Orange and red flags ignored

October 10, 2013

Months after the precautionary recall of products containing whey protein which was later proved to be clear of botulism there is still a lot of confusion about what happened.

Keith Woodford explains it was all about orange and red flags:

. . . It all started back in May 2012 when some plastic came loose in a whey concentrate dryer at the Hautapu plant near Hamilton. The risk was that this plastic had got smashed up and possibly melted within the dryer, and then mixed with the whey.

The only way to find out for sure was to hydrate the whey powder (which is soluble) and then filter out any solids.  For reasons not clear, Fonterra chose to do this using equipment that had not been used recently.  Unfortunately the equipment had not been properly cleaned.

Once hydrated and then re-dried, the product passed the mandatory bacterial tests, but did have a level somewhat higher than typical.

By this stage there should have been two orange flags but the Fonterra system recognised neither.  The first was that once the product had been reprocessed, then it should have been drafted away from human use and used for stock feed. The second orange flag was when the re-processed whey powder gave elevated but technically acceptable bacterial counts. Once again, this should have been enough to restrict its use to stock feed. . .

He explains what happened next and about the testing in the clearest summary I have come across. It is very interesting reading.

He then gets on to the ongoing fallout:

. . . As events have turned out, it is now apparent that it was a false alarm. Further testing overseas has confirmed that in fact it was not botulinum.  However, great damage to Fonterra’s and New Zealand’s reputation occurred, with the recall being splashed globally in the news media, and particularly so in China  where many of Fonterra’s products are sold. In fact I am writing this from China, and I can confirm that it has very much come to the attention of Chinese consumers.

It will be interesting to see how this now plays out. Here in China there is no doubt that Danone in particular has suffered great damage, with their leading infant formula brand Dumex being particularly badly hit. (Dumex is the equivalent of ‘Karicare’ in New Zealand, with Karicare being marketed by  Danone’s  Nutricia subsidiary.)  .

Earlier this week, in a Shanghai supermarket, there was a message over the in-store radio every five minutes advising that the Fonterra food safety scare was actually a false alarm. But unofficial sources tell me that sales of the Dumex brand are still hugely affected, with up to 90% loss of sales. Consumers have moved to other brands and now have to be painstakingly won back. A Google search using Chinese characters for ‘poisonous’ and ‘milk powder’ and ‘Dumex’ produces over one million references. . .

There is an irony that Fonterra’s milk powder is still flowing into China unimpeded, and prices for these bulk products have not suffered.  It is the consumer brands that are not owned by Fonterra that have suffered. . .

It isn’t just milk products which are affected:

Glen Herud at Milking on the Moove was speaking to a food safety consultant recently:

He has a client who manufactures and sells blackberry powder to the Asian market.

His product has been stopped from entering into some Asian countries. 

He was notified by his customer via an email in broken English explaining that they won’t purchase anymore product because botulism was in New Zealand products. . . 

Inquiries into exactly what went wrong at Fonterra and the subsequent handling of the issue are continuing and so are the consequences.

Whatever comes out of the inquiries, all food processors need to be sure they have systems which recognise and respond appropriately to orange flags long before any red ones are raised.


Rural round-up

October 8, 2013

On Farm Productivity Is Good, But The Big Money Is Made From Off Farm Productivity – Milking on the Moove:

There’s a lot of talk about productivity in New Zealand these days.

But are we focusing on the right areas?

The government has set a target of doubling the primary sectors export earnings from $32 Billion to $64 Billion by 2025.

Nobody doubts that this is a difficult ask.

New Zealand’s primary sector has a strong record of productivity gains.

The sheep industry alone has increase productivity (expressed as meat sold /ewe) by 80% over the last 25 years.

That’s 2.5% productivity gain every year. Any business analyst will agree that that is impressive.

But are sheep farmers any better off?

Despite 20 years of productivity gains sheep farmers recently experienced their lowest level of profitability, according to Beef & Lamb NZ data. . .

Setting a pathway to a sustainable future – James Houghton:

The judges ruling on the One Plan has got everyone claiming a win, which is an unexpected result coming from two sides who have always been quite opposing in their views. What a fantastic result Honorary Justice Stephen Kòs has managed to keep both sides happy! For us it has allowed us, in conjunction with the regional council, to come up with a workable solution to the One Plan.

I was sitting next to a Fish & Game representative last Tuesday and I said that the primary industries are committed to putting money into getting good science around achieving the goals of healthy rivers and work forward for sensible solutions. I don’t know where he has been hiding for the past few years because he was quite surprised.

The plan as it now sits means everything is about making the pathway to improvements on farm achievable, and that’s all we ever wanted. It is all part of managing risk and making the most of the resources we have. But at the same time other stakeholders like Fish & Game and Forest & Bird need to have realistic expectations of what can be achieved through good management practice on farm. This all comes down to setting the values through open and honest consultation and this is why we are setting up the Stakeholders Group, who will represent the community in Waikato and identify where the issues are, as well as the Technical Alliance Group (TAG) who will come up with the solutions. . .

Raetihi farmers frustrated but coping:

Farmers reliant upon Raetihi’s water supply are as frustrated as the urban residents are but remain hopeful alternative water supplies maybe secured by the end of this week.

“With livestock understandingly refusing to drink from contaminated troughs, it has been a difficult week for the affected farms and especially those who draw water from Raetihi’s water supply,” says Lyn Neeson, Federated Farmers Ruapehu provincial president.

“What we need now is some heavy rain and it looks like some is on the cards for mid-week.

“Farmers are coping quite well by moving stock to alternative sources either on or off-farm. This includes on-farm water supplies like dams through to sending stock off-farm. . .

Colombian Farmers Get First-Hand Look at NZ Agri Expertise:

The New Zealand Agribusiness Centre, New Zealand Trade and Enterprise (NZTE), the Ministry for Primary Industries, and the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade this week welcome the largest Colombian delegation to ever visit New Zealand.

Some 170 Colombian farmers are spending a week in New Zealand to get first-hand insights into New Zealand’s pastoral farming systems and agritechnology. The visit includes an exhibition and seminar with major players in New Zealand’s agriculture sector at Mystery Creek Event Centre (home of Fieldays); fieldtrips to dairy, beef and sheep farms; and a visit to Landcorp’s pastoral farm development blocks near Taupo.

Led by Fedegan, the Colombian Federation of Ranchers, the delegation to New Zealand follows Prime Minister John Key’s official visit to Mexico, Colombia, Chile, and Brazil earlier this year as part of the Government’s increased focus on strengthening bilateral relations and capitalising on trade opportunities with Latin America nations. . .

NZ study tour on offer for international farmers:

Primary Industries Minister Nathan Guy has today announced a new programme for overseas farmers to spend time in New Zealand on an agri-tech study tour.

“Four places a year will be available for farmers to spend up to three weeks here, looking at improved agricultural productivity and reducing on-farm methane emissions,” says Mr Guy.

“This programme will be fully funded by the Ministry for Primary Industries and will help promote New Zealand’s agribusiness expertise overseas.

“My recent trip to South America has reinforced to me just how well respected New Zealand is overseas for the success of our agricultural sector. . .

Federated Farmers aids New Zealand’s agricultural diplomacy:

Federated Farmers has successfully tabled a paper at the World Farmers Organisation that could greatly contribute to New Zealand’s global agricultural diplomacy.

“I am pleased to say New Zealand’s proposal to invite farming organisations has been warmly received by the World Farmers Organisation and will further our country’s global outreach and engagement,” says Bruce Wills, Federated Farmers President.

“The World Farmers Organisation is currently writing to our Ministry for Primary Industries (MPI) to agree a programme for farmers from developed or developing countries to travel to New Zealand for an agri-tech study tour.

“We envisage each visit will be coordinated by MPI but will involve industry good bodies, research institutions and ourselves. It will enable visiting farmers to spend two to three weeks working alongside our farming community and agricultural science sectors. . .

NZCTA urges positive action in light of botulism scare:

The New Zealand China Trade Association (NZCTA) is urging industry and Government to work together to learn serious lessons from the Fonterra botulism scare. Official reviews have yet to be published, but the NZCTA is encouraging its members to continue to monitor the situation with respect to the China market.

“There is no doubt that the incident has damaged New Zealand’s image as a source of safe, high quality food products and the implications of this have been felt in terms of earnings for a number of our members, and this is unlikely to be fully resolved until New Zealand can prove that it has adequate systems in place to safeguard the industry and export markets” says Association Chairman Tim White. . .

City-fringe farm with a history of dairy and cattle grazing goes on the market for sale:

A dairy support farm described as being ‘as close to the city as you can get without being a lifestyle block’ has been placed on the market for sale.

The 185 hectare unit near the township of Waiuku in the Counties region of Auckland is a sheep farm which has been converted into a cattle and finishing block capable of running up to 650 head of cattle.

