24 September 2020 - Page 55

MAY 31 2018
Major overhaul of Australian live sheep export standards
HERE will be no ban on
Australian live sheep exports
to the Middle East over the
northern summer despite warnings
that last year’s horror voyage that
saw 2,400 sheep die cruel deaths
could be repeated.
A review of the A$249 million
(£138.5 million) a year trade by
McCarthy ignored calls for the ban,
despite the RSPCA and Australian
Veterinary Association saying there
is no way to protect sheep against
potentially fatal heat stress.
Instead, the review recommended
a major reduction in sheep numbers
– and increased space for them –
on ships bound for the Middle East
during the dangerous hot months in
the middle of the year.
Federal Agriculture Minister David
Littleproud says the government
accepts all 23 recommendations in
the report.
“The live sheep export trade is in
for significant change,” he says.
Littleproud says one of McCarthy’s
recommendation on stocking density will increase space for sheep by
up to 39 per cent.
“McCarthy recommended a seismic shift from stocking density
based on animal mortality to one
based on animal welfare,” he says.
The greater mortality is heat
stress. McCarthy has created a
new model which goes towards
addressing this, reducing the
probability of sheep with heat
stress, and increasing ventilation
and airflow on boats.
A new formula means as the heat
increases, sheep numbers must
SHIP: Crowded Australian export
ship. (Photo: Animals Australia)
“The live sheep trade will move
now to the allometric stocking
density system, which takes into
account animal weight and size,”
Littleproud says.
“This means sheep will get up
to 39-per-cent more space and
reducing stocking densities by up
to 28 per cent. This change will
affect shipments during the Middle
Eastern summer this year.
“In the past, the independent
regulator has used the sheep deaths
as the indicator of animal welfare. It
will now move towards a model that
focuses on animal welfare, rather
than mortality – just because a
sheep didn’t die doesn’t mean it was
treated well.”
The number of sheep deaths that
would trigger a review from the
independent regulator would also
change, from two per cent to one
per cent.
By the 2019 Middle Eastern
automated environment monitoring
Genetically designed
potato engineered to
be blight resistant
Rise in UK wind generation forecast
IND could be a more important
source of energy generation than
previously thought, with stronger
winds across the UK if global temperatures
reach 1.5 degrees C above pre-industrial
levels, a new study says.
A British research team concludes there
could be a 10 per cent increase in UK
onshore wind energy generation – enough to
power an extra 700,000 homes every year.
This does not include the offshore wind
energy generation potential.
To evaluate the potential changes in
European wind power, researchers from the
British Antarctic Survey and the universities
of Oxford and Bristol combined data from
282 onshore wind turbines collected over
11 years with climate model data from the
HAPPI project.
The British team found that while large
areas of Germany, Poland and Lithuania
could become more viable for wind power,
the biggest increases could be seen in the
UK – with marked seasonal shifts in wind.
Climate modeller Scott Hosking at the
British Antarctic Survey says in the future
the UK could see the UK wind turbines
generating electricity nine months of the
year at levels now only seen in winter.
“Future summers could see the largest
increase in wind generation,” he says.
“Therefore, wind could provide a greater
proportion of the UK’s energy mix than has
been previously assumed.”
TURBINES: Wind turbines on Leitrim’s Corrie
Mountain. (Photo: Wikipedia)
Largest beef exporters
increasing production
HE global beef supply
is entering a unique
phase of intensifying
competition, with the
four largest exporting
countries – the United States,
Brazil, India and Australia – all
expanding production at the
same time.
Meat and Livestock Australia
market intelligence manager
Scott Tolmie told a market forum
that until now there has not been
a year where every major beef
supplying country grew at the
same time.
“We’re entering quite a unique
point in time,” Tolmie said. “What
we’re going to find is everyone
is going to be clamouring for the
same competition in the same
markets as we move forward.
“The competition is changing,
and as production increases
we’re going to find this
intensifies,” Tolmie said.
For Australia, it means its
competitors are increasingly
pushing into Australia’s key
markets, such as the Americans
expanding in Japan and South
Korea and South America looking
to China, Hong Kong and the
Middle East.
“Where they’re declining are
locations where we have quite a
Big four beef
suppliers all
growing at the
same time.
(Photo: B+LNZ)
limited presence,” Tolmie said.
