Ag Research to Keep Ahead of the CompetitionMonday, Jan 22, 2001
A report (see Dairy farms get $90m shot in arm for research ) of a new joint Australian government and
private funded ag research organisation is providing pointers on the path that should be looked
at by New Zealand agricultural researchers and farm leaders.
We, NZ farmers have already been warned that our on farm production efficiency is falling behind our
international competitors - particularly compared with Australia.
Standing in the middle of your paddock shouting, "we are clean and green" is not the magic formula for
international marketing success - markets want much more than that!
The list of items to be studied in the Aussie program include:
DNA tests that assist selection for desired milk-quality traits.
Health-enhancing milk products.
Milk components enhanced for product yield.
New bio-actives for the health, food and pharmaceutical industries.
Cloned lines of genetically elite bulls and cows.
The development of these products will be underpinned by the development, capture, sales and commercialisation
of associated intellectual property, says the Aussie report.
A number NZ'ers have shouted warnings about where we are heading, but there does not seem to be any
reaction from the research organisations. Perhaps it is under control and the back room boys are getting
on with the job but I have a suspicion that all the pastoral industries have been focusing
on form rather than fact for the past few years as the old producer research structure crumbled and
our most capable scientists fled.
Never the less the list of Aussie items to be studied presents a good prescription but even more pertinent
is the firm objective given to Aussie dairy farmers that they, "… should drop all assets
that were non-earning." and "learn from overseas competitors, that they could earn annual pre-tax
returns of 25 per cent…"
Do we farmers know how to win or are we like our sports teams becoming experts at excusing our losses.