Rural round-up

July 31, 2014

Vet helps sheep death probe – Rebecca Ryan:

Oamaru police want some ”definitive answers” on the cause of death of about 215 sheep in Ngapara, and will get a second opinion from a forensic vet.

Last month, about 195 sheep were killed on Peter and Janine Stackhouse’s farm, and about 20 sheep were found dead on Wendy and John Dodd’s property, about 1.5km away, the following weekend. . .

Changes to East Coast erosion grant scheme:

Associate Primary Industries Minister Jo Goodhew has announced changes to the funding programme supporting East Coast landowners with erosion issues.

“The Gisborne region has a severe erosion problem. A quarter of the land is susceptible to severe erosion, compared with only eight per cent of all land in New Zealand,” says Mrs Goodhew.

“Since 1992 landowners have been able to use the funding programme to help treat soil erosion, but 60,000 hectares of eligible land remains prone to erosion across the region. It is clear landowners need a more user friendly funding programme to help them tackle this issue.”

The programme has undergone a transformation as a result of two reviews by the Ministry for Primary Industries (MPI) in 2011 and 2012, and consultation held earlier this year. . .

 

Director election for DairyNZ:

Nominations will open next month for a new farmer-elected director for DairyNZ’s board following the resignation of current board member Barbara Kuriger.

DairyNZ board chairman John Luxton says Mrs Kuriger, who is from Taranaki, is standing down from the board to dedicate herself to her new role as the National Party candidate for the Taranaki-King Country electorate in the September General Election.

“Barbara has served on dairy industry boards for 11 years and has made a significant contribution through her links with the Dairy Women’s Network. She was the first person to win the Dairy Woman of the Year title in 2012 and was a founding member of DairyNZ’s board when it was formed in 2007. She has been a passionate advocate for driving improvements in our industry’s training systems. She has also worked hard to increase understanding between urban and rural communities. . . .

Dairying’s legal footprint continues to improve:

Federated Farmers is happy to see the legal footprint of New Zealand’s dairy industry continue to improve based on figures obtained by The Dominion Post.

“We are very happy to see prosecutions heading in the right direction,” says Dr William Rolleston, Federated Farmers President.

“While 21 prosecutions is 21 too many, we need to remember that there are some 12,000 dairy herds in New Zealand. In pure percentage terms it is 0.175 percent of all herds.
“It affirms our view that there is a genuine change of culture in farming. A decade ago the main topic would be stocking rates but today it is dominated by environmental factors.

“When you’ve got weather beaten dairy farmers in their late 50’s comparing notes on riparian plantings and ground sensors, you know there’s a cultural change afoot. . .

Fonterra and Abbott working together in China - Keith Woodford:

Fonterra’s recent announcement that it will partner with the multinational Abbott in the development of its next hub of China dairy farms is significant on two counts. It affirms Fonterra’s previously announced intentions to press ahead with further farm hubs in China now that the second hub in Shanxi Province is under way. That means that Fonterra retains its confidence about long term prospects in China. The announcement also means that Fonterra has found a top notch partner for some of its China operations.

Fonterra is already a supplier to Abbott of base powder ingredients for its Asian infant formula factories, but the new co-investment in China heralds a much closer relationship. On the surface it looks like an ideal match.

Fonterra’s expertise lies in producing high quality milk and in the first stage processing thereof. Abbott’s expertise lies in value-added nutritional products and marketing these to health conscious consumers.  . .

New model predicts pasture response to nitrogen:

A new model that can more accurately predict pasture responses to nitrogen is now available for farmers throughout the country.

The model is the first product resulting from farm nutrient co-operative Ballance Agri-Nutrient’s $19.5 million, seven year Clearview Innovations Primary Growth Partnership programme, jointly funded by the Ministry for Primary Industries.

Backed by sound science and extensive research, N-Guru™ is decision support software, designed in partnership with AgResearch, to improve the efficiency of nitrogen use on New Zealand pastoral farms. . .

Future of horticulture industry looks bright as national vege champion prepares for Young Grower of the Year 2014 final:

One of New Zealand’s top young vegetable growing talents will go head-to-head next month for the title of Young Grower of the Year 2014.

