What impact will synthesised meat, from either plant proteins or animal cells, have on the market for meat from animals? At Beef + Lamb New Zealand’s 2017 FarmSmart conference, Rosie Bosworth (Pure Advantage) and Caroline Saunders (Lincoln University) joined farmers Mark Zino and Mark Warren to ponder the Future of Our Food. Disruption is coming to New Zealand’s sheep and beef farmers – how large will the impact be, and how should we respond?
Ross Monaghan, Soil Scientist at AgResearch, joined us to talk about taking care of stock, soils and water in winter. Winter grazing of forage crops is an important issue for farmers. It can be a good source of income through setting finishing animals up for high margins or through taking on grazers. It can also come at a cost from pugging, through loss of nutrients and topsoil and by pollution of water. In addition to all that, lots of animals on wet soils in winter can be a concern for the community. Recent research from the collaborative P21 programme has come up with some answers to improve animal performance while at the same time avoiding, remedying or mitigating the negative impacts.
Peter Young spent a couple of decades farming next door to the Ida Burn Dam in Central Otago, home of the Brass Monkey Rally – an area that experiences one of the most extreme climates in NZ. From hoar-frosts for weeks on end in winter, to summers with temperatures in the high 30s and months of drought. Through it all, the Youngs' were known for exceptional sheep performance. Now retired from the farm and working as a farm advisor, Peter is in demand to share his knowledge. He joined us to share some of what he’s learned and answer callers’ questions. Clear tips on getting the best out of your flock, from someone with the track record to prove them.
In 2016, 3500 sheep and beef farmers attended a Beef + Lamb New Zealand Farm Safety Management System workshop. Health and safety on farm is a hot topic, as new legislation required changes to processes on most farms, and more importantly the industry collectively wants to reduce the risk of harm to farmers, families, friends, staff and contractors. Al McCone is Sector Lead – Agriculture at WorkSafe New Zealand and he joined us on the call to discuss what farmers need to know, and to bust some myths at the same time.
If you farm beef cows, you’ll want to listen to this interview with Professor Steve Morris of Massey University, who has been the leading beef cattle researcher in New Zealand for some time. Recorded on a Red Meat Profit Partnership conference call, Steve discusses whether beef cows still have a place on sheep and beef farms, and what that role is; what are the KPI’s that farmers should set for their cows and how important is Body Condition Scoring to top performance and profitability. Many other topics are covered such as ideal cow size, what to look for when selecting bulls, the importance of identifying your target market, how to minimise calving difficulties, yard weaning in New Zealand systems and whether confinement feeding has a place.
On this RMPP conference call from 16 November 2016, we discuss facial eczema – its causes, and how farmers of sheep, cattle and deer can avoid, remedy or mitigate its impacts. Robert Carter is Chair of the Facial Eczema Working Group that brings together sheep, beef, deer and dairy industries, and Dr Neale Towers has worked on FE matters for most of his career. As well as detailed discussion of the fungus that causes the problem and the risk factors, we discuss what farmers should be monitoring for pastures and animals, and the methods that are proven to make a beneficial difference.
Fertiliser and lime account for about 20% of Farm Working Expenses on a typical New Zealand sheep and beef farm. Dr Doug Edmeades shares his advice on how to optimise that spend by monitoring soils, clovers and pastures, as well as considering the components of fertiliser and lime – not just the product as a whole. He discusses the importance of focussing on the weakest link (the most limiting nutrient) and he answers listeners’ questions. The topics covered include: the rise in potassium deficiency on sheep and beef farms; cost/benefit analyses of nutrient application; what phosphate retention means; economic optimums for soil fertility and pH, and how to apply them to different blocks in your farm; the benefits and unlikely risks of molybdenum; how lime works and how to use it effectively; and how we feed the all-important soil flora and fauna.
When should we wean lambs? Why? What information should we gather to inform the decision, or do we just go off the calendar? Dr David Stevens is a Senior Scientist in the AgResearch Farm Systems Team. He’s based at Invermay and works with farmers across New Zealand and around the world on questions like these. On this podcast he gives his thoughts on what farmers should be assessing, and we also talk about the critical factors to get right in the lead up to weaning, to achieve high lamb weights and top performance after weaning. Plus we cover some other topics such as bearings and tail length. For some associated reading, check out our factsheet
Derrick Moot is Professor in Plant Science at Lincoln University. On this Red Meat Profit Partnership conference call from 17 August 2016 he discusses the importance of legumes, especially lucerne, in dryland farm systems. We discuss establishment and management for grazing and supplement, and answer listeners’ questions.
James Parsons, Beef + Lamb New Zealand's chair and farmer director for the Northern North Island, talks about the proposed new approach to market development and the review of B+LNZ's Constitution. For more information, visit the Farmer Consultation 2016 page on our website.