Rural round-up

September 29, 2014

Te Puni Kōkiri Chief Executive Hails Growing Success Of Māori Agribusiness at Ahuwhenua competition launch – 2014 FOMA Conference:

Speaking at the official launch of the 2015 BNZ Māori in Farming Award – Sheep & Beef (Ahuwhenua Trophy) at the FoMA Conference in Whanganui this evening, Te Puni Kōkiri chief executive Michelle Hippolite said: “The Ahuwhenua Trophy Competition remains a preeminent showcase for excellence, achievement, and for growing Māori innovation for economic prosperity.”
Looking around the room, Michelle said that those at the conference showed the depth and calibre of talent at the helm of large Māori farming enterprises around the country.

“Over the years, most of these Māori farm enterprises had featured as entrants and finalists in the Ahuwhenua Trophy Competition,” she said. “Today the competition could be credited with driving continued improvements occurring in Māori agribusiness, and which were now pushing it to the forefront of the sector.” . . .

Second hand TradeMe buys boosts farm change – Jill Galloway & Sandra Crosbie:

Ryley Short says that when the Fonterra tanker first came to collect milk at her Mt Stewart farm there were 10 people there cheering. They were all involved in converting the farm to dairy, wanting to see it succeed.

“The tanker driver was a bit surprised,” Ryley says. “He asked if this was the first milk picked up. It was. It had been a sheep and beef farm before the conversion.”

The switch by Ryley Short and her husband Mike to dairying is a conversion with a difference. They have relied a great deal on Trade Me for secondhand equipment, which they often get cheaply. Even the dairy shed came through the online auction website. . .

Production at demo farm reaches record level  -

Daily milksolids (MS) production for each cow on the Waimate West Demonstration Farm near Manaia in Taranaki is at its highest ever.

The daily per cow MS production has reached two kilograms in the third and final season of a trial that’s investigating the viability of integrating cropping on the dairy platform.

Twenty-five per cent of the farm is being planted in crops for the trial.

At last week’s spring field day on the farm, DairyNZ scientist Kevin Macdonald produced figures showing daily milksolids per cow to mid-September was almost half a kilogram higher than last year’s figure of 1.56kg. . . .

National’s Freshwater Fund may spur on-farm wetlands:

 Having worked with DairyNZ to analyse the $100m freshwater fund policy, recently announced by the National Party, Federated Farmers believes it could vastly improve water quality outcomes.

“The Fund to retire farmland would be perhaps better interpreted as a policy to create on-farm wetlands,” says Ian Mackenzie, Federated Farmers Environment spokesperson.

“After talking with the team at DairyNZ we’ve arrived at a very different conclusion to that other groups have come up with.

“Instead of looking at this as a linear purchase of land, or trying to recreate MAF’s old farm advisory division, think more along the lines of NIWA’s guidelines for constructed wetlands.

“A fund $10 million a year could purchase at least 286 hectares. Using NIWA guidelines and if turned into strategically located wetlands, DairyNZ and Federated Farmers believe it could remove 60-70 percent of Nitrogen from around 9,500 hectares of farmland. . .

 Sweet Success for Villa Maria at International Wine Show:

It was sweet success for Villa Maria last evening, collecting nine gold medals and the trophy for Champion Sweet Wine at the New Zealand International Wine Show, held at the Crowne Plaza Hotel in Auckland.

The New Zealand International Wine show is the country’s largest wine show, in its tenth year with over 2000 global entries, it gives recognition to wines that are or will be sold in New Zealand.

The world renowned show organised by Kingsley Wood of First Glass Wines of Auckland, has a panel of over twenty experts judging the high calibre of entrants, overseen by Chief Judge Bob Campbell, MW. . .

 


Rural round-up

September 24, 2014

Beef surges to record on US demand for hamburgers, outlook upbeat – Tina Morrison:

(BusinessDesk) – Prices for beef used in hamburger patties in the US are likely to hold at elevated levels after surging to a record in the past year as drought-ridden American farmers rebuild their herds, boding well for kiwi farmers, an analyst says.

The price for US imported 95CL bull beef, the raw ingredient for meat patties, has surged 59 percent to US$3.18 a pound in the past year, according to Agrifax data. In New Zealand dollar terms, the price is at $8.37 per kilogram, beating the previous record of $6.60/kg in 2001.

