30th April 2020 - Page 50

AUGUST 08 2019
Survey nds Kiwis open
to eating crunchy insects
UT away the mint sauce and dig out
the bug traps.
A survey nds New Zealanders are
open to dining out on insects.
But Kiwis like their insects crunchy
and if given a choice would opt to eat a black
eld cricket before other creepy-crawlies.
Turning the crickets into a menu item would
be popular with farmers – they are a serious
pasture pest in large areas of the North Island.
The AgResearch Institute surveyed 1,300
New Zealanders and found 67.4 per cent said
they would likely (32.1 per cent) or highly
likely (35.3 per cent) consume insects.
One preferred option is frying the bugs, to
make them more palatable. Some 55.6 per cent
would likely consume insects this way, with
17.3 percent saying they were highly likely.
Chocolate or other sugar coatings did not
increase perceived palatability compared
with eating plain cooked insects.
The researchers were looking to assess
which native insects respondents would be
most likely to consume to test the market
potential for each insect.
n New Zealanders open to a black field cricket
diet. PICTURE: AgPest NZ
The survey found participants are more
likely to eat – given the choice – black eld
cricket nymphs and locust nymphs, followed
by m nuka beetle and then huhu beetle grubs.
Participants would least like to consume
porina caterpillars and wax moth larvae,
which suggests they are more open to eating
“crunchier” insects, as opposed to the softer
“squishier” insects, reinforcing that texture is
an important factor.
The survey also found females are less
willing to try new food and less willing to eat
Some 60 per cent of survey participants
thought eating insects would be a more
environmentally sustainable option than
eating beef, lamb, pork and chicken produced
from traditional farms.
AgResearch says insects are an excellent
source of protein and healthy fats, with high
levels of vitamins, minerals and essential
amino acids.
Despite this, in Western societies insects are
not seen as appropriate or appealing food.
“The reasons behind this are culturally and
socially complex, but tend to orient around
psychological barriers such as disgust toward
insects as food, poor presentation of insects
as an appealing food choice, and lack of
familiarity, says AgResearch scientist Penny
Payne, who led the survey.
Aussie dog fence upgrade
n Kai Voss-Fels at the wheat trial site. Kai Voss-Fels
Research debunks
old wheat myth
HE pervasive myth that
intensive breeding has made
modern wheat cultivars
weaker and more dependent
on pesticides and fertilisers is
debunked in a major new GermanAustralian study.
Kai Voss-Fels, a research fellow
at the University of Queensland,
says modern wheat cropping
varieties actually out-perform
older varieties in both optimum
and harsh growing conditions.
“There is a view that intensive
selection and breeding, which
has produced the high-yielding
wheat cultivars used in modern
cropping systems, has also made
modern wheat less resilient and
more dependent on chemicals to
thrive,” he says.
“However, the data unequivocally shows that modern
wheat varieties out-perform older
varieties, even under conditions
of reduced amounts of fertilisers,
fungicides and water.”
He says the researchers also
found that genetic diversity within
the often-criticised modern wheat gene pool is rich enough to
generate a further 23-per-cent
increase in yields.
Voss-Fels says the ndings
might surprise some farmers and
“Quite a few people will be taken
aback by just how tough modern
wheat varieties proved to be,
even in harsh growing conditions,
such as drought, and using fewer
chemical inputs,” he says.
potentially important implications
for raising the productivity of
organic cropping systems.
“It’s been widely assumed that
the older wheat cultivars are
more robust and resilient, but it’s
actually the modern cultivars that
perform best in optimum and suboptimum conditions.”
The study is believed to provide
the most detailed description of
the consequences of intensive
breeding and genetic selection for
high grain yield and associated
traits in European wheat over the
past 50 years.
The rst part of the study tested
200 wheat varieties that have
been essential to agriculture in
Western Europe in the past 50
Performance was compared
between those varieties in sideby-side eld trials under high,
medium and low chemical input
conditions. The second part of the
study matched the performance
differences with the different
varieties’ genetic make-up.
AUSTRALIA’S legendary wild
dog barrier fence is getting an
upgrade in Queensland.
