Rural round-up

August 22, 2014

NZ meat industry tie-up stumbled on differing strategies – Tina Morrison:

(BusinessDesk) – New Zealand meat companies abandoned efforts to consolidate and reduce surplus capacity last year because they lacked an agreed export strategy and farmers wouldn’t commit stock to firms that closed plants, industry sources say.

The country’s four biggest meat processors – farmer owned cooperatives Silver Fern Farms and Alliance Group, accounting for about half the industry, the Talley’s Group family-owned Affco and ANZCO Foods, with a majority ownership held by a Japanese food company – ended talks after failing to reach agreement last year.

A proposal for competitors to share the cost of closing plants was rejected, as was a plan for each company to retain its stock volumes for a period of up to five years following a closure, so they weren’t disadvantaged, according to people involved in the talks, who asked not to be named. . .

No more rules please, say farmers – Diane Bishop:

Education, not regulation, is the key to good environmental outcomes, Southland farmers say.

They want Environment Southland to establish best-practice guidelines around hill and high country development instead of enforcing rules on them.

“I don’t like rules,” Lumsden farmer Willie Menlove said.

“I’ve farmed for more than 20 years without these sorts of rules and I’d prefer education to be the end goal.”

He isn’t alone. . .

GM artificial food may be ‘staple diet’ – Matt Stewart:

From test-tube meat to 3-D printed pizza, the future of food is a brave new world where science is racing to keep up with a resource that grows ever more expensive and scarce.

As part of Wellington on a Plate, Victoria University tourism management honours students are imagining various scenarios around the future of food festivals and, ultimately, the way we will consume and make food as the planet struggles to feed 10 billion mouths by 2050.

“By 2050 the burger competition at Wellington on a Plate could consist of restaurants who are growing their own hamburgers,” student supervisor and futurist Ian Yeoman said. . .

Quality of river raises passions – Gerard Hutching:

Outside the mercury may be falling, but indoors the atmosphere heats up as a trio of farmers passionately debate the future of dairying in the Tararua district.

It’s a hot topic, with the Horizons Regional Council laying down the gauntlet to land users to clean up their act with its One Plan and the Environment Court setting limits on the amount of nitrogen loss into rivers.

Many found the court’s ruling hard to swallow.

“It would have been catastrophic. Our farms were going to rot from the inside out. The regional council had not done its work properly,” says Dannevirke dairy farmer Will Findlay. . .

 John Deere and the downside of an abundant harvest:

This year hasn’t been kind to the US agricultural sector.

Just ask John Deere, the world’s largest manufacturer of farming machinery. The company reported a 15 per cent plunge in profit for its fiscal third quarter compared with the previous quarter on Wednesday. After years of sustained growth, the company has now seen its sales fall in each of the first three fiscal quarters of 2014 and each time significantly.

Tractor sales, which are often used as a barometer of agricultural sector health, have been especially weak in the US. Deere’s equipment sales fell by 6 per cent in the third quarter, and are expected to tumble by another 8 per cent in the fourth quarter. . . .

Strong sales signal confidence in the New Zealand wine industry:

Solid export value growth and continued demand for New Zealand wine is the summary of the year according to the June year end 2014 Annual Report of New Zealand Winegrowers.

“Wineries took full advantage of the glorious 2013 vintage to bounce back from the supply constraints of 2012. The end result was a 10% increase in both export volume and value as overseas sales earned a record $1.33 billion” said Steve Green, Chair of New Zealand Winegrowers. The highly successful sales year left stocks needing replenishment and even greater demand forecast. 445,000 tonnes of grapes were harvested in 2014.

All grape growing regions witnessed a two-speed growing season which commenced early but slowed in the lead-up to vintage with a run of fine but cool weather in most regions allowing for good flavour development. . .

Our Seafood the Best in the World:

The Prime Minister John Key called New Zealand’s seafood ‘the best in the world’ in opening the Seafood Industry Conference in Wellington.

John Key said he’s travelled all over the world and eaten seafood in all sorts of places, but ‘without doubt New Zealand produces the best and I’ll challenge anyone to show me better.”

“I’ve hosted Hilary Clinton, to Will and Kate, and they’ve all been impressed by our seafood,” he told delegates. . .

 

 


Rural round-up

June 11, 2014

Sector in good heart – judge – Sally Rae:

After travelling 3800km in nine days, visiting 27 farms throughout New Zealand, Preston Hope is heartened by the state of the sheep industry.

Mr Hope, who farms with his wife, Tori, at Deep Stream, between Middlemarch and Outram, was one of three judges for the final round of the New Zealand ewe hogget competition.

The couple won the competition in 2012 and it was an honour to be asked to officiate, he said. . . .

2014 New Zealand wine vintage to support export growth:

The 2014 New Zealand grape harvest has been completed with high quality grapes picked across the country.

“All grape growing regions experienced very favourable growing conditions through the summer and into the early autumn. 2014 is set to be another memorable, high quality vintage which will provide a further boost to growing wine exports” said New Zealand Winegrowers Chief Executive Officer Philip Gregan.

According to the 2014 Vintage Survey, 445,000 tonnes of grapes were harvested. The 2014 crop is up 29% on the harvest last year and will position the industry well for the continuing consumer demand for New Zealand wine. Virtually every region has achieved production growth and for the first time Nelson, Waipara and Central Otago have exceeded 10,000 tonnes. . . .

Skilled and off-farm jobs the growth areas for agriculture – Pattrick Smellie:

(BusinessDesk) – Support services will be the biggest source of job growth for an increasingly sophisticated agricultural sector, a report on the future workforce needs of primary industries concludes.

