The Perfect Storm – Weather Update

I published a post the other day explaining, among other things, how the trade sanctions placed on Australia by Russia will effect us. If you missed it, here it is.

This is an update.

Thankfully, our heifers are not destined for Russia this time. This means we don’t need to figure out what we have to do with them.

Sadly, another export company has a lot of heifers already in quarantine ready for shipment to Russia and as far as I can tell, forward contracts to honor.

Our buyer said not to expect a phone call from him for a while. He has different markets and can soak these heifers up.

Personally, I’m not that upset with this. I loose sleep and am prone to bursting into tears randomly for weeks every time we send heifers away.

But the impact on the whole dairy industry is still to be felt.

We also need to take into account what will happen to the beef industry, as this effects the value of our cull cows. Its of particular concern for us as the local abattoir is Russian certified (or whatever it needs to be to export to Russia). It is also another export destination closed. Already Brazil is ramping up production and making deals to fill the void. They can also supply grain and dairy products too. Thank you Colin Bettles for this link.

And my worry that the ARA’s will discover Australia exports’ dairy cattle is happening. I’ve thought for a while now dairy would be the next big thing for them to try to dismantle once the pig and chicken industries were destroyed. Could be happening earlier than I expected.

And I feel I should explain the WMP issue too.

The farm gate pricing is directly linked to World Milk Price. Its all business. A good blog on how our milk prices are decided can be found here. Marian is a great dairy advocate worth a follow too!

The lack of rain – still an issue!

Really, there isn’t much we can fix here! All we can do is weather the storm the best we can!

 

The Perfect Storm

I found out late – for me  - tonight that Vladimir Putin has placed trade sanctions on us. The article in question can be found here.

This has me very worried. Not in the least because we recently sent some of our dairy heifers to Victoria for export to Russia. I’ll get to that later.

As I am discovering, it’s really hard to pinpoint how much of the dairy we export goes to Russia. I have searched all the usual places and can’t find anything definitive.

I do know we have been sending heifers to Victoria to be sent to Russia and China for the last 12 months to help pay the bills. It means for a while we’ll be short of pure bred Holstein replacement heifers. But we do have some very good crossbreds to take their place.

But what of this market now? I guess the next few days may just change a lot of the earning capacity of all dairy farms.

If there are less export opportunities, a few things will happen.

Firstly, the record highs we’ve all been paid recently for our heifers will obviously finish.

Secondly, cow prices could drop. Good news for those wanting and able to expand, not so good if you’ve budgeted for the high cow price.

Thirdly, it will affect the people who have set themselves up for heifer rearing and raising.

Fourthly, the heifers don’t get on the boat until the export company has the full load sourced and any blood tests are done and the heifers need to be housed and fed. People have set themselves up for this as well.

And lastly, animal rights activists will now become acutely aware we export live dairy cattle.

I did have plans to try to follow some of our heifers on their journey, but time constraints have stopped me.

So why am I worried? We sent some heifers to Victoria for export about two weeks ago. Possibly, they are still in Australia. As far as I can tell, bringing them home is not as option due to the Johnes (pronounced yoknees) disease issue. You can read more about that here if you have time.

This comes on top of news this week that the World Milk Price (WMP)  has dropped rapidly. That can be seen here.

For the first time in years, we have been getting a decent farm gate price for our milk. Its meant we can finally see the light at the end of the tunnel.

If WMP drops, our processor drops the farm gate price. Simple as that.

And to top it all off, we are still in the drought we had last year. And there is no end in sight. I have heard it will be March next year before we get any decent rain. And that doesn’t guarantee the drought broken, just rain. The Bureau of Meteorology site is here. These are the rainfall deficiency maps.

There’s a lot going against us as an industry right now. I still believe there is a bright future in dairy. We just need to ride this storm out.

I think we are in for some interesting times.

Better go find that life jacket…..

Horror Movies

I don’t watch much television. It can go weeks without being turned on.

Other than not having enough time, I’m often too tired and fall asleep!

We do have Pay TV (cable, subscription) and that’s my beer money! Sometimes I think its an expensive baby sitter or video shop.

We originally had Pay TV connected because we lived in an area that only received two TV channels. It was easier to have a satellite dish installed than borrow videos from 80km’s away.

I love cooking shows, sewing shows, police procedurals and anything crime. Pay TV suits me.

Both hubby and I have become serial junkies though.

It started with Dexter. From the get-go I couldn’t get enough of him! What a brilliant premise – a serial killer that only kills serial killers.

We have watched True Blood from the start because I wouldn’t mind if Alexander Skarsgard bit my neck!

Sons of Anarchy has a pretty good story line too. I can’t wait for that to come back.

