Rural round-up

March 30, 2014

Deutsche Bank keeps ‘sell’ rating on Fonterra, seeks more transparency – Pattrick Smellie:

(BusinessDesk) – Fonterra Cooperative Group needs to make it far clearer to farmers and other investors how its business model operates, says Deutsche Bank after the dairy exporter shored up a slump in half-year profits by intervening in the regulated price it pays for milk at the farm gate.

Deutsche Bank retains its ‘sell’ rating on Fonterra Shareholders Fund units, with a 12-month target price of $5.64. The units slipped 0.2 percent by mid-afternoon to $6.08, and have fallen from a closing price of $6.15 on March 26, when the result for the six months to Jan. 31 was declared.

Fonterra posted a 53 percent fall in first-half net profit to $217 million, a result that would have been far worse if the cooperative had not taken the unprecedented action last December of deciding to reduce the regulated Farm Gate Milk Price (FGMP) to farmer-shareholders by 70 cents per kilogram of milk solids. . . .

New Zealand dairy farmers are responding to high prices by cranking the handle on their production to cash in on record payout – Jeff Smith:

Our dairy farmers are “cranking the handle” on production in response to high prices they are receiving for their milk.

As a result nationwide dairy production is expected to be up by 11% this current season.

Strong dairy prices have “handed the baton” to strong dairy volumes, ASB says in its economic update released today.

Volumes would be higher than normal this year as farmers had bought extra feed to increase milk production in anticipation of higher prices, ASB Bank rural economist Nathan Penny told interest.co.nz today. . . .

Farmer lands $30,000 in prizes - Elliot Parker:

Hard work has its merits.

Hinakura farmer Donald McCreary can attest to this after winning the award for the Beef and Lamb Wairarapa Farm Business of the Year and in the process scoring himself $30,000 in prizes.

McCleary has been farming in Hinakura, east of Martinborough, since 2004 on a 1375 ha property which is predominantly steep, hill country.

The property contains 6700 ewes and 225 breeding cattle.

McCreary says his approach to good farming is to be well versed in all areas of farm management. . .

Meat industry on the rise - Carmen Hall:

Higher lambing percentages and export carcass weights are helping offset a dramatic drop in sheep numbers.

Numbers have almost halved since 1991, but the amount of product being exported has remained stable as farmers focus on improving their systems.

Negative publicity has overshadowed the fact farmers have made significant gains in productivity and the industry has the potential to cash in on future growth, industry leaders are saying. Beef and Lamb New Zealand chief executive Scott Champion says the organisation focused on “best practice behind the farm gate”. . .

Finance support adds up for farmers :

Tauranga HR company Teaming Up hopes to connect accountancy firms with farmers in an economic development project that could generate millions of dollars.

The company spearheaded the Beyond Reasonable Drought inaugural road shows in the Bay of Plenty and East Coast last month, which attracted nearly 1000 people.

Marlborough sheep and beef farmer Doug Avery, who was on the brink of disaster 15 years ago after consecutive droughts, presented the seminars. He overcame adversity by adopting a scientific approach to agriculture and introducing deep-rooted, drought-tolerant lucerne. He employs six full-time staff, including son Frazer, and his business is a profitable operation that promotes high-reward, low-impact farming. . .

Honey lovers could get stung:

Honey prices could rise as much as 20 percent due to one of the worst seasons in decades.

Beekeepers say lower than usual temperatures in January meant the insects stayed inside their hives during the peak season and produced less honey. . .


Rural round-up

March 29, 2014

Land leasing lessons – Rebecca Harper:

Getting started farming in your own right can be a challenge and leasing is a great first option. Rebecca Harper investigates how it works and what you need to know about leasing.

David Skiffington has five lease blocks and has developed his own philosophy and system for leasing, building up to a viable farm business for him and his young family.

He got his first lease block in 2008 and is now leasing land from four Maori trusts and one private landowner in Manawatu, with about 100 hectares all up.

