Rural round-up

February 13, 2014

Farming confidence bodes well for Southern Field Days – Diane Bishop:

Southern Field Days is the place to be.

That’s according to 789 exhibitors who will showcase their wares at the South Island’s largest rural expo – the Southern Field Days – which starts at Waimumu near Gore today and continues tomorrow and Friday.

Schouten Machines managing director Marcel van Hazendonk said it was his second time exhibiting at the field days.

“You’ve got to be here. It’s important for exhibitors because if you’re not here you could be missing out on business,” Mr van Hazendonk said.

Southern Field Days chairman Mark Dillon expected there would be a “mad rush” this morning as exhibitors completed their sites in readiness for the crowds. “As long as the weather stays like this it will be fantastic,” he said. . .

Not much in farming qualifies as natural - Doug Edmeades:

The word “natural” and its derivatives such as “nature’s way”, “nature’s own”, “grown naturally”, a “product of nature” and “naturally organic” are tossed into product advertising like minties at a lolly scramble.

They convey a feeling that something, a product or a process, is honest and true, as in the way Mother Nature intended, and not artificial or false, in the sense of being man- made.

The implication is always that nature’s way is better than man’s way or more specifically, mankind has screwed nature and we must now bow our heads in penitential shame.

I thought it was time to play with this idea. Is our clover-based pastoral system natural? . . .

LIC’s half-year profit dips - Alan Williams:

Sales were higher but costs of a rebuild of the database and technology platform bit into LIC’s half-year profits.

The dairy genetics company reported today an after-tax profit of $26.9 million for the six months ended November 30 on sales of $135m.

In the same period a year earlier the profit was $30m on sales of $131.2m. Earnings per investment share slipped to 91.3c from $1.01.

High milk prices and stable weather had encouraged farmers to increase investment in a range of information management tools, chairman Murray King said. . . .

 

Solid Energy farm blocks for sale – Lauren Hayes:

More than 2000 hectares of farmland has been put on the market in Eastern Southland.

The land is owned by Solid Energy and is being sold, as one of the largest offerings of New Zealand dairy land, through PGG Wrightson Real Estate.

PGG Wrightson Real Estate general manager Peter Newbold said the block was made up of nine farms, three of which were dairy farms and six of which could be dairy support properties or dairy conversions. . .

 

Progress For Wool:

Over 100 New Zealand wool industry members gathered in late January to listen to international wool leaders discuss the significant progress being made on a global scale by both the Campaign for Wool and International Wool and Textile Organisation (IWTO).

Peter Ackroyd the President of the International Wool and Textile Organisation (IWTO) and Chief Operating Officer of the Campaign for Wool and Ian Hartley, the Chief Executive of the British Wool Marketing Board shared the stage.

Ackroyd shared the background and benefits of the International Wool and Textile Organisation including internationally recognised procedures which are fundamental to trade and manufacturing, coordinated environmental standards, and standardising environmental “foot printing”. . .

February 2014 – Rabobank Agribusiness Monthly & Rural Economics Monthly:

The Rabobank Agribusiness Monthly provides timely information and analysis on agricultural conditions, commodity price updates and commentary on the latest sectoral trends and developments. In conjunction, the Rural Economics Monthly provides a useful overview of the key macro developments in the local and global economies while also covering specific economic developments relevant to New Zealand and Australian agricultural sectors.

Key highlights
Agribusiness Monthly

• Beef – Strong Chinese demand drives growth in beef exports

• Dairy – Chinese supply issues to drive commodity markets in 2014

• Other costs – Baltic Dry Index weak as global economy takes wrong turn

• Fertilizer – All eyes on demand fundamentals in 2014

• Climate – Mostly normal outlook for New Zealand

• Currency – New Zealand dollar supported by solid economic growth . . .

The full report is here.

Nitrogen management made easy by new farming app:

A next-generation product for nitrogen management on-farm will be launched by the innovative Kiwi start-up company, Regen, at the Southern Field Days in Waimumu beginning this Wednesday the12th of February.

