Rural round-up

September 25, 2014

ECan commissioner vents spleen at nutrient meeting -

Environment Canterbury commissioner David Bedford lost his cool at a packed zone committee meeting in North Canterbury.

Trying to resume the meeting after a short tea break, Bedford used several expletives suggesting he was sick of farmers who turned up to meetings for just a short time.

His outburst reflected the often tense tone of the meeting, which drew several hundred dryland sheep-and-beef farmers to the small Waikari hall.

They came to express their concern at nutrient regulations that would leave many low-emitting dryland sheep-and-beef farmers unable to increase their lambing percentage, plant a stand of Lucerne, or grow an extra feed crop. . .

Agri-food opportunities in China – Keith Woodford:

Over the last two years I have written, together with my colleague Xiaomeng (Sharon) Lucock,  a series of six articles on various aspects of China’s  agri-food industries. They have been published in the Journal Primary Industry Management, which is the quarterly journal of the New Zealand Institute of Primary Industry Management.

The first article, attached at the bottom of this post, was written in late 2012.

Some things have moved on since then – for example we reported in that article that New Zealand’s exports to China in the year ending 30 June 2012 were $NZ6.1 billion, which was a three-fold increase in only five years. In the two years since then to 30 June 2014 they have almost doubled again to $NZ11.6 billion. However, the key drivers of change as we set out in that article remain the same.

These key drivers are increasing wealth, urbanisation, changing cuisine, food safety, agricultural production constraints, and associated food security issues. . .

Sheep meat in China and the opportunities for NZ – Keith Woodford:

This is the second of the “China series’  that Xiaomeng (Sharon) Lucock and I wrote for the journal  ‘Primary Industry Management’. It was written in December 2012 and published in March 2013.

As with everything relating to China, the statistics do not stand still.  In the year ending December 2012, 13% of New Zealand’s sheep meat exports income came from China. Move forward six months, and in the 12 months ending June 2013 this had risen to 21%. Then in the 12 months to June 2014 it rose again to 30%.  On a monthly basis, the latest statistics for March 2014 show the China component of New Zealand’s sheep meat trade was 31% by value and 44% by volume. . . .

Doing Agri-business in China – Keith Woodford:

This is the third of a series of six papers written for the journal ‘Primary Industry Management’. This one was published in June 2013.

For this paper we had three authors: Xiaomeng (Sharon) Lucock, Malcolm Cone and myself. The work was led by Sharon and formed the first part of her PhD studies.  It is based on case study work undertaken with New Zealand firms operating in China.

The focus of the work has been on cultural differences and how they affect business practices and relationships. About half the interviews were with Kiwis and undertaken in English. The other half were with Chinese and mainly undertaken in the Chinese language. . . .

Venison finishing margin better – Joanna Grigg:

Daniel Stack puts it bluntly.

“If venison prices are the same as last year venison farming will struggle to be both sustainable and competitive with alternative land uses, like dairy grazing.”

That said, he is poised to increase deer numbers if things come right. The Canterbury Plains venison finisher and dairy grazer hopes that indications from some venison exporters of the October schedule peak reaching $8/kilogram (kg) for 55 to 60kg AP stags will bear out. This would put returns at a level seen in 2012, when the average published schedule peak was $7.95/kg. It is also up on the past season’s $7.40/kg peak.

Stack said that to increase the number of deer weaners bought in, back to his typical 500 a year, he would need to see the schedule price at eight dollars. . .

 Take a long, hard look at your farming systems:

Industry body DairyNZ says the latest drop in Fonterra’s forecast Farmgate Milk Price for the 2014/15 season is a signal to farmers to reassess the costs of their farm system.

Fonterra Co-operative Group Limited today reduced its forecast Farmgate Milk Price for the 2014/15 season from $6.00 to $5.30 per kg milksolids (kgMS). It also increased and widened the estimated dividend range from 20-25 cents per share to 25-35 cents – amounting to a forecast Cash Payout of $5.55-$5.65 for the current season.