David is dead set against paying market price for a block. “I feel like the market rate is often set by the guy next door who has an advantage. Market price is set at a price where not much is economic.” . . .

Dairy prices may dip as record payouts prompt farmers to boost milk production -

(BusinessDesk) – Dairy prices will probably decline over the last few months of the New Zealand season as farmers ramp up milk production to benefit from record payouts.

Prices generally hold up on lower volumes heading into the end of the season in May, however volumes will be higher than normal this year as farmers had favourable growing conditions in the lead-up to the main producing season and bought extra feed to increase milk production in anticipation of higher prices, said ASB Bank rural economist Nathan Penny.

Auckland-based Fonterra Cooperative Group, the world’s biggest dairy exporter, last month raised its payout to farmer suppliers to a record level on the back of strong global demand. New Zealand dairy farmers will probably produce 11 percent more milk this season than last season, which will equate to around a 9 to 10 percent increase in volume for Fonterra, ahead of the dairy group’s forecast for a 7.5 percent increase in volume, ASB says. . .

Bovine Blackmailers and half a kennel - Mad Bush Farm:

The cows know I have a bag of feed just inside the door right now. It’s not theirs to have of course; it belongs to the old man. Sometimes, though, I do give them some of it, even though right now they don’t really need feeding much more than some hay.  Trouble is they’ve cottoned on that I feed the old man twice a day. They have it all figured out, along with how to muck up my recently cleaned windows (forget that now!) . . .

Apples and applesauce - Cabbage Tree Farm:

It’s apple season here on CTF. I am steadily working my way through mountains of apples. OK ‘mountains’ might be a slight exaggeration, but there are certainly quite a few kilos!
Here is a big box of delicious ‘Reinette du Canada’ apples – a French heirloom apple – that I picked yesterday. This variety is great for cooking, but it can also be eaten as a dessert apple. We usually cook it.


Some of these apples get quite big. The biggest one I picked was 500g (18 oz)! . . . 

Good as green for top crop:

A Bay of Plenty kiwifruit orchard has posted a top orchard gate return based on its production of Hayward green in the 2013 season.

Last season it produced an average of 15,109 trays per hectare with size 33 fruit, with an orchard gate return (OGR) in excess of $90,000 compared to the industry average of $43,000. It was the highest OGR recorded for 2013 by the orchard’s management company, Direct Management Services (DMS).

The orchard is owned by the Owen St George Family Trust and managed by Matt Greenbank of DMS. Owen’s daughter, Jackie, also works on the orchard.. . .

Hastings centre stage for next Regional Final:

The East Coast Regional Final of the ANZ Young Farmer Contest is set to be held in Hastings next weekend Saturday 5th April at the Hawke’s Bay A&P Showgrounds.

Eight finalists are contending for a spot at the Grand Final in Christchurch 3-5 July and their share of a $14,000 prize pack including products, services and scholarships from ANZ, Lincoln University, Silver Fern Farms, AGMARDT, Ravensdown, Honda, Husqvarna and Vodafone.

There is a wide range of competitors for this round of eliminations, with a variety of backgrounds, ages and skill sets. . . .

Value Added Products Get First Taste of Tomato Crop:

Wattie’s value added products are the first to benefit from the company’s 77th annual tomato crop, which is just passed the mid-point of the harvest.

In producing the country largest tomato crop Wattie’s carefully selects tomato varieties to meet and thrive in the Hawke’s Bay climate.

Wattie’s agronomist Jonny La Trobe who is responsible for the tomato crop, says the season is going well, and with half the harvest completed, the fruit quality and yields are good.

“While we may not pip last year’s exceptional volumes, favourable spring weather – which also benefited our peach crop – gave us an excellent start on which to build.” . . .


Rural round-up

January 15, 2013

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

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

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

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

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

Sheep farmers urged to aim for Chinese market:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Zabeel Still Starring at Karaka:

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

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

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


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