Posts by Alan Thatcher

  • Hard News: Fact and fantasy, in reply to Farmer Green,

    Hey Farmer Green
    I have said many times that Fonterra's reliance on milk powder is both stupid and dangerous (for farmers that is). It is a highly energy intensive product with a very large carbon footprint and has led Fonterra to lobby hard (and very successfully)against any control or costs placed on factory emissions. The problem is, it's so easy - all they have to do to sell it is run an internet auction, no more difficult than selling something on TradeMe, and no worries about customer perceptions of dirty dairying. And look at the other NZ dairy products sold out there - butter that won't spread out of the fridge and crap industrial cheese. There are some good cheeses made here, but not if Fonterra is involved and you sure need deep pockets. Contrast this with Germany, the largest cheese exporter in the world, a fantastic range at reasonable prices. And don't get me started on the Fonterra organic milk processing and marketing fiasco...

    So to comment on your scenario. Firstly, as you may have gathered from the above rant I am very much in favour of broadening the product base (assuming Fonterra is capable of handling the marketing, but let's not go there...). Fresh product into Asia sounds reasonable. Certainly a stocking rate of 0.5 cows/Ha would help solve a lot of environmental issues and they'd be well fed - does need good quality feed though and getting an average yield of 7500 L on pasture only sure needs good quality. My main question would be how would you envisage managing pastures under such a scenario while minimising time with a tractor and a mower?

    Stratford • Since Dec 2012 • 2 posts Report

  • Hard News: Fact and fantasy, in reply to Mike Dickison,

    We're also #1 in the world for endangered animal species—which means birds (because we have hardly any mammals or amphibians). NZ does have quite a few threatened bird species, most of which we can't blame on current National government policies. I don't think the number would be much different if DoC had had adequate funding for the last 20 years, because species decline and recovery is a slow process. We're #1 because we're a small island country, which always increases the number of endangered species "

    "This is actually not correct. We have a large number of threatened species because of habitat degradation, meaning inappropriate land use, polluted waterways, poor fishing methods (sea lions, Hectors dolphins) and most of all, a severe introduced pest problem, especially possums and goats. Time and time again it has been demonstrated that natural ecosystems bounce back astonishingly quickly if the pressures are removed. So, yes. It is all down to the government, not only through inaction on addressing any of these issues (and of course slashing DOC funding) but actually actively working to increase pressure on ecosystems and undermine efforts by others to mitigate the effects.

    Stratford • Since Dec 2012 • 2 posts Report