“It has just been rocketing up very sharply. It is well into record territory now,” said Nick Handley, senior sheep and beef analyst at Agrifax. “If prices can stay anywhere near these levels, it’s extremely positive for New Zealand because you expect a lot of that to flow through to New Zealand processors and New Zealand farmers.” . . .

Time right for large irrigation schemes:

Farming and irrigation lobby groups are eager for the new Government to change environmental rules and get large-scale irrigation schemes up and running.

Lobby groups Federated Farmers and Irrigation New Zealand say the time is right, with the National Party being re-elected by a handsome margin for the Resource Management Act to be reformed.

Irrigation New Zealand chief executive Andrew Curtis said today that proposals by Labour and the Green parties to tax water did not find favour with irrigators, and National’s resounding win on Saturday gives them more confidence.

Mr Curtis said Irrigation New Zealand wants to see changes to the RMA. . .

Farmers Disappointed with Milk Price Drop, Cautious Approach Required:

Fonterra Shareholders’ Council Chairman, Ian Brown said Farmers will be disappointed following the Co-operative’s latest drop in its 2014/15 forecast farmgate Milk Price to $5.30 per kg/MS.
The Co-op also announced an estimated dividend range of 25-35 cents per share.

Mr Brown: “Even though Farmers are aware of the prevailing market conditions and the effect they have on the price they receive for their milk the announcement will add to the challenges being faced on-farm.

“It is in these seasons that Farmers will want to receive the full benefit from the integrated supply chain that their Co-op provides. . .

Great Result for Farmers Following Challenging Year for Co-Op:

Fonterra Shareholders’ Council Chairman, Ian Brown said the 2013/14 season was one of real complexities for the Co-operative yet produced a great result for Farmers.

Mr Brown: “The farmgate Milk Price of $8.40 per kg/MS has come on the back of a season in which good production was supported by strong demand and high prices.”

“This will be very well received by Farmers.”

Mr Brown said it was important to recognise that the same factors which positively affected the farmgate Milk Price, such as the demand for milk powders, contributed to the challenges faced by the business in terms of profit as evidenced by the Earnings Before Interest and Tax (EBIT) figures. . .

 Couple give their farm to university – Jill Galloway:

It was a time for celebrating.

After 10 years, Bulls-Marton farm owners Jim and Diana Howard found they could work with Lincoln University and it had a deal with local iwi Ngati Apa.

It had not been for lack of trying to find a like-minded partner.

But now it has come together – a demonstration farm that local farmers can look over the fence at, and get good ideas, as well as a farm to train people in sheep and beef and cropping.

That was what the Howards wanted and they have given their farm to the Lincoln Westoe Trust. . .

Candidates for Fonterra Board of Directors’ Election Confirmed:

Candidates for the Fonterra Directors’ Election were announced by the Returning Officer, Warwick Lampp today following the completion of the Candidate Assessment Panel (CAP) process.

This year there are six candidates standing for the Board of Directors. They are Gray Baldwin, Leonie Guiney, David MacLeod, John Monaghan, Garry Reymer and Grant Rowan.

As in previous years, the CAP process was available to assess the capabilities, experience and qualifications of Director candidates and provide Fonterra shareholders with more information to help in making an informed vote. While the CAP process is open to all Director candidates, it is not compulsory. This year all candidates went through CAP. . .

 

Pahiatua Company Announced as New Zealand Innovators Awards Finalist:

Pahiatua company, DTexH2o, has been named as a finalist in the Innovation in Agriculture & Environment category of the prestigious New Zealand Innovators Awards.

The company’s innovative product, DTexH2o, is an in-line electronic probe that detects the difference between milk and water in the cowshed milk line.

Founders of the company, Graeme and Alison Franklin, said the DTexH2o uses an alarm to stop farmers spilling milk down the drain or getting water in the milk vat during wash-down.

“When a farmer washes-up the milk line, water is pumped through the pipes, pushing the last milk through into the vat. The farmer must manually turn the valve to re-route the water to stop it going in the vat,” Alison said. . .