Projections for the Ministry of Primary Industries, published today, forecasts that some 140,000 primary sector support services jobs will be required by 2025, compared with around 105,000 now, making it the fastest area of job growth and the largest source of employment in the primary sector, which covers sheep, beef, dairy and other animal farming, horticulture, fishing, and forestry.

Sheep and beef farming shows the largest fall in projected workforce size will be in the sheep and beef sectors, where jobs are expected to shrink to around 70,000 by 2025, from around 95,000 in 2002. The booming dairy sector shows hardly any job growth in the next decade, settling at around 50,000. . . .

Accommodation shortage of Fieldays - Susie Nordqvist:

It might be the biggest event of its type in the Southern Hemisphere, but Fieldays management says the event’s future growth could be threatened by an accommodation shortage in Hamilton.

So canny locals are cashing in and renting out their homes.

“I’m renting out my house to exhibitors who are exhibiting over the week of Fieldays, and I’m going as far away from here as I possibly can,” says homeowner Sam Ward. . .

Forest owners want people to speak up

The sponsors of the Independent Forestry Safety Review welcome the public consultation document issued by the review panel on Friday.

”It poses a series of questions which will provide a useful structure for the public consultation meetings that begin on 12 June. We strongly encourage forest owners, contractors, workers and anyone else with an interest in improving the safety of people working in forestry to go to one of the meetings, or to make a private submission,” says Forest Owners Association (FOA) president Paul Nicholls. . . .

New Zealand Avocados Achieve Record Sales For 2013-14 Season:

New Zealand’s avocado industry today announced it has more than doubled its sales from last season to $136m, setting new records in both export and New Zealand markets.

This stunning return eclipses the previous sales record of $84.1m set in 2009-10 and is far in excess of the $60.4m worth of avocados sold last year.

Jen Scoular, Chief Executive of NZ Avocado, says this season’s success is due to a number of reasons including initiatives which are transforming the industry into a more cohesive and competitive sector. . . .

B+LNZ Sheep Industry Awards 2014:

Help us recognise the best of the best in the Beef + Lamb New Zealand Sheep Industry Awards. Nominations close 30 June.

Beef + Lamb New Zealand is excited to be hosting our annual showcase for sheep farming excellence in Napier this year, the first North Island venue for the event. . .

Search for top NZ rural consultants gets closer

Nominations for the annual Consultant of the Year Awards have closed and Farmax is one step closer to announcing this year’s top New Zealand dairy, sheep and beef, and emerging rural professionals.

Farmax general manager, Gavin McEwen, said the awards were developed last year to recognise the expertise and value agricultural consultants and rural professionals provide to the New Zealand pastoral farming industry, which often goes unnoticed.

“On a regular basis we see first-hand the invaluable service that rural professionals provide farmer clients with. The feedback we receive from farmers about their consultants is really uplifting. It shows just how much of a difference consultants can make to their clients’ businesses,” Mr McEwen said. . . .


Rural round-up

May 21, 2014

Finding alternatives to dairy – Keith Woodford:

New Zealand dairy production has increased by 80% since Year 2000. This has come almost equally from both more dairy hectares and more production per hectare. However, the limits to pastoral dairying in New Zealand have largely been reached. Where do we go from here?

First, there is a need to recognise the two reasons why pastoral dairying has largely reached its limits.

The most important reason is that society is no longer willing to accept the effects of cow urine leaching from pastures into waterways and aquifers. Huge progress has been made in fencing off livestock from waterways, and in tree planting alongside the streams, but that does not solve the problem of the urine patch. This 2013/14 year is therefore the last year of large-scale conversion of sheep and beef farms to pastoral dairying. New environmental regulations have effectively closed that door. . . .

Nominations & entries open for South Island Farmer of the Year:

Nominations and entries are open for the 2014 Lincoln University Foundation South Island Farmer of the Year competition, and organisers are hoping for another record year.

“Last year we had entries from throughout the South Island, the quality of which were such that we were obliged to select six finalists instead of the usual four,” says Lincoln University Foundation Chair Ben Todhunter. “This, plus the very successful winner’s field day at Yealands Wine Estate, generated a lot of interest.

Todhunter says that one of the attractions of the competition is that size really doesn’t matter and is not one of the criteria for judging.

“We’re looking for leadership, innovation and entrepreneurship, which can be found equally in a small family-owned farm business as they can within a large commercial agricultural entity. . . .

Central South too wet to drill:

CROPPING FARMERS in Canterbury and North Otago face a soggy battle to get winter cereals sown after another belt of rain swept the region this week.

Paddocks had only just become passable after an unusually wet April and now some fear they will not get back on again until spring. Where crops have been sown agronomists say slugs are having a field day.

“Slug pellet use has gone through the roof,” Mid Canterbury agronomist Roger Lasham told Rural News.
“Where people have gone on with pellets before any damage has been done it’s not too bad but if they’re late they’ll never get those plants back.”  . . .

Fresh look for Fieldays partnership:

A mutual interest in contributing to – and growing – New Zealand’s agricultural sector is behind an enduring strategic partnership between two iconic regional organisations.

The University of Waikato is into its eighth year as a strategic partner of the National Agricultural Fieldays at Mystery Creek and Vice-Chancellor Professor Roy Crawford says it is an important partnership for both organisations.

“The University has a shared interest with Fieldays in the agricultural sector, from our research which we will be showcasing on our stand, to our students who undertake internships with many agricultural organisations and our graduates who are employed in the agricultural sector,” he says.

