Rural round-up

September 17, 2014

Beef + Lamb New Zealand Outlines Priorities Ahead of General Election:

Beef + Lamb New Zealand has outlined what it sees as the policy priorities for the incoming government.

Beef + Lamb New Zealand Chairman, James Parsons says the policy manifesto covers a range of issues that will support a confident and profitable sheep and beef sector.

“The red meat sector is hugely important to the New Zealand economy – worth $8.5 billion a year, so it’s critical that the incoming government is aware of the issues that affect our sheep and beef farmers,” Parsons said.

“Our first priority is securing investment in research and development that will increase farm productivity and continue adding value to our sheepmeat and beef products. . . .

 

It all depends on China – Keith Woodford:

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.

Chinese demand for dairy products in particular has grown so rapidly that it was inevitable there would be speed wobbles. With hindsight, we can see that it was the New Zealand drought of autumn 2013, combined with increasing Chinese demand, that led to shortages of milk products in Chinese supermarkets during late 2013. The Chinese importers then over-reacted, and purchased heavily during our summer months. Increased autumn production in the current year has then coincided with Chinese inventories already fully replenished. . .

Water quality rules ‘work in progress’:

The national water industry body says rules on water quality are not set in concrete and will develop further.

New national fresh water standards which, for the first time, set minimum quality requirements for rivers, lakes and aquifers were announced earlier in the year.

Water New Zealand is holding its annual conference in Hamilton from today. Chief executive Murray Gibb said the rules are a work in progress and would be reviewed in 2016.

“There’s been debate as to whether or not it’s sufficiently tight and there’s been a lot of debate over whether or not the corner-stone policy that it imposes a requirement on councils to maintain and improve overall water quality within their regions might lead to declining water quality in some water bodies. . . .

Make a fuss of scheme:

    The prime minister was in Ashburton last Thursday. He then visited Timaru to wander up and down the main street, talking to voters.

A slight detour between those two destinations would have taken him to the seven massive ponds that are the Rangitata South Irrigation Scheme, at the very time they were being filled to capacity for the first time.

It would have been a great photo op for the prime minister, and a fitting tribute to the scheme’s backers, to have the PM officially “open” the out-of-river storage project.

Maybe such a function is planned but chances are it’s not. And that’s not a snub to the prime minister, but a reflection more of the personality of the man behind the scheme, Gary Rooney.

He’s a doer, not a talker. He doesn’t go looking for pats on the back.

Where the Herald had plenty of coverage of the Opuha Dam as it was being built in the 1990s, with this project it has been like drawing teeth to get updates.

It’s not that Rooney and his workers were being obstructive, they just did not see the need to speak to the media. They were too busy building the thing.

But if he’s not going to blow his trumpet on the project, we will. . .

Generations of shearing in Brett’s family blood – Sally Rae:

Brett Roberts was destined to a shearer.

Not only does his grandfather, Cliff Waihape, have a shearing contracting business based in Mataura, but four of his uncles, Chad, Chop, Cliff jun and Cody, are also shearers.

”Our family, it’s in our blood,” he said.

Mr Roberts (20) started shearing at a young age, while still at school in Menzies College, Wyndham, with his family members showing him the ropes. . .

 

Southland swede group underway:

A cross-sector industry-led working group is coming together to co-ordinate research and advice to farmers following an issue with swedes affecting dairy cattle this season.

Across Southland, there has been a number of cases of cows becoming ill, and in some cases dying, while (or shortly after) grazing on swede crops.

A joint working group with representatives from a range of sector groups will be chaired by industry body DairyNZ and meet for the first time on Wednesday September 17. The group includes representatives from Southland veterinary practices, Federated Farmers, Beef+Lamb NZ and PGG Wrightson Seeds. It will also bring in specialist advisors on veterinary pathology and plant science.
DairyNZ has already sent an email survey to more than 2,600 Southland and South Otago farmers seeking information on whether they have been affected by the issue. It has also been advising farmers to be vigilant if their cows are feeding on swede. . .

