Rural round-up

February 5, 2014

Addressing severe erosion on the East Coast:

Associate Primary Industries Minister Jo Goodhew has today announced that public consultation on proposed operational changes to the East Coast Forestry Project (ECFP) is now underway.

“The Gisborne region has a severe erosion problem. A quarter of the land is susceptible to severe erosion, compared with only 8 percent of all land in New Zealand,” says Mrs Goodhew.

“The ECFP funds the treatment of land to prevent soil erosion, through planting trees or indigenous regeneration.”

Since 1992 landowners have used the fund to treat soil erosion on 42,000 hectares. . .

MPI confirm neurological equine herpes – Corazon Miller:

The Ministry for Primary Industries has confirmed the country’s first case of the neurological form of the Equine Herpes Virus.

12 horses have been affected on a single stud farm, six of which have since died or been euthanised.

While the virus itself is common amongst New Zealand horses, MPI spokesman Andrew Coleman says the virus often sits dormant but can manifest into the neurological form when the animal is stressed.

He says stress is a key factor in transforming the common dormant form of the virus into one which attacks the brain. . .

David Ellis, Karaka’s biggest buyer, blames IRD for bleeding bloodstock sales -  Suze Metherell:

(BusinessDesk) – David Ellis, the biggest spender at New Zealand’s premiere Karaka horse sales this year, says the tax department is stifling new investment in the bloodstock industry with its interpretation of depreciation rules.

The value of yearling sales at Karaka in South Auckland have fallen in each of the past six years, reaching $69.7 million last month, down from $111.2 million in 2008. That’s below the average $83.9 million in the past seven sales. The number of catalogued horses has fallen 12 percent in that time and actual lots bought are down 18 percent.

Ellis, principle of Waikato-based Te Akau Racing stables, spent $6.8 million on 43 horses at Karaka last month, almost $3 million more than the second-largest buyer. . .

Plantain Proves Popular Alternative to Pasture:

A Hawke’s Bay on-farm trial shows lambs fatten faster on plantain and yield better than lambs grazed on pasture.

Awapai Station, which is a ram breeder for Focus Genetics recently carried out trials and then held an on farm field day for other farmers to find out more about plantain management.

The field day comes as more farmers turn to plantain as a popular, affordable alternative to pasture for fattening lambs and improving the condition of livestock for mating.

Many sheep and beef breeders and traders say plantain helps produce better growth rates.

Awapai farm manager, Shane Tilson says he has planted 80 hectares of mixed clover and tonic plantain in the last four years and is now seeing outstanding results. . .

NZ agribusiness get dedicated crowdfunding platform :

New Zealand agribusinesses looking for investors will be able to turn to crowdfunding once new legislation comes into effect in April.

The agribusiness-focused crowdfunding platform, Snowball Effect, is the first of its kind in New Zealand, and intends to give small to medium sized businesses access through their website to funding from investors looking for equity.

Snowball Effect’s launch coincides with the new regulations and is the brainchild of Fonterra Cooperative Group executives Richard Allen, Simeon Burnett and Francis Reid. They appointed 26-year-old Josh Daniell to be the company’s business development manager to oversee daily operations. . . .

Judges Choose First Regional Dairy Awards Finalists:

The first regional finalists in the 2014 New Zealand Dairy Industry Awards should be known, following the start of preliminary judging last week.

National convenor Chris Keeping says the launch of regional preliminary judging signals the start of the process to whittle down the 572 entrants to 33 regional winners and then three national winners.

“It is a long process that involves a lot of planning and preparation by our entrants and considerable time by our teams of voluntary judges,” Mrs Keeping says.

“It is also a very satisfying time, as entrants gain insights and valuable feedback from the judges and judges gain satisfaction in assisting people to progress in their career and in the dairy industry. The judges generally learn a thing or two from the entrants too!” . . .

Three reasons to toast the 2013 vintage:

It is said good things come in threes and the three newly released Sacred Hill Orange Label wines showcase all that was good about the 2013 vintage.

Sacred Hill Hawke’s Bay Chardonnay 2013, Marlborough Pinot Gris 2013 and Marlborough Pinot Noir 2013 are now available and winemaker Tony Bish says they are ready to drink and be enjoyed during the rest of summer and beyond.

“The superb 2013 vintage has been much talked about and will be for some time,” Mr Bish says. “These wines tell more of the story of just how good the fruit from the 2013 harvest was.” . . .

Wool merger exploratory talks:

Exploratory talks are underway on a possible merger between two farmer-owned wool bodies.

They are the Primary Wool Co-operative and the investment company Wool Equities. . . .


