Rural round-up

October 31, 2014

Seasonality drives the red meat industries – Keith Woodford:

I have previously described the challenges that seasonality creates for the dairy industry. For New Zealand’s red meat industries, those issues are even more constraining. It is a key part of the reason why restructuring the meat industry is so challenging.

Sheep are designed by nature to give birth in the spring, and their fertility is much reduced at all other times of the year. Given that the market predominantly wants carcasses of 17 – 20 kg, this means that most lambs are ready for slaughter between December and April, with the peak slaughter in a shorter period from January to March.

In practical terms, this makes impossible the development of a mainstream consumer products industry based on a 12 month supply of chilled lamb. Trying to configure the national industry in this way would lead to exorbitant production costs. . . .

Dam could lift region’s GDP by $54.5m:

A new report shows the gross domestic product of the Nelson Tasman region could be lifted by more than $54 million if a proposed dam is built.

The analysis by the New Zealand Institute of Economic Research has been released during a public consultation of Tasman ratepayers into the possible funding models for the Waimea Community Dam.

The report’s author, senior economist Peter Clough said his analysis suggested the benefits of the dam would more than cover the cost of its construction.

Nelson Economic Development Agency chief executive Bill Findlater said the Lee Valley project definitely stacks up. . .

Details about next Tuesday’s Ruataniwha water event:

Federated Farmers and Irrigation NZ have released more details about the free “Ruataniwha – it’s Now or Never” event, taking place from 7pm next Tuesday (4 November), at the Waipawa/Central Hawke’s Bay Municipal Theatre. 

“It is definitely not going to be a theoretical discussion about economic models, but real world examples of farmers and schemes with costs similar to what the Ruataniwha Water Storage Scheme proposes,” says Will Foley, Federated Farmers Hawke’s Bay.

“Instead of talking about an economic model, we’re bringing up farmers involved in the comparable cost North Otago Irrigation Company scheme and Mid-Canterbury’s BCI scheme.  . .

Sheep, beef farmers want big changes - Sally Rae:

West Otago sheep and beef farmers Nelson and Fiona Hancox want farmers to ”stand up and be counted” and take charge of their futures.

The couple, who are both passionate about the red meat industry and are involved with various groups and industry bodies, believe it is time for farmers to take control.

Mrs Hancox was nominated to attend the 2014 Rabobank Global Farmers Master Class in Australia next month, where she would have been joining farmers from around the world. . .

 

Maori agriculture selling itself short - Gerald Hutching:

Maori agriculture has “huge” potential for development but only 20 per cent of farmland is well developed, 40 per cent is underperforming, and 40 per cent is under-used, says a Massey University academic.

Lecturer and researcher and Kaiarahi Maori Dr Nick Roskruge said about 720,000 hectares of Maori land was farmed, returning $750 million a year, but its short-term potential was $6 billion.

Maori are most strongly represented in the sheep and beef cattle sectors, with dairying becoming increasingly important. About 15,000 Maori are employed in the sector. . .

Capitalising on a perfect partnership on-farm – Jon Morgan:

Rambunctious is the best name for this ram. He’s a big bruiser, used to getting his own way, and he doesn’t like being manhandled.

He struggles out of Peter Tod’s grip and makes a break for freedom. But the Otane farmer’s determination is stronger and the ram is wrestled into submission for a photograph.

He is picked out from a small mob as the most photogenic because of his open face, long back, well-shaped legs, sound feet, and meaty hindquarters. . .


Rural round-up

October 30, 2014

The rising star of beef - Keith Woodford:

With so much focus on the current dairy downturn, it is easy to miss the rising star of beef. This year beef prices have been hitting record highs, both in US and NZ dollars. Young steers and bulls are fetching anywhere between $1100 and $1600 at slaughter, depending on weight and category.

The key driver has been demand for hamburger beef from the United States. Demand from China has also been increasing.

The New Zealand Meat Industry Association has reported beef exports of 380,000 tonnes earning $2.2 billion dollars for the year ending June 2014. Since 2001, these exports have fluctuated between about 325,000 tonnes and just over 400,000 tonnes with no clear trend. Cull cows from the dairy industry have been contributing an increasing proportion of total production. . .