The farm is divided into some 40 paddocks and raced for efficient stock movement and separation. This year the farm has stocked 100 dairy heifer yearlings, 150 dairy heifer calves, 200 beef yearlings and 200 beef calves. . .


Rural round-up

August 8, 2013

Fonterra launches probe into food scare:

Fonterra Cooperative Group, the world’s biggest dairy exporter, has launched an investigation into a food contamination scare after accounting for the potentially tainted product.

Chief executive Theo Spierings told a briefing in Auckland all affected whey protein and its derivatives had been contained internationally, and he was satisfied the contamination scare had stabilised. The dairy company has launched an investigation into the “human error” that caused the failure, and introduced extra testing until the probe is completed, Spierings said.

“An internal investigation has already started and it’s also likely that we will go for an external investigation,” Spierings said. “Fonterra will keep everybody in the loop and informed of our findings.” . . .

Conclusion of NDRC investigation

Fonterra Co-operative Group today confirmed it has been issued with an administrative fine of approximately NZD 900,000 (RMB 4.47 million) following the conclusion of the China National Development and Reform Commission (NDRC) review of pricing practices in the mainland of China for consumer dairy products.

“Fonterra has been co-operating fully and openly with the NDRC throughout this process. We accept the NDRC’s findings and we believe the investigation leaves us with a much clearer understanding of expectations around implementing pricing policies which is useful as we progress our future business plans,” said Kelvin Wickham, President of Fonterra Greater China and India.

“We understand that a number of companies in the dairy industry were fined, with Fonterra’s fine being in the lowest range.” . . .

To change perceptions farmers need to connect – Milking on the Moove:

It’s a perception Issue

I often hear people in the agricultural sector say things like “We need to remove the emotion from the issue” or “It’s a perception problem”.

We will never remove emotion from decisions, because everybody forms judgments based on their emotions, past experience and prejudices.

People make snap judgements

Malcolm Gladwell wrote a book called “Blink”. In his book he outlines research that shows people make judgements on a person, product, brand based on very small amounts of information.

He says that once a judgement has been made, a person is unlikely to change their mind. . .

Stress on Rural Business Prompts New Initiative From Business Mentors:

Business Mentors New Zealand has announced a new initiative to increase business mentoring support to rural businesses throughout New Zealand, which are facing increasing levels of stress worsened by the aftermath of the recent drought, tighter regulations on health and safety, and environmental controls.

The new initiative supported by the Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment sees the $150 Business Mentors’ registration fee waived for businesses in areas where a medium-scale drought was declared. The country’s 17 Business Mentoring agencies are being encouraged to place greater emphasis on supporting rural enterprises. . .

‘I’d never buy Fonterra milk,’ says man purchasing three bottles of Anchor – The Civilian:

A man at a local supermarket has told a 17-year-old cashier that he would “never buy Fonterra milk,” particularly after this week’s contamination scandal, and said that this is why he’s made the conscious decision as a consumer to purchase Anchor milk instead.

The man, 29-year-old Brandon Gray, said he was “pretty savvy” when it came to selecting his products, and he wouldn’t let Fonterra’s domination of the dairy industry prevent him from expressing his disapproval of their operations. . . .


Rural round-up

August 2, 2013

Debt puts pressure on large companies to achieve solution – Allan Barber:

If there was ever a compelling reason for the meat companies to sort out the problems of procurement competition and excess capacity, the debt levels on the balance sheets of the big three at the end of last season provide one.

Between them they stacked up combined current and non-current borrowings of $710 million, 45% of these on Silver Fern Farms’ books, 28% on Alliance’s and 27% on ANZCO’s. No wonder they can’t afford another loss-making year like 2011/12 which makes this year so important for getting back into as healthy a condition as possible.

The forecast livestock volumes, especially sheep and lambs, for the next four years place a great deal of pressure on the companies to find a solution urgently before procurement competition breaks out yet again. MPI’s Situation and Outlook Report which came out in June predicts a gradual recovery in values, but livestock numbers and export tonnages are virtually static or declining, because of the effects of the drought, herd and flock rebuilding and the impact of dairy on land use. . .

Ballance pays record rebate after record performance:

 Ballance Agri-Nutrients shareholders are in line for a record rebate and dividend of $65/tonne, along with a recommended 60 cent increase in the value of their co-operative’s shares to $8.10.

The rebate averaging $60.83 per tonne and a fully imputed dividend of 10 cents per share will be paid out nearly six weeks earlier during mid-August, with Ballance Chairman David Graham saying the payment has been brought forward to reward shareholders and assist them with cash flows at the start of the season.

“The drought may be over but the financial impacts are not, so we are fast-tracking the payment for shareholders in recognition of that so they can gain the full benefits of a good year for their co-operative as quickly as possible.” . . .

AgResearch creating the ‘Silicon Valley of Food’

 With food being to New Zealand what ‘Silicon Valley’ is to the United States’ technology sector, Federated Farmers is backing AgResearch’s strategic move to create two major research campuses supplemented by two smaller ones.

“Federated Farmers is backing AgResearch in what is an important strategic move for it and New Zealand,” says Dr William Rolleston, Federated Farmers Vice-President.

“Its masterplan is about supporting primary exports to reach $64 billion by 2025.

“We cannot deny there is a human element to this change and while 40 positions are slated to go, the actual number will be low given this is a four- year transition. That said, it will require a number of staff and their families to consider where their long-term futures lie.

“Federated Farmers is encouraged to see that no staff will be required to relocate until 2016. . .

Reduce nitrate leaching with mobile milking system – Milking on the Moove:

Unconventional ways to reduce nitrate leaching

Part 1 
A few weeks ago I explained how agroforestry is a farming system that is able to reduce nitrate leaching.

Part 2
Today I will talk about how a dairy farming system based around a mobile cowshed is able to reduce the level of nitrate leaching.

A traditional cowshed is in a fixed location. The cows have to be within walking distance of the cowshed because they need to get milked twice a day.

The main cause of nitrate leaching on dairy farms in the cows urine patch.

For this reason, the cows are always grazed on the same block of land surrounding the cowshed. . .

Honouring the unsung young heroes of the Hawke’s Bay wine industry:

Moore Stephens Markhams Young Viticulturist of the Year Competition Friday 2 August 2013.

Hawke’s Bay is internationally renowned for its wine. The local wineries and winemakers are household names, with exceptional reputations in New Zealand and further afield.

Less well known, but just as crucial to the crafting of world-beating wine, are the viticulturists. They are intimately involved in all aspects of vineyard management; their extraordinary knowledge ensuring winemakers have the best possible grapes to work with after each harvest.

The region’s best up-and-coming viticulturists are being honoured on Friday 2 August at the Moore Stephens Markhams Young Viticulturist of the Year Competition. This is being held at Mission Estate – their viticulturist Caine Thompson took out the Hawke’s Bay competition in 2009. He went on to win the national awards, before being named New Zealand Young Horticulturist of the Year. . .

Technology could be future boon for kiwifruit growers:

A new online system is being developed that might one day help kiwifruit growers make decisions on when to spray orchards for pests and diseases. The system is in the early stages of development in a joint project between the University of Waikato and Plant & Food Research (PFR).

The web-based tool is should help reduce time and costs associated with pest monitoring in kiwifruit orchards and spray application.

The current process of physically monitoring pest levels is time consuming, says University of Waikato summer research scholarship student Michael Fowke.

“Spraying is a necessary exercise for growers and a lot of time is spent trying to identify when or whether spraying is needed,” he says. “It will need a lot more testing in the field but potentially this system could cut that time down considerably.” . .

Iwi Suggests To Pull Plug on Dam:

At a Hui an Iwi held at Matahiwi marae last night, Ngāti Kahungunu Iwi Incorporated was asked by several Heretaunga hapū to oppose the Ruataniwha Dam project on their behalf.

The main reasons given were inadequate consultation, selective information release, and the failure by the Hawke’s Bay Regional Council to recognize and acknowledge the Tino Rangatiratanga that hapū had exercised over rivers and water bodies from time immemorial. . .

Keen-To-Learn Farmer Turns to Ballance Farm Environment Awards for Information and Inspiration:

Returning to the family farm five years ago was an in-the-deep-end experience for Waikato farmer James Bailey and his wife Ella.

‘Momona’, a 440ha (effective) Tirau sheep and beef farm, had been in the Bailey family for five generations, so James was eager to start off on the right foot. While he was mindful of the work performed by past generations, he was also keen to improve the environmental sustainability of the business.

James, a keen surfer, is co-founder of Sustainable Coastlines – an award-winning registered charity that organises coastal clean-ups, educational programmes and riparian plantings. . .


Rural round-up

July 17, 2013

Australian farmers facing tough times:

Australian farmers are doing it tough with food imports becoming cheaper because of the Australian dollar’s plunge against the greenback three years ago, just as the worst drought in living memory finally broke.

Although there’s a general election in September, Australian farmers say their plight continues to be ignored by both Government and opposition.

Hundreds of jobs have gone from the regions as food processing factories close – or they’ve slashed production, leaving growers with tonnes of rotting fruit. . .