DairyNZ’s general manager of research and development, David McCall, says most farmers should cope with lower prices this season, provided another drought doesn’t hit the country. However, around a quarter of the country’s farmers, those with a lot of debt, may have difficulty meeting their farm working expenses and interest payments. . . .

 Cattle and dairy lead rise in exports:

Goods exports rose $227 million in August 2014 compared with August 2013, to $3.5 billion, Statistics New Zealand said today.

Live animals led the rise in exports, due to live cattle. Milk powder, butter, and cheese exports also contributed to the increase, led by higher quantities. The 16-percent rise in milk powder, butter, and cheese was led by milk fat and cheese.

“Cattle, milk fat, and cheese contributed to the rise in exports,” international statistics manager Jason Attewell said. “It is the first time in three years that a rise in dairy was not led by milk powder.” . . .

Award winner becomes Dairy Women’s Network Chair:

Dairy Women’s Network has appointed one of its past Dairy Woman of the Year winners as incoming chair.

Incumbent network chair Michelle Wilson has announced 2013 Dairy Woman of the Year winner Justine Kidd as the organisation’s new chair; a role she will assume following the organisation’s annual general meeting on 22 October.

“It is a credit to the Dairy Women’s Network board to have a person with Justine’s knowledge of agriculture and governance experience at the helm,” said Wilson.

“As outgoing chair I take a lot of comfort in knowing that the organisation will continue to grow from strength to strength with strong leadership at the board table.” . .


Rural round-up

December 3, 2013

Environmental analysis role exciting  – Sally Rae:

Mark Crawford is excited about his new role as a Ravensdown environmental consultant.

The fertiliser company has launched an environmental analysis and planning service, in the wake of increasing demands on farmers to meet environmental standards and regional regulatory requirements.

The adoption of stricter nutrient management regulations was being led by the Horizons Regional Council in the lower North Island, with Otago and Canterbury also nearing completion of recent plan changes. . .

Top of the south for Farmax consultancy - Sally Rae:

Simon Glennie reckons he does his farming vicariously through his clients.

Mr Glennie, a consultant at Dunedin-based AbacusBio, has been named South Island Farmax consultant of the year.

The inaugural awards honoured the top North and South Island consultants who used the farm support software. . .

Dairying women learn to ‘dig deep’ through good and bad at annual conference:

Hundreds of women who work in the dairy industry will be tackling some of the big issues that affect today’s farmers including how to reach and sustain a level of performance that matches medal winning athletics and world champion sports teams when they get together at the Dairy Women’s Network annual conference in March 2014.

The line-up of high calibre keynote speakers includes Hamilton sports psychologist David Galbraith who has worked with the Chiefs rugby team, Magic netball team and Olympic silver medal winner Sarah Walker.

The two-day conference at Hamilton’s Claudelands Event Centre, starting on 19 March 2014, is themed ‘Keeping your finger on the pulse’. . .

Otago link highlighted in Fonterra book - Sally Rae:

Think Park Beede and basketball immediately springs to mind.

Dr Beede was heavily involved with the sport in Otago and coached the Otago Nuggets.

What is not so well known is that he was tasked with coming up with a name for the new dairy company that was to become Fonterra.

The story of the creation of the name – and the Otago connection – is highlighted in the new book Till the Cows Came Home by Wellington journalist and former Southland Times editor Clive Lind. . .

Farmers urged to plan ahead to prevent game bird crop damage

With the start of summer, farmers are starting to see large groups of paradise shelducks moving into their newly-planted crops or onto their irrigation lakes.

Fish & Game Northland says if farmers plan ahead, they can reduce the damage done by these flocks of ‘parries.’

“We encourage farmers to place bird-scaring equipment out before their grasses or crops emerge,” Fish & Game officer Nathan Burkepile says.

“And farmers with paradise shelduck problems on irrigation lakes should start scaring the birds off these lakes before the birds start moulting in January.” . . .

At least one dairy farmer won’t mind the summer heat – Milk Maid Marian:

Wayne has a reputation for getting stuck and he’s outdone himself this year by bogging a quad bike on the first day of summer. Worse, he left his helmet at the scene of the crime and by the time the kids and I came to the rescue, his gear had been given a beating by the local hoons.