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

December 1, 2013

Best little river in New Zealand – Rebecca Fox:

Gradual improvements in water quality in East Otago’s Shag River over nearly a decade have earned it the grand prize in the inaugural 2013 New Zealand River Awards.

”The Shag is the best little river in New Zealand,” Otago Regional Council chairman Stephen Woodhead, said when he accepted the award at a ceremony in Wellington last night.

He said the award was for the river’s community and recognition of the work landowners had done to improve practices on land through which the river flowed. . .

Good things take time:

Federated Farmers is thrilled by the recognition Otago farmers received at the first New Zealand River Awards last night, with two rivers as finalists and the Shag River taking the prize for most improved river in New Zealand. 

“The Shag River has come a long way from 10 years ago, and it is a credit to those farmers who care for and value their river,” says Ian Mackenzie, Federated Farmers water spokesperson.

“Change is hard for everyone, but once you take the time to get everyone on board you can really make a difference. Changing the result of 30 years of degradation is not a quick fix, there is no instant gratification, so that is why 10 years on from the water management plan’s implementation you are seeing some positive results. . .

Beetle’s prickly appetite could have wider impact- Tony Benny:

Scientists hope a thistle-munching beetle already reducing prickly weed infestations in the south will also lay waste to hard-to-control Californian thistles on North Canterbury hill country farms.

Landcare released European-sourced green thistle beetles – also known as cassida or tortoise beetles – on about 50 farms, mostly in lowland Southland, five years ago.

AgResearch scientists want to find out more about the beetle and see if it can go to work in the hill country of North Canterbury and the North Island.

“We’re starting to see the effects of the beetle, and Southland farmers are thinking that it’s having quite a good effect on the thistle populations there,” said AgResearch scientist Michael Cripps. “Basically, they’re seeing observational evidence of a decline in the thistle population.” . . .

Pastoral farmers asked to think pig, poultry-style – Tim Fulton:

CANTERBURY farmers affected by Chilean Needle Grass (CNG) have been encouraged by local support for their position but the regional council warns the grass can still take root any time and place.

ECan’s latest biosecurity newsletter suggests pastoral farmers take similar precautions to pig and poultry farmers, by controlling movement of people, vehicles and machinery on and off their property

Sheep farmer Owen Gould from Parnassus in the Hurunui district has clarified the extent of CNG on his place, hoping to make other farmers aware of the plant and steps to contain it. . .

Govt help unlikely - Alan Williams:

Three of New Zealand’s biggest meat companies took a restructuring proposal to the Government but were told they would need more substantial industry and farmer support before it could help with legislation.

The reaction has negative implications for any plan involving a merger between only two players, the Silver Fern Farms and Alliance Group co-operatives.

In its campaigning to get candidates elected to the boards of the two co-ops, the Meat Industry Excellence (MIE) group has suggested the Government would legislate to provide protection for their 52-54% market share in the early stages of a merged entity. . .

David makes old Goliath steam:

When David Walker first saw the 1901 traction engine at a Marlborough winery it was a hulk.

He described its condition as “rust value only” when he took delivery on April 16 this year.

However, the committed restorer had the rare 10 horsepower steam driven engine up and running, albeit minus its pin-striping, in time for the weekend’s Nelson A&P Show.

“It hadn’t been steamed up in 62 years,” said Mr Walker of his latest prize. To get it operational he had to replace, rebuild or repair nearly every moving part. . .

NZB National Yearling Sales Series Catalogues Online Today:

The catalogues for New Zealand Bloodstock’s 88th National Yearling Sales Series are now available online.

A total of 1371 yearlings have been catalogued across the three sales sessions of Karaka’s week-long auction extravaganza, starting on Monday 27 January 2014.
Premier Cover

The PREMIER SALE catalogue features a world-class line-up of 469 Lots – 28 more than in January 2013 – set to be offered over two days on Monday 27 & Tuesday 28 January, commencing at 11am each day. . .


Rural round-up

February 5, 2013

ECann Rakaia River recommendation accepted:

Canterbury Earthquake Recovery Minister Gerry Brownlee says the Government has accepted Environment Canterbury’s recommendation to change the water conservation order that covers the Rakaia River.

The change will allow TrustPower to release water from Lake Coleridge for irrigation when the river is low, increasing the reliability of the water supply.

“Environment Canterbury’s report and recommendation is a good example of both environmental considerations and the needs of the farming community being taken into account,” Mr Brownlee says. . .

Why wash clean linen in public – Alan Emerson:

Farming is certainly in the mainstream media. 

