We take a look at whats making headlines around the farming globe.
New Zealand: Dairy Farmer 'Pissed Off' after finding camera in Milking parlour
A farmer in Waikato is irate after finding a video camera mysteriously installed in his milking parlour. "Call me a pissed-off farmer, because that's what I am. I'd rather be pissed on by my cows than pissed off like this. What sort of low life does that?" Craig, who did not want his second name made public, added: "What were they trying to find? That I mistreat my animals? Good luck to them, I love my girls, they make my money for me.” The camera was revealed after Craig noticed a flashing light in the ceiling. Craig said that farmers are already struggling to make a living and don't need these kinds of intrusions. He said: “Farmers don't have a lot of wick left on their fuse. Either a farmer will top themselves or they will shoot someone who comes on to their property unlawfully.” Full story in the New Zealand Farmer, here.
US: Farmers Throw Away 43 Million Gallons of Milk Due to Surplice
US farmers have thrown away the largest amount of milk discarded in 16 years due to a glut in dairy supply. Farmers dumped 43 million gallons of milk in the first 8 months of 2016. The USDA has offered to buy $20 million of cheddar, as well $11.2 million in payments during August under the Dairy Margin Protection Program. This follows a 36% fall in milk prices since 2014. Full story in Time.
US: Hurricane Matthew leaves Trail of Dead Cattle in its Wake
The most recent hurricane to hit the US caused devastation in Haiti where over 1000 people died, as well as killing 36 in the US. So the plight of cattle and their farmers in North Carolina has been rather down on the agenda of news reports. Tens of thousands of cattle were reportedly drowned in the storm as huge feed lots were caught in its path and cattle were trapped under the rising floods. In addition, tens of thousands more pig and chicken carcasses are floating in the waters of North Carolina after the storm, posing a hazard to public health, as well as providing clean-up operators with a grim task. Full story in the Business Insider.
US: Solar Panels Causing On High Value Land
Farmers in Oregon are being tempted to convert high quality farmland to host solar installations as demand for green energy raises the value of well-situated sites. Current legislation allows each farmer to allocate a maximum of twelve acres to solar panels, as an income supplement, but now some farmers want the rules changed so they can avail of the high rental incomes being offered by energy companies. As developers are offering deals to numerous farmers at a time, they are managing to mask large scale projects as a series of small planning applications, causing concerns that planning regulations need to be updated. Capital Press has the story.
Canada: Mexican Lifting of Import Ban a Boost to Beef Producers
Mexico's 13-year ban on Canadian beef imports has been lifted, providing Canadian farmers with a market that could be worth up to $250 million. The ban was placed over fears of Mad Cow Disease.
Canadian farmers are not currently in a position to supply the beef demanded by Mexican consumers, as many have switched over to crops like canola. It is expected they will transition back again within a few years. Full story from CBA.
China: Claims that GMO Crops will Improve Population Health
A study published in Nature has indicated that use of GMO glyphosate-resistant crops in China will benefit farmer health. Although it acknowledges that glyphosate has its own health concerns, the study compares the effects of other chemicals currently used in China with the effect of crops using only glyphosate. “The multivariate regression results show that none of the examined 35 health indicators was associated with glyphosate use, while the use of non-glyphosate herbicides was likely to induce renal dysfunction and decrease of serum folic acid.” Read the full study here.
Syria: Seed Bank in Aleppo with Genes to Fight Climate Change Relocating
The International Centre for Agricultural Research in Dry Areas (ICARDA) is relocating its main seed bank from the city of Aleppo in Syria due to inaccessibility and war. Efforts to duplicate the bank with seed collections in Terbol, Lebanon and Rabat, Morocco are being made. ICARDA's Syrian collection is valuable because it contains wild relatives of important food crops that can be used for breeding new strains in the future. These crops all have traits that could be important for food growers in the future as climate change starts to take hold. The seeds stored there have traits such as resistance to drought, heat, pests and salinity. Full story on Genetic Literacy.