Rain, rain and more rain | Beef + Lamb New Zealand

Rain, rain and more rain

Phil Smith, B+LNZ's Farmer Director for the Northern South Island, reflects on the changes a bit of rain makes on farm.
Thursday, 27 April 2017

It is incredible how quickly the landscape has changed after the recent rain.

Seeing green pastures over the whole district is great for morale, and timing wise the rain has been perfect. It's still warm enough for grass and green feed crops to grow and ideal for ewes over mating.

As sheep and beef farmers, we can now start planning ahead rather than wondering how we are going to get through the next few months feed-wise.

Lamb prices

The other good news is that lamb prices look set to firm on the back of tightening global supply. Shoulders and middles have been selling well and there is very strong demand in China for lamb flaps. In the UK prices for legs have been back due to Brexit induced currency distortions.

With Mutton and lamb returns increasing I'm hoping next year will be the year of the sheep.

Ballance Farm Environment Awards

It has been great to see sheep and beef famers do so well in this year’s round of the regional Ballance Farm Environment Awards.

Congratulations to the Douglas-Clifford family who took out the Supreme Award in our local Canterbury Awards.

I was fortunate to attend the award ceremony in Christchurch and it really was a great celebration of the fantastic work our farmers are doing in balancing productivity, profitability and sustainability in every aspect of their business. I would love to see the evening televised so these “good news” stories could reach a wider audience. Reality television at its best.

The Douglas-Clifford family’s business is a great example of farm stewardship. “Stonyhurst” features over 200ha of native bush and the family balance environmental protection and enhancement with productivity in their sheep, beef and deer operation. They make full use of a range of technologies to help inform their management decisions and a great example of what can be achieved with some basic computer skills and a willingness to learn.

A field day is being held on Stonyhurst on May 4, so make sure you get along– I am certainly looking forward to it.

Farming and the environment

Farming and its impact on the environment has been in the media recently and I think as a sector, sheep and beef farmers should be front-footing environmental responsibility.

A Farm Environment Plan (FEP) is a great place to start and Beef + Lamb New Zealand run regular FEP workshops which gives farmers an opportunity to develop a plan specifically for their farm. These plans are working documents and I know many people find them to be valuable management tool and not just a regulatory requirement.