New Chairman Excited by Gimblett Gravels Opportunities:

Less than a week into his role, new Gimblett Gravels Winegrowers Association (GGWA) Chairman, Gordon Russell, is already working on plans for GIMBLETT GRAVELS future success.

Esk Valley’s Senior Winemaker, Gordon says, “I am honoured to become Chairman of this talented group of growers and wine producers. I would like to carry on the work of outgoing Chairman, Tony Bish of Sacred Hill, whose strategic direction and dedication over the last two years has significantly raised the profile of GIMBLETT GRAVELS wines, both in New Zealand and on the international stage. . .


Rural round-up

May 28, 2014

Farmers prepare for payout cut – Sally Rae:

Five Forks dairy farmer Lyndon Strang isn’t expecting any surprises today when the dairy co-operative updates its forecast 2013-14 season payout.

A cut of between about 25c and 30c from the present $8.65kg ms farmgate milk price has been predicted by economists, while a conservative opening forecast for the 2014-15 season, around the $7kg ms mark, has also been suggested.

Mr Strang, who is also dairy chairman of North Otago Federated Farmers, said the 2013-14 payout was still going to be a record, and even a $7 forecast for next season was ”potentially still another good payout”. . .

Stream through dairy farm rich in fish - Tim Cronshaw:

Dairy farmers are getting praise from unlikely quarters after the most salmon in 40 years have been seen spawning in a small stream in the middle of dairying country.

After identifying good salmon catches in the area during the angling season and higher spawning rates in lowland streams than normal, fishery officers did a spot check at the spring-fed Waikuku Stream, expecting to see little salmon activity.

In a small stretch of the stream which feeds into the Ashley River they found about 35 salmon and as many nests – redds – containing thousands of eggs.

Among other theories for the high salmon count, Fish & Game New Zealand think the main reason is the work of dairy farmers to fence, plant and protect the stream. . .

A lamb chop fresh from the lab – Jill Galloway:

A retired Massey University horticulture senior lecturer says meat will come from the laboratory in future, putting New Zealand’s grazing systems at risk.

Dr Mike Nichols went to a conference in Abu Dhabi in the United Arab Emirates, and said it was disconcerting to learn it was possible to “grow” a perfectly acceptable hamburger patty in the laboratory from plant-derived raw materials.

He said fillet steak and lamb chops of acceptable taste, flavour and texture were not far away. . .

Farmers prepare to pay for $90m irrigation scheme - Tony Benny:

Farmers supplied by the Rangitata South irrigation scheme intend to buy the scheme from the developer, says scheme chairman Ian Morten.

The scheme, which is expected to be in full operation next irrigation season, draws water from the Rangitata River in South Canterbury to fill seven huge storage ponds with a total capacity of 16.5 million cubic metres, three of which are now full or part full. Work completing the other four will resume after winter.

While initial investigation for a scheme on the south side of the Rangitata was started by a farmer group, it wasn’t until earthmoving company owner Gary Rooney joined them that the scheme took off. . . .

Making straight line into the top results:

Otago and Southland competitors did well in the New Zealand Ploughing Association’s (NZPA) national championships recently.

Hosted by the Marlborough Ploughing Association, more than 30 people took part in the national finals at Spring Creek, near Blenheim, from May 10 to 11.

The competitors were all winners from various qualifying events held throughout New Zealand in the past 12 months.

Mark Dillon, of Riversdale, was third in the Case IH silver plough section, and also won the W.G. Miller Trophy for the highest placed competitor aged under 35. . . .

A focus on changing fortunes: Minister to attend Open Day:

An Open Day is being held on Friday 30 May in Kaikohe to celebrate the ongoing collaboration between Lincoln University and Northland College. At the centre of this collaboration lies the recently signed Five Year Strategic Plan, designed to formalise the strategy for optimising the farming and educational opportunities from the neighbouring Northland College Farm.

In attendance will be staff and students, as well as key representatives from business and government; including the Minister for Tertiary Education, Skills and Employment, the Honourable Steven Joyce, who will be speaking at the event. . .

 


Rural round-up

May 20, 2014

10,000 reasons to remain ambitious – Diane Bishop:

Producing 10,000 lambs a year is an ambitious goal.

But it’s one that the Lawson family hope to achieve on their East Otago hill country property.