How a 750 cow dairy farm could make $125,000 more by employing 2 extra staff – Milking on the Moove:

I’ve been using a 750 cow farm (Canterbury average) as an example. I have been saying that this farm should have 5 employees + the boss, instead of the usual 3 employees + the boss.

 2 extra staff @ $35,000 each = $70,000/year extra wages
But if this farmer could:

 
  • Increase fertility by 7% = extra $32,000
  • Decrease SCC in just 5% of cows = $30,000
  • Increase pasture quality by 10% for just 31 days = $63,000
Thats adds up to an extra $125,000
 
Subtract the $70,000 in additional wages = $55,000 better off. . .

Ponding effluent proves costly for Hinds company:

A farm company has been fined $25,000 after pleading guilty to breaching the Resource Management Act following problems with a travelling irrigator which resulted in severe effluent ponding on its Hinds dairy farm.

In convicting and fining Drumblade Farm Ltd and awarding costs of $2990.80, Judge PR Kellar described the offence as “comparatively serious offending.”

He noted that when an Environment Canterbury Compliance Officer made a routine monitoring visit to the property on April 17, 2012 he was informed that there had been an issue that morning with the travelling irrigator where a nozzle had come off. Inspection revealed severe liquid and solid effluent ponding on the land surface. . .

Greenlea turns 20 – Allan Barber:

Waikato based Greenlea Premier Meats turns twenty this month and considering that they have just spent twenty years in the meat industry they seem to be in remarkably good shape.

They are currently the Westpac Waikato business of the Year taking out both the large business and supreme winner categories and their two plants are basically full on both shifts all year round. This year they will process more than 200,000 cattle and in the past five years they have invested more than $45 million in their plants.

Owned by the Egan family, Greenlea is not one of the big four meat companies, but belongs instead to a group of smaller players who do not seem to share the view that the meat industry is ‘broken and dysfunctional’. Neither do they regard collaboration with farmers as an issue; in fact they get plenty of support and Greenlea’s Managing Director Tony Egan reckons this is due to mutual respect. “They see us doing our job well and give us their support. It’s as simple as that”. . .

Japanese ad gives boysenberry growers a boost:

There’s good news at last for Nelson’s boysenberry growers, with a Japanese health supplements company filming an ad campaign championing the fruit’s health properties.

John Gibb, head of Nelson-based processor and exporter Sujon, says researchers in Japan have identified boysenberries as being beneficial for eye-sight, as they contain good levels of a powerful antioxidant.

However, Mr Gibb says researchers aren’t divulging the exact science behind their health claims. . .

Free range farms – herding start-ups for collective growth - Peter Kett at sticK:

Scale, as anyone starting a business realises, is a key, if not the key to growth and success.

Even in IT-related commerce, achieving scale from a New Zealand base is pretty darn difficult.

Enter, drum-roll please, Free Range Farma startup helping startups start up and stay up.

It’s the brainchild of Linc Gasking and Josh Feast, and its goal is to help entrepreneurs grow 1,000 Kiwi startups. . .


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

May 21, 2013

We’re here to stay – Anzco chair:

REMOVAL OF excess capacity is a key to breaking the impasse in the meat industry, says Anzco Foods chairman Sir Graeme Harrison.  This will ultimately be achieved, either in a relatively orderly way or through company collapses, he says. “Either way, Anzco Foods as a predominantly beef company intends to remain a part of the New Zealand meat industry,” Harrison told Rural News.His comments come as farmers make another push for merging co-ops Silver Fern Farms and Alliance in a bid to lift returns. However, combining the co-ops is unlikely to be enough to change the industry’s performance, strategy and structure.

SFF and Alliance collectively hold a market share of only 53%. Adding the private Affco and Anzco companies would bring total processing capacity to nearly 80%. . .

Nitrate leaching overview - Milking on the Moove:

Today I give an overview of nitrate leaching.

What is Nitrate Leaching?

What type of farming leach the most Nitrate?

How nitrate leaching from dairy farms is different from cropping & horticulture. . . .

How absentee farm owners can protect themselves from a “dirty dairying” taint:

The obvious answer is to stay on top of effluent discharge in the first place says Geoff Young, environmental monitoring consultant and Managing Director of BPO Ltd, the Waikato company which specialises in providing technical environmental monitoring information and systems both in New Zealand and overseas.

In Young’s opinion the recent Waikato Regional Council vs a Mangakino farm case was a no win situation. According to the reports, warnings had been issued and it wasn’t until charges had been laid that improvements were made. The investment made by the owners was significant but it was made too late to head off the Environment Court charges.

The Regional Council has been trying to get the message across for years that when it lays charges it’s already too late. According to Young, dairy farming cops more than its fair share of flack and this is yet another example protagonists will use to point out how bad dairy farming is, when that’s not the case at all. . .

High quality, safe NZ seafood focus of new role:

Cawthron Institute has boosted its science and aquaculture capability with the appointment of senior scientist Dr Jacquie Reed as its new head of aquaculture.

“We are excited to further strengthen our science leadership team with this new appointment,” Cawthron Institute Chief Executive Professor Charles Eason says.

“Dr Reed is an accomplished scientist with extensive, proven scientific expertise and specialist knowledge of the commercial aquaculture sector. She will complement and enhance our existing research, while bringing a fresh approach, new energy and drive to this important role.”

Dr Reed will lead the Aquaculture Group, manage the further development of the Cawthron Aquaculture Park and spearhead research and development to support new and existing partners, including SPATnz, Kono and Aotearoa Fisheries Limited. . .

MT. Beautiful Winery Founder David Teece to Be Honored for Receiving a Companion of the New Zealand Order of Merit:

United States-based internationally acclaimed professor of economics and founder of Mt. Beautiful Wines/Teece Family Vineyards, David Teece, is “absolutely delighted” that efforts to promote U.S. – New Zealand relations have been officially recognized.

Professor Teece, who is also a successful entrepreneur and consultant, has received a Companion of the New Zealand Order of Merit for services regarding New Zealand-United States relations. This Royal Honor will be presented at investiture dinner on Thursday May 23rd at 7pm by the Governor General on behalf of Queen Elizabeth II.

“In my case I have worked hard on a lot of issues between the U.S. and New Zealand, but this is a complete surprise on my part. I’m delighted to have the recognition and I feel stimulated to work even harder towards achieving common goals between the countries,” Teece said. . .

Green Meadows Beef Shows Commitment to New Zealand Food Traceability with Launch of Own Butchery:

Green Meadows Beef, a New Zealand owned, family business that produces 100% grass-fed, free-range beef has opened the doors to its own butchery in New Plymouth. This is the natural next step for the brand that hopes their approach to beef farming, processing and delivery will lead to more Kiwis purchasing healthier, tastier and more ethically produced meat.

Taranaki based Pat Hogan, who has more than 25 years experience as a butcher under his belt in supermarkets, retail butchers and his own store, has been brought on to manage the butchery. He is a welcome addition to the Green Meadows Beef team, which is led by Michael and Margy Carey, and their sons, Nick Carey, Brent Carey and Karl Carey. Pat’s expertise complements Michael Carey’s extensive knowledge of animal management and Nick Carey’s business and marketing skills. . .

Unique line-up of International Judges for New Zealand’s Spiegelau International Wine Competition:

From a total of 12 judges, three are flying in from Australia and one from Singapore to add their extensive experience to the eight-strong New Zealand team at this year’s Spiegelau International Wine Competition.

Joining regulars Ralph Kyte-Powell from Melbourne and Adelaide-based consultant Phil Reedman MW are Annette Scarfe, a newly minted MW based in Singapore and Nick Ryan, wine writer and commentator from Sydney. . .


Rural round-up

May 12, 2013

Export prices for lambs improving – Alan Williams:

Export market prices for lamb are improving but an early return to a $100 lamb is a question of all the planets aligning, Alliance Group general manager of marketing Murray Brown says.

“You’d be wanting a bit of exchange rate improving as well, but it’s not out of line,’’ Brown said.

If it happened, a big reduction in lamb numbers next season would be one reason, he said.

The signs were positive for the winter market and heading into next Christmas but some caution was still needed in forecasting prices. . .

Farmers may be able to invest in water storage project:

Central Hawke’s Bay farmers who tap into the proposed Ruataniwha water storage scheme may get the opportunity to invest in it too.

The Hawke’s Bay Regional Council is asking the Government to recognise the scheme as a project of national significance.

The council and its investment company have made applications to the Environmental Protection Authority seeking resource consents and a regional plan change required for the project, which would supply water to about 25,000 hectares of land from a dam on a tributary of the Tukituki River. . .

Dairy Farms staff and the shocking state of employee turnover – Milking on the Moove:

Well, gidday. Glen Herud here again and I am going to carry on talking about dairy farm staff. Last time I said that only a small percentage of New Zealand population are prepared to work on a dairy farm simply because of the long hours involved.