Brett Parker, from Pukekohe, beat six other young vegetable growers from across the country to be crowned the Young Vegetable Grower 2014 in April.

Brett will be looking to impress judges as he goes up against three regional Young Fruit Grower finalists for the national title in the final, run by Horticulture New Zealand in Christchurch on 14 August. The three young fruit growers, from the Nelson, Hawke’s Bay and Bay of Plenty regions will also compete for the Young Fruit Grower of the Year 2014 title, at the same time. . .


Rural round-up

April 19, 2014

Dairy NZ says won’t be water ‘whipping boy’ any more –   Lynn Grieveson:

Dairy NZ says the dairy industry is no longer willing to be the “whipping boy” for any decreasing water quality of New Zealand’s streams and rivers, while Fish and Game has called for a public inquiry into the water quality issue.

Both groups appeared before Parliament’s Local Government and Environment Select Committee on Thursday to discuss the Parliamentary Commissioner for the Environment’s report on water quality, which described the problem of nitrogen leaching into waterways.

Chairman of DairyNZ John Luxton, standing in for Rick Pridmore, Dairy NZ’s Strategy and Investment Leader for Sustainability, said some of our most polluted streams and rivers were in urban areas. . . .

 

China, food and NZInc - Ketih Woodford:

The latest statistics show that New Zealand exports to China continue to surge. In the 12 months to February 2014, milk powder and beef exports each more than doubled, sheep meat sales increased by 80%, and log sales increased by 65%. Overall, exports to China increased from $7.1 billion to 10.9 billion, comprising 22% of total exports.

This overall percentage figure is not in itself a record. Both before and during the 1960s we were much more dependent than this on Britain, and in 1989 our exports to Japan reached 18% of total exports, before declining to the current figure of less than 6%. Nevertheless, the sheer speed of the increase in exports to China is causing concern both to commentators and the industries themselves.

I see no point in worrying about increasing reliance on China as a market destination. It is a simple reality that trade with China is going to increase a lot further yet. As long as the Chinese continue to pay more than other markets, then that is where the products will go. . .

 Good turn-out of forestry conference – Joanna Grigg:

Gray skies did not dampen the enthusiasm of 280 foresters and tree enthusiasts at the recent New Zealand Farm Forestry Association conference in Marlborough.

Field trips were a big part of the four-day programme, organised by the Marlborough Tree Growers Association.

An eclectic group of farmers, corporate foresters, scientists, and plant people had the chance to see radiata pine forests in the Marlborough Sounds, eucalyptus for durable post-production, amenity plantings for farms, and machinery to harvest trees safely on steep land. . .

Lorneville rendering plant commissioned:

LEADING MEAT processor and exporter Alliance Group has completed commissioning the second stage of its $25 million new rendering plant at Lorneville near Invercargill.

The plant produces high quality meat meal sought by pet food manufacturers and for animal feeds, as well as tallow for use in a range of applications from cosmetics to biofuels. The products are exported to international markets such as China, North America, Europe and Asia.

It incorporates the latest technology including a Press Dewatering System, which uses less energy and produces high quality products. The process, is virtually “zero waste”, resulting in high product yields and low wastewater output. . .

Food safety professional development:

AN INCREASINGLY sophisticated food industry stemming from the globalised nature of food production also means more complex issues around food safety and security.

With New Zealand’s heavy reliance on exporting primary produce, this demands robust knowledge and constant up-skilling in the processes and requirements of food safety and security by industry professionals.

Lincoln University, through its Centre for Food Research and Innovation, is now running a series of ongoing professional development courses for those in the food industry. . .

New DairyNZ director appointed:

A new independent director has been appointed to the board of dairy farming industry body, DairyNZ.

DairyNZ board chairman John Luxton says Peter Schuyt has been appointed to replace independent director John Spencer who has stepped down after his term on the board. “I thank John for his excellent contribution to both DairyNZ and to the New Zealand dairy industry over many years.”

John says Peter will be a valuable addition to the board.

“We have three independent directors as well as five farmer-elected members. Peter will bring some broad experience to the table as he is an independent director for a broad range of New Zealand businesses,” he says. . .

