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. . .

 


Rural round-up

May 29, 2013

Farms’ history recognised - Helena de Reus:

Long-term farmers were praised for their resilience and hard work, at the New Zealand Century Farm and Station Awards in Lawrence on Saturday.

Guest speaker Primary Industries Minister Nathan Guy said his dairy farm at Levin had been in the family for 80 years, and he hoped to return to Lawrence in 20 years to receive a century farm award.

”Our country isn’t that old, and history is important. Tonight is an opportunity to look back at our pioneer farmers.”

The resilience of farming communities and family was on display at the awards, he said. . .

Federated Farmers’ youngest provincial president elected this year:

Federated Farmers Hawke’s Bay has elected 36-year old Will Foley as its new Hawke’s Bay provincial president, replacing Bruce Wills, who will now focus on his role as National President. Will Foley is the youngest provincial president elected in Federated Farmers’ class of 2013.

“I must pay tribute to Bruce Wills, who has positively led Federated Farmers in the Hawke’s Bay,” says Will Foley, Federated Farmers Hawke’s Bay provincial president.

“I guess my election means Bruce will be able to focus on his national role. After being elected Bruce quipped about me, “he is about half my age and with a lot more hair”.

“As a sheep and beef farmer in Waipukurau, you can say I have a strong interest in water given the effect of the current drought has had upon us. . .

It’s time to move – James Houghton:

They say moving house is one of life’s most stressful events, but for sharemilkers it can be an annual occurrence. Not only do they pack up their homes; they move hundreds of animals and farm equipment.

May 31 and/or June 1 are often called “Gypsy Day”, but actually, it is a chaotic week as moving sharemilkers get everything ready to go to a new farm, which could be down the road or in a different part of the country.

Anyone on the move this weekend needs to keep in mind the need to keep stock off greenfeed before transporting to lessen the chance of spilling effluent on the roads, a potential hazard for other motorists and environmental pollutant. . .

Ballance Agri-Nutrients to sponsor Dairy Women’s Network:

Fertiliser company Ballance Agri-Nutrients has confirmed it will be the new prime sponsor of the Dairy Women’s Network from 1 June 2013. The new partnership will significantly boost the Network’s ability to provide more opportunities for dairy farming women to improve their skills and leadership in the business of dairying.

Ballance general manager agro-science and marketing, Liz Muller, said that in farm ownership and partnerships, women are involved in many of the key business decisions.

“It is often women who take the lead role in areas such as farm finances, staff management, animal welfare, safety and on-farm compliance, yet they are under-represented on farmer co-operative boards of directors and industry agencies. Ballance is taking an active role in helping dairying women develop their leadership skills by supporting organisations such as the Dairy Women’s Network, which is focused on developing female leaders. We want to see more women in influential roles contributing to the success and direction of the industry.” . . .

Launch of Seafood New Zealand at Parliament:

New Zealand’s seafood industry body, Seafood New Zealand, will be officially launched at a function, hosted by the Minister for Primary Industries, at Parliament tonight.

“Seafood New Zealand was set up late last year to be more responsive to market and industry changes, following significant consultation with wider industry,” says Eric Barratt, Chair of Seafood New Zealand.

“Less than ten years ago our main export market was the US. Today the focus is on China and north Asian markets that are growing much faster, with the other markets relatively stable. . . .

Children’s Honey From NZ Becoming a Global Success Story:

New Zealand’s oldest honey brand says parents across the world are recognising the health and quality benefits of feeding New Zealand honey to their children.

According to Airborne Honey, New Zealand’s oldest and most trusted honey brand, and one of the country’s largest honey exporters, children’s honey products are becoming increasingly popular both in New Zealand and further afield.

John Smart, Airborne Honey Sales and Marketing Manager, explains that this is largely due to improved education around the health benefits of honey, as well as international confidence in the safety and quality of honey produced in New Zealand. . .


Rural round-up

May 2, 2013

Environment matters at station -

Environmental protection is part of the ethos of farming at Orari Gorge Station.

It has been passed down through the generations of farmers and remains as important as it was when the land north of Geraldine was first settled in 1856.

Areas of the station are deliberately fenced off and animal and plant pest control programmes are regularly carried out through the generations of stewardship at the station.

That care was recognised by Deer Industry New Zealand in October last year when owners Graham, Rosa and Robert Peacock won the National Deer Industry Environmental Award for outstanding stewardship. . .

Townies can make it in dairying too – Gerald Piddock:

Canterbury-North Otago dairy trainee of the year winner Adam Caldwell is proof that townies too can succeed in the dairy industry.

Born and raised in Auckland, the 23-year-old works as a herd manager for the region’s farm manager of the year winner, Richard Pearse.

He sees himself as an example for other young people with an urban background that want to break into the dairy industry to follow.

“For me it’s the opportunity to be a role model for other Auckland kids, or city kids who might want to go dairy farming,” he said at a field day for the farm manager of the year. . .

Sharemilking goal closer – Gerald Piddock:

Smart informed financial decision-making has put Canterbury-North Otago farm manager of the year Richard Pearse on track to reach his goal of sharemilking by 2015.

He and partner Susan Geddes have saved $220,000 in equity over the past five years and aim to build this to $500,000 over the next two years.

They are debt-free and live off Susan’s income as a vet to pay for any living expenses.

Richard’s wage off the farm is put into an account that he cannot access. Once they made that decision, their projected equity has quickly increased. . .

Dairy women’s leadership programme will be industry first:

The Dairy Women’s Network will develop the country’s first leadership programme specifically for women working in the dairy industry using a $180,000 grant from the Ministry of Primary Industries’ Sustainable Farming Fund.

Dairy Women’s Network chair Michelle Wilson said the organisation was thrilled to receive the funding for the three-year project, and was looking forward to working with partners AgResearch and DairyNZ to continue developing the leadership capacity of New Zealand’s dairy farming women.

“Women make up 50 per cent of the dairy industry. The risks presented to the industry through economic, environmental and social volatility highlight the need for strong leadership and skills that provide dairying women with the confidence to effect change,” said Mrs Wilson. . .

DairyNZ welcomes funding to develop future leaders

DairyNZ congratulates the Dairy Women’s Network on its successful bid for government funding.

The Associate Minister for Primary Industries, Jo Goodhew, recently announced that a Sustainable Farming Fund grant of $180,000 had been approved for the network’s Project Pathfinder leadership programme.

