Farm exports surge in six months

tải xuống (9) Vietnam’s agriculture, aquaculture and forestry exports reached US$12 billion during the first half of this year, a year-on-year increase of 38.7 per cent, said the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development. During that period, agricultural products accounted for the largest proportion of total farm export turnover, with approximately $7 billion worth of goods, marking a 1.5 fold-increase over the same period last year.
Exports of key items such as coffee and rubber experienced significant growth in both value and volume.
The country exported 913,000 tonnes of coffee in six months, earning a turnover of around $2 billion, representing annual rises of 200 per cent in value and 38.6 per cent in volume.
Meanwhile, rubber exports earned $1.2 billion, up over 80 per cent year-on-year thanks to higher global prices and increasing demand in most of the country’s major rubber importers.
Despite encouraging export results, the ministry still called for enterprises to make further investment in upgrading equipment and storage technology and product processing as a way to improve the quality of goods and better comply with the international food safety standards.

Canada cuts wheat harvest hopes – for a third time

tải xuống (6) Canadian farm officials, for a third time, cut their estimate for the domestic wheat harvest, dashing hopes of a recovery in exports from, historically, the world’s third-ranked shipper of the grain.

Canada’s farm ministry, AAFC, gave up on hopes that harvested area of wheat, excluding the durum variety used in making pasta, would rise from last year’s rain-effected levels, following a second season of dismal weather for growers.

"Subsoil moisture conditions range from adequate to excessive," AAFC said, adding that the conditions had left crop development "significantly more uneven than usual".

The estimate for harvested area was cut by 330,000 hectares to 6.96m hectares, compared with 7.02m hectares for last year’s crop.

With prospects for durum output waning too, Canada pegged its total wheat harvest at 23.0m tonnes, 1.0m tonnes below its previous estimate and taking its forecast 167,000 tonnes below last year’s result.

‘Low inventories’

The downgraded production estimate prompted the ministry to cut by 800,000 tonnes to 16.1m tonnes its forecast for exports in 2011-12, ditching hopes of a rebound in shipments from last season, when 16.5m tonnes were shipped.

The estimate for inventories at the close of 2011-12 was kept at a "low level" of 5.0m tonnes, a figure beneath which stocks have fallen only once, four years ago, in at least the last half century.

US Department of Agriculture attaches in a report published on Wednesday foresaw a lower harvest figure for Canada, of 22.4m tonnes, but higher exports, of 17.0m tonnes, leaving carryout stocks even thinner, at 4.6m tonnes.

The briefing also highlighted a potential impact from delays in spring sowings, noting "concerns that wheat quality may be impacted if there is an early frost", before farmers can gather in their harvest.

Canola prices

AAFC also trimmed estimates for harvests of coarse grains and oilseeds, thanks to lower estimates for the area that would make it through to harvest.

However, it stood by a forecast of a record 13.4m-tonne harvest of canola, the rapeseed variant thanks to better hopes for yields, adding that farmers could expect higher prices for the oilseed than the Can$567 a tonne they received in 2010-11 as well.

"Prices are forecast to rise on support from high world prices for soybeans, palm oil and crude oil," the ministry said, lifting its estimate for 2011-12 values to Can$580-620 a tonne, from Can$560-600.—for-a-third-time–3443.html

BPEX: Pig leadership awards

tải xuống (4) Ten pig unit supervisors received leadership awards at the end of the first BPEX leadership programme for the South.

Their training, on the BPEX/Institute of Leadership and Management (ILM) Development Programme, has helped them boost pig productivity and staff motivation on their units.

A special top delegate award went to Ken Boyden who works for Fawley Farms. Course leader Alistair Gibb of Cedar Associates said: “Ken’s enthusiasm and application of learning back at work, combined with his anecdotes and sense of humour helped to finalise a difficult decision on who should receive the award. We had to pick from a strong group that had really developed through the modules of this practical management programme.”

BPEX skills development manager Tess Howe added: “Stock management is second nature to these people but dealing with staff can be a lot harder. The aim of the course is to help make these managers more effective in the way in which they deal with their staff to make their job easier and improve business performance.”

Every candidate received a certificate in First Line Management from the Institute of Leadership and Management (ILM) after eight months’ of management training sessions, written course work and practical application on farm. The presentation was made at The Angel, Hindon, Wiltshire, after their final training session which focused on increasing performance through training and coaching staff.

