Rural round-up

Dairy company looks to process all year round:

Westland Milk Products says its move into higher value nutritional products is paying off with increased orders.

The company makes a range of protein products, buttermilk powder and anhydrous milk fat (AMF).

The dairy co-operative commissioned a new infant formula plant at its Hokitika base last year which will continue processing through June and July to meet the orders it is getting.

The company is also encouraging some of its farmers to milk all year round to make better use of its processing facilities. . .

Central Plains water users to raise $56m -

Shareholders of Central Plains Water, set up to draw water for irrigation from Canterbury’s Rakaia and Waimakiriri rivers, have indicated their commitment to the equity component of a looming $140 million capital raising.

The equity component has not yet been finalised but is likely to be 30 percent to 40 percent of the total, chief executive Derek Crombie says. That means shareholders would be tapped for up to $56 million. The company expects to lodge a prospectus by the end of June.

“We’ve approached all the shareholders and have indicative commitments at the 95 percent level,” Mr Crombie told BusinessDesk. The final funding split will depend on feedback from banks and other financiers “but indications from banks are that it’s do-able”. . .

Salmonella hits southern farmers – Annette Scott:

An outbreak of salmonella has left hundreds of sheep dead and many Southland farmers devastated.

“This has been very debilitating for the farmers whose farms have been hit. It is a frustrating thing to get caught in, demoralising and gutting for farmers already struggling with low returns,” Gore sheep and beef farmer Andrew Morrison said.

Morrison’s farm has not been affected but two neighbouring properties have.

“And that leaves farmers asking the question, what have I done wrong? They have done nothing wrong. That is the nature of farming – it can be hellish,” Morrison said. . .

Joe Ludwig launches national food plan to grow industry - Samantha Hawley:

Federal Agriculture Minister Joe Ludwig has unveiled a new plan designed to grow the local food industry and put Australia on the world food map.

First promised in the 2010 election campaign, the National Food Plan includes a multi-million-dollar research fund to help Australian producers capitalise on the so-called Asian “dining boom”.

There is also funding to better brand Australian food exports.

“It’s about helping domestic opportunities find connections in Asia,” Mr Ludwig said. . .

Finding Francoise – Moon Over Martinborough:

“Jared, I have bad news for you,” CJ said.  “Francoise is missing.”

I stared at CJ in disbelief. I had just come back to the property after a week away for work. “Francoise? Missing? What do you mean?”

CJ shook his head. “I’ve looked everywhere. I haven’t seen her in two days.”

“That’s impossible. She can’t just be gone. I mean, chickens don’t just disappear without a trace.” . .

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