Regen, who successfully launched “ReGen Effluent” are now bringing to market “ReGen Nitrogen” – a powerful yet simple product that assists farmers make real-time decisions about fertiliser application.

“ReGen Nitrogen uses on-farm data such as climate and soil information. It calculates the expected response from nitrogen application on any given day and advises the farmer for or against application and the reasons why. The product calculates the kilograms of dry matter likely to be achieved from each kilogram of nitrogen, given the prevailing climate and soil conditions. It also calculates how many cents per kilogram of dry matter that response rate would equate to,” says Bridgit Hawkins, Chief Executive Officer & Director at Regen. . . .


Rural round-up

January 5, 2014

Dairy farm consent decision delayed – Bridget Railton:

A final decision on whether all new dairy farms will continue to require resource consent has been delayed another month.

Environment Southland’s plan change 13, which required all new dairy farms to obtain a resource consent before becoming operational, will now not be decided until next month.

Environment Southland chairwoman Ali Timms said the decision had been delayed because a key staff member involved in the plan change had become ill.

“It’s better to have some sort of continuity in the process.” . . .

Red meat sector ‘absolute challenge’ – Sally Rae:

Amid challenging times for New Zealand’s red meat industry, there have been changes in the guard at governance level recently at the country’s two largest co-operatives. Silver Fern Farms’ new chairman Rob Hewett speaks to agribusiness reporter Sally Rae about the challenges and opportunities that lie ahead.

Rob Hewett is well aware his new role is going to be an ”absolute challenge”.

Amid decreasing sheep numbers, calls for industry restructuring and his own co-operative’s unprofitability, the new chairman of Silver Fern Farms knows the road ahead is not going to be easy.

But the South Otago farmer is also optimistic about the future and excited to take on such a pivotal role in the industry. . .

Prince William to study agriculture at Cambridge University -

Clearly worried that a 2:1 master’s degree in geography, a three-year career as a helicopter pilot and a great deal of gap year foreign travel might not quite equip him for running the 130,000 acres of land spread across 23 counties that make up the Duchy of Cornwall, Prince William is going back to college.

Almost three centuries after his ancestor George III was nicknamed Farmer George and mocked for his interest in agricultural improvement and his herd of pedigree sheep, William, second in line to the throne and heir to the Duchy, will be heading for Cambridge University next week to become a full-time student of agricultural management. . .

Celebrating wool and the success of a local lad in the industry -

Creating demand for New Zealand wool is his passion. The enormous efforts of a local lad gone global needs to be celebrated, says Philippa Wright, CEO, Wright Wool and active supporter of the Campaign for Wool NZ.

Sitting on a wool chair at Wool House as a part of the recent Campaign for Wool event in London is Central Hawke’s Bay lad, Craig Smith, Business Development Director for International Wool Trader, HDawson. Smithy is son of Mark and Sue Smith, retired 3rd generation Hawke’s Bay farmers now living in Waipawa. . .

Wool outlook upbeat – Cara Jeffery:

CAUTIOUSLY positive seems to be the catchcry among wool industry commentators when it comes to forecasting what 2014 holds for the market.

In 2013, the Australian Wool Exchange Eastern Market Indicator (EMI) started the year at 1111c/kg and spent most the year above the 1000c/kg mark.

It sank to its lowest point in May at 966c/kg, just after it hit its highest point in April at 1145c/kg. . .


Rural round-up

April 4, 2013

Farmers need to agree what they want – Allan Barber:

The recent meeting in Gore, organised by the Meat Industry Excellence Committee and attended by about 1000 farmers, gave an overwhelming mandate for change to the present condition of the meat industry.

Key aspects of the Excellence Committee’s plan are one company controlling 80% of processing and marketing, a change in farmer supply culture, procurement equality and transparency, farmers to fund the restructure with assistance from the banks, and government backing.

This wish list may sound completely logical and comparatively simple, but it contains a number of assumptions, all of them very hard to achieve and some pretty unrealistic. In the first flush of optimism after the meeting Gerry Eckhoff suggested the new structure could be in place by the start of next season in October. That is patently ridiculous because a wish list doesn’t equate to a workable strategy and business plan. . .