As a partner of the network, DairyNZ is looking forward to supporting the organisation as it develops future leaders.

DairyNZ strategy and investment portfolio manager Dr Jenny Jago says strong leadership is needed as the dairy industry is faced with more complex issues and significant challenges.

“Women already make a very important contribution to the industry and increasing their leadership skills will allow them to make an even greater contribution that will be highly valued by the dairy industry and the wider community,” says Dr Jago. . .

Kiwi horticulturists honoured in UK:

New Zealanders Keith Hammett and Peter Ramsay have been honoured by Britain’s Royal Horticultural Society, one of the world’s leading horticultural organisations.

West Auckland dahlia breeder Hammett was among those awarded the Veitch Memorial Medal for outstanding contribution to the advancement of science, art or the practice of horticulture.

Waikato horticulturalist Ramsay, this year’s winner of the Peter Barr Cup, was honoured for his contribution to the advancement and enjoyment of daffodils.

It was the second New Zealand win in two years, after John Hunter, of Nelson, took it out in 2012, also for his work with daffodils.

Ramsay is the sixth Kiwi to be awarded the cup since its inception in 1912. . .


Rural round-up

April 19, 2013

New Zealander joins World Farmers Organisation board:

Federated Farmers President, Bruce Wills, has been appointed to the World Farmers Organisation Board as its Oceania representative. This assures New Zealand a key voice on the peak body representing farmer organisations from over 50 countries.

“It has been a superb General-Assembly in Japan,” says Bruce Wills, Federated Farmers President, speaking from Niigata, Japan.

“Federated Farmers has helped to broker a breakthrough trade policy for the World Farmers Organisation. I need to acknowledge the high level policy work involving not only Federated Farmers’ staff but kindred organisations too. . .

Cracks appear between farmer groups – Allan Barber:

It hasn’t taken long for the cracks to appear in the ‘united farmers for change’ movement started by the Meat Industry Excellence group which held its first meeting in Gore a couple of weeks ago with a resoundingly successful response.

The next meeting organised by MIE will be held in Christchurch this Friday, but without Gerry Eckhoff who chaired the Gore meeting but has resigned over a disagreement with the strategy. Having said on the National programme the morning after the meeting that the new system and structure could be in place by next season at the beginning of October, he is now saying this is completely unrealistic. I told you so, Gerry! . .

Drought Declarations in March Dominate Rural Marketplace:

Summary

Data released today by the Real Estate Institute of NZ (“REINZ”) shows there were 21 fewer farm sales (-5.3%) for the three months ended March 2013 than for the three months ended March 2012. Overall, there were 376 farm sales in the three months to end of March 2013, compared with 379 farm sales in the three months to February 2013, a decrease of 3 sales (-0.8%). 1,433 farms were sold in the year to March 2013, 2.4% more than were sold in the year to March 2012.

The median price per hectare for all farms sold in the three months to March 2013 was $22,317; an 11.3% increase on the $20,056 recorded for three months ended March 2012. The median price per hectare increased by 1.7% compared to February.

The REINZ All Farm Price Index eased by 1.1% in the three months to March compared to the three months to February, from 2,939.42 to 2,907.18. Compared to March 2012 the REINZ All Farm Price Index fell by 7.2%. Further details on the REINZ All Farm Price Index are set out below. . .

Govt supports development of dairy women leaders:

Associate Minister for Primary Industries Jo Goodhew has announced that the Dairy Women’s Network has been approved for a Sustainable Farming Fund grant of $180,000 over three years.

“The Government is investing in the development of female leaders in dairying to ensure the sector is well-placed to face future challenges,” said Mrs Goodhew.

“The Dairy Women’s Network has a track record of linking up and empowering women in dairying.

“The Network has identified the need for leaders to drive reform in the dairy sector so that it’s meeting social and environmental footprint obligations without compromising overall productivity.” . . .

Dairy Women’s Network Chief Executive Resigns :

The Dairy Women’s Network has announced the resignation of chief executive Sarah Speight.
 
Backed by significant national and international dairy industry experience, Mrs Speight joined the Network in 2011 as the first full-time chief executive in its 15 year history.
 
For the past two years she has been commuting from her home in Tauranga to the Network’s Hamilton-based offices. Mrs Speight said that to take the Dairy Women’s Network to the next stage and do the role justice requires someone who is Waikato-based.
 
“Being in Tauranga and with significant family and community commitments has made me rethink my priorities. I have decided to resign from the role of chief executive to spend more time with my family in the immediate future.” . . .

Govt funding to help support eucalpyt forestry:

Associate Minister for Primary Industries Jo Goodhew has announced that two projects focusing on eucalypts have been approved for Sustainable Farming Fund grants.

“The Government is investing in the development of eucalypts as a foresting option,” said Mrs Goodhew.

“Eucalypts offer a useful planting option. They are an alternative landuse for dryland areas and produce a naturally durable timber product.”

A project being run by the NZ Dryland Forests Initiative to share information about how to effectively manage plantations of durable eucalypts in dryland areas will receive SFF funding of $216,000. . .

Change Of Directors On Fonterra Board:

Fonterra Co-operative Group Limited announced today the appointment of a new Director, Simon Israel, following the retirement of Ralph Waters.

Chairman John Wilson said the Board welcomed Mr Israel, a Singaporean who has exceptional governance, consumer and wider Asian business experience.

“Simon is based in Singapore and has worked in Asia for many years. He has significant business credentials in Asia and in consumer and investment businesses. He will bring to the Board invaluable knowledge and insights as Fonterra pursues its business strategy, particularly with its emphasis on emerging markets,” said Mr Wilson. . .

Synlait Milk Launches its ISO 65 Accredited Dairy Farm Assurance System:

Synlait Milk launched its internationally accredited ISO 65 dairy farm assurance system called Lead With Pride to its 150 strong milk supply base today.

The only system of its kind in Australasia, Lead With Pride recognises and financially rewards certified milk suppliers for achieving dairy farming excellence.

“It is about demonstrating industry leadership in food safety and sustainability, and guarantees the integrity, safety and quality of pure natural milk produced on certified dairy farms .

“It enables our world leading health and nutrition customers to differentiate their products using Gold Plus or Gold Elite certified milk that has been sustainably produced,” says Synlait Milk CEO Dr John Penno. . .

