Home' Straight Furrow 70th Anniversary : Dec 19 2011 Contents Straight Furrow • December 19, 2011 29
STRAIGHT FURROW CELEBRATING 70 YEARS -- THE 1990s
In August 1998, Straight Furrow
announced the lady was not alone
after all. She had Darby and Elsie
[LC] and there were a few other lit-
tle ladies on the way as well.
The most interesting member of
Lady's family was LC, because LC
[Lady Clone] had been cloned from
an adult animal.
This was the first done with Dolly
the sheep in Scotland, the Japanese
beat us as first in the world with
calvesbyjustafew weeks. . .but
she was claimed a world first in
being alive at the same time as her
identical adult self.
The science that created Elsie was
done at Ruakura by Dr David Wells
who was excited by yet another suc-
cess of yet another step forward in
Ruakura had created Thomas and
James, sheep, using cultured embry-
onic cells then moved on to create a
calf, Jill, with cultured foetal cells.
Elsie was the next step and adult
cells were used to create her.
Lady was an Enderby Island short-
horn cow a breed that developed
with no human intervention surviv-
ing in a tough environment and
almost impossible food varieties
such as seaweed and coarse sub
Antarctic grasses with high salt pen-
She looked to be set to be the last
of her breed. She had been brought
to the mainland, with a heifer, by the
Rare Breeds conservation Society,
six years earlier. The heifer died and
efforts to breed from Lady, using
semen from nine dead Enderby bulls
As a result of IVF technology
Darby was born but he was a he and
what she needed was a she.
Dr Wells then successfully
cloned Lady using her own
cells and LC [Elsie} was
The continuing cloning
experiment succeeded in
providing the females to
required to continue the
Enderby breed. One clone
produced two heifer claves
when bred to Lady's only
And the line, albeit small,
In February this year, the
axe fell on AgResearch's controver-
sial livestock cloning facility at
Ruakura amid reports only 10 per
cent of animals involved survived.
But applied biotechnologies gener-
al manager Jimmy Suttie said the
Hamilton facility -- capable of con-
taining up to 200 animals -- had
closed in September because stem
cell research showed more promise.
Reports released by the Crown
research institute under the Official
Information Act show unacceptable
death rates of laboratory animals
forced AgResearch to end its cloning
The reports detail chronic arthri-
tis, pneumonia, lameness and blood
poisoning among the causes of cat-
tle, sheep and goat deaths and refer
to trials including those carried out
on genetically engineered animals
being developed to produce a kind
of super milk, as well as those being
Other trials where deaths occurred
included those looking for resist-
ance to eczema in sheep, exploring
feeding motivation in pregnant
sheep, and collecting tissue from
genetically modified embryos.
Dr Suttie said that after 13 years of
studying how to prevent abnormali-
ties forming in cloned animals,
AgResearch had ended its cloning
"The decision was made, enough is
MAY 1998 saw the country
in the grip of severe
drought and Straight
Furrow was leading the calls in
August of that year for the Jenny
Shipley Government to do more. It
must do more to ease the financial
impact of the drought.
"A feeling of helplessness is
sweeping rural areas as growers
add up their losses, feed rations
dwindle for the coming winter and
farmers are forced to send more
breeding stock to slaughter,"
Straight Furrow reported.
"Along with each ewe, cattle
beast or hind sent to slaughter
goes future production and the
hope of a quick recovery."
MAF estimated the cost of the
drought would cost farmers $260
million in the 1998 year and $170
million the next. Economists
placed the multiplier effect on the
loss at anywhere between six and
12 times. Even a conservative
approach put the total loss to the
economy at more than $2.5 billion.
Farmers and farming leaders
were asking whether the
Government had taken "ideological
purity and non intervention" too
far and why more help could not
be afforded to those caught in cir-
cumstances beyond their control.
Even some MAF officials had said
[off the record] there should be at
least a brain-storming session to
further examine aid options.
Droughts along the entire East
Coast in the late 1980s had come
on top of the loss of subsidies,
restructuring, high interest rates
and falling product prices.
The Government's attitude was
handouts did not work in the long
term. Agriculture Minister
Lockwood Smith went so far as to
question the premise that rural
New Zealand had economic prob-
In March 1999, drought affected
areas in the South Island recorded
their first significant rainfall in 18
Two consecutive summers of
drought had cost the country
around $800 million, according to
MAF and the flow on effects were
predicted to be double that.
BY the closing days of 1996, a new vision
for dairying that was to lead to the forma-
tion of Fonterra was being espoused.
Straight Furrow reported the new vision had
to commence with an agreed starting point
with initial share allocations and entitlements.
The current proposal allowed companies to
turn back the clock to 1981 to use their per-
centage share of product supplied to the Dairy
board at that time or the highest, most recent
year's supply to determine their initial share
"Clearly this proposal allows the companies
that have been growing relatively slowly since
1981 to expand production for some time
before they have to contribute capital to the
"Conversely, the fast growing companies will
have to contribute immediately."
The process was seen in some ways as divid-
ing up a cake -- it was in the interests of each
company to try and get the biggest piece they
could. It was give and take designed to achieve
consensus. It was proposed that the news
structure be phased in over five years.
New Zealand's competing dairy co-operatives
were forced to work together for the first time
when the Government transferred the Dairy
Board's assets to them in 1996. This took place
to address the disconnect that had grown
between manufacturing and marketing.
By the end of 2000, more than 95 per cent of
the industry was represented by two major
companies: New Zealand Dairy Group and Kiwi
Co-operative Dairies (two smaller co-operatives
held the remaining five per cent).
During the 1990s the threat of deregulation
grew. The industry considered numerous
options to manage this transition, eventually
deciding the best option was a single integrat-
ed company to put an end to the competition
between New Zealand's leading dairy compa-
In March 2000, there was an attempt to merge
the two largest co-operatives and the Dairy
Board. However, the move failed because of
government opposition, disagreement on the
management structure of the proposed new
company and different views regarding the val-
uation of the companies.
A year later in July 2001, 84 per cent of the
farmers involved voted to accept the merger of
the New Zealand Dairy Board, New Zealand
Dairy Group and Kiwi Co-operative Dairies. The
merger was consummated in October of that
year and a new company, Fonterra Co-opera-
tive Group Limited, was created. Fonterra is co-
operatively owned by New Zealand dairy farm-
ers, representing about 96 per cent of all dairy
farmers in the country. To resolve potential
internal conflicts, Fonterra was set up as a new
company that bought the assets of both co-
operatives and the Dairy Board.
Dairy vision emerging
Help demanded in drought
Lady alone gets clone
Read. Valued. Trusted.
Call Craig 021 287 8092
* ABC Audit June 11 84505
The voice of New Zealand farmers for 70 years
and still the biggest circulating national rural
newspaper in the country*
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