 

New appointments at Dairy Women’s Network:

As Dairy Women’s Network grows from strength to strength, so too does its number of professionals grow.

The organisation has most recently acquired an events manager in Kym Gibson of Hamilton and a third regional convenor coordinator in Megan Edmeades of Manawaru (near Te Aroha).

Creating environments and experiences that resonate is a passion for Gibson, and something she is looking forward to fulfilling at the organisation’s 30-plus annual events.

Learning more about the “diverse and dynamic” organisation that is DWN is Gibson’s first challenge in the role, which she started in earlier this month. . . .

 

 


GDT price index stable

September 17, 2014

The GlobalDairyTrade price index didn’t change in this morning’s auction which is a relief after five consecutive falls.

gdt17914

gdt17.9.14


Rural round-up

September 15, 2014

Forestry workers dodge poachers’ bullets – Sonita Chandar:

Forestry workers are dodging bullets from poachers, says a forest manager.

They are being fired at by people hunting wild pigs illegally released in the private forests.

”Our staff shouldn’t have to worry about going to work and being shot, but this is the reality,” said Phil De La Mare, Otago regional manager for forestry plantation company, Ernslaw One.

”These unpermitted hunters forget it is a workplace and go shooting any time, even when there are people out working.

”Their actions are putting our staff and contractors in a risky situation and for us.

”Providing a safe workplace environment has become a challenge.” . .

 Putting Rustling back into the history books – Rick Powdrell:

Contrary to talk, the meat and fibre industries are not broken as the fundamentals to take both sectors forward to much greater heights remain. Still, it requires an entire industry shared vision going forward and that’s of course easier said than done.

 This undoubtedly involves strong leadership accompanied by a strong grassroots involvement.  It hardly entails re-inventing the wheel, but rather more awareness of the areas we need to improve and a path developed to redeem theses issues.

 The red meat sector strategy has already identified significant issues, with the Beef + Lamb: Red Meat Profit Partnership focusing on topics behind the farm gate with the aim of lifting on farm performance.

 This collaboration of Beef + Lamb NZ, meat companies, banks and government foreshadows a united industry approach. . .

NZ exports to EU may face stricter pesticide standards – Yvonne O’Hara:

New Zealand’s fruit and vegetable export trade to Europe could be affected by as much as $600 million if a proposed European Union (EU) reduction of some pesticide residue levels on imported food goes ahead, Agcarm chief executive Graeme Peters says.

The European Commission (EC) had been looking at regulating common crop protection products that had endocrine-disrupting properties. The EC believed reducing endocrine-disrupting pesticides would benefit the environment; be good for the health of growers, workers, rural communities and consumers; and boost the economy.

It will release criteria to identify those properties in the next few weeks. . .

Commission releases final report on 2013/14 review of Fonterra’s base milk price calculation:

The Commerce Commission today released its final report on Fonterra’s base milk price calculation for the 2013/14 dairy season. The base milk price is the price Fonterra pays to farmers for raw milk.

The Commission is required to review Fonterra’s calculation of the base milk price each year as part of the Dairy Industry Restructuring Act’s milk price monitoring regime. The review assesses whether Fonterra’s calculation approach provides incentives for it to operate efficiently and provides for contestability in the market for purchasing farmers’ milk.

The most significant issue in this year’s review has been Fonterra’s decision to pay farmers an adjusted price for the 2013/14 season that is less than the milk price calculated under the company’s Milk Price Manual.

The Commission’s overall findings are that the way Fonterra is calculating and applying its proposed adjustment to the base milk price is not consistent with incentives for it to operate efficiently; however, the approach is consistent with contestability in the market under the Act. . .

Field day to give insight into rural work  – Yvonne O’Hara:

Rural Contractors New Zealand (RCNZ) is to hold its second field day on September 17 at Brian Hughes’ yard at Waimatua, near Invercargill, from 10am to 3pm.