Cows may be vegetarians but don’t for a minute think that this in itself bestows innocence. They are merciless with unattended vehicles. This time the helmet, fuel breather line and rubber boot for the brake assembly were squelched deep into the quagmire but I’ve seen much worse. . . .


Rural round-up

November 3, 2013

Reputation is everything says Synlait Milk – Tim Cronshaw:

Synlait Milk says it is doing all it can to prevent a food scare ever happening like Fonterra’s close shave.

The listed Canterbury milk products processor and exporter, backed by China’s Bright Dairy & Food, has managed to avoid incidents such as Fonterra’s botulism scare in whey protein concentrate, which proved to be a false alarm, and other traces of foreign material found in the milk processing industry.

Manufacturing general manager Neil Betteridge said a company’s reputation was everything in the food industry and there was no room for error in milk processing. . . .

Massey looks at cow barn potential:

MASSEY UNIVERSITY is testing a barn farm system with potential for improved productivity and better water quality on dairy farms.

Professor Mike Hedley, who leads the research at Massey, discussed the work recently with local farmers at the newly-built free stall barn.

The common practice of standing cows off pasture to reduce winter treading damage to pastures during wet soil conditions can also reduce losses of nutrients in surface runoff and drainage, he says. Loss of nitrogen to water is reduced if paddock urine patch load can be transferred to the standoff facility, such as a freestall barn, at critical times of the year. . . .

Getting people to drink more milk:

FLUID MILK CONSUMPTION is declining throughout the world while cheese and yoghurt consumption is up, the World Dairy Summit in Yokohama heard.

International Dairy Federation Japan chapter president Kenichi Unno says since 1960’s in traditionally milk-drinking countries in Europe, North America and Oceania, and since 1990’s in Japan, fluid milk consumption has been declining. Unno says cheese and yogurt consumption is increasing so milk and dairy products as a whole are still increasingly consumed. . .

Minister to meet formula firms over botulism scare:

Foreign Affairs minister Murray McCully plans to meet with small manufacturers of infant formula who feel they have been given little support to help them recover from Fonterra’s botulism scare.

The threat of botulism in whey protein sparked product recalls around the world but turned out to be a false alarm.

The New Zealand Infant Formula Exporters Association says even though many of its members do not use Fonterra whey protein, their connection to New Zealand meant their products were taken off the shelves in their biggest market, China. . .

MyFarm share trading kicks off – Greg Ninness:

Farm syndication and management company MyFarm launched its new farm share trading facility MyFarm Trading (www.mfx.co.nz) on the Unlisted share trading platform on Friday, which will allow small investors to invest in the dairy sector.

The new facility will allow people to buy and sell shares in what are being called Collective Investment Vehicles (CIVs), companies that invest directly in specified dairy farms.

The new facility will open up farm investment to a much broader range of people by reducing te amount of money they they need to be able to buy into a farm. . .

Enough is enough for Coast farmers – Tim Cronshaw:

As Canterbury is being barraged by strong northwest winds across the Southern Alps farmers are dealing with heavy rain on the West Coast and the worst flooding around paddocks near Lake Brunner is over the fenceposts.

Flooding crept over the road earlier this week at Aratika farmland beside the Arnold River and farmers hope the rain will keep at bay long enough so they can avoid a repeat of the wet 1998 season.

Since the big September windstorm in Canterbury, dairy farmers around Rotomanu and Inchbonnie have received one metre of rain. . .

Dairy women nominations close soon:

WOMEN WORKING in the dairy industry are being urged to get their nominations in for the 2014 Dairy Woman of the Year award, which closes for entry on November 15, 2013.

Sponsored by Fonterra, the prestigious award includes the chance to attend the year-long Women in Leadership programme valued at $25,000 and delivered by Global Women.

Dairy Women’s Network executive chair Michelle Wilson says the Dairy Woman of the Year award celebrates and advances women who are making a real difference in the dairy industry, in their dairying businesses and in their communities. . .