The ILM course is designed for anyone responsible for leading people or who will take on the responsibility in the near future. All the participants found that learning how to deal with their staff in a more effective manner was very worthwhile and would recommend it to others in similar positions.

Dairy reform necessary, U.S. ag chief says

ap--vilsack-president When farm milk prices plummeted in 2009, causing thousands of dairy farms to fail, the situation inspired what could become major policy reforms at the U.S. Department of Agriculture.

Depending on whom you ask, the proposed reforms are welcomed or feared. But something has to change or there will be a repeat of 2009 in the not too distant future, U.S. Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack said Tuesday in an interview.

On Wednesday, Vilsack plans to attend a forum on exports at the Milwaukee Grain Exchange. On Thursday, he will be at the Wisconsin State Fair for a forum on rural development.

In the interview, Vilsack offered some of his thoughts on the dairy industry, including comments on a proposal by U.S. Rep. Collin Peterson (D-Minn.) that would strengthen the safety net that helps protect farmers when market prices collapse.

"Maybe Peterson’s proposal isn’t exactly right, but it’s certainly a really good start and it identifies the issues that have to be addressed," Vilsack said.

The nation has lost thousands of dairy farms in recent years, many of them small operations that could not survive downturns in milk prices while the cost of farming soared. Wisconsin now has 11,993 dairy farms, compared with 14,572 in August 2006, according to the state Department of Agriculture, Trade and Consumer Protection.

That’s nearly an 18% drop in five years.

"I can’t even count the number of people I know who are going to quit milking cows" once they use up their livestock feed, said Joel Greeno, a dairy farmer near Kendall, adding that milk prices are "still on the same roller coaster."

Lawmakers are beginning to discuss changes to the safety net for the nation’s dairy farmers in an effort to make the milk industry more profitable and less reliant on federal subsidies.

Peterson’s plan would replace some outdated programs with reforms meant to keep supply and demand in balance.

Many dairy producers are grateful for the proposal, saying it would help eliminate the price swings that have done so much damage. Others, though, say the real answer is less government interference, not more.

Peterson’s plan has three main components. First, it would eliminate a pair of rarely used federal programs designed to help dairy farmers in lean times. Second, it would strengthen an insurance-like program in which the government pays farmers when milk profits become too slim. Third, when profit margins shrink to a certain level, the government would limit how much milk is produced.

The last measure is the most contentious. The so-called dairy market stabilization program would provide incentives for farmers to produce less milk, thereby cutting the supply and helping restore prices. But some dairy producers say the incentives represent unwelcome government intrusion.

Here’s how it would work: When the difference between milk prices and the cost of producing milk, as determined by feed prices, fell to a certain level, farmers would be limited in how much milk they could produce. For the most part, income from any additional sales would go to the government, which would use it to buy up the excess.

Vilsack says the plan from Peterson could become a reality in 2012.

But Vilsack emphasized that any changes must come from Congress, because the USDA has limited authority to reform dairy policies.

"There are some controversial pieces of this," he said, but farmers need some protection to get through difficult times.

Peterson’s plan is still in the draft stage.

"Unfortunately, the policies included in the draft legislation need to be modified before moving forward," the Wisconsin Dairy Business Association said Monday in a written statement.

"The (profit) margin insurance safety net provision of the plan is a good start, but it falls far short of providing a viable safety net for average Wisconsin and Minnesota dairy farmers," the association said. And while the so-called stabilization program would eliminate price volatility, it would remove the U.S. dairy industry as a consistent supplier to the world market, according to the association.

"Our organizations want dairy policy reform, but not at the expense of farmers and others who rely on the industry for their livelihood," the Wisconsin Dairy Business Association and the Minnesota Milk Producers Association said in a news release.

Survey of farm use of water

tải xuống FARMERS and growers will be surveyed on how much water they use, what they do to conserve it and how they could be affected by climate change.

The NFU is launching its Water Survey, which takes place every five years, to get an up-to-date picture of water use on farms. After three unusually dry winters and this year’s spring which was the driest since records began, the results should give an idea of the way farmers have responded.