Funding to help sustainable aquaculture porjects:

Five important projects focusing on aquaculture will benefit from the latest round of Sustainable Farming Fund grants, Minister for Primary Industries Nathan Guy has announced today.

“New Zealand seafood is a premium product and it’s great to see groups looking to improve their production and value by developing aquaculture,” says Mr Guy.

The projects with funding are:

  • Koura Aquaculture, by Wai-Koura South: $119,420
  • Farming Premium Salmon, by the Salmon Improvement Group: $600,000
  • Management of the GLM9 Greenlipped Mussel Spat Resource, by GML9 Advisory Group: $20,000
  • Tuna (Shortfin-eel) Aquaculture, by Te Ohu Tiaki o Rangitane Te Ika a Mauri Trust (MIO): $600,000
  • Aquaculture custom bacterial vaccines, by Aquaculture New Zealand: $115,686. . .

Easy lamb roast (hat tip: Whale Oil):


Rural round-up

March 20, 2013

Commercial Partnership Pays Dividends for New Zealand:

An AgResearch-developed wool dyeing technology that bridges the gap between high performance and haute couture is set to shine on a global stage thanks to a worldwide licensing deal.

The revolutionary textile dyeing process is now being commercialised by BGI Development. It enables wool to be dyed two colours at the same time, and graphics and images to be dyed into the fabric. There is no loss of the quality feel of the fabric and the images won’t deteriorate over time.

The technology enables designers to use high performance merino in creative ways never before possible, making merino an excellent choice for fashion active wear. . .

Dairying Women Want Greater ROI From Professional Advisors:

The Dairy Women’s Network will work with hundreds of dairying women across the country in April, helping them to increase the return on their investment on rural professional advice.

Dairy Women’s Network chief executive Sarah Speight said dairy farmers spend an average of $4,000 annually for advice from rural professionals (Reference, Ministry of Primary Industries, Farm Monitoring Report 2012 – Pastoral Monitoring: National Dairy) and the Network wants to help ensure this is money well spent.

“Dairying women and their partners want to get the best return possible on the money and time they are investing in rural professional advice. They want to see a demonstrable return on their operation’s bottom line – whether that’s in the short or long term – or it’s money down the drain. . .

Red meat farmers call for industry consolidation – Allan Barber:

Not for the first time, sheep and beef farmers have called for a single processing and marketing company representing 80% of the red meat industry.

At a meeting in Gore on Monday up to 1000 farmers from Southland and Otago, and as far away as HawkesBay voted overwhelmingly for a consolidated structure. The organisers now intend to promote the concept to other farmer groups throughout the country. But the industry has been down this route before without reaching a satisfactory conclusion. So what is different this time?

 In 2006 a group of South Island famers formed the Meat Industry Restructuring Group which called for a merger of the two big cooperatives, Alliance and Silver Fern Farms or PPCS as it then was. In 2008 Alliance Group led an attempt to reach agreement with those companies that made up approximately 80% of the industry which was seen as the minimum level required to achieve critical mass. . .

Drought-fuelled pests threaten winter feed crops:

As farmers across the country grapple with drought recovery plans and dry conditions, Ravensdown’s George Kerse Business Manager Agrochemicals is warning about the impact of insect pests on winter feed.

“As if the lack of moisture was not bad enough, the consistent extremely dry conditions mean insect pests are becoming a real issue for farmers.

The current dry conditions will have already reduced the amount of autumn-saved forage for winter feed, so specialist winter crops are becoming more important ensuring adequate feed for animals to prepare for next season. . .

Deteriorating Conditions Impacting On Farm Sales:

Summary

Data released today by the Real Estate Institute of NZ (“REINZ”) shows there were 28 more farm sales (+8.0%) for the three months ended February 2013 than for the three months ended February 2012. Overall, there were 379 farm sales in the three months to end of February 2013, compared with 399 farm sales in the three months to January 2013, a decrease of 20 sales (-5.0%). 1,445 farms were sold in the year to February 2013, 11.6% more than were sold in the year to February 2012.

The median price per hectare for all farms sold in the three months to February 2013 was $21,951; a 1.43% increase on the $21,641 recorded for three months ended February 2012. The median price per hectare decreased by 8.5% compared to January. . .

NZ Honey Not Always What It Seems: Airborne Honey Urges Kiwis to Buy Fully Traceable Food:

Airborne Honey, New Zealand’s longest standing honey brand, is calling on New Zealanders to be sure that the honey they are buying is what it claims to be and of a sufficiently high standard. According to Airborne Honey data, a large amount of honey on the shelves is heat damaged and labelled inaccurately. This includes Clover and Manuka honeys coming in well under the pollen percentage recommended by published research and derived from applying the Codex international standard for honey.

“The horsemeat scandal in Europe is encouraging more people than ever before to make food choices based on traceability and assured quality. Unfortunately, many don’t realise that there can be such discrepancies when it comes to honey,” says Peter Bray, Managing Director of Airborne Honey. . .

Mobile technology is a game changer for primary industries:

Back in 1990 few people had personal computers, the internet was an unknown and the age of the mobile phones was just around the corner. In a very short space of time these three technologies have fundamentally changed the face of business around the world.

Many of today’s leading global companies, Google, Apple and Microsoft, built their business around these three technologies. The services they provided their customers had a dramatic effect on workers’ productivity and levelled the playing field for many small businesses.

The recent release of smartphones has also been a game changer for many. Businesses now take it for granted that emails can be checked, news read, documents signed or video streamed, all while on the morning commute to work. . .

Babich Wins Trophy for ‘New Zealand Wine Producer of the Year 2013’ in China:

Babich Wines has continued their run of impressive international accolades by winning the Trophy for ‘New Zealand Wine Producer of the Year 2013’ at the China Wine & Spirits Awards Best Value 2013 held in Hong Kong earlier this month.

The Babich Marlborough Sauvignon Blanc 2012 and Babich The Patriarch 2010 both won a Double Gold Medal. These medals, along with a Silver Medal for the Babich Black Label Sauvignon Blanc 2012 helped clinch the ‘New Zealand Wine Producer of the Year 2013’ trophy. . .


Rural round-up

March 2, 2013

Grain farmers step up to meet stock feed needs:

With the availability of supplementary feed in the North Island becoming tight due to extremely dry conditions, Federated Farmers Grain & Seed is promoting New Zealand feed grains and straw as a major supplementary feed solution.