The University and the New Zealand National Fieldays Society signed their latest strategic partnership in March and Fieldays Chief Executive Jon Calder says the relationship has developed well over the years “to the point where we now have a true partnership”. . .

Deal to develop wine tourism:

New Zealand Winegrowers and Air New Zealand have signed a deal which will see them jointly promote the country as a destination for wine tourists.

They believe that more than a million visitors have toured the country’s vineyards and wineries over the last five years and the sector has tremendous opportunity for future growth.

Winegrowers chief executive Philip Gregan said the North American and Asian markets will be targetted in the promotion. . .

Giesen single vineyard first release wins international recognition:

Giesen Wines has won international plaudits with its first release of premium single vineyard wines from Marlborough.

Three different single vineyard selections have won gold at two prestigious UK competitions. The Brookby Rd Pinor Noir 2012 and Clayvin Pinot Noir 2012 were awarded gold in the coveted Decanter competition while Giesen The Fuder Clayvin Chardonnay 2012 captured gold at the International Wine Challenge (IWC).

Theo Giesen, of Giesen Wines, says this is the first time its wines have been awarded gold at either of the UK competitions. . . .


Good news but

May 2, 2014

New Zealand wine exports have hit a new high:

New Zealand wine export earnings have hit a new high, bubbling over the $1.3 billion mark for the first time.

New Zealand Winegrowers chief executive officer Philip Gregan, said it’s due to a combination of increased supply from the 2013 vintage and the continuing strong demand in overseas markets.

“So bring the two things together and we’ve got 9 percent growth in value over the past year.” . . .

That’s the good news.

But there’s another side to the story – there’s still a lot of wine to be sold.

We toured a wine bottling plant last month and saw pallets of boxes full of clean-skin wine bottles which didn’t have a market.

This wasn’t wine maturing, it was wine unsold from last season’s bottling.

New Zealand’s wine production has expanded but it hasn’t all found a market and the plant was already getting this season’s wine in.

Drink up – moderately and sensibly – the country’s wine industry needs us to.


Rural round-up

November 13, 2013

New Zealand’s Primary sector must not tolerate its weakest links

•        Industry must be prepared to remove those not prepared to meet baseline standards
•        Regulation needs to be balanced to avoid overburdening a strategic sector of the New Zealand economy

The global reputation of New Zealand’s primary sector lives or dies on every participant in the industry doing the right thing each and every day.  In a connected world it only takes one person to fail in fulfilling their duty to the environment, their animals or the community for significant pressure to come to bear on the whole sector’s license to operate.

The message that the industry can no longer tolerate weak links is a central theme in the latest volume of the KPMG Agribusiness Agenda 2013 which is released today. The fourth volume of the Agenda, titled “Balancing the needs of the environment, communities and businesses” discusses the issues associated with building a world class, sustainable primary sector in New Zealand. . .

Rollover protection on quads a lifesaver – researcher:

Associate Professor Charley Lamb, of Lincoln University’s Telford Division, has backed Whangarei coroner Brandt Shortland’s recommendation for more research to be done in New Zealand into the protection devices.

Mr Shortland’s recommendation follows the release this week of his findings into five quad-bike related deaths in which he says the vehicles are a farmer’s best friend, and also their worst enemy.

His recommendations include the compulsory wearing of helmets, more research on roll-bars and more training for riders.

On average, five people each year are killed in quad-bike accidents on farms and a further 850 are injured. . . .

Shock tactics and scars suggested for quad bike safety ads – Abby Brown:

Tweeting farmers say there needs to be an educational advertising campaign that uses shock tactics and even scars to warn of the hazards of using alcohol or drugs before using a quad bike.

Some farmers also said there needs to be more research on roll-over protection, speed limits need to be considered and most supported the call for the use of helmets.

Colin Grainger-Allen (@NZcows) tweeted that authorities like ACC need to use shock tactics to run educational advertising campaigns about the hazards of using quad bikes after drinking or drug use like they do with the anti-drink driving campaign. . .

Van der Heyden shares ideas with MIE – Alan Williams:

Former Fonterra chairman Sir Henry van der Heyden is playing down his role with red-meat lobby group Meat Industry Excellence (MIE).

“I’m sharing my ideas and experience from what I’ve learned in my time in the dairy industry with a large number of farmers and MIE is part of that,” van der Heyden said.

“Over the past two or three years many folk in the red-meat sectors have contacted me.”

It is understood van der Heyden has spoken at “invitation-only” MIE meetings with farmers over the past few months, ahead of director elections at the two biggest meat industry co-operatives, Silver Fern Farms and Alliance Group, at their annual meetings in December. . .

Leadership Reaffirmed for Grape and Wine Industry

New Zealand Winegrowers, the national organisation for the country’s 1,500 grape growers and winemakers, has announced the re-election of Steve Green as Chair and John Clarke as Deputy Chair for a second year.

Mr Green is proprietor of Carrick, a boutique Central Otago winery; he has been involved in the Central Otago grape and wine industry since 1994, has previously served as Chair of Central Otago Winegrowers and has been on the New Zealand Winegrowers Board since 2005.

Mr Clarke is a Gisborne grapegrower with over 30 years’ experience in the grape and wine industry. Mr Clarke, who is a former Gisborne Mayor, has previously served for ten years as the Chair of Gisborne Winegrowers and joined the New Zealand Winegrowers Board in 2006. . .

