Rural round-up

April 15, 2014

GM in NZ on farming leader’s agenda - Tony Benny:

A visit to Argentina has left Federated Farmers vice-president Dr William Rolleston even more convinced New Zealand should not close the door on GM agriculture.

“I stood in a field of genetically modified soya beans, amongst hundreds of thousands of acres of genetically modified crops which they are using to have some beneficial effect on their environment but also to ramp up their production,” Rolleston said.

While his support for GM is already well known, Rolleston said he made a point of mentioning the issue in a speech at the North Canterbury branch of Federated Farm-ers’ AGM so that he couldn’t be accused of keeping his views secret should he later became Feds president.

“We need to have a sensible debate,” he said. . .

 

Dairy price ‘worm has turned’ downward – ASB  – Niko Kloetin:

Milk prices are tipped to fall again at tonight’s global dairy auction.

ASB says prices could drop another 10 per cent.

In more bad news for dairy farmers, the bank said the New Zealand dollar could remain high against the United States dollar if the American economy did not improve.

In its Farmshed Economics newsletter, ASB said “the worm has turned” on dairy prices, which are down almost 20 per cent in the past two months.

Driving prices down has been a lift in milk production, which ASB forecasts will increase by 11 per cent this season compared with last season. . .

Secrets to sharemilking success - Gerald Piddock:

James and Melissa Barbour’s strong relationship with their farm owner and staff has propelled the sharemilking couple to the top in their field.

The Waikato Sharemilker/Equity Farmer of the Year winners credit these relationships for their success and place a lot of emphasis on maintaining them.

They 50:50 sharemilk 355 cows for Joan De Renzynts at Matamata. Both are 28 years old, and are in their seventh season and third position 50:50 sharemilking.

They take on board what De Renzy says and work as a team along with assistant Hayden Thompson. . .

Brainstorming conference expected – Yvonne O’Hara:

The possible reintroduction of an industry levy and ”the way forward” for profitability and sustainability for the goat industry will be the focus of the inaugural New Zealand Goats (NZGoats) conference in Queenstown next month.

Mohair New Zealand Inc, Meat Goat New Zealand (MGNZ), the New Zealand Boer Goat Breeders Association and NZGoats will all be holding their annual meetings during the same weekend, May 23 to 25.

NZ Goats chairwoman Dawn Sangster, of Patearoa, said those interested in feral or dairy goats or in the industry in general were also invited. . .

Last few weeks of hard prep for dairy trainee  – Yvonne O’Hara:

It is only a little more than four weeks to go before Josh Lavender, of Lochiel, is up against the nations’ other ”best of the best” dairy trainees, so he is spending as much time as he can preparing.

Mr Lavender (26) won the New Zealand Dairy Industry Awards’ Southland Otago Dairy Trainee of the Year a month ago and since then has combined work as 2IC on a 752-cow property near Lochiel with catching up with study for his Production Management Level 5 through Primary ITO, preparing a DVD and speech for the nationals, and learning as much as he can about the industry. . .

Cloudy Bay’s new vintage redefines Chardonnay:

The winemaking philosophy of Cloudy Bay chardonnay revolves around a very stripped back approach. Juice in the barrel is settled for a very short time without the use of enzyme to retain a high level of solids. Following this is a long indigenous fermentation, taking place in barrel.

“These techniques work together to build complexity of flavour, but more importantly they contribute texture and architecture to the palate,” explains Tim Heath. “It takes our wine beyond simple fruit flavour. It is a wine to watch and speaks of its origin.” . . .


Rural round-up

April 13, 2014

Drought great time to show some compassion – James Houghton:

Another week and no drought declaration yet it is the second driest year on record in Waikato, and my has it revealed some peoples true colours! Default settings with graziers contracts are being ignored, and cooperatives are pretending there is no drought.

Farmers and graziers need to be working together through times like this. Not allowing for the affects of the drought to be considered and holding graziers to their contracts, can see them loosing money on a daily basis, trying to feed your stock. To expect a grazier to lose money to look after your stock shows no sense of community, which is what gets us through these adverse weather conditions, and could ostracise you in the long run. People do not forget unkindness. It goes both ways – if you are not showing flexibility on your grazing contracts, it could have a detrimental affect for you next time there is a drought, graziers could start charging you 10 to 50 percent more next time round.  It pays to compare that to the money you are saving in the short term, and whether it is really worth it. . .

Changing beef outlook - Allan Barber:

There have been some interesting beef market developments in recent days.

 Of immediate interest is the news of a forecast excess of US exports over production in the second half of the year as against a relatively small increase in production, reported in the USDA livestock supply and demand report which was released yesterday.

 This leads to a prediction of firmer prices for lean beef, although this will coincide with the seasonal downturn in New Zealand production. Australia is expected to be in a good position to take advantage of this situation.

 The other item of interest is the bi-lateral trade agreement between Japan and Australia which will reduce the tariff on frozen beef from 38.5% to 19.5% over 18 years and on fresh beef to 23.5% over 15 years. . .

Dairy Pawn – Milk Maid Marian:

These days, I feel a little like a chess piece; more pawn than queen.

The Australian federal government has rushed into a free trade agreement with Japan that does next-to-nothing to help Aussie dairy break through tariff barriers, even though Japan is hardly known for a growing dairy industry of its own that deserves protection. I don’t know why we were overlooked but a Sydney Morning Herald story quotes Warren Truss as citing “compromises”.

It’s been an interesting few days for dairy. Coincidentally, the ACCC forced supermarket superpower, Coles, to confess that it was lying when it claimed the $1 milk had not hurt dairy farmers. . .

Farmers back major Local Government NZ funding review:

Federated Farmers is fully behind a fundamental review by Local Government New Zealand (LGNZ) into the way local government and local roads are funded.

“LGNZ deserves praise for tackling a ticking time bomb made up of demographics and an ever narrowing funding base for council services and our local roads,” says Katie Milne, Federated Farmers Local Government spokesperson.

“This affects everyone but it is especially pronounced in our rural districts.

“Federated Farmers is very keen to participate in this review because for years, we have lobbied for alternative funding options over the antiquated narrow property value basis, we use for rating.

“LGNZ’s review is the biggest advance since the 2007 Local Government Rates Inquiry, which emerged from public unease over the rates burden. . .

Meat and fibre’s going green - Jeanette Maxwell :

I have been told by a staff member that a major retirement village operator has specified only nylon carpet for its villages. I don’t want to reveal the name just yet as we will be contacting them, let alone the Campaign for Wool, but it dumbfounds me. 

If it is what I suspect, a spurious concern over linting, then that’s a specification issue.  It seems very strange to deny people the choice of healthy natural fibres especially in a retirement village because natural wool is good for you.

A big benefit of wool is outstanding flame resistance.  Having a high moisture and protein content it tends to extinguish flames and does not melt or drip either like synthetics.  Wool also stabilises relative humidity by absorbing or releasing moisture during periods of high or low atmospheric humidity. That’s a benefit from evolution.

If wool is maintained then it will absorb and neutralise airborne particles and fumes such as formaldehyde, sulphur dioxide and nitrous oxides.  Wool is also resistant to static build up and being naturally curly, bounces back into shape after being crushed.   . . .

Awards spur on young dairy trainee  – Gerald Piddock:

Entering the Dairy Industry Awards has helped motivate Nathan Hubbard to focus on how he can improve his performance and progress his dairying career.

The 26-year-old, who was recently named Waikato Dairy Trainee of the Year for 2014 said he entered the competition to show future employers his dedication to the industry.

“I want to challenge my knowledge against others at the same level that are motivated and thriving to succeed like I am.”

It was the second time he had entered the awards. After not making the top six on the first occasion, Hubbard said he was determined to do better this year. . .

‘Expensive brand beats expensive land’ - Tim Cronsahw:

Dairy farmers need to demand that dairy giant Fonterra invests heavily in brand development if increasing costs are to be offset by high-priced milk products, says a food marketing expert.

Global food and drink industry international speaker Professor David Hughes said New Zealand’s dairy companies had to spend more on developing patented clever dairy brands as domestic milk growth could not continue at its same rate forever.

“If you want to see Fonterra and smaller companies have higher valued products, they have to spend more on branding and research and development, and to do that has to be through brave farmer leadership saying hold on to more [revenue] and invest it on our behalf for our longer term, and don’t send it back to the farm and there would lots of farmers who don’t agree with that,” said Hughes who spoke at the Zoetis Dairy Summit in Christchurch this week. . .

Millar, Clark lead charge for dog trialling glory - Tim Cronshaw:

Every dog has its day, but only a select few will make the final cut at the Tux New Zealand and South Island Sheep Dog Trial Championship trials at Waihi Station near Geraldine next month.

As many as 300 competitors and their canine partners will line up for each of the four main national events in the main feature of the dog trialling calendar. The heading events are the long head and short head and yard and the huntaway events are the zigzag hunt and the straight hunt.

In good form is Stu Millar from Peak Hill Station who, with dog Rose, is the defending champion of the national short head and yard event in Taupo last year.

Canterbury Sheep Dog Trial Association promotions officer Sally Mallinson said the club trials had yet to be completed, but several Canterbury competitors and their dogs were standing out as possible contenders at the South Island and national events. . .