Drought saves gold kiwifruit harvest in north:

The drought that has plagued Northland this summer has brought an unexpected reprieve for kiwifruit growers battling the PSA virus.

The dry weather has stopped the spread of the disease and, against all expectation, Northland’s gold kiwifruit harvest is shaping up to be a good one.

Fruitgrowers Federation Northland director Rick Curtis says growers feared the worst when the virulent strain of PSA was reported in several orchards in and around Kerikeri last spring. . .

Federated Farmers promotes Commerce Commission swaps investigation:

Having written to the Commerce Commission last November, Federated Farmers welcomes the Commerce Commission’s update on its investigation into the promotion and sale of interest rate swaps marketed by various banks.

“If farmers have concerns about the mis-selling of swaps then now is the time to raise them with the Commerce Commission,” says Bruce Wills, Federated Farmers President.

“Having broken the $50 billion barrier the rural debt market is large and some of the debt instruments are complicated. There has also been a lot of discussion about swaps so the Commerce Commission is best placed to properly investigate them.

“The Commission is rightly looking at swaps from the perspective of the Fair Trading Act 1986. This includes misleading and deceptive conduct in trade such as false and misleading representations. . .

Forest owners vote yes:

The Forest Voice referendum will deliver a clear yes vote in favour of a commodity levy when final results are released in a few days.

The levy, which will be used to fund activities that benefit all forest owners, was the subject of a referendum that ran from 1-29 March. . .

Campaign for Wool — Wool House in Design Spotlight:

International enthusiasm and accolades endorsed wool in London recently at a Campaign for Wool showcase, Wool House.

Over 15,000 people visted Wool House, a two-week event hosted in Somerset House Wool House presented wool as a modern, versatile, lifestyle fibre. It featured a showcase of interiors, fashion and the world of artisan and craft making, along with a hi-tech educational suite.

Wool House invited leading interior designers to offer their vision and seven individual rooms to show how the design community uses wool extensively within their work. Exclusive room sets from designers Donna Wilson, Ashley Hicks, Josephine Ryan, Anne Kyyro Quinn, Mary Fox Linton of Fox Linton Associates and Kit Kemp featured alongside a wool art installation commissioned by the Campaign from Dutch tapestry artist Claudy Jongstra. . .

Coopers Creek Vineyard joins the fight to save our kauri forests:

The Kauri Dieback (KDB) Programme has formed a marketing alliance with New Zealand vineyard Coopers Creek, in an effort to slow the spread of kauri dieback disease.

Relationship Manager for the KDB Programme, Ian Mitchell says, “We are really excited and pleased to welcome Coopers Creek into the ‘save our kauri forests whānau’. Kauri dieback is a devastating disease. Hundreds of our majestic kauri trees have died and we need all the help we can get to prevent it spreading.

Coopers Creek winery is close to Auckland’s Waitakere Ranges where many patches of the forest have been decimated. “We’re acutely aware of the kauri dieback problem”, says Coopers Creek General Manager, David Nicholas. . .

Global Glassware Masters to Create Wine Glass for Central Otago Pinot Noir:

The Austrian director of the esteemed Riedel Glass Company, Georg J. Riedel has travelled to Queenstown to develop a specialty wine glass for Central Otago Pinot Noir in consultation with a group of New Zealand’s leading wine experts.

More than 20 wine producers and writers, including Master of Wine Bob Campbell, took part in a blind glassware taste test with Georg at Jacks Point, Queenstown on Tuesday 19 March to help Riedel create the perfect glass shape for Central Otago Pinot Noir.

Georg is a 10th generation member of the Riedel dynasty, which is renowned for producing high-quality, wine-friendly stemware which delivers the bouquet, taste, balance and finish of a wine to the senses. . .


Rural round-up

April 3, 2013

Planning: our rural romance mustn’t stop us building homes:

This evening many of us may find escape by watching the first of 42 hours of the BBC’s chronicle of 100 years of rural life, The Village, set in the lushly dramatic countryside of Edale and Hayfield in the Peak District.