Aquaculture New Zealand welcomes Supreme Court decision:

Aquaculture New Zealand has welcomed the long awaited Supreme Court decision clearing the way for three new salmon farms in the Marlborough Sounds.

“It has been a long, expensive and uncertain process to get to this point,” said Aquaculture New Zealand Chairman Bruce Hearn.

“Hopefully we are now at a point where New Zealand King Salmon can proceed with their growth plans and get on with what they do best – sustainably producing the world’s best salmon. . .


Do the left really want to manage the dollar

June 13, 2013

The dollar is declining in value which makes it easier for exporters but increases the cost of imports:

. . . The kiwi has been retreating in the face of a strong US currency, and Dairy New Zealand chairman John Luxton says that’s good news for farmers.

Mr Luxton says every 1 cent fall in the US/New Zealand dollar cross rate increases dairy earnings by about 10 cents per kilogram of milk solids.

Consumers, though, will pay more for imported products like televisions, and the Automobile Association believes petrol costs will rise further. . .

A lower dollar decreases spending power.

Letting that happen as a result of market forces is one thing, actively intervening to force the value down is another.

Would the Opposition parties, which all criticise the government for not intervening in currency markets, really want to start playing with the dollar and be responsible for cutting people’s spending power by making the cost of imports rise?

That wouldn’t just affect luxuries, it would also affect necessities including fuel, health supplies and food.

How would they explain that to people who are already struggling to make ends meet?


Rural round-up

March 17, 2013

Alumni awards honour Luxton:

DairyNZ chairman John Luxton has been honoured by Massey University at its Distinguished Alumni awards.

Luxton, QSO, a former MP and current Dairy NZ chairman, received the supreme honour, the Sir Geoffrey Peren Medal.

Named after Massey’s founding principal, the award recognises a graduate who has reached the highest level of achievement in business or professional life or who has been of significant service to the university, community or nation. . .

Alliance confident about lamb sales in northern markets -

Southland-based meat processor the Alliance Group is quietly confident of a better season for meat sales in the pivotal Easter trade in northern hemisphere markets.

The last shipments of the company’s meat products for the Easter markets left New Zealand early in February and were still in transit, said chief executive Grant Cuff.

“We’ve only had early indications from those markets, but we’re more optimistic this Easter than we were last Easter,” he said.

Lamb prices were very high in northern hemisphere markets last Easter and customers were more pessimistic, with high unemployment and a lot of uncertainty around the world. . .

Working on quality - Terri Russell:

Southland meat processor Alliance Group is working on new initiatives after a visit from leading British retailer Marks and Spencer last month.

It was the retailer’s first visit since agreeing on an exclusive supply deal late last year. Marks and Spencer representatives visited the company’s Lorneville plant, near Invercargill, to look at processing techniques and product specifications.

Alliance Group, in partnership with Marks and Spencer, will work together to improve shelf life and quality of product.

Alliance Group general manager marketing Murray Brown said the initiatives offered opportunities for farmer-suppliers. . .

Five star treatment for Camelot cows – Michelle Nelson:

In the shadow of the Mid Canterbury foothills lies a modern-day Camelot, where something magical is happening – huge super cows are milked by robots, and a dedicated team of humans attends to their every need.

Camelot Robotic Dairy Farm is owned by the Beeston family’s Blumoon Trust, and is a place where animal welfare and sustainable farming practices are kept at the forefront of decision making.

At 26, Frances Beeston manages the state-of-the-art robotic dairy farm, home to the Blumoon Holstein Fresian and Triann Brown Swiss studs. She says life doesn’t get much better.

The daughter of Bryan and Annette Beeston, Frances grew up with elite dairy cows, and wasted little time thinking about where her future lay.

“I worked on the farm with Mum and Dad when I was a kid. I had pet calves and loved going out at night to check on cows at calving – I always loved the lifestyle,” she says. . .

Alien weeds feared in imported hay - Terri Russell:

Southland farmers aren’t sending hay north to support drought-ravaged farms – and they would only accept North Island hay if they were “desperate” for the feed.

Truckloads of Canterbury hay have been sent to farmers in the North Island this week to underfed livestock in the drought-affected north.

