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Rural News // october 8, 2013

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Buyers after extra days in milk AND REW SWALLOW

DAIRY FARMERS went home from one spring bull sale last week confident their purchases will mean extra days in milk compared to if they’d bought elsewhere. The sale was Shrimpton’s Hill Herefords, the leading herd in Australasia for short gestation genetics, a claim acknowledged by LIC bull acquisition manager Malcolm Ellis. “When we went looking for short gestation beef genetics we found they’re all in one place, here!” he

told the audience as an introduction to the sale. The shortest gestation length(GL) breeding value of the bulls offered at the sale was -7.5 days, indicating the calves it sires will, on average, drop just under three days earlier than the breed average. Across 25 cows, producing 1.5kgMS/day at $8.50/kgMS, that’s worth nearly $1000 in extra milk. And the earlier the cow is calved, the more likely she is to get in calf in good time the following year. While the -7.5 GL bull didn’t make the top sale on the day, one very close

to it – at -6.9 – did, going for $3600 to a dairy farm at Coldstream, Mid Canterbury. That bull also had a very low birthweight score, at 0.9, indicating extreme ease of calving. This is another key trait for the dairy sector that Shrimpton’s Hill owners, John and Liz McKerchar, have been targeting for over a decade. “It was a very good sale,” John told Rural News after the sale. “There was a definite premium paid for the better the bulls were for short gestation.” All but one of the 146

bulls offered sold and the average, at $2332, was $350 above last year’s. McKerchar acknowledges that because they’re selecting for easy calving and short gestation, the bulls’ growth rate EBVs aren’t as high as some in the breed. However, they are mostly breed average or slightly better and in chasing calving ease and gestation length, they’ve been careful to not completely ignore other traits. More on short gestation length genetics in next week’s Dairy News. @rural_news

More to be done to win over China SU DES H KI SSUN

MORE TRADE visits are needed to salvage the New Zealand brand in China, says Infant Formula Exporters Association chairman Michael Barnett. Speaking to Rural News after a visit to China with 10 infant formula exporters, Barnett says the NZ brand has been damaged and must be rebuilt. And it’s the small and mediumsized exporters who need help to recoup their Chinese businesses, he adds. “Fonterra can do their own thing; they have a big budget and big balance sheet. It’s the small

and medium sized exporters that need help.” Barnett reiterated that smaller infant formula exporters were “collateral damage” in the false botulism scare involving Fonterra whey protein concentrate. “Fonterra have made errors. The small exporters don’t even use Fonterra products yet they are suffering.” Barnett wants more trade delegations to visit four Chinese targets – customers, consumers, retailers and testing agencies. The trade delegations must include Government ministers and MPI officials. Barnett says some people in China still didn’t know that tests on Fonterra’s WPC80 returned false positive.

“I was quite alarmed some people we spoke to were aware alarm bells had gone but not many knew that it was a false alarm. “We need to get the message out that New Zealand has been exporting dairy products for over 100 years to the US and Europe. When we thought we might have a problem with our product, we have come out openly and have not tried to hide it.” Barnett says some infant formula makers have each been losing up to $2 million a week since the false Fonterra botulism scare broke early August. Contracts worth up to $30m have also been either stalled or put at risk. @rural_news 

Last week’s bull sale at Shrimpton’s Hill Herefords was ‘a very good sale’, according to owner John McKerchar.

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Rural News 8 October 2013  

Rural News 8 October 2013