RCNZ vice-president and contractor David Kean, of Centre Bush, said the field day, held in association with Work and Income, encouraged people to find out what it was like working in the agricultural contracting sector.

”People can drift in and drift out again throughout the day,” Mr Kean said.

Those attending the field day would have the opportunity to drive large tractors and operate an assortment of machinery under supervision. . .

Farmers’ need for speed – Chris Lewis:

We are ready when you are, and we have been ready for some time. The key investors and the next government need to know farmers and rural households are sick of the inferior connectivity they are receiving. We are in the need for speed and reliable connectivity; it is not only imperative for rural productivity, but for empowering rural households.

The agricultural industry generates 73 percent of New Zealand’s merchandise exports, so you would think that the powers and investors that be, would recognise a gaping hole when they see it. What is not ok is that whilst rural businesses and households are paying for the same services as our urban counterparts, we are not getting the same results.

Market research proves rural New Zealand is being neglected. We are armed with the latest devices, on average 9 connectable devices per business and 5 to 6 of those connected at one time, but have limited infrastructure to use them. Chorus recently went to the rural market through Colmar Brunton to find out exactly what we have been dealing with, and it should come as no surprise that they found we have the same level of needs as urban businesses and households. . .

In Burundi, Viola Nsengiyumva turns two acres into a profitable business - Food Tank:

Viola looks out over the two acres of land she and her husband, Deo, inherited from her father. The fields are thick with bushy, yellow-green vines. The beans are ready to be harvested.

Two and a half years ago, Viola’s fields were nearly bare. Even though she and Deo had land, they could not afford the seed and fertilizer needed to plant on all of it. Harvests were low, with just enough to feed the family. There was no surplus to sell for income.

“Before One Acre Fund, we would just manage to have enough to eat. We couldn’t sell anything we grew,” Viola says. “I would go to purchase fertilizer, but I would not be able to buy enough.” . . .

Do You Have the Correct Licence for the Coming Season?:

Rural Contractors New Zealand (RCNZ) is urging its members to ensure they have all the correct transport licences for the coming season.

RCNZ president Steve Levet says with the new season fast approaching it is timely for rural contractors and their staff to check to see they have the correct licence AND a ‘Wheels Endorsements’ if required.

“It is incumbent on rural contractors to ensure both they and their staff have all the correct licences when moving their tractors and machinery around the country,” he adds.

“There are no excuses for not having the correct licenses and/or wheels endorsement. If contractors are not sure they should find out – all the necessary information is under the members section of our website: www.ruralcontractors.org.nz .”

Mr Levet says the different types of licences rural contractors may require include: . . .


Farm facts

September 10, 2014


Rural round-up

September 7, 2014

Possum purge dents TB rate – Tim Cronshaw:

Possum control operations are making inroads into the most inhospitable bush and swamps in the challenging upper South Island area to protect cattle and deer herds from bovine tuberculosis (TB).

Of the 68 herds infected with TB nationally, 44 are in the West Coast, Tasman, Marlborough and Canterbury north of the Rangitata River. Southland, Otago and Canterbury south of the Rangitata have 15 infected herds and nine remain in the North Island.

They have been reduced from 1700 several decades ago as a result of work by TBfree New Zealand. . .

Gourmet fungi could boost farmers’ incomes – Tim Cronshaw:

Farmers with tree plots, and other foresters, could add a side business to their main income after research in high-value edible crops has come out with promising results.

Plant & Food Research’s Alexis Guerin and Associate Professor Wang Yun have been investigating the delicacies of saffron milk cap mushrooms and bianchetto truffle on farm sites in Lincoln.

The scientists believe there is room to commercialise the crops on forest blocks, although much research remains in its infancy.

Truffles sell for about $3000 a kilogram, while the saffron milk cap mushroom usually sells for $30 to $50/kg and double that in upmarket European stores. . .

US now top market for NZ chilled venison – Tim Cronshaw:

The United States has toppled Germany as the go-to market for New Zealand chilled-venison exports.

