Guy Trafford sees Australia's climate woes as a warning to New Zealand, and that mitigation, adaption, preparation and remediation need to be worked on here, now. Meanwhile, processors have been cutting prices to farmers

Guy Trafford sees Australia's climate woes as a warning to New Zealand, and that mitigation, adaption, preparation and remediation need to be worked on here, now. Meanwhile, processors have been cutting prices to farmers

As the years go by, normally when a new year starts, one new year appears much the same as any other. This year however, we appear to have experienced a paradigm shift.

So far fortunately for New Zealand, it has occurred across the Tasman in Australia. Barely a day has gone by over the ‘holiday’ period without checking what has been the latest calamity to be inflicted upon what started out as only the Australian rural sector.

After a prolonged drought and heat waves in many areas came the inevitable fires. Five million hectares burned and a billion animals lost. Then came floods, hailstorms, this time impacting upon the cities.

Those areas that had the severest droughts were spared the fires as there was/is little left to burn but they now are suffering under incredible storms of dust.

With two or three months to go of the normal dry period, it is likely that the fires and extremes are not finished yet.

Most Kiwis while wishing Aussies the best and many providing help in various ways, thank their lucky stars they live on this side of the Tasman. However, while New Zealand is in no way in the same dire straits as Australia, there is likely to be declaration of drought conditions in both Islands’ given there is little rain in the foreseeable future and we may also be about to experience some extremes ourselves. In Canterbury it is perhaps not surprising that the conversation of many in the rural sector is around fire protection. Those with access to water (it needs to be abundant) have options, and if not yet implemented most at least have the formations of plans in mind of how best to protect assets.

If New Zealand gets as dry as it potentially can and has the accompanying winds that Australia experienced, then the potential for wildfires are as real here as in Australia.

To date we have not seen any real acknowledgement from the politicians that they see the threat. Reducing our carbon emissions is one thing however, as we have seen in Oz the wolf is now at the door and long-term reductions are one thing but action against immediate threats is another deal totally and this seems to have passed them by.

The Australian Government after being slow out of the blocks has now come to the conclusion that some parts of the country are indefensible from fire and are paying owners out.

This seems an expensive precedent given that coastlines may be the next areas affected by climate and perhaps relevant to New Zealand. To date, New Zealand Councils and Government have resisted being drawn into the climate compensation debate. A newly released Australian survey has around 65% believing that Australia is indeed in a climate emergency and should take emergency action.

Markets

In the meantime, while we were hopefully having some time away from the coalface, the meat processing companies have been attempting to recapture some of cream that has been on the farmers’ plate for the last few months. Prior to Christmas most meat companies had quite a dramatic drop in their schedules and I (naively) thought they may be just setting things up to cover the whole of the holiday period.

Unfortunately, that drop was just a taster of thing to come.

Most schedules have dropped from between -40 cents to -80 cents per kg depending upon the company and this covers all grades of meats with the exception of venison. It also fell, but nowhere to the same degree as sheep and beef. Dairy fortunes however, were and are contniuing positive with an upward trend on the latest GDT.

Sheep

Lamb experienced about a -65 cent drop, to where a benchmark lamb has had $12 cut off its value ($141 down to $129). Mutton was the biggest loser of the holiday period with schedule drops of up to -95 cents per kg and an average fall of -65 cents or -88 if we go to the week prior. These prices have flowed through to the saleyards and have been compounded by buyers being on holiday, and the continuing dry spell we are in is not helping. It is no coincidence that dry weather almost invariably coincides with falls in the schedule.

Wool

Wool has had limited sales over the period and is not doing anything too dramatic, which is probably a good thing as it would have been likely to be drops in price if anything had occurred. The current sale prices are slightly down on the end of last year but are with the range of normal.

Beef

As indicated, the beef schedule has followed a similar pattern to sheep meat with all grades being severely trimmed. Drops of around -50 cents per kg for prime steer are the norm with bull and cow grades being in the same vicinity. Saleyards have not been particularly active but the general trend is well down as would be expected.

Venison

A drop was experienced but only of around -15 cents per kg which almost looks positive in the light of the other meat grades. This has meant that venison has warded off the challenge to its status as the ‘most valuable’ pastoral meat from lamb. However, it is a long way behind the heights it hit last season. Velvet has also been going through a reasonably soft period which is not helping deer economics either.

Dairy

In contrast to meat products, dairying has had a positive trend on markets. The earlier GDT (January 8, 2020) was up +2.4% with SMP leading the way with a +5.4% lift. This has continued with this morning's release of the GDT results (January 21, 2020) up another +1.7% Butter up +5.5% has lead the way this week, but all categories of product have lifted, reversing the trend which was occurring prior to Christmas. Dairy farmers can be reasonably assured that the forecasted prices from Fonterra and others should be able to be achieved.

