AT the Dublin sheep and lamb sale on Tuesday, I received a few comments asking when the rain was likely to arrive, so farmers could get on with getting a bit of feed in the ground.
Lamb prices didn’t hit any spectacular highs but, despite ongoing dry conditions, a feeling of confidence was still evident in sheep and lamb sellers.
But it was definitely a different feeling at the other selling centre at Dublin this week.
It was about this time last year when Stock Journal had a front page story about the crisis facing pig producers.
Not only were farmers receiving low prices for their stock, in some cases they couldn’t even sell them.
It was almost a case of history repeating at the Dublin pig sale this week, with producers experiencing one of the toughest auctions ever.
Not only were prices low, it was also hard to shift the pigs.
This is being driven by high production levels.
Australian Pork Limited’s latest Import, Export and Domestic Production report says there was 32,808 tonnes of pigmeat produced nationally in January – up 7.2 per cent on the same time last year.
APL has been working to push domestic demand higher, putting extra money into advertising after prices first went into free-fall last year. But one of their campaigns had an effect on me recently that producers wouldn’t want.
Last year APL ran a campaign called ‘Don’t Get Ribbed Off’.
It was aimed at educating people, particularly those in the hospitality industry, on the quality of imported pork ribs coming into Australia.
Imported ribs are ultra heat-treated and pre-cooked to more than 100 degrees Celsius. Some imported ribs are designed to sit on a shelf for up to two years and many imported ribs do not even need to be refrigerated.
APL put out videos of a chef opening up the imported ribs and gagging at what they saw. While the campaign was effective at highlighting the superior quality of local product, it has also put me off buying ribs when I’m out.
Recently I was at one of the largest hotels in the South East and ordered the pork ribs. Not only was the taste unappealing, I couldn’t pull them apart with my hands and even a knife was having trouble getting through them.
All I could think was, “I wonder if this is Australian or some of that overseas junk?”
Loving my ribs, I went on to APL’s website ribbedoff.com to make sure, if I ever decided to get the ribs again, that they were Australian.
Unfortunately the website only listed 10 places in SA, and none of them are in country areas.
So while I’m eager to support local producers, it’s not always the easiest task.