Rural round-up

August 13, 2014

Getting New Zealand agriculture on the global market access ‘VIP’ list:

Priority must be given to policy and regulatory settings that improve market access for New Zealand exporters, with a heightened focus on the negotiation of Free Trade Agreements and building business-to-business and government-to-government working relationships, according a new report by global agribusiness specialist Rabobank.

Further leveraging New Zealand’s world class production and supply chain systems is also of utmost importance, the report says.

Releasing the research report, Competitive Challenges – Getting on the global market access ‘VIP’ list – Rabobank animal proteins analyst Matt Costello says improving market access is critical for the future growth and success of New Zealand agriculture, given the importance and reliance on exports across all sectors. . . .

Human clinical trial demonstrates digestive differences in A1 and A2 beta-casein – Keith Woodford:

The results of a human trial comparing A1 and A2 beta-casein have been published recently in the European Journal of Clinical Nutrition, which is a high ranking journal of the Nature Publishing Group. The trial demonstrated statistically significant differences in faecal consistency, with the faeces on A1 being overall looser. Also, for those people who on the A1 milk had the looser and runnier faeces, there was very strong evidence (p<.001) that this was associated with more stomach pain, whereas this relationship did not hold on the A2.

The trial was undertaken at Curtin University and led by Associate Professor Sebely Pal. I was part of the analysis and writing team, and I am listed as a co-author.

Prior to this trial there was already conclusive evidence that A1 and A2 beta-casein digest differently in animals. . . .

DNA technology a ‘game changer’ for monitoring environmental impacts:

Cawthron scientists have proved DNA technology can be used to accurately and effectively assess changes in the environment around marine-based operations.

Their findings have generated international interest – in particular from the aquaculture and off-shore oil and gas sectors that see huge potential for the technology. It will enable them to undertake environmental monitoring in near real-time.

“This revolutionary DNA technology, while still in its infancy, will eventually deliver results in real-time so industries can know instantly if anything is changing in the marine ecosystems around their operations, and if necessary, they can respond and adapt their practices immediately – it’s a game changer,” Cawthron Institute Chief Executive Charles Eason says. . .

Oh No! The ‘Perfect Bad Storm’ for Dairy Farmers World-Wide – Pasture to Profit:

Falling demand for dairy products, increasing wheat stocks, Russian ban on food imports have created the worst possible “Perfect Storm” for dairy farmers worldwide.

Dairy farmers’ business resilience will be severely tested, especially over the next year until these extraordinary events are resolved or resume normal trading.   Farmers need to quickly get control of their cash-flows, debt servicing and capital spending needs to ‘out of cash surplus’ only.

New Zealand dairy farmers have been ‘farming the milk price’…some have made decisions based on “an apparently ever increasing milk price”. . .

 Nothing forbidden about 40-fruit tree:

If you are the indecisive sort, especially when choosing exactly what sort of snack you’re craving, a special tree may be the answer.

A man in the US has created a fruit tree that grows 40 different kinds of fruit.

Sam Van Aken’s nursery is a workshop, laboratory and easel all rolled into one, and here he has created his masterpiece.

A springtime rendering of what the tree will look like in blossom has been gathering world-wide attention.

“It’s flattering. It’s amazing. But yeah, it’s also overwhelming,” Mr Van Aken says.  . .

Strong interest in 2014 South Island Farmer of the Year competition:

A wide variety of entries has been received for this year’s Lincoln University Foundation South Island Farmer of the Year competition, with meat, wool and dairy dominating the range of farm types competing.

Canterbury, Otago and Southland are particularly well represented among the entries, which include high and low country operations ranging from a large-scale pig operation to beef cattle specialists, dairy farms, sheep (both meat and wool breeds) and deer farms. Two of the entries include a cropping component their business. . .


Yealands SI Farmer of Year

November 29, 2013

Marlborough entrepreneur and winemaker Peter Yealands has won the prestigious Lincoln University Foundation South Island Farmer of the Year award for 2013.

