Prime Cut: Revolution underway on New Zealand red meat farms

There’s a revolution underway on New Zealand red meat farms. If you haven’t actually been on a NZ farm recently you may not be aware of the impact technological change is having. 

I’ve been talking to members of the Hawke’s Bay Progressives Advance Party recently, all impressive, passionate like-minded deer farmers, keen to open sharing of information and ideas to lift the profitability of their farm operations. Measurement and goals are key, all of which wouldn’t have been possible without the technologies we now have to hand. This is just one of 21 Advance Party groups throughout New Zealand, working under the deer industry’s Passion2Profit Primary Growth Partnership (PGP) programme, which is aiming to lift deer sector profitability. The groups are supported by Deer Industry NZ and the Ministry for Primary Industries’ Sustainable Farming Fund.

The impact seems to be wider than a more traditional farm discussion group as farmers “nut out” ideas together, with help from consultants as needed. The group approach is giving farmers confidence to try new things and tackle complex issues such as solutions for the probable Clean Water requirements for nutrient run-off among other things.

The sheep and beef sector is also embarking on a similar route with the Red Meat Profit Partnership (RMPP)’s pilot farms extension project, trialling different approaches to deliver information in a way that works for farmers.

New technology and smart know-how will also come into play in RMPP’s national farm assurance programme that will provide the verification that what is claimed by marketing programmes is based on accurate and actual facts.

This is essential  as the sheep and beef sector finally gets ready to tell its Red Meat Story. After 12 months work behind the scenes, a workshop was held in early March involving farmers, meat companies, consultants and government to further define the marketing story targeting a high quality product long-term to ever more discerning consumers around the world. It won’t be long now, surely, before we hear results from that.

Will the new look will be in place for the new export season starting 1 October? It has to be, there really isn’t any time to lose as high-tech supporters, which have made seriously big investments in various new alternative proteins such as the most recent Impossible Burger, are very, very keen for them to be successful.

The latest AgResearch and Meat Industry Association meat industry workshops being held today and tomorrow in Hamilton will bring together the latest safety quality and value advances in meat science. Later in the month the NZ Agricultural Greenhouse Gas Mitigation Conference (28 March, Palmerston North) will show progress in NZ-led research on this global issue. More on all that next issue.

It seems the future for New Zealand beef, sheepmeat, venison and all the myriad co-products is looking bright, even if some markets are looking less than certain right now.

This is the editorial from MeatExportNZ’s March Prime Cut newsletter. If you would like to subscribe for future issues, fill in your details in the newsletter box on the front page, or in the pop up. 



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