Most outlets are covering the DCD saga and they weren’t helped by some woolly statements from the Ministry for Primary Industries (MPI) and Fonterra.

I thought the two fertiliser co-operatives, Ballance and Ravensdown, handled the issue well, with their media releases being factual and unemotive. Both withdrew their DCD product and that, in my opinion, should have been the end of the story.

The issue is simple – DCD is safe. It has been around since the 1920s and used in its current form since 1981 and that is the problem.

Because it isn’t a new product but an adaption of an existing chemical, it is not classified under the international Codex Alimentarium. For that reason there is no minimum or maximum allowable level.

The problem is technical and procedural – it is not a chemical or health issue. Googling DCD you can identify all the many countries using it. You can also read glowing references about the product’s ability to increase yields in tomatoes, wheat, barley, rice and grass. . .

Lessons learned on managing perception – Alan Williams:

THE DCD issue has thrown up some lessons on how to manage market perceptions when the debate gets away from the science, Ministry for Primary Industries deputy director general (Standards) Carol Barnao says.

MPI’s risk assessment team discovered quickly there were no food safety concerns from traces of DCD found in whole milk powder, but the time taken for action was seen by some people as too slow and the presence of an unexpected compound was linked with tainted food in some markets.

More than three months passed between Fonterra’s product testing and the withdrawal from the market of the fertilisers containing DCD.

If there had been food safety concerns action would have happened much sooner, Barnao said.

Working groups were set up as soon as MPI was alerted in early November but it took time to complete the testing methodology and the why, when, and how of what happened, she said. . .

Happy to break new ground - Hannah Lynch:

Primary industries might be getting a new minister, but it’s in the associate role where a woman will be getting to make a mark for the first time. Hannah Lynch reports from Parliament.

The first woman appointed to a ministerial role in agriculture is not afraid of bringing a touch of femininity to the job, revealing she wears high-heeled boots on the family farm. 

Jo Goodhew has just been made Associate Primary Industries Minister in a Cabinet reshuffle that elevated the previous associate, Nathan Guy, into the main role.

“It is exciting but it is part of the general trend we are seeing where women who have the right skills are doing anything,” Goodhew said. 

“Women are going into roles that were previously held by men but now it’s just recognition that if you have got the skills it doesn’t matter what gender you are.”  . . .

MyFarm expanding to sheep and beef farms – Hugh Stringleman:

MyFarm intends to use its farm ownership syndication model for sheep and beef farms as well as dairy farms.

It put together one sheep and beef farm syndicate in 2010, for Kaiangaroa farm east of Taihape, and during this year will offer several more.

MyFarm director Andrew Watters would not specify the locations but gave parameters for the suitable properties and regions.

They would be mainly sheep-breeding and lamb-finishing properties, with beef cattle only additional. . .

Farmers Preparing to Steak Their Claim :

Farmers across the country are selecting their entries for the 2013 Beef + Lamb New Zealand Steak of Origin.

The competition to find the country’s most tender and tasty steak is entering its 11th year and is keenly contested nationwide.

Beef + Lamb New Zealand CEO, Dr Scott Champion, says the competition is taken very seriously and winning has become a badge of honour.

“The Steak of Origin rewards farmers for their efforts and showcases the skill in the New Zealand beef farming industry,” says Champion. . .

Freshman Sire Highlights Final Day of Karaka 2013:

New Zealand Bloodstock’s 2013 National Yearling Sales Series has drawn to a close today at Karaka with the final 212 yearlings of the Festival Sale concluding a bumper seven days of selling that has seen a total of 1021 lots traded for $72,387,700.

For the third day in a row Westbury Stud’s first season sire Swiss Ace (Secret Savings) provided the top price of the day, this time it was the colt at Lot 1353 from the four-time winning Stravinsky mare Poetic Music bought by Rogerson Bloodstock for $95,000.
1353 web
Top lot of the day the Swiss Ace colt (Lot 1353) purchased by Rogerson Bloodstock for $95,000

“He was the nicest horse here today and he proved that because he was the top lot of the day.

http://www.fwplus.co.nz/article/alternative-view-why-wash-clean-linen-in-public?p=6


Rural round-up

February 4, 2013

Alliance taste testers help guide NZ meat industry – Dave Gooselink:

A team of 50 Southlanders have what some carnivores might see as the perfect job.

They’re the taste testing panel for meat company Alliance, charged with ensuring the company’s export lamb, beef and venison is gourmet quality.

There’s not a lot of conversation around the table. The diners are too busy eating prime cuts of lamb, cooked to perfection by an award-winning chef. It’s their job, making in-depth evaluations of meat.