Wine & Tourism – a Winning Combination:

 2013 is turning out to be an outstanding year for Hawke’s Bay winery Sileni Estates. Off the back of recent local and international award success for their wines, Sileni Estates have recently been awarded the coveted Hawke’s Bay Cellar Door of the Year at the Hawke’s Bay A&P Wine Awards.

Cellar Door of the Year recipients in 2010 and 2012, Sileni Estates are surprised and delighted to receive the award again in 2013. Owner and CEO Graeme Avery comments, “We are thrilled that the Sileni Cellar Store has been awarded Cellar Door of the Year in three of the past four years. It is a credit to our dedicated and hardworking Cellar Store Team – Anne Boustead, Emily Lay and Simone Hartley; and to Sileni’s long term commitment to promote Hawke’s Bay and its wines.” . . .

Quality of wine shines through at Air New Zealand Wine Awards:

New Zealand wineries have again impressed judges at this year’s Air New Zealand Wine Awards with wines of outstanding quality making up the 111 gold medal winners.

Pinot Noir was the strongest performer, winning 22 gold medals, while 20 gold medals were awarded for Sauvignon Blanc and 17 for Chardonnay.

The aromatics classes, consisting of Gewürztraminer, Pinot Gris, Riesling, Viognier and Albariño, also shone in this year’s competition, bagging a total of 25 gold medals. The judges were impressed by the sparkling class, which was awarded 19 medals, including six gold.

Chair of Judges, Michael Brajkovich MW, said New Zealand winemakers are producing world-class wines across an exciting and diverse range of varieties. . .


Rural round-up

September 23, 2013

Rural contractors ready to help:

Farmers around the country hit by devastating storms last week are being reminded that rural contractors are available to help them with any clean-up work.

“Canterbury was hit by its worst wind storm in 40 years, which has caused major damage on farms throughout the province,” says Steve Levet, president of Rural Contractors New Zealand (RCNZ). “There are also reports of a fair bit of destruction in the North Island as well.

“This has been a tough time for landowners with many needing to carry out big clean-up jobs on their properties. If the farmers don’t have the time or the resources to clear up storm damage; they should contact their local rural contractor and ask for help.” . . .

Northland farmer Parsons named B+LNZ chair-elect – Hugh Stringleman:

New Beef + Lamb New Zealand chair-elect James Parsons, of Northland, has left on his first market access and trade relations trip to Southeast Asia and Europe.

He has accompanied chairman Mike Petersen to Japan, South Korea, and Europe for a meeting of the sheep-meat forum.

Parsons has been appointed by fellow directors for six months as chair-elect before Petersen retires in March.

Rather than have deputy chairmen, in recent times primary sector organisations like Fonterra, Alliance, Ballance, and now B+LNZ, have used a nominated heir approach to transition. . .

New chair for Awards trust:

The New Zealand Dairy Industry Awards Trust has a new chair- Mid-Canterbury dairy farmer and DairyNZ director Alister Body.

Body says a key focus of the Trust under his leadership will be to ensure the awards and its three contests – the New Zealand Sharemilker/Equity Farmer of the Year, New Zealand Farm Manager of the Year and New Zealand Dairy Trainee of the Year – retain relevancy and competitor interest.

“The competitions are improving and evolving and that’s really important. They also provide a great showcase of the dairy industry and give tremendous promotion of the value and benefits to be gained by participating in the dairy industry,” he says. . .

End of drought boosts prospects of NZ land prices – Agrimoney:

The ending of New Zealand’s drought has handed the country’s farmland market a “strong platform” for the important spring season, real estate professionals said, amid bright hopes for the important dairy sector too.

Economic data on Thursday highlighted the impact to New Zealand agriculture from one of the worst droughts on record, with the sector seen shrinking 4.8% in the April-to-June period from the previous quarter, thanks largely to the impact on dairy farms of poor pasture conditions.

“Dairy production was the biggest contributor to the fall, while sheep and cattle farming also fell,” the official statistics office in New Zealand, the top milk exporting country, said. . .

Golden harvest puts industry back on track:

THE WINE industry is seeing the first signs of renewed interest in new vineyard development, showing there is new optimism in the industry, says New Zealand Winegrowers chairman Steven Green.

Five years ago the New Zealand wine industry suffered a supply imbalance as producers made more wine than they could sell. Grape prices slumped and vines were ripped out.

But a record 345,000 tonnes of grapes were harvested this year producing 250 million litres of wine. The 2013 crop is up 28% on the small 2012 harvest but up only 5% on 2011. . .

My father’s succession strategy worked a treat - Stephen Carr:

My great farming hero, the late Hampshire farmer writer and broadcaster John Cherrington, used to maintain that if you wished your son or daughter to follow you into dairying you should “break them in” before they knew any better.

To delay an introduction to the mind-numbing routine of the milking parlour beyond the age of 12 was to run the risk that the adolescent will discover there are easier ways of earning a living than being tied to the tail of a dairy cow 365 days a year from 4am each morning.

My own father inducted me into farming with ruthless single-mindedness. We didn’t have dairy cows, but he introduced me to the delights of beef, sheep and arable farming without me realising that a subtle brainwashing was in progress. . .


Rural round-up

September 4, 2013

Synlait Milk raises forecast milk price for FY2014 season:

Continuing high international commodity prices have seen Synlait Milk increase its forecast milk price for the FY2014 season from $7.00 per kgMS to $8.00 per kgMS.

The Company also lifted its advance rates for the season effective from August paid September from $4.50 per kgMS to $5.00 per kgMS.

Synlait Milk announced last week that it will process more milk than forecast this season following a decision to take a significant allocation of DIRA milk that will increase total production volumes of its ingredients products.

