Duxton’s Agri Bits and Pieces – Vol. 420
Posted on: April 5th, 2019


Quote of the week

A growing number of international students are lured by our world class agricultural courses, and are taking their knowledge home to implement in their own countries.

TAFE NSW head agriculture teacher, Rob Harris, said “international students are increasingly being drawn here due to the diverse agriculture. Figures from the Federal Department of Industry show there were 631 international student enrolments in ‘Agriculture, Environmental and Related Studies’ in NSW, up from 481 in 2015.”

Source: 28 March 2019






Snail farmer struggling to keep up with demand as alternative meat popularity soars

Snails, ants and even fried cockroaches are increasingly popping up on menus throughout Australia, with one SA snail farmer saying she is struggling to meet demand as interest in the meat spikes.

Claudia Ait-Touati is a not-for-profit snail farmer in Coonalpyn, about 150 kilometres south-east of Adelaide. Eight years ago, she began breeding snails on her care farm which hosts people living with dementia. In that time, she has seen interest in snail meat spike. She grows up to 50,000 common garden snails on her property- the only type of snail that can legally be farmed in Australia, but the recent hot weather wiped many of them out.

“It is sustainable. The snails feed themselves, so there’s not a lot of waste either, they don’t produce any greenhouse gases and you don’t need machinery to breed the snails.”

As part of Tasting Australia next month, she will host an escargot festival at her farm. Everything from snail pate, snail wonton soup, snail pasta, pizza and snail fritters will be on offer, as well as snail races. “We want to raise awareness about what can be done with snail meat,” she said. “It’s very healthy, high in protein, low in fat and it’s a sustainable source of meat.”

Source: ABC Rural, 31 March 2019






China’s back in the market for hogs and so are hedge funds

There are finally enough signs of an emerging pork catastrophe in China to propel prices and get funds to turn bullish again. African swine fever was first reported in China last August. It’s taken time for the disaster to play out, but it’s arrived. Pork prices in the Asian nation have shot up, and the Chinese government said its sow breeding herd was down about 15 per cent. That decline is bigger than the entire herd of North America.


Earlier this month, China made its third-biggest weekly purchase of pork from the US ever, and on Thursday the pace of exports increased despite a massive tariff. The US Department of Agriculture expects total Chinese pork imports to jump 28 per cent.


A hole in Chinese production of approximately 20% means there won’t be enough pork in the world and prices will have to “increase significantly” in order to ration out supplies, said Altin Kalo, an analyst at Manchester, New Hampshire-based Steiner Consulting Group.


The number of swine fever outbreaks is “certainly under-reported,” Kalo said. “Everyone knows that it’s worse than what it’s made out to be.”


Markets may react if more purchases don’t show up in weekly trade data, said Will Sawyer, an animal protein economist at CoBank. Chinese buyers might go elsewhere, like to the EU, Canada or Brazil, before coming to the US, which would delay demand for US pork. Politics will play a role, as a trade war continues between the US and China. Consumers in the Asian nation may turn to other proteins like chicken.


Source: Financial Review, 25 March 2019








Chart of the week
February 2019 saw the highest trade volumes of lamb exports on record to the US at 7023 tonnes swt. Since the start of the season, average monthly flows have been sitting 40 per cent above the five-year seasonal trend.

The graph below, sourced from MLA’s 2019 sheepmeat export global summary, shows the strong start to 2019 for sheepmeat exports to both the US and China. 




Source: MLA 2019 Sheepmeat export global summary






Joke of the week
Why shouldn’t you tell secrets on a farm?

Because the potatoes have eyes and the corn has ears!







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