Food & Agriculture Talking Points | 08/08/18

In today’s talking points Australian agriculture groups join forces, China to launch emergency inspections on farms after swine fever outbreak, AI tech boosting smart agriculture and Dairy farmers plan to walk away from industry after years of financial security

Australian agriculture groups join forces

Two of Australia’s biggest agriculture bodies- The National Farmers’ Federation (NFF) and Agribusiness Australia- have partnered to end “fragmentation” in the industry.

The National Farmers’ Federation represents the nation’s 84,000 farmers while Agribusiness Australia speaks for parties across the food production chain.

With mutual interests in many policy areas, such as tax reform, energy policy, infrastructure and trade this strategic partnership will seek to boost Australia’s farmgate production by $70 billion in the next 12 years.

Following years of a fractured relationship the Agribusiness Australia’s chair Mark Allison has said, “Slowly but surely we’re coming together to really achieve all of the opportunities that we know are in front of us.”


Source: SBS


China to launch emergency inspections on farms after swine fever outbreak

Local media Liaoning Daily has reported China’s Liaoning province will increase inspections at pig farms and markets and strengthen the monitoring of hog transportation, after reports of the nation’s first African swine fever case.

The provincial government has asked local authorities to launch emergency inspections at all pig farms, hog markets, slaughterhouses and harmless treatment sites in the province, and report any cases of pig illness and deaths due to unknown reasons.

Liaoning also ordered the temporary closure of all live hog markets and slaughterhouses in Shenbei district, where the outbreak was discovered.

Swine fever poses local and international risks, with Japan suspending imports of heat-treated Chinese pork and tightened quarantine operations at airport and seaports until the risk has been mitigated.


Source: Reuters


AI tech boosting smart agriculture

While agriculture is an industry that relies mainly on the weather to be successful, China’s companies have turned to artificial intelligence to rear more pigs and increase crop yields.

Such is the case for a company called Tequ Group, which is a major hog farm in Sichuan. It uses a product from Alibaba known as ET Agricultural Brain to monitor each hog’s activity and log their health in real time.

This technology is expected to increase the farm’s pigs per sow per year (PSY) to 32 from 20 to 25 last year. By monitoring the hogs’ health, it can also improve the quality of the meat as well. ET Agricultural Brain also has applications in other enterprises, such as forestry and fisheries.


Source: China Daily


Dairy farmers plan to walk away from industry after years of financial security

An Australian national survey was conducted recently enquiring about dairy farmers’ view on the future of the industry.

The survey found that more than 50 per cent of dairy farmers were not confident about the industry’s future. This percentage has increased from 25 per cent since the last survey in 2014.

In addition to the high feeding costs and low milk prices, tensions between milk processors and farmers have largely contributed to this increase in pessimism.

Following these tensions, farmer advocacy groups have called for a national mandatory code of conduct to be legislated.  This code allows farmers to change milk processors without any penalty so to potentially avoid low prices on milk.


Source: ABC