A few of us – 165,095, in England and Wales, to be precise – might be doing so in the comfort of a second home, deep in the heart of Cornwall, perhaps, facing rolling green fields with not another dwelling in sight.

Yet, whatever the romantic view of our green and pleasant land, in fact and fiction, in our towns and cities, an all too real crisis of space and homes is already upon us.

As rents rise, mortgages are elusive and home ownership for increasing numbers of young people becomes a distant dream, the refusal to concede so much as an inch of greenfield terrain by organisations such as the National Trust appears less and less reasonable. . .

Focus on rural crime – Jill Galloway:

In a first, crime prevention advocate Crimestoppers is launching a campaign aimed at giving rural communities greater confidence to speak up about suspicious or criminal activity.

It is called “Shut the gate on rural crime”, and is supported by New Zealand rural insurer FMG and New Zealand Post.

Chief executive of Crimestoppers Jude Mannion said there were about 50 calls a day from all around New Zealand – urban and rural areas.

“Things like stock theft are now more professional and organised than they were. And in rural areas there are fewer people and that brings a problem of isolation.” . .

City docs ‘go rural’:

HEALTH Minister Lawrence Springborg’s plan to turn Beaudesert Hospital into a training facility for rural doctors has been given a positive prognosis from young city GPs keen on taking their much-needed medical skills bush.

The urban based doctors were recently at the South East Queensland medical facility for a ‘Go Rural Queensland – a day in the life of a rural doctor’ workshop run by Health Workforce Queensland.

While Beaudesert might only be a one-hour’s drive from Brisbane, the town’s medical services still operate in a rural context that would appear foreign to how services are delivered in the city, according to Health Workforce Queensland CEO Chris Mitchell. . .

Feed dispenser takes top award – Gerald Piddock:

A dispenser that provides dairy cattle with a daily dose of mineral supplements has taken top honours at the South Island Field Days innovation awards.

Called the Conedose, the machine dispenses molasses mixed with mineral supplements to cattle in the dairy shed.

It was designed by Southland-based company Winton Stock Feed and won the class one New Zealand-made farm machinery award at the South Island Field Days at Lincoln.

The Conedose dispensed non-soluble minerals, which other feeders could not do, Winton Stock Feed operations manager Paul Jackson said. . .

Mesh covers could beat TPP – Gerald Piddock:

A simple mesh cover could be the answer to halting one of the country’s most devastating tomato and potato pests.

The covers are being trialled at the Lincoln University Future Farming Centre to see if they stop the tomato potato psyllid (TPP) from invading the plants.

The results so far look extremely promising despite the trials being in their first season, centre head Charles Merfield says. . .

Beef, Lamb & Chelsea: A Recipe For Success:

In an exciting new partnership, Beef + Lamb New Zealand has today announced a partnership with Chelsea Winter, winner of Master Chef New Zealand 2012.

Winter’s recipes will be gracing butchery shelves and supermarket in abundance from this month.

Winter is joining the team as the face of mEAT magazine, Beef + Lamb New Zealand’s free, quarterly guide to beef and lamb.

“This is a really exciting partnership and we have had so much fun developing fresh new recipes to complement the new-look mEAT magazine, which I am sure readers are going to love,” says Winter. . .

Richie Mccaw Visits Fonterra’s Sri Lanka Operations:

Fonterra’s global ambassador Richie McCaw has gained an up-close view of Fonterra in Sri Lanka last week during a two day tour of the Co-operative’s operations in the country.

McCaw said it was great to see first hand how Fonterra was growing its business in the region.

“It’s my first time in Sri Lanka and it made me realise how big Fonterra and Anchor are in the region. You drive through Colombo and see Anchor signs everywhere – it’s amazing that Sri Lankan kids are drinking the same milk that I grew up on in Canterbury.