“You smell it for the aroma, then you bite into it for the texture and succulence, then last of all the flavour,” says veteran meat taste tester Sonja Lindsay. . .

$21m of new funding to benefit research partnerships:

The Government will invest $21 million over a maximum of seven years to support research that will benefit two of New Zealand’s primary industries Science and Innovation Minister Steven Joyce announced today.

A $16 million investment over seven years will be made in the Pastoral Greenhouse Gas Research Consortium and a $5 million investment over a maximum of seven years will be made in Seafood Innovations Limited.

“Science and innovation are major drivers of economic growth and international competitiveness. These investments will help improve the performance of two key parts of our primary industries, and as a result the New Zealand economy will benefit,” Mr Joyce says.

The Pastoral Greenhouse Gas Research Consortium — a partnership between AgResearch, DairyNZ, Beef+Lamb NZ, Fonterra, Landcorp Ltd and DeerResearch — will develop new technologies that farmers can use to reduce greenhouse gas emissions without loss of productivity. . .

ORC split on water accord – Rebecca Fox:

A decision about whether or not to sign up to the dairy sector’s new water accord has divided Otago regional councillors.

The council, along with others nationally, has been asked to sign up to the accord as a ”friend” but the implications of this worried some councillors, while others were concerned not signing would alienate the dairy sector.

Councillors voted three times before a final decision was made to sign the document – although not all were happy. . .

Winton’s dairy vet woman of year finalist – Sally Rae:

Winton dairy veterinarian and mastitis consultant Kath Taylor is among six finalists in the 2013 Dairy Women of the Year Award.

She has been a dairy vet for 19 years, graduating from Massey University in 1994 and working in mixed practice in Taranaki for the next seven years before moving to Southland in 2001. She works for VetSouth Ltd in Winton, leading the milk-quality team. . .

Shearers take break before big Southland record challenge:

Four shearers are sitting it out in Southland in the countdown to a World Record shearing challenge in which they could shear as many as 3100 lambs between them on Tuesday.

Contractor and event organiser Brendon Potae says he’s given the quartet the weekend off after three hard weeks preparing for the Heiniger Four-stand Crossbred Lambs Eight-Hour World Record, to be shorn at Centre Hill Station, near Mossburn.

“I’ve told them to go fishing, sightseeing,” he said today as he and others from a support crew expected to swell to almost 70 people put finishing touches to the shed where about 250 people are expected to watch the event inside, with others watching on CCTV in marquees nearby. . .

Dancers for Farmarama - Sally Rae:

Tractors, motorbikes, farm machinery and dancing girls will all be on display at the Southfuels Farmarama at Lawrence on February 7 and 8.

The biennial event will be held at the Lawrence gymkhana grounds, opening to the public at 11am on the Thursday and 9am on the Friday. . .

Tru-Test Group acquires NZ’s leading milk containment and refrigeration company, DTS:

Auckland-based agri-tech company Tru-Test Group has today announced the acquisition of Dairy Technology Services from NDA. The move is the second such deal completed by Tru-Test Group in recent months, following its purchase of Radian Technologies (MilkHub) in December.

Dairy Technology Services (DTS) is the leading provider of milk storage and cooling systems in the New Zealand dairy industry. It employs 80 staff in its manufacturing facility in Taranaki and its nationwide sales, installation, repairs and maintenance and customer service operation based in Hamilton.

The deal reflects NDA’s desire to focus on its engineering activities in the dairy processing and transport, chemicals and refining, wine and resources industries. . .

New Record Top Price at Karaka Festival Sale:

Day 1 of New Zealand Bloodstock’s two-day Festival Sale was highlighted by a new top price for this session with the Swiss Ace colt at Lot 1149 fetching $125,000.

From the Hussonet mare Eclaircissement, Lot 1149 from Westbury Stud was purchased by Rogerson Bloodstock for $125,000.

Having a previous affiliation with the family, Rogerson was prepared to go beyond his budget to secure the colt out of a half-sister to multiple stakeswinner Illuminates (Strategic). . . .


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. . .


Rural round-up

January 31, 2013

Central Hawkes Bay shearing record bid cancelled -

A World sheep shearing record attempt which was to have taken place today in Central Hawke’s Bay has had to be cancelled because the lambs selected for the event would not have met the requirements of the World Sheep Shearing Records Society.

Secretary Hugh McCarroll, of Tauranga, said the judges, including one from Australia, inspected sheep and deliberated for more than six hours in the woolshed at Moa Stone Farm, east of Ormondville, before making the decision after 9pm.