“North Island dairy farmers in particular are weighing up the economic cost of drying off early,” says Ian Mackenzie, Federated Farmers Grain and Seed chairperson and a dual grains and dairy farmer himself.

“Federated Farmers Grain & Seed believes New Zealand feed grains and straw are solutions, especially out of the South Island.

“These are not only cost competitive to imported feeds but are available in quantity right now. These could help hard pressed dairy farmers in seeing the milking season through to its proper end and could also help out our meat and fibre colleagues too. . .

Happier cows could be one solution to industry’s employment issues:

With more and more dairy farm staff entering the industry from urban backgrounds an animal husbandry expert says there has to be more emphasis placed on stockmanship skills, which start with managers and owners having farm policies that put animal welfare first.

 animal husbandry expert Chris Leach and farm dairying specialist Mel Eden share a passion for interpreting cow behaviour and helping farmers get “inside the cow’s head.” By understanding their animals, they say farmers will improve job satisfaction for farm staff, animal health and the bottom-line.

In March the two experts will present a workshop called ‘Interpreting cow behaviour’ to more than 300 dairying women at the Dairy Women’s Network annual conference in Nelson – most of them farm owners and managers. . .

Bovine TB control achieves less cattle and deer TB testing:

The success of the TBfree New Zealand programme has led to more than 3750 cattle and deer herds having their movement control restrictions, or number of bovine tuberculosis (TB) tests, scaled down.

Animal Health Board (AHB) National TB Manager Kevin Crews said the decrease is due to a strong focus on TB-infected wild animal control, strict movement rules on infected herds and an extensive cattle and deer testing programme.

The AHB is responsible for implementing the TBfree New Zealand programme which is working to eradicate bovine TB in New Zealand. Changes to movement restrictions will affect around 50 herds across Tasman, Marlborough and North Canterbury from 1 March 2013. . .

MPI Applauds Stiff Fine For Border Cheat:

The Ministry for Primary Industries (MPI) applauds the stiff fine handed down to a woman who three years earlier tried to deceive an airport quarantine inspector and illegally bring packets of bird nest into New Zealand.

Chen Shar Wong was arrested at the Auckland International Airport on Wednesday after arriving from Taiwan. She faced two charges under the Biosecurity Act 1993 of knowingly making false and misleading statements to an inspector, and knowingly attempting to possess unauthorised goods under the Crimes Act.

On 28 February 2010, an MPI quarantine inspector seized four packets of bird nest from Mrs Wong at the airport. Mrs Wong had claimed the bird nests were sea weed. . .

Biosecurity Report Welcomed By Beef + Lamb New Zealand:

Beef + Lamb New Zealand (B+LNZ) welcomes the release today, by the Office of the Auditor General, of the report into the Ministry for Primary Industries (MPI) preparedness and response to biosecurity incursions.

Dr Scott Champion, B+LNZ CEO, said the report made a number of observations and recommendations that have previously been identified by a joint-Government and industry report into the current state of readiness for Foot and Mouth Disease (FMD), published last year.

“These and other learnings from Exercise Taurus (a FMD incursion simulation) are the ongoing focus of a collaborative process between the affected livestock industries and MPI to make the improvements required in this area,” he said. . .

Ballance closes the loop on investments for growth:

Ballance has taken a further step in its growth strategy, moving to full ownership of animal nutrition company Seales Winslow Limited and farm technology company Farmworks Systems Limited. It has held 51% shareholdings in both companies since 2011.

Ballance Chief Executive Larry Bilodeau says full ownership will see the co-operative better placed to support the growth goals of both business units, enabling Ballance to meet increasing demand from customers for the full range farm nutrients and technology which enable them to farm smarter and more productively.

“Farm nutrients and technology are clearly two growing areas of the market and a natural fit with our core business. We know that farmers are looking towards strategic animal nutrition supplementation and farm technology to get the best returns from their businesses and reduce their environmental footprint. . .

Soil and Health Association applauds new organic research report:

New Zealand’s oldest organic organisation, and publishers of Organic NZ , the Soil & Health Association – Organic NZ, is delighted with the growth in the number of organic producers and consumers over the past three years.

“The results in the latest organic market research report show that organics is definitely moving from the fringe into the mainstream,” says Debbie Swanwick, Spokesperson, Soil & Health – Organic NZ.

Soil &Health – Organic NZ has sponsored a new section in this year’s report,which covers the organic community sector. “Our National Council was delighted to be able to offer their support to such worthy research” said Ms Swanwick. . .


Rural round-up

January 22, 2013

How will genetics feed the world?

As soon as the phrases “genetic improvement” and “new technology” are used in the same breath, the image that many laymen create is one of monsters and Frankenstein food, writes Chris Harris.

However, are the two really mutually exclusive or can they live together happily?

This year’s Oxford Farming Conference brought the questions on genetics, new technology, genetic modification and improvements in agriculture into sharp focus.

At a time when the global population is growing and growing largely in the underdeveloped and developing countries, the need to produce more food, more efficiently is unquestioned.

It is predicted that by 2050 the world’s population will need 100 per cent more food and according to the UN FAO 70 per cent of it must come from efficiency enhancing technology. . .

Government pushes banks to go rural but will it pay? – Swati Pandey and Rajendra Jadhav:

Working out of a tiny rented room furnished with a wooden table, small biometric authentication machine and shelf stacked with passbooks, Ganesh Dangi is a one-man bank for a village of 650 people in northwestern Rajasthan.

A business correspondent, or local representative, for State Bank of Bikaner and Jaipur (SBBJ) in Ranchhodpura village, 40 km (25 miles) east of Udaipur, Dangi is racing to sign up villagers to new “no frills” plans to meet a government target that every family in the district should have a bank account.

New Delhi plans to directly transfer cash payments for subsidies into these accounts, a move aimed at tackling graft in India’s creaky, corruption-ridden public distribution system.

If successful, the initiative could also bring modern banking to the doorstep of rural India, a goal towards which progress has so far been fitful despite mandatory targets set by the government and Reserve Bank of India. . .

Shear determination keeps business going – Sally Rae:

Shearing was Dave Bateman’s life.

After decades spent shearing, Mr Bateman saw a need for affordable shearing gear and established Dave Bateman Shearing Supplies at his Milburn home.

But following his death in May 2011 following a short illness, his widow Rayna was faced with a decision- continue with the business or walk away.