Jim Lawson and his sons Rob and Willy farm 5500 Romney- Perendale first-cross breeding ewes and 1350 ewe hogget replacements on their 2336-hectare property Moana Farm, south of Waikouaiti.

Their main focus is lamb production and cattle, which have currently taken the place of a modern tractor, and are used as a pasture management tool. . .

Farm plantings help snare top award -Jill Galloway:

Winners of the Ballance Farm Environment Awards in the Horizons Regional Council area Mary and Justin Vennell have planted 57,000 trees since 2007 on their Rewa sheep and beef farm.

They hosted more than 100 people, mainly farmers, but some academics and rural business people, at a farm field day they held as supreme winners of the awards.

Ballance Farm Environment Awards (BFEA), which give awards for protection and enhancement of the environment on farms in the Horizons Regional Council area, celebrated its 10th year.

Fourteen farms – seven sheep and beef and seven dairy farms – entered this year’s event. . .

Irrigation schemes require professional input:

Increasingly complex water regulations mean directors and managers of irrigation schemes need to take their professional responsibilities even more seriously, says IrrigationNZ.

Irrigators need to adapt to new environmental requirements and those governing and managing irrigation schemes must have the necessary skills to manage the transition, says IrrigationNZ CEO Andrew Curtis.

To help the industry rise to the challenge, IrrigationNZ will hold a one-day ‘Governance Essentials’ workshop next month in Christchurch sponsored by KPMG, BNZ and Tavendale&Partners. The 12th June workshop will cover the separation between management and governance as well as governance principles and responsibilities. The workshop is aimed at both directors and managers of irrigation schemes, as well as irrigators wishing to learn more about governance fundamentals. 

IrrigationNZ CEO Andrew Curtis says with increasing regulation, poor decision making by irrigation schemes can result in severe consequences. . . .

NZ bees battle devastating disease - Sophie Lowery:

New Zealand’s beekeepers have launched a mission to rid honey bees of a potentially devastating disease.

American foulbrood can’t be treated and if left uncontrolled it could damage exports and ultimately wipe out the honey bee population.

If beekeepers can succeed in eliminating the disease it would be a world first.

Around 80 of Hamilton City’s hives were inspected today for signs of the contagious disease, with some samples sent to a lab.

One team came across healthy looking hives, but also found some examples of the deadly disease. . .

Michigan Urban Farming Initiative produces food, change in North End   – Marney Rich Keenan:

It is the height of irony that Tyson Gersh is shy a handful of credits until he graduates from the University of Michigan-Dearborn.

At 24, the president of one the fastest-growing, most successful Detroit nonprofits that hardly anybody (over 30 years old anyway) has ever heard of, is short a French class and another class he could probably teach blindfolded.

“Yeah I know,” the collegiate rower and triathlete says, head down, in a rare display of self consciousness. “I failed ‘Urban Entrepreneurship: Doing Business in Detroit.’ ”

Judging from the speed at which Michigan Urban Farming Initiative has taken off, Gersh was likely doing business in Detroit during class time. . . Hat tip: A.E. Ideas

Rural Women NZ celebrates Road Safety Week with good news from 20K school bus signs trial:

A year-long school bus safety trial in Ashburton has shown that illuminated 20K signs on buses can have a big impact on driver behaviour.

“For years Rural Women NZ has called for clear signage on school buses to indicate the 20K speed limit in both directions when passing a bus that’s stopped to let children on or off. This is great news and a perfect way to celebrate Road Safety Week,” says Rural Women NZ vice president, Kerry Maw.

“Every day motorists speeding past school buses on rural roads put children’s lives at risk.”

During the ‘Either Way It’s 20K’ trial in Ashburton there was a marked drop in speeds when the 20K signs were in operation, with many motorists slowing to between 25 and 35 km/h. . . .


Rural round-up

March 21, 2014

Maori dairy farm set to boost Northland’s economy:

Dairy cows will be led into Northland’s Rangihamama milking sheds for the first time officially this weekend, marking the first tangible example of the Government’s aim to increase regional economic development in Northland.

The Ministry for Primary Industries (MPI) has been working with the Omapere Rangihamama Trust (ORT) to accelerate the Trust’s transformation of 278 hectares of Māori-owned land, from grazing to high-productivity dairy farming since 2012.

