Archive for the ‘Uncategorized’ Category

Drop in China beef prices not expected to last

January 20, 2020

It is difficult to see any real reason for panic over the sudden pre-Christmas reduction in demand for sheepmeat and beef from Chinese importers which has led to prices coming off their peak. Livestock suppliers will already have noticed a drop in schedules from the elevated levels processors had been paying over the first couple of months of the season. It’s tempting to fear the worst given past experience with high prices paid by meat processors which have inevitably been followed by a sudden crash and a long slow recovery. (more…)


Multi-pronged approach critical to successful environment strategy

October 8, 2018

Since announcing its environment strategy in May, the Beef + Lamb New Zealand team responsible for developing the plans, processes and tools to help farmers achieve the ambitious goals of being carbon neutral by 2050 and every farm having an active farm plan by 2021 has been working flat out to get the right farm planning systems in place. The strategy identifies four areas of focus – cleaner water, carbon neutrality, thriving biodiversity and healthy productive soils – with their own specific goals and a detailed implementation plan, supported by a series of what are termed ‘foundations’. (more…)

South America set to dominate beef trade

April 7, 2016

Rabobank’s quarterly report on the global beef market maintains South American beef producers, particularly Brazil, will be the major influence on the beef trade in 2016. (more…)

Address to MIRINZ workshop – How and why research is important for the future

March 19, 2016
  1. Themes


The three main themes for this workshop are:


  1. Added value products focusing on key points of differentiation in NZ meat products with a research emphasis on credible health and nutritional benefits.
  2. Value from quality – research outcomes that will enable the red meat sector to meet increasing demand for high value premium meat products in existing and new markets.
  • Provenance and food assurance – research from fork to farm to ensure that exports are safe, of superior quality with defendable provenance and attractive to consumers.


Efforts continue to get to the bottom of NAIT puzzle

July 15, 2015

The saga continues, as my Warkworth friend attempts to find out how NAIT intends to ensure correct reconciliation of livestock records, but as yet without a totally satisfactory answer. After further contact, NAIT’s acting Group Manager Sam McIvor replied with answers to the main points raised and I understand the conversation will continue, as both parties try to convince the other of their respective point of view. (more…)


June 12, 2012

I will be on holiday for a few weeks and won’t be posting anything on my blog until I get back in mid July.

UK livestock control debacle suggests NAIT may be overkill

August 2, 2011

The stark contrast between theNew ZealandandUKlivestock control systems struck me very forcibly when I was inBritainlast month. Two articles, one in the Daily Telegraph, the other in that great satirical publication Private Eye, provided a graphic summary of the state of affairs there, contrasting strongly with the report by our Parliamentary Commissioner for the Environment on 1080. (more…)

2010 in review

May 28, 2011

The stats helper monkeys at mulled over how this blog did in 2010, and here’s a high level summary of its overall blog health:

Healthy blog!

The Blog-Health-o-Meter™ reads This blog is doing awesome!.

Crunchy numbers

Featured image

A helper monkey made this abstract painting, inspired by your stats.

A Boeing 747-400 passenger jet can hold 416 passengers. This blog was viewed about 2,500 times in 2010. That’s about 6 full 747s.

In 2010, there were 24 new posts, growing the total archive of this blog to 62 posts.

The busiest day of the year was May 10th with 45 views. The most popular post that day was Trust and commitment essential to meet the meat industry’s challenges in 2010.

Where did they come from?

The top referring sites in 2010 were,,,, and

Some visitors came searching, mostly for silver fern farms, allan barber, allan barber meaty issues, future structure for the nz meat industry, and fonterra milk powder auction.

Attractions in 2010

These are the posts and pages that got the most views in 2010.


Trust and commitment essential to meet the meat industry’s challenges in 2010 December 2009
1 comment


Silver Fern Farms must solve marketing dilemma November 2009


Silver Fern Farms still vulnerable December 2009


Laos poor but fertile and resource rich December 2009
1 comment


AFFCO cautious after good first half June 2010
1 comment

Reasons for Electronic Animal ID and Traceability

April 19, 2011

One positive move by NAIT has been the recognition of RFID as one definite, if not the only, means of animal ID, in both full and half duplex versions. As a result farmers can invest in electronic tags and tagging equipment, with complete confidence this investment will not be superseded or made redundant by an alternative form of technology. RFID doesn’t require investment in expensive information recording and transmitting equipment, since paper-based uploading of data to the national registry will still be possible, particularly in areas without broadband. This decision preserves the option of alternative methods of identification such as DNA or optical imaging.