The finals were held at Lincoln University with Chief Judge Nicky Hyslop saying the Yealands entry stood out for its innovation, entrepreneurship and vision.

The winner’s prize is a $20,000 grant toward overseas travel for study, research, marketing, or a combination of these.

The Yealands entry, one of six finalists from throughout the South Island, also won the Silver Fern Farms ‘Plate to Pasture’ award for consumer awareness, and the Lincoln University award for best use of technology and innovation, receiving $5000 for each.

“Peter impressed us with his philosophy of ‘think boldly and never say it can’t be done’,” Hyslop says. “He also demonstrated outstanding innovation inside and outside of the winery business. That was backed up by sound business practices integrated into every aspect of the operation, and a holistic ‘vine to bottle’ approach. Peter showed he was a visionary and had the will and the tenacity to convert that into a successful farm business enterprise.”

Andrew, Karen and Sam Simpson from Lake Tekapo were runners up with their high country merino sheep station, Balmoral, that has diversified into forestry, deer, cropping, property development, conservation recreation, value-added processing of their wool and meat. Hyslop says this entry was also notable for its vision and entrepreneurship, the extensive skill set within the family operation, its business and governance structures, and international networking.

The BNZ award for best human resource management, and the award for resource use efficiency were both taken out by North Canterbury dairy farmers Alan and Sharron Davie-Martin, winning $5000 for each.

“We had an outstanding group of finalists this year, all of a very high calibre,” says Lincoln University Foundation Chair Ben Todhunter. “They each in their way represented some of the best examples of the high performing, innovative, leading edge farming that is coming out of the South Island. This very high standard of entry represents not only a strong future for this competition, but for New Zealand, as we seek to encourage, promote and reward farming excellence.”

The six finalists were:

Neil and Philippa Gardyne from Otama, near Gore, who operate a sheep, beef and cropping enterprise. They are passionate about the sheep and beef industry and focus on innovative, efficient systems.

Trevor and Karen Peters from Roxburgh operate a large scale sheep and beef hill country enterprise built on strong succession planning and a real passion for farming, with low cost development contributing to outstanding farm management.

Andrew, Karen and Sam Simpson from Lake Tekapo run a high country Merino sheep station with diversification in forestry, deer, cropping, property development, conservation recreation, wool on-processing, and meat on-processing. Other commercial activities include a helicopter pad and golf course.

Alan and Sharron Davie-Martin from Culverden operate a highly productive dairy farming operation and continually explore technology to improve systems and production in all aspects of their business.

Simon and Pip Todhunter from Blenheim intensively farm Marlborough East Coast hill country with developed and native tussock hills, carrying ewes, cows and trading cattle. They continually explore technology to improve systems and production in all aspects of their business.

Peter Yealands from Seddon operates a large viticulture business, focused on innovation and business excellence. The business is hugely integrated with outstanding environmental balance.


Rural round-up

October 28, 2013

Industry award like winning ‘ham Lotto’ – Sally Rae:

Sue Morton describes winning gold in the 100% New Zealand Bacon and Ham Competition as like winning ”ham Lotto”.

Mrs Morton and her husband Gus, from Waitaki Bacon and Ham, won the gold award for their Hampshire Champagne sliced ham in the recent competition.

Retail meat industry specialist Matt Grimes, who has been a judge since the competition’s inception in 2008, described the entry as a ”standout”. . . .

Otago couple among six in award finals - Sally Rae:

Otago farmers Trevor and Karen Peters are among the six finalists in the Lincoln University Foundation South Island Farmer of the Year competition.

The Peters family operates a sheep and beef hill country farming enterprise across six properties. Nominees noted their commitment to the farming industry and their focus on succession planning.

Farming was a very high-cost business to get into but one with a low cash return, Mr Peters said.

”We have focused on a process for succession planning to ensure that business decisions on the property can focus on the long term, knowing that there will be a continuity of investment,” he said. . . .