Today I want to talk about a report that was released by Dairy NZ in 2009 I think, called “Farming Smarter Not Harder.” They had some interesting figures.

  • They said that 50% of staff had been in their current job less than one year.  
  • The average length of service, so that’s the average time people stay with an employer was less than one year. 
  • 1/3 of dairy staff leave the industry every year. . .

Early start for lambing - Jill Galloway:

There are about 50 early lambs gambolling around a Kiwitea farm in Manawatu.

They are cute now, but they’ll be gracing dinner plates in Britain for Christmas, owners Jill Martin and Nigel Lintott say.

They had planned to have early lambs at two of their three properties.

“This breed are Dorset ewes, so they can have early lambs,” Lintott said.

$11m for Wagyu project - Marie Taylor:

The government has stumped up with $11 million for a project to produce high-value, marbled beef for premium markets in New Zealand and offshore.

What will the country get for its money and what does the project mean?

Hastings-based Firstlight Foods managing director Gerard Hickey is a key part of the Primary Growth Partnership (PGP) project.

The seven-year PGP is worth $23.7 million and Hickey describes it as an investment to create a new category of NZ beef. . .

Fight to be the top dog – Ian Allen:

New South Island sheep dog champion Steve Kerr plans to celebrate this week’s success by getting his dog a bitch on the way home.

Mr Kerr, of Fairlie, said he was stopping near Christchurch to breed his winning huntaway, Dodge.

Mr Kerr and Dodge took out the straight huntaway title at the South Island Championships in Blenheim yesterday.

After four days of competition, only .25 points separated Mr Kerr and runner up Kerry Kilmister, of Tinui, and his dog Pulse.

Mr Kerr said it had been a hard week and it was time to celebrate.

The top of the hill got a little bit tricky but Dodge did a great job, he said. . .

 

 


Rural round-up

May 3, 2013

Challenge goal to boost NZ export earnings - Hugh Stringleman:

Four of the government’s selected 10 National Science Challenges are connected with the primary sector and have potential to boost export earnings, Science and Innovation Minister Steven Joyce says.

However, the need to expand export earnings to the government’s target of 40% of GDP by 2025 was not a specific criterion for selection of the challenges.

Prime Minister John Key’s chief science adviser, Professor Sir Peter Gluckman, drew attention to challenge four, called high-value nutrition – developing high-value foods with validated health benefits – as an obvious area where commodities would be enhanced to earn much more. . .

Why only a small number of people will consider working on a dairy farm – Milking on the Moove:

There are 60 new dairy conversions going into Canterbury this year. In This video I discuss how this equates to an extra 250 dairy staff been required, and why most “townies” won’t even consider a job on a dairy farm.

I’m surprised by the extra staff required, but the numbers seem to be logical. . .

60 new dairy conversions in Canterbury for 2013 season

Hey, well I want to talk about dairy farm employment issues. So staffing, of all the issues that the dairy industry face, finding people to milk the cows is the biggest issue. So I was talking to a cow shed manufacturer. He said there’s 60 dairy conversions going into Canterbury this year; and those are new dairy conversions.

60 conversions x 750 cows (cant avg) = 45,000 extra cows into Canterbury 2013

Now the average herd size in Canterbury is 750 cows, so 60 times 750 equals 45,000 extra cows coming into Canterbury this year alone. That’s not including Southland or the rest of the South Island; 45, 000 new cows into Canterbury. . .</>

No PKE from dodgy mills says MPI:

Malaysian officials have confirmed no palm kernel expeller (PKE) has been exported to New Zealand from the processing mill that Federated Farmers has reported concerns about.

The Ministry for Primary Industries (MPI) is taking the concerns about post-production handling of PKE very seriously, says director plants, food and environment Peter Thomson.

“There are stringent safeguards in place that ensure PKE is safe for use, and MPI is requiring full assurance that these safeguards have not been breached,” Thomson says. . .

O’Connor leaves DINZ in good heart – Annette Scott:

If Mark O’Connor has done something right in his 13 years as chief executive of Deer Industry New Zealand (DINZ), it has been employing good people.

He will officially leave his position after the industry’s annual conference later this month and he makes no secret he will miss the people.

“It is a wonderful industry in terms of people – they are a unique bunch. I will certainly miss them. It has been nothing but a joy,” O’Connor said. . .

Irrigator ruts causing accidents:

Centre-pivot irrigator ruts are contributing to the high accident rate amongst groundspreaders.</>

The New Zealand Groundspread Fertilisers’ Association, (NZGFA) would like to see a reduction in recent accident rates amongst groundspreaders.

NZGFA president Stuart Barwood says “we are aiming to make farmers aware of the dangers to groundspread fertiliser drivers and trucks. Centrepivot ruts are a major accident waiting to happen. . .

National Science Challenges are the new black:

Federated Farmers is delighted that New Zealand’s primary industries are well represented in New Zealand’s fiscally upsized National Science Challenges, announced yesterday by Prime Minister John Key and the Minister for Science and Innovation, the Hon Steven Joyce.

“This is significant because we hear talk of creating a technological future and the National Science Challenges are about inspiring this to happen,” says Dr William Rolleston, Federated Farmers Vice-President.

“Significantly, the Government has increased its funding by $73.5 million taking the investment to $133.5 million. In an age of constrained spending this deserves praise for its foresight.

“When taken in conjunction with AgResearch’s major investment announcement earlier this week, the National Science Challenges are another tool to break down institutional barriers and foster scientific collaboration and endeavour. . .

Photo: Dam fecking right!


Rural round-up

April 23, 2013
Lies, damned lies and statistics or historical facts about sheepmeat – Allan Barber:

A brief comparison of sheepmeat and milk solids prices since 1991 throws up some interesting facts. These give the lie to the belief that the dairy industry is consistently more profitable than the sheep sector.

The statement that there are three kinds of lie – lies, damned lies and statistics – is often attributed to Benjamin Disraeli, 19th century British Prime Minister, but it was popularised by Mark Twain. Students of two of this country’s best known (and generally most profitable) agricultural commodities may find it hard to believe, but you can’t really argue with the facts.

In 1991 soon after I started my agricultural career in the stock and station industry before moving to the meat industry two years later, the price of lamb hit a low point of $14 a lamb; mutton was even worse, being down around $4 a ewe at the meat plant. In contrast the 1991 dairy payout was $3.40 per kilo of milk solids. . .

Committees starting point for law – Tim Fulton:

Environment Canterbury is assuring the public the plans it is generating in land and water committees won’t be obliterated by the Resource Management Act process. Tim Fulton examines what Hurunui-Waiau’s ground-breaking process means for other catchments.

Cantabrians have heard a lot about the exhaustive toil of their zone committees.

They have also had a sense that most of the recommendations will be merged into law.

The Hurunui-Waiau zone committee is the first to have its recommendations to a hearing panel measured against a Resource Management Act-based regional river plan. . .

My new job and youth employment - Milking on the Moove:

I’ve decide to trial a video blog, simply because I don’t seem to have much time to write a blog post any more.

So when I’m busy I’ll just talk about whats on my mind for 5 minutes and just post the video.

I’ll be honest and say I’m a little nervous about posting the video. I’ve followed people on blogs or read their books etc and formed an opinion about the person based on what they have written. . .

A cow portrait for the neighbours – Moon Over Martinborough:

When our neighbors John and Aussie Bronwyn announced that they were selling their property and moving away, CJ and I were mortified. More than anyone, those two have taught us how to live on 20 acres. How could they abandon us?

Aussie Bronwyn is our High Priestess of Chicken Wisdom. John lets CJ borrow and break his tractor on a regular basis. And every Tuesday we spend wild evenings with them – playing cards, accusing each other of cheating, and heading home to bed by 8:30pm. . .

The sun is up and so is the sparky (or the day began pear shaped) – Milk Maid Marian:

Dairy cows are rounded up before dawn but, today, they slept in. We had a bit of a disaster in the dairy last night that would have meant the girls missed breakfast. That certainly would not do, so while they waited for the sparky to weave his magic in the grain auger control box, this is how the cows enjoyed watching the sunrise. . .


Rural round-up

March 7, 2013

Proposed RMA Reforms Seem The Real Deal:

After analysing the discussion document released late last week on the Resource Management Act (RMA), Federated Farmers congratulates the Government for undertaking a comprehensive examination of how the RMA is working.

“To be honest it has taken us a few days to get our heads around this 83-page discussion document,” says Ian Mackenzie, Federated Farmers Environment spokesperson.

“Federated Farmers actually supports the purpose of the RMA and requirements to protect our most important natural assets.

”Yet if we want real jobs delivering living wages then policy reforms like this are needed. Reform also needs broad political support and that is probably the most important thing we need to communicate; the need for RMA reform to survive changes of government.

“Aside from missing provisions for compensation we will raise in our submission, it is closely aligned to Federated Farmers 2008 reform package; Let’s Make it work – Why the Resource Management Act must change. . .