Deer farmers should be in good spirits, as venison prices are slightly ahead of last year’s and until lately exports to the US were sluggish as the global financial crisis continued to dent sales.

Deer Industry New Zealand venison marketing services manager Innes Moffat said a strong economic recovery in the US had encouraged more chilled venison sales.

“There has been a big increase in chilled venison cuts to the US in the last year compared to the year before. The US is now New Zealand’s largest market for chilled venison and over the last year it has overtaken Germany.” . . .

NZ urged to boost value of dairy goodse of dairy goods - Andrea Fox:

New Zealand can no longer wait for world dairy markets to wash over it and now is the time to be aggressive to create new profitability opportunities and focus on lifting productivity, the NZ Institute of Economic Research says.

While dismaying to dairy farmers who had enjoyed record high global commodity prices, the steep fall in global dairy prices this year was a sign of world markets getting in balance, NZIER principal economist Shamubeel Eaqub said.

“For a whole bunch of reasons all of a sudden the markets have gone from finely balanced in favour of dairy producers to very much out of favour. 

“We went through a really sweet spot, where the global production side was trying to catch up with a demand that somehow caught us by surprise. . .

Farming ‘breakthrough’ overlooked – Neil Lyon:

THE low adoption of Controlled Traffic Farming (CTF) practices throughout Australian broadacre farming areas has soil scientists baffled as to why more farmers haven’t tapped into its many advantages.

By confining weight-bearing machinery wheels to permanent tracks across a paddock, CTF effectively limits soil compaction to about 15 per cent of the paddock and leaves the remaining soil to regenerate and lift crop yield potential.

Despite the system being heralded as a breakthrough for farming nearly two decades ago, a recent survey of eastern Australian grain farmers found that only 13pc were using three-metre CTF, 21pc were using a combination of two-metre and three-metre CTF, and 66pc were using none at all. . . .

Shear adventure – Mark Griggs:

THE adventures of our forebears often intrigues and that is certainly the case for Stuart Town woolgrower, Laurie Pope.

Laurie has long been fascintated by the stories surrounding the journeys made by his grandfather, Michael John Pope, or Mick to family and friends, by bike while he was shearing in western NSW and Queensland during the late 1800s.

The dust is well settled and much now covered by bitumen, but Laurie has always held the desire to retrace his grandfather’s bicycle tracks, so last February, accompanied by neighbour Cliff Hyde, he set out by vehicle to cover the 2077 kilometre round journey from the family property, “Weemala”, Stuart Town, to Eulo, Qld, but was interrupted by rain halfway through at Thurloo Downs Station, Wanaaring. . .

 

Farmers urged to consult their vets as Theileria cases rise:

The New Zealand Veterinary Association (NZVA) is encouraging farmers to consult their vet about suspected cases of Theileria on their farms, and how to best manage Theileria, as the latest data from the Ministry of Primary Industries shows an increase this season in the number of cattle infected with the disease. Naïve cattle that have been moved into affected areas are particularly at risk.

Theileria, which causes anaemia in cows and is spread by ticks, affects cattle and is not a human or food safety issue. Signs of Theileria include lethargy, low appetite and reduced milk production.

Dr Jenny Weston, President of the NZVA Society of Dairy Cattle Veterinarians, says that vets play a key role in working collaboratively with farmers to provide advice, taking both a preventive and proactive approach to minimise the disease. . . .

 


Rural round-up

September 6, 2014

All change this election -Andrew Hoggard :

This election hasn’t been the best advertisement for democracy.  I cannot recall when a Minister quit Cabinet during an election campaign but the actions of bloggers, hackers, emails and a political feeding frenzy, distract us from the real issues.

I’m pretty certain my Grandfather, who spent close on four years inside POW camps, would be spitting tacks if he were still around today and saw the impact a German playboy was having on our democracy.