Synlait Milk Managing Director John Penno says the Company remains confident in achieving its forecast financial result for FY2014. . .

Vet becomes farmer with no regrets:

The lives of a qualified veterinarian and a computer science graduate from the Philippines took an unexpected turn when they arrived in New Zealand.

Unable to work in his chosen field in New Zealand unless he took a refresher course, Don Mananes, now lives with

wife Khristine and daughters Denisse (9) and Diane (4), on a dairy farm at Waiparu, near Riversdale, where he works as a farm manager and AI specialist. The family loves the lifestyle, which is different from the city lifestyle they had back home. . .

Mental health still a work in progress:

The Rural Health Alliance Aotearoa New Zealand (RHAANZ) was established in March and ”brings together health, social and political agencies with a rural focus to provide a unified voice and resource to help find solutions for the health problems facing rural communities.”

Southern Rural Life invited chairman Dr Jo Scott-Jones to discuss GPs’ roles in mental health in rural communities.

The role of the rural GP has always been one which has had to provide a wider range of services than in urban centres where there is easier access to support from other providers. . .

Heard it on the grapevine – Kat Pickford:

Fairhall grape grower Stuart Smith has been recognised for services to the country’s wine industry.

New Zealand Winegrowers chairman Steve Green announced Mr Smith’s induction to the roll of fellows at the 29th annual Romeo Bragato conference yesterday.

More than 600 vintners, viticulturists, trades people and suppliers are at the three-day conference being held at the Marlborough Convention Centre this week.

The sell-out event was the industry’s largest, and included the Bragato dinner tonight, when the Moore Stephens Young Viticulturist of the year and the Bragato Wine Award trophy winners would be announced. . .

Land deals first inkling of the future – Kat Pickford:

Tomorrow marks the 40th anniversary of the beginning of Marlborough’s commercial wine industry.

The small group of farmers, lawyers, engineers and orchardists who pioneered viticulture practices to suit the region’s climate talk to reporter Kat Pickford about the journey that led to the phenomenal growth and international success of Marlborough wine.

Blenheim businessman John Marris had his feet up by the fire on a typical Marlborough winter evening in August 1973 when he took a phone call from his boss looking for 200 hectares of bare land on behalf of a mystery buyer.

The freshly minted real estate agent immediately sensed something was up. Rural property was not selling in Marlborough, and he wanted to talk to this guy to find out how serious he was.

In 1973, the value of bare land was about $550 a hectare, and there was not a lot of it on the market. . .

King Country chook lays massive egg – Catley Edwards:

A King Country chook is the toast of the henhouse after laying an egg the size of a mini ostrich egg.

When cracked, the egg revealed its surprise contents – a yolk and another egg.

One of Taumarunui woman Sheryl Standfield’s 12 free-ranging brown highliner hens laid the monster, which weighed in at 165gm, had a girth of 12.7cm and height of 12cm. . .

 


Rural round-up

June 12, 2013

2013 New Zealand Wine Vintage Set to Be One of the Best:

The 2013 New Zealand grape harvest has been completed with high quality grapes picked in all regions. Winemakers across the country are heralding it as one of the best vintages in history.

“An outstanding New Zealand summer provided near perfect conditions for growing grapes across the country” said Philip Gregan, chief executive officer of New Zealand Winegrowers. “The result is that we expect the 2013 wines to be vibrant, fruit driven and complex expressions of our diverse grape growing regions. 2013 looks set to be a vintage to remember.”

According to the 2013 Vintage Survey, 345,000 tonnes of grapes were harvested. The 2013 crop is up 28% on the small harvest last year but up only 5% on 2011. . .

Fieldays: new forecasting service for farmers -

A new weather and environmental forecasting service has been launched at the National Fieldays by NIWA today.

The service provides farmers with tailored information about weather conditions on their farm.

The web-based weather forecasting information service called NIWA forecast aims to help farmers and growers identify the right time to carry out weather-dependent operations like irrigation, spraying and harvesting.

NIWA chief scientist, atmosphere, Dr Murray Poulter said the new service takes forecasting to another level because different forecasts can now be created for properties as little as 12km apart.

“NIWA forecast can deliver valuable climate analysis and forecasts from the present to 15 days ahead direct to farmers’ and growers’ computers via the internet direct to their farm.” . . .

Meat Industry Excellence gets into the first gear of reform:

With the 2013 National Agricultural Fieldays now underway, so is reform of New Zealand’s red meat sector being championed by Meat Industry Excellence (MIE). MIE is shifting the gears of reform following intensive meetings held in Christchurch and Wellington last week.

“Having met with Beef+Lamb NZ Chairman, Mike Petersen and Federated Farmers’ Meat and Fibre executive, there is recognition and support among farmers for a truly sustainable red meat sector,” says Richard Young, MIE Chairman.

“MIE sees its role as shifting the gear for reform out of neutral. For an industry bedevilled by past infighting it is great to know that Federated Farmers and Beef+Lamb NZ want to work with us. . .

Federated Farmers Meat & Fibre works on reform:

Federated Farmers Meat and Fibre will follow up on a positive meeting with the Meat Industry Excellence Group (MIE) with a discussion on reform and farmer behaviour at its 2013 conference in Ashburton next month.
“MIE gave us an update on where they are at and some of the changes they are working on,” Federated Farmers Meat & Fibre chairperson Jeanette Maxwell said.

“We had a highly constructive conversation around meat industry issues and many areas of alignment emerged.

“Both organisations realise they have much in common and want to achieve the same goals. In the next couple of weeks there will be a lot more information to emerge from MIE. . .

