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TAS Country : February 16th 2012
22 Tasmanian Country Friday, February 17, 2012 The Stock Report Positive outlook for dairy farms TASMANIA'S milk production re- mains strong, according to the latest output results. Overall Australian milk production is climbing steadily and total output for 2011-12 is forecast to be between 9.4 and 9.5 billion litres. According to Dairy Australia's Situ- ation and Outlook February Update this represents an increase on last season's total of 9.1 billion litres. Analysis undertaken as part of the update suggests a likely final average southern Australian farmgate milk price range of $5.20 to $5.30 a kilogram of milk solids for the 2011-12 season. Joanne Bills, Dairy Australia's man- ager for strategy and knowledge, said Tasmanian production remained strong. She said northern and western Victoria and southern NSW were enjoying their best conditions for many years. Australian milk output was 5.6 bil- lion litres for the six months to Dec- ember, 3.6 per cent higher than last season, and the trend is expected to continue. ''Generally favourable seasonal con- ditions, lower feed costs, good soil moisture levels and high water allo- cations should support profit margins and make this season one of consoli- dation for most dairy farmers in southern exporting regions,'' Ms Bills said. However, she said milking cows were still in short supply and retention rather than export of heifers would be critical to maintaining future pro- duction growth. Live cattle exports had slowed, down 4 per cent to 73,900 in the 12 months to December 2011. On the global scene, dairy markets have been remarkably stable, but the wider economic situation was uncer- tain. Currency movements were affect- ing the competitiveness of exporters. Ms Bills said the outlook for the international dairy market was criti- cally dependent on demand for dairy products continuing to absorb ad- ditional milk supply. ''Demand has been resilient in key Asian markets and the Middle East,'' Ms Bill said. Chinese WMP imports slowed, but total Chinese dairy imports had in- creased more than 20 per cent. Ms Bills said the Australian dairy market had been fairly positive over recent months, despite the caution displayed by consumers. ''Domestic sales volumes have lifted for all the key dairy categories; but only very marginally for cheese and yog- hurt. While domestic sales volumes for milk have grown, value has been undermined by lower supermarket prices,'' she said. The full report of the February update is available at www.dairyaustralia.com.au/S-and-O. VINTAGE ATTRACTION: David Perry from Sassafras with some of his prized tractors. Pictures: CHRIS KIDD and ROGER HANSON Fascinating look at farm industry from yesteryear HARD YAKKA: Ray Willing pressing hay bales at the recent Hobart Show. The press was powered by a 1940 Farmall W4 tractor. VINTAGE farming techniques will be brought back to life at both ends of the state in coming weeks. The Heritage Farming Weekend will be held on February 25-26 near Camb- ridge, while the Sassafras Heritage Farming Weekend will be held from March 10 to 12. The old trades of blacksmithing, fence-post splitting, draught horse ploughing and chaff cutting will be on display at Hobart Vintage Machinery Society (HVMS) Heritage Farming weekend at Summerhill Farm, 761 Richmond Rd, next weekend from 10am to 4.30pm. The popular weekend will include 30 vintage tractors, steam engines and engines chuffing away, classic cars and motorcycles and collections of memorabilia. The proceeds from the event will go to the Kalang Avenue group of Riding for the Disabled, with an entry of $5 for adults and free entry for children under 16. The event will be well signposted with plenty of on-site parking. Coming from Hobart or the south, take the Richmond Rd. Summerhill farm is 5.8km from Cambridge, on the right-hand side as you travel towards Richmond. For further information, email Ted Domeney at dombros2@clearmail. com.au or phone 0438 921 669. You can also contact Brian McDermott on 6272 2670 or Jim Darling on 6234 9887. Fun day out for family Vintage machinery enthusiasts from across the state are polishing up their collections in readiness to take part in next month's Sassafras Heritage Farming Weekend. Thousands of people from across the state are expected to turn out for the bi- annual event which will be held on weekend on March 10,11 and 12. The heritage weekend again will be held on the Perry family's property at Sassafras, just off the Bass Highway. Members of the Historical Machinery Club of Tasmania as well as two southern-based clubs will be displaying a huge range of tractors and other equipment, some of which is well over 100 years old. Mr Perry said the weekend was a chance for collectors to show off their prized machinery. ''We encourage people to bring their tractors and other gear along because a lot of the time it's just sitting around in the sheds and it doesn't get seen,'' Mr Perry said. ''A big focus of ours is the younger generation and a lot of them probably wouldn't have ever seen some of the things that we'll have there, so it's a chance for them to see how things used to be done before all this modern equipment came along.'' The weekend is designed to be a fun day out for the whole family. A new addition to this year's weekend will be miniature steam train rides. ''We're flat out at the moment putting track in for it, so it should be really good and something a bit different,'' Mr Perry said. The weekend also includes displays of working draught horses and an animal nursery. The theme will be the Year of the Farmer. A tractor parade will be included in the event, with live music entertainment and a range of demonstrations, including sheep shearing and rope making. The gates will be open 9am-4pm on Saturday and Sunday and from 9am until 3pm on Monday, March 12. Entry will cost $8 for adult, $4 for children or $20 for a family. Mutton prices sink NATIONAL mutton prices have dived to their lowest in more than two years. While heavier sheep still are selling at steady rates, light sheep are making as little as their skin value. At Bendigo on Monday, light cross- bred ewes made just $6 a head. With a skin value of $4-$5, this meant the meat was worth virtually nothing. There was a similar story at Hamil- ton last week, where 18,000 sheep were $10-$30 cheaper, with some lines of light Merino ewes under 14kg liveweight making just $5. Meat and Livestock Australia sheepmeat analyst Robert Barker said mutton prices would not go back to last year's levels. ''We are not expecting mutton prices this year to reach the levels of 2011, with the greater supply of sheep available being the key reason for pressure on prices,'' he said. ''The demand is there in export markets, but last year's prices combined with such a high Australian dollar would have been very difficult to sustain.'' Mr Barker said the last time the national mutton indicator was as low was at the end of June, 2009. ''The mutton market has been driven by historically low numbers over the past two years, coinciding with a sustained run of good growing con- ditions that hadn't been seen for a number of years,'' he said. for the perfect combination POLL DORSETS AUSTRALIA S NO. 1 TERMINAL SIRE Setting the Industry Benchmark for Prime Lamb www.polldorset.org.au
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