Red Meat Study Tour of Asia

An industry-backed trip to Asia has given  Blair and Jane a deeper understanding of the challenges facing marketers of New Zealand meat and dairy products.National winners of the 2012 Ballance Farm Environment Awards, the Smiths recently returned from South Korea, China, Taiwan and Singapore, where they visited a number of key markets for New Zealand sheep, beef and dairy products.The purpose of the 16-day trip was to learn more about offshore markets, exchange views on topics of crucial interest to New Zealand farmers and to showcase New Zealand’s stance on agricultural sustainability.Jane  says the trip, which was undertaken in late April and early May, opened their eyes to the scale and diversity of Asian markets.

‘Good Morning Asia” – A Report into New Zealand’s Primary Industry Market Opportunities

“Each country we visited was completely different in terms of consumer tastes and requirements, and that really made us appreciate some of the challenges the marketers of our products face.”“In South Korea, for example, there is a strong preference for grain-fed beef. So we saw how marketers of New Zealand beef in South Korea and Taiwan are successfully changing consumer perceptions by highlighting the natural and healthy aspects

Blair and Jane - Korean Meat Market, May 2013

Blair and Jane – Korean Meat Market, May 2013

of our grass-fed beef.”In China the Smiths noted the importance of strong relationships with resellers of New Zealand products.“The Chinese want to build long-term relationships with their suppliers and they want a secure and consistent supply. If we are going to develop more business in China, we have to have a very good understanding of their markets.”Blair says a highlight of the trip was a visit to the Grand Farm company – one of China’s biggest importers of New Zealand lamb.In Taiwan the Smiths were impressed by the exceptional standards in country-of-origin food labelling, and this makes them even more excited about the food quality concepts that the Perendale Sheep Society of New Zealand is forging ahead with in a global-leading fashion.“Go to any supermarket or restaurant and they can tell you exactly where their meat came from and, in the case of ground product, exactly what is in it. As in the other Asian markets we visited, food safety is a paramount concern for consumers.”Jane says they were impressed with the approach Beef+Lamb New Zealand and Fonterra have taken to developing markets in Asia.“It’s clear they have made great efforts to understand the needs of consumers within each specific market.”This knowledge is crucial.“As New Zealand farmers, it’s important that we know what we can do to ensure our produce meets the demands of our global customers. We know we have great products but we also have to help consumers understand why they should pay a premium for them.”Jane says while food safety is a foremost concern for Asian consumers, they also want products to be produced in a manner that is environmentally sustainable.Blair says he and Jane met a huge range of marketers, consumers, politicians and industry representatives during the trip.

Click on the link below to download Blair and Jane’s Report

National Ewe Hogget Winners Reflect…

The New Zealand Ewe Hogget Competition Winners in 2012

Share their knowledge gained through using Perendale Genetics..

The Hope family

“Team Hope” Toby, Tori, George, Preston and Fergus

Preston and Tori had a clear vision for the type of ewe that would perform on their Deep Stream (Middlemarch, Otago) farm.”When we first came here, we could not buy the type of stock we wanted to farm, so set about breeding something that was worthwhile on this property,” Preston says.Their flock breeding objective is to produce a ewe that brings in two live lambs at weaning. That ewe has lambed by herself and the lambs get a drink by themselves.The Perendale was chosen because of her foraging ability, good mothering characteristics and suitability for the climate.”We used to select the best-looking sheep. But then realised that the best looking sheep don’t always have twins and it’s the number of lambs you have to sell that drives the operation. So we started putting a second ear tag in the sheep that had twins as two-tooths, recognising that they were more profitable. Then we kept the ewe lambs from those twin-tagged sheep.” Furthermore, the best rams are used over the two tooths, for maximum genetic impact.

Lambing percentage
Year Result %
2006 116
2007 120
2008 127
2009 134
2010 132
2011 143
2012 146

“It’s working. Five years ago, our lambing percentage was 116%. Last year, it was 146%.”

Forest View’s sheep policy is based on all ewes being mated to Perendale rams. Once Hopes have selected their own replacements, the remaining ewe lambs are sold as replacements for other operations. Forest View’s potential replacement ewe lambs are further selected, based on additional traits, such as wool, feet and general thrift. They sell for 18kg carcass weight value, plus a premium. All male lambs are finished to 18kg plus – with 14 Feburary the ideal mean kill date.

How Hopes select their rams

Hopes have been buying rams from Newhaven Perendale stud (David and Robyn Ruddenklau and Blair and Jane Smith) since they moved to Forest View.Each season, they begin by looking at the top end of the breeder’s sale rams, as per the stud’s own records.In combination with the SIL records and eye muscle scanning results, Hopes then also consider confirmation attributes, specifically a good depth in the rear end, straight back and good cover of wool around ears.Preston points out that SIL indexes do not tell the whole story and need to be used hand in hand with confirmation. “Rams have a long lasting effect on your flock. The rams you choose in a particular year will have a 50% impact on your flock for five years, then, if you use female progeny from those rams, their impact will be 25% for another five years. Maternal rams have a huge influence down the track.”

Ram team improvement tracked over five years brings a sizeable payoff

Hopes’ top tips for selecting rams

  1. Before choosing your rams, decide what breed will best suit your farming operation
  2. Look for a breeder whose ram selection objectives are compatible with your own and will best suit your climate (ie. the rams will shift well from the stud to your farm)
  3. Ask to see the best rams you can afford (usually sorted on SIL overall indexes)
  4. When viewing a ram, we find it helpful to have the animal in a large pen where you can watch and compare different aspects of the ram. Specifically: straight back, strong pasterns, good depth of meat between anus and scrotum, good wool cover over head and between ears
  5. The ideal ram for our situation one that is slightly narrower in the front (wedge shaped) for ease of lambing
  6. Select more rams than you intend to purchase, then use the SIL records (sub-indexes and trait rankings) to trim the number back to what you want