TO April 30 this financial year, the Saudi Arabian market accounted for more than 12pc of Australian mutton exports.
But they won't have a bar of our meat if there isn't a vendor declaration testifying that the sheep sold have never been fed animal material.
"Farmers can be assured that processors will target and buy from farmers that use the revised NVD saying that sheep have never been fed animal material," Patrick Hutchison of the Australian Meat Council told me on Monday.
Initially there were May deadlines, but because of difficulties in meeting this deadline, the date of June 15 has been set for interim arrangements to comply with the new demand.
"This gives farmers, processors and agents time to get their houses in order and importantly, get the revised NVD forms out to farmers," Patrick said.
"The Saudi Arabians wanted the additional certification on religious grounds and we have to comply - the customer is always right."
The interim revised NVD includes a new question which reads:
"Have any of the sheep and lambs in this consignment, ever in their lives been fed animal material, including meat and bone meal and animal fats"
The revised NVD is available for downloading from www.farmwide.com.au/sca, www.stockandstationaustralia.com, www.amc.asn.au and www.nmaa.org.au.
Enquiries can also be made at your local stock firm or agent for a copy of the revised NVD for sheep and lamb.
If a copy is not available, this question will have to be hand-written on the first edition form beneath the existing question six.
Extremely strong demand is expected for sheep underpinned with this declaration, a joint communication from the major meat bodies says.
The communication is from the Australian Council and Livestock Agents' Association, the Australian Meat Council, the National Meat Association and the Sheepmeat Council of Australia.
"Producers should be urgently encouraged to complete this declaration as soon as possible to ensure full competition on animals presented for sale and to avoid potential market disruption," the communication says.
"Please note the interim second edition version will only be available from the websites, fax or email until a full review of the declaration is concluded about mid-year."
HARVEY Agricultural College held an excellent "thank you" dinner by all accounts last Friday night.
Principal Neale Armstrong officiated at the dinner where Certificates of Contribution were awarded to people outside the college who have contributed in a voluntary capacity to the advancement of the students over the years.
They included awards to the college's agricultural advisory committee members and Harvey identities Graeme Moore, Len Knight, Ian Eckersley and Ray Blackburn - plus a burl clock presentation to Roy and Coral Mahony.
The Mahonys have a ram preparation shed at Narrogin and, with Grantly Mullan, Eastville Park, Wickepin, helped instruct the Harvey students in sheep classing prior to the Wagin Woolorama which brought about a great result this year.
The Harvey teams came first and second, not bad for the boys at a college in the heart of beef and dairy country.
"All the eligible kids come for a whole day on a Saturday in February and after the teams are selected, come back to us just before Woolorama for a refresher," Coral said.
The Mahonys said they were overwhelmed to receive the gift which had been crafted by college staff and students.
In his address to the dinner Neale Armstrong said the four recipients of the Certificates of Contribution had given above and beyond the call of duty, at the same time pointing out that in no way did the awards diminish the work or value of other advisory council members.
Ray Blackburn had given terrific advice on diary matters, while Graeme Moore had benefited the WA College of Agriculture with regard to pig production.
Ian Eckersley had served on the advisory committee since 1985 and was pivotal in the creation of an independent college of agriculture at Harvey in 1998, while long-standing council chairman Len Knight joined the committee in September 1967, assisting with sheep and horticulture.
"Len has donated hundreds of hours in time and hundreds of dollars of citrus stock from his commercial nursery over the years," Neale said
"Thank you Len, and I hope you will continue with us for many years to come."
Guest speaker at the dinner was Ashley Manners, former CEO of Clover Meats.
WESFARMERS Landmark's new territory manager at Katanning is Mark Warren.
He will service the area previously covered by Wayne Hams whose agency will wind up on June 30.
Hamsie will move to Busselton where he will work for Wesfarmers Landmark as a livestock territory manager and his cheerful ways and great help will be missed by us all at Farm Weekly, but we hope he has the odd cattle story for us.
Many Katanning people may already know Mark. He has lived and worked in the district before and is keen to renew old acquaintances and catch up with as many Wesfarmers Landmark clients as possible.
He has been working in a similar position in the northern wheatbelt and will move to Katanning with wife Richelle and family.
Ben Marshall will continue in his current role and will assist Mark in servicing the area.
The Katanning branch of Wesfarmers Landmark wishes Wayne all the best and thanks him for his many years of service to the Katanning district.
VASSE Research Station not only does valuable work on cattle - it has an eye on pollution reduction too.
Take the way they are testing a method to stop the leaching effects of nitrates out of feedlots into water systems.
What CEO Frank Coupar and his team have done is to use the carbon from trenches of pine sawdust to convert nitrates to nitrogen gas which then goes into the air, thus protecting water systems.
On the downhill side of the feedlots they have put pizometers above, in and below the trenches of sawdust to measure the effect.
Agriculture WA is working in with the Water Authority's Environmental Initiatives section to test the capacity of sawdust to halt pollution and results are promising so far, with the pizometer tubes fairly bubbling away in the trenches.
Frank says it's a New Zealand concept. Won't it be great if something so simple can stop prevent water pollution.
BRINGING country WA to city folk who attend the Perth Royal Show is big on the RAS agenda this year.
"It's not only show bags and side show alley," said councillor Robert Hawes who is heading an RAS group called Focus Agriculture which aims to make city people more aware of what's going on in the bush.
Robert came up with the bright idea of putting all those country stickers we see on bumpers, onto a strategically-placed board in the big dining hall at the showgrounds.
"The idea came to me when I was on the road and on a truck bumper in front of me was Thank a Farmer For Your Next Meal," Robert said.
He believes a display of suitable, eye-catching stickers could have an impact on city folk and make them aware of the contribution made by country WA.
An ideal one for the display is Seven Days Without Beef Makes One Weak (this is one of the Santa Gertrudis breed's excellent stickers with its clever play on words).
Anyway, through From The Rail, Robert is asking various authorities in the bush, breed societies or anyone who has suitable bumper stickers, to send copies of them to the Royal Agricultural Society at Claremont (postcode 6010).
"Our job is to act as a catalyst and emphasise the value of rural WA to their city counterparts," Robert said.
So post in copies of your stickers to the RAS or for more information, give Robert a call on 9655 9015.
WA to the fore
COLLEAGUE Jodie Rintoul was reading one of our sister papers, the Queensland Country Life, and picked up on a good little item concerning WA Q Lamb.
It was in Stan Wallace's On The Market column where he talked about the launch of Q Lamb.
"The Baguette restaurant provided a showcase for this very fine Western Australian prime lamb product.
"Gary McPherson and Glen Burke, Meat and Livestock Australia Queensland hosted the launch and gave us the opportunity to enjoy this lamb, noted for its excellence and consistency of product, slightly on the leaner side.
"Supplier of this product, Mike Warren, 5 Star Gourmet, said he is also importing MSA trade beef at very competitive rates from southern Western Australia."
So this great WA product is having a bit of an impact Australia-wide which is good to see.
Not for sale
THE age of romance and chivalry is dead - at least it looked like it in Fremantle last Saturday night.
In a restaurant enjoying a Thai meal were six couples when along came a pretty girl selling single roses in silver paper.
When she asked them if they wanted to buy, one of them said, in all seriousness:
"No thanks, we're all married."