Ruataniwha Water Scheme Stepping Up:

A number of elements for the proposed Ruataniwha Water Storage Scheme are being worked on in tandem to prepare for potential construction and investment in the scheme.

The scheme is yet to secure resource consents, however it is necessary to line up companies who may be interested in construction. Last month Hawke’s Bay Regional Investment Company (HBRIC) Ltd called for Expressions of Interest from companies potentially interested in tendering for the construction of the proposed dam for the project. It is expected that HBRIC will choose two companies to move to the next phase of design and planning by the end of March. . .

Water governance – we’re getting into overdraft – Andrew Fenemor:

Like the challenge of balancing the household budget, we NZers are finding that despite being a ‘pluvial country’ we’re reaching allocation limits in many of our catchments.

Looking back, 100+ years ago exploitation of water resources focused firstly on rivers. Then water use especially for irrigation and urban supplies moved to groundwater takes. Now as pumping from our aquifers starts to deplete river flows and aquifer storage too much, we are seeing greater interest in water storage. Case in point, the Government’s Irrigation Acceleration Fund is supporting feasibility assessments for large schemes in Canterbury, Otago, Hawkes Bay, Wairarapa and Tasman, most involving new dams.

The trouble is, it’s a tough job for regional councils to set catchment limits in their regional plans (PDF) before the symptoms of excess appear. That’s not surprising, given the sizable investments in catchment science needed, the long time frames required to understand the inherent variability in water fluxes, water quality and aquatic ecosystems and the long time period required to establish new regional planning regimes. Setting catchment limits certainly focuses the mind. Most councils are now getting on with the job. . .

Rural enterprise award big boost for business – Sally Rae:

Since winning the RWNZ Enterprising Rural Women Award last year, Rose Voice’s dog equipment business has gone from strength to strength.

Mrs Voice, who with her husband Nigel runs the Real Dog Equipment Company in Ranfurly, has taken on a part-time machinist to cope with demand and she has speaking engagements booked through to the end of the year.

She is now urging other women with small rural businesses to enter this year’s awards, saying it was ”absolutely” worth it. . .

A real story about inflation - Milking on the Moove:

My Uncle was a cropping farmer in Zimbabwe. He purchased his first farm as a young man and worked it for couple of decades.

Robert Mugabe decided in 2000 to implement his “Land Distribution Policy”.

The mob of “war veterans” arrived one morning and the beatings began.

My Uncle and his family fled to South Africa. They eventually immigrated to New Zealand.

Meanwhile the farm was distributed between Mugabe’s loyal supporters.

But the bank had a problem. There was still a mortgage on the property. . .

A2 Corp to join top 50 index, toppling PGG Wrightson from benchmark:

(BusinessDesk) – Alternative milk marketer A2 Corp is set to join the NZX 50 Index after qualifying in the February review, and will topple rural services firm PGG Wrightson from the benchmark bourse.

The change will come into effect from the open of trading on March 18, stock exchange operator NZX said in a statement. Shares in Wrightson rose 2.6 percent to 40 cents in trading today, while A2 was unchanged at 56 cents.

Wrightson is controlled by NYSE-listed Chinese agriculture firm Agria Corp, and has a market capitalisation of $301.9 million. . . .


Rural round-up

February 25, 2013

Joyce hints at more partnerships – Tim Fulton:

Science and Economic Development Steven Joyce has hinted at more partnerships between Lincoln and the private sector, calling his unspecified plan a crucial part of the tech-transfer story.

Joyce was at the university’s dairy research farm launching the second stage of the Pastoral 21 programme, highlighting the importance of places like Lincoln for information-sharing.

There had been a lot of talk over the years about the Lincoln campus developing and becoming a true agri-technology hub, he said.

Now, despite the cost of repairing earthquake damage, the university had a unique opportunity to take that role. . .

To feed the world we need to fix the politics not the environment – Milking on the Moove:

They say there will be 9 Billion people in 2050. The popular question is “how can we feed that number of people?”

There is literally not a day go by where I’m not confronted with some sort of report, program or video about the challenge of feeding the world.

The common theme is we need to increase agricultural productivity to meet this massive demand. The view that we have limited resources that will make food production more expensive or difficult in the future is widely popular.

Some people who belong to the environmental movements, like to use the growing demand to push their causes, one such cause is to promote the vegan lifestyle as less cattle will reduce CO2 emissions. 

Businesses also jump on the band wagon, because it allows them to get subsidies that keep their business profitable when it otherwise would not be, solar panel manufacturers spring to mind. . .

Eco-n suspension blow for Ravensdown – Tim Fulton:

Ravensdown is usually on full show at Lincoln farming events but last Thursday it was fronting up in a different way, explaining its position after suspending sales of its nitrogen inhibitor. Tim Fulton reports. 

ECO-N was introduced to the market on Lincoln University’s dairy research farm in February 2004, Ravensdown’s Richard Christie reminded farmers at the same spot on Thursday. . .

Irrigation company establishment board announced:

Minister for Primary Industries Nathan Guy has announced that experienced director Alison Paterson will oversee the establishment of a new Crown company to invest in irrigation.

The new company, which is to be established by 1 July, will act as a bridging investor for regional water infrastructure development, with $80 million to be set aside in Budget 2013.

“I’m pleased to have people of high quality and balance to work on what is a critical area of New Zealand’s growth,” says Mr Guy.

“Well-designed storage and irrigation infrastructure has the potential to deliver a major boost to our primary industries and support new jobs, which will have a flow-on effect for all New Zealanders. If current proposals are advanced there could be another 420,000 hectares of irrigated land available over time. . . .

Surprise at lack of interest in carbon credit trading:

Associate Professor Euan Mason of Canterbury University is surprised more hill country farmers are not showing an interest in carbon credit trading as they stand to boost their incomes while at the same time helping the environment.

Professor Mason said he is perplexed that some farmers have a negative attitude towards carbon trading and the climate change issue. . .


Rural round-up

February 19, 2013

Better Lake Rotorua = Farmers + Community + Councils:

A “third way” to better water quality is the promise of the Lake Rotorua Primary Producers Collective signed between Federated Farmers, Te Arawa and councils.
“The positive reaction has been pretty amazing,” says Neil Heather, Federated Farmers Rotorua/Taupo provincial president.

“This is the application of a Land and Water Partnership type approach at a local level.

“Despite one academic taking a pot shot, most Kiwis will see farmers and landowners working hard with regulators to improve what is our lake too. . .

A telling quote about co-ops – Milking on the Moove:

“There seemed little room for entrepreneurial creativity; virtually every decision was politicized.  The most politically active members controlled the co-op with the own personal agendas, and much more energy was focused on deciding which companies to boycott than on how to improve the quality of products and services for customers.  I thought I could create a better store than any of the co-ops I belonged to, and decided to become an entrepreneur to prove it.”

This  quote is from Whole Foods CEO John Mckey. The quote is from his recent book Conscious Capitalism and Forbes has run an article about John and his book, which I found interesting.

John was a hippy in the 60s and 70s and was involved in a commune and various food co-ops.

It appears he became disillusioned with the co-ops and started his own natural food store which grew to be the now famous Whole Foods Market. . .

Failure a huge spur as record-breaking shearer faces biggest challenge -

Tackling the biggest job of your life might not be the best time to talk about failures.

But that’s not the way for Te Kuiti shearer Stacey Te Huia who on Tuesday tackles possibly the greatest shearing record of them all, hoping to shear more than 721 strongwool ewes in nine hours in a remote a King Country woolshed.

The record has not been tried by any other shearer in the six years since it was set by Southern Hawke’s Bay shearing ironman Rodney Sutton.

Tuesday’s bid will be a at Te Hape B, east of Benneydale on SH30 between Te Kuiti and Taupo, and will start at 5am and end at 5pm, including meal and smoko breaks). . .

Gang of four rips through record – Terri Russell:

A lively crowd of about 800 people cheered as four shearers, two from Southland, set a world shearing record near Mossburn yesterday.

Invercargill shearer Leon Samuels, Ohai’s Eru Weeds – who battled on despite being injured – and North Island shearers John Kirkpatrick and James Mack, shore 2556 sheep in eight hours.

The gang set the record in the previously unattempted Heiniger four-stand crossbred lamb eight-hour event. They shore the sheep in four two-hour runs.

The final countdown was heated, as the crowd screamed and shearers sweated it out. Some members of the crowd also performed a surprise haka to the shearers when they finished shearing. . . .

‘Wiggy’ working to better his skills – Sally Rae:

Meet Wiggy from Wales.

Paul ”Wiggy” Davies has been in North Otago working for shearing contractor Owen Rowland, having met Mr Rowland when he was over shearing in Wales.

Mr Davies (27), who had been shearing with former Oamaru man Grant Rowland, now living in Wales, wanted to improve his shearing. . .

Downright ‘grumpy’ over schedule - Rob Tipa:

NEW Zealand meat companies really should listen to their suppliers, because there are some very frustrated, disillusioned and downright grumpy sheep farmers out there.