Rural round-up

October 25, 2013

Meat quality in restaurants constantly improving – Allan Barber:

The quality of domestic red meat supply both to the retail and catering trade has improved out of sight in the last 20 years because of stricter food regulations and the introduction of the Quality Mark. It has moved up another notch over the last five years or so, particularly since the global financial crisis.

Back in the 1980s and early 90s the term ‘export quality’ was supposed to provide a guarantee of excellence as distinct from meat destined only for the domestic market which was considered to be of inferior quality. That has all changed because today almost all meat plants are export licensed regardless of whether they mainly supply the export or domestic market. Food safety regulations are much stricter than they used to be and all meat processors must comply with stringent hygiene and health requirements, audited by vets employed by the Ministry for Primary Industries. . .

MIA gives honest assessment of industry’s challenges – Allan Barber:

The Meat Industry Association has recently published its 2013 Annual Report which contains an honest assessment of the challenges of the past year and a summary of the positive initiatives under way.

The 2012/13 year took place against a background of unsatisfactory farmer returns and heavy losses by processors during the previous season. Although the total value of exports actually increased compared to the previous year, this was mostly because of drought-induced slaughter volumes. This of course will have a depressing effect on future sheep and beef numbers.

The report acknowledges the volatility inherent in the meat industry and highlights a number of factors which influence this, including weather conditions, their impact on timing of supply and production numbers, mismatch between supply of livestock and sale of product, uncertainty of supply and market returns, competition from cheaper proteins, changing marketing environment, New Zealand’s small global scale, and the need to sell the whole carcase at a profit. . .

Dairy Women’s Network growth continues:

The growth of the Dairy Women’s Network continues with another 900 women joining the organisation between 1 June 2012 and 31 May 2013, increasing its total membership from 3100 to 4000.

At its annual general meeting tonight (Wednesday, 23 October) Dairy Women’s Network Trust Board chair Michelle Wilson said alongside its membership growth, the year had been an exceptionally busy one with several highlights including being a key partner in developing the Strategy for Sustainable Dairy Farming, securing a $180K grant from the Sustainable Farming Fund to develop Project Pathfinder – the country’s first leadership programme for dairying women, and welcoming Ballance Agri-Nutrients as a major sponsorship partner.

Like all businesses she added there were also challenges. . .

Lucerne text messaging service passes 500 subscriber milestone:

More than 500 people are now subscribed to Beef + Lamb New Zealand’s lucerne text messaging service – getting free real-time updates on how to get the best from this drought-tolerant pasture.

The collaboration between B+LNZ and Lincoln University was initiated early last year. It is facilitated by plant science specialist Professor Derrick Moot.

B+LNZ chief executive, Dr Scott Champion says: “The text messaging service is a way for farmers, whether they’re new or experienced with lucerne, to get tips and tricks delivered straight to them in a way that’s easy to use.”

All public texts are also posted to Twitter, so people can go back any time and look through the library of lucerne information. . . .

Time almost up in hunt for top rural consultants:

Time is running out for rural professionals to enter the inaugural Farmax Consultant of the Year Awards.

Award nominations close on November 1.

Top North and South Island rural consultants who use Farmax pastoral farm support software will be named in the awards, boasting an approximate $5000 prize pool. . .

Chinese experts judge Marisco wines best with Chinese food:

Marisco Vineyards wins two trophies at Hong Kong International Wine & Spirit Competition

Marlborough winery Marisco Vineyards has been awarded two prestigious trophies for the wines best matched with two iconic Chinese dishes—Cantonese Dim Sum and Braised Abalone (Paua)—at the Cathay Pacific Hong Kong International Wine & Spirit Competition.

The Ned Pinot Gris 2013 won the trophy for the best Cantonese Dim Sum match because it pairs equally well with steamed, deep-fried and stewed savoury items from the traditional dim sum trolley. The King’s Bastard Chardonnay 2012 won the best Braised Abalone match for its resolved tannins, complexity and concentration of flavour. . . .

Farmer Brown Gets Cracking With Colony Eggs:

Kiwis nationwide now have a greater choice of welfare-friendly, affordable eggs with the launch of Farmer Brown Colony laid eggs in supermarkets this week.

