NEWS MILKY ISSUE New research shows a direct relationship between the consumption of cow’s milk, and socio demographic factors. A first-of-its-kind study published recently in the New Zealand Medical Council says cow’s milk is consumed regularly by 88% of preschool children, but the majority drink full-fat milk instead of the recommended low or reduced-fat milk from the age of two. Associate Professor Pamela von Hurst from Massey University’s School of Sport, Exercise and Nutrition says while the data is five years old, it remains the latest nationwide investigation of milk consumption patterns in New Zealand pre-schoolers. “Consumption of low or reduced-fat milk was influenced by several sociodemographic factors, including age, maternal education, ethnicity and residential region, with Māori and Pasifika children, and those living in the South Island, more likely to drink full fat milk,” she says. “Identification of the factors which influence milk type consumption in children provides guidance for targeted interventions to improve milk consumption behaviours in children. Further research is warranted to investigate parents/ caregivers’ knowledge about dietary guidelines, and to determine the causal relationship between obesity and milk type consumption. The findings of this study may have important implications for developing and shaping interventions and in helping shape public health policy and practice to promote cow’s milk consumption in preschool children,” von Hurst says. Only 26% of 1329 studied preschool children drank low or reduced-fat milk, while 74% drank full-fat milk. Academics from Massey University, Massachusetts General Hospital, AUT, University of Otago, Auckland City Hospital and Starship Children’s Hospital took part in the research. 8 FEBRUARY 2018 MOVE OVER, DAIRY New Zealand’s largest rural investment syndicator MyFarm Investments will veer away from its dairy farming origins towards smaller “overlooked” investments such as fruit. The firm, set up in 1990 as primarily a dairy farm investor which it syndicates to investors, now has sheep, beef and mussel farms, plus horticulture as part of its more than $500 million of rural assets under management. While half of its assets are dairy farms, the company expects those investments to shrink as farms are sold when investments mature. “We still love dairy but it’s hard to make an investment case for it at the moment,” chief executive Andrew Watters says. Horticulture is achieving between 7-15% and “we are getting cash profits which are significantly higher than we are able to get out of pastoral,” dairy farm owner Watters says. My Farm is moving into permanent crops like kiwifruit, pipfruit, viticulture and other types of food production such as mussel farming where it has stepped back from day-to-day management and instead partnered with good operators in each sector. Productivity has improved in horticulture with new planting and management systems, and protection around plant variety rights. My Farm is eyeing new investments in previously overlooked industries that are relatively small but fast growing, such as avocados, blueberries and cherries. “There’s quite a bit to look at and be excited about,” Watters says. “Anything to do with food production where we think there is a sustainable competitive advantage and there are good cash returns, we will look at.” The company will embark on the second stage of its mussel farming project later this year, and will have a crack at Manuka honey soon. Wat- ters says interest in investment opportunities here is strong, particularly from US investors. Its recent investment syndicate in the Rockit apple industry attracted 67 investors with an average investment of $195,000 and investors typically aged in their 50s, 60s or 70s looking for diversification.
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