 


Rural round-up

February 12, 2014

Syndicate farming a growing venture – Sue O’Dowd:

School didn’t fit the bill for a young Taranaki man wanting to party and make money.

The man behind Taranaki’s Farm Venture, a business that establishes syndicates to buy and operate dairy farms in Taranaki and the King Country, wanted to get on with life.

Tim Barrett was a pupil at Francis Douglas Memorial College in New Plymouth and principal Brother Peter Bray was adamant he wanted the 15-year-old to stay at school so he could go to university.

“But I had stuff I wanted to do,” the now 50-year-old millionaire businessman said, “and I needed money to do it.” .

So Barrett got his way and embarked on a farming career. He managed to fit in some partying but he was more focused on becoming a farmer, so he followed the traditional path of working for wages and as a variable order and 50/50 sharemilker to dairy farm ownership at Te Kiri in South Taranaki. Along the way he also spent a year in Canada working on beef and cropping farms. . .

Changing world for sheep farming and sheep meat – Allan Barber:

It may be a statement of the obvious, but the world for sheep farming, processing and sheep meat has changed dramatically, particularly in the past 30 years.

The age of massive single shift plants, high wool prices, large stations, the frozen carcase trade with the UK and farm subsidies has disappeared for ever. It has been replaced by a new era in which the main characteristics are no subsidies, less sheep and lambs, smaller, more flexible plants, an increasing proportion of chilled product, higher value co-products with less income from wool, and progressively more trade with markets other than the UK and Europe.

To a casual observer or time traveller who has spent the last 30 years elsewhere, there are still some obvious similarities, but a more careful study would show the differences pretty quickly. For example the swathes of irrigated land from mid Canterbury to Southland with dairy cattle instead of sheep grazing, thousands of hectares now covered with vines in Central Otago, Marlborough, Hawkes Bay and Gisborne, the size of lambs going to slaughter, the volume and price of wool at auction and the number of saleyards round the country would all indicate more than a token shift in farming practice. . .

The South Island’s best farmer grows grapes:

The colourful Peter Yealands, who was named 2013 South Island Farmer of the Year, is hosting the winner’s Field Day at his multi award winning Marlborough winery this Thursday (13 February).

“Federated Farmers congratulates the Lincoln University Foundation for recognising the best of South Island farming through its South Island Farmer of the Year competition,” says Bruce Wills, Federated Farmers President.

“This Thursday, farmers will have a chance to see just why Marlborough entrepreneur and winemaker, Peter Yealands, was named the South Island’s best farmer for 2013.

“From biological lawn mowers using “baby-doll” sheep to his overall ‘vine to bottle’ approach, the Lincoln Foundation is right to say the knowledge shared at this field day will not just be inspirational, but have relevance to all primary industries. . .

Loyalty and contribution to the betterment of the people of Sarawak honoured:

A man whose career has been marked by an outstanding ability to relate to people across a wide spectrum, from poor indigenous farmers and their communities through to commercial agribusiness and industrial companies, senior government officials and political figures at state and federal level, was today (11 February) awarded the Lincoln Alumni International Medal.

Datu Dr Ngenang Ak Jangu of Sarawak, Malaysia has made an outstanding contribution in his home country, in his chosen field of agriculture.

The Lincoln Alumni International Medal is awarded to a former student, or a past or current staff member of Lincoln University who, in the opinion of the Lincoln University Council, has made an outstanding contribution to his or her chosen field, and brought credit to Lincoln University through achievements in a country other than New Zealand. . .

Weakened milk price predicted to fall back to $7 – Gerald Piddock:

An expected softening in milk prices in mid 2014 has bank economists predicting a milk price of around $7/kg milk solids for the 2014-15 season.

This weakened payout is predicted to occur when northern hemisphere production peaks later this year. The resulting extra supply would push prices down, Westpac senior economist Anne Boniface said. The bank had forecast an opening price of $7.10/kg MS for the 2014-15 season.

“We’re expecting dairy prices to soften a little bit over the course of 2014 as global supply increases.

“It was still a good price. It’s not quite as good as 2013-2014, but not too bad either.” . . .

A floral fight against green terrorists:

Flower power is alive and well in the Waikato. No, it’s not a hemp-wearing, nettle-tea drinking hippy commune promoting pacifism. Rather, depending on where you stand in the food chain, this one’s a bit more sinister. In fact, it’s designed for death.

No need to alert the authorities, however. The horror is taking place at a more microscopic level, and it’s all for a good cause.

To promote biodiversity and reduce the use of pesticides, award winning food company Snap Fresh Foods has teamed up with Lincoln University to harness the pest-killing attributes of flowers. More to the point, the flowers are being used to attract the right kind of killer insects. . .

Enjoy your kiwi heritage – rafting the Clarence - Stephen Franks:

I’ve just come off 6 days rafting down the Clarence River with 13 friends. We’re raving about good times that surpassed all expectation.

The river starts above Hanmer and reaches the sea near Kaikoura. Rafting it should be on every New Zealander’s heritage ‘must do’ list, like the Otago Rail Trail.

Do it for the scale of the country, its emptiness, the clarity of the sky, the alternating serenity and rush of rafting. Do it to enjoy the chatter of your raft-mates, the walking and climbing from campsites among scrub and snowgrass. Do it to swim in deep blue pools and drink the water you swim in all the way down. Do it to boil the billy on wood fires and taste the difference between manuka  and willow smoke in your tea. Do it to be without electronic contact for the entire trip.

Do it to sip your Waipara wines as the swallows zip and dart over your camp after insects in the evening. . . .


Rural round-up

January 9, 2014

New Zealand farmers John Falkner, Simon Berry set to market cheese made with deer milk – Dominique Schwartz:

A New Zealand farmer and a cheese maker have joined forces to craft what they hope will be the world’s first commercially produced cheese using deer milk.

Scientists say deer milk is rich in nutrients and protein, and could also have wide-ranging therapeutic and cosmetic uses.

Milking sheds are dotted across New Zealand’s rolling pastures, but there are none quite like Clachanburn Station possibly anywhere in the world.

At Clachanburn, in the Central Otago region of the South Island, it is not cows clattering through the milking runs but deer. . .

Farmers show resilience to adapt to changing world - Tim Mackle:

A New Year has arrived, and I’m pleased. Time to move on from 2013.

Not that all went badly last year. Not at all. The dairy industry and Fonterra in particular were in the news a lot – but maybe that helped New Zealanders understand us better.

We came through it together and perhaps, out of it all, we know a little bit more about each other.

2013 may have started badly for farmers with the drought, but it ended well weather-wise and with a positive milk price forecast. . .

Milking goats makes $en$e – Gerald Piddock:

Milking time at the Wade family’s dairy goat farm is a noisy affair.

The chorus of baas from the hundreds of impatient goats jostling outside in the yards sees to that.

“Come on, girls,” dairy milker Gary Bowman says as he opens the gate to the milking shed.

The noise stops as the goats rush forward, knowing a free meal of grain is on offer, while Gary and the other shed workers quickly attach the milking cups to the goats teats.

The process is over very quickly. . .

An oldie but a goodie – Mark Griggs:

BREEDING first-cross (Border Leicester/Merino) ewes as the “traditional mothers” of the prime lamb industry is still consistently profitable.

But Narromine area breeder, Warren Skinner, is worried the time-honoured and proven cross may die out with the older generation, who have traditionally bred that way.

“Most of the traditional breeders have stuck with the first-cross job, but I worry once this generation gets older, the young people that take over may move away and to different breeds on offer,” he said. . .

Stock & Land notches up its century - Alisha Fogden:

IN 2014, Stock & Land celebrates 100 years, and to mark this momentous occasion we have many centenary events and initiatives planned for the coming 12 months.

This marks the start of our weekly look-back pages where we choose a similar date from a corresponding year to show how farming and the paper have changed – or not.

Today, we look back half a century to January 8, 1964, when the paper still had that traditional old newsletter feel in black and white but had already begun to include more pictures and illustrations. . .

Heinz plant closure part of trend squeezing farmers out of Canada’s system, says NFU:

The closure of the Heinz ketchup plant announced last week is the latest of several Canadian food processing plants bought and then closed by investors that move production to other countries in pursuit of higher profits. The trend bodes ill for Canadians who want to eat food that is grown and processed within our borders, and is a direct result of the federal government’s policy drive to expand agri-food exports at the expense of Canadian food sovereignty.

“Since 1989, Heinz’s Leamington plant has shut down the pickle line, its peach, baked bean, soups and vegetable canning lines, the frozen vegetable product line and its vinegar operation. From hundreds of products, now all that is left is baby food and tomato product lines. Even so, the plant was still very profitable,” said Mike Tremblay, Essex County Local NFU-O President. “The new owners want even higher profits, and free trade deals just make it easier for processors to pick up and move, leaving our farmers with no market for their tomatoes and other vegetables, and putting hundreds of local people out of work.” . . .

New blood for farming :

THREE NEW entrants to agriculture, all students at Scotland’s Rural College, have been shortlisted to progress in the prestigious Lantra Scotland Land-based and Aquaculture Learner of the Year Awards – although none have a family background in farming.