And with good reason. Those who have withstood the financial pressures experienced by the meat industry in recent years are survivors who deserve a medal for their enduring loyalty to their respective meat processors.

They have listened patiently to promises of greater co-operation between meat companies in one meat industry review after another going back decades.

When the tide turned on low sheepmeat prices in the last couple of seasons, farmers were rewarded for their loyalty with record returns of an average $117 a head for lambs in 2010/11 and $113 a head in 2011/12. . .

Rabobank strengthens NZ research division – new animal proteins analyst appointed:

Rabobank’s Food and Agribusiness Research & Advisory division has announced the appointment of its new animal proteins analyst for New Zealand, Matt Costello.

Rabobank’s head of Food and Agribusiness Research & Advisory Luke Chandler said Mr Costello – who has strong experience as a researcher in the meat industry – was an excellent addition to the bank’s New Zealand food and agribusiness research team, joining senior analyst Hayley Moynihan, who specialises in the dairy sector.

“We’re pleased to welcome Matt into our team here at Rabobank and I am confident his strong background in the animal proteins sector will be a great asset to help further support our clients in this industry in New Zealand,” Mr Chandler said. . .


Rural round-up

February 18, 2013

Call for tighter rules – Gerald Piddock:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Irrigation scheme on target -Gerald Piddock:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Sector pins hopes on golden fleece – Tim Cronshaw:

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

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

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

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

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

Shearers busy as farmers heed market – Tim Cronshaw:

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

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

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

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


Rural round-up

January 30, 2013

Hard going for independent dairy firm; more competition unlikely in milk processing – Tony Chaston:

Is there still a place for more competition in the NZ dairy industry with Fonterra being such a dominant force?

This article looks at 10 years of business by the number two dairy processor Open Country Dairy which has been characterised by fights with big brother to get a fair crack at the market, and challenges to be consistently profitable.

This fight to compete with Fonterra has affected nearly all the processing minows in NZ and many have had to acquire overseas capital and increased shareholder investment to stay afloat. . .

Six finalists contend for 2013 Dairy Woman of the Year title:

The Dairy Women’s Network has announced the names of the six women who will progress into the final round of judging for the 2013 Dairy Woman of the Year Award.

They are:
• Juliet MacLean, chief executive Synlait Farms Limited, Rakaia
• Justine Kidd, business manager BEL Group, Waipukurau
• Kath Taylor, dairy veterinarian and Mastitis consultant, VetSouth Limited, Winton
• Kathryn van den Beuken, farm owner/operator and key account manager AgITO, Rakaia
• Leonie Guiney, farm owner/operator, Fairlie
• Sarah Watson, farm supervisor Canterbury, MyFarm, West Melton. . . .

Proposed changes to Rural Post and the NZ Post Deed:

Federated Farmers is to consult its membership on proposed changes that could radically reshape the delivery of physical mail to over half a million New Zealanders in rural areas.

“NZ Post deserves praise for the way it has worked with Federated Farmers, Rural Woman NZ and the other rural stakeholders,” says Bruce Wills, Federated Farmers President.

“This will largely not come as a shock because we are living through a fundamental shift in technology. The decline in physical mail is offset by the rise of electronic mail.

“Commercially, NZ Post’s business model must either evolve or face extinction but I doubt many people can seriously argue the status quo is tenable. . .

Alliance Group Welcomes Primary Growth Partnership Collaboration Programme:

Leading meat processor and exporter Alliance Group has welcomed the launch of an initiative designed to improve farmer profitability.

The Ministry for Primary Industries (MPI) has approved a commitment of up to $32.4 million, matched by industry, from MPI’s Primary Growth Partnership Fund (PGP) for the red meat sector’s new Collaboration for Sustainable Growth programme.

Grant Cuff, chief executive of Alliance Group Limited, one of the founding organisations taking part in the initiative, said . . .

Actually, The $58K From 20 Cows Is Not That Easy – Milking on the Moove:

In my last post, How To Make $58,788 Per Year With 20 Cows. I talked about how a simple dairy can be set up for quite a small investment of just over $100,000 and the milk can be sold direct to the customer.

I hoped the post would encourage people to think differently about dairy farming and the possibilities available. 

It’s certainly a good illustration of how profitable a business can be if it can retain the whole retail price.

Warning!

It’s not quite that simple.

It’s easy enough to buy a few cows and build a cheap dairy to process the milk. That’s easy. There are plenty of experts who can design or build the components for you. . .

 Hawkes Bay water project boon for Maori workers:

The spokesperson for four hapu in Central Hawke’s Bay says it’s vital local Maori play a key role in a proposed $220 million water storage project.

The regional council’s Ruataniwha water storage scheme would see a dam built on the Makaroro River to store 90 million cubic metres of water which could irrigate 22,000 hectares of farmland. . .

Nearly 75% of Kiwi women not getting enough calcium:

We all need calcium for strong bones and teeth as part of a healthy lifestyle, but studies show that nearly 75 per cent of New Zealand women aren’t getting the recommended amount of dietary calcium in their day[1].

If eating sardines and tofu doesn’t tickle your fancy however, Anchor and Osteoporosis New Zealand have now made it easy to top up your daily dietary calcium with the launch of a calcium enriched spread.

Endorsed by Osteoporosis NZ, Anchor Dairy Blend Calci+ spread is the first calcium enriched spread that not only provides the goodness of New Zealand dairy and is spreadable straight from the fridge, but also offers 10 per cent of your recommended dietary intake (RDI) of calcium. . .

NZ to run agricultural training programme in Chile:

New Zealand is to run an agricultural training project in Chile.

The Chilean government has announced that New Zealand will be running the four-year initiative, aimed at revamping agricultural productivity in the South American country.

Chile says it hopes the programme will help improve the effectiveness of the agricultural subsidies it pays its farmers and attract more skilled workers to the sector. . .


Rural round-up

January 25, 2013

How to make $58,788 per year with 20 cows - Milking on the Moove:

Here’s how, with just 20 cows and a few hours a day you can make $58,788 per year.

I’m serious!

My concern is that it is getting more and more difficult for young farmers to get into farming and secondly dairy farming in particular is not an attractive career choice for the youth of today.
This blog is really about alternative ways to go dairy farming. 

The average dairy farmer has millions of dollars in assets made up of land, cows and Fonterra shares. The conventional way to progress is to work on dairy farms and progress up the share farming ladder.

But there are other ways. . .

How much do dairy farmers make part 2 – Milking on the Moove:

How much money do dairy farmers really make?

Are they really that rich?

Do they really pay no tax?

One of my first posts was “how much money do dairy farmers make”. It’s one of my most popular posts too. The major source for this post is the google search, “how much money do dairy farmers make?”.

I thought I’d go into a little more depth.

But first, what constitutes a dairy farmer? . .

2013 may be year for sheepmeat strategy – Allan Barber:

The key question for the meat industry this year is whether anybody will make any money. After last season when farmers enjoyed unprecedented procurement prices and the meat companies lost millions of dollars as a result, prices have headed south and look set to remain there for the foreseeable future.

Sheepmeat is the product most under threat with the traditional markets all showing serious signs of indigestion. As an example a US importer has been reported as saying he has a year’s worth of inventory and can’t buy any more and neither is anyone else. This signals a major problem for middle cuts like lamb racks, while Europe isn’t exactly rushing to buy any product either. . . .

DCD Suspension Supported:

The Ministry for Primary Industries (MPI) supports today’s announcement by Ravensdown and Ballance Agri-Nutrients that they have voluntarily suspended sales and use of Dicyandiamide (DCD) treatment on farm land until further notice.

“Once we knew that even very low levels of DCD residues found in milk may present a trade issue, MPI set up a working group to assess the impact of that, even though there is no food safety concern associated with the use of DCD,” Carol Barnao, MPI Deputy Director General Standards says.

Consumers’ have high expectations of New Zealand food and the regulations we have in place to ensure its quality and safety, Ms Barnao says. . .

DairyNZ supports DCD suspension:

Industry body DairyNZ has come out in support of Ravensdown and Ballance Agri-Nutrients’ voluntary suspension of sales and use of Dicyandiamide (DCD) treatment on farm land until further notice

However, DairyNZ Chief Executive Tim Mackle is urging the two companies, government authorities and dairy companies to work on pragmatic solutions that would enable the product to be back on the market and able to be used by farmers. . .

 Withdraw of DCD based nitrification inhibitors:

After traces of DCD (Dicyandiamide) were detected in liquid milk, Federated Farmers fully endorses the decision to voluntarily withdraw DCD based nitrification inhibitors until acceptable residue levels have been internationally agreed.

“DCDs are considered safe and there is no evidence to suggest otherwise, however, there is no internationally agreed acceptable level and so the default is the level of detection,” says Dr William Rolleston, Federated Farmers spokesperson on food safety.