We welcome your help to improve our coverage of this issue. Any examples or experiences to relate? Any links to other news, data or research to shed more light on this? Any insight or views on what might happen next or what should happen next? Any errors to correct?

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30 Comments

The Oz bushfires are as much about decades of unmanaged fuel loads in State-controlled parks and forests, as anything else. Plus the usual planning failures like allowing subdivisions on ridgelines above valleys full of eucalypts. If there are lessons to be learned, it is to manage fuel loads intelligently, maintain ponds, dams , access tracks and firebreaks, and not let urban fire bureaucracies dictate rural forest and park management practices.....
Rural types don't label the National Parks and Wildlife Service 'National Sparks and Wildfires' for nothing. As usual, Jo Nova has some insight....

Yeah let's just torch Australia so it there is nothing to burn. Problem solved.

And how exactly would you 'manage fuel loads'?

Have fires say every 5 years? In ALL the Aussie bush? How on earth would you do that?

Cultural burning, for starters. The indigenes have had tens of thousands of years' experience in managing their landscapes.....

[From a bureaucrat] "Many ground-dwelling animals and threatened species use tree hollows for nesting, so when fallen trees and deadwood is taken illegally, it destroys their habitat. This fallen timber is part of these animals’ natural ecosystem."
Those natural ecosystems are now, across thousands of hectares of national parks in New South Wales, nothing but cinders and ash. Enjoy your protected habitat, little ground-dwellers.

WA runs prescribed burns through 5-8% of State forest annually, and the alert may notice the lack of fires and significant damage in that State....

Earth's Climate History: What the Doomsayers Don't Want Voters to Know

Absent historical context, extreme weather can be overhyped in ways that lead uninformed voters to conclude that acts of God such as severe droughts and floods never happened before humans began using fossil fuels.

In fact, extreme weather has occurred with monotonous regularity for millions of years. Below is an infinitesimal sampling of the endless multitude of catastrophic weather events in Earth’s past, many of which occurred long before the Industrial Revolution.

more:
https://www.americanthinker.com/articles/2020/01/earths_climate_history_...

The world is completely consumed with climate change and meanwhile our oceans are being fished to extinction and fresh water and air polluted at a sickening rate.

I doubt there will be a fish left to catch by 2030. Crayfish in Northern NZ are close to extinction now.

The climate change debate is totally focused on future temperature and weather changes and ignoring what is happening to the planet right now.

I'll think you will find that many tuned into climate are tuned into degradation of our environment as well - though perhaps the msm needs to catch up.

What astounds me is that we still have knuckle brains posting website denial propaganda on here as if the whole thing is a conspiracy.

These clowns would have been the religious rulers of old who locked scientists up when their discoveries didn't fit the church narrative.

Evidence that the earth is warming is very clear. And 20 years ago there was good reason to be concerned at the rate. That is no longer the case thanks to ARGO buoys that have pinned down the uncertainty in real world effects of CO2 (ECS) to a tight, low-impact range. Unfortunately a huge climate scare industry developed during that era of uncertainty, and they desperately want the party to continue to service their careers: Here's the pesky peer-reviewed evidence that low-information Doomsters find so inconvenient: https://landshape.files.wordpress.com/2015/06/climate_sensitivity5.png

Here is a good anti knucklehead link for you Rastus and Delboy https://skepticalscience.com/Why-were-the-ancient-oceans-favorable-to-ma...

Except they are not smart enough to consider more than one idea at a time.

A good link as the author is a mate of mine.

That article is a good example of the complexities involved. Most of us could no more debate the scientific evidence against climate change than debate the existence or not of far away galaxies and black holes. Science got us where we are and so that is where we should place our faith.

The whole lot, overpopulation, over exploitation, pollution and climate change come as a package deal, all indicator arrows point straight back at us.

Cultural burning, for starters. - Been debunked - only good for around small lots of particularly gathering places - won't save large bush plantations.
Aany thoughts on extended drought - temperature increase?

Here's some data on Oz droughts. Current one is a pup. "Eight megadroughts are identified including one 39 year drought (A.D. 1174–1212), which occurred during an unprecedented century of aridity (A.D. 1102–1212). ...The longest megadrought, of 39 years duration (A.D. 1174–1212), occurred at the end of a century of pronounced IPO positive drought conditions, with 80 of the 111 year period A.D. 1102–1212 in drought."
https://agupubs.onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/full/10.1002/2014GL062447

From your "research" Therefore, management of water infrastructure in eastern Australia needs to account for decadal‐scale droughts being a normal feature of the hydrological cycle. Furthermore, this longer‐term view of water management is likely to be especially important under the dual pressures of increased population and a projected hotter climate, with associated reduced streamflows [Cai and Cowan, 2008] compounded by seasonal rainfall reductions [Cleugh et al., 2011].