Eighteen year-old Kaleem Shaikh grew up and went to school in suburban Uddingston, on the outskirts of Glasgow, but already he breeds pedigree sheep, goats and keeps hens on rented land and has emerged as ‘Best student’ in his year-group at the SRUC Oatridge campus in West Lothian.

Kaleem has been selected in the National Certificate Agriculture category and has moved on to study for a Higher National Certificate at Oatridge.

Ashley Stamper, a 21- year-old from Corstorphine, in Edinburgh, first learnt about farming by visiting a nearby farm as a child to bottle-feed pet lambs and has now completed a Modern Apprenticeship in Agriculture at SRUC Barony Campus, in Dumfries.

She works as a shepherdess and stockperson for a farm services company, based at Hexham, in Northumberland. She goes forward in the Scottish Vocational Qualification in Agriculture Level 3 category.

Cameron Smith, also 18, got interested in farming when his family moved from Coatbridge, via a spell in Northern Ireland, to Doune, in Perthshire, and he made friends with schoolmates who were from farming backgrounds. . . .

Photo: 10 Reasons to thank a farmer on this Monday morning! (From Farm and Dairy)


Rural round-up

December 28, 2013

Huge solar power system to milk cows - Gerald Piddock:

Hugh and Sue Chisholm are turning to solar power to help run a more sustainable dairy business.

The Putaruru farmers are installing one of the country’s largest solar powered systems ever to be used on a dairy farm on their dairy shed near Putaruru.

The 28kW photovoltaic (PV) system has 112 solar panels on the roof of the Chisholm’s 64-bale rotary shed as well as two Fronius IG 150 V3 inverters.

Chisholm said the capital cost of the system was a smart investment, and part of an improvement plan for their farm. . .

Sharemilkers not bad people, just bad bosses - Jon Morgan:

Immigration adviser Lyn Sparks is blaming a rise in corporate-owned dairy farms for an increase in workers’ complaints about poor working conditions.

The Christchurch-based adviser says the biggest offenders are some corporate-owned farms run by sharemilkers.

However, he believes there are more good employers than bad in dairying.

“The bad ones are not bad people,” he says. “They just don’t know how to manage.”

But a contract milker says there are just as many bad employees in dairying as bad employers. . .

Sorry tale of swaps no one understood - Fiona Rotherham:

It has been a victory – of sorts – for farmers with the Commerce Commission last week saying it intended filing court action next March against the ANZ, ASB and Westpac banks for “misrepresenting” the sale of interest rate swap loans to rural customers.

I say a victory of sorts because there’s a lot of water under the bridge yet to get compensation for farmers, some of whom ended up more heavily indebted and losing their land.

Sold between 2005 and 2008, interest rate swaps were marketed to farmers as a way to beat rising interest rates. When the global financial crisis hit in 2008 farmers with swaps saw the interest they were paying rise when rates were falling rapidly elsewhere. The banks charged huge break fees for those wanting to exit the swaps. . . .

Bank claims farmer swaps compo call ‘too late’ - Rob Stock:

ANZ says the three-year limitation period has passed under the Fair Trading Act for the Commerce Commission to obtain compensation for farmers who were mis-sold interest rate swaps.

That, the bank warned, meant the commission “will now have to attempt a novel and uncharted method to obtain compensation if it takes the court route.”

The bank’s written statement comes in the wake of the news last week that the commission would launch legal action next March under the Act against ANZ, Westpac and ASB for the sale of the swaps between 2005 and 2008. It is also investigating another bank, not yet named, that also sold swaps and may be joined to the action. . .

Postie’s long run of deliveries nears an end - Lauren Hayes:

After 53 years, millions of kilometres, thousands of early mornings and an unthinkable amount of petrol, a Winton postie is calling it a day.

At 21, Ray Cosgrove used his savings to buy into a Central Southland rural delivery run, and began loading letters into a Hansa station wagon. The Hansa might be long gone and the delivery route altered but, more than half a century later, Mr Cosgrove and his wife, Debbie, are still delivering mail to rural Southlanders.

Mr Cosgrove bought the rural run in September 1960 and stepping into the role was not as easy as many people, including the urban posties, often thought, he said. . .

Year in review – March – Rebecca Harper:

The drought was really hurting rural communities and the bill started to mount for the primary sector with drought declarations coming thick and fast. The entire North Island was eventually declared as being in drought along with the West Coast of the South Island. Dairy production took a hit and the first talk about a merger between the two largest meat co-operatives, Alliance and Silver Fern Farms, started, as farmers looked for the causes of low lamb prices.

This was quickly followed by a call from the newly-formed Meat Industry Excellence Group, a group of lower South Island farmers, for meat-sector consolidation. A meeting in Gore to gauge support and discuss possible reform of the red meat industry attracted 1000 farmers and Alliance chairman Owen Poole put the cost of consolidation at $600 million. . .


Rural round-up

November 10, 2013

Grass-fed meat promises to revive health benefits – Gerald Piddock:

Farming and consuming grass-fed red meat might just save the planet.

This form of farming was completely sustainable, nutritional therapist Nora Gedgaudas told farmers and visitors at the World Angus Forum in Rotorua.

It is also the predominant method of farming livestock in New Zealand.

“Grass-fed meat may just be the most healthy and sustainable food source on Earth,” she said.

Much of the earth’s landmass was unsuitable for agriculture, yet it could support grazing livestock while providing nutritionally dense food, she said. . .

1105kg steer continues tradition- Tim Cronshaw:

A friesian and charolais cross steer tipped the scales at 1105 kilograms to take the heaviest steer title in the Prime Cattle Competition at Canterbury Agricultural Park.

Dunsandel farmer John McDrury added a second title to his collection at the pre-Canterbury A & P Show event this week, after winning in 2010 with a 1250kg steer. His grandson, Jack McDrury, won in 2011 with a 1000kg charolais.

The supreme champion animal was a limousin heifer, which also won the best single heifer title for Jeannette and Ralph Adams from Flaxton, near Rangiora. . .

Bloodthirsty ticks on a quest:

BLOODTHIRSTY ADULT TICKS are on a quest right now and farmers in the North Island in tick-prevalent areas should be checking cattle and talking to their veterinarian, say DairyNZ.

They should be assessing their risk in an effort to limit the spread of a new strain of the blood-borne parasite Theileria, says DairyNZ.

Cases of cattle being affected by the new Ikeda strain of Theileria orientalis, which is carried by ticks and causes anaemia, have been on the increase since late 2012, particularly in the upper half of the North Island. . .

Stock shift sees Molesworth road open earlier  - Tony Benny:

The Molesworth Station road has opened early this year, instead of the usual December 28, thanks to a change in farming practice and continuing efforts to show the historic high country property off.

“Our goal is that over their lifetime, everybody in New Zealand comes and has a look and gets a feel of what they own,” said Molesworth manager Jim Ward.

The public has previously been kept off the 59-kilometre road that links Hanmer with Marlborough’s Awatere Valley until close to New Year, because of fears that they could interfere with farming operations.

This year the road opened two months earlier, at Labour Weekend, thanks to young cattle being sent to finishing blocks in Hanmer rather than being kept on the station. . .

Bush v city: why I won’t be joining the exodus from rural Australia – Gabrielle Chan:

From wide open spaces to a genuine sense of community, country Australia, let me count the ways I love thee.

So the bush is bleeding. No one wants to live here. Just a few of us hardy souls left, it appears.

We were told this month rural Australians are falling in love with the beaches – that coastal strip that rings the country, with all its white sands, clear blue seas, temperate climate, its schools and hospitals, its shopping malls and movie theatres.

Well all I can say is: what a bunch of tossers.

Granted, as a city girl, I could not initially see the attractions that lay beyond the tall dark handsome farmer who lured me westward out of my three-metre-wide Surry Hills terrace and into the great open spaces.

Granted, I did spend a fair bit of time walking through the paddocks carrying a large branch, suffering from some agoraphobic belief that all this space without a single human had to hold some hidden monster that would emerge from the morning fog to attack me.

Ah, but like most affairs, the delights of rural life crept up slowly and now I have fallen in love with the bush. . .

#gigatownoamaru has fallen in love with the goal of being the southern hemisphere’s first gigatown.


Rural round-up

October 19, 2013

Pengxin, Synlait founders make $85.7 mln offer to take over Synlait Farms - Paul McBeth:

(BusinessDesk) – Shanghai Pengxin, which bought the Crafar family farms in a controversial deal last year, and the Synlait founders are offering $85.7 million to buy South Island dairy farmer Synlait Farms.

SFL Holdings, a joint venture between Pengxin and Synlait Farms chief executive Juliet Maclean and director John Penno, is offering $2.10 a share to Synlait Farms investors in a full takeover bid for the company which operates 13 dairy farms and a total herd of almost 13,000 cows. That’s a 31 percent premium to the $1.60 price the shares last traded at on the Unlisted platform.

If the takeover is successful, SFL plans to inject a further $20 million in fresh capital to reduce debt and accelerate investment. It also plans to reinvest all surplus cash to fund further growth. Penno and Maclean will hold about 26 percent of SFL, with Pengxin owning the rest via New Zealand Standard Farm, a subsidiary of its Milk New Zealand unit. . .