Therefore in spite of the delays and disagreements, it looks as if those beef producers still waiting for firm guidance can proceed with confidence down the road towards recording their individual animal details and getting themselves all set up to meet future market access and customer demands for their production. Obviously every producer will have a different perspective on how far they want to commit, but this decision should reflect two factors: the minimum required to comply with the system specifications and how much benefit to their farming practice they can earn from further investment.

In its Strategic Direction 2005 -2008 New Zealand Food Safety Authority (NZFSA) reviewed current and future market access needs, concluding that animal ID and traceability requirements “will be incrementally built on as time moves on” and “the key question….is when, not if, and to what extent.” In his speech to the NZ Meat and Fibre Producers Council last November, Keith Kelly, Chairman of the Council, stated “we need to drive the national animal identification and traceability project to completion….because there are several instances where the lack of an effective traceability system has cost farmers dearly.” He goes on to cite effects overseas of the very costly international outbreaks of BSE, foot and mouth, and blue tongue,”yet New Zealand sits on its hands and debates how to develop the perfect system for all animals in the food chain.” None of these outbreaks has as yet actually cost New Zealand dearly, but the risk is ever present that one or other disease outbreak could do so at any time.

There’s no doubt New Zealand has been lucky so far and the longer we delay, the more chance there is of a disaster happening. It’s critical we get on with implementing mandatory traceability for cattle and deer as soon as possible, sticking to the present target dates and on no account letting these slip by another year. After all Ian Corney, Chairman of NAIT, has said to me more than once that Jim Anderton is determined there will be no disaster on his watch as Minister of Agriculture without a robust traceability system in place. That rather puts a time constraint of the 2008 election on NAIT getting its plans finalised and in operation.

NZFSA has said quite reasonably that the existing regulatory systems are sufficient to manage known food safety hazards effectively and traceability, as distinct from traceback, is not a food safety imperative. So you may well ask why it’s necessary in the first place, if our existing systems are adequate for the purpose. The initial pressure has come from regulatory authorities, specifically the EU and USDA which have been applying increasing pressure for over 20 years, but also from other trading partners which threaten to match whatever EU and USDA authorities require. It’s now as much about perception as reality, because the major markets’ regulatory authorities want to see hard evidence that New Zealand believes in the importance of guaranteeing food safety.

Pressure from major customers is also getting more vocal. Major retailers and restaurant chains increasingly demand guaranteed food safety for their consumers, as well as being in a position to have continuity of supply of wholesome product. It’s already several years since the technology has been available to the Japanese shopper to enter a product barcode into a touchscreen in a supermarket produce department, which takes them directly to the farm of origin. AsureQuality already has the technology enabling New Zealand suppliers to provide matching farm and producer data, but it’s only a short step to the point where the retailer wants to be able to provide evidence of traceability to the individual animal which produced the cut of meat. Although realistically it will be some time before they can provide a photo of the animal in its last happy moments before being loaded onto the stock truck!

Consumer fears are fanned by disease outbreaks, however small the risk of infection, and retailers or restaurant chains want to be able to assure them they have it under control. Emotion takes over from science very quickly, as illustrated by British, American and Asian response to BSE which possibly, but not conclusively, resulted in a very small number of cases of CJD. So it is important to get over the emotion and bring science based facts to the fore – and the best way our agricultural sector can do that is to accept animal ID and traceability as the most positive tool in our marketing box. It should not be about meeting the minimum regulatory requirements for market access, but about satisfying customer and consumer concerns.

Cheeky approach by Silver Fern Farms

November 3, 2010

The open letter from SFF to Alliance’s and its own shareholders is an unconventional, back door way of attempting to get the result you want, when your approach by the front entrance has been rebuffed. In fact the open letter admits the direct method hasn’t worked, so the board has decided to try what can only be described as a cute route to the desired objective. (more…)