“You sometimes forget that Fonterra’s got such a global reach. The kids and farmers that I met during the trip all told me that Fonterra and Anchor are a big part of their lives – not only because of the products Fonterra supplies but because the Co-op has become part of the community over the last 35 years,” said McCaw. . .

From here via Campaign for Wool we have tartan sheep:

One of our favourite April Fools Day hoaxes has to be the Tartan Sheep: The London Times ran a photo of "tartan sheep" said to have been bred by Grant Bell of West Barns, East Lothian. However, the Times warned, "Before you complain of being fleeced, check out the baa-code for today's date." http://www.museumofhoaxes.com/hoax/af_database/permalink/tartan_sheep


Rural round-up

February 12, 2013

Are dairy farm workers well paid? – Milking on the Moove:

I often hear dairy farmers say “farm workers work hard, but they are paid well too”

Well are they?

I thought I would look at three scenarios and compare them to a few jobs in town.

They are:
Entry level dairy farm worker 

18 years old
1 years dairy experience
No tertiary qualifications
Is likely to break things/crash things/stuff things and generally do stupid things at any time with no reasonable explanation. . .

Historic Caterpillar tractors to remain in New Zealand:

A collection of 36 rare and historic Caterpillar tractors will stay in New Zealand – thanks to Ben Gough, executive director of Gough Group and his sister, Gina Satterthwaite.

The Canterbury-based brother and sister have secured a deal which will see the machines and associated equipment remain here following the sale in Rotorua of the privately-owned New Zealand Caterpillar Experience.

The Experience has operated for the last seven years, and is well known world-wide as a unique collection of rare machines.

“When the owner, Lindsay Willis, contacted us to see if we were interested in buying the collection, it was too good an opportunity to pass up,” said Ben Gough. . .

Tamariki get farm training on customary land:

A training centre set up to get more tangata whenua into farming has taken on its first students.

Eight people have so far signed up for lessons on a South Taranaki dairy farm owned by Te Rua o Te Moko.

It sits on blocks of customary land in Normanby – collectively controlled by 1100 owners. . .

New Zealand Campaign Signs Two Year Contract with Global Campaign for Wool:

The Campaign for Wool New Zealand has just signed a further two year contract with the global Campaign for Wool.

National Council of New Zealand Wool Interests, who manages the campaign, has endorsed the international plan focused on the concentrated global populations in the Northern Hemisphere, principally in Europe, USA and Asia.

Chairman, Stephen Fookes said, “The patronage of HRH Prince of Wales and other members of the Royal family has provided a huge boost to the aim of creating a wool renaissance globally. We are now starting to see real evidence of increased demand at the consumer end, and this must eventually flow back to wool growers”. . .

New Zealand cheesemakers set to battle for top honours at the tenth NZ Champions of Cheese Awards:

Wheels of cheese are turning, coloured wax is being applied and cheese is being carefully packed for shipping as the country’s finest cheesemakers vie for top honours at the tenth annual NZ Champions of Cheese Awards.

From the smallest artisan cheesemakers producing one cheese a day to the biggest dairy plants exporting cheese globally, New Zealand’s best speciality cheese will take centre stage under one roof later this month.

Marking a ten year milestone this year, the 2013 NZ Champions of Cheese Awards judging will take place at The Langham in Auckland on Sunday 24th February.

With 413 entries from 59 different cheese companies, including six first time entrants and a larger number of smaller artisan companies, this year’s competition may deliver interesting results, organiser of the NZ Champions of Cheese Awards Vikki Lee Goode says. . .

Future of postal services: Rural delivery a lifeline says New Zealand Rural General Practice Network:

The New Zealand Rural General Practice Network agrees with Rural Women New Zealand when it says the special role of the rural delivery service needs to be acknowledged and preserved as far as possible.

The Rural Women NZ Postman pat-on-the-back Awards in 2012 revealed the extent of the social and practical services provided by rural delivery contractors who often deliver groceries, medicines, supplies or spare parts, all of which help farmers, small businesses and families overcome the obstacles of living long distances from town.

The award entries also revealed the very important social role played by rural posties. . .