Spierings blames ‘she’ll be right attitude’ for Fonterra botulism scare - Christopher Adams:

Fonterra chief executive Theo Spierings compared the company’s botulism debacle to Emirates Team New Zealand’s near-capsize during the America’s Cup. Photo / Greg Bowker

Fonterra chief executive Theo Spierings says a “she’ll be right attitude” was one of the causes of the company’s botulism fiasco.

Business leaders have gathered in Auckland today for the annual China Business Summit.

The event’s main focus this year is the ongoing impact of Fonterra’s whey protein contamination scare, which led to a global recall of consumer products, including infant formula, but turned out to be a false alarm.

Addressing the summit, Spierings said Fonterra was world class in manufacturing and food safety but the company still needed to “lift its game”.

“That was one the key learnings [of the botulism scare] – a ‘she’ll be right’ attitude is not acceptable,” he said. . .

Primary Growth Partnership enhances world-class Mozzarella technology:

A Primary Growth Partnership programme is helping deliver world-leading patented technology for the production of quick-frozen grated mozzarella.

The Transforming the Dairy Value Chain programme is driven by Fonterra, Dairy NZ and the Ministry for Primary Industries (MPI) under the Primary Growth Partnership. The technology, which is being expanded at Fonterra’s Clandeboye site in South Canterbury, enables quick-frozen, natural, shredded mozzarella to be produced in just a day—a process traditionally taking around two months.

“This is a key demonstration of the type of innovation that is being enabled by the Primary Growth Partnership,” says Justine Gilliland, Director Primary Growth Partnership, MPI. . .

Creating the ‘angus moment’ – Gerald Piddock:

Angus beef must position itself as a guilt-free indulgence for wealthy consumers around the world if it is to prosper in the modern world, a leading brand strategist says.

But to achieve this would require a new way of thinking, Brian Richards told farmers at the World Angus Forum in Rotorua.

It meant angus farmers viewing themselves not just as sellers of protein but also as producers of a food experience, Richards said in his keynote address at the forum. . .

New Zealand wine industry ‘icon’ receives 2013 trans-Tasman agribusiness leadership award:

New Zealand wine industry luminary Sir George Fistonich has been named the recipient of the 2013 Rabobank Leadership Award for his outstanding contribution to agribusiness.

A pioneer of modern-day winemaking in New Zealand, Sir George, the founder and owner of Villa Maria Estate, was presented with the prestigious trans-Tasman honour at the annual Rabobank Leadership Award Dinner in Melbourne last night.

Australian grains industry advocate Georgie Aley was named Rabobank Emerging Leader, a new award category recognising up-and-coming young leaders in New Zealand and Australia’s food, beverage and agribusiness industries.

Announcing the award winners, Rabobank Australia & New Zealand Group managing director Thos Gieskes said Sir George Fistonich had spent five decades at the forefront of New Zealand’s wine industry and had been an instrumental figure in the rise of New Zealand wines on the world stage.

“In a career spanning 50 years, George Fistonich has exemplified true leadership along with an extraordinary passion for the New Zealand wine industry – successfully leading not just his own business, but helping to pioneer and drive an entire industry and inspire and mentor those around him,” Mr Gieskes said.  . .  (I posted on the award yesterday, but this is the official media release).

Waiting for Nuffield – RivettingKateTaylor:

It’s Nuffield time of year again.

Years ago, a Young Farmers friend, arable farmer Hugh Ritchie, was awarded a Nuffield Scholarship. I think I was working for radio or the HB Herald Tribune at the time and did a story on his selection.

Now I work for Nuffield NZ in a freelance journalist role and see the scholars come and go (literally – six months of overseas travel/research is an integral part of a scholarship). . .

Oaklands Milk now from A2 dairy herds:

Local dairy farmer Julian Raine, has announced that all Oakland’s milk naturally contains A2 beta casein proteins. He says “Centuries ago all cow’s milk contained this protein but as dairy herds around the world have been bred and selected for higher production the incidence of the A1 variation has increased.”

Through genetic testing Mr Raine has been able to select cows from his two Nelson dairy herds that have only the A2 gene. These cows are milked separately and it is only this pasteurised milk that is currently sold through vending machines located at Oakland’s farm gate. . .

Kiwi company takes the spotlight with its world-leading technology:

Global players in the fresh produce industry will this weekend get a first-hand look at innovative fruit sorting solutions from Kiwi company BBC Technologies, the world’s leading supplier of blueberry sorting and packing machinery.

BBC Technologies, specialists in the development and manufacturing of advanced processing technology, will be showcasing its range, for the first time, at the Produce Marketing Association’s (PMA) Fresh Summit Convention & Expo in New Orleans.

PMA’s Fresh Summit is one of the largest trade shows held in the United States, drawing more than 18,000 visitors from over 60 countries. North America is a key market for BBC, with the thriving New Zealand company recording 30 per cent year on year growth. . .


Rural round-up

October 18, 2013

Flagship dairy farm showed off - Sue O’Dowd:

Maori incorporation Parininihi ki Waitotara (PKW) showed off its flagship dairy farm near Matapu in South Taranaki to the board of directors and senior managers of DairyNZ yesterday.

The organisation, which is funded by levies on dairy farmers’ milksolids, is holding its annual general meeting in Hawera today. It’s the first time DairyNZ has held its AGM in Taranaki since it was formed in 2007.

PKW chief executive Dion Tuuta said the DairyNZ visit was an endorsement of the excellent practices the incorporation was demonstrating. . .

China meat sales boom comes with warning – Gerald Piddock:

Meat Industry Association chief executive Tim Ritchie has warned the country’s meat companies against becoming too reliant on the booming Chinese export market.

China is now New Zealand’s largest single market for sheepmeat by volume and value, but the industry had to try to have a balance of trade outside of China, he said.

“It’s about getting that balance right.”

He feared a repeat of New Zealand’s dependence on meat exports to Iran in the 1980s. . .

Cattle grazing stockmen take a stand – Sue O’Dowd:

Long-time grazier Ian Marshall relies on his reputation rather than contracts when he grazes heifers and weaners for Taranaki dairy farmers.

Ian and Julie Marshall have owned the 550ha Wild Stream Cattle Station near Ratapiko for 20 years and now share-farm it with son Alec and daughter-in-law Clair, who have been managing the property for four years.

The Marshalls graze 1150 friesian, cross-bred and jersey yearling heifers and weaners for 16 dairy farmers each year and run steers and sheep as well. . .

Whanganui farmer praises flood warning system:

A Whanganui farmer has praised the regional council’s river warning system which she says gave farmers plenty of time to prepare for this week’s flooding and move stock out of harm’s way.

Manawatu-Whanganui regional council installed the automated monitoring system after the disastrous 2004 floods.

And Kirsten Bryant who farms at Fordell and also has hill country farms in the upper Whanganui catchment, says it’s been invaluable. . .

Share the wealth - Willy Leferink:

While there’s been a right brouhaha over asset sales something big has slipped under the radar. I am not talking about the Trans Pacific Partnership, awesome though that will be. I am not even talking One Direction hitting New Zealand. What I am talking is the dividend which recently hit the bank accounts of fully shared up Fonterra shareholders.

Alright, dividends aren’t exactly new to Fonterra shareholders but what is, is the way many farmers are now active players on the NZX sharemarket.

Since the Fonterra Shareholders Fund kicked off some eight months ago, the unit price has surged from $5.50 to a high point of $7.30. It’s now trading at $6.92 despite a drought–affected season and that false alarm involving the whey concentrate WPC80. Danone is lining up for compensation across many markets and I suspect they won’t be alone. That the Shareholders Fund is still about 26 percent up on the listing price tells me ‘the market’ believes any compensation won’t sink the coop. . .

New traps could be key to kiwi survival:

Revolutionary new traps that can hold up to 24 dead predators at a time are being touted as the possible saviour of the kiwi.

The traps use a mixture of gas and toxic sprays to wipe out the pests and do not have to be cleared as often as the models they are replacing.

There are roughly 70,000 kiwi left but 27 die each week. . .


Rural round-up

July 9, 2013

Call to take multi-party approach – Sally Rae:

The state of the red-meat industry was, not surprisingly, a major topic of conversation at Federated Farmers national conference in Ashburton last week.

A session entitled ”Culture Change: The New Beginning In The Meat Industry” was a focus of the meat and fibre meeting, as agribusiness reporter Sally Rae reports.

Former PPCS chairman Reese Hart believes a merger between the co-operative (now Silver Fern Farms) and Alliance Group is not a priority.

”I simply think there are more important things to be done. I think the merger will happen some day but probably not for the reasons we wanted it to happen five years ago,” Mr Hart told Federated Farmers meat and fibre meeting in Ashburton last week. . .

Beef prices expected to firm -

New Zealand beef prices are expected to firm over the next quarter, partly in response to tighter supplies resulting from the drought, but also to forecasts of a wet winter encouraging producers to retain stock, Rabobank said.

The specialised agribusiness lender said seasonal pressures still exist, but have since improved from the poor conditions in the first quarter.

Most regions received some good rainfall, with temperatures still warmer than average, which has enabled some good pasture growth, the bank said. . .

