Home' Otago Southland Farmer : November 16th 2012 Contents 14
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Farmers need to step up their
game in pasture development,
Otago agribusiness consultant
Jock Allison says.
He told farmers at an Aber high-
sugar-grass field day at Tapanui
recently that a big jump in
pasture quality was needed.
He said the sugar grasses met the
three Ps of production, persist-
ence and palatability.
''The key message is the high
sugar grasses are high quality,
produce well and persist particu-
larly well. Pasture persistence is a
large problem for New Zealand.
They are highly palatable and
stock like that. With a lot of grass,
stock don't like them all the time.''
Allison said it was a constant
battle to produce new cultivars
suitable for farming.
''These English grasses have been
here for eight to nine years and
they have been written off by
AgResearch and other seed
companies, but [their representa-
tives] have come out with more
research than New Zealand
He believed it was a ''sad
situation'' that AgResearch was
in a joint venture with major seed
company PGG Wrightson.
Previous crown research institu-
tions had the responsibility to
deliver the relevant science to the
community and this did not
appear to happen too often now
with commerce driving science,
Research had shown some farm-
ers were getting 1 to 1.5 litres
more milk a cow per day on the
Allison said more research was
needed on pasture persistence.
''Farmers say persistence is the
main [benefit] they are looking
for, along with quality. Many
grasses are upright with few
tillers and won't stand pugging or
over-grazing, and so we have to
Allison said he had dug out
information not as accessible to
the public as it should be. He had
been a consultant for AberHSG
wholesaler Germinal Seeds NZ,
but not for the past few years.
Allison was a former regional
research director for the Agricul-
ture Ministry, director for AgRe-
search and a sheep breeding
Inspection: Smithfield freezing works plant manager Rob Lindsay guides farmers on a tour of the new deer processing plant.
Expanded venison plant in
full song' to meet demand
By TIM CRONSHAW
The demand for venison is good and prices are on a par
with last season, but the exchange rate is taking the gloss off
Alliance livestock general manager Murray Behrent
Up to 420 deer are being processed
each day at Alliance Group's new
$8.6 million venison plant at
Smithfield, near Timaru.
The development has allowed the
farmer-owned co-operative to pro-
cess 40 more deer a day from
upper South Island farmers, in
two shifts that amount to 400
extra a week at peak processing.
Alliance livestock general man-
ager Murray Behrent said the
large investment was a reflection
of the company's confidence in
''The venison plant is in full song
with two shifts and working extra
time so we are at the peak kill
now and will be all November,
and December to January.''
The last boat with chilled product
has left for Europe, and pro-
cessing will switch to the frozen
Mr Behrent said the market was
in good shape despite ongoing
pressure from the strong dollar.
''The demand for venison is good
and prices are on a par with last
season, but the exchange rate is
taking the gloss off the prices.''
Farmers had supported the plant
by supplying quality livestock, he
The venison market remains
settled, with the national kill at
430,000 to 440,000 animals a year
and is in a better position than in
the 2005-2006 season when it
struggled to take the 750,000 deer
Venison has only lately been
added to lamb and sheepmeat
processing at Smithfield which
operates most of the year.
Mr Behrent said Alliance would
extend to venison its VIAscan
lamb yield-grading system which
was operating in other plants
throughout New Zealand.
''We are due to install cameras
early next year and hopefully pay
for yield carcasses this time next
year at the start of the chilled
Alliance's main markets remain
Germany and Belgium, and other
destinations are Britain, the
Netherlands, the United States
and China. Marks & Spencer will
be taking some venison as part of
its new Alliance lamb contract.
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