Synlait Farms had five offers – Alan Williams:

Synlait Farms chief executive Juliet Maclean will increase her investment in the company as part of the planned takeover joint venture with Shanghai Pengxin.

If the takeover proceeds Maclean will receive just over $15 million for her 17.55% stake in the corporate dairy farmer but is required to invest $17m directly into her new 16.1% shareholding in the takeover vehicle SFL Holdings (SFLH). She will remain as chief executive and director of Synlait Farms. . . .

Taking Jersey butter to the top - Richard Rennie:

A small dairy company has tipped the usual processing model on its head, aiming to produce crafted, niche butter from one breed of cow, for the top-end food and restaurant trade. Richard Rennie investigates.

A couple of years ago Lewis Road Creamery founder Peter Cullinane had an epiphany in the most ordinary of places.

While trawling the dairy aisle of his Auckland supermarket for Danish Lurpak butter he wondered why he had to buy butter that had travelled 20,000km to get a brand that tasted good? . . .

Fury over eartag ‘spying’:

FARMERS are outraged at proposals by Meat and Livestock Australia to covertly sell to banks and rural lending institutions private information.

The farmer’s private information has been about the income they derive from the sale of their cattle and sheep.

A consultant’s report commissioned by the MLA – and leaked to the Australian Beef Association – says 10 financial institutions are keen to pay to automatically receive emails informing them every time a farmer who has a mortgage or debt sells his stock through the saleyards or to an abattoir.

The scheme, which the ABA likens to “spying for profit”, is made possible by the tracking of electronic eartags, which are now mandatory from birth for all cattle in all states, from farm to meatworks, under a scheme administered by the MLA. . .  Hat tip: Interest.co.nz

Focus on heat on livestock  – Nicloa Bell:

HOW livestock will react to warming global temperatures is the focus of a new study.

While it is commonly known that livestock production can be affected by exposure to heat, researchers from the University of Western Australia’s Institute of Agriculture and India’s Kerala Veterinary and Animal Sciences University are working to determine the physiological and genetic basis for adaptation in animals as a response to increasing global temperatures.

Physiology professor Shane Maloney from UWA’s School of Anatomy, Physiology and Human Biology is leading the project and said they hoped the research might help in the selection of livestock to improve production. . .


People crucial in ag success

July 26, 2013

The importance of people and their knowledge is being recognised by new award for the Lincoln University Foundation’s South Island Farmer of the Year competition.

Chairman Ben Todhunter says the foundation is pleased to introduce, with the support of the Bank of New Zealand, a $5000 cash prize to the competition for best use of human resources.

“The BNZ Human Resources Award is one of four new categories we have introduced to the competition, in addition to the main prize of a $20,000 travel/study fund,” Todhunter says. “Each of these categories recognise how multi-skilled agricultural business has become to maintain New Zealand’s leading edge as a world class producer.

Todhunter says the award was created to recognise the importance of human resource management in a farm business, including the crucial role people play as innovators and creators and passers on of knowledge; and the contribution to business success that is achieved through strong and effective relationships, internally and externally.

The stereotypical farmer is a man alone. But even one man, or woman, businesses depend on good relationships with the people who service and supply the farm and bigger operations can’t succeed without good relationships with staff.

BNZ head of Agribusiness, Richard Bowman, says an award highlighting the importance of recognising and sharing the skills that sit behind New Zealand’s agribusiness sector is an important addition to the competition.

“The value of the products produced here is well understood, but just as important is the knowledge, techniques and skill that produces those products.

“New Zealand leads the world in farming methodology and process, but the commercial value of those skills is often undervalued, both within the sector and across the wider economy,” says Mr Bowman.

Mr Bowman says that passing on that intellectual property is a critical part of industry succession planning.

“Developing human resource management processes designed to pass knowledge to young farmers and identify talent will ensure New Zealand’s agribusinesses continue to thrive and lead our country’s export growth.”

