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2010 VICE PRESIDENT’S REPORT FOR ASIA-OCEANIA

 

Peter Ness (Australia)

 

The global financial crisis, has had a huge impact on the dairy industry within Australia and New Zealand over the last 12 months.  At the start of the financial year, opening milk prices in both countries was depressed, well below the cost of production.  There were regions in Australia that did not suffer price drops because the farmer’s milk went into liquid milk markets and there was a shortage of milk in those regions.  In the second half of the financial year, we saw milk prices improve, giving rise to some much needed farmer confidence.  The dark cloud on the horizon is the affect of the EU financial problems.

 

In Australia, we saw a slight drop in memberships but on the up side, there was an increase in junior memberships.  Registrations were just over 12,000 – the first time for a few years, - and we saw an increase in member classification, plus a slight increase in animals transferred.  We have also seen some moderate price improvements paid for jersey cattle sold at auction.  Exports of jersey cattle have slowed because of financial constraints.

 

Jersey New Zealand, experienced a slight drop in memberships, but also saw an increase in junior memberships.  Just over 20,000 jersey animals were registered, which was down 16% on the previous year.  SPS classification numbers were up 12% on last year.  Member classification was down 7%, due mainly to financial restraints.  Semen sales from Jersey NZ Young Bull Team was up.

 

Jersey New Zealand & CRV Ambreed formed a new joint venture – Jersey Genome.  This program replaces the highly successful Jersey Jet Scheme, and links heifer results through to the association’s Jersey Genes Scheme.  Jersey Genome is currently awaiting genomic results from 96 heifers, so the final selection for the inaugural team should be announced at the AGM & Conference in June this year.

 

Jersey NZ subsidiary company, Jersey Marketing Service Ltd, experienced a slow year due to the financial situation & climatic conditions.

 

Climatic conditions have had quite an impact on the dairy regions of both Australia & New Zealand.  In New Zealand, the north island has experienced dry conditions this year, whilst the south island have had flooding. 

 

In Australia, some areas that have been affected by drought, have received good summer rains.  Some farms had autumn paddock feed for the first time in years, only to see a locust plague strip paddocks bare overnight.

 

The major dairy show in Australia is International Dairy Week held in Tatura, Victoria.  Held annually in January, this show continues to attract an incredible amount of overseas visitors. This year’s international judge was Mr Brent Walker from Canada.

 

In February, I met with the council of Jersey NZ & discussed the planning for the 2011 World Jersey Conference.  The organising team have put forward a program, which highlights New Zealand’s culture, flora, fauna and stunningly varied scenery, together with visits to some of their magnificent jersey herds.  The itinerary is currently up on both the Jersey New Zealand & World Jersey Cattle Bureau websites.  Bookings will be available online from June 2010.

 

While in New Zealand I attended the Dairy Event held at Fielding.  The jersey section, was judged by Robert Anderson, from Victoria, Australia.  It was great to catch up with some kiwi friends.

Tahney King of Australia, returned from Canada early in the year.  Tahney had received a WJCB Youth Travel Scholarship.  In the February/March edition of the Australian Jersey Journal, Tahney outlines her stay in Canada.  This edition can be found on the Jersey Australia web site.  Thank you to Jersey Canada for their hospitality and organising Tahney’s itinerary.

 

On a sad note, one of Jersey New Zealand’s current directors, Murray Harnett, passed away after a short illness.  While he will be missed for the dedication and enthusiasm he brought to his role, he will always be remembered through the establishment of the Murray Harnett Challenge for Junior Judging.

 

I am looking forward to meeting and renewing acquaintances in Albania, and inviting delegates to New Zealand for the 2011 World Jersey Conference.

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