While transport costs and dry conditions meant Southland farmers had shown no interest in sending hay north, industry leaders said if the situation was reversed farmers would need to be vigilant about hay coming to Southland. They did not want unwanted weeds in the hay to spread through the region. . . .

DoC tries to leave none behind – Tim Fulton:

Canterbury conservator Mike Cuddihy has a favourite song lyric, “I’ll be holding all the tickets and you’ll be owning all the fines”. Tim Fulton meets a top manager at the Department of Conservation.

Some trophy hunters shoot the bull tahr but leave the females behind to breed in great numbers, Mike Cuddihy has noticed.

His incidental comment on wild game captures his view of responsibility for the “huge canvas” of the environment.

DoC will happily work behind the scenes in conservation but the onus goes in all directions, the Canterbury regional manager says.

In the South Island high country, where DoC is a large landowner rubbing shoulders routinely with farmers, the bush-talk has been of a fractious relationship. . .


Rural round-up

January 24, 2013

Govt expects money back from irrigation investment – Marie McNicholas:

A promise of $400 million for direct taxpayer-stakes in new regional irrigation schemes comes with a crucial caveat: the Government expects to get its money back.

It has decided to spend the first $80 million setting up a new Crown company to provide bridging finance for irrigation projects to encourage hesitant private investors to take the plunge.

It is the first tranche from the $400 million pool the National-led Government had already earmarked for taking equity stakes in new irrigation infrastructure. . .

Budget boost to irrigation funding welcomed as ‘circuit breaker':

 “New Zealand is extraordinarily water rich, but we only capture and use about two per cent of annual water runoff, which is absolutely miniscule by international standards,” Water New Zealand Chief Executive, Murray Gibb said in welcoming the decision announced today by outgoing Primary Industries Minister, David Carter. He said Government would earmark $80 million to fund irrigation schemes in the 2013 Budget.

 “Large scale off-farm harvesting, storage and distribution water infrastructure for irrigation comes with a hefty price tag. The funding announced today is likely to be a deal maker, bringing planned schemes to fruition. This has to be good news for the New Zealand economy Murray Gibb says. . .

DairyNZ supports Government irrigation funding decision:

DairyNZ has welcomed the Government’s decision to support regional-scale water infrastructure which will ultimately speed up the delivery of irrigation schemes.

The Government announced today that it will create a company to act as a bridging investor for regional water infrastructure. In addition, $80 million will be set aside in the 2013 budget for water infrastructure projects.

DairyNZ Chairman, John Luxton, says the decision bodes well for the future of dairy farming and its contribution to the economy.

“The dairy industry is committed to sustainable use of water and will be releasing a new Sustainable Dairying Water Accord as well as a wider sustainable farming strategy. But, for continued development of the industry, we need to have confidence that the necessary big regional investments will happen.” . . .

Fonterra Welcomes Irrigation Investment Commitment:

Fonterra Co-operative Group has welcomed today’s announcement by the Primary Industries Minister, David Carter confirming an $80m investment in this year’s Budget for irrigation and water storage infrastructure.

Managing Director Co-operative Affairs, Todd Muller, said the investment announcement, coupled with the establishment of a Crown vehicle to co-invest in water schemes, was an important step towards boosting agricultural productivity and exports.

“Water is fundamental to dairying and agricultural productivity. Enabling a mix of public and private funding will give investors the necessary confidence to push ahead with schemes at the regional level.

“We will see benefits flow through in increased production and export earnings and we will also see the environmental benefits which will come from improved water flows. . .

Put farm safety first this summer:

The first occupational agricultural death in 2013 has the Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment and Federated Farmers asking farmers to put safety first in 2013 to bring down the farm toll.

“Five people died doing agricultural work last summer,” says Ona de Rooy, the Ministry’s General Manager Health and Safety Operations.

“As summer is a busy time on the farm it is vital to make safety a top priority.”

“Long hours of work in the heat and sun can lead to fatigue, impair judgement and increase the likelihood of an accident taking place,” Ms de Rooy says. . .

Comvita buys Aussie groves to expand olive extract output:

Comvita, which uses produces health products from manuka honey and olive leaves, has bought an 85 hectare organic olive estate with potential to expand its production of olive leaf extracts by 130 percent over the next five years.