Launch of renewable energy initiative in Southland:

Energy and Resources Minister Simon Bridges has today welcomed the launch of New Zealand’s first region-wide wood energy heat hub that will help fuel the Southland economy.

Wood Energy South is a joint initiative between the Energy Efficiency and Conservation Authority (EECA) and Venture Southland that will partner with local businesses, schools and healthcare facilities to help them convert to cleaner, renewable wood burning technology.

“Southland’s strong forestry and wood processing industry creates a rich source of wood fuel for the region. This project will help local businesses realise the renewable energy potential in their own back yard. . . .

Lee Valley Dam must be affordable:

Federated Farmers is urging the Government to support the Tasman District Council’s (TDC) Waimea Dam Project to prevent the critical shortage of water for urban and farming development.

“It’s not a matter of whether the dam goes ahead, it is how it goes ahead,” says Martin O’Connor, Federated Farmers Nelson provincial president.

“We are living in a catch 22, because the build is likely to cost irrigators $520 per hectare and increase rates by 11 cents per cubic metre a year, but our rural and urban communities cannot survive without it. . .

 Testing the mobile cow shed – Milking on the Moove:

It’s been a busy month testing out the mobile cowshed. I took this video about a month ago & I have only now found the time to put it up. I’ve been getting a few requests for a video.

It’s just a quick look at how the system works. I’m still in the testing phase & we are ironing out all the little issues. 

At the moment I’m only milking 8 cows & the neighbours are taking the milk to feed to their calves.
I can’t start selling our milk until I have been approved by the ministry of primary industries. That journey is turning out to be a bit of a drama, but I’ll write about that another day. . . .

Sanford takes on KiwiNet Business Challenge to uncover new processing technologies for mussels:

Sanford Limited is taking on a KiwiNet Business Challenge to uncover novel proposals for high-speed automated technologies that will help it process its current daily rate of 1.5 million mussels. Today, researchers at New Zealand’s public research organisations will be pitching ideas to improve mussel processing in Nelson at the Aquaculture NZ Research Workshop in a bid to win $5,000 of prototype development funding and the opportunity to work with Sanford to develop their solution for commercial application.

Sanford’s Aquaculture Manager Ted Culley says, “Processing as many molluscs as we do presents all sorts of challenges. This a great opportunity for us and others in the aquaculture industry to uncover some novel ideas with commercial potential. While we’re looking for a winning idea, we’re keen to investigate all good ideas, so we may end up with more research projects.” . . .

New fund to assist the growth of New Zealand dairy farming:

Dairy farmers looking to grow their family business will soon have access to a new source of funding, with the launch of an innovative new investment vehicle, the NZ Dairy Farming Trusts.

The Trusts – a joint venture between New Zealand farm investment company MyFarm Limited and German alternative-fund manager Aquila Capital – is seeking to raise up to $100 million from international and domestic wholesale investors. **

The initiative is aimed at providing the New Zealand dairy industry with much needed new capital in order to realise its economic potential. The fund plans to lend money at interest rates tied to milk and land prices, providing dairy farmers with alternative to taking on equity partners. . . .

Ballance moves to science specialisation:

With New Zealand farming systems as diverse as farmers themselves, Ballance Agri-Nutrients’ Science Extension team is making the shift to specialist roles to better support the changing requirements of farmers working with different climates, topography, soil types and farm types.

Science Extension Manager Ian Tarbotton says knowledge about soils, fertiliser, forages and nutrient budgets is fundamental to support farmers in reaching their goals, and the demand for more specialised knowledge is growing rapidly.

“We have two driving factors. First, higher environmental demands mean farmers are now working within tighter controls around nutrient management and protecting water quality. There is no one simple solution for each farm and it is not just a case of managing fertiliser. Feeding regimes, stocking rates, stock movements and soil types all have an influence and they will vary from farm to farm. . .

 

Ballance Ward B Election draws record field:

Ballance Agri-Nutrients’ call last month for director nominations for its Ward B has yielded 9 candidates hoping to replace Dean Nikora who resigned as a director ahead of taking up an international posting.