Mr Bowman also commented that the skills represented in the competition are themselves a latent export opportunity.

“There is real commercial value in our methodology and knowledge in international markets, which represents a significant export opportunity for the sector.

“An on-farm attitude recognising and fostering skills and IP will allow this opportunity to be more fully enjoyed.”

Todhunter says the Lincoln University Foundation South Island Farmer of the Year competition creates a process where others in the industry can learn from the experiences of the finalists and eventual winner, supporting the spread of knowledge for the betterment of the industry as a whole.

“Farmers who win the BNZ award,” Todhunter says, “will have demonstrated real skills in maximising their people resource to promote business success and grow industry knowledge.”. . .

The overall winner will have demonstrated that they are in the top echelon of agricultural producers, that the farm business is sustainable and that they have developed, or are in the process of developing, a new approach or approaches, either inside or beyond the farm gate, that will enhance their farming activity.

Other new prizes are the Lincoln University award for technology and innovation; the Silver Fern Farms ‘Plate to Pasture’ award for consumer focus and the Resource Use Efficiency award for excellence in sustainable resource management.

Nominations and/or entries for this year’s competition have opened and close on August 1.

There’s more information on the competition, including how to nominate someone for, or enter, it here.


Rural round-up

June 28, 2013

EPA announces new controls for insecticides:

A group of highly toxic insecticides has been extensively reassessed by the Environmental Protection Authority (EPA) and some will no longer be allowed to be used for plant pest control in New Zealand, the EPA announced today.

The EPA’s General Manager Applications and Assessment, Sarah Gardner, says that while the controlled use of some insecticides would continue to benefit New Zealand’s primary production industries, others were too damaging to people and the environment.

“The EPA’s role is to ensure that New Zealand’s environment, society and economy are protected from the risks posed by such substances.” . .

Mike Barton-Beef Farming Under a N Cap. This Video Will Scare The Crap Out Of Dairy Farmers – Milking on the Moove:

Mike Barton gave this talk to the Beef & Lamb NZ Farmer Roadshow in June 2013. 

It is a real eye opener & Mike explains in detail what farmers in the lake Taupo catchment have had to change in order to meet the Nitrogen cap put in place by their regional authorities.

Thanks to Beef & Lamb New Zealand for making it publicly available.

 

INC welcomes NZ infant formula audit:

The Infant Nutrition Council welcomes the audit of New Zealand’s regulatory regime concerning infant formula exports, which was announced today by Food Safety Minister Nikki Kaye, CEO Jan Carey said.

“The council welcomes any steps by the Government that help give consumers confidence in the safety and quality of infant formula manufactured in New Zealand.

“The Minister’s insistence that the audit includes work on verification, compliance, and testing regimes is excellent news. . .

Four new awards for South Island Farming Competition:

The challenges, skills and resources required for high performance farming have been recognised by the inclusion of four new awards in the 2013 prize package offered by the Lincoln University Foundation’s South Island Farmer of the Year competition.

Each award carries a cash prize of $5000 while the overall prize has been upped to $20,000. This is awarded in the form of a grant to facilitate travel to visit and study overseas farming enterprises and learn about new opportunities, processes and technology.

Foundation Chair Ben Todhunter says the South Island Farmer of the Year competition is about recognising innovation, leadership and excellence in farming and, more importantly, creating a process where others in the industry can learn from the experiences of the finalists and eventual winner. . .

Greenshell New Zealand wins NZ Food and Beverage Exporter of the Year:

Coromandel MP Scott Simpson has congratulated Greenshell New Zealand on being named New Zealand Food and Beverage Exporter of the Year at the Export NZ Awards.

The prestigious award recognised Greenshell New Zealand’s excellence in building extraordinary and sustainable export growth in the Food and Beverage sector.

Judges said the company had shown the ability to think differently with a variety of well thought out strategies shaping their growth and future potential. . .

