Growers discuss Export heifers

11 Aug, 2004 10:00 PM
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THE Dairy Situation and Outlook 2004 report was released at the end of June and Dairy Australia (DA) has organised farmer forums across Australia to explain the surveys findings.

In Bunbury, DA program manager Chris Murphy said the survey report dispelled a lot of the myths that were circulating through the industry and painted a clearer picture of the realities.

³The survey was conducted a little differently in WA,² he said.

³Nationally we did a random phone sample of farmers, a phone interview with farmers, over 1000 across Australia, randomised but weighted according to the farmer population.

³In WA the goal was set at making phone contact with every dairy farmer and from those phone calls we got 157 responses.²

These figures represented a little over 50pc of WA dairy farmers.

Mr Murphy said the survey was aimed at understanding people¹s perceptions, how they were feeling and what their intentions for the future were.

The most contentious issue raised at the meeting was to do with the export of dairy heifers to China.

Mr Murphy said the survey found the average herd size figures collected showed the expected replacement stock of heifers for the next one to two years.

³Once again dispelling one of the myths that is coming through strongly, that our industry didn¹t have a future because all our heifers were on a boat to China,² he said.

Consultant Glenys Hough said the export heifer industry was important, but there were those who could get stung.

³It has kept some of the producers in business,² she said.

³For guys that have heifers that are surplus, export is excellent.

³I have producers that feel differently about export and refuse to put them on the export market.

³I have one client who has excellent genetics and he doesn¹t want to see his genetics go abroad, so he only sells domestically.²

She said that some producers had changed their farming practices and had used sex semen to produce heifers only.

They were getting out of the steer market an producing surplus heifers specifically for the export market.

Out of approximately 300 dairy farmers in WA only 40-45 had registered to attend the farmer forums.

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