Waitomo News : 13 February Farmer 2018
NKC Farmer Tuesday, February 13, 2018 5 Specialising in all farm excavation including effluent ponds and all farm maintenance work. JDC supply and cart Aglime ex Ravensdown or Graymont and Limemag. Will work with any spreading contractor of your choice. Diggers and bulldozer also available for all farm excavation and farm race maintenance work. Transporter now available to move your earthmoving equipment, farm machinery and silage bales. For all your Fertiliser, Aglime, Palm Kernel and Farm Aggregates make the call to JDC your Farm Bulk Cartage Specialist. Phone Paul McAlpine 07 870 1135 or 021 489 984 email@example.com Atkinson & Associates Veterinary Services 53 Moa St • Piopio 07 877 8106 32 Taupiri St • Te Kuiti 07 878 8137 MAXIMISE YOUR RETURNS! Safeguard your ewes against Toxoplasmosis and Campylobacter BOOKYOURVACCINENOW!RingAtkinson’sVetstofindoutmore By Todd Ward ARIA farmer Dani Darke was given an eye- opening insight into Paraguay’s beef farming industry when she visited the South American county in October. Paraguay hosted the 2017 International Beef Alliance (IBA) conference and as Beef + Lamb New Zealand’s International Beef Alliance’s Young Leader Dani was keen to gain an insight into the country’s beef industry before the five- day conference. Following a tour of a 33,000ha (81,544ac) beef operation she says although it is far removed from New Zealand’s more modestly propor- tioned beef farms both countries face similar internal and external challenges. She says Paraguayan farms are very large and benefited from a huge, cheap labour resource, but challenges included pasture quality, nutrition and access to some technologies. There is limited use of rotational grazing and while farmers are starting to re-grass with better quality pastures, this is done by re-planting the grass plants – a very slow and labour-intensive process. This improvement does however, lift the carrying capacity of the land from one to four cows per hectare. BREEDING Dani says breeding cows in Paraguay were weaning an average of 47%, although the huge 33,000ha beef operation she visited were wean- ing 85%, which reflected the focus they put on feeding and genetics. The farm was divided into 160ha (395ac) blocks – each with its own gaucho (horseman) – and ran an extensive breeding programme using technologies such as embryo transfers and artificial insemination in their Zebu (Bos indicus) and Zebu Angus cross cattle. Temperatures at the time Dani visited the hot, flat country, reached about 40c, which limited pastures to C4-type grasses that can handle the heat. The main pasture plant sown is Pancola, a C4 grass that grows like tussock. It doesn’t seed like grass, hence the need to transplant it rather than drill seed directly into the ground. Land is cheap, selling for about $1000/ha but so are cattle, with store cattle selling for $1/kg and finished cattle making $2/kg. Dani says most of Paraguay’s beef is consumed domestically with some exported to Russia. “While these farming systems are very dif- ferent to those in NZ, farmers in both countries face similar challenges such as environmental sustainability and an increasing urban and rural divide,” she says. CHALLENGES These challenges were among topics discussed at the IBA conference along with issues such as non-tariff trade barriers, falling beef consump- tion, the threat from synthetic proteins, the trend to reduced trade liberalisation and the need for beef producing nations to work collaboratively on common issues such as trade. Dani says it was heartening to have seven beef producing nations, all competing for market share, but all willing to work collaboratively to share ideas and intelligence. “It’s great to know you have a powerhouse behind you, you have seven other countries backing you.” ALTERNATIVE PROTEINS At a young leaders’ session, representatives from all member countries researched the po- tential impact of alternative proteins on the beef industry. They then presented their findings to the general assembly. While alternative proteins have captured me- dia attention in NZ, Dani says the issue has flown under the radar in other IBA member countries, so B+LNZ’s project to assess potential red meat sector responses to advances in alternative pro- tein technology was seen as ground-breaking. “We are leading the thinking around this.” Dani says she felt very proud of the way New Zealand was represented at the IBA by B+LNZ. “I felt pride in seeing our leaders take on a leadership role within the IBA and drive the agenda. “ They did a really great job.” As for the way to counter the threat from alternative proteins, she says the young leaders felt the story around beef produced by small family-owned farming businesses could never be countered by producers of alternative proteins. “We just need to differentiate our product to consumers and focus on the positives.” The International Beef Alliance includes na- tional organisations representing beef producers in Australia, Brazil, Mexico, Canada, United States and New Zealand. Collectively, producers within the IBA coun- tries account for 46% of global beef cattle produc- tion and 63% of global beef exports. Aria farmer attends IBA ARIA farmer Dani Darke was given an insight into Paraguay’s beef industry as part of the New Zealand contingent at the 2017 International Beef Alliance in October.
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