“Omapere Rangihamama Trust is a model for growing rural development by pulling together a vast number of stakeholders into a larger and more commercially effective operation,” says MPI’s Deputy Director-General Ben Dalton. . .

Simple fix touted for deadly quad bike problem – Jill Galloway:

A Wellington farmer who survived a quad bike accident says using a sash window weight on the front of a four-wheeler stops it turning over so easily.

Stuart Woodman said he was going up a steep slope when he hit a hole and his quad bike rolled over and landed on him.

“I was unconscious, and came to after I had got out from under the bike. I don’t know how I survived it. Thick skull, big bones – I don’t know.”

Woodman said he righted the bike on the slope, and it rolled down the hill.

“I picked the soil off it and finished mustering. Then I drove to hospital.” . . .

Farmer develops mussel shell fertiliser - Cathie Bell:

The enormous pile of old mussel shells near Havelock could become a lot smaller because of the landowners’ business venture turning it into fertiliser.

Bill Brownlee stores millions of shells from the Sanford mussel factory on his farm, on the Blenheim side of Havelock. He said the Marlborough District Council had estimated it as 13 metres high.

The pile started 50 years ago when his father took the shells, but had really grown in the past 15 years since mussel production boomed in the Sounds, he said.

He and wife Jane Brownlee bought a crusher from the Cape Campbell lime works and started a new venture, crushing the shells into a fine powder to be spread as fertiliser. . .

BOP Dairy Awards Winners All Career Changes:

Making the move to dairy farming has been hugely successful for the three major winners at the 2014 Bay of Plenty Dairy Industry Awards.

The 2014 Bay of Plenty Sharemilker/Equity Farmers of the Year, Brett and Natasha Grindrod, were both teachers, the Bay of Plenty Farm Managers of the Year, Thomas Blackett and Stacey Lepper, had engineering and technician careers, and Bay of Plenty Dairy Trainee of the Year, Cameron Luxton, was a builder. They all switched careers to dairy farming and were announced winners at the region’s awards dinner at Awakeri Events Centre last night (March 19).

Brett Grindrod says he took the opportunity to work on a dairy farm for a season and never looked back. “After a short time on farm I found I really enjoyed the career change, and did not want to return teaching. I enjoyed the flexibility that farming offered and could see the long term potential for growth. . .

Royal FrieslandCampina lifts stake in Synlait Milk to 9.999 percent buying shares at $3.85 apiece:

(BusinessDesk) – Royal FrieslandCampina has lifted its stake in Synlait Milk to 9.999 percent from 7.5 percent, adding to an investment that has gained 41 percent since its NZX debut last July.

The Netherlands-based cooperative bought about 3.66 million shares at $3.85 each yesterday, according to a statement to the NZX. The shares last traded at $3.87, having sold in Synlait’s initial public offering last year at $2.20 apiece.

The purchase puts the Dutch company, where the current Fonterra chief executive Theo Spierings was a senior executive until 2009, ahead of Japan’s Mitsui & Co, with an 8.4 percent holding, as the second-biggest shareholder in the Canterbury-based dairy processor. China’s Bright Dairy Food owns 39 percent, having been diluted during last year’s IPO. . .

Posted skulls pose biosecurity threat:

A box of South African animal skulls crawling with maggots never made it through the post, thanks to the work of vigilant Auckland biosecurity staff.

A Ministry for Primary Industries (MPI) dog team recently detected the unusual biosecurity threat at the International Mail Centre near Auckland airport.

Once opened, the box revealed a number of wild animal skulls, thought to include zebra and wildebeest.

“There was clearly some flesh on the bones, as you could see maggots writhing beneath and on top of the cellophane wrapping,” says Aynsley Richards, MPI Auckland Team Leader, Border Clearance Services. . .

Gisborne figure elected to lead role in Eastern Fish & Game:

The Eastern Fish and Game Council has elected well known Gisborne identity Murray Ferris as its new chairman.

The Eastern Council represents over 30,000 anglers and 3000 game bird hunting licence holders.

As one of 12 Fish and Game councils, it is responsible for managing sports fish and game birds over a large central North Island area which runs from Wairoa, west to Mt Ruapehu, and then north to Waihi.