After the election we could see political parties giving two fingers to the traditional baubles of office in favour of what’s called the cross-benches. What that means in practice is that the Opposition cannot afford to attack you while the government has to go cap and hand on every single policy.  It makes for electoral gridlock.  A tyranny of the minority.

I’d like to give this farce a wide berth but it impacts upon what farmers do. . .

World is a step closer to low-emission sheep – Jamie Morton:

The world is a step closer to a low-emission sheep, thanks to leading work by Kiwi and US researchers.

Methane belched from sheep and other ruminants, such as cows, accounts for around 28 per cent of global methane emissions from human-related activities.

The methane is produced in the rumen by microbes called methanogens and the work targeting these organisms is aimed at reducing methane emissions from ruminants.

New Zealand has the largest methane emission rate — six times the global average — and this primarily comes from enteric fermentation in ruminant livestock, with sheep the greatest single source. . . .

Move to save yarn business – Alan Williams:

Primary Wool Co-operative (PWC) group has confirmed its bid to save the last wool-spinning business in the southern hemisphere, Christchurch Yarns (NZ).

It has given itself less than a month to raise $3 million in equity to fund the purchase of the operating assets of Christchurch Yarns from the company’s receiver.

Directors and main shareholders Bay and Hamish de Lautour are putting in $150,000 between them to a new company, NZ Yarn, as a show of confidence to other potential investors. . . .

Taratahi Signs MOU with China:

On September 4 Taratahi Agricultural Training Centre signed a memorandum of understanding with the China Rural Technology Development Centre (CRTD).

CRTDC sits under the Ministry of Science and Technology. They are committed to promoting technological progress for all aspects of rural development in China by maintaining close ties with relevant rural science and technology management authorities, research institutes and universities in China as well as other international organisations.

The MOU focuses on improving the cooperation between New Zealand and China in terms of agricultural policy research, technology training and livestock breeding and encourages cooperation and communication of the governments, universities and corporations of both countries, to improve global agricultural sustainable development. . .

 

Butter prices soar in the US:

Butter futures reached an all-time high in Chicago as Americans’ rising appetite for the fatty dairy spread and rising exports erode US inventories.

Domestic consumption is projected to rise 0.8 per cent to 788,000 metric tons in 2014, according to the US Department of Agriculture. That would be the second-highest ever in data going back to 1965. Shipments in the first six months of the year were up 42 per cent from 2013.

Demand is rising as milk production trailed analyst expectations, while fat content, used to make butter, is also dropping, according to Eric Meyer, the president of Chicago-based HighGround Dairy. . .

Nominations Have Closed for the 2014 Fonterra Elections:

Nominations for the 2014 Fonterra Elections closed at 12 noon today.

The candidates for the Fonterra Board of Directors’ Election will be announced on Tuesday, 23 September 2014 following the completion of the Candidate Assessment Panel (CAP) process.

The Returning Officer, Warwick Lampp, confirmed there will be no election for the Directors’ Remuneration Committee, as Shareholders Murray Holdaway and Philip Wilson have been elected unopposed.

Nominations were also called for candidates for the Shareholders’ Council in 22 wards. An election is required in four wards, as follows: . . .

 

Give other options a ‘WIRL’ – Wools of New Zealand:

Wool research behind the farm gate was important but needed to be attached to work already being undertaken in the wool industry, says Wools of New Zealand in its wool levy position paper released today.

The grower owned wool marketing and sales company says while it is important for all growers to have their say, they need to be “armed with the facts relating to costs, benefits and possible alternatives before they vote.”

While WNZ agrees there is a need for additional training and tech transfer both inside the farm gate and beyond, it believes these functions can be provided by existing agencies such as Tectra and AgITO while there were also other options to creating yet another structure in an already cluttered industry. . .

 


Rural round-up

September 5, 2014

New forestry body provides unity - Alan Williams:

The linking of the forest products processing and manufacturing sector in one industry organisation should set it up to be internationally competitive, the group says.

It would also allow the Government to see the sector as a major industry entity, in the same way it sees Fonterra in the dairy sector, Wood Processing and Manufacturing Association (WPMA) chief executive Jon Tanner said.