It wasn't my research.
Yes, if you live in Australia you have to have prescribed burns and water infrastructure in place before the inevitable drought hits. Locking up forests and throwing away the key is a recipe for disaster - as predicted and as demonstrated. Giving greens a free hand with "forest management" caused a lot of lives to be needlessly lost.
https://www.theage.com.au/national/victoria/bushfire-scientist-david-pac...
https://omny.fm/shows/nights/scientist-david-packham-on-whats-really-cau...

NSW forest management. These idelogical practices left fuel loads at a 1000 year highs and the inevitable conflagration occured as predicted by Oz bushfire scientists like David Packham.
"NSW National Parks and Wildlife Service manager, Fiona Buchanan, in April last year: “We are getting the message out there that removing firewood, including deadwood and fallen trees, is not permitted in national parks. It’s important people are aware that on-the-spot fines apply but also very large fines can be handed out by the courts.”

She wasn’t bluffing. A man was fined A$30,000 for collecting firewood in the Murrumbidgee Valley National Park. Why? As Ms Buchanan explained: “Many ground-dwelling animals and threatened species use tree hollows for nesting, so when fallen trees and deadwood is taken illegally it destroys their habitat. This fallen timber is part of these animals’ natural ecosystem."

Those natural ecosystems are now, across thousands of hectares of national parks, nothing but cinders and ash. Enjoy your protected habitat, little ground-dwellers.”
ttps://www.thetimes.co.uk/edition/comment/australias-eco-fundamentalism-turns-t...
https://www.thetimes.co.uk/edition/comment/australias-eco-fundamentalism...

tsk tsk, don't bring data and evidence into it, it upsets the faithful.

Do you have a link to that debunking?

Marfig in Brazil have dropped the price of beef from NZ $5.41 a kg to 4.20. They have warned farmers to expect another %20 fall still to come.

China has record volumes of grain in storage, which is going to create problems as it tries to honor it's agreement with USA to take more product. China Wheat reserves are estimated to be as high as 93mmt. Soy is going into high protein food products.

I looked at some nice heifers at Stortford today but Im having to pay good money, if they take another %20 out of the schedule Im wasting my time, that and it's still dry.

California dairy producers are expecting much increased milk powder sales to China from USA as China meets it's trade agreement obligations, China has agreed to take more agriculture products from the USA than it ever has before.
I do think China is screwing up what used to be reasonably safe bets.

Decent article from Andy Xie
https://www.scmp.com/comment/opinion/article/3046454/us-trade-deal-china...

that would go against my fundamental belief that most people are wrong most of the time.

A reliable source just told me today a large UK lamb buyer has told a large meat processor in NZ this week - no more lamb at this price thanks no more orders. All for China now but getting harder to get LCs open there now. Some worried meat company people about. Always work on the long term average price.

Back in 1999 when in Sydney it started to rain, some storm weather came in. It turned to a hail storm.

Hail the size of cricket balls. Cricket balls.

https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/1999_Sydney_hailstorm
See a couple of pictures. Lots of cars written off, lots of home house rooftops busted.

No one claimed climate change then.

Any city will have a large heat island effect. Far greater than 0.8 C inter-glacial warming since the Little Ice Age. As demonstrated - "During winter (December 2001–March 2002), the urban area averaged 2.2 °C warmer than the hinterland. The strength of the UHI increased as the wind velocity decreased, reaching an average value of 3.2 °C under calm (<2 m s−1) conditions and maximum single‐day magnitude of 6 °C."
https://rmets.onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/abs/10.1002/joc.971

China is building one coal fired generation plant a week, when will we start talking about the fact that since the Paris Accord 60% of co2 increase has come from China

https://johnhcochrane.blogspot.com/2019/11/climate-clarity.html?m=1

That isn't what Davids link is saying. Apples with apples, but then you've always been fundamentally dishonest with what you post.

Fake facts huh? The urban heat island effect is real, but irrelevant! It's the fact that both urban areas and non urban areas are heating because of human released greenhouse gases, that is the problem! https://www.washingtonpost.com/weather/2019/07/09/alaskas-exceptional-he...

Read the reasearch paper. If you have a problem with it contact the journal. Non urban areas will warm in an interglacial. The urban areas are warming much faster. As demonstrated by satellite/balloon data and the paper linked.