She did not have a business background but, for her, the answer was simple: ”I just took over – I couldn’t see it go”. . .

Fair success with Dorset Downs – Sally Rae:

North Otago Dorset Down breeders John and Wendy Dodd had a successful trip to the recent Canterbury A and P Association’s stud ram fair.

Mr and Mrs Dodd sold the top-priced Dorset Down ram at the sale, at $6200, along with two other rams at $6000 and $5500. They also topped the averages across the various breeds offered at the two-day sale at $5900. . .

Agriculture scholarships target Maori:

Ten new scholarships each worth $10,000 have been made available for Maori tertiary students studying agriculture.

The Whanui grants have been created by the independent charitable trust, Te Putea Whakatupu – in partnership with the national organisation, the Federation of Maori Authorites. . .

Helping Dairy Women Hold Their Own When Buying And Selling Stock:

Helping women who work in the dairy industry understand the ins and outs of purchasing stock is the focus of a series of practical workshops being held across the North and South Islands in February and March.

The Dairy Women’s Network is hosting the workshops to equip first herd buyers, or those looking to get involved in purchasing stock for the first time, with the skills and knowledge to understand the process of buying and selling stock, step by step, to make an informed decision. . .

Cambridge Stud Parade Today:

With the 2013 Karaka Yearling Sales less than a week away, one of the first drafts to arrive at Karaka at the weekend was Sir Patrick and Lady Justine Hogan’s Cambridge Stud which is set to host its annual public parade tomorrow (Tuesday 22 January) at 1:30pm.

Having presented yearlings at the National Yearling Sales Series since the early 1980s, Cambridge Stud has dominated the leading vendor category by sale aggregate – racking up 31 straight years at the top in 2012. . . .


International Time Queen to speak at dairy women’s conference

January 18, 2013

Robyn Pearce, the much sought after ‘queen of time management’, will show hundreds of busy dairying women how to ‘get a grip’ on their priorities and be the ‘master of their time’ when she speaks at the Dairy Women’s Network annual conference in Nelson on March 20 – 21.

Robyn is an international expert in time management who grew up on her parent’s South Rotorua dairy farm, was married to a Waikato sheep farmer for 15 years and is now mum to a sheep and beef farmer, who is also a director of Beef + Lamb NZ. She raised six children, including her intellectually handicapped foster son and is a grandmother to 16 grandchildren.

As well as training, writing, blogging and speaking about time management in New Zealand, Australia, the US, Great Britain, Europe and the Middle East, Robyn’s rural family background means she understands the everyday challenges that dairying women face when managing their time.

“Farm production and productivity is very much geared toward land and animal outputs, but how we manage our time also affects the bottom-line – if we’re not productive that will be reflected in the farm’s productivity and, more importantly if things are really out of control, the wellbeing of our family and our own health can suffer.”

She is a regular columnist in the New Zealand media, and admits the reason she teaches time management is because she used to be “very bad at it”.

“I can honestly say I have walked in those shoes! My time management skills almost put an end to my real estate career in the 80s and 90s. I was kicked out of meetings because of being late and I burnt out numerous times from overwork and poor time habits. I really do understand how it feels to be out of control!

Thankfully a friend cared enough to give her the push she needed to adopt a few basic time management principles – igniting Robyn’s passion for the subject and transforming her greatest weakness into her major strength, and an international business.

Today she helps large national and international corporates train employees to better manage their time, including Rabobank, QBE Insurance, National Bank, NIWA, the International Cricket Council – Dubai, Academy for Chief Executives – UK and Beiersdorf NZ & Australia (makers of Nivea & Elastoplast), to name a few.
She says overload is being felt in all walks of life – and it’s as prevalent on the farm as it is in the corporate world.

“When you are overloaded you’ll look around your kitchen, your office, your paddock or shed, and you’ll feel like you don’t know where to start. It’s at these times, as things keep flying at you, that it’s really important to know what to take on and what to push back on. I love showing people how to do ‘helicopter thinking’ – to rise above everything going on, get perspective, and then work on the tasks and projects that will make the greatest difference.”

She added that the Dairy Women’s Network conference was an opportunity for people to step back and take the time to reflect on the things in their lives that really matter.

“We all don’t take the time to work on prioritising the really important things in our lives in a meaningful way – whether they are the way we use our time, the way we manage our home offices, the time we spend together as a family or any other business activities we have – we need to be sure that we are always only putting time and energy into the things that are going to make the biggest difference.”

Joining Robyn at the conference is a world-class line-up of speakers including Olympian Mahe Drysdale; Minister of Women’s Affairs, the Hon Jo Goodhew; Parininihi Ki Waitotara (PKW) Farms Limited Trustee Hinerangi Edwards; and Blue Duck Station owner and eco-warrior, Dan Steele. The conference theme is ‘Taking down the boundary fences’ and will cover subjects as diverse as animal nutrition, environmental constraints and developing future leaders.

You can see more here.


Rural round-up

December 11, 2012

Irrigation fund project given green light:

Primary Industries Minister David Carter says the go-ahead for the Wairarapa Water Use Project has the potential to irrigate an additional 30,000 to 50,000 hectares of land and boost the area’s GDP by $400 million.

Speaking at the launch of the Business Growth Agenda – Building Natural Resources progress report, Mr Carter welcomed today’s announcement of a $2.5 million pre-feasibility study to develop water storage and distribution in the Wairarapa.

The study is jointly funded by the Government’s Irrigation Acceleration Fund and the Greater Wellington Regional Council. . .

Meat and dairy products lead manufacturing rise:

Meat and dairy products dominated the rise in total manufacturing sales for the September 2012 quarter, Statistics New Zealand said today.

After adjusting for seasonal effects, the value of total manufacturing sales rose 1.6 percent ($370 million), led by the 9.3 percent ($612 million) increase in meat and dairy product manufacturing.

When price changes are removed, the volume of manufacturing sales rose 2.6 percent, also led by meat and dairy product manufacturing, up 13 percent.

“The volume increase in meat and dairy manufacturing is reflected in the rise of export volumes for dairy and meat products, with increases of 32 percent in dairy, and 15 percent in meat,” industry and labour statistics manager Blair

Wider use of crossbred wools urged – Sally Rae:

Crossbred wool has a future – but its uses need to be diversified instead of just concentrating on carpets.