Farmer Brown is the first egg producer in New Zealand to offer Colony laid eggs to New Zealand shoppers throughout the country. At the same time, the company has also launched a Free Range option to provide consumers with access to a full range of quality eggs.

Colony is an improved caged housing system which gives hens more space and increased ability to behave naturally and do the things hens love to do – nesting, scratching, perching and stretching their wings. It has been scientifically evaluated by New Zealand’s National Animal Welfare Advisory Committee (NAWAC), as meeting the requirements of the Animal Welfare Act along with Barn and Free Range systems. . .


Rural round-up

September 24, 2013

Fears of ‘erosion of capacity’ in agri-science :

Unless the ”erosion of capacity” in agri-science is halted and quickly reversed, New Zealand will remain a preferred supplier of low-tier food commodities and additives.

That is the message from Frank Griffin, who is concerned about the direction of the sector, including the proposed restructuring of AgResearch which would see the Invermay research centre reduced.

For more than three decades, Prof Griffin has led a University of Otago-based research team devoted to solving animal health problems in the deer industry. . .

Nominations open for third annual Dairy Woman of the Year:

The Dairy Women’s Network and Fonterra announced today that nominations open for the 2014 Dairy Woman of the Year on 1 October.

In its third year, the Award provides the winner with a position on the prestigious Women in Leadership Programme run by Global Women, valued at $25,000. The scholarship is sponsored by Fonterra Milk Supply.

The call for 2014 nominations comes on the heels of Barbara Kuriger’s 19 September graduation from the Global Women programme. Barbara was the inaugural winner of the Award in 2012. . .

Synlait Milk posts $11.5 million NPAT for FY2013:

Synlait Milk posted an $11.5 million net profit after tax for the year ending 31 July 2013, an increase of $7.1 million on FY2012 and ahead of its prospective financial information (“PFI”) forecast of $10.8 million.

The Company had revenue of $420 million in FY2013, an increase of 11.5% compared to $377 for FY2012 driven largely by increased sales volumes.

Synlait Milk Managing Director Dr John Penno said the Company made positive steps forward in all areas of its business relative to FY2012. . . .

Crown Irrigation appoints chief executive:

The newly formed Crown Irrigation Investments Limited (Crown Irrigation) has selected a proven investment professional, Murray Gribben, as its first chief executive.

Chair Alison Paterson said “Murray will bring to the role a strong combination of investment experience and working knowledge of the primary sector”.

Crown Irrigation has been established to help harness the potential of irrigation to accelerate New Zealand’s economic development by making targeted, bridging investments in larger, regional scale irrigation schemes. The Government has signaled its willingness to invest up to $400 million. . .

Excitement hosting World Alpaca Expo :

Kaiapoi alpaca breeder Kit Johnson is looking forward to opening the World Alpaca Expo and Conference in Hamilton this weekend.

”We have been waiting for this for a long time, since we got chosen back in 2007. This is the big event and we probably won’t get it for another 20 years,” the Alpacas Association of New Zealand president said.

”As the host president, I get to speak at the opening of the expo and the closing of the conference. The rest of the time I will be showing my animals and fleeces.”

Mr Johnson said there were 50 delegates coming from Australia and other delegates from the Netherlands, Germany, Sweden, Norway, Hungary, the United Kingdom and Canada. . .

Better beef genetics in dairy beef supply chain a win-win

Early results from research are showing clear advantage with the use of better beef genetics for dairy beef.

Two-thirds of New Zealand’s beef production originates from the dairy industry, yet despite this, few dairy farms use beef bulls of known genetics.

The five year Beef + Lamb New Zealand Dairy Beef Integration Programme is looking at the impact of using good beef genetics in a dairy beef supply chain. 

“The use of beef sires with high estimated breeding values (EBVs) for calving ease, growth and carcass characteristics on dairy farms is not commonplace, but will produce surplus calves of higher value to dairy farmers, beef finishers and beef processors,” says AgResearch scientist and project leader Dr Vicki Burggraaf.  . .