The judges, who had gone to the shed for the traditional day-before wool-weigh, where a sample of lams is shorn to ensure they meet an average minim of 0.9kg of wool per lamb, found many were “bald”about the head.

“There was just not enough top-knot,” he said. “All of the judges commented as they arrived driving past the sheep in the paddocks, there’s not a lot of top-knot on these sheep.”

“It was very disappointing,” he said. “They hadn’t done enough homework. It’ll be a bit of a wake-up call for everybody.” . . .

Fewer horses sold at Karaka but clearance rate up:

New Zealand Bloodstock’s 2013 premier sale wrapped up at Karaka on Tuesday with 323 of the 441 lots sold.

The total raised of $51.05 million was $3.085 million less than in 2012, with 27 fewer horses sold.

The sale average of $158,054 is a 2 percent increase on last year’s figure, while the median was unchanged at $120,000. . .

Meat Sector PGP Could Halt ‘Race To The Bottom’:

Federated Farmers Meat & Fibre is excited by Beef+Lamb New Zealand and its partners winning Primary Growth Partnership (PGP) funding that could supercharge New Zealand’s red meat exports.

“We should not be in any doubt that the international demand for red meat is there but the problem is articulating that into the returns our farmers and our country need,” says Jeanette Maxwell, Federated Farmers Meat & Fibre Chairperson.

“In the year to December 2007, red meat exports represented around 58 percent of dairying’s export value. But in the year to December 2012, that figure has fallen to 45 percent. . .

PGP project suggests meat industry ready to cooperate – Allan Barber:

Yesterday’s announcement of the Red Meat PGP Collaboration Programme for Greater Farmer Profitability at a total investment of $65 million is fantastic news for the whole industry. The key words are ‘collaboration’ and ‘farmer profitability’. The first of these has usually been notable by its absence, while the second combination of words has only been evident at irregular intervals.

 Half the funding will be made available from the Ministry for Primary Industries’ Primary Growth partnership fund, while 30% will come from farmers through Beef & Lamb New Zealand and Meat Board reserves and the balance from six meat companies, two banks and Deloitte. . .

Achieving virtual scale for our largest industry – Pasture Harmonies:

Scale matters in exporting according to the World Bank…..so here’s a way to get virtual scale for our biggest industry.

The World Bank’s recent report ‘Export Superstars’, shows that company size matters when it comes to countries’ exporting. Little SME’s don’t cut much mustard.

Business NZ chief executive Phil O’Reilly , in commenting on Rob O’Neil’s Stuff story that the World Bank wants us to think big, says

“New Zealand has some unique challenges to overcome in its incredibly small scale and being the most isolated developed economy in the world.”

O’Reilly goes onto say:

“one effective model is the aggregation of small businesses into groups allowing them to in some ways act like and gain the advantages of large businesses.”

Given that NZ Inc’s biggest business is the conversion of solar-derived pastures into various proteins and fats, through thousands of small on and off farm businesses (and even the large ones are mere tiddlers in the world scene), wouldn’t it make sense to aggregate if we could? . .

Future of postal services: Rural delivery a lifeline says Rural Women NZ:

Rural Women New Zealand says while it understands the need for NZ Post to look at its business model in the face of a dramatic decrease in mail volumes, the special role of the rural delivery service also needs to be acknowledged and preserved as far as possible.

“We appreciate that NZ Post has consulted with us extensively about the future options it’s considering,” says Rural Women New Zealand national president, Liz Evans. “In turn we have emphasised that the rural delivery service is a real lifeline for many people.”

The RWNZ Enterprising Rural Women Awards, now in their fifth year, have revealed the increasing number of small businesses in rural communities and beyond. . .

Bee decline could sting industry:

A scientist at the University of Canterbury warns a declining number of bees could threaten the New Zealand economy and more needs to be done to help farmers protect native species and pollinating flies.

Ecology professor Jason Tylianakis says there are about 430,000 hives throughout the country and the pollination of crops and clover is worth $5 billion to the economy each year.

He says honey bees are under pressure worldwide from diseases and pests, and managed hives are also at threat due to pests and chemical sprays. . .

Sealord signs WWF Tuna Pledge and commits to bycatch below 1%

Evidence of the lowest bycatch using information from every catch will help ensure New Zealand’s most popular tuna brand offers consumers even more sustainable seafood products.

Sealord has also become the country’s first signatory of the WWF’s Western Central Pacific Tuna Conservation Pledge which brings together brands, harvesters and manufacturers focused on ensuring tuna fishing is well managed.

“WWF welcomes Sealord’s decision to sign the WWF Tuna Conservation Pledge and their support for targeted conservation measures that reduce bycatch in their supply chain,” says Alfred Cook, WWF’s Western Central Pacific Tuna Programme Officer . . . .