There’s a remake of a much loved Aussie serial ‘Prisoner’. It was around in the ’80′s. Its set in a women’s prison. Its now called ‘Wentworth’ and even better than the original. We have both become a bit obsessed!

Last night I (belatedly) found episode one, season two of ‘Orange is the new Black’.

I’m not sure if the protagonist, Piper, was in season one and I’m not sure what she did to end up where she has either. But the show intrigues me enough to consider borrowing season one and watching. In my abundant spare time, of course. If no more blogs turn up in the next week, you’ll know why!

From watching the promo’s I thought ‘Orange is the new Black’ was a comedy. The episode I watched last night could be described as dark humor – the sort of humor I get.

I started to really want to know what Piper did and (spoiler alert!) why she decided to lie under oath to protect her lover.

And then this thought popped into my head….

What would I be willing to go to jail for?

What could I possibly be capable of that a judge would deem me unfit to live in society?

Do I love somebody so much that a life in prison to save them would be ok?

I know if anyone touched my kids they’d be in trouble. I would seriously consider murder, but would I go through with it? Would I believe justice would be served without my intervention?

So many people get away with so much these days, I wonder of the threat of jail is even a deterrent.

For example, animal rights activists break laws all the time by breaking into peoples farms to set up cameras, making death threats, harassment. But not too many of them end up in prison.

A lot of people commit horrific crimes, beating people up, raping. Quite a lot of them are baled until they are sentenced. Some even get away with it.

The area I live in is becoming a bit of a druggy haven. I know of drug dealers who are not only known to the police and walking the streets freely but committing other crimes as well. Obviously they feel they are immune to the system. I don’t blame the honest police either. There is a do-gooder element in our judicial system that suits the corrupt police. All t’s must be crossed, all i’s dotted.

And is it that bad a life in prison? I believe it would be for me! But if you live on the streets and three meals a day is a rarity and a bed with sheets is unheard of? Or if your fellow gang members are in there and you can just continue on living like you were? To receive medical attention including for chronic illnesses, TV, education….there are times when I joke about it!

Could I spend the next 20-25 in a cell with someone else and one toilet?

I doubt it!

But the big question I found myself asking me was what has happened to society as a whole that makes it OK to have shows that ‘glorify’ drug use, gang mentality and completely amoral behavior?

This is just my opinion – I think that journalists keep putting more and more shocking images and words together. It has normalized violent behavior. I wonder if the images of dead people laying in the streets of war ravaged countries would have been shown 40 years ago. Are we becoming desensitized by these ‘news’ reports? Is death and destruction not just in wars overseas but in our own ‘war on drugs’, ‘war on gangs’ etc. becoming so commonplace we’ve lost the ability to feel distressed by what other ‘humans’ do to people? Are we becoming victims of the ‘Horror Movie’ Skyhooks sang about all those years ago?

When I was a child I was terrified the police would come and put me in jail for misbehaving. I was taught right from wrong, good from bad, the difference between a good decision and a bad one, consequences for actions both positive and negative. It didn’t stop me from pushing the envelope at times! But I knew where to stop. Others I know didn’t and paid the price.

Is it because of the morals instilled as a child?

We had a daughter ring us from school and inform us she wasn’t coming home. She was going to live with a friend. She is my step daughter but I have always treated her as one of my own. While her parents were bickering I took it upon myself to be the parent her and her brother needed. I taught them all the things I had been taught. So even though she lost her way, what I had given her as a moral compass guided her and she didn’t end up where a lot of these kids do. Doesn’t mean she didn’t have a go, though! She even thanked me for being so ‘tough’ on her and often try’s to tell her 13 year old sister that I am not the bully I’m made out to be.

A lot of it is blamed on TV. That shows like Breaking Bad have caused an increase in meth labs for example. I don’t know really. I haven’t seen an increase in bikey activity since SOA came out. Or an outbreak of serial killers dying. Or vampires taking over the streets. Watching Law and Order – SVU hasn’t made me want to abuse a child or rape a woman. Watching shows and reading books on Ivan Millat hasn’t turned me into a sadist. And I became pretty obsessed with Ivan!

What I do see is children believing the idyllic life they witness on sitcoms and tweeny shows is the way life is. No responsibilities, doing whatever you want, having the best most supportive friends, perfect skin, perfect body, perfect grades without any work, money never being a problem.

And I do believe there is a link between video games and violence. If you’re involved in the killing of humans on a regular basis where no real emotion is felt by the victim it has to effect  your mind. At least in paintball you can see the bruises on your friends!