First finalist named in Northern Regional Final:

Ian Douglas, from the Whangarei Young Farmers Club earned top place at the Northern Regional Final in Whangarei on Saturday 9th February, after a long day at the Barge Park Showgrounds.

Mr Douglas secured his spot at the ANZ Young Farmer Contest Grand Final in Auckland 16 – 18 May and took home the winner’s prize pack valued at $9000 which includes cash components from ANZ and AGMARDT, a Lincoln University Scholarship for an entrepreneurial workshop, quality fertiliser products from Ravensdown, Silver Fern Farms retail products, and a Honda XR125 two-wheeled farm bike.

Prizes for the runners up included cash from ANZ, Ravensdown products, a Honda water pump, and outdoor power equipment from Husqvarna. All entrants have the opportunity to apply for one of seven Lincoln University Study Scholarships worth up to $4000 each. . .


Rural round-up

January 10, 2013

SC man leader at global grain giant – Gerald Piddock:

Forging a career at a desk of the largest privately owned corporation in the United States instead of behind the farmgate is a choice Maurice Hurst has never lamented.

The South Canterbury-born Lincoln graduate oversees the North American grain and oil seed export division for Cargill Incorporated, a company that reported a $1.17 billion in earnings in the 2012 fiscal year ended May 31, 2012.

It is responsible for 25 per cent of all United States grain exports, employing 150,000 people in 66 countries. It has a presence in New Zealand through its Australian arm. . .

Scheme conserves landowner freedom – Richard Rennie:

Minutes from Tauranga, Te Puna farmer Colin Merrin not only farms on the city’s doorstep but also reclaims flora and fauna, aided by a farmer-friendly conservation scheme.

His 240ha property is perched on high hill country north of Tauranga. Rolling back towards the Kaimai Range, it has been identified as a link in a valuable natural corridor between the Bay of Plenty coast, across the range to the Waihou River catchment in Waikato.

The Forest and Bird Kaimai Connection programme aims to integrate this corridor’s biodiversity protection and enhancement alongside private landowners committed to preserving native bush and wildlife in the area. . .

Sentencing should warn of Gisborne rustlers: 

After Police and farmers worked together to bust a major East Coast stock rustling ring last year, Federated Farmers is warning rustlers to find a different line of work in 2013.

“Late last year, two people were convicted of rustling 160 sheep but realistically, that was possibly the tip of an iceberg,” says Hamish Cave, spokesperson for Federated Farmers Gisborne-Wairoa.

“This ring was busted because farmers saw suspicious activity, took down details and called the Police. . .

Farmers asked to fund wool promotion – Tim Fulton:

Members of the global Campaign for Wool are prodding New Zealand to firm up its contribution, just as talk surfaces again of farmers being asked to directly fund wool promotion. Tim Fulton reports.

New Zealand’s representative for the Campaign for Wool, Stephen Fookes, says some of the partners feel this country isn’t getting the best value from its involvement.

While NZ is doing its bit to create awareness of wool, particularly strong fibre, it is not actually showcasing what it produces, he says. . .

New man heads Ravensdown – Ali Tocker:

Fertiliser company Ravensdown has a new chief executive, former Ngai Tahu Holdings head Greg Campbell.

Chairman of the Australasian farmer-owned co-operative, Bill McLeod, said Campbell brought significant international experience as a chief executive, and company director experience including with PGG Wrightson.

Campbell, who was chief executive at Ngai Tahu, replaces long-serving Ravensdown chief executive Rodney Green. . .

RECORDS TUMBLE IN 2013 DAIRY AWARDS:

The 2013 New Zealand Dairy Industry Awards will be the biggest and best yet, with a record 566 entries received, up from the previous best of 525.

“We are just so rapt with the response and at the level of competition that will take place to determine the winners,” national convenor Chris Keeping says.

A total of 144 entries were received in the New Zealand Sharemilker/Equity Farmer of the Year competition, 171 entrants will compete for the New Zealand Farm Manager of the Year title and 251 entries were received in the New Zealand Dairy Trainee of the Year contest. . .


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