Sheep and Beef OptimismThursday, Jul 26, 2001
The Southern North Island Sheep and beef Cattle farmers Conference yesterday provided your editor with
an interesting insight into that much less publicized section of New Zealand’s pastoral industry
– sheep and beef production
On the theme of “Grass into Gold” a wide range of excellent speakers followed through a
sequence of key aspects involved in the profitable management of pastoral grazing systems.
From the initial premise that well managed grass is profitable grass when producing products for relevant
markets the speakers tackled their subject with positive technological precision based on an
optimism that was refreshing to hear.
The significant point made in the conference was fact that pastoral farming and livestock production
and marketing are a system. Albeit a complex system that has been left to the rugged individuals
of the sheep and beef industry to fight out the development and ownership of in the manner of the
robber barons of old.
For if it had been a simple production system sheep and beef production would have now been carved up,
consolidated, merged, integrated, segmented, harmonised and packaged like the current chicken and
pork industries of the world.
But the speakers indicated that thinking is changing
Early recognition by individual farmers of the fact that pastoral production is a system and therefore
the tools of systems management and cooperative development used in other industries will equally
apply to sheep and beef production could well ensure that pastoral producers will retain ownership
of the wealth that their industry can produce.
The conference speakers gave sheep and beef farmers good reasons to be optimistic producers for more
reasons than the current pricing windfall.