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Report of the Vice President for Oceania Region - 2012

Climatic conditions in Australia and New Zealand have been favourable for the dairy industry, in most regions over the past 12 months.  Natural disasters however have caused many problems.  In New Zealand, around the Christchurch region, continuing earthquake aftershocks have occurred throughout the year.  In Australia, some regions that suffered years of drought, have experienced a major reversal with extreme flooding happening, and in some areas happening twice. 

Milk production in Australia and New Zealand, has risen slightly in both countries, where the jersey breed represents approximately 13% of total dairy cattle numbers.

Prices for dairy commodities on the world markets, have remained high for most of the year, but we have seen a decrease, for some products within the last couple of months.  The forecast for the next 12 months is predicting lower farm gate prices.  In Australia we have seen the supermarkets cut the price of their supermarket branded milk, which has been the cause for a lot of concern, within the dairying communities.  The milk companies that are supplying this type of branded milk are also not making enough money and are talking down the farm gate price.  This of course is affecting the confidence of many dairy farmers.

New Zealand

New Zealand Jersey membership has remained fairly static in recent times, although jersey registrations have increased. 

The two joint venture genetic programs, JerseyGenome and JerseyGenes, between Jersey New Zealand and CRV Ambreed Ltd, are proving to be very successful.  JerseyGenes success has been proven by supplying 26 proven jersey bulls over a period of 19 years.  One of those bulls is Okura Manhatten ET  SJ3, who has been exported to over 9 countries and has sired over 32,500 daughters in New Zealand.  This year, JerseyGenes received 150 bull nominations for its 2012 bull team.  17% of the nominations originated from the JerseyGenome scheme.

Australia

Jersey Australia has seen a slight decrease in full memberships this year, but an increase in Junior Memberships.  Jersey Australia set a goal of 15,000 registrations for the year and achieved a final tally of 16,014, better than was expected.  Classification was up 13% on the previous year with 5,556 animals being assessed.  Unfortunately though, two year old linear type evaluations, conducted for artificial breeding companies, fell by 50%, which is a concern for jersey progeny testing in Australia.  Jersey Australia entered an alliance with Dairy Futures CRC, who with the aid of the Department of Primary Industries, processed over 4,000 jersey hair samples from cows selected from herd testing members herds.  This research program, known as the Jernomics Project, is all about adding reliability to a small jersey data reference set.  The reference set, in turn, would be the basis of jersey genomic ABV’s, that will be released some time in 2012.   The iJersey on-line data base service was launched in 2011 thanks to the generous sponsorship of Central Sires Co-op.  This service is invaluable to herd testing organisations, AB companies and international societies as well as providing our members with the tool to research animals offered at multi vendor sales, check herd listing details for accuracy, or find progeny by specific cows or bulls of interest.  There are over 145 registered users on iJersey, regularly viewing, downloading and researching jersey records. 

The demand for jersey cattle, for export and the local market, has been exceptional over the past year.  Elders, Austrex, Landmark and Wellards Rural Exports, have been putting together jersey shipments to overseas buyers, which effectively sets a floor price for our domestic sales.

We also saw 10 jersey bulls exported to Sri Lanka. 

International Dairy Week, was another highlight for the jersey breed this year.  For the first time in its history, there were more jerseys shown than Holsteins.   Congratulations to Eloora Pastoral for winning Supreme Jersey and for being the first jersey to win interbreed champion.

The showcase sale at IDW, was also a breed success, with the sale average being just over $5000 for the first time.

Each year, the Jersey Australia AGM, is hosted by one of its jersey cattle clubs.  The 2012 AGM is going to be hosted by the South Gippsland Jersey Breeders Club, who will also be celebrating their centenary.  A remarkable achievement.  International guest speakers, Dr Cherie Bayer from US Jerseys, and Dr Judith Capper from Washington State University, will be attending the event.

On a sad note, Mark Shaw, the inaugural JETA (Jersey Educational Travel Award) winner for Oceania, passed away during the year.  Condolences to the Shaw family.

Looking forward to catching up with everyone in Columbia

Respectfully submitted

Peter Ness

Vice President - Oceania

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