Debacle carries big implications for farmers – James Houghton:

While Christchurch was taking in the revelations about its council’s chief executive, former Hamilton City Council CEO Tony Marryatt, farmers were discussing the big issues facing agriculture at Federated Farmers’ national conference in Ashburton.

Fittingly, these discussions included a plenary session featuring Canterbury Employers’ Chamber of Commerce chief executive Peter Townsend, Selwyn District Mayor Kelvin Coe and Ashburton District Mayor Angus McKay, looking at local government and its implications for some of its biggest contributors, the rural sector.

Christchurch City Council has hit some serious credibility issues, with International Accreditation New Zealand withdrawing its ability to issue building consents. It is clear council staff were not meeting the required building code standards. It is also clear they were not meeting the required standards of professionalism needed. . .

Soil health key component of farm economics – Gerald Piddock:

Future farm systems can achieve environmental and economic sustainability, but there are no quick-fix solutions for reaching that goal, a DairyNZ scientist says.

Getting there would require a balance between environmental and production- driven goals, DairyNZ senior scientist Pierre Beukes told scientists and farmers at the New Zealand Society of Animal Production Conference in Hamilton.

Farmers would have to build strong system fundamentals based around soil health, nutrients and cows to withstand the future challenge of farming within limits. . .

Healthy pipfruit profits expected – Peter Watson:

The Nelson economy is in for a much-needed boost with the pipfruit season shaping up as the best in five years.

After losing money in three of the last four years, growers expect to bank a modest to healthy profit this year on the back of record prices for many varieties in Europe and Britain and steady growth in Asia.

They have been aided by a shortage of fruit in key markets and a weakening kiwi.. .

New Zealand shearing team has first win:

New Zealand’s shearing test team has tasted success for the first time on its Northern Hemisphere test tour, levelling the eight-match series at one-a-piece.

Golden Shears champion Rowland Smith, from Hastings, and Rakaia’s Tony Coster combined to beat an English test pairing by three points at the Lakelands Shears in Cumbria. . .

Hawkes Bay Winery scoops four medals at San Francisco International Wine Competition:

Hawkes Bay boutique winery Mangapapa Estates has scooped four medals at the prestigious San Francisco International Wine Competition with its Chateau Waimarama branded wines.

More than 4,500 wines were judged at this year’s competition and out of the four wines entered, all Chateau Waimarama wines attained medals, a Gold Medal, two Silvers and one Bronze.

The Gold Medal was for Chateau Waimarama’s 2009 Hawkes Bay Cabernet Sauvignon. . .


Rural round-up

July 1, 2013

All of market’s wants required - Sally Rae:

New Zealand’s red meat industry needs to have the ”whole package” when it comes to market presence, robust systems, strong relationships and corporate respect.

That was one of the findings of Five Forks couple Blair and Jane Smith, the supreme winners of the 2012 Ballance Farm Environment Awards, after a 16-day study tour of specific primary industry markets in Korea, Taiwan and China. . . .

Agriculture begging for graduates – Kashka Tunstall:

It ranks as New Zealand’s most productive, innovative sector.

Entry level positions get an annual pay packet of $55,000, roughly 40 per cent more than the average arts graduate entering the workforce will earn.

Progression is a given and, with shortages in the field internationally, graduates end up having a global career.

The problem is, no one wants to study it.

Agriculture, which John Key has called the backbone of New Zealand’s economy, is an industry with massive growth potential. . .

Couple top Kiwi green farmers - Gerald Piddock:

Craige and Roz Mackenzie have been recognised as the country’s top environmental farmers after being named national winners of the 2013 Farm Environment Awards.

They received the Gordon Stephenson Trophy in front of 400 guests at the New Zealand Farm Environment Trust’s Sustainability Showcase in Hamilton on Saturday night.

The winner is recognised as an ambassador for the promotion of sustainable and profitable farming in New Zealand.

The event celebrated the contribution agriculture made to the New Zealand economy and highlighted the efforts farmers had made to find better ways to manage their farming systems.

The trophy is presented annually and is named after the Waikato farmer who started the farm environment awards. . .

Family mill does more than lumber along - Sally Rae:

Sawmilling has always been a passion for Roger Stuart.

Unsurprisingly, it was all he wanted to do when he left school, given the family connection with the timber industry.

Stuart Timber, at Tapanui, which he now manages, was established in 1980 by the Stuart family and remains a real family business.

”Sawmilling is definitely in the veins of the Stuart crew, no doubt about that,” he mused recently. . .

New president for Rural Contractors NZ:

Wellsford-based agricultural contractor Steve Levet is the new head of the Rural Contractors New Zealand (RCNZ).

Rural Contractors New Zealand is the only national association for rural contractors in New Zealand.

Mr Levet was elected president of the association at its annual conference, held in Cromwell in late June, taking over from John Hughes who stood down after four years in the role. Southland’s David Kean was elected vice-president. . .

 

UK’s top end supermarket keen on HB red wine:

Hawke’s Bay’s “exciting” wines and the “clean living” image of this region fits the “aspirational ideals” of the customers of Waitrose, UK’s leading top end supermarket, according to its New Zealand wine buyer Matt Smith, who was here on a scouting mission to find new wines to stock the shelves.

It was Mr Smith’s second visit to the region and he was excited by the opportunity he saw for Hawke’s Bay Merlot Cabernet blends. He described the wines he tasted as being “impressive” food focused wines that had benefited from more sun and warmth than competing wines from around the world. . . .


Rural round-up

June 19, 2013

Exporter confidence is up – innovation and online offset strong dollar:

•59% of exporters confident about next 12 months orders
•Currency number 1 challenge
•Australia and China biggest opportunity and threat
•Online the key to export future

New Zealand exporter confidence is up despite the strong kiwi dollar, as exporters focus on factors they can control and deploy strategies ranging from importing to focusing on the online environment.

The ninth annual DHL Export Barometer survey found that 59% of New Zealand exporters are confident that export orders will increase in the next 12 months. This is an increase from last year where confidence was at an all-time low (51%) in the history of the survey. . .

Chase opportunities primary sector  urged- Gerald Piddock:

New Zealand businesses need to better harvest free-trade opportunities if the aim of doubling overseas trade by 2025 is to be achieved, a National Fieldays seminar has been told.

An obvious place to focus on that increase was the primary sector because more than half of New Zealand’s exports came from the sector, said a panel of experts at an international markets seminar.

The Government’s aim is for New Zealand to lift export earnings from 30 per cent to 40 per cent of GDP by 2025. That would double New Zealand’s total export value from $60 billion to $120b.

It would require sustained above-trend growth in the primary sector to achieve that, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade’s Mark Trainor said. . .

Passing on of family farms to be researched - Tim Cronshaw:

Handing over the family farm can bring out the worst in people, but it’s hoped the results of a new survey will help the process go more smoothly.

Lincoln University is about to survey 2500 farmers about ways they use to pass on farms to family.

This is part of research into succession planning by Dr Kevin Old and Dr Peter Nuthall from the university’s commerce faculty.

Old said most families looked for a fair and equitable way to hand over the family farm for all members including the exiting owners, but this could sometimes go astray. . .

Irrigation projects head Wills’ wishlist -  Tim Cronshaw:

Water will need to play a big part if the Government’s plan to double agriculture’s value to $60 billion by 2025 is to be successful, Federated Farmers president Bruce Wills says.

New Zealand had plenty of water, but in many areas there was not enough water at the right time of the year. To solve this the building of water storage facilities must be encouraged, he said.

“If farmers are going to meet the Government’s growth agenda of doubling agricultural receipts by 2025 from $30b to $60b then water must form an integral part of this success,” said Wills at National Fieldays at Mystery Creek. . .

ANZ chief -  farmers in line for China boom - Lisa Murray:

NZ Banking Group chief executive Mike Smith says China is about to do for Australian farmers what it did for the country’s miners a decade ago.

But he also added his voice to a building chorus of calls for Australia to follow New Zealand’s lead and sign a free trade agreement with China to make the most of the growing demand for agricultural goods.

While everyone is talking about the end of the minerals boom – something he disagrees with – Smith said insufficient attention had been paid to the potential surge in Chinese demand for soft commodities, such as grain and meat. . .

Farming champions meet minister – Jessica Hayes:

MEMBERS of the Farming Champions movement met with Agriculture and Food Minister Ken Baston last week to discuss the challenges facing the agricultural industry.

Kukerin farmer Mary Nenke, Varley farmer and former CWA president Margaret Sullivan and communications adviser Cate Rocchi, provided the minister with a perspective on the current shape of the agricultural industry.

All three women were heavily involved with the movement through the recent ‘Farmer on Your Plate – Getting Agriculture Back on the Political menu’ held in the Perth CBD earlier this year and the renowned Facebook group ‘Alarming Farming’. . .

 

 


Rural round-up

May 30, 2013

Dairy development helping environment - Gerald Piddock:

A controversial dairying development near Omarama is leading the way with its environmental practices.

It is still early days but the structure, fertility, health and depth of Little Ben dairy farm’s soil has significantly improved over the past three years.

Farmers saw the progress the farm had made at a field day last week.

The 470ha farm operates as a partnership between Richard Gloag and Merv McCabe. . . .

PGG Wrightson managing director to step down in August – Tina Morrison:

PGG Wrightson managing director George Gould will step down from New Zealand’s biggest rural technology and services firm after helping refocus the company.