Tolmie said in South America,
Uruguay, Paraguay and Argentina
are also actively increasing their
beef exports.
Asia takes 49 per cent of the
global beef imports, North
America 17 per cent, Europe 11
per cent, and Africa 10 per cent.
Australia supplies 50 per cent
of Japanese beef imports, along
with 40 per cent of the South
Korean market, and 20 per
cent of North American import
Easing the price pressure for
producers, this growth in supply
equipment fitted in the pens, as well
as automated watering systems.
Independent observers will become mandatory on all live export
ships and will report daily to the
A heat stress model McCarthy
recommends would pot-entially
dictate stocking density reductions
of between 19 per cent and 79 per
Those who profit from breaching
rules face massive penalties. Other
individuals convicted under the
same offence would face 10 years in
jail and a A$420,000 (£233,650) fine.
The RSPCA says the export
changes are weak and not based
on science or evidence, but the
Australian Livestock Exporters’
Council says the industry accepts
all of the changes.
– and competition – comes at a
time when world beef demand is
The forecasts are for a volume
increase of one per cent to
two per cent this year thanks
to population growth and
increasing household wealth in
developing countries. Meantime,
in New Zealand, farm financer
Rabobank says a falling US
market is driving beef prices
“Increased domestic supplies
of US beef, in particular
elevated levels of US cow
slaughter, reduced demand for
New Zealand’s imported beef
product,” it said.
“This coincided with a period
in which supplies of New Zealand
manufacturing beef product were
high due to the number of cows
being culled from New Zealand’s
dairy herd, putting further
downward pressure on prices.”
However, Rabobank said
US imported beef prices did
stabilise towards the end of
April, and Rabobank expects this
market stabilisation to continue.
While there is still some
potential for further easing of
prices, Rabobank expects the
stabilising US market, combined
with a recently weakening New
Zealand dollar, will ensure any
further declines are limited.
Still, Rabobank US senior
animal protein analyst Don
Close, while visiting New
Zealand, said forced herd
liquidation in the US – along
with the risk of recessionary
pressures in the American
economy – would directly impact
New Zealand producers.
“The US is both the dominant
export destination for New
Zealand beef, as well as a fierce
competitor with New Zealand in
other export markets, including
Japan and South Korea,” he said.
A GENETICALLY engineered potato designed
to resist blight, along with a new pest
management strategy, can reduce the use of
chemical fungicides by up to 90 per cent.
University & Research and Teagasc – the
Irish Agriculture and Food Development
Authority – say the cultivation of late blight
resistant potato varieties in combination
with pathogen population monitoring and a
“do not spray unless” strategy resulted in an
80-90 per cent reduction in fungicide use.
The researchers report in the European
Journal of Agronomy that they developed
what they call an IPM2.0 approach. It builds
on the preventive and integrative principles
of integrated pest management and includes
late-blight resistant varieties.
IPM2.0 allows potato farmers to use more
natural ways to control late blight and strongly
reduces the input of chemical control agents.
It also ensures a yield equivalent to current
levels, protects the limited natural germplasm
used to create the resistant varieties, is
economically beneficial and strongly reduces
the environmental impact of cultivation.
The IPM2.0 approach adds three extra
components to the control strategy for potato
late blight – the use of resistant varieties,
monitoring of naturally occurring genetic
adaptations in the pathogen and only applying
fungicides when a resistant variety is at risk
of infection.
This ensures potato crops are protected at
all times while minimising the risk resistance
genes will be overcome.
The team looked at the efficacy of disease
control and the environmental impact during
cultivation of the susceptible variety Désirée
and two resistant varieties – Sarpo Mira,
developed through conventional breeding,
and a resistant version of Désirée that has a
resistance gene from a wild relative added
through cisgenesis.
Cisgenesis, the genetic modification of a
plant with a natural gene from a crossable
plant, allows enrichment of potato varieties
in as little as three years compared to current
breeding programmes that require 10 years
or more.
Cisgenesis is also more accurate than using
conventional crossbreeding and selection.
The three varieties were cultivated in the
Netherlands and Ireland for three years with
fungicides applied on a weekly basis and the
use of IPM2.0.
The IPM2.0 strategy on the susceptible
Désirée resulted in an average reduction of
15 per cent in fungicide input.
Both resistant varieties remained healthy
with an average 80 per cent to 90 per cent
reduction of fungicide.


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