The Eastern Fish & Game Region has trout fisheries of national significance, including the heavily-used Rotorua Lakes, and popular Lake Waikaremoana and the Ruakituri River within its eastern boundaries. . .


Rural round-up

February 4, 2014

Risk in having all eggs in Fonterra basket:

Government analysis has pointed to weaknesses in the dairy industry, including putting all our eggs in the Fonterra basket.

A five-year Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment project looking at the state of New Zealand’s food and beverage industry found growing strengths for our exports beyond dairy but also sounded a warning about our continued reliance on dairy.

According to the report, New Zealand is the ninth largest milk-producing country in the world and accounts for 2.4 percent of global milk production. Fonterra controls 88 percent of our milk supply and is the fourth-largest dairy company in the world by turnover and first by milk intake. . .

Grant helps student’s project – Letitia Atkinson:

A former Tauranga Boys’ College student is getting a $5000 scholarship to go towards a Bachelor of Science research project.

Zach McLean, who is currently studying at the University of Waikato, will take on a project that involves investigating genes associated with the genetic network regulating pluripotency in bovine embryos.

Pluripotent cells are able to produce all cell types in the body, and emerge during early pre-implantation development.

Zach will be working alongside Dr Bjorn Oback and the Reproductive Technologies group at AgResearch. . . .

Speed fencing record set:

A new world record has been established in speed fencing.

Bill Brewer and Simon Green erected 30 battens on a nine-wire fence in 11 minutes and 38 seconds at last week’s Grasslandz Agricultural Machinery Expo, at Ereka, in Waikato, to become inaugural world champions in the event.

The Taumarunui fencing contractors also won $1000 in prize money. . .

Honey of a job comes to an end - Sonia Beal:

Don Freeth scooted home for the last time on Friday, after almost 40 years working for Blenheim beekeeping company Bush J & Sons.

Mr Freeth, 73, has clocked up just under 108,000 kilometres on his 1968 Honda 50, most of which had been accumulated riding to and from work every day since he started there in October 1975.

“Sometimes I go in the car if the weather’s a bit crook, but other than that it’s every day,” he said.

Mr Freeth described himself as a “jack of all trades”, helping out with all aspects of the company’s beehive management including inspecting hives, packing honey, and queen-rearing, the method used to raise more queen bees. . .

Record profit for Primary Wool:

PRIMARY WOOL Cooperative’s profit of $1.9m for the 2013 financial year is the largest in the cooperative’s 39-history, says chairman, Bay de Lautour.

An average of two members per week joined the cooperative in 2013, growing to three members per week in the first four months of the 2014 financial year, de Lautour says.

The 2013 profit represents 71c a share and comes from Primary Wool Cooperative’s 50% share of Elders Primary Wool which de Lautour says has gained market share as farmers see the benefits of their wool being handled by an efficient broker and seeing half the profits returned to the 100% farmer owned cooperative. . . .

Timaru beauty declared top cow – Jill Galloway:

A cow from Timaru jazzed things up at last week’s Dairy Event, in Feilding, being named the best bovine beauty on show.

It was the Miss New Zealand of dairy cows at Manfeild Park on Thursday with the country’s best cows and calves all aiming to put their best hoof forward.

The Supreme 2014 All New Zealand Champion, or the top cow award, went to Fairview Dolman Jazz-ET, a 5 -year-old holstein friesian cow, from Timaru.

The judges deemed the South Island stunner “best in show”, topping all other cows in the competition. . . .

Strong Results at Karaka 2014:

New Zealand Bloodstock’s 88th National Yearling Sales Series drew to a close yesterday with increases posted across all key statistics as the hammer fell on the final of 1372 yearlings catalogued over six days of selling.

At the completion of Karaka 2014, the combined statistics across the Premier, Select and Festival Sales show consistent strength throughout the week to record an increased average, clearance and median, with 64 fewer horses sold compared to 2013. . .


Rural round-up

January 18, 2014

Meat Options Paper Seeks Farmer Opinions - Allan Barber:

Federated Farmers’ Meat Options discussion paper, written by Sarah Crofoot, does an extremely good job of laying out the alternative market orientations companies can adopt. It presents three different focus options from which farmers are asked to select their set of preferences.