Ballance Chairman, David Peacocke, says he is delighted that Ward B shareholders have such a strong field of candidates to choose from and he believes that 9 is a record.

“The strong field indicates that we have shareholders who recognise this is an excellent opportunity to contribute to the governance of our co-operative, which is close to being a $1 billion business in terms of revenue. Having high quality candidates for director vacancies is vital to the success of our co-operative, and the response to our call for nominations has certainly achieved that. We have a very good mix with six men and three women seeking election. . .


Rural round-up

October 29, 2014

TPP Too Important for Compromised Finish:

The New Zealand dairy industry is urging Trans Pacific Partnership (TPP) partners not to compromise on the quality of the deal to get it done quickly.

The Dairy Companies Association of New Zealand (DCANZ) is concerned at reports that the US and Japan may seek to conclude a deal which leaves dairy trade liberalisation out in the cold.

“We urge leaders to stand by their 2011 commitment to a comprehensive deal,” says DCANZ Chairman Malcolm Bailey. “This cannot be achieved without addressing access for dairy, which remains one of the most protected sectors amongst the TPP partner countries.”

The Japanese World Trade Organisation (WTO) bound tariffs for skim milk powder and butter are equal to 217% and 360% respectively. Canada’s dairy market access regime is characterised by small quotas and large out of quota tariffs in the order of 200 – 300%. These conditions often mean trade is prevented. . .

Lisa Owen interviews Fonterra CEO Theo Spierings

Headlines:

Fonterra boss worried about the spread of Ebola in West Africa and potential “big consequences” for the company, saying “it doesn’t feel to me like that it is under control at the moment”

Estimates if Ebola worsens, it could “very quickly” hit 5-6% of Fonterra’s exports, worth $150 million in sales.

Spierings says China as a market is “stable” – volume growth might slow to 4% from 6%

Downplays chance of sealing a Trans-Pacific trade deal – “where the world is right now, we should not be overly optimistic on reaching this… it’s going to be very difficult”.

Can envisage a day when New Zealand reaches ‘peak cow’ – “there could be a point in time that you say no more” – but not for some years. . . .

Massey to host $5m Food Safety Research Centre:

Science and Innovation Minister Steven Joyce and Food Safety Minister Jo Goodhew today announced that Massey University will host the new Food Safety Science and Research Centre.

The Centre will promote, co-ordinate, and deliver food safety science and research for New Zealand. It was a key recommendation from the Government Inquiry into the Whey Protein Concentrate (WPC) Contamination Incident.

“New Zealand’s food exports are dependent on a robust and internationally credible food safety system,” Mr Joyce says. “It is vital therefore that New Zealand is a visible leader in food safety science and research, and remains a producer of trusted, high-quality food products.” . . .

Venison: Breaking with Tradition:

Deer farmers have enjoyed better prices for their venison this October, the time of the year when chilled venison demand peaks in Europe. But the industry’s real focus is on getting chilled season prices all year-round.

Since early October the national average venison schedule for benchmark 60 kg stags has been sitting at around $7.73 a kilo, up from $7.43 last year. Some farmers have been receiving more than $8.00 a kilo.

“This is good news,” says Deer Industry NZ (DINZ) chief executive Dan Coup. “But once the last chilled season shipment to Europe departs our shores in early November, the reality is that venison prices will most likely ease again.” . . .

 

Silver Fern Farms Confirms Positive 2014, Sets 2015 Plan Including Organisational Change And Outlook:

October 28: Silver Fern Farms Chairman Rob Hewett says Silver Fern Farms is on track to deliver a significantly improved profit for the 2014 year following a strategic review of the business and a focus on debt reduction.

“We expect the audited pre-tax earnings for the company will be $5 – 7m for the year just ended to 30 September 2014, which will represent a greater than $40m net profit before tax improvement in performance on 2013. We know many of our farmer shareholders see our profitability as a priority for the company this season, which is what we have delivered,” Mr Hewett says.

Over the same period the company has also paid down $100 million in debt as part of a plan to reduce the cost of debt servicing to the company.

Mr Hewett also announced Chief Executive Keith Cooper was stepping down from the role. . . .

