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  by Richard Gibson (New Zealand)

In reporting the activities of this area in the last 12 months, again as we often say, ‘time flies’.

Australia and New Zealand, as the main dairy countries in the region, is what I will report on first.  Australia has been widely reported in the last 12 months that it has had its worst drought in 150 years.  This follows a 10 year lack of rain plus the 2003 major drought.

The major impact this time is that the Murray Goulbourn irrigation Schemes have been under pressure with many areas having no irrigation or rain for the previous 9 months. This has had a major effect on Production, as grain and feed prices have doubled, resulting in herd culling and, as a result Dairy Farmers in many areas have been under big pressure.

The major dairy show "Dairy week" continues to be the leading display of dairy cattle in Australia.  The Australian Jersey Society has operated semi independent under the Federal Council, but there are moves to combine all activities under the Australian Jersey Society.

Like all major Jersey populations there is interest and exchange in world genetics.  It is good to compare, to keep the best world genetics to the fore, for various countries systems.

In New Zealand the past season has been a very good one, even though the first half was cold and wet, with production being a record.  With the Australian drought reducing the amount of dairy products sold on the world market, plus USA turning more to BioFuel, resulting in Corna and Grain prices going up, making milk production costlier, and EU reducing subsides, this all has resulted in big increases of dairy prices in the world markets.  So the New Zealand Dairy Farmer will see a lift in payout prospects for the next season, which is a much needed boost.

The Jersey breed continues to hold its own.  With New Zealand’s net output evaluation system, gives Jerseys a level playing field with Holstein Friesians, resulting in them evaluating equal or better than other breeds.

With crossbreeding also in favour this has resulted in Jersey semen sales accounting for approx 33% of the market.

On the breed front the last season saw the cow, Tahora Berretta Vanessa Excellent, belonging to DL Geddes, being New Zealand Royal Show Champion and All Breeds at Christchurch.  A good win for Jerseys.

During February 45 Danish Jersey farmers along with CEO Peter Larsen visited New Zealand. It was good to host them, and sure they enjoyed their time here visiting herds and seeing NZ's scenic attractions.  Denmark and NZ have similar goals in their breeding plans.

The growth of China’s economy has seen a big growth also of the Dairy industry. This has not only meant the impact of the dairy cattle, but Dairy companies Fonterra of New Zealand, Murray Goulbourn of Australia, have set up there own Dairy Farms.

The challenge for Jerseys is to get more Jersey into there as the growth is in the liquid market.

So it is anticipation that we come to Brazil, one of the major economies and agricultural countries of the world, and see the Dairy Industry and its Jerseys.

Respectfully submitted.

Richard Gibson
WJCB Regional Vice President for Asia-Oceania                                                                  June 2007

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