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Sheepmeat Council : Sheepmeat 2015 2016
SHEEPMEAT COUNCIL OF AUSTRALIA ANNUAL MUSTER 2015-16 47 Tasmanian Farmers and Graziers Association (TGFA) As a result, many Tasmanian farmers are weaning lambs early or, in some cases destocking because of an impending shortage of feed. These trying circumstances have not necessarily meant that the quality of Tasmanian lamb has been reduced, but volumes in the saleyards are high. Usually this would result in weak prices, but the opposite has largely been experienced. The culmination of the dry season and strong prices may result in a shortage of stock in 2016. The state and federally funded irrigation schemes have meant that many producers have been able to carry lambs and breeding stock through the season, which they may not have otherwise been able to. Dams that feed the irrigation schemes are also under considerable stress due to the continuing dry season, which has a trickle down effect to prime lamb producers through the availability and affordability of fodder, forage crops and water itself. However, there is still confidence in the market and industry as a whole within Tasmania. Continued investment in irrigation Under a National Partnership Agreement the Australian Government has committed to provide up to $140 million towards the development of a sustainable irrigation system in Tasmania. The Tasmanian government has committed $80 million from the Water Infrastructure Fund to ensure that the scheme is efficient, profitable and sustainable into the future. Within this package funding for research has been allocated, this research is being carried out by the Tasmania Institute of Agriculture and the Department of Primary Industries Parks, Water and Environment (DPIPWE) and seeks to improve the use and efficiency of this valuable resource. The continued investment in the Tasmanian Irrigation Scheme by both state and federal governments has meant that regions of Tasmania, previously unable to diversify into other ventures or intensify current agricultural practices, such as prime lamb production, now have that potential. Irrigation offers prime lamb producers opportunities and problems; ranging from the ability to increase carrying capacity, to unit cost and increased growth potential to increased risk of footrot. Tasmanian Red Meat Strategic Plan TFGA and other red meat industry stakeholders worked together to develop a strategic plan for the sector. The key aim of the plan is to improve the sustainability of the Tasmanian livestock production system by encouraging innovation that will not only improve its economic viability, but also focus on animal welfare, environmental impacts and social issues. The Tasmanian Red Meat Industry Strategic Plan has three key themes: • Securing the industry’s production base; • Improving market access; and • Information and communication. The plan was officially launched in June 2015 at a very successful event at the historic Brickendon property near Longford, Tasmania. The next step in this process is the development of an operational plan, which the TFGA Meat Council has already had significant input into through its development. Sheep Health Taskforce and biosecurity Biosecurity is of major concern for the Tasmanian farming community and brand Tasmania. The sheepmeat industry in the state, like other industries, relies and trades on Tasmania’s pristine environmental credentials. TFGA takes sheep health and biosecurity very seriously and sees the two issues to be inextricably linked. TFGA proactively interacts with the relevant biosecurity councils, organisations and departments to gain the maximum benefit for its producer members and Tasmania as a whole. OIE World Organisation for Animal Health – audit of vet services OIE representatives undertook an audit of Australian veterinarian practices and presented to Tasmanian stakeholders, including DPIPWE, in Launceston in November. The audit was to evaluate and validate the status of animal health against global standards and to highlight areas that could be improved. This event was attended by the TFGA and SCA councillor Ru Gregg who was commended by DPIPWE for his contribution to proceedings. Electronic ear tags RFID has been a hot topic in the industry through 2015-2016 that is yet to be resolved. The TFGA is watching with great interest as this issue unravels, with much of the industry supporting the continuation and improvement of the current NLIS system. The RFID system, at this point would only be mandated in one jurisdiction of Australia, but could have a lasting and negative effects on the industry as a whole. The TFGA has been a strong supporter of the SCA and WPA position on this issue and will continue to represent our members in this matter. Truck Wash Facilities The need for truck wash facilities at key points throughout the state has been identified by the TFGA and the state’s producers as an issue. A submission has been made to the state government, outlining the reasons for its importance, including biosecurity to civic stewardship. The main aims of the submission are to: • Reduce spread of disease during transport • Prevent the contamination of stock pre- slaughter • Prevent contamination of roadways • Stock presented for sale in a cleaner condition • In the case of an exotic disease outbreak, facilities like this will be needed to de- contaminate stock transport trucks. TFGA has met with government officials and key stakeholders to promote this issue, positive outcomes have been seen from this meeting. The TFGA sees this as an issue that will affect many of the state’s commodities and will continue to represent our members in this endeavour. Three seasons of below-average rainfall across much of Tasmania has created a serious situation for many of our farmers.