $705. Read the rest of this entry » Wool on $500 million comeback trail Crossbred wool auction prices have stabilised after making a strong recovery from the lows of last year’s world recession reports Business Day. Prices for best-style clean fleece and second shear are up 20% to $3.50 a kilogram on prices in July and August; good lamb’s wool is up 15% to $4.30 and oddments are up 30% to $2.70. Wool was last at these levels towards the end of 2008 when it was on its way down from a high of $4 a kilogram at the height of the world commodities boom. Wool exports earned NZ $576 million in the year to March last year and the Agriculture and Forestry Ministry estimated in July 2009 that this year’s export returns would fall to $458m. 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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