 

Dairy Awards Offers i-Incentive to Enter

Those that enter early in the 2015 New Zealand Dairy Industry Awards could win some great Apple Inc prizes, with more than $12,500 of products being given away in an Early Bird Entry Prize Draw.

Entries are now being accepted in the New Zealand Sharemilker/Equity Farmer of the Year, New Zealand Farm Manager of the Year and New Zealand Dairy Trainee of the Year competitions.

All entries are accepted online at www.dairyindustryawards.co.nz and close on November 30.

National Convenor Chris Keeping says the Early Bird Entry Prize Draw provides a great incentive for those planning to enter the awards to get their entry in early. There are two packages of an iPhone 5S and iPad Air worth $2100 to be won in each of the three competitions, six in total. . . .


Two out of three

October 20, 2014

Spotted on a sign:

We offer three kinds of service:

GOOD – CHEAP – FAST

You can pick any two but:

GOOD service CHEAP won’t be FAST

GOOD service FAST won’t be CHEAP

FAST service CHEAP won’t be GOOD


GDT index up 1.4%

October 16, 2014

GlobalDairyTrade’s price index rose 1.4% in this morning’s auction.

That is welcome news after the big fall in the index at the previous auction.


Wool levy vote lost

October 14, 2014

Preliminary results show wool growers have voted against a levy.

New Zealand wool growers look to have declined the opportunity for a new Wool Commodity Levy Order to be introduced following a Referendum which closed on Friday 10 October.

“Preliminary results show the result is against the introduction of a levy. Final votes are yet to be counted, as some voting envelopes are still in transit and will be processed until Wednesday, however it seems unlikely the outcome will change now,” said Sandra Faulkner, Chair of the Wool Levy Group.

As at Tuesday 14 October, wool growers voted 43.2% to 56.8% against the levy while the weighted vote from larger enterprises was against the levy 40.29% to 59.71%. . .

“Our challenge was to ensure that wool growers understood the proposal to introduce a levy under the Commodities Levy Act and get a strong voter turnout,” says Sandra Faulkner, Chair of the Wool Levy Group.

“We are delighted with voter turnout of around 47% – most commodity levy act votes struggle to get over 35%. Wool growers have certainly seen the importance of getting involved in this event – I can only reiterate my sincere thanks to all those who took the time to read the proposal, ask questions and vote.

“Growers have elected to operate in a purely commercial environment and there will be some disappointment that this continues to see our $700 million wool industry without an independent, internationally recognised, non-commercial voice.

“However, the significant involvement in the conversation around this proposal and ultimately, in the future of our wool industry, from growers through to end use retailers, researchers and educators, across all wool types, has certainly been encouraging.” . . .

When more affluent customers are looking for greener options, wool ought to seek itself.

It is a natural, renewable product sourced from free-range animals.

A levy would have helped get that message through to more customers.


Over priced and under-proven

October 13, 2014

New Zealand shoppers think environmentally friendly products are over priced:

Even green-leaning Kiwis think environmentally-friendly products are overpriced

Whether you’re a climate change sceptic, a tree-hugging eco-warrior or something in between, there’s no avoiding the environmental debate these days. And with nearly four out of five New Zealanders believing that ‘if we don’t act now we’ll never control our environmental problems’, it makes sense that their shopping habits would reflect this. After all, buying sustainable, eco, biodegradable, non-toxic and/or organic products is an easy way for each individual to play their part in saving the planet, right?

Perhaps not. You see, there’s one small problem: three-quarters of Kiwis also believe that ‘environmentally friendly products are overpriced’ (compared to 68% of Australians). This presents a challenge for retailers and manufacturers of such items.

Roy Morgan Research looked at the customers of several high-profile New Zealand retailers to see how their attitudes towards environmentally friendly products stacked up against the national average. . . .

It’s not just the price I question, it’s the claims to being environmentally friendly.

Sustainable, eco, biodegradable, non-toxic, recycled, recyclable and organic are used separately and together on many products but how do we know they really are as good as they claim?

Are they really green or are the manufacturers and producers just using green wash as a marketing ploy?

Some so-called environmentally friendly products aren’t just over-priced, they’re under-proven.


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