I worry for the future of our children. Our society is increasingly becoming more about rights and less about responsibility. That a 14 year old child has the right to call us and say she’s not coming home from school but we as responsible parents don’t have the right to turn up and remove her from an unsafe situation has to got to be seriously looked at.

That someone who has raped and murdered before can be released from jail to do it again because it isn’t right to keep people locked up can’t ever be considered the right.

I hope the fact we don’t let our children watch copious amounts of TV – they can go days without watching it – and that they both have jobs on our farm and rules they have to abide by will help make them hard working adults who contribute positively to the world. But our way of parenting seems to be the exception these days.

Maybe I do seem hard on my kids to the outside world. Maybe they are deprived in some ways. But they know they’re loved and have a safe place to come to and people who will go in to bat for them when required. And that none of that came from a TV show.

If kids came with a manual, I’m sure the first instruction would be turn the bloody TV off and spend time getting to know your kids!

I don’t have the answers. I wish I did! Our world has been filled with violence since the beginning of recorded history. When or if it will ever stop, I don’t know.

What I do know is this. TV has less to do with our children’s - and society as a wholes - behavior than people give it credit for. If the idyllic idea isn’t reinforced then it won’t be reality. Its up to us as parents to create the world we want for our children by teaching our children its up to them to create the world they want to live in and give them the tools to achieve it.

 

 

Propraganda and How It (Doesn’t Always) Work

The news was broken by PETA yesterday of the abject cruelty endemic in the shearing sheds of Australia.

It came with a video complete with an official sounding voice and emotional music.

Why is a dairy farmer having a rant about this?

I am against the mistreatment of all animals.

And I worked in the industry for about 10 years. So I do have some experience. But that’s a blog for another day.

I have seen the behavior depicted in this video, but I didn’t stand back and watch. I had a shearer sacked for treating sheep like that. I made enough noise in two other situations for the overseer and the grower to see what was happening and moved those horrid excuses for human beings on. I walked away from what would have been a lucrative job as a contractor allowed this sort of abuse to occur because the shearer was a ‘gun’ (lots of sheep shorn in a day) and even moved 800km’s away just to find a new team after basically being blacklisted where I was for it. All in all, I probably saw seven shearers act with such contempt for another living creature. They don’t get a lot of work.

Here is the video. Watch with an open but curious mind…

So here are a few of the problems I have with this video.

Firstly, why (again!) was the footage held for 12 months without prosecution of the shearers involved? This is something we see regularly from so called animal welfare advocates.

Some of the filming was obviously done with the full knowledge of the person being filmed. This can mean a few things. It could be a set up. It could be a mate filming a mate and that video has been used inappropriately.

A question that has been bubbling in the back of my mind is who has a hammer on their stand and why? Its not a normal part of a shearers kit.

Not surprisingly, some of the images were taken out of context.

The sewing up of a sheep is something that needs to be done from time to time. It has little to do with the per sheep payment system as reported by PETA. The reason a sheep ends up with a cut like that are varied but rarely does it lead to the death of the sheep. And no, pain relief is not used. PETA again are using emotion without facts. They are comparing human skin to that of an animal that has evolved to have less nerve endings in areas prone to damage.

There is also footage of a shearer with his foot on the sheep’s neck. To me it doesn’t look like much downward pressure is being used. Experience tells me its being held still so the sheep doesn’t kick and then need to be sewn up.

And lastly, who installed the cameras and was it done with full knowledge of the owners of the sheds involved.

If these groups had there way, every livestock enterprise in Australia would be under constant video surveillance with open to the public feeds over the internet. Nothing should be hidden in their view.

Agroterrorism is being used in this country by these groups to obtain footage they can then cut and paste to suit their own agenda. This is what I believe has happened here. Imagine what they would do with live feeds.

This picture was on the Weekly Times report about the video. I feel I should comment on this picture. Its out there for all the world to see. I have no idea where this picture came from but it doesn’t help anyone but PETA.

Or does it?

It shows a sheep with some blood. I do feel bad for this sheep. But looking at the picture I notice the sheep isn’t very cleanly shorn. There’s wool left on the rump. This indicates the shearer was probably a learner.

But the more interesting thing I notice is, except a tiny patch on the bottom left, the lack of blood on the fleece.

Could be a lucky shot… make your own assumptions.

Source: PETA

I am also guessing you have more question. And you should! All of the material shown by ARA’s needs to be dissected and any cruelty that we can stop needs to be stopped!

But if you want information from people who know and understand, ask a farmer! They are the people with the hands on experience in animal welfare.

There are lots of farmers from all over the world to be found on Facebook and Twitter and most are more than willing to let you in on the workings of their enterprise.

Feel free to leave questions and comments. If I don’t know the answer, I’ll probably know someone who will.

Thanks for reading.