That is the belief of Arrowtown man Tom Murdoch, a former manager of the Alliance Textiles mill in Oamaru (now Summit Wool Spinners).

Mr Murdoch, who spent 28 years in Oamaru, has had a long involvement with the wool industry.

Before moving to Oamaru, he ran a factory in Mauritius which produced knitted Shetland garments. After leaving North Otago, he got involved in a spinning mill in Bangkok and then helped set up a dye-house. . .

Apathy problems for Wools of New Zealand - Gerald Piddock:

Wools of New Zealand chairman Mark Shadbolt hopes farmer apathy won’t derail the company’s $5 million capital raise following low turnouts at meetings nationwide.

One of the final meetings of the wool company’s nationwide roadshow in Waimate last week drew only about 20 farmers.

Overcoming the apathy shown by farmers was their biggest challenge. The small audience at Waimate was typical of the turnout at the meetings, Mr Shadbolt said.

The meetings are to promote Wools of New Zealand’s prospectus, asking wool growers to invest at least $5 million to buy shares in the company and to commit wool for deals to high-end users such as airlines, hotels, luxury apartments and cruise ships. . .

Two appointments made to Dairy Women’s Network Board:

The Dairy Women’s Network has welcomed two new trustees to its Board, Maree Crowley-Hughes from Thornbury and Robyn Judd from Oamaru.

A hands-on farmer and experienced business woman, Maree and husband Peter Hughes own seven farms in Southland and Otago, which collectively milk 5000 cows producing more than two million kilograms of milk solids per year. . .

Cardno said. . .

Knives Out For Former Meatworks:

The former AFFCO meat killing and processing plant at Taumarunui in the Central North Island has been placed on the market for sale – at less than five per cent of what it was once worth.

The 10,000 square metre plant – sitting on 5.5 hectares of land – was once valued at $18million during its peak production period in the 1980s and 1990s. The plant was made redundant in 2009 and has largely remained idle ever since.

The huge site adjacent to State Highway 4 is now being marketed for sale by Bayleys Hamilton at an auction being held on December 13. Jim McKinlay of Bayleys Hamilton said the vendor’s price expectations was upwards of $450,000. . .

And ACC Minister Judith Collins in ACC’s new milking shed safety apron:

milking apron


Rural round-up

October 24, 2012

For want of a name our agriculture flounders - Peter Kerr:

Every story has a name – except the one which describes our agriculture.

This, I argue, is one of the reasons we struggle to tell people around the world and in our cities about what exactly is and has been the basis of our farming’s comparative advantage for the past 130 years.

Let me provide an example.

We don’t start a story with: ‘This is about a wolf and a little girl and a grandmother who lives alone.”

No, we start, “This is the story of Little Red Riding Hood.” . . .

MPI’s Farm Monitoring Report forecasts income drops for diary and sheep and beef; Allan Barber:

MPI’s 2012 pastoral farm analyses, taken from the Farm Monitoring Report, show significant falls in income predicted for dairy, and sheep and beef, and an increase for deer farming.

The reports show typical income patterns based on information gathered from a representative sample of farm properties.

The 2011/12 year was profitable because of favourable growing conditions which saw a 10% lift in dairy production offset the lower payout, while higher prices for sheepmeat combined with better farm productivity generated an 18% increase in cash profit. Deer farmers are enjoying a period of price stability and good productivity. . .

Dairying women push through broadband challenge to access online training:

A professional dairy industry women’s group will deliver an online training programme despite limited access to high-speed internet services in many rural communities.

The Dairy Women’s Network is the premier forum for women working in New Zealand’s dairy industry. With more than 3100 members, it works to develop the leadership and business skills of women in a changing agribusiness environment. It does this by providing a range of training and networking resources.

Chief executive Sarah Speight said that as dairy women’s lives were getting busier, the Network needed be innovative in how it delivered training to allow members to participate without having to be in a specific place at a specific time. . .

Pax Fonterra, Pax:

Federated Farmers is counselling Fonterra Co-operative Group’s Board that now is not the time to start examining the cooperative’s governance arrangements.

“For once it would be great to have some peace within Fonterra,” observed Willy Leferink, Federated Farmers Dairy Chairperson.

“We want Fonterra’s chairman-elect, John Wilson, given time at the helm to show shareholders what he is made of. Fonterra must also bed-in Trading Among Farmers (TAF), so now is not the time to get ahead of itself. . .

And:


Rural round-up

October 18, 2012

Trans-Tasman farm leaders in Closer Farming Relations:

Federated Farmers and Australia’s National Farmers’ Federation (NFF) have just concluded a joint board meeting in Sydney.

“Federated Farmers and the NFF are taking the spirit of Closer Economic Relations inside the farm gate,” says Bruce Wills, Federated Farmers President.

NFF President Jock Laurie said the shared challenges for farmers in both countries meant the need for the peak agricultural representative bodies to work more closely together is now more important than ever.

“From water and carbon to building consumer trust and foreign investment, the issues facing farmers and the agricultural sectors on both sides of the ditch are almost the same,” Mr Laurie said. . . .

Primary sector exports for 2012 show slight increase:

Primary sector export revenue figures for the final quarter to June 2012 are mixed. While there was a decline of 5.8 percent for the quarter, there was actually an overall increase for the year of 1.3 percent.

The Ministry for Primary Industries (MPI) today released its final quarterly report for the year to June 2012. New Zealand’s primary sector export revenue experienced a decline of 5.8 percent in the June quarter (compared with the previous June quarter) to $8,771 million. At the same time there was a production-driven increase of 1.3 percent for the year ended June 2012 to $32,119 million, due to favourable climatic conditions. . .

Dairy Women’s Network grows by 30 percent this year:

The Dairy Women’s Network celebrated a year of growth at its annual general meeting tonight (Wednesday, 17 October) including the addition of 700 new members between 1 June 2011 to 31 May 2012, increasing its total membership from 2400 to 3100.

Special guest Hilary Webber, founding chair of the Dairy Women’s Network in 1998, was at the meeting to pay tribute to retiring trustees Robyn Clements and Marie Marshall. Mrs Clements was the last remaining founding trustee on the Network’s Trust Board.

Dairy Women’s Network Trust Board current chair Michelle Wilson said it had been a year of transition and growth with many achievements. . . .

