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Mecardo Blog

Robert Herrmann

Robert Herrmann
Rob is the Managing Director of Ag Concepts Unlimited, an independent specialist agricultural advisory service and publisher of Mecardo. Mecardo provides the latest market analysis and outlook for cattle, sheep, wool and grain markets. Rob has over 30 years of agricultural experience, including 11 years as a senior wool specialist with Elders advising in the marketing and risk management of agricultural commodities.
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Recent Posts

Corporate Ag Investment: "Doing the right thing"

Posted by Robert Herrmann on 13 January 2018

Long term food producers (farmers) have noticed the positive sentiment that’s been rolling over the ag sector in recent times. An evolving situation of increasing world income, a growing population – particularly the wealthy middle class; greater appetite for amplified consumption of protein, and an at best constrained capacity for increased productivity (at least in the traditional sense), all suggest a cautiously positive outlook is here.

Corporate ag investment, could provide opportunities for co-investment or alternatively is this the time to cash in on years of diligent and painstaking investment in the family farm? Other than financial returns what other factors are investors taking into account?

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Topics: agriculture debt, Agriculture

Is the Merino stud model fit for the future?

Posted by Robert Herrmann on 6 January 2018

Its many years since stud breeders of jersey bulls, landrace pigs and rhode island red roosters presented their prized stock at the various capital city Royal Shows to assess breeding potential. Today, these industries rely on data & science to identify the best sires to breed for the growing commercial demand for milk, pork and chicken.

Performance recording has replaced show judging.

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Topics: Wool industry, merino

Animal Welfare: Beware the wolf in sheep’s clothing

Posted by Robert Herrmann on 6 January 2018

It’s the relaxed time of the year when everything slows; so, any significant proclamation from governments can give rise to conspiracy theories that perhaps they are hoping it will slip under the radar.

I am not sure if we are a being paranoid, or adding 2 plus 2 and getting 5 …. but the announcement on 2nd January that the Victorian Government has released Victoria’s first ever “Animal Welfare Action Plan” set of an alarm bell.

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Topics: Animal Welfare

Has the wool game changed?

Posted by Robert Herrmann on 8 December 2017

As Charles Massy explains, from the 1840s wool was the backbone of the national economy. Indeed, in the mid-20th century, Australia boasted the greatest wool industry the world had seen.

 

In this article, we ask, has the wool game changed?

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Topics: Wool market / wool price, Australian wool industry

Livestock market transparency – possibility or pipe-dream?

Posted by Robert Herrmann on 24 November 2017

Debate currently rages about the provision of slaughter data by meatworks; the question processors raise is why should we provide it when it gives our export customers ammunition to reduce their price bids when supply and throughput is high?

Despite the obvious that when supply is low the boot would be on the other foot; that is processors could point to tight supply as a reason to increase meat prices, the question of “What is the value?” to the industry of greater transparency in publishing price or supply figures remains.

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Topics: Sheepmeat market, Sheep market, Australian cattle industry

Agtech Visions: Weighing sheep by camera

Posted by Robert Herrmann on 18 November 2017

The assessment of sheep in saleyards by agents, buyers and market reporters is subjective; that is the estimate of liveweight, fat score & carcase weight is a best guess.

Given the importance of accurate assessment, especially to buyers and reporters, wouldn’t it be good if we could add some real time objective measurement to enhance this important sale function at major sheep and lamb auction markets?

This is the first in a regular series of agtech insights, aiming to provide a vision on the future of technology in agriculture.

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Topics: Sheep market, agtech, technology

AWI: Learn from the avocado!

Posted by Robert Herrmann on 25 October 2017

A bad news story will trump a positive story every day, and you would have to be living under a rock to have missed the scrutiny AWI have been under in recent times.

AWI have been criticised for a perceived favouritism of ‘subjective’ over ‘objective’ development, and concerns related to potential conflicts of interest.

Perhaps to balance, we should take an objective look at what should be the focus of the wool industry; and expand our idea around the need to innovate to future proof the wool industry.

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Topics: Wool industry, innovation, agtech

Shut the gate, the Merino’s have bolted!

Posted by Robert Herrmann on 19 July 2017

For some time, we have been writing about our concerns for the Merino Wool industry, noting the “fight for acres” to date has been well and truly won by the croppers. To top it off, the number of ewes now mated to terminal sires has also been growing. It hurts an old shearer/wool classer/wool broker/wool market watcher to see properties that for over a hundred years proudly produced Merino wool, jump ship and either rip out the fences and plant crops, or purchase terminal rams and get into prime lamb production.

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Topics: Wool industry

India beef exports hit for six

Posted by Robert Herrmann on 3 June 2017

The announcement by Prime Minister Modi of a ban on the “sale of any bovine animals for slaughter” has caught analysts of guard, with some early reports filtering through that this is not a major event on the world beef stage; we are not so sure.

It is pretty clear from reading the government decree that failing any backflip by the government, this will impact the slaughter of cows, buffalo and even camels.  

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Topics: Australian cattle industry, beef market, India

To shear or not to shear, is that the question?

Posted by Robert Herrmann on 1 June 2017

For some time, there have been messages from wool processors that much of the Australian wool clip is too long. If this is true then shorter lots should attract a premium – this would be a normal economic lever to attract more of the type, and if that is the case can wool producers justify the additional cost of two shearings in one year?

To get to the bottom of this issue, a full understanding of the situation is needed. It is normal for suppliers (wool growers) to want to meet customer requirements (processors). At the same time, meeting the “new” requirement cannot increase the net costs to the business unless there is an off-setting increase in income.

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Topics: Wool market / wool price, Wool industry