Sunday, April 21, 2024

Lamb campaign very much to punters’ taste 

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National Lamb Day a big hit at Southern Field Days.
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By Neal Wallace and Emma Blom

Rain could not dampen the enthusiasm of the Ag Proud organisation promoting National Lamb Day by providing a barbecue on day two of Southern Field Days at Waimumu on Thursday.

People wearing T-shirts advertising the campaign were prominent around the field days and the barbecue site was backed by the logo, which features a New Zealand lamb and an image of the Dunedin, the ship that left Port Chalmers on February 15 1882 with the first cargo of frozen meat destined for Britain.

There was a constant queue as field days visitors juggling shopping bags waited at the tent to have a taste of lamb creations from renowned Southland chef Ethan Flack and Rad Dads Burgers.

Ag Proud chair Jon Pemberton said shifting the day this year from May 24 to February 15 provided a better fit by “allowing a focus not just on the roast but on the whole carcase”, and having an event everyone can enjoy.

Beef + Lamb NZ CEO Sam McIvor, right, shows off his culinary skills at Southern Field Days on National Lamb Day.

Beef + Lamb NZ Inc chief executive Kit Arkwright said the event has been supported by farmers and meat processors.

The atmosphere at the field days was buzzing and Pemberton said there are plans to expand National Lamb Day next year with new campaigns, including at fast-food outlets.

Pemberton said while the team encountered a couple of hurdles, there were wins including a National Lamb Day lunch at Parliament on Tuesday.

Tractor and Machinery Association president Jaiden Drought said it has been a slow year for tractor sales.

Meanwhile elsewhere at Southern Field Days, Tractor and Machinery Association president Jaiden Drought said farmers and growers are in a holding pattern as they see the impact of soft commodity prices and regulatory changes from the incoming government play out.

For the 2023 calendar year, new tractor sales were 25% lower than 2022, with 3358 units sold compared to 4459. The 2024 year has started slowly, with January sales half what they were a year earlier.

He believes sales could pick up from the third quarter of this year, noting that forecast farmgate dairy prices have lifted.

High interest rates and soft commodity prices will temper interest from sheep and beef sector, and Drought said demand may not grow until the second quarter of next year with forecasts that interest rates could stay high for longer than previously anticipated.

Drought said farmers with ageing machinery could consider taking advantage of cheaper tractor finance, noting that a regular monthly payment for a new machine is often cheaper than being landed with a hefty repair bill that will disrupt cash flow.

Forward ordering new tractors using this cheaper finance and have supply certainty is another option.

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