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Sheepmeat Council : Sheepmeat 2012
36 SHEEPMEAT COUNCIL OF AUSTRALIA ANNUAL MUSTER 2012 National Farmers’ Federation It has been a year of contradictions: while the weather has brought much-needed rain for some, floods have caused devastation for others; while farmers are benefiting from increased production and high yields, they are also feeling pressured by a strong Australian dollar, fluctuating commodity prices and high input costs; and while the Prime Minister has spoken about the potential for Australian agriculture to be the food bowl for Asia, the Federal Government is also progressing policies that add costs into farm businesses, lessening our competitiveness and our productivity. Like all farmers, I keep an eye firmly on the weather, and this year, wetter than average seasonal conditions have been both a blessing and a curse. After a decade of 2011-12 has been a year of great challenges - and great opportunities - for Australian agriculture. drought followed by a wetter than average 2010, widespread la nina conditions once again resulted in high rainfall – and widespread flooding – across much of Australia. Despite the flooding, farm production and yields have this year been among the most positive we’ve seen in well over a decade for many commodities. As sheepmeat producers know, the national sheep flock has experienced a stronger rebound than originally expected. Yet, at the same time, commodity prices and the Australian dollar continue to fluctuate. In June 2012, global agricultural commodity prices fell to a three year low, in part due to the continued economic instability of overseas financial markets. Meanwhile, despite its movement, the Australian dollar remains strong against the US dollar, providing little relief for our export-reliant sector. The cost of doing business is also significantly impacting our farmers, with high input costs, such as electricity, labour, fuel and fertiliser putting pressure on the farm bottom line. In fact, increased input costs are one of the major concerns for farmers with the introduction of the Federal Government’s carbon tax from 1 July 2012. Independent research conducted by the Australian Farm Institute has found that even with agriculture’s direct emissions and agricultural fuel excluded, farmers are still set to wear the cost of the carbon tax through indirect input Longer worm protection with just one injection Cydectin is a registered trademark of Virbac Australia Pty Limited. Resistance may develop to any anthelmintic treatment. Seek advice from veterinarian or animal health advisor.