NZ Wineries Whet Consumers’ App-Etites:

A new range of smartphone apps are helping wine and food enthusiasts connect with wineries throughout New Zealand. The applications, created by NZ Wineries, are designed to keep consumers up to date with the latest news, wine releases, special offers and events in wine producing regions.

Graeme Bott, an emerging winemaker and founder of NZ Wineries, says the apps are a great way to bring the New Zealand wine industry and consumers closer together.

“We wanted to make the engagement between wineries and shoppers/tourists seamless. Through our apps, we can send instant notifications to our users informing them of wine updates in their specified region.” . .

And (hat tip Frankie) the official ambassadors for The Year of Natural Scotland:

Click to enlarge image ponies-in-sweaters.jpg


Rural round-up

January 15, 2013

We’re all winner from trade deal - Bruce Wills:

I have two big wishes for 2013 – agreeing the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) and an end to the “farmer versus environmentalist” bickering.

If we can get environmentalists working with us on solutions, a better environment will reap a pot of gold at the end of an economic rainbow called the TPP. Money makes all things possible, something you only discover when you don’t have it.

The TPP is a US$21 trillion (NZ$24.9t) club and Europe would need another Germany just to match it.

I know some have suspicions and want everything done in the open but trade negotiations are like any negotiation. Whether it is for wages or a used car, there are things that must be kept within four walls. I doubt those of a conspiratorial disposition would want their personal details posted on the internet. I also know that any TPP deal will need legislation and if that does not provide scrutiny, what would? . . .

Sheep farmers urged to aim for Chinese market:

New Zealand sheep farmers are being encouraged to think like the tourism industry, and aim for the niche, top end Chinese market.

Lamb prices have fallen hard over the past year, with recession in Europe constraining household spending – which means luxuries like lamb have been off the menu.

Westpac economist Nathan Penny points out we’ve done quite well in the past with targeting wealthy consumers in the UK, Japan and Europe.

He says those consumers are emerging in China, but have yet to really experience New Zealand lamb. . .

Caution urged in taking up a dairy job – Ali Tocker:

Dairy farmers and farm workers are being urged not to rush into employment agreements in the new year as the workload starts to pick up.

Waikato dairy recruitment specialist John Fegan said people on both sides of the coin should take time to make sure the working relationship would be a good fit.

“The recruitment market tends to get really busy from late January. That makes both employers and employees nervous because everyone likes to have things arranged early. That results in people picking work or workers they shouldn’t.

“We’re advising people to relax and not just grab the first person or the first job. Put the time in, make sure you’ve got the right person if you’re the employer, and that you’ve got the right job for you if you’re the employee. . .

Lack of dairy award entries prompts thoughts of merger – Diane Bishop:

The future of the Otago Dairy Industry Awards hangs in the balance.

Chairman Matthew Richards said only 20 entries had been received for this year’s competition, which could mean the region is merged with Southland in the future.

That was despite a record 566 entries being received in the nationwide competition.

In Otago there were four entries in the sharemilker/equity farmer contest, four in the farm manager contest and 12 in the dairy trainee contest, down from 28 last year. . .

Thousands of farmers owed up to $5,800 of duty refund on off-road farm petrol:

Thousands of farmers and contractors are owed money on fuel used by off-road farm vehicles – and should make a claim before they miss out.

An average dairy farmer who spends $5,000 per annum on off-road petrol will get an excise duty refund of $2,900 per annum.

Almost any commercial off-road fuel usage includes an on-road tax (or duty) of up to $0.58 cents/litre that can be refunded back to the farmer. . .

Zabeel Still Starring at Karaka:

With 44 yearlings by this Champion Sire, and a further 79 yearlings from his mares set to be featured at Karaka 2013, Zabeel is continuing his reign as one of the leading sires in Australasian history through the deeds of his racetrack progeny and his daughters at stud.

A sire that has set many records in the sales ring, Zabeel – at the ripe age of 26 – is still producing Derby winners and Melbourne Cup runners, but increasingly his legacy is being carried through his daughters who are proving potent producers of Group 1 racehorses.

Zabeel’s damsire record makes for impressive reading: . . .


Rural round-up

November 22, 2012

Record Results at Karaka’s 2012 Ready to Run:

The second-highest price ever posted at the NZB Ready to Run Sale underscored two very successful days trade at Karaka, with the two-day Sale concluding with a new record turnover, average and median.

