It all depends on China

[This post was first published in the Fairfax NZ Sunday Star Times on 14 September 2014]

New Zealand agribusiness, led by dairy, has hit a rough spot. Some will see this as confirmation that dependence on China involves big risks. More important, is the need to recognise that China is also the solution. Continue reading

Posted in Agribusiness, China, The Fairfax SST Articles | Leave a comment

The industry politics of A1 and A2 milk

[This post was first published in the Fairfax NZ Sunday Star Times on 7 September 2014]

I have previously written about the health reasons why New Zealand should convert its herds away from A1 beta-casein. However within the industry, the issue remains controversial. Fonterra’s response in recent weeks has been that the co-operative produces a great product which consumers love and there are no plans in relation to A2. Continue reading

Posted in A1 and A2 milk, Agribusiness, The Fairfax SST Articles | 5 Comments

Teasing out the beta-casein evidence

[This post was first published in the Fairfax NZ Sunday Star Times on 31 August 2014]

In last week’s column I advocated that the mainstream dairy industry should convert New Zealand herds away from the production of A1 beta-casein. To not do so creates unnecessary long term risk to the industry. However, the mainstream industry remains locked into a defensive position.

In this article I will therefore briefly review some of the major strands of health evidence. I cannot cover it all – it took me a whole book to do so back in 2007. Since then, there has been a lot more evidence forthcoming. Continue reading

Posted in A1 and A2 milk, Agribusiness, The Fairfax SST Articles | 3 Comments

A1 beta-casein a threat to dairy industry

[This post was first published in the Fairfax NZ Sunday Star Times on 24 August 2014]

Evidence that A1 beta-casein might be a human health issue has been available for more than 15 years. However, the mainstream dairy industry has always fought against the notion that it might be important. Continue reading

Posted in A1 and A2 milk, Agribusiness, The Fairfax SST Articles | Tagged | 2 Comments

Agricultural exports to Japan

[This post was first published in the Fairfax NZ Sunday Star Times on 17 August 2014]

Back in 1988, Japan was our most important market for both total exports and agri-food exports. Now, some 25 years later, the share of total exports going to Japan has declined from more than 18 percent down to less than six percent. In part this is because of the phenomenal rise of China. Also, in that 25 year period our global exports have increased greatly, so a loss in percentage is not necessarily surprising. But our exports to Japan have been declining in absolute as well as percentage terms. So what went wrong? Continue reading

Posted in Agribusiness, The Fairfax SST Articles | Tagged , , | 2 Comments

Global grain prices in free fall

[This post was first published in the Fairfax New Zealand Sunday Star Times on 10 August 2014]

Last week I wrote how the OECD and FAO secretariats expect many agricultural prices to drop in real terms over the next ten years as supply ramps up across the world. This is particularly the case for staple crops such as wheat, corn and soybeans. However, in the last ten days it has become increasingly apparent that major price decreases are playing out right now in front of us. With the early Northern Hemisphere harvest reports for wheat now coming through, with increasingly positive pre-harvest reports for both corn and soybean, and with existing high global stocks, the prices have all been tumbling.

The first place to look when considering international grain prices is the USA. The USA is by far the most technologically advanced cereal growing country in the world, and has huge global influence. Continue reading

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Human clinical trial demonstrates digestive differences in A1 and A2 beta-casein

The results of a human trial comparing A1 and A2 beta-casein have been published recently in the European Journal of Clinical Nutrition, which is a high ranking journal of the Nature Publishing Group. The trial demonstrated statistically significant differences in faecal consistency, with the faeces on A1 being overall looser. Also, for those people who on the A1 milk had the looser and runnier faeces, there was very strong evidence (p<.001) that this was associated with more stomach pain, whereas this relationship did not hold on the A2.

The trial was undertaken at Curtin University and led by Associate Professor Sebely Pal. I was part of the analysis and writing team, and I am listed as a co-author. Continue reading

Posted in A1 and A2 milk | 8 Comments