Farmax, Cashmanager Rural integration provides return to farmers:

A new partnership between leading farm management software providers Farmax and Cashmanager Rural has given sheep and beef farmers the ability to share data quickly and easily between the two programs.

The integration eliminates the need for double-entry of livestock information, saving farmers time and providing greater data accuracy.

The first phase of integration is already in place for sheep and beef farmers, giving them the ability to import livestock sales and purchase transactions from Cashmanager Rural into Farmax, meaning users of both systems only have to enter the data once.  The companies will launch a second integration in the future, allowing farmers to share physical farm management data. . .

Kiwi First Hits Garden Centres This Week:

The  incredible edibles® POTATO TOM™ will be released to garden centres early this week. A Kiwi first and potentially a world first at a commercial level, the new concept by incredible edibles® brings a grafted tomato and potato together in one plant. This is the first time at a commercial level anyone has delivered this concept to home gardeners in New Zealand. Andrew Boylan General Manager of Tharfield Nursery who produces and markets the POTATO TOM™ says “The POTATO TOM™ has gone viral, we can’t believe the response.  The phones have been running hot with garden centres throughout New Zealand vying to get hold of this new and exciting concept”. . .

Chardonnay makes a comeback as a must-have win:

This year, with 65% of all entries in the Chardonnay category of the New World Wine Awards winning a medal and Spy Valley’s 2012 Chardonnay taking out the title of Champion White Wine, the varietal is back as a must-have for wine lovers.

With a record number of entries, including more than 100 wines from the eagerly anticipated 2013 vintage, the highest number of medals ever was awarded overall this year.

“White wine varietals performed particularly strongly at this year’s awards with around 60% of all Sauvignon Blanc, Viognier, Pinot Gris, Gewurztraminer, Sparkling and sweet wines entered winning a medal. For the second year in a row, Chardonnay has scooped the Champion White Wine trophy which reflects the international resurgence in Chardonnay’s popularity,” says Jim Harré, Chairman of the judging panel. . .


Rural round-up

July 14, 2013

Global forces need smart response – Sally Brooker:

New Zealand dairy farmers and milk processors need robust business structures to withstand market movements, Hayley Moynihan says.

Delivering a keynote address at the South Island Dairy Event in Lincoln on June 24, the Rabobank food and agribusiness research and advisory senior dairy analyst said milk price volatility was not going away. We needed to aspire to where there was opportunity to enter more lucrative markets.

Rising consumer expectations were presenting a continuing challenge, Ms Moynihan said.  . . .

Waikato farmers set the record for Agrecovery:

Federated Farmers is applauding the way Waikato farmers have embraced Agrecovery rural recycling. A record six tonne of hazardous horticultural, agricultural and veterinary chemicals was collected during the Waikato regional collection, finishing last week.

“Farmers are choosing to dispose of their chemical waste responsibly due to the convenience of the service,” says James Houghton, Federated Farmers’ Waikato provincial president.

“It is great to see increasing numbers of farmers using Agrecovery. It is another example of farmers changing their behaviour and working for the good of the environment without the need for legislation. . .

Warm, wet weather inhibits rabbits - Ruth Grundy:

Wet and warm springs and summers are keeping rabbit numbers down across Canterbury.

Environment Canterbury biosecurity team leader Brent Glentworth said for the past two seasons warm, wet weather during the first rabbit breeding cycle had been largely responsible for keeping the population in check.

Young rabbits had a low survival rate in those conditions because they succumbed to pneumonia or coccidiosis – a liver disease ”very prevalent” in warm, wet weather, Mr Glentworth said. . .

Mounting cost to irrigation schemes – Ruth Grndy:

Irrigation companies in the Waitaki river catchment are facing significant clean up bills after last month’s flooding damaged irrigation schemes.

Waitaki residents say the rain and flooding from the storm which lashed the country was the worst seen in decades.

The Danseys Pass bridge was destroyed after about 160mm of rain fell in the space of three days.