With the second day of selling continuing even stronger than Day 1, after two days 245 of the 407 entries have sold for $17,852,000, over $1.5m and 10% ahead of the previous record turnover of $16,216,500 posted at last year’s Sale (with 354 catalogued and 228 sold).

But with enormous depth to the buying bench, the new record median was a highlight for vendors, at $48,000 it is nearly 7% higher than the previous record of $45,000 set last year. . .

Young Auctioneer title:

The 2012 Heartland Young Auctioneers Competition, held at the Canterbury A&P Show, was won by Glenn Peddie of Peter Walsh & Associates, with Ryan Andrew of PGG Wrightson finishing in second place. Seven auctioneers from the South Island competed in the inaugural competition.

Peddie was brought up on a farm in Wakari and attended the local Hawarden Area School. His first job was as a casual musterer around North Canterbury and Omarama. He started his career in the livestock industry as a livestock clerk in Christchurch, before becoming a stock agent servicing lifestyle farmers in the area. . .

Food fit for royalty:

“We advocate for New Zealanders to have access to food fit for royalty,” says Debbie Swanwick, Spokesperson for Soil & Health, Organic NZ. Her comments follow the departure of HRH Prince Charles and Camilla last week from New Zealand.

Britain’s best known organic farmer, HRH Prince Charles has long been an advocate of the sector. In 1992 he incorporated his ideologies into his business portfolio, founding Duchy originals from Waitrose, which provides natural, high-quality organic and premium products, while helping to protect and sustain the countryside and wildlife. . .

Comvita first-half earning fall 7.4% amid short supply of Manuka honey:

Comvita, which sells products based on the health and medical benefits of honey, posted a 7.4 percent decline in first-half profit , saying a shortage of Manuka honey after an inclement 2012 summer constrained sales growth and margins.

Profit fell to $2.39 million, or 7.95 cents a share, in the six months ended Sept. 30, from $2.58 million, or 8.92 cents a year earlier, the Te Puke-based company said in a statement. Sales climbed to $45.4 million from $41.8 million. . .

Potatoes NZ appoints new chief executive:

New Zealand has appointed Champak Mehta as its new Chief Executive.

Champak will lead the industry body for potato growers, producers and processors, as it embarks on its goal of doubling the size and value of the market by 2020. He brings a deep understanding of how to build value-add propositions, and business development into emerging markets.

Born and bred in Taranaki, Champak has been a physiology lecturer at CIT and a Captain in the Regular Force of the New Zealand Army. He completed his MBA at Otago in 2002 and joined Fonterra in early 2003, holding a variety of strategy, business development and management roles in New Zealand, the United States and Singapore until July 2011. . .

Beekeeping for 3000 years – Raymond Huber:

Hand-made beehives date back 3000 years (to Israel) and early hives were made of clay or straw. Bees and humans helped each other expand into new lands as settlers transported the bees with them for crop pollination. For centuries beekeepers melted the wax comb to get the honey out, forcing the poor bees to rebuild it every time. Then in 1851 pastor Lorenzo Langstroth designed a hive like a filing cabinet that could be used over and over. . .

 

 


Rural round-up

November 18, 2012

Major change to farming operation over six decades - Sally Rae:

When Alan Stewart’s parents moved to a farm in the Leithen Valley, near Gore, in 1949, times were tough.

That first year, his father ran 1500 ewes, which lambed 59%, and about 25 cows that “had a few calves as well”.

There was a dirt road and they had no electricity, let alone a washing machine, he recalled.

As a child growing up, Mr Stewart remembered there were no fences and he could ride his horse all over the property and not have to open a gate.

More than 60 years later, things were vastly different on the Stewart family’s extensive farming business. . .

New Zealand Pinot Noir Selected for World’s Finest Wine Glasses:

 A New Zealand Pinot Noir from Misha’s Vineyard in Central Otago has been selected to demonstrate some of the finest crystal glasses crafted for Pinot Noir by 250-year old Austrian glass company Riedel, the world’s leading designer and producer of luxury glassware.

The Riedel Glass Tasting is to be held on Saturday 17th November in Ho Chi Minh City in Vietnam, one of South-East Asia’s newly emerging wine markets, and will be hosted by Riedel’s 10th-generation company President George J Riedel. Tickets for the event which will be held in the city’s leading international 5-star hotel, the Caravelle Hotel, are priced at US$110 a seat and were sold out over a week ago with 120 people scheduled to attend. . .

Strong international buyer bench expected at Karaka’s Ready to Run Sale - Georgina Bond:

Karaka’s sale ring heats up next week for the annual Ready to Run Sale, with a strong international buyer’s bench expected.

The two-day event is now seen as Australasia’s leading auction for two-year-old thoroughbreds.