Farmers to have equal say in Fairtrade:

Farmers from Africa, Asia Pacific and Latin America are to have an equal say in running the global Fairtrade movement for the first time this week.

In a ground-breaking move, producers of tea, coffee, bananas and other goods will have half the votes at Fairtrade International’s annual General Assembly in Germany on Wednesday, 12 June 2013. . .

Fairtrade is the first major development organisation to pioneer such power-sharing between groups in the northern and southern hemisphere. . .


Rural round-up

March 12, 2013

2013 Glammies victor crowned:

Beating out over 180 entrants, Mangapoike Ltd, represented by Pat Sheriff from Gisborne, has been crowned the 2013 Glammies Grand Champion.

Their Composite lamb, processed at Silver Ferns Farm Takapau, took out the title at the final taste test, after being tasted next to 20 other finalists. 

The final was judged by Iron Maidens, Sarah Walker and Sophie Pascoe, food writer Lauraine Jacobs, Beef + Lamb ambassador chef Darren Wright and head judge and chef, Graham Hawkes. 

Hawkes noted the high level of quality this year, saying it was a step up from last year’s competition. . .

Drought conditions perfect for grape growers:

Grape growers say the hot, dry weather which is wreaking havoc for farmers could produce one of their highest quality yields in years.

Gisborne grower John Clarke who is also New Zealand Winegrowers deputy chair said Gisborne’s growers have been enjoying the highly favourable conditions.

Mr Clarke said the weather means there is no disease pressure and grapes which have been harvested in Gisborne in the last couple of weeks are displaying excellent flavours.

He said the weather conditions around the country have been favourable for wine and growers have their fingers crossed the vintage this year will be fantastic. . .

DOC, Green Taliban, everyone take note. Cows are good for the climate [must watch] - Whaleoil:

Antony Watts at Watts up with That? says

Imagine, shooting 40,000 elephants to prevent the land in Africa from going to desert because scientists thought the land couldn’t sustain them, only to find the effort was for naught and the idea as to why was totally wrong. That alone was a real eye opener. Every once in awhile, an idea comes along that makes you ask, “gee why hasn’t anybody seen this before?”. This one of those times. This video below is something I almost didn’t watch, because my concerns were triggered by a few key words in the beginning. … I want every one of you, no matter what side of the climate debate you live in, to watch this and experience that light bulb moment as I did. The key here is to understand that desertification is one of the real climate changes we are witnessing as opposed to some the predicted ones we often fight over.

I like to add my recommendation that this is a Must See video, no matter what you think about Climate Change currently. . .

Now that is interesting – Gravedodger:

Several blogs are embedding a video featuring a 23 min lecture part, of an hour full length effort on combating desertification by Allan Savory who in the early years of his study advocated culling elephant herds to combat desertification on the vulnerable fringes of the deserts of Africa.
He has now worked out what many graziers have known for years but has remained hidden due to an unpopular perception stance in great debates on denuding of soils contributing to degredation.

Most farmers I have encountered in over 60 years of life are basically environmentalists if only because they understand a poorly maintained machine will eventually fail often with devastating outcomes. Yes there are some tossers in farming, there is at least one in every bus. . .

BOP Dairy Awards Winners Progress:

Winning the 2013 Bay of Plenty Sharemilker/Equity Farmer of the Year title has proved a natural progression for Russell and Nadine Meade.

The couple won the2010 Bay of Plenty Farm Manager of the Year title and set about developing innovative and flexible investment opportunities to achieve farm business ownership.

Now 50% sharemilking 220 cows for Barbara Sullivan at Whakatane, the couple took home cash and prizes in winning the top prize worth $16,600 at the awards dinner held at the Awakeri Events Centre last night. . .

Organic certifier points to producers and consumers for double digit growth:

The latest organic market report launched on Wednesday (6th March) at Parliament confirms double digit growth of organics in New Zealand over the past 3 years and comes as great news for organic certifier BioGro, its certified producers and consumers.

The organic sector has grown 25 per cent in the past three years – from $275 million in 2009 to $350 million in 2012. The export and domestic market for New Zealand organic products has grown on average 8 per cent a year at a time of global recession.

BioGro’s CEO Dr Michelle Glogau says the report, funded by the organic sector umbrella group Organics Aotearoa New Zealand (OANZ) is a really positive sign of the increased demand for organics amongst consumers. ‘It supports the trends we are seeing with dramatic growth in certified wine and extension into health & body care products’. . .


Rural round-up

December 13, 2012

Agricultural producers and food processors call for full trade liberalisation through the Trans Pacific Partnership

Farmers and food processors from Australia, New Zealand and Canada are calling on Trans Pacific Partnership (TPP) countries to conclude a 21st century trade agreement in 2013 that liberalises trade across all goods and services.

At the 15th round of TPP negotiations taking place in Auckland, New Zealand, agri-food groups from across the TPP region are meeting together and call for negotiators to uphold a high level of ambition in the trade talks. . .

TPP negotiations need to deliver for agriculture:

New Zealand’s red meat sector is encouraging all negotiating parties in the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) to work tirelessly to ensure this agreement can be completed by October 2013. Key outcomes from the completion of TPP must be the elimination of agricultural trade barriers and the opportunity for greater economic integration across the Asia Pacific region, Beef + Lamb New Zealand (B+LNZ) and the Meat Industry Association (MIA) say.

The B+LNZ and MIA chairmen, Mike Petersen and Bill Falconer (respectively) reinforced the need for reduced barriers to agricultural trade, including the elimination of tariffs and other technical barriers as a priority. Achieving that would create benefits and opportunities for all TPP members exporting red meat products. . .