Fresh investment adding value to Sealord products:

Increasing Sealord’s fresh fish offer from negligible to up to 10% of catch by 2018 is the next step in the company’s growth strategy and the business is putting its resources and investment where its mouth is.

An investment of around $1.5 million in an entirely new line, focusing on fresh chilled fish and thermoform packaging of both fresh and frozen products, has just come online at the Vickerman Street premises.

According to General Manager of Sealord Fish, Doug Paulin, the company’s expertise in quality frozen fish and position as New Zealand’s best known seafood brand are good stepping stones to add value to products by selling more fresh fish. . .


Rural round-up

November 10, 2012

Synlait Farms Takes Out South Island Farmer of the Year title for 2012

Canterbury-based dairy enterprise Synlait Farms clinched the Lincoln University Foundation’s South Island Farmer of the Year competition for 2012 last night (Thursday 8 November 2012) with an entry that judges hailed as a prime example of New Zealand’s leadership role in innovative and entrepreneurial agricultural practice.

Chief Judge Bob Simpson said that all four finalists demonstrated leadership, excellence and innovation.

“Any of the finalists could have won this award tonight,” Simpson said. “But in the finish it was Synlait’s blend of family-based traditional farming practices with the very best of modern corporate innovation and management systems that saw this multi-farm company stand out. Synlait’s approach to its people, its stock and its land can be held up as an example of what can be achieved when good leadership and good people go hand-in-hand.” . . .

Landcorp ready to run Crafar farms – Andrea Fox:

State farmer Landcorp says its Chinese client Shanghai Pengxin will settle the Crafar farms purchase with receivers on November 30 and it is scheduled to start managing the dairy farming estate the next day.

Landcorp chief executive Chris Kelly said that to the best of his knowledge this was the timetable that would mark the end of the tortuous three-year Crafar farms sales process.

Landcorp’s management of the 16 central North Island farms is a condition of Government consent to the controversial sale to the Chinese company, which has waited through a string of court challenges and consent processes to put its money on the table as receiver KordaMentha’s preferred bidder. . .

Wool growers asked for $10m – Gerald Piddock:

Wools of New Zealand is asking for $10 million from strong wool growers in a capital raising offer to expand its sales and marketing capabilities.

The raising would give strong wool growers the opportunity to invest in a grower-owned sales and marketing, company, chairman Mark Shadbolt said.

The company has made significant inroads into transforming Wools of New Zealand into a commercial entity, aimed at connecting customer to grower, he said. . .

Wine sector senses a whiff of recovery – Claire Rogers:

The wine industry is on the mend after a gruelling few years that prompted a string of closures and collapses, New Zealand Winegrowers says.

One recent high-profile casualty, Hawke’s Bay winery and vineyard Matariki Group was put into receivership in September owing creditors, including the Government, about $11.2 million. Receivers PricewaterhouseCoopers said the winery struck financial trouble after reduced harvests in 2011 and 2012 led to weak sales, and that was compounded by a lack of capital.

New Zealand Winegrowers chief executive Philip Gregan said the 2012 harvest was down 19 per cent on 2011, and that had dealt another blow to the industry, which had been struggling since 2008 with over-supply and weak demand from the global downturn. . .

Sea air tenderises spring lamb – Jon Morgan:

Logan Brown’s head chef Shaun Clouston takes a bite, chews thoughtfully, swallows and then licks his lips.

“By crikey, that’s beautiful,” he says, shaking his head slowly, wonder in his voice.

On the plate is a lamb rump, finely sliced, with kumara, crushed peas and roasted tomatoes. It’s a simple dish. “I want the lamb to be the hero,” Clouston says.

This is not any lamb. The meat is from a young spring lamb, only 4 months old when it was sent to slaughter, and from a farm on the coast south of Whanganui. . .

Kiwi to Lead International Tree Society

A Dunedin arborist became the first-ever Australasian president of the International Society of Arboriculture (ISA) last week.

