Feel­ing power pinch

Shepparton News - Country News - - OPINION -

The abil­ity to track ge­netic per­for­mance and bet­ter match rams to clients’ needs has prompted East Lod­don Merino Stud , of Wan­ganella, north of De­niliquin, to list its cat­a­logue on RamS­elect for the first time.

Co-owner Tom Hooke said more and more of his com­mer­cial clients were seek­ing de­tailed ge­netic in­for­ma­tion on their ram of­fer­ing, par­tic­u­larly since the re­lease of the DNA Flock Pro­file test for Meri­nos.

The Flock Pro­file test pro­vides com­mer­cial breed­ers with a set of ge­netic mea­sures for bench­mark­ing their flock against in­dus­try av­er­ages data which is all stored and dis­played at RamS­elect.com.au to as­sist them in se­lect­ing rams to bet­ter meet their breed­ing ob­jec­tives.

‘‘RamS­elect is re­ally tar­geted at peo­ple look­ing for the right rams for their breed­ing ob­jec­tives and are in­ter­ested in the in­for­ma­tion that sup­ports those de­ci­sions,’’ Mr Hooke said.

‘‘Any­one can say they’ve got good, high-growth-rate rams, but RamS­elect has the bench­mark­ing data be­hind it for peo­ple to re­ally eas­ily make an ob­jec­tive, in­formed de­ci­sion.’’

First re­leased in 2015 by the Co­op­er­a­tive Re­search Cen­tre for Sheep In­dus­try In­no­va­tion, RamS­elect is an easy-to-use web-based tool which al­lows ram buy­ers to find and rank rams based on Aus­tralian Sheep Breed­ing Val­ues that match their own breed­ing ob­jec­tive.

The Hooke fam­ily stud, lo­cated be­tween De­niliquin and Hay, is cur­rently pre­par­ing about 200 rams for sale this sea­son and will be us­ing RamS­elect to en­sure com­mer­cial pro­duc­ers from across the coun­try have easy ac­cess to in­for­ma­tion about the ge­netic merit of rams in their cat­a­logue.

‘‘We want to ser­vice our clients bet­ter and we want more peo­ple to be aware of our ge­net­ics,’’ Mr Hooke said.

‘‘RamS­elect does both and it com­pares very favourably on price com­pared to mar­ket­ing through other me­dia.’’ ■ For more in­for­ma­tion visit: www.sheep­crc.org.au

Food and fi­bre pro­duc­ers are pay­ing up to $6000 a year more than the real costs of sup­ply­ing them power, an in­de­pen­dent re­port has re­vealed.

Com­mis­sioned by the Agri­cul­ture In­dus­tries En­ergy Task­force, the re­port com­piled by re­search group Sapere sur­veyed a group of ir­ri­ga­tors to pin­point their power use.

Na­tional Ir­ri­ga­tors Coun­cil chief ex­ec­u­tive of­fi­cer Steve Whan said the sur­vey showed that the ac­tual cost to sup­ply whole­sale power to ir­ri­ga­tors was up to 40 per cent less than the cost the elec­tric­ity com­pa­nies were charg­ing.

‘‘That’s be­cause they fail to pro­vide prices based on ir­ri­ga­tion pro­file char­ac­ter­is­tics, forc­ing ir­ri­ga­tors to pay based on av­er­age load pro­files,’’ he said.

‘‘Ir­ri­ga­tors don’t have the same peaks on a hot day as other en­ergy con­sumers and ir­ri­ga­tion pump­ing pre­dom­i­nantly co­in­cides with times when sys­tem de­mand is at just 30 to 55 per cent of sys­tem an­nual max­i­mum de­mand.’’

The sur­vey, which es­ti­mated the av­er­age elec­tric­ity bill at $30 000 a year, re­vealed that ir­ri­ga­tors could be pay­ing 20 per cent more than the sup­ply ac­tu­ally costs.

‘‘Ir­ri­ga­tors pro­duce more than 84 per cent of Aus­tralia’s fruit and veg­eta­bles, 90 per cent of grapes along with sugar cane, cot­ton, rice and dairy. When an ir­ri­ga­tor pumps wa­ter, power be­comes a key cost,’’ Mr Whan said.

‘‘We want this re­port to be used to em­power ir­ri­ga­tors to get bet­ter deals from elec­tric­ity re­tail­ers; and we will use it as more am­mu­ni­tion to push for state and fed­eral ac­tion to change the reg­u­la­tions that let elec­tric­ity sup­pli­ers make ex­ces­sive prof­its at the ex­pense of Aus­tralian food and fi­bre pro­duc­tion.’’

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