It should be noted up front that the discussion paper is aimed at Federated Farmers’ farmer members and its key purpose is to engage those farmers in thinking about what they want their industry to look like in 5,10 or 20 years from now. The final output will not be binding on anybody, but it will provide a more comprehensive summary of farmer opinion than the feedback from the series of Meat industry Excellence meetings.

The paper starts with a late 1980s definition of the industry’s unique characteristics quoting Anita Busby, Editor of Meat Producer at the time:

“Meat industry people don’t need to take advice or listen to new ideas. They already have the answers. They strangle new thoughts at conception. If that fails, they discredit the source. If you haven’t been in the meat industry for years, you don’t know what you are talking about. If you have, you’re washed up…”

Sarah Crofoot with the confidence of youth has nevertheless taken the bold step of producing a set of ideas which merit serious consideration. It is now 30 years since subsidies were removed, even longer since the deregulation of the meat industry, and despite many positive developments, the industry still has fundamental structural problems. . .

More than 4000 sheep perish on live export:

More than 4000 Australian sheep have died from heat exhaustion after 21 days on board a live export ship bound for Qatar from Fremantle.

Exporter Livestock Shipping Service said 4179 sheep perished in August aboard their Bader III vessel – the same ship that was loaded with animals last weekend in Perth despite searing 44-degree heat.

LSS are a Jordanian-owned company based in Perth and are already under investigation by Australian Federal Authorities for two breaches of live export regulations in Jordan and Gaza. . .

No downtime for shearing gangs – Jill Galloway:

When it has been too wet for shearing in one area, sheep have been dry enough in another so shearing has cracked on.

Shearers and contractors say they are not behind, in spite of the recent moist weather. “The boys have not had a day off,” said Feilding-based contractor Erin Bailey.

“They had a few days off over New Year, but they have been working since,” she said.

She and her husband Scott run two shearing gangs from their Feilding base, but shear a lot around Marton and Apiti, she said. . .

Taranaki Trust leads dairy research – Sue O’Dowd:

The Taranaki Agricultural Research Trust provides two platforms for cutting-edge research beneficial to the dairy industry.

The trust leases a 126ha (111ha effective) research farm across the road from Fonterra’s Whareroa site near Hawera and owns the 350 cows milked there. DairyNZ manages the Westpac Taranaki Agricultural Research Station (WTARS) under contract to the trust.

The station, established at Normanby in 1974, has done research into areas as diverse as grass grub, nitrogen and phosphate use, once-a- day-milking and feed conversion efficiency.

It had made a significant contribution to New Zealand farming over the last 40 years, said trust chairman Brendan Attrill. . .

Neil’s pinot empire expands – James Beech:

Actor Sam Neill says his winery’s fourth vineyard acquisition demonstrates ”faith and confidence” in Central Otago and its pinot noir for the global market.

Two Paddocks announced this week it had become the only Central Otago winery with a foothold in all three Central Otago wine-producing sub-regions, owning vineyards in Gibbston, the Alexandra basin and now the Cromwell basin.

Neill said a sum of money which was ”considerable, but both vendors and purchasers think it fair” had bought the established 6ha Desert Heart Vineyard, plus woolshed and house, at the end of Felton Rd, Bannockburn, last week. . .

Don’t let Fonterra’s lawyers run off with the fresh cream – Willy Leferink:

They say bad things come in threes.  We’ve had the news Fonterra is going to “vigorously defend any proceedings” taken by Danone against it for US$400 million.  In recent days, Fonterra Brands has voluntarily recalled 330ml and 500ml bottles of fresh cream sold under the Anchor and Pams brands in the upper North Island. 

As a farmer you wonder, what’s next?

First of all Fonterra is doing things by the book in voluntarily recalling affected bottles of fresh cream stamped “best before 21 January”.  Visit foodsmart.govt.nz and you’ll quickly learn that food product recalls happen irrespective of who’s in government.  In 2008, there were 19 recalls versus the 14 last year and they have involved everything from hash browns to fish fillets to soy milk powder.

While the timing of this is far from ideal given last year’s events, this voluntary recall came from Fonterra’s own testing.  It shows consumers that a company owned by thousands of Kiwi farmers puts food safety first.  When consumers take a Fonterra product off the shelf, they deserve to know someone back at Fonterra is testing it. . .


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