The price paid for Organic Olives (Aust) by Comvita’s Australian subsidiary is undisclosed. The estate comprises some 7,000 certified organic olive trees, with room for further plantings, and is in Coominya, on the shores of Lake Wivenhoe in south-eastern Queensland . . .


Rural round-up

January 23, 2013

Urgent inquiry after horse meat found in burgers – Cassandra Mason:

Food watchdogs in Britain have launched an urgent inquiry into beef produce after a number of products were found to contain horse meat.

Frozen burgers from processing plants in the UK and Ireland and on shelves at major retail chains like Tesco, were found to contain horse DNA, with some patties containing up to 29 per cent horse meat.

An investigation by British and Irish governments, food authorities and the companies involved is now underway. . . .

Awards the “tip of the iceberg”:

The Ballance Farm Environment Awards have gone from strength to strength as a showcase for sustainable farming and are more important than ever before.

“This is recognised by farmers and more of them are entering the awards each year which is continually raising the bar for other farmers,” says Ballance Chief Executive Larry Bilodeau.

“What’s important about the awards is that they do more than just acknowledge success. They are creating a growing pool of farmers who demonstrate great environmental leadership who are happy to share their advice and experience.” . . .

Federated Farmers welcomes cabinet reshuffle:

The announcement that the Hon. David Carter has been promoted to Speaker of the House and that Hon. Nathan Guy will take over as the Minister for Primary Industries is welcomed by Federated Farmers.

“This is not surprising news; we have known for some time that David Carter was likely to be promoted to Speaker,” Federated Farmers National President Bruce Wills says.

“David has built up a great working relationship with Federated Farmers and the rest of the agricultural sector in his time, as first the Minister of Agriculture and Forestry and, post ministry amalgamation, as Primary Industries Minister. We have a great deal of respect for what he has achieved for our industry over the past four years. . .

DairyNZ welcomes new Ministerial appointments:

Industry-good body DairyNZ has welcomed the appointment of Levin dairy farmer Nathan Guy to the position of Minister for Primary Industries.

DairyNZ Chairman John Luxton says the dairy industry is leading a renewed focus on responsible and competitive dairy farming, with a new Sustainable Dairying; Water Accord about to be released and a Strategy for Sustainable Dairy Farming under development and going to be launched in May.

“We know the Minister has first-hand knowledge of dairy farming and its challenges – and will be able to engage easily with farmers and talk their language,” he says. “That’s a huge plus when you are doing that job.” . .

Meanwhile down on the farm – Quilting Orchardist:

Meanwhile down on the farm….orchard actually things have been busy……yesterday and today and possibly still tomorrow we are picking avocados ( 2nd pick for the season )( there may yet be a 3rd pick in April! !!) 3 hydraladas; 2 ground pickers ( R and me ) one tractor driver R.  We have Lisa and Gavin back as our lada drivers. ( we asked for them as they do an excellent job ) . .

Freedman Eyeing Up Second $1,000,000 Karaka Million:

Last year’s $1 million New Zealand Bloodstock Karaka Million winning trainer – Australian-based Anthony Freedman – is in search of another Karaka Million title with Minaj who arrived in New Zealand last week and had her first gallop on Ellerslie’s track this morning.

Freedman has so far stuck to last year’s winning formula, having also galloped Ockham’s Razor (Any Suggestion) at Ellerslie a few days prior to the colt winning the 2012 running in emphatic fashion.
A two-year-old filly by Commands, Minaj (ex Ms Seneca Rock) has had two starts in Australia, winning her debut at Flemington by 2.5 lengths before running fourth at Mornington on 12 January. . .


Rural round-up

December 23, 2012

DairyNZ Chairman to speak at Oxford Farming Conference:

New Zealand dairy farming will be front and centre at a prestigious farming conference being held in Oxford in England from January 2-4, 2013.

DairyNZ Chairman John Luxton has been invited to give his personal perspective on the New Zealand dairy farming experience at the Oxford Farming Conference examining the role of farming within British society.