Mr Gould previously headed Pyne Gould Guinness and was appointed to the top job at the larger company in February 2011 to help stabilise it as it exited non-core activities.

He will leave on August 31, the Christchurch-based company says in a statement today. . .

Merino man shakes up primary industries -

In 1995, John Brakenridge had an acute case of ‘new guy’. 

He’d been hired by the board of Canterbury-based wool marketer New Zealand Merino to breathe fresh air into a stale sector.

But the high country heartlanders were wary.

‘Which part of the South Island are you from?’ they asked the bloke who grew up in Auckland. ‘You look a bit young, don’t you?’ they said to the 34-year-old. ‘How long have you been in the wool industry?’ It was his first day.

Although he had a track record in the primary sector, serving as marketing manager for produce company Cedenco Foods in the late 1980s and partnering with the New Zealand Dairy Board in the Middle East, he was unmistakably a wool industry outsider.  . .

So close on second go - Jill Galloway:

Cam Brown says he will always be known as the guy who was second in the grand final of the Young Farmer Contest.

He was one of seven regional winners who won a place in the final. He was the winner of the Manawatu-Taranaki final.

Brown is competitive. He likes to do everything correctly and win.

“I lost by five points. I thought afterwards about places I could have made up those points. But I knew I’d given it my best shot in the contest.” . . .

Westland Milk Products Predicts Lifts Payout Prediction for 2013-14:

Westland Milk Products has announced a pay-out prediction for the 2013-14 season of $6.60 to $7 per kilo of milk solids (kgMS), an increase of 60 to 70 cents on the current season, with an opening advance (payable 20 September) of $4.80 per kgMS for all milk collected from 1 August 2013.

The Hokitika-based dairy cooperative also confirmed the forecast pay-out for this season of $6 to $6.30 per kgMS excluding retentions. The advance rate payable 20 June 2013 has been approved at $5.20 per kgMS.

Chief Executive Rod Quin says the forward view for the dairy market is relatively strong, even with the recent decline from the highs of six weeks ago. The strong outlook is being driven by ongoing firm demand and the expected shortfall of milk supply from key exporting markets. . .

Dairy farmers welcome some good news at last:

After a harsh drought and massive feed costs, dairy farmers needed good news and Fonterra Cooperative Group may have just delivered it.

“The forecast farmgate milk price of $7 per kilogram of milksolids (kg/MS) for 2013/14 is going to get a lot of attention,” says Willy Leferink, Federated Farmers Dairy Chairperson.

“Boy oh boy did we need some morale raising good news. In plain-English, it means that farmers could get about 0.58 cents per litre for milk they will produce between June and May 2014.

“While a $7 kg/MS milkprice forecast sounds amazing, the public deserve to know this is forecast revenue and revenue is not profit. To get to profit, you need to take off the farm’s working expenses, tax obligations and pay back the bank manager; a big expense being right there. . .

Aggressive forecast Farmgate Milk Price, advance welcomed by Farmers:

Fonterra Shareholders’ Council Chairman, Ian Brown, said it was encouraging for Farmers to see Fonterra take an aggressive stance in its Milk Price forecasting for next season.

The Fonterra Board of Directors today announced an opening Farmgate Milk Price forecast of $7.00 per kg/MS for the 2013/14 season, including a $5.00 advance.

Ian Brown: “This is great news for our Farmer Shareholders and reinforces the good position our Co-operative is in.

“Having a strong forecast Milk Price and advance puts Farmers in a healthier position and provides them greater flexibility in running their farms. . .

Great food starts with great soil:

Ballance Agri-Nutrients is showcasing the connection between great soil and premium produce, with quality producers of beef, vegetables, apples and wine featuring at their Fieldays site this year.

Ballance General Manager Sales, Andrew Reid, explains that soil is an integral part of the success of our farmers.

“In fact the whole New Zealand economy starts with those three inches of topsoil which support our rural production sector,” says Mr Reid.

Mr Reid says that premium producers have one thing in common – respect for the soil and the ability to work with it. . . .


Rural round-up

May 23, 2013

Fears over future water policies:

Get involved or risk losing out.

That was the message to farmers from industry leaders, who say they fear that apathy could lead to Canterbury’s future water policies being unfriendly to farmers.

This was because of low attendance rates at zone committee meetings and at Environment Canterbury’s Land and Water Regional Plan hearings.

These leaders were attending a forum on water management that took place at South Canterbury Federated Farmers annual meeting.

Former Opuha Water chief executive Peter Scott urged farmers to ”get into the game”. . .

TPP Has the Potential to Revitalise Japan’s Agriculture Sector:

Research released by the New Zealand Asia Institute today has found that Japan joining the Trans Pacific Partnership (TPP) could potentially trigger a revitalisation of its agriculture sector.

The independent research, funded by Fonterra, was conducted by Professors Hugh Whittaker and Rob Scollay from The University of Auckland. They investigated the potential implications of the TPP on the Japanese agricultural sector, which is a proposed free trade agreement under negotiation between 12 countries including New Zealand and also Japan, who only joined earlier this year. . .

Lupins help farm to victory – Gerald Piddock:

The use of lupins as a forage crop has helped a Mackenzie farmer win the fine wools section of the 2013 New Zealand Ewe Hogget Competition.

Sawdon Station co-owner Gavin (Snow) Loxton said winning the section came as a complete surprise after he entered the competition for the first time.

The Ewe Hogget Competition aims to find the country’s top hogget flock. Breed section finalists were announced earlier this week with the supreme champion announced on May 29.

His merino hoggets were in excellent condition when the judges visited his farm, which was due to his use of lupins as a forage crop. . .

Absolute ripper” 2013 wine vintage for Hawke’s Bay:

It’s confirmed! The excitement expressed as grapes of every variety were harvested throughout Hawke’s Bay last month, has burst into euphoria; pressed grapes now safely in barrels and casks are being touted as exceptional and 2013 as the ‘vintage of the century’ for Hawke’s Bay.

An informal survey of winemakers from Central Hawke’s Bay to Esk Valley, from the coast to the (almost) the ranges is unanimous. The flavours and colour of this season’s pressed grapes, both white and red, could not be better.

“It’s as exciting as everyone says,” was the verdict from Rod McDonald of Rod McDonald Wines, while Sacred Hill’s Tony Bish is particularly bullish and believes this year’s grapes will make the “greatest wine Hawke’s Bay has seen”. . .

Shorn merino sheep inspire wine brand:

The New Zealand branch of branding consultancy Interbrand has won its company’s global award for its Naked Sheep Wine design.

Its entry won the Global 2013 Interbrand Best Work Award for Craft, Packaging.

Interbrand NZ was tasked by boutique wine grower Ben Aubrey to develop a brand and packaging that reflected the heritage of the South Island Cairn Station vineyard on one of New Zealand’s oldest merino sheep stations. . .


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 3, 2013

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

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

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

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

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

Focus on rural crime – Jill Galloway:

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

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

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

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

City docs ‘go rural’:

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

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

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

Feed dispenser takes top award – Gerald Piddock:

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

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

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

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

Mesh covers could beat TPP – Gerald Piddock:

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

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

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

Beef, Lamb & Chelsea: A Recipe For Success:

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

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

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

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

Richie Mccaw Visits Fonterra’s Sri Lanka Operations:

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

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

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

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

From here via Campaign for Wool we have tartan sheep:

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


Rural round-up

March 1, 2013

Minister welcomes biosecurity report:

Minister for Primary Industries Nathan Guy has welcomed a report from the Auditor-General into biosecurity incursions, and says it will be carefully considered by the Government.

“My office has received a copy of the full report today and I’m looking forward to working through it with the Ministry for Primary Industries.

“Biosecurity is my top priority as Minister and we will carefully consider any advice and recommendations that could improve our biosecurity system.

“The report notes improvements MPI already has in progress, including updating plans for dealing with specific pests, better surveillance targeting and more regular exercises and simulations. It also notes that overall New Zealand’s biosecurity system has been improved though sharing knowledge and innovative practices.

“We are always looking to review how we do things, and improve our systems. This report is part of that process, and I would encourage people to read the full document. . .

Auditor-General report sets the right direction:

Federated Farmers welcomes the audit by the Office of the Auditor General (OAG) on the Ministry for Primary Industries biosecurity preparedness and response activities, particularly relating to Food and Mouth (FMD) disease.

“This is an important and timely report given FMD would not only cripple pastoral farming, but it would hit almost every New Zealander in their pocket,” says Dr William Rolleston, Federated Farmers Biosecurity spokesperson.

“We were first contacted by the OAG in 2011 and participated in their initial research.

“The pastoral farming sector itself has been proactive in coming together to deal with weaknesses we identified with FMD response planning. . .

Farmers Need To Know ‘They Are Not Alone’, Says DairyNZ:

Industry body DairyNZ is joining with other agencies and organisations to co-ordinate a range of drought support mechanisms for Northland and other North Island dairy farmers, with a focus on facilitating farmer-to-farmer advice.

A state of drought has been officially declared in Northland today by the Minister for Primary Industries Nathan Guy, with other regions likely to follow soon.