The state government has
repaired 15 kilometres of the
fence and in some of the rocky
sections installed pickets by
drilling holes deep into the
hard surface.
A wire was then run at
ground level to secure the
netting ush against the
ground to prevent the dogs
getting under the fence.
The dog fence, also called
the dingo fence, was nished
in 1885 to keep dingoes out of
the fertile south-east part of
the continent and to protect
the sheep ocks of southern
It is one of the longest
structures in the world,
stretching 5,614km from Jimbour, Queensland, to the cliffs
of the Nullarbor Plain in South
The 2,500km section of the
fence in Queensland is also
known as the Great Barrier
Fence or Wild Dog Barrier
Fence and protects 26.5
million hectares of sheep and
cattle grazing country. It is
administered by Biosecurity
Queensland, which has twoperson teams patrolling a 300km section of the fence once a
The fence mostly is made
of 180cm high wire mesh
and extends about 30cm
underground to keep the dogs
from digging under it.
Originally the graziers were
responsible for maintaining
the fence, but with drought and
changes in the wool market it
didn’t take long for the barrier
to fall into disrepair.
In the early 1980s, the
Queensland government rebuilt the state’s section. It
also realigned a large stretch,
creating the current wild dog
barrier fence.
There’s a similar fence in the
west of the continent.
The State Barrier Fence of
Western Australia, formerly
known as the Rabbit Proof
Fence, consists of three fences
covering 3,256km that were
built between 1901 and 1907
to keep rabbits and other
agricultural pests from the
east out of the state’s pastoral
Meantime, a report released
earlier this year by the South
Australian state government
says it would cost A$25 million
(£14 million) to replace ageing
parts of the 1,600km fence in
that state.
Livestock SA said some parts
of the 100-year-old fence can
no longer keep the sheep safe
from wild dogs and dingoes.
Work to rebuild the fence
was expected to take three
n The Queensland section
of Australia’s 5,614-km
wild dog fence. PICTURE:
Biosecurity Queensland
n New Zealand sees high lamb prices for the
next year. PICTURE: Strauss Brands
Good times to
continue for
lamb producers
ESTRICTED global supplies and strong
international demand are set to keep
sheep meat prices at elevated levels
over the remainder of this year and into the
Rabobank animal proteins analyst Blake
Holgate says the strong market fundamentals
experienced throughout the current season
had resulted in healthy returns for sheep
And with these fundamentals set to persist
for at least the rest of 2019, Holgate says the
outlook for New Zealand sheep meat pricing
is very positive.
“We expect to see pricing levels out to the
end of the season in October at least as high
as the mid-NZ$8 (£4.28) a kg mark we saw
last year,” he says. “There could even be
some upside potential on top of this
“This positive sentiment is anticipated to
continue into the new season – underpinning
ongoing strong pricing – with exact pricing
levels to be largely determined by global
supply and the degree of local short-term
procurement pressure driven by the ow of
stock to the processors.”
Holgate says sheep meat supply out of
both New Zealand and Australia – the key
exporters – is expected to remain tight over
the coming year.
“Global supply of sheep meat is likely
to remain tight in the next 12 months with
limited capacity for New Zealand to lift
domestic production given where ewe
numbers are at,” he says.
“Similarly, our major export competitor
Australia is unable to lift production due to
drought conditions that have driven capital
stock levels of sheep to amongst the lowest
levels seen in 100 years.”
On the demand side, Holgate says global
lamb markets continue to perform well, with
demand and in-market pricing for key cuts
“Over the next 12 months we expect to see
global demand for sheep meat remain strong
with African Swine Fever (ASF) predicted to
reduce China’s domestic protein availability,”
he says. “This will support strong Chinese
demand for a range of lamb products, and
particularly mutton.
“US demand for sheep meat should remain
rm off the back of a prolonged period of
US economic expansion which has led to
increased rates of red meat consumption
and more disposable income to spend on
expensive products like red meat.”
Still, he says, a number of downside risks
could adversely impact sheep meat pricing.
These include concerns over a slowing global
economy, an over-estimation of the impacts
of ASF and the fallout from Brexit.
Global supply of
sheep meat is likely
to remain tight in the
next 12 months
Blake Holgate


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