$2.5 million for irrigation project a welcome potential boost for jobs and the environment

The government’s announcement that it is funding half of the $2.5 million Wairarapa Water Use Project to investigate the feasibility of developing water storage, alongside the Greater Wellington Regional Council, is warmly welcomed by Federated Farmers.

“Water is the lifeblood of farming, which is why Federated Farmers welcomes Primary Industries Minister David Carter’s announcement this morning that the government will add this funding from the Irrigation Acceleration Fund (IAF) to look at the feasibility of this project,” says Federated Farmers water spokesperson Ian Mackenzie.

“This announcement means Wairarapa is potentially a huge step closer to securing a brighter economic future for its farmers and everyone else in the region. . . .

New Zealand Winegrowers explores the science of Sauvignon blanc

New Zealand Winegrowers (NZW) has commissioned UK wine writer Jamie Goode to publish The Science of Sauvignon blanc. The book is based on the results of a six year multidisciplinary research initiative that explores the key aroma and flavour compounds in Sauvignon blanc wine and how they relate to viticulture and winemaking.

“In our research programme we wanted to understand the unique characters of New Zealand Sauvignon blanc” says Dr Simon Hooker, General Manager Research at New Zealand Winegrowers. “What are its sensory attributes? Can they be linked back to viticultural management? Are they generated in the vineyard, through winemaking processes or by the yeasts? This book presents an overview to these questions in a very user friendly way that has given the industry new tools for driving flavour”. . .

Rapaura Springs Judged No2 New Zealand Sauvignon Blanc:

The Rapaura Springs 2012 Reserve Sauvignon Blanc has been named one of the two best Sauvignon Blancs in the country by Cuisine Magazine’s judging panel.

Owner Brendan Neylon says achieving number two rank, as well as a five star accolade, denoting “outstanding quality” in a wine, is an excellent result from such a prestigious tasting, and perfectly timed for Christmas. . .


Rural round-up

November 20, 2012

Crown needs to be good neighbour too - Richard Strowger:

I was chatting to another local last week and we got on to the often debated topic of the financial impact of Crown ownership of land in districts like Waitaki.

There are a fair few of us in the district who have Crown-owned land as our neighbour and we wonder, like all good neighbours, just what role the Crown plays in our community.

A classic example of this is getting access into Department Of Conservation land. It takes a fair bit of expense on behalf of ratepayers in the district to maintain local roads that lead into Department of Conservation-administered land, but we do not haul in any rates off that piece of dirt for the purpose. . .

Federated Farmers: quality comes first – Matt Harcombe:

The debate over water and agriculture is a tangled web of interlinked policies, on-farm actions, science, emotion, perception and economic and cultural factors affecting its use, availability and quality.

Some factors are well understood, others are not. The biggest issue in the public eye is quality. But access to water and its use, irrigation and storage are also vital.

Although most farmers are working hard to adapt and evolve alongside changing public expectations of water quality, they are also trying to keep up with the demands of the Government and regional councils, while working out what it means to their farm.

The farming community wants to play its part in ensuring everyone has reasonable access to clean water but there is no clear consensus on what pathways should be taken to reach that goal. . .

We all own our agricultural story . . .  that’s the problem - PastureHarmonies:

The trouble is; we all own New Zealand’s agricultural story.

That is, the huge collective effort that went into figuring out, developing and improving the soil, pasture and plant/animal interaction that is our pastoral method: is part of our collective birthright.

Unfortunately, NZ Inc has never (and as such never could) apply for a worldwide patent for the knowledge. There’s none of it that’s uniquely identifiable. If, perhaps way back in the 1930s when some of the eminent scientists of the day were working up their theories of how to grow grass/clover better, there may have been some form of IP we could’ve called ‘ours’. . .

Bid to drown-proof Maori children:

Water Safety New Zealand has launched a five-year programme to boost the swimming ability of young Maori in rural areas.

Over the past six years 22% of drownings were Maori.

Portable pools will be rotated around rural centres, catering for up to 40 students at a time based at the kura. . .

New Zealand Winegrowers release Vineyard Register Report:

New Zealand Winegrowers (NZW) has released the 2012 Vineyard Register Report today, which presents the most accurate statistics in the last decade on the sector’s vineyard productive capacity. The report includes data from 1,841 vineyards with a combined producing area of 34,269 hectares in 2012, which is anticipated to increase 683 ha in 2015.

The Vineyard Register is an initiative from the New Zealand Winegrowers Strategic Review, and replaces the previous Vineyard Survey which was conducted annually. “The 2011 PricewaterhouseCoopers Strategic Review emphasised the importance of accurate data as a prerequisite for understanding future production capability, infrastructure planning, biosecurity management, disaster response purposes, and pest and disease management. The Vineyard Register now provides this vital information and is a significant step forward for the industry” says Philip Manson, General Manager Sustainability at New Zealand Winegrowers. . .

Preston’s Gold sets up for a summer of good meat:

Preston’s Master Butchers have been awarded a Gold Medal at the Devro New Zealand Sausage Competition for its Turingia Bratwurst.

“Our customers have been telling us for a while that this is a fantastic sausage”, says General Manager Andrew Preston.

“A win in a national competition is reinforcement that we’ve got it right. Our Anytime Turingia Bratwurst is a traditional pre-cooked German Bratwurst. It is flavoured with marjoram and parsley and a touch of pepper and garlic. . .