DairyNZ’s regional team manager, Craig McBeth, says dry conditions are being experienced throughout the North Island and the industry body has already been sending out weekly newsletters with practical advice to farmers. It is also using its local discussion groups to help farmers find out how others are dealing with the dry conditions. . .

Drafting lambs electronically – Gerald Piddock:

Using electronic identification technology in sheep production is paying off for Ken Fraser.

The Fairlie farmer is into his third year using electronic tagging in his sheep flock.

He demonstrated its benefits at a Beef+Lamb field day at Opuha Downs last week.

The information captured by the tags allows him to calculate the growth rates of lambs according to which paddock they grazed on, the crop they ate and what type of ram they were bred from.

It allowed him to measure his lambs by weight gain rather than simply weight. . .

Broom worry backed – Gerald Piddock:

Environment Canterbury is backing the concerns of a Timaru resident over a jump in broom levels throughout the Mackenzie Country this summer.

Broom levels have increased in the Mackenzie Country and other parts of South Canterbury this summer, largely due to the rain the region had in early summer.

The increase prompted Timaru resident Gary Bleeker to write to the Timaru Herald earlier this week out of concern that landowners should take more responsibility to keep on top of the weed. . .

Water governance in NZ – an introduction – Wailolgy:

“Whiskey is for drinking; water is for fighting over.”

So goes the saying, often dubiously attributed to Mark Twain, when talking about water politics in the western US. And while New Zealanders are fortunate to have a much wetter climate (and tend to prefer beer or wine), we are no strangers to fights over water.

We see these tensions time and time again in the news. Fishing vs. irrigation in Canterbury. Greens vs. dams in Hawkes Bay. Residents vs. Auckland Council over rates. The Maori Council vs. the Government over ownership. As a nation, we have diverse and, at times, conflicting values when it comes to water.

To help resolve these tensions we turn to some form of governing body or another. Whether it is the central government, a regional or local government, or even small water user groups, they have been given the authority to make trade-offs on behalf of their constituents – to try to balance rival values. (The word ‘rival’ is in fact derived from the same root as ‘rivulet’ – rivals share the same river.) . . .

 


Rural round-up

February 21, 2013

Fish war on canals :

”Greedy” salmon anglers threatening to turn a salmon bonanza in the Waitaki hydro canals into a free-for-all are being accused of ignoring catch limits and using illegal methods to catch easy prey.

Following the release of 36,000 salmon smolt from the Mt Cook Alpine Salmon hatchery at Ohau 18 months ago, anglers have reported being able to hook a fish on every cast at some spots on the Tekapo and Ohau canals.

However, Central South Island Fish and Game field officer Graeme Hughes said the easy fishing had resulted in more people fishing illegally and ignoring the two-salmon quota. .  .

Tarras scheme reprieve - Rebecca Fox:

Potential irrigator Tarras Water Ltd has had a reprieve, but it has come with a stern warning from the Otago Regional Council.

The council voted 7-3 to overturn its own hearing panel’s recommendation not to amend the long-term plan to allow for investment in the irrigation scheme at a meeting in Dunedin yesterday. Instead, the ORC is proposing the amendment go ahead.

As the decision gives the council the option to invest in the scheme, a meeting will be held, possibly as early as next month, when councillors will make the decision whether to invest – with conditions attached – or not. . .

Cautious steps in goat milk expansion:

An Australasian goat milk company, CapriLac, is looking to expand “in a cautious way” in the Waikato.

Co-owner Rupert Soar said the family-owned company was advertising for goat farmers who were interested in selling their goat milk or leasing their operations to the company.

The company had received “quite a bit of interest”, and was following up leads, Soar said.

Farmers did not need to buy shares to get involved, as the company was not a co-operative. . .

Mining rights unlikely to affect farm sales – Terri Russell:

Solid Energy’s decision to sell farmland and keep mineral rights for mining would not turn away potential buyers, a Southland rural agent says.

About 1000 hectares of farmland near Mataura have been put on the market, and the mining giant plans to retain rights to lignite resources under the surface for about 30 years.

Last year, the company reviewed its land holdings after a drop in coal prices and a $40m loss for the year ending June 2012.

Southern Wide Real Estate director Philip Ryan said potential buyers would not be put-off if it were reserved for mining because about half of Southland had mineral rights. . .

A finalist but best still home – Gerald Piddock:

Doug and Jeannie Brown have made the final of the 2013 Glammies.

The North Otago farmers made the cut in the best of breed – traditional for one of his romney lambs grown on his farm at Maheno.

It was the third time they had entered the Golden Lamb Awards and the first time they have made the finals. This year four sheep were entered into the competition.

Their entry was one of 20 finalists which made the cut out of 180 entries from around the country. . . .

 

 

 

 

 


Rural round-up

February 18, 2013

Call for tighter rules – Gerald Piddock:

Federated Farmers is demanding the rules for importing palm kernel expeller (PKE) be tightened.

This comes after two members of the group’s grain and seed executive observed massive breaches of the New Zealand import health standards for importing 

Federated Farmers is demanding the rules for importing palm kernel expeller (PKE) be tightened.

This comes after two members of the group’s grain and seed executive observed massive breaches of the New Zealand import health standards for importing PKE into New Zealand during a visit to a Malaysian PKE crushing plant.

Mid Canterbury farmer David Clark along with Whakatane farmer Colin MacKinnon visited the country in September last year.

They detailed the breaches along with several recommendations to improve New Zealand’s biosecurity process in a report they submitted to the Ministry for Primary Industries last year.

into New Zealand during a visit to a Malaysian PKE crushing plant.

Mid Canterbury farmer David Clark along with Whakatane farmer Colin MacKinnon visited the country in September last year.

They detailed the breaches along with several recommendations to improve New Zealand’s biosecurity process in a report they submitted to the Ministry for Primary Industries last year. . .

Irrigation scheme on target -Gerald Piddock:

The first of the giant ponds at the Rangitata South Irrigation scheme could be filled by the end of the month, as construction of the project continues.

Workers were one third of the way through lining the surface of the first of the ponds, Rooney Earth Moving general manager Colin Dixon said.

The plastic lining came in large rolls that were unwrapped and the edges were then joined together.

“It’s like a sewing machine, it runs up the seam really slowly and melts them together,” Mr Dixon said.

He estimated it would take four to six weeks to line each pond. The ponds were lined one after the other, rather than all at the same time. As soon as one pond is lined, it can be filled with water. . .

Time to merge ag unis?- Marie Taylor and Rebecca Harper:

Merging agriculture courses offered at Lincoln and Massey universities is one way to make better use of limited resources, Beef + Lamb chairman Mike Petersen says.

It emerged last week that Lincoln was undertaking a major review of its qualifications.

It is the country’s smallest university, with 3500 full-time equivalent students, and has faced a series of financial losses in the past few years. It had a $5 million loss last year and a $5m loss is budgeted for this year.

Lincoln wants to reduce the number of undergraduate degrees it offers from 13 to three land-based three-year degrees, with a common first year. . .

The carbon-neutral dairy farm, is it possible? – Milking the Moove:

What does a dairy farmer have to do to become carbon neutral?

There has been much wailing and gnashing of teeth at the prospect of agriculture being included into New Zealand’s Emission Trading Scheme (ETS). 

So I thought to my self, what would a dairy farmer need to do to become carbon neutral?

But first, why would a farmer what to be carbon neutral?

Some may say because it’s the right thing to do for the environment.

Others will want to eliminate any tax paid on the carbon they emit. 

Other people will say that, being carbon neutral gives that farmer a wonderful point of difference in which to differentiate their products.

In order to avoid getting into a debate about whether climate change is real or not, I’m going to approach this from the marketing angle. . . .

Sector pins hopes on golden fleece – Tim Cronshaw:

A golden yarn developed by Kiwi scientists and containing pure gold is expected to be sold to wealthy buyers of luxury carpets, rugs and furnishings.

Unlike the golden fleece in Greek mythology the yarn and completed woollen products will not have a golden colour at this stage.

The Aulana-branded wool has been developed by Professor Jim Johnston and Dr Kerstin Lucas of Victoria University after $3 million of research and development.

A tiny amount of pure gold is combined with wool and the chemistry between the two causes it to bond and produce the colours of purple, grey and blue.

The range is expected to be extended and include a golden hue later. . .

Shearers busy as farmers heed market – Tim Cronshaw:

Canterbury shearers have gone into overdrive after an unexpected surge in sheep needing to be shorn.

The December to early February stint is usually quiet for shearing, but an influx of lambs and cull ewes needing their fleece removed put the pressure on shearers during the hot spell, when temperatures soared above 30 degrees in shearing sheds.

Farmers appear to have moved quickly in line with lower lamb prices and this acted as a catalyst for more shearing.

January was expected to be a slow month for shearing, but only in the last week has the pace slowed, said Barry Pullin,  an owner of Pullin Shearing, and chairman for the New Zealand Shearing Contractors Association. . . .


Rural round-up

February 3, 2013

Basting a chop won’t make a steak – Chalkie:

Poor old Red Meat. There she is, best frock on, hair done, smiling with her eyes and showing a bit of leg, only to find that tarty dairy cow getting all the attention.