Organiser New Zealand Bloodstock hopes interest from international buyers on November 20 and 21 will drive sales beyond records set last year, when $16.2 million was returned to breeder’s pockets. . . 

Your Royal Highness, I Have The Drill For You:

A world authority on soil science and the inventor of a revolutionary new no-tillage seed drill has invited HRH Prince Charles to see it in action in the United Kingdom.

Dr John Baker met Prince Charles in Feilding today and discussed the drill which is almost fail safe and already helping to sustainably feed the world.

“I was delighted to meet an international leader who’s knowledgeable about the importance of soil biology in growing the world’s food and whose Duchy of Cornwall supports many charitable causes,” John Baker says. . .

Mussel Programme to Revolutionise Aquaculture:

The Government is supporting a $26 million initiative that seeks to boost aquaculture by domesticating the New Zealand Greenshell Mussel.

SPATnz is a venture led by Sanford which has received a commitment of up to $13 million from the Government’s Primary Growth Partnership Fund for a seven-year project.

Formal contracts have just been signed, following development of a business plan. . .

Young viticulturist wins national horticulture title:

For the fifth time in almost as many years, a viticulturist has been named as Young Horticulturist of the Year.

Braden Crosby, aged 30 and a winemaker and viticulturist for Borthwick Estate in Wairarapa who had taken out the national Markhams Young Viticulturist title this year, won the New Zealand Horticulture Industry Training Organisations competition held over 14 and 15 November in Auckland.

He competed in a series of practical and theoretical tests against six of the best from other horticulture sectors, including fruit growers and landscape gardeners.


Aussie in NZ Racing Hall of Fame

January 31, 2012

Australian trainer Bart Cummings has been made an honorary member of  the New Zealand Racing Hall of Fame:

Bart Cummings’ induction as the first foreigner to the New Zealand Racing Hall of Fame was the early highlight of the Karaka Premier Yearling Sale on Monday.

Cummings was inducted by Prime Minister John Key in a ceremony before the sale started at Karaka, on the southern outskirts of Auckland.

He was admitted on the strength of his success with New Zealand-bred horses. Eight of his 12 Melbourne Cup winners were New Zealand bred, as was his most recent champion So You Think.

“No overseas trainer has done more to promote the New Zealand thoroughbred,” Hall of Fame chairman Gerald Fell said.

Cummings bought So You Think at Karaka a few years ago and said he was hoping to find another top horse.

“I’m always looking for a bargain in New Zealand because I can’t get one in Australia,” he said.

The induction wasn’t the main motivation for his visit, though:

However, the real reason for his visit is to pick another winner of the race  he’s almost made his own, the Melbourne Cup.

Cummings has won a few – 12 Melbourne Cups, with seven Kiwi-bred winners – and says the prize money is the attraction.  He had back-to-back wins with  Think Big in the 1970s.

The master trainer is now hoping he can get the right mix of sales business  and pleasure at Karaka.

Race horses are definitely not must-haves and prices paid at the sales this week will be an indicator of buyer confidence in the racing industry and wider economy.

 


He helped racing, racing helped him

July 27, 2008

Tony Wall’s Sunday Star Times feature explains how Winston Peters helped the racing industry and how racing people helped him.

You can read the full story here  but this summary is not on line:

What Racing Has Done For Winston:

* Vela family, with interests in NZ Bloodstock at Karaka and Pencarrow Stud in the Waikato, reportedly donated at least $150,000 in amounts under $10,000 between 1999 and 2003 to NZ First.

* Wealthy breeder Sir Patrick Hogan, of Cambridge Stud, launched his own campaign to get NZ First back into parliament, spending thousands of his own money on newspaper advertsiements. The racing industry also backed the party through its Fair Tax campaign.

* Billionaire expat Owen Glenn, a racehorse owner, donated $100,000 to NZ First’s electoral challenge of the 2005 result in Tauranga.

What Winston Has Done For Racing:

* Reduced totalisator duty to 4% from a headline rate of 20%, pumping around $32 million a year into the industry.

* Decreased the tax write-down period for stallions and broodmares, encouraging more people to buy racehorses for tax advantages and potentially benefitting breeders by millions.

*This year’s Budget allocated a further $19m for a co-sponsorship scheme over a three-year period to enable “substantially higher prize money offered by the creme de la creme of New Zealand races.”

I don’t have a problem with people donating to political parties providing they are decalred as required by electoral law. But New Zealand First has declared few donations while the party and its leader have been staunch critics of the influence of big business and anonymous donors in politics.

The more we learn the more it looks like gross hypocrisy


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