The new association was launched officially in Wellington last week but has been operating for a couple of months. 

It links the entire processing supply chain outside the forest boundary – businesses involved in pulp and paper, packaging, solid wood, engineered wood, and a lot else, including the Frame and Truss Manufacturers Association, which will continue as a separate entity within the overall umbrella. . . .

A2 cornerstone shareholder Freedom Foods buys $589k of shares after dilution – Paul McBeth:

 (BusinessDesk) – ASX-listed Freedom Foods Group bought almost one million shares of A2 Milk Co this week for about $589,000 after its stake was diluted in the past year due to the issue of partly-paid shares.

The Sydney-based food company bought 942,500 shares in four transactions in A2 this week at an average price of about 62.5 cents, according to a substantial shareholder notice filed to the NZX. Freedom Foods holds about 117.9 million shares, or 17.9 percent of A2, leaving it as the biggest shareholder in the milk marketing company.

Because A2 issued partly-paid shares to executives earlier this year, Freedom Foods’ stake was diluted down from 18.1 percent when it made its last disclosure in December 2012. . . .

Venison prices on the move:

European market prices for chilled New Zealand venison are reported to be up about 5 per cent on last year, with exporters hopeful of reduced competition from European game meat supplies. But prices to farmers are currently being held back by a stronger New Zealand dollar.

Venison exporters have recently indicated they see the venison schedule potentially reaching $8/kg for 55-60 kg AP stags. This would be similar to the 2012 national average published schedule peak of $7.95/kg and much better than last year’s peak of $7.40/kg.

The main factor restraining prices to farmers at this point in the traditional chilled game meat season is currency, with the Kiwi dollar 8.4% stronger against the Euro than at the same time last year. This is reflected in an average schedule that is 7% weaker. . . .

Look for rooks :

 Thousands of eyes on the ground are needed to help Otago Regional Council (ORC) eliminate rooks.

Its rook control programme has begun and runs until November. The council is asking people to look out for rooks and their rookeries.

Anyone noticing rooks in Otago can call Malcolm Allan on 027 278 8498, or ORC on 0800 474 082 or email info@orc.govt.nz

At their peak there were several thousand nesting rooks in Otago but their numbers have been drastically reduced through the council’s control programmes.

Rooks, part of the crow and raven family, are larger than magpies and totally black. . . .

New Ballance director brings new dimension:

Ballance Agri-Nutrients has appointed Genesis Energy Chief Executive Albert Brantley as a new independent director to its board.

The farm nutrient co-operative reconfigured its board in 2012 to include three appointed directors to work alongside six regional directors elected by its farmer shareholders.

Ballance Chairman David Peacocke says independent directors are crucial to the governance of the co-operative with its turnover of close to $1 billion and profits of $90 million.

“We have come a long way from being a simple fertiliser company. We have divisions including complex fertiliser and feed manufacturing, we are developing leading edge farm technology and we are an integral part of the agricultural sector which drives our economy. A combination of farmer directors and appointed directors ensure we have the balance of skills, experience and perspectives for good governance. We take our commitment to performing consistently for our farmer shareholders seriously, and having strong governance is an essential component of this.” . . .

 

 New Zealand Avocado Launches New Campaign at Asia’s Largest Fresh Produce Trade Show:

 New Zealand’s avocado industry will launch its new export market promotional material at Asia’s leading fresh fruit and vegetable trade show Asia Fruit Logistica (AFL) this week in Hong Kong.
Jen Scoular, Chief Executive of New Zealand Avocado, says the new marketing collateral positions New Zealand avocado as a premium product promoting quality, safety and health.

“The unique property of New Zealand grown avocados that we will promote in Asia is time. New Zealand grown avocados hang on the tree for much longer than in other producing countries – at least a year, during this time they are fed by the generous rainfall and sunshine all the while being nurtured by our dedicated growers,” says Scoular. . . .


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