Farming

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NZ's Fonterra to build China farm

New Zealand dairy giant Fonterra is to build and operate its own large-scale dairy farm in China.

The Kiwi co-op had previously been in partnership with the Chinese state-owned Salu group, but this arrangement collapsed following revelations that its dairy formula was contaminated by the chemical melamine.

The Chinese government wants to boost annual milk output to 90m tonnes by 2030, from around 30m tonnes at present.

Given limited pastureland, the only way they can do this is by building large-scale farms and sharply raising herd productivity.

Fonterra's cows for this new venture will be Friesians, which will be ferried by ship from New Zealand.

Fonterra eventually plans to build four or five hubs each with around 16,000 cows across several farms in the area north east of Beijing.

Milk recording at all-time high

The number of farmers using milk recording reached an all-time high of 540,000 cows last year, according to the ICBF.

Representing half of the dairy cows in the country, the figure was a 10pc increase on the number of cows milk recorded in 2010.

The ICBF target is to increase usage of milk recording to some 60pc of dairy cows.

Electronic Do-It-Yourself (EDIY) milk recording is proving to be increasingly popular among farmers, with 34pc of all cows recorded last year using the EDIY service.

IFA warn on EirGrid upgrade

The IFA is to meet with EirGrid about the planned upgrade of its electricity network in the coming days. Harold Kingston, the IFA's environment chairman, warned that the planned development would cause major disturbance for farmers along the route.

"It is essential that lessons are learned from the recent problems in the midlands," Mr Kingston said. "All options in the planning phase must be considered."

Indo Farming