Mark Roberts, an experienced arborist and academic director of horticulture training firm Thoughtplanters, is the second non-American elected to lead the 88-year-old society.

More than 20,000 arborists from 18 countries are members of ISA today. . .


Rural round-up

June 2, 2012

Munro puts lid on thankless task to disestablish Wool Board – Jonathan Underhill:

May 29 (BusinessDesk) – Wool Board Disestablishment Co has made its final report, having met its 2003 target for distributions in a decade-long process that left chairman Bruce Munro vowing never again to be involved in such a thankless, poorly paid task.

The directors of DisCo will resign and unrestricted access to the shell will be transferred to NZAX-listed Wool Equities, the company established to preserve and use some $300 million of tax losses for the benefit of growers. . .

Annual challenge for South Island Farmers ‘Good for Business’

Farmers who have won the annual Lincoln University Foundation South Island Farmer of the Year Award say winning the competition is good for business.

The prestigious annual award is open for entries for 2012 and previous winners say that entering brings more than prestige and prize money – it makes a difference for their farm’s bottom line too.

The aim of the Lincoln University Foundation South Island Farmer of the Year competition is to reward farmers whose work showcases the best of what can be achieved in farming. It is more than being a ‘good farmer’, it means operating in a way that shows leadership, innovation, efficiency and sustainability. . .

Fertiliser Quality Council Pleased With Podcast Response :

The Fertiliser Quality Council (FQC) is really pleased with the response to the webcast launching the program New Zealand Needs Fertiliser and Plants Need Food. It is a short, sharp educational program aimed at correcting the myths over fertiliser use.

FQC chair Neil Barton said that the immediate response of 361 full views, plus a few on Facebook, was great news for the fertiliser industry. In addition the vast majority watched the program right through.

“For too long we have had the self-styled environmental disciples perpetuating myths about fertiliser and its use,” Neil Barton said. “We now have a science-based program refuting that. The fact that almost 400 New Zealanders decided to watch the launch of the program, including a motivational address by Prof Rowarth from the University of Waikato Business School, is most heartening. . .

New board member elected to NZYF Board at Conference Week

Young Farmers from all over New Zealand spent a week in Dunedin last week for the TBfree New Zealand Young Farmers National Conference. Conference delegates went on a bus trip, took part in workshops, supported their favourite Contestant in The National Bank Young Farmer Contest and the also attended the 2012 Annual General Meeting.

 The AGM was held at Dunedin’s College of Education and two board members were elected – both roles were for two year terms. Twenty five year old Dunsandel dairy farmer Cole Groves was re-elected after sitting on the board for the past year. Twenty eight year old dairy farmer Cam Lewis from the Opiki Club was also elected. Previously Mr Lewis has worked as a rural banker and completed the Kellogg Rural Leaders Programme in 2009 as the youngest participant ever.

Mr Lewis will join Mr Groves and the two other elected members on the board: 31 year old Chairman and potato grower Paul Olsen who is from the Opiki Club and 30 year old sheep and beef farmer, Vice-chairperson Vanessa Hore from the Upper Manuherikia Club. Several other board members make up the NZYF board: Contest Chairman Bevan Proffit, Co-opted Board Member Sarah von Dadleszen, Strategic Partner James Christie, Strategic Partner Barbara Kuriger and NZYF CEO Richard Fitzgerald. . .

Fund makes outdoor access easier

Twenty-two projects designed to improve access to the outdoors will receive funding through the New Zealand Walking Access Commission’s Enhanced Access Fund.

Fifty organisations applied for a portion of the $230,000 made available in this year’s funding round. The contestable fund contributes to the Commission’s goal of free, certain, enduring and practical walking access to the outdoors.

Commission Chief Executive Mark Neeson said 2012 grant recipients came from all over New Zealand, from the Brynderwyn Ranges in Northland to Mataura in Southland. Projects that will receive funding range from new tracks and boardwalks to bridges and signage that makes existing access easier to find. . .


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