“These residues have only come to light given the increased sophistication of testing we now possess. It really shows the thoroughness of testing within New Zealand’s primary industries and the high standard we put on ourselves to protect our reputation as a trusted supplier of food products.

“We also need to keep things in perspective because DCD based nitrification inhibitors have been applied on around 500 dairy farms out of some 12,000 in New Zealand. . .

GIMBLETT GRAVELS Syrah reaffirms pedigree to international wine critics:

Sixteen of the world’s most influential wine critics experienced GIMBLETT GRAVELS wines and hospitality yesterday as part of their tour of New Zealand’s wine regions.

For many, the prime purpose of the visit to Hawke’s Bay was to learn more about the rising phenomena of GIMBLETT GRAVELS Syrah. Twelve 2009 and 2010 vintage Syrahs, including four benchmark international wines from France and Australia, were presented ‘blind’ (completely unidentified) for their evaluation. . .


Rural round-up

November 18, 2012

We must look after our good staff on dairy farms – Pasture to Profit:

How do we prevent the increasing “churn” of employed staff?  Turnover (or tenure) of staff employed on NZ dairy farms is expensive. There is a general feeling that the “churn” of dairy farm staff is getting faster. 

The NZ dairy industry doesn’t compare well with other employment sectors. The greatest “Churn” appears to be amongst the young or in the first year that people are in the job.

“Annual churn out of the industry is estimated at 15% for 2010/11 with a cost of $64 million to the industry in lost investment. . .

How green are you? – Bruce Wills:

How green are you?

I mean, do you genuinely care about your carbon footprint and the integrity of what you put into your house let alone place against your skin?

Would you be prepared to wear genetically modified fibres against your skin?

I imagine some would answer an indignant, no.

I could further ask if you would be prepared to wear oil, let alone fill your walls with the stuff or even lay it on your floors.

In Australia, recently, I learned the amount of non-genetically modified cotton could probably be held in one hand. Alright, a slight exaggeration there, but truth be told, almost all of the world’s cotton is genetically modified. . .

Robertson pins Pegaus hopes on Fovaran sale – with water consents for dam -

A pending water consent application in Hakataramea Valley may help Wanaka developer Bob Robertson recoup his position at Pegasus Town – in receivership – near Christchurch.

Mr Robertson is hoping to sell his Foveran deer park property in Hakataramea Valley, North Otago.

He placed it on the market two years ago without success.. .

Fewer farmer directors could be a good thing - Milking on the Moove:

Fish Stock Status Update:

The Ministry for Primary Industries is reporting that by far the majority of New Zealand’s fisheries are performing well – 83.2 percent of fish stocks of known status are healthy.

The Status of New Zealand Fisheries 2012 report has just been released.

James Stevenson-Wallace, the Director of Fisheries Management, says New Zealand continues to be world-leading in the sustainable management of fishing, and the Quota Management System gives fisheries managers the ability to address problems where they occur. . .

Pure Oil NZ – purchase of Biodiesel’s Ag Division:

Pure Oil New Zealand Limited is pleased to announce its purchase of the Agricultural Division of Biodiesel New Zealand Limited. This includes: oil seed rape crop production, the oil extraction facility at Rolleston and the marketing of the resultant products (rape seed oil and rape seed meal).

Pure Oil NZ is owned by Midlands Seed, Southern Packers, Roger Lasham (Agronomist) and Nick Murney (Manager). This group of shareholders bring a wide range of skills and expertise to strengthen the current business model and will ensure the new business is able to reach its full potential. . .

Agri-business sale completed

Solid Energy has completed the sale of the agribusiness division of Biodiesel New Zealand Ltd. The purchaser, Pure Oil New Zealand Ltd, is owned by Southern Packers, Midlands Seed, and a manager and agronomist who previously worked for Biodiesel New Zealand.

Solid Energy said in August that as part of its response to the impact on its business of the extremely challenging global coal market, the company would sell its biodiesel business which operates in two parts – one manufacturing and marketing biofuel and the agri-business division which contracts with farmers to grow oilseed rape, processes the seed at an oil extraction plant at Rolleston and sells the oil into the food industry and meal as animal feed. In early October Solid Energy announced the consortium led by Southern Packers was the preferred bidder. . .

Manuka prices inflated

The National Beekeepers’ Association (NBA) wishes to correct misleading information, circulating in some media, that beekeepers are earning up to $400 a kg for bulk manuka honey.

NBA chief executive, Daniel Paul, says this is incorrect. . . 

Quartz Reef Completes the Treble with Pure Gold Win at Air NZ Wine Awards

The Pure Gold medal awarded to Quartz Reef Méthode Traditionnelle Brut at Air NZ Wine Awards announced overnight has completed a winning treble for this premium Central Otago single estate grown producer and caps a great month of awards.

Quartz Reef only produces three Méthode Traditionnelle wines and to have a 100 percent Gold Medal success rate shows a commitment to superior quality from winemaker, Rudi Bauer, and his dedicated team who create these bottle fermented hand crafted wines. . .

Forest and Bird welcomes new green growth report:

Forest & Bird welcomes the release of a study making a case for New Zealand’s business and political leaders to embrace green growth that makes economic sense.

The study is by Vivid Economics, in association with the University of Auckland’s Business School, for green growth business lobby group Pure Advantage.

“Forest & Bird fully supports a transition to a green economy, as one of our top five priorities,” says Forest & Bird Conservation Advocate Claire Browning. . . .


Rural round-up

November 13, 2012

Fonterra shares in hot demand despite unknowns – Terry Hall:

Dairy farmers should be very, very happy. It seems heaps of Asians, Australians and Kiwis want to invest in their now highly desirable, fashionable industry, even if many haven’t a clue precisely what they are putting their money into.

Even well-tested professional investors are finding the prospectus and the concept behind the $525 million Fonterra Shareholders’ Fund tough to get their heads around. It is essentially an untried investment, the first of its type ever unleashed anywhere. Essentially, owners of the co-operative company will retain full control while opening an investment opportunity to outsiders. This is to provide additional finance to further expand a crucial part of their business, which the farmers seem reluctant to do themselves. . .

Fonterra is a price taker - Milking on the Moove:

Following on from my post about how New Zealand agriculture can learn from Apple, I thought I’d look at some New Zealand companies that are doing well overseas.

Geoff Ross is a former advertising executive who rose to prominence when he founded 42 Below, the Vodka company. He and his partners have gone on to invest and run other companies which they take public. The companies Geoff and co have invested in are Ecoya which makes candles and Moa Beer.
I think he is an interesting business person to study because he hasn’t invented anything new or created a unique product. He has simply taken products which are already common place, but he creates brands that enable him to sell these products at a premium price. . .

Scientists looking at smarter irrigation technology:

Lincoln University researchers are investigating the use of microwave technology to improve efficiency and reduce water wastage from farm irrigation.

The university’s research subsidiary, Lincoln Ventures, has won government funding of almost $850,000 over two years to put its smarter irrigation concept to the test. . .

Fernbaby marketing infant formula – Sally Rae:

When it comes to travelling, Tianxi Shao could be considered a frequent flyer.

The Chinese businessman and sporting enthusiast has visited 60 countries, yet fell in love with New Zealand, captivated by the “clean, green image”.

Mr Shao is now principal of Fernbaby, a company formed to provide a locally-made high-quality alternative to the Australian and Singaporean-made infant formulas, which it says dominate the New Zealand market. . .

Wool-Rich Innovations Take Centre Stage at Shear Brilliance:

Fill your living environments with wool and do it in style – that’s the message from the Campaign for Wool.

The Campaign is hosting HRH The Prince of Wales today at Shear Brilliance – a wool showcase at The Cloud, Queens Wharf, Auckland (1pm today).

“From a carpet couch to a wool peg necklace, from grass grown on wool dags to Tiki artwork on Merino, from Zambesi’s carpet bag to the loftiness of wool knops, Shear Brilliance will surprise and delight anyone who might have thought wool was passe,” says Stephen Fookes, Chair, Campaign for Wool New Zealand. . .

Shearing Showcase At The Cloud For Prince Charles

New Zealand’s shearers and wool handlers have welcomed the opportunity to join Prince Charles in Auckland today at Shear Brilliance, a showcase celebrating the Campaign for Wool.

As patron of the campaign Prince Charles supports the industry’s efforts to raise awareness of wool’s virtues and while In New Zealand for the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee celebrations visits the Cloud in Auckland to inspect a wool showcase staged by the industry.

President of the New Zealand Shearing Contractors’ Association Barry Pullin says Royal patronage at Shear Brilliance is an opportunity for the industry to state it’s fundamental principle that more successful farmers will sustain a more successful wool industry.  . .

Farmers urged to take early action to prevent crop damage

Auckland/Waikato Fish & Game is urging farmers to make plans now for reducing the damage that can be caused by large flocks of Paradise shelduck, and other game birds.

Game Bird Manager David Klee says that with summer approaching, farmers will start to see large groups of birds moving into their newly-planted crops.