Dairy co-op Fonterra teased investors for years before finally letting them on to third base late last year, with explosive results. Units in its Shareholders Fund quickly shot up to well over $7 after being issued at $5.50 a mere two months ago.

Meat co-op Silver Fern Farms, on the other hand, is still working the street corner.

After a reform of its capital structure in 2009, ordinary shares in Silver Fern became tradeable by any Tom, Dick and Harry on the unlisted market, but they have not been pursued with any passion. . .

NZ meats on Singapore menu -

New Zealand beef, lamb and, most likely venison, are on the menu at the Lone Star’s first overseas restaurant in a top waterfront precinct in Singapore.

The meat, branded Pure South, is being supplied by meat processor and exporter Alliance Group to the Fern & Kiwi restaurant, an offshoot of the Lone Star bar and restaurant chain.

A New Zealand-themed menu was worked out by consultant chef Mathew Metcalfe, who has cooked for the late Steve Jobs and leading Hollywood figures.

The meat range will come from farms across the country and processed at Alliance’s Group’s eight plants. . .

Carter laments stubborn attitudes – Jon Morgan:

Outgoing Minister for Primary Industries David Carter reels off a long list of what he calls “a good number” of achievements during his four years in office, but at the end of it he has to admit to a few lows as well.

The intransigent wool and meat industries have both defeated him, as they have ministers before him.

It obviously frustrates him. He puts it down to warring personalities in leading roles and the farmers’ apathy that lets this continue. . .

NZ wool floors show crowds - Tim Cronshaw:

The reaction of customers to Wools of New Zealand’s (WNZ) carpet wool at the world’s largest flooring show has reinforced to its leaders they are on the right track with capital raising a minimum of $5 million.

A share offer to commercialise WNZ into a sales and marketing company was extended to February 25 after the capital raising reached more than $4.1m last year from 500-plus strong wool farmers committing 12 million kilograms of annual wool production.

WNZ chairman Mark Shadbolt said growing interest by spinners and manufacturers in WNZ carpet ranges at the world’s largest flooring trade show, Domotex, this month had been encouraging. The trade show was attended by 40,000-plus visitors. . .

Safety shake-up call – Gerald Piddock:

Farmers are going to have to make health and safety a normal part of running their business if the number of on-farm accidents is to be cut.

Some farmers struggle to give health and safety the same amount of attention as they do to stock health or pasture management, industry-good Farmsafe national manager Grant Hadfield says.

“It’s considered a bit of an ogre. It shouldn’t be because it’s pretty easy to put systems in place.” . . .

Plaudits for irrigation policy - Gerald Piddock:

The Government’s decision to become a minority investor in irrigation schemes will ensure those projects get off the ground, say farmers with close ties to irrigation schemes in South Canterbury.

The Government announced last week that it would establish a company to act as a bridging investor for regional water infrastructure development.

The yet-to-be-named company would take minority stakes in water projects with a long-term goal of getting out and leaving the projects to the private sector. . .

Submitters discuss Tarras irrigation scheme – Jessica Maddock:

There was passionate opposition to an Otago Regional Council proposal to invest in a $39 million Tarras irrigation scheme at a hearing yesterday, with submitters saying it would be using ratepayer money to benefit only a few.

The council is considering buying $3.5m of redeemable preference shares. It would also pay up to $500,000 annually for five years, toward the fixed costs.

Tarras Water is planning the scheme to benefit 40 families, by taking up to 73.6 million cubic metres a year from the Clutha River to irrigate about 6000 hectares.

Nearly 70 people lodged a submission on the investment proposal, with the majority in opposition.

Eleven submitters spoke at a hearing in Cromwell yesterday, before four council members. Eight opposed the proposal and three supported it. The first day of the two-day hearing was in Dunedin on Thursday. . .


Rural round-up

February 2, 2013

Low prices worry sheep farmers - Gerald Piddock:

Sheep prices rather than feed issues is the major cause for concern for South Canterbury sheep farmers midway through the 2012-2013 season.

Feed levels were good because of the periodic rain throughout the summer. While that was a positive, the returns farmers were receiving for their sheep was a big pill that was hard to swallow, South Canterbury Federated Farmers meat and fibre chairman Neil Campbell said.

“At least we’re not having to sell stock on a depressed store market,” he said. . .

Farmers fume at silence on power line route – Chris Gardner:

Waipa Networks is facing a backlash from angry landowners over its refusal to reveal where it plans to build a 110kv power line, which will cross three Waikato districts.

 Ray Milner, chief executive of the Te Awamutu-based network provider, refused to detail exactly where the company wants to erect the $20 million line when he spoke at Otorohanga District Council yesterday despite being told of landowners’ frustrations.

The line will start near Fonterra’s dairy factory on the outskirts of Te Awamutu and end near the Hangatiki intersection near Waitomo village. The distance by road is approximately 40km. . .

Farming lobby group denies organising geese cull – Paul Gorman:

Federated Farmers is distancing itself from last year’s bloody Lake Ellesmere cull in which Canada geese were bludgeoned to death with clubs and baseball bats.

Rotting carcasses were left floating in the lake after the controversial cull, raising fears of waterway pollution.

Federated Farmers high-country regional policy adviser Bob Douglas said this week that the organisation was not planning further culls of the pest bird.

Instead, it was working with people badly affected by the geese on their land to find a better solution. . .

Experts dump on dung beetle – Richard Rennie:

LEADING scientists and health experts believe there are major risks if dung beetles are released in New Zealand.

The beetles are in caged field trials in Northland after approval was granted by the Environmental Risk Management Authority (ERMA) for 11 species to be imported.

ERMA has since been disbanded and the Environmental Protection Authority (EPA) has taken over its role.

Championed by Landcare, the beetles are intended to assist rapid breakdown of animal waste, help reduce fly infestations resulting from dung presence, and possibly reduce the need for drench use. . .

Wheels may come off rural delivery – Richard Rennie

THE viability of rural mail contractors will be threatened if NZ Post pushes delivery services to only three times a week.

The state-owned enterprise is seeking to adjust the 1998 deed of understanding it has with the government on delivery conditions for standard letters and postal outlet services.

 NZ Post’s proposal document acknowledges rural New Zealand will be most affected by changes, particularly rural delivery contractors.

 One adjustment option the SOE has is to reduce mail services to three days a week . . .

High Value Harvest Underway:

New Zealand’s annual seed harvest is about to hit overdrive, and if last year’s official trade figures are any indication, there’s a surprising amount of money riding on the next few weeks.

Vegetable and forage seed exports were worth NZ$168million for the year ended 31 December 2012, up from NZ$138million the previous year, reports Statistics New Zealand.

Seed industry leaders have welcomed the result, especially considering the exchange rate, and are now eyeing up ways to grow the trade further while maintaining the rigorous standards that position New Zealand at the top end of a large, competitive global market. . .

Rabobank supports red meat sector collaboration program for greater farmer profitability:

Agricultural banking specialist Rabobank has welcomed the newly-announced red meat sector collaboration between industry and government to enhance the long-term profitability of New Zealand’s beef and lamb industries.

Rabobank New Zealand CEO Ben Russell said the bank was pleased to confirm its support as a participant in the proposed program. Rabobank notes the program is reliant on the forthcoming vote by farmers on Beef and Lamb New Zealand’s contribution. . .

Thorn Park Provides Highlights on Karaka Select Sale Day 2:

The momentum has continued right throughout Day 2 of New Zealand Bloodstock’s 2013 Select Yearling Sale today, with buyers reporting tough competition ringside.

By the close of play, 285 of the 611 Select Sale lots had sold for $12,809,000, with the average currently at $44,944 with the clearance rate strengthening slightly to 70%.

The top price was provided early in the day by Lot 707, the Thorn Park colt from Windsor Park Stud that was purchased for $140,000 by NZB as agent. The second foal of the Montjeu mare Kashira, he is from the family of dual Group 1 winners Military Plume and Monaco Consul.

Thorn Park colt Lot 718 fetched the second top price of the day. . .

Judging Underway in 2013 Dairy Awards:

Judging gets underway this week in the 2013 New Zealand Dairy Industry Awards.

National convenor Chris Keeping says the judges will begin the process to determine the 2013 New Zealand Sharemilker/Equity Farmer of the Year, New Zealand Farm Manager of the Year and New Zealand Dairy Trainee of the Year winners.

All entrants participate in the judging process that will select the 34 regional winners in the 12 regional competitions.

“Entrants had been invited to attend information evenings during the past couple of weeks to give them a bit of an idea of what to expect when judges visit on their farms – in the case of sharemilker/equity farmer and farm manager entrants – and what is expected of them. . .

Self-sufficient dairy farm placed on the market:

A well developed dairy farm on the north-east coast of the South Island has been placed on the market for sale.

The 187 hectare Mahunga Farm, 23 kilometres south of Kaikoura, is being marketed by Bayleys Real Estate as an attractive investment to an entry-level dairy farmer, or a group looking for a low-cost and low-output farm to draw healthy profits from. It is flat and well equipped with quality infrastructure. This farm has a sale price of $4.2million (plus GST if any).

Bayleys Canterbury salesperson Ruth Hodges said the current owners invested in Mahunga Farm with a long-term view – focusing on improving pasture quality and developing the farm into a low-input, profitable operation. . .


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