Feeling power pinch
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.’’