Partnership Beefs Up The Eyeball Test With No Cost To Farmers:

Hamilton, NZ – Leading farm management software provider Farmax has partnered with Beef + Lamb New Zealand to give farmers a free sward stick and instructional package that will improve the accuracy of pasture cover eye appraisals and help farmers with their seasonal pasture management.

While it might look like nothing more than a simple plastic ruler, the sward stick is as accurate as a digital pasture probe. The calibrations on the Farmax and Beef + Lamb New Zealand sward stick were developed and based on extensive research by AgResearch scientists. . . .


Rural round-up

June 17, 2012

Rates gouge farm incomes – Tim Fulton:

Thank goodness export prices are strong because a Beef + Lamb New Zealand report says local authority rates have risen cumulatively by just over 30% over the past five years.

“At an average increase of 6.1% each year it defines the expression ‘inflation busting’,” Federated Farmers local government spokesperson David Rose said when The New Zealand Farmers Weekly showed him B+LNZ’s figures.

The rates insight is part of the Economic Service’s regular survey of on-farm costs, combining data from Statistics New Zealand with its own assessments. . . 

Looking beyond the dollars at Winter Dairy Days:

Helping dairy farmers look ‘beyond the dollars’ at their whole farm system management is the goal of a series of winter dairy workshops being held by the Dairy Women’s Network around New Zealand in June and July.

The five workshops are being held in Winton, Rotorua, Cambridge, Hokitika and Nelson at the end of June and beginning of July and are a great follow on from the Essential Farm Finance days run by the Network earlier in the year.

Ngatea dairy farmer and farm consultant, Julie Pirie, will lead four of the workshops, with Te Anau dairy farmer Anna Kempthorne speaking at the Winton event. . . .

NZ Farming Systems cuts FY guidance as dry weather reduces milk production – Hannah Lynch,

NZ Farming Systems Uruguay, the South American dairy farmer controlled by Singapore’s Olam International, will miss its target to break even on a pretax basis this year after dry weather stunted pasture growth and milk output.

Farming Systems is now forecasting a loss of US$3 million to US$5 million on an earnings before interest and tax basis. The company will break even once it accounts for a fair value adjustment in the value of livestock, it said in a statement.

“Milk production continues to increase significantly year on year, although the very dry summer and autumn weather in Uruguay along with the later-than-expected completion of the new dairies, has resulted in milk production to date being below forecast,” it said. . .

Arable farmers cut back grain in favour of seed crops:

Arable farmers are cutting back on wheat and barley for next season and planting more seed crops in response to falling grain prices.

Growers cut back on seed production last year in response to higher grain prices but increased wheat and barley production and record yields created high stock levels and reduced prices.

Federated Farmers grain and seed chair Ian Mackenzie says the one contract price offered for milling wheat so far has dropped from about $460 to $420 a tonne.

Feed grain contract prices have dropped from about $410 to $360 a tonne.

Water storage scheme ‘vital’ for Hawke’s Bay farmers:

A central Hawke’s Bay farm consultant says farmers regard a proposed $220 million water storage scheme as being a vital step in the economic growth of the region.

Hawke’s Bay Regional Council has this week been hearing submissions on the Ruataniwha scheme, which could provide irrigation to 22,500 hectares of farm land.

Consultant Roy Fraser has visited northern Tasmania where he says farmers have been using water storage for more than 70 years. . . 

Dairy breeding a family tradition – Hugh Stringleman:

Stuart Bay retired on May 31 as chairman of the dairy co-operative LIC, the fourth generation of his family to serve on livestock improvement co-operative boards.

After 37 years of dairy herd improvement governance, perhaps Bay has seen and done it all?

No way. Bay would like his 22 years on the LIC board over again, for a ring-side seat for what he believes are the most exciting years to come in dairy genetics.

LIC is beginning to deliver genomics science, which promises dairy farmers routine gene fingerprinting of their calves, to quickly identify the most productive milkers and their predisposition to faults and diseases.

Trees on farms workshop : maximizing marginal land use:

A Trees on Farms workshop particularly designed for Maori landowners and farmers taking an inter-generational view of their land management options is being held in Ohope on Wednesday 20 June.

This workshop will focus on in the opportunities and benefits trees can provide in developing management for the marginal or less productive parts of the farm, and those attending will be able to discuss tree planting options with Maori land owners, experienced farm foresters and regional council staff.

The workshop and field trip will feature the Ohope property of Ngāti Awa Group Holdings, looking at trees as an intergenerational land management tool providing sustainable agribusiness solutions and enhancing long term land use. . . 


Barbara Kuriger first Dairy Woman of Year

March 24, 2012

Barbara Kuriger has won the inaugural Dairy Woman of the Year title.

Recognised for her dedication to the industry, Barbara Kuriger was the award’s honoured recipient. As Dairy Woman of the Year, Mrs Kuriger was awarded a scholarship on the prestigious Women in Leadership 12 month course run by Global Women, which is valued at $25,000. The scholarship is sponsored by Fonterra Milk Supply.

There were six finalists named in the awards including: Barbara Kuriger, Katrina Knowles and Shona Glentworth – all from Taranaki – and Raelyn Lourie of Westland, Justine Dalton of Hawkes Bay and Mandi McLeod of Waikato.

Barbara Kuriger and her husband, Louis, own and operate a dairy farm in New Plymouth. She plays a key part in the business and is known for her leadership contribution – at not only a local level but also on a regional and national level.

Michelle Wilson, Chair of Dairy Women’s Network, said that Barbara represented the type of leadership the Dairy Women’s Network wants to foster.“The judges saw in Barbara a real demonstration of leadership by example. She exemplifies the Dairy Women’s Network values of innovation, commitment, inclusiveness, credibility and integrity. Barbara displays an absolute passion for all people involved in the dairy industry,”she said.

With a history of over 25 years in the industry, Mrs Kuriger’s knowledge runs deep. As the first woman regional director of LIC she sets the bar high.  Along with other such leadership roles as the DairyNZ directorship, she has encouraged women to aspire to take active roles in determining the future of the dairy industry. Her involvement with the entrepreneurial investment, Taranaki Growth Spurt, has also encouraged women to look outside their existing careers and farms for further challenges.

Mrs Kuriger has demonstrated a significant contribution on her own farm that can be seen in the variety of awards she and her husband have won over the years. Her successes in other key leadership roles outside of the family farm, both within the dairy and agriculture industry, are well known in her community. Among those successes is her role in dairying and agricultural education, which has proven to be a key area of influence in creating opportunities within the industry for learning. Her direction in helping industry promote and celebrate positive role models through the Dairy Industry Awards has been significant as well.