Although the survey is aimed primarily at the NFU’s 55,000 members, the union is encouraging the wider industry to take part and is running a prize draw.

The survey is available on or paper copies can be ordered by calling 02476 858896.

Illinois Soybean Association recognizes two Pike County farmers

tải xuống (1) BLOOMINGTON, Ill. — The Illinois Soybean Association recognized two Pike County farmers Sunday at its annual meeting.

Mark Sprague of Hull was presented with the 2011 Excellence in Environmental Stewardship Award, and Philip Bradshaw of Griggsville is the state’s nominee for the American Soybean Association Meritorious Service Award.

Bradshaw was one of four industry leaders nominated for national recognition for their efforts.

Bradshaw is the immediate past chairman for the United Soybean Board, WISHH (World Initiative for Soy in Human Health) and the World Soy Foundation. He also serves QUALISOY and the U.S. Soybean Export Council and currently is vice chairman for the United States Farmers and Ranchers Alliance.

"Phil has always been seen as an outstanding leader for Illinois agriculture. His knowledge and experience with soybean issues are unparalleled," said Ron Moore, 2010-11 ISA chairman and a soybean farmer from Roseville. "Phil has the ability to encourage people to perform at their highest levels for the betterment of our industry. Phil has been the right leader at the right time for all of agriculture."

Bradshaw is a past chairman of the Illinois Soybean Program Operating Board, Illinois Pork Producers Association and the United States Animal Health Association. He and his son farm about 900 acres of corn, soybeans and wheat and raise hogs.

"Mark Sprague is a true conservationist," said Rob Shaffer, ISA director and soybean farmer from El Paso. "Mark uses terraces and filter strips to conserve rich Illinois soil. By implementing these practices, he reduces chemical and fertilizer runoff out of local and national watersheds and provides excellent places for wildlife to nest."

Sprague, an ISA director and past Soy Leader, also is active in the Pike County Farm Bureau and Waterways Council.

ISA is the statewide organization for Illinois soybean growers. The farmers on its board administer soybean checkoff funds to support research, promotions and educational programs designed to increase demand for Illinois soybeans and administer legislation and membership programs.

These cows are the cream of the crop!

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MILK produced by cows on a farm in Over Hulton are champion — and they have the rosettes to prove it.

Farmer Michael Partington, who owns and runs Dearden’s Farm, in Manchester Road, Over Hulton, has seen his homebottled milk named official champion at the Great Yorkshire Show — one of the country’s biggest agricultural shows — for five years out of the past seven.

In the process, he has beaten competition from some of the country’s biggest dairies, including Arla, Express Dairies and Longley Farm.

And one of the herd, named Lassie, even took some time out from producing milk this week to meet youngsters at Gilly’s Play and Pre-school in Rutherford Drive, Over Hulton.

Mr Partington, aged 48, says the secret to producing good milk is to “keep the cows happy and give them plenty of food”.

“I have a very simple system and I think that keeps the milk’s flavour,” he said. He keeps Ayrshire cows, which produce a richer milk than their Friesian cousins.

His 60-strong herd produce 400,000 litres of milk a year, which Mr Partington bottles himself.

He follows in the footsteps of his father, John Partington, who started farming in 1955.

“When I was a kid there were 30 or so farms bottling their own milk — now there’s only me left,” he said. “I still enjoy it, and a lot of people say they don’t know what they would do if I stopped.”

He sells the milk through his own farm shop and local newsagents, as well as supplying the larger dairies.

But do not expect to be able to pick up a bottle of semiskimmed — he produces only unhomogenised whole milk, saying he believes the extra processing ruins the flavour.

And with his wife, Ann- Marie, and five children — Thomas, Nicola, Rebecca, Fiona and Laura — all involved in the business, it seems the people of Bolton will be able to enjoy locally bottled milk for many years to come.

Pig poo powers plant to keep porkers sizzling

images (3) PIGS living on a farm near Morpeth won’t need blankets to keep them warm thanks to a state-of-the-art facility which converts their dung into green energy.

The £1.2million anaerobic digestion plant is the first in the region to be installed on a working farm and is part of a major drive by Newcastle University to explore new ways in which agriculture can become more sustainable.

Officially launched this week, the system is already producing heat from the pig slurry produced on Cockle Park Farm – located between Hebron and Tritlington – and the next step will be to feed this directly back to the animals to keep them warm.

