2008-10-14

Three little lambs




My neighbour down the road has a few sheep grazing on his property. One of the ewes had lambed triplets during the winter. I watched the smallest one struggle to hang on to life despite the two bigger lambs getting most of mums milk. Nine weeks down the track I saw the three lambs again and the little one had somehow survived. Woolly little guys too and so cute. I will make a confession though..I am not keen on sheep. Suffolks though I do like...but I'll stick to the cattle thanks. I remember as a child growing up and watching some film called "This is New Zealand" with all the scenery and the "We are a Nation built on the sheep's back" Ah...okay. Well things has drastically changed since that movie was made in the seventies. We now have Dairy giant Fonterra who are now a global company being caught up in a Chinese milk powder scandal, poor returns for beef and lamb producers. Sounds grim but people farm because they want to. The end of season payout from Fonterra was over $7NZ per kilo of milk solid (around 2 pounds in a kilo) next season the payout forecast has been predicted to be $6.40 NZ per kg of milk solid. Makes for a big drop in income. Oh well had better stop raving and do something constructive like the dishes. Til tomorrow take care everyone

6 comments:

  1. Hi Liz, Things are the same here for stock farmers, their income is cut year after year while the supermarkets profits seem to increase. The cereal farmers seem to do better although with the big increase in the price of fuel this past year I don't think they will do so well this time especially as some lost a lot of crop quality due to the bad weather. I like Suffolks too although like you I prefer cattle. Bob.

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  2. Hi Bob I'm about to head over to your blog and have a read. Things of late haven't been good for the Beef and Lamb Farmers, NZ Dairy has made record returns for the last couple of years. But next season will see a few less well off. It's so expensive now to run a farm.

    Suffolk sheep I have time for but that's all. I had two sheep here until recently but we got rid of them - finally.

    Liz

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  3. Can sympathise with those feelings Liz as the milk price dropped dramatically in the uK too - and at the same time feed went up astronomically. It seems to be the same for us all - like you say farmers are usually born not made - I can't imagine my husband doing anything else, regardless of the returns he gets - he is just part of the land. (Do agree about sheep - there are never ill sheep they say round here - they are either alive or dead. I saw a lovely cartoon in our local farming paper of a sheep talking to a gathering of ewes and saying, "right girls, we are all pregnant, now we've got to decided which of us are going to die." Cattle are a lot more pragmatic (can I apply that word to a non-human?)

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  4. I think with the global rise in the cost of oil everything just went up to the point where it's becoming uneconomic to farm anything. Our apple growers were so badly off they started to tear out all their trees and convert the land to something else other than orcharding. Sheep yes are just that alive or dead I'll stick to the cows and yes I think you can get away with applying human terms to cows. Just loved the old photo you posted. Great to hear from you again. One thing about Farmers most of them are born though I have met a couple of people that used to work in offices then went dairying instead.
    Liz

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  5. Farming is tough. It seems at least in the US, either you get big or get out. My husband and I are attempting to fight that trend. We hear comments from people saying with high food prices, farmers must be making a lot of money now. We have to remind them that the inputs for farming are just as high if not higher.

    I was born and raised on a farm and my husband is a city boy.

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  6. My next door neighbour has a herd of 750 cows with a NZ$3 million rotary shed to handle the numbers. Most farms where I live are 250 cows upwards. Farm prices with the big payouts shot up in price. Most have huge mortgages to go with the size of the operation. It's become hard for everyone.

    Jennifer I think you and Zachary are really brave trying stay the way you are. Your way of farming has become virtually lost. My grandfather was a diary farmer and his herd was considered big at the time. 30 cows in the shed but that was way back in the forties. Just shows you how times have changed.

    Here's to those that stick to what they believe it.

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