Mr Luxton is one of a number of speakers lined up to present on a range of topics, including a seminal piece of work which quantifies the non-direct contributions farming makes to British society in a financial context and an Oxford Union Debate on economies of scale in agriculture. . .

Boilogicals showing worth trust member says – Tim Fulton:

The Rotorua Lakes and Lands Trust, a joint venture between Te Arawa Federation of Maori Authorities and Pakeha farmers, has spent at least a decade studying nutrient management around the Central Plateau and is convinced that biological systems are a worthwhile tool against nutrient leaching.

Now all the trust wishes for is greater funding and sustained expertise to win more people over.

Farmers who have turned to biological systems are often anxious about the increased use of synthetic fertilisers that has caused economic and environmental concerns. Fertiliser costs and problems with water quality typically shape as the major problems. . .

Rural women at heart of regional support:

New Zealanders have big hearts.  A new report on philanthropy shows New Zealanders gave about $2.67 billion to charitable and community causes during 2011, a level of generosity that was boosted by sympathy for people affected by the Christchurch earthquakes.

Rural Women were at the forefront of that generosity. The “big ticket item” supporting Cantabrians has been the Aftersocks™ campaign. Rural Women sold 19,000 pairs, raising more than $130,000 for the Christchurch Mayoral Fund.

While the funky black and red striped socks featuring the February 22 seismic shake grabbed headlines and orders from around the world, behind the scenes Rural Women members were quietly getting on with a host of other projects that helped make their communities a better place to live, or gave some deserving cause a boost. . .

Favourable season boosts September quarter primary exports:

Higher volumes of exports resulting from last year’s favourable production season have boosted primary sector revenue this past quarter.

The Ministry for Primary Industries (MPI) today released its report of production and trade statistics for the September 2012 quarter.

Primary sector export revenue at $7.12 billion for the quarter was up 4.7 percent on the previous September quarter, and at $32.43 billion for the year to September was up 0.5 percent on the previous year. . .

PGW to set up showcase in China - Alan Wood:

PGG Wrightson is developing an agricultural showcase with majority shareholder Agria in a “hi-tech” industrial park in western China.

The agricultural showcase would serve as a strategic platform for the firms to expand agri-tech business and broader collaboration between China and New Zealand, the companies said.

New Zealand’s experience in the field of animal husbandry, agricultural co-operative societies and information systems would be applied in the showcase.

PGG Wrightson and Agria said they had signed a memorandum of understanding with a Chinese administrative authority for the Yangling Agricultural High-Tech Industries Demonstration Zone. . .

Beef + Lamb New Zealand election in Western North Island:

Two nominations have been received for the Farmer Director position in Beef + Lamb New Zealand’s Western North Island electorate.

They are Kirsten Bryant (incumbent) of Fordell and John McCarthy of Ohakune.

Farmers in this electorate must be on the Beef + Lamb New Zealand electoral roll by 5 pm on Wednesday 23 January 2013 to be eligible to vote. They must also have owned (on 30 June 2012) at least 250 sheep, or 50 beef cattle or 100 dairy cattle. . .

New plates and tastes at Gibbston Valley Winery’s Vintner’s Kitchen

Renowned Central Otago winery Gibbston Valley Winery is launching a Vintner’s Kitchen experience from today (Friday December 21), offering visitors a ‘taste’ of the multi-award-winning experience.

Gibbston Valley Winery CEO Greg Hunt said the new Vintner’s Kitchen tasting and café area was designed to provide a casual, friendly and welcoming space for visitors at any time of the day.

“It’s aimed at those who might not have the time to stay for lunch, want to combine wine tasting with a small plate of matching food, or are simply looking for a coffee or a cold drink,” he said. . .

New Appointment to AGMARDT General Manager Position

AGMARDT has secured the services of a well-respected and knowledgeable agricultural businessman. The Chairman of the AGMARDT Board of Trustees, Jeff Grant, is pleased to announce the appointment of Mr Malcolm Nitschke to the position of General Manager.

Mr Nitschke comes from a strong background in the agricultural sector and brings with him a vast wealth of knowledge gained during his extensive time as an Agri Banker, and latterly as Head of Lending Services Agri, at ANZ and formerly National Bank, as well as owning his own farm at Marton. . .


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