Project lead Dr Paul Bilsborrow, based in the School of Agriculture, Food and Rural Development, said the aim was to work with North East farmers, land managers and other related businesses to find new ways of producing renewable energy from waste.

“Anaerobic digestion offers huge potential in terms of utilising the methane from animal waste and converting it into renewable energy, which can be used to heat and power on-farm buildings,” he said.

“The plant at Cockle Park provides us with a unique opportunity to demonstrate best practice for integrating this technology within a working mixed farm – starting with our pigs.

“It is also an important step towards the creation of a ‘Sustainable Farm’, focused on the production and use of renewable energy.

“By working together with the agricultural industry we hope to develop new ways of making anaerobic digestion a viable process for uptake by farms across the UK.”

The facility is a key part of the university’s new Living Lab concept, which places research into sustainability at the heart of the region – encouraging forward-thinking and innovative approaches to sustainable challenges and providing real solutions both now and in the future.

Anaerobic digestion is a process by which micro-organisms break down biodegradable material in the absence of oxygen to produce methane and carbon dioxide rich biogas that is suitable for energy production.

Rapidly becoming an important source of renewable energy, there are now more than 50 fully commissioned anaerobic digestion plants across the country, with a similar number currently in the planning process.

The project was jointly funded by the university and One North East through its Rural Development Programme for England.

Elders lifts cloud over Aus-Indonesia cattle trade

tải xuống Elders dispelled some of the cloud over Australia’s cattle exports to its biggest customer, Indonesia, by confirming the first shipment since a ban imposed on animal welfare grounds was lifted three weeks ago.

The farm retail-to-feedlot group said it would in the second week of August transport 3,000 cattle to Indonesia, the first shipment from Australia since Canberra agreed earlier this month to reopen trade, but under tightened cattle handling restrictions.

While Elders will undertake the shipment one week later than it had initially anticipated, the resumption of trade will ease concerns over the extra red tape demanded by the Australian government, coupled with the delay in reassembling supply chain logistics.

Australian Agricultural Company, Australia’s largest cattle rancher, said on Monday that it was "not optimistic that the export of live cattle will recommence in early August".

Nonetheless, the Elders shipment represents just a small portion of the live cattle trade that Australia would usually be undertaking in what is usually a busy period for shipments.

Indonesia has allowed Australia an export quota of 180,000 cattle in the July-to-September quarter, for which the Elders shipment is the only one confirmed so far.

‘Vital volumes’

Elders’ route to permit has been eased by its ownership of an abattoir in Indonesia, meaning that the company can satisfy relatively easily Australian government demands on animal welfare safeguards throughout the processing chain.

Tony Dage, the group’s general manager, trading, told that Elders was looking to "progress the approval process with other [Indonesian] customers in coming weeks", to ensure further consignments.

Malcolm Jackman, the Elders chief executive, said that Northern Australia, whose cattle sector is largely reliant on exports to Indonesia, "is desperately awaiting recovery in the trade and it is vital that the volumes can be increased as rapidly as a sustainable solution will permit".

The ban was imposed in June following television footage showing serious mistreatment of cattle in Indonesian abattoirs.

Earlier, Elders shares closed down 4.0% at Aus$0.355 in Sydney.–3417.html

Old field farm seeks manager

pigs Old Field Farm explores the interaction and mutual benefit of art and agricultural practices, where a diversified culture for both plants and animals can thrive. Old Field Farm/Art and Agriculture consists of 160 acres of forest, wild bee pastures, indigenous and cultivated mushrooms, habitat for goats, chickens, pigs, ducks; vegetable and fruit gardens. Integral to the farm is the greenhouse, ceramic studio and painting studio.

Our intention is to transition to having a thoughtful, full-time effort made towards every facet of the vegetable and livestock operation. We are looking for someone full-time who has ample experience (three years at the minimum) overseeing a diverse operation, a solid background in farm record keeping and budgeting, as well as managing farm interns and volunteers. In addition to the Farm Manager, there is a Market Manager who will be coordinating sales of product and our Bootleg Buying Club, held weekly in Manhattan.

We are reviewing all applications from August 1st through September 1st. The position is slated to begin in early September 2011.\