Maerewhenua District Water Resource Company chairman Kelvin Weir said the scheme had been ”very lucky” and ”survived pretty well” considering the amount of rain and high river flow. . . .

Irrigation extending potato, onion output - Ruth Grundy:

Easier access to water in Canterbury is not only fuelling dairying production but also a significant growth in the production of potatoes and onions.

The 2012 agricultural production census, conducted by the Department of Statistics, shows the Canterbury potato harvest accounted for half the national harvested area in June 2012.

And, the land put into onions increased from 690ha in June 2007 to 1040ha in June 2012 – about a 50% increase. . .

New ASB sponsorship will improve financial literacy of dairying women:

ASB has confirmed it is a new gold sponsor of the Dairy Women’s Network (DWN). The partnership, which took effect on 1 July, will boost the work already being done by the DWN to improve the financial literacy skills of the country’s dairy farming women.

DairyNZ modelling shows there is an opportunity to improve the industry’s profitability by more than $1B per year, or approximately $1000 per hectare, by improving financial literacy and management capabilities.

The industry body has also identified there is a significant range in profitability between dairy farmers, with a contributing factor being management capability. . .


Rural round-up

June 24, 2013

Stock rescue mission – Rosie Manins:

A massive rescue operation is under way in Otago’s high country, where thousands of sheep and cattle are stranded in thick snow cover.

Volunteers are needed to help farmers access and feed stock on about 40 stations above 500m throughout the region.

Otago’s high country farms are among the worst-hit in the South Island.

Up to one metre of snow has isolated sheep and cattle and prevented farmers from surveying the damage, so it is too soon to know the extent of stock losses. . .

NZ Merino excited by Japanese contract – Sally Rae:

The signing of $2.5 million worth of New Zealand Merino contracts by Japanese brand Nikke has been heralded as a significant deal.

The New Zealand Merino Company (NZM) and its fine wool growers have a 17-year relationship with the Japanese manufacturer of wool textiles.

NZM described the deal, signed in Osaka, as marking an ”exciting new era” in the partnership. Contracts were concluded for 132 tonnes of 14.3, 15.3, 16.3, 17.3, 19.5 and 21.5 micron, at prices ”significantly superior” to today’s market. . .

Innovation took merino to world – Tim Cronshaw:

Some of the best advice Icebreaker co-founder Brian Brakenridge gives to people with new business ideas is not to be afraid of being a non-conformist.

He and his wife, Fiona, were running merinos at Pohuenui Island in the Marlborough Sounds when they founded the merino outdoor garment business before the entry of “marketing guru” Jeremy Moon.

Brakenridge admits he sometimes feels uncomfortable being called the founder of the business, as Moon took it to its great heights. . .

Rural contractors take big hit from drought – Carmen Hall:

Western Bay of Plenty rural contractors lost as much as 50 per cent of their business because of the drought.

Hardest hit were hay, silage and cropping companies, which say most of their work was wiped out because of poor grass-growing conditions.

Bradstreet Contractors owner Peter Bradstreet says his workload is down 45 to 50 per cent and it is possibly the worst drought since the business began 35 years ago. “It has been particularly bad because the grass just didn’t grow.

“We’d get a little bit of rain but it would stop just when growing conditions looked good again … it was the longevity of the dry spell that did the damage.” . . .

 

Farmers add meat to debate on behaviour -David Burt:

Federated Farmers’ meat and fibre executive asked its members in April to participate in an online survey about farmer behaviour.

The aim was to gather information that would help the executive understand the drivers underpinning stock selling and related behaviours, which are thought to be one of the issues holding back the sector. The response from members was gratifying, with nearly 900 members participating.

A full analysis of the results is under way and will be presented to members at the Meat & Fibre Conference in Ashburton on July 3 and 4. . .

Double the support for Dairy Women’s Network:

Long-standing Dairy Women’s Network member Cathie Cotter has been appointed to a new role as convener co-ordinator for the South Island.

The network was boosting its support of dairying women throughout the country through two new roles which would help its regional groups increase memberships, increase local training opportunities and identify and support emerging leaders, executive chairwoman Michelle Wilson said. . .

 


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