by clicking the arrows at the side of the page, or by using the toolbar.
by clicking anywhere on the page.
by dragging the page around when zoomed in.
by clicking anywhere on the page when zoomed in.
web sites or send emails by clicking on hyperlinks.
Email this page to a friend
Search this issue
Index - jump to page or section
Archive - view past issues
TAS Country : January 13th 2012
Friday, January 13, 2012 Tasmanian Country 5 News Randy ram still smiling A RAM managed to breed with almost one-third of a flock of ewes at a Northamptonshire farm in England after jumping a fence. The woolly lothario, who has been named Randy by farm staff, was only loose for 24 hours after escaping. Thirteen of his offspring have already been born at the farm in Desborough, and 20 ewes are expecting. The farm divides its 109 ewes when it comes to breeding so they have two waves of lambs. But Randy, an 11-month-old Texel ram, jumped the 1.5m fence when all the ewes were still in one field. Farmer Ryan Thompson said: ''It's quite comical because we separate them for a couple of months before breeding season, but when they come into season the ewes produce a perfume that drives rams wild.'' Farmer Ed Dee, 42, who lives at the farm, said: ''He had a bit of a smirk on his face.'' Mr Thompson revealed that Randy had another stroke of luck in December when he jumped the fence again to escape slaughter. ''He was due to be slaughtered before Christmas but jumped the fence at the last minute and we didn't realise until it was too late,'' he said. ''He's certainly the luck- iest ram I've ever met.'' Daily Mail Beefing up US menus Our meat proves a cut above QUALITY: US Wellness Meats' John Wood, right, with Greenham Tasmania managing director Peter Greenham. ROGER HANSON 'It is utopia here. If I were to be reincarnated I would like to come backasacowonthe North-West Coast' ---JOHN WOOD THE largest grass-fed internet shipper of beef in the United States has a genuine soft spot for Tasmanian cattle. US Wellness Meats' founder John Wood arrived in Tasmania last week and was highly impressed by the quality of pastures, beef cattle and animal husbandry on display. ''It is utopia here. If I were to be reincarnated I would like to come back as a cow on the North-West Coast,'' Mr Wood said. ''The mild climate is perfect for cattle, and with the rainfall and irrigation allows for lush, pristine pastures.'' The vibrant US Wellness Meats grew out of Mr Wood's realisation that there was a unique way of raising cattle for a growing niche of US consumers who were beginning to understand the health benefits of free-range meat. Mr Wood's connection to Tasmania came through North-West Coast beef farmers John and Angela Bruce. The Bruces run a large commercial operation at their magnificent Western Plains property at Stanley. ''John was on sabbatical in the US and we caught up with each other in 2002,'' Mr Wood said. From that meeting grew a friendship and a growing export business for Tasmanian beef. Mr Wood's business buys a 10-tonne container of farm-fresh Tasmanian beef every five or six weeks from Greenhams Tasmania. ''This parcel of business is sure to grow,'' Mr Wood said. He said an innovative restaurant chain, Duke's Chowder House, in Washington State, preferred a mix of Tasmanian beef for its meat servings. A fifth-generation farmer, Mr Wood said he had been used to thinking like his ancestors when it came to raising his animals. The old method in the US Mid-West meant growing animals on pasture, feeding them grain in confinement for the final four months, then selling them off to a big animal processor when it was time for them to be slaughtered. However, with a little experimen- tation, he discovered the old method might not be the only way. Over three years Mr Wood raised animals on a 100 per cent forage diet and had the proof he needed -- there was another way to get tender and exquisite-tasting beef, lamb, bison, goat and dairy products. In 2000 he started US Wellness Meats from scratch. Today 90 per cent of its sales are internet-driven and the remaining 10 per cent of sales are through whole- salers and distributors. The company focuses on grass-fed beef and a holistic approach to raising animals to ensure they are raised and slaughtered humanely. A select group of farmers who supply Greenham Tasmania's Cape Grim Natural Beef share the principles. The group of 40 beef farmers, all based in the North-West, are required to meet stringent quality and process- ing standards set by Meat Standards Australia (MSA). The popularity of Tasmania's quality grass-fed beef, which has no hormones or genetically modified organisms, has been a big hit. Mr Wood's business, which markets some of the Tasmanian beef as Tri-Tip, T-bones, delmonicos, flank and skirt steaks, has found the growing internet sales have created some supply issues. ''We have resolved this by working with Greenhams,'' Mr Wood said. During his recent week-long stay, Mr Wood took time out to meet a number of local grass farmers. He praised Greenhams Tasmania for being pro-active in supporting farmers who were actively trying to get better- quality beef. ''I wanted to get a hands-on feel about stories and information of what is happening here,'' Mr Wood said. He will use some of the interviews with the Tasmanian farmers for a YouTube clip promoting Tasmanian beef in the US. Mr Wood also made a presentation at the annual Circular Head Show hoof and hook competition. The carcasses in the hook section have been judged using MSA criteria after they are processed at Greenhams at Smithton. Mr Bruce said under MSA criteria there were very clear guidelines for mixing and slaughtering times for cattle to prevent stress affecting the meat quality. He said the competition provided participants with valuable information about how their cattle performed against others. Bid to stop grain pain INDEPENDENT TEST: Contractor Peter Campbell checks for grain moisture. KAROLIN MacGREGOR IT is hoped a new independent cali- bration machine for grain moisture meters should save the state's grain industry thousands of dollars this season. Problems with discrepancies be- tween grain moisture level tests have plagued the Tasmanian industry for years and cost growers and contractors hundreds of thousand of dollars. A major push by Agricultural Con- tractors Tasmania has resulted in the installation of a Near Infrared (NIR) machine at Ulverstone. The machine, which is worth more than $70,000, has been supplied through the federal Department of Justice, Consumer Affairs and Fair Trading Measurements and Standards Branch. The machine will now be in the state permanently to ensure grain moisture meters can be calibrated accurately year-round. Contractors chairman Doug French said it was hoped that having an independent calibration service would help restore some confidence in grain moisture level testing across the state. ''It makes things very difficult when you take a load of grain from some- where like Bothwell to Powranna and have it rejected because the moisture level is too high and then have to transport it all the way back down to somewhere like Cascade, where it's accepted,'' he said. ''We've heard of situations like that happening a lot and it's very costly for the grower, especially in a season like last year when a small delay in harvesting could mean losing the crop in the next rain.'' Mr French said many growers had been extremely frustrated by the differ- ences between moisture testing results at the different grain receival points. ''There have been some huge vari- ations in readings, up to 8 per cent, which is just not good enough,'' he said. ''This problem should have been sorted out years ago, but we're pleased that we finally have an independent testing system in the state. ''I think it will be good for the whole cereal industry.'' Mr French said some growers had become so frustrated with the testing issues, especially during last year's wet summer conditions, that they decided not to grow cereals this season. He said having accurate moisture testing was essential, especially for growers in areas closer to the sea, where higher humidity levels meant getting grain crops down to the re- quired moisture levels was often diffi- cult. Mr French said hopefully now if all the different receival places had their equipment calibrated, growers could be confident that the reading they got was accurate. He said if there are any ongoing issues with testing results through the season, the operators of the NIR machine would be able to take samples and test them to determine if there were problems. Mr French said that with the state's grain harvest about to get under way in the coming weeks, the NIR machine was now up and running.
January 5th 2012
January 26th 2012