“We urge farmers to plan ahead to reduce the damage done by these flocks,” he says. “We encourage farmers to place bird-scaring equipment out before the new grass or crops start emerging and providing birds with an easy source of food.” . . .


Rural round-up

November 3, 2012

European farmers surprisingly upbeat - Gerald Piddock:

European farmers are surprisingly upbeat about the future of their industry despite the continent being still very much in a recession, Beef+Lamb chairman Mike Petersen says.

Speaking from Brussels, Mr Petersen said he expected to see “doom and gloom” as a result of the recession.

“I have been pleasantly surprised at the mood of the farming population over here. They are very optimistic about the future and quite optimistic about the coming season.”

Petersen has been in Europe, meeting with counterparts and discussing their expectations for the coming year. He outlined his observations in a Beef+Lamb conference call. . .

Water priorities come up trumps - Jon Morgan:

The elephant in the room analogy is becoming a bit overworked, but I like it. Lately, the elephant has been really showing off. In the debate about freshwater quality the elephant is nitrogen leaching.

It was brought into the room by conservationists a few years back but attempts to prod it into life largely failed. It just sat stinking in the corner.

But a few weeks ago Judge Craig Thompson of the Environment Court climbed aboard and hit it with a big stick.

The elephant reared back on its hind legs and let out an ear-splitting roar, loud enough to be heard in every milking shed and dairy factory throughout the land. . .

NZ Commodity prices rise 1.3% in October, led by wool, cheese:

New Zealand commodity prices rose for the third straight month in October, led by gains in wool and dairy products while aluminium fell.

The ANZ Commodity Price Index rose 1.3 percent last month with 12 commodity prices gaining two declining and three unchanged.

A slightly firmer New Zealand dollar meant the gain in the ANZ NZD Commodity price Index was a slightly lower 1 1 percent. . .

Fonterra’s Trading among farmers launches but I still don’t understand it – Milking on the Moove:

I’ve blogged about TAF before here and here. We now have a bit more information on how it will play out in practice. But to be fair, I still don’t really understand it and this view has been expressed by many observers in the media and the industry. It is not fully understood and some of the reason for this is Fonterra themselves don’t know exactly how the governance will work, as they are still undertaking a review.

My thoughts;

Will farmers sell some of their shares into the fund?
I think they will, there are lots of farmers who have very high debt levels, the drop in the forecast payout is making many farm budgets drop into the red. I think many of these farmers would sell 25% of their shares into the fund and use the proceeds to pay off debt.

The dividend portion of the shares is estimated to return net 4.2%-5%, farmers will be paying 7%-8% interest on their debt, so they make a greater return by reducing their debt.  . .

New director shows youth and wisdom -
THE RISING average age of farmers creates succession problems not only for farms and orchards; it is also seen in the boardrooms of primary producer businesses.

That’s why Zespri’s newest director Nathan Flowerday is pleased an Agmardt scheme which helped him get elected to Zespri’s board will be extended to others. 

Flowerday was the successful candidate in 2011 for an associate board trustee position created by Agmardt on its own board to give young farmers or growers governance experience. He believes that experience gave Zespri voters the confidence in him to elect him in July this year to the Zespri board. 

As a result, he and Agmardt are urging other agribusiness organisations to pick up the idea of creating an associate board-membership position, or at least establish observer positions on their boards. . .

Record Early Entries in Dairy Awards

There’s been a record-breaking response to the number of entries received in the 2013 New Zealand Dairy Industry Awards, since entries opened just yesterday.

National Convenor Chris Keeping says 33 entries were received online at www.dairyindustryawards.co.nz yesterday – the first day people could enter the New Zealand Sharemilker/Equity Farmer of the Year, New Zealand Farm Manager of the Year and New Zealand Dairy Trainee of the Year competitions. . .

Babich Wines Look to Expand in Marlborough

The 96 year old New Zealand wine company, Babich Wines Limited, announced today the sale of their 50% share of the Marlborough winemaking facility, Rapaura Vintners Limited to Treasury Wine Estates.

Rapaura Vintners Limited, an integrated winery, packaging and warehouse facility has been invaluable for Babich over the last 12 years as they have continued to grow production and sales of their Marlborough wines.

Babich Wines will now look to build their own state of the art facility in Marlborough – a move that will give the family owned wine company full control over their future winemaking in the region, where over 80% of the company’s production comes from. . .


Rural round-up

September 30, 2012

The return of milk scarcity – Rabobank on dairy:

The global dairy market appears to be heading for a period of renewed supply scarcity in the coming 12 months, according to Rabobank.

Rabobank senior dairy analyst Hayley Moynihan says the impetus for tightening emanates largely from the supply side, where low milk prices, extreme feed costs and pockets of unfavourable weather are expected to slow growth in milk production in export regions.

“We fear that much of the market has been lulled into a false sense of security by the phenomenal growth seasons we saw late in 2011 and early 2012, with the next 12 months to provide a rude awakening,” Ms Moynihan says. . . .

Dairy farming New Zealand can be proud of – Milking on the Moove:

I’ve changed my header to the Milking On The Moove logo. My goal is to create a dairy farming system that New Zealanders can be proud of.

I’m passionate about dairy farming and agriculture. While I have blogged about aspects that I think should change, I’m a fan of the industry. I’m concerned that Fonterra seems to get so much flack from the New Zealand public, which includes individual farmers.

I can understand left leaning environmentalists having a dim view of Fonterra, as that would be in keeping with their attitude towards corporates and big business in general. I’m concerned by the attitudes of middle New Zealand. It seems that many view Fonterra as a money hungry corporate giant that is screwing New Zealand consumers. I’m prepared to be a little understanding of a middle of the road New Zealander, who knows nothing about farming being influenced by the media. . .

Organics – Milking on the Moove:

Research out of Stanford University has shown that organic produce has no greater nutritional value than non-organic produce.

That’s not news to me, but I don’t think people buy organic food because they feel it is has a higher nutritional value, but rather because it is not covered in sprays and pesticides.

Jacqueline Rowarth points out repeatedly that organics generally produce 20% less yield than conventional farming methods. These farmers need to receive the premium that organics provides in order to stay profitable. But as the world begins to meet the needs of a growing population, all the figures I’m seeing require more product being produced from less and with a lower environmental impact. I’m doubtful that organics can achieve this.. .

 

Tokyo launch for coat range - Sally Rae:

A range of coats using merino wool from Closeburn Station in the Maniototo has been launched in Tokyo to much media interest.

Suit makers Konaka Co Ltd launched a range of 15-micron New Zealand wool coats to rival cashmere, under the label Limited Wool Premium. . .

 

New tech can help farmers head off enforced regulation

Farmers have an opportunity to put themselves ahead of the game regarding fertiliser application and avoid tough regulations being imposed on them, the annual meeting of Ravensdown was told in New Plymouth on Monday night.

Ravensdown Chief Executive Rodney Green told 500 shareholders that the company had developed new tools to enable farmers to get the most value out of their fertiliser regime, while still dealing with concerns raised by the likes of the Environment Court’s recent decision in favour of the nitrogen limits set by the Horizons Regional Council.

“We stood with Federated Farmers, Horticulture NZ and Fonterra making many submissions on behalf of farmers that were ultimately not given sufficient weight by the Environment Court,” said Rodney Green. “One thing, however, that is not in dispute is the fact that reducing the environmental footprint of New Zealand farming is increasingly important. Sustainable practices are an important part of the story to tell overseas customers about our farming produce and can also help deliver better results for the farmer’s bottom line.” . . .

Ngai Tahu boosts earnings from commercial operations, eyes bigger dairy development -  Paul McBeth:

Ngai Tahu Holdings, which manages the South Island iwi’s commercial operations, boosted earnings across all of its units and is looking to ramp up its exposure in dairy.

Net profit climbed to $95.7 million in the 12 months ended June 30, from $15.9 million a year earlier, the iwi said in its annual report. Operating earnings, which strip out gains from asset sales and property values, climbed 48 percent to $55.1 million on sales of $209.36 million.

Ngai Tahu Holdings invested $39 million in property development, $19 million in investment property mainly to do with dairy, and $22 million in the Agrodome and Rainbow Springs tourism operations. . .

 

‘ve changed my header to the Milking On The Moove logo. My goal is to create a dairy farming system that New Zealanders can be proud of.

I’m passionate about dairy farming and agriculture. While I have blogged about aspects that I think should change, I’m a fan of the industry. I’m concerned that Fonterra seems to get so much flack from the New Zealand public, which includes individual farmers.

I can understand left leaning environmentalists having a dim view of Fonterra, as that would be in keeping with their attitude towards corporates and big business in general. I’m concerned by the attitudes of middle New Zealand. It seems that many view Fonterra as a money hungry corporate giant that is screwing New Zealand consumers. I’m prepared to be a little understanding of a middle of the road New Zealander, who knows nothing about farming being influenced by the media.


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