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TAS Country : November 11th 2010
6 Tasmanian Country Friday, November 12, 2010 News WAL MERRIMAN MLA's future hangs in the balance DON HEATLEY THE very public stoush between the Australian Beef Association and Meat and Livestock Australia will come to a head in Tasmania next week. An ABA motion to wind up MLA will be put to a vote at MLA's annual meeting in Launceston. Both sides have attracted supporters and detractors in the weeks leading up to the vote. Industry groups, including the Cattle Council of Australia and Australian Lot Feeders Association, have declared sup- port for MLA. Australian Wool Innovation chair Wal Merriman reportedly supports the ABA. MLA chair Don Heatley is confident the industry will not support the move. And ABA chair Brad Bellinger has said that the majority of beef producers sup- port the call to wind up MLA. The meeting will be held at 1 Water- front Drive, Riverside, at 2pm on Wednesday. Double whammy hurting farmers 'With interest rates rising and the dollar escalating to phenomenal heights, the farm sector's really hurting' McELHONE FARMERS are being hit with a $10 billion-plus dou- ble whammy, courtesy of a soaring Australian dollar and higher interest rates. After the first official interest rate hike in five months last week, the dol- lar jumped above parity with the US greenback to its highest level since 1983. ''This double whammy is bad for farmers,'' Natio- nal Farmers Federation economics manager Char- lie McElhone said. ''With interest rates ris- ing and the dollar escalat- ing to phenomenal heights, the farm sector's really hurting. ''Luckily the good season and good com- modity prices are masking some of the impact.'' The Reserve Bank of Australia lifted its cash rate by 0.25 per cent last Tuesday and the major banks are like- lytopassonat least that amount to housing and business bor- rowers. The Com- monwealth Bank has lifted its rates by 0.45 per cent -- al- most double the RBA in- crease -- and the other banks have theirs ''under review''. The Aussie dollar jum- ped to a peak of US101.75c after the rate announce- ment before easing. According to the NFF, farmers are about $10.4 billion worse off in terms of annual income than if the dollar had stayed where it was at the start of last year (about US68c). The higher dollar cuts into farm export incomes with only a partial offset from cheaper imports, im- posing a net $210 million slug for every 1 per cent lift in the value of the dollar. And with average farm debt of about $450,000, the lift in interest rates will add another $100 million to $200 million burden on to farm bottom lines. Victorian Farmers Fed- eration presi- dent Andrew Broad said it was hard to justify the level of Aust- ralia's interest rates com- pared with those in other industrialised nations. ''We're not privy to the Reserve Bank's deliber- ations and data, but it's a big stretch to argue that our rates need to be so much higher than those in other countries,'' Mr Broad said. With political pressure mounting, the Federal Government is expected this week to unveil measures to crack down on banks charging substantial exit fees where customers want to switch to another bank.The Weekly Times Pestivirus is haunting the reproductive success of most Australian herds. Pfizer Australia Pty Ltd, 38--42 Wharf Road, West Ryde, NSW 2114. ABN 50 008 422 348. Registered Trademark of Pfizer Australia. PAL0162/TC. Health. Performance. Growth. www.pfizeranimalhealth.com.au Pestivirus infection can be a haunting experience. This devastating disease, which impacts on reproductive success through reduced calving, weaning and turnoff rates, can affect every cattle breeder in Australia. You may not think you're at risk, but your herd could already be infected, silently robbing you of their reproductive potential. And if your herd has never been infected before, the introduction of a new pestivirus infection could have a significant impact on the future of your operation. So if you're seeing less calves or more poor doers than you expect, act now and insure your herd with Pestigard . For more information contact your local vet or Pfizer Animal Health representative on 1800 335 374.
November 4th 2010
November 18th 2010