In addition to her role in dairying, family is important to the new award recipient. She is a mother of three and grandmother of two. An important theme for Mrs Kuriger is families working together within the industry. She inspires others to pursue this type of ideal by leading through example. Her own family and their partners have joined her and her husband to work alongside each other in the dairy industry.

Mrs Kuriger has proven herself over and over to be an exceptional and passionate leader in the dairy and agriculture industry. At the heart of her passion is helping the people involved in it. Her continued roles along with her long-standing leadership in the Dairy Industry ensure the industry continues to have positive role models and leaders for the future.

The Women in Leadership course begins in September 2012 and will give Mrs Kuriger 12 months of exposure to globally focussed women in leadership roles across the business sector. 

As sponsor of the $25,000 scholarship, Steve Murphy, General Manager Milk Supply, said, “Fonterra congratulates Barbara as the winner of the 2012 Dairy Woman of the Year Award. Her passion is commendable and it’s great to see her leadership acknowledged through this award. We wish her the best of luck with her place on the prestigious Women in Leadership course and look forward to working with her in the upcoming year.”

The judging panel for the award consisted of the Dairy Women’s Network chair, a representative of DairyNZ, a representative of Fonterra and a representative from Global Women.

It’s great to see her achievements and dedication to the industry recognised in this way.


Rural round-up

February 20, 2012

Council and Transpower overstep mark with buffer zone proposal:

Federated Farmers is opposing the Western Bay of Plenty District Council’s moves to create buffer zones of up to 32 metres either side of electricity transmission lines.

“Federated Farmers strongly opposes the creation of these Electricity Transmission Buffer Zones, because they are solely designed to protect transmission line companies’ interests and circumnavigate individual easement agreements with landowners,” Federated Farmers Bay of Plenty provincial president John Scrimgeour says.

“Transpower says it wants these buffer zones to ensure safety and supply continuity. However, Federated Farmers feels the width of the zones is excessive, as is the level of proposed regulation around them.

“We believe the resulting raft of new rules for earthworks, buildings and subdivision within those zones would hamper landowners’ ability to farm, without meeting Transpower’s original goals. . .

Dairy farmers are better-off  with  industry competition:

All New Zealand dairy farmers are better off because Synlait Milk and other independent dairy companies exist, says Synlait Milk Chief Executive John Penno.

“While independent dairy companies make up a very small portion of the industry, the competitive pressure that Synlait Milk and others bring has brought about faster change within Fonterra than would have occurred had competition not emerged,” Penno said.

Competition between New Zealand dairy companies is not about the international markets. It is all about competition for farmer’s milk. Because of competition, Fonterra pays farmers more for their milk, which forces independent dairy companies to develop their businesses faster to keep one step ahead, says Penno. . .

Visit to top kiwi farm impresses Swedish delegation:

Members of a Swedish delegation will go home with positive views of New Zealand agriculture after visiting an award-winning farm in the Waikato

On February 9, delegates from the Swedish Parliamentary Committee on Environment and Agriculture were hosted by the New Zealand Farm Environment (NZFE) Trust on Gray and Marilyn Baldwin’s organic dairy farm near Putaruru.

The Baldwins and their sharemilkers, Hamish and Jane Putt, were Supreme winners of the 2009 Waikato Ballance Farm Environment Awards. . .

Dairy debate is getting really interesting – Allan Barber:

My piece last week supporting the OIO decision on the Crafar farms deal provoked a lot of comment, most of it negative, but also, interestingly, it sparked a sometimes acrimonious debate between several respondents about the Israeli – Palestinian situation. Now that was something I didn’t expect, not considering myself to be remotely competent to cover that sort of global issue.

Since my piece appeared I have picked up some really interesting columns by Fran O’Sullivan in the NZ Herald and Rod Oram in the Sunday Star Times which took diametrically opposing views on the same topic, O’Sullivan in support and Oram totally against. . .

Hawke’s Bay shearers head to world champs:

Two Hawke’s Bay shearers will represent New Zealand at the world shearing championships, to be held during the Golden Shears in Masterton, later this month.

It is an upset for David Fagan who was the favourite heading into the final shear-off, the Southern Shears, in Gore at the weekend. . .

RD1 gets behind Dairy Women’s Network:

In an exclusive agreement, RD1 has committed to sponsoring the Dairy Women’s Network regional groups. The partnership is aimed at growing the reach and effectiveness of these groups over a three year period, helping to increase the success of women in dairying.

RD1 CEO Sarah Kennedy, now a leading woman in the dairy industry, sees some direct correlations between the two organisations.

“RD1 and the Dairy Women’s Network aspire to add value to dairy businesses. We also both have nationwide networks with a strong regional focus” says Kennedy. “The Dairy Women’s Network regional groups are not only the heart of that organisation, they are the grassroots of our industry, much like the RD1 store network. . .

Dairy Women’s Network partners with training leader AgITO:

Dairy Women’s Network has announced its partnership with one of New Zealand’s largest and most respected industry training organisations, AgITO. The partnership was formed in an effort to open up further education possibilities for New Zealand dairying women.

“We are very excited about this partnership,” said Kevin Bryant, Chief Executive for AgITO. “It gives us the opportunity to further support and help upskill women who are such an important group in making the daily business management decisions within the dairy industry.”

According to Mr Bryant, AgITO has a number of qualification options suitable for dairy women who are looking to further develop their careers or gain skills and knowledge in specific key areas from improving milk quality to business management and planning. . .


$25,000 scholarship for Dairy Woman of Year

January 18, 2012

The winner of Dairy Women’s Network’s inaugural Dairy Woman of the Year  will receive a $25,000 scholarship for a place on the 12-month Women In Leadership course run by Global Women.

The prize is being sponsored by Fonterra.

Criteria for nominees is women who are:

  • Making a significant contribution to the industry through their involvement at governance or senior management level within the industry, her region and/ or community.
  • Through this significant contribution are having influence in the industry and community
  • Promoting  the dairy industryin a positive way through their actions
  • Positive role modelsfor dairy women (and all women) everywhere
  • Contributing to the communityand assisted others
  • Credible and have integrity
  • Lifelong learners

Nomination forms are on the link above.

More about Global Women here.


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