Rural round-up

November 10, 2012

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

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

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

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

Landcorp ready to run Crafar farms – Andrea Fox:

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

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

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

Wool growers asked for $10m – Gerald Piddock:

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

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

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

Wine sector senses a whiff of recovery – Claire Rogers:

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

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

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

Sea air tenderises spring lamb – Jon Morgan:

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

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

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

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

Kiwi to Lead International Tree Society

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

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

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


Rural round-up

October 30, 2012

Tasty lambs’ tails may soon be off the barbecue menu – Jon Morgan:

FIRST, there’s the acrid smell of burning wool, closely followed by a frenzied crackling as the lanolin sizzles. But then comes the mouth-watering aroma of roasting meat.

Barbecued lambs’ tails are a delicacy savoured by many farmers at this time of year as tailing, or docking, gets under way.

It’s a time of short-lived pain for the lambs but is necessary to prevent greater pain later. The long dangling tail can become encrusted with faeces and attract blowflies. Their maggots feed on the lamb’s flesh, causing great pain and distress.

There’s an art to docking.

Many farms have modern equipment that clamps the lamb and presents it breech-forward to the man or woman wielding a hot iron. With a swift flourish, the tail is severed and the lamb is set free to run bleating to its mother.

Rubber rings can also be used. They cut off the blood supply so the tail drops off in seven to 10 days.

Enough of the tail must be left to protect the genitals and so it can still wag. That’s not so farmers will know if it is happy or not, but so the lamb can spray its faeces away from its body. . .

Tails could prove winner – Terri Russell:

A Southland sheep farmer started docking his lambs this month as part of new research that looks at the effect of docking tails at different lengths.

The three-year docking trial is the first of its kind documented worldwide and was launched by Alliance Group last month when lamb tagging started.

Tail docking is common practice in New Zealand to try to reduce dag formation and the risk of fly strike.

Alliance Group livestock general manager Murray Behrent said the research would help shed light on claims that docking tails too short was an animal welfare issue, and that longer tails improved the growth rate of lambs. . .

Pressure on meat,wool farmers to improve outputs – Tim Cronshaw:

Farmers will put their energies into improving meat and wool production as markets meet a strong headwind from the debt crisis in Europe.

The European recession and unfavourable currency exchange rates would lead to weaker sale prices for lamb and wool in the 2012-13 season, said Beef + Lamb New Zealand economic service executive director Rob Davison.

The forecast for average lamb price at $94 was down on the likely $113 for the 2011-12 season just completed. . .

Dairy chairman urges more focus on image – Neil Ratley:

Southland dairy farmers were congratulated for a job well done but also asked to continue working to improve the industry’s public image at the DairyNZ annual general meeting in Wallacetown.

DairyNZ chief executive Tim Mackle said the dairy industry pumped millions of dollars into the regional economy.

“The average annual revenue from milk production is more than $1.2 million per farm,” he said. “At least half of that money is being spent on farm working expenses and circulating through the local economy.”

Dairy NZ chairman John Luxton said the New Zealand and Southland dairy industry had shown considerable growth and resilience to factors impacting other industries. . .

The way you’d farm if you farmed yourself – Pasture Harmonies:

Think for a moment that you’re a Western consumer contemplating buying some animal protein for dinner that night.

Faced with an array of red and white meat choices, you have a tiny thought in the back of your mind about how the animal that produced that steak or mince or breast grew up.

(Ignoring anthropomorphism) mostly, you’re going to be aware that its life was pretty confined and squashed, and bears very little resemblance to how it would’ve existed in a ‘natural’ world.

However, you’ve got to eat, and pretty much you have Hobson’s choice when it comes to the production source of the meat. . .

New Leadership for Grape and Wine Industry

New Zealand Winegrowers, the national organisation for the country’s 1,500 grape growers and winemakers, announced today the election of Steve Green as Chair and John Clarke as Deputy Chair.

Mr Green is proprietor of Carrick, a boutique Central Otago winery; he succeeds Stuart Smith of Marlborough who has stepped down after six years in the role. Mr Green has been involved in the Central Otago grape and wine industry since 1994. He has previously served as Chair of Central Otago Winegrowers and has been on the New Zealand Winegrowers Board since 2005, serving for the last three years as Deputy Chair.

Mr Clarke is a Gisborne grapegrower with over 30 years experience in the grape and wine industry. Mr Clarke, who is a former Gisborne Mayor, has previously served for ten years as the Chair of Gisborne Winegrowers and joined the New Zealand Winegrowers Board in 2006. . .

More calculators to make the most of nitrogen:

A broader range of online calculators developed to assist farmers to gauge the possible benefits of using urea treated with a urease inhibitor are now available

Summer is just around the corner which in New Zealand typically means drier weather conditions making it difficult to assess the best time to apply nitrogen fertiliser.

Urea treated with the urease inhibitor AGROTAIN® nitrogen stabiliser addresses ammonia volatilisation and offers farmers more flexibility to apply nitrogen when it’s needed most or when it suits them better even if the weather or soil conditions are not optimal. . .

World’s first compostable fruit label for Zespri Kiwifruit:

Zespri will introduce the world’s first and only fully compostable fruit labels on all Zespri® Organic Kiwifruit next season.

Zespri’s Global Marketing Manager – Organic, Glen Arrowsmith, explains this initiative is part of Zespri’s leadership role and ongoing commitment to improving the environmental credentials of its products.

“Our international customers – retailers, wholesalers, consumers, governments – are increasingly interested in the sustainability of products arriving in their markets and we’ve invested in research and development to continue to lead the market in this area.” . . .


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