Monday, 21 March 2011

The rise of wool from the ashes

# Big Farming Story of the Week: The rise of wool from the ashes.

While the dairy industry remains the star of the agricultural commodity stable and sheep and beef farmers are enjoying record returns for meat, the wool industry has risen from the dead. Admittedly, this resurrection has been from an appallingly low base but this was an industry on its knees, one that had been confined to a by-product of the sheep meat industry. The current price of $6.40/kg (clean) is the highest since 1988’s $6.88 ($11.50 inflation adjusted), but it’s miniscule compared to the Korean War wool boom of 1951 when prices peaked at the equivalent of $64.60/kg in today's money.

# Big Political Story of the Week: They can’t help themselves!

Politics has quite rightly taken a back seat to some catastrophic global events of late but it doesn’t take some politicians long to forget such trivialities in an effort to score cheap political points. The bipartisan approach which buoyed us after the events of February 22 has largely dissipated and the demise of the Rugby World Cup in Christchurch will be next in line for a cheap political shot.

# Big Sporting Story of the Week: Rugby’s worst kept secret.

While the Crusaders did their best to perk up dispirited Cantabrians with a spirited display against the Brumbies in Nelson, their home fans will now be jumping on a plane to watch the RWC.

And a “full credit” must go to the Highlanders, not only for their gutsy performances on the field but also for the class and camaraderie they are displaying off the paddock. Having returned from an arduous double-header in South Africa, and having snatched only two hours sleep amongst 30 hours of travel, most of the squad landed in Dunedin and the made the nearly-two hour road journey to Gore to attend the funeral of the father of one of their squad. Dead on their feet, they stood on their feet at the back of a crammed church for the best part of an hour and a half to support one of their team mates.

# Brickbat: The political correctness pervading Wellington.

A tongue-in-cheek comment on the Farming Show about sampling horse semen (I kid you not – it was on offer at the Hokitika Wild Food Festival) sent my fellow columnist Steve Wyn-Harris spiraling into a schoolboy frenzy. Without my knowledge, he set wheels in motion for yours truly to swallow some sticky stuff in the name of fundraising for the Canterbury earthquake. So you can imagine my surprise when I received a phone call from the Prime Minister’s office, suggesting that such an act was not in good taste (no pun intended).

I’m very proud the Farming Show has helped in directly raising more the $55,000 for the earthquake fund and agree Wyn-Harris’ well-intentioned fundraising gesture was somewhat bad taste. But I was capable of coming to that conclusion myself. Surely the PM’s office has more serious matters of state to attend to?

# Bouquet: The Platinum Primary Producers Club.

This is an annual gathering of farming and agribusiness leaders organized by the chief executive of Allflex Australasia, Shane McManaway. There was a lot of agricultural, commercial and financial clout in one room. The result? An astonishing $40,000 raised for a rugby jersey donated by Sir Colin Meads for the Canterbury earthquake appeal.

# Bugger: The earthquake, subsequent tsunami and nuclear meltdown in Japan.

We witnessed death and destruction on a biblical scale which has numerically dwarfed the Canterbury earthquake. However, as agonizingly ghastly as Japan is, we must not forget charity begins at home and we must not forget Christchurch. This is a disaster that will scar for a generation.

Footnote: Jamie Mackay is the host of the Farming Show which airs on Radio Sport and Newstalk ZB. In a past life a Southland sheep farmer, these days he comments on farming, politics and sport for a living from the relative safety and comfort of his radio studio in Dunedin.


Post a Comment

Subscribe to Post Comments [Atom]

<< Home