Rural round-up

September 12, 2014

Coasters nervous about a dry start to spring:

Nervous West Coast farmers are hoping meteorologists are right that a rainmaker is close at hand, with no more than 1 millilitre (mls) falling at Westport over the past 23 days.

“This is the driest start to spring in some years,” says Katie Milne, Federated Farmers West Coast Provincial President.

“Apparently a dry spell is 15 consecutive days with less than one millilitre of rainfall and the South Island has been very dry. Heck, even Milford Sound has been dry for going on 22 days.

“Speaking to the guys at MetService, they say it is down to a persistent high, which has been sitting out to the west that’s meandering its way across the country. . .

 

Turners & Growers enters Chilean JV to grow grapes for first time – Suze Metherell:

 (BusinessDesk) – Turners & Growers, the fruit marketer majority owned by Germany’s BayWa, has entered a joint venture with Unifrutti Chile to grow and export Peruvian grapes.

The joint venture with Italian-owned, Chile-based Unifrutti builds on an existing export relationship with T&G, and is the Auckland-based company’s first foray into grape growing. T&G didn’t disclose any financial details surrounding the deal, saying it will begin planting in Peru later this year with first commercial volumes harvested in late 2015.

T&G’s Delica business already exports grapes and has existing operations in South America, though those haven’t extended to grape growing before. The company already had a commercial relationship with Unifrutti, which is ultimately owned by the Italy-based De Nada International Group, according to its website. . .

Waikato Sharemilkers Enjoy Benefits of Farm Environment Competition:

Entering the Waikato Ballance Farm Environment Awards was a great way for Matamata sharemilkers Phil and Kim Dykzeul to find out how their operation stacked up in terms of environmental sustainability.

The Dykzeuls, who 50:50 sharemilk 200 cows on 83ha owned by Richard and Pauline Kean, were thrilled to win three category awards in the 2014 Waikato Ballance Farm Environment Awards (BFEA), including the LIC Dairy Farm Award.

“We were over the moon to win three awards in our first time in the competition,” says Phil. . .

 Important season for black-grass eradication:

With the second season of black-grass operations about to begin, continued vigilance this spring and summer will be crucial to stop the noxious weed from establishing in Mid-Canterbury, says the Ministry for Primary Industries (MPI).

MPI, supported by industry partners, began a black-grass response following spillage of contaminated seed from a truck travelling between Ashburton and Methven in July last year.

“We didn’t find any black-grass last season and are confident that if it were there the operations team would have found it,” says MPI Response Manager Brad Chandler.

“However, we are also very conscious that if there is any chance of black-grass appearing, it is most likely to show its face this season. So everyone involved, including the public, needs to remain particularly vigilant and keep a lookout.” . . .

Live Lobsters Fly to Export Success:

An increasing volume of valuable export earnings are being generated by the Fiordland Lobster Company (FLC), following its successful pioneering of the live lobster export industry over the past 25 years.

Now exporting about over 800 tonnes of the Kiwi Lobster-branded product (officially known as Jasus edwardsii lobster) each year, the firm’s achievements have been founded on efficient air freight and a well-oiled logistics operation, says FLC group general manager sales and marketing David Prendergast.

“This lobster is considered the sweetest tasting and most succulent variety available and is highly sought after in Asia, where it is the lobster of choice,” he says. . . .

 

 Wool Market Makes Gains:

New Zealand Wool Services International Limited’s Marketing Executive, Mr Paul Steel reports that at today’s South Island sale there were market gains of up to 2 percent on the back of recent business concluded mainly with Chinese interests.

A limited Merino offering saw best top making types slightly in buyers favour and poorer styles mixed and irregular.

Mid Micron wools when compared to the last South Island sale on the 28th August generally made small gains. 24.5 and 25 micron were firm, 25.5 to 26.5 and 29 to 30.5 micron were 1 to 2 percent dearer while 27 to 28.5 micron were buyers favour. . . .


Rural round-up

July 19, 2014

Regen owner named Mumtrepreneur of the Year:

Wellington businesswoman Bridgit Hawkins has been named Fly Buys Mumtrepreneur of the Year in the Fly Buys Mumtrepreneur Awards.

Hawkins’ business, Regen Ltd, helps dairy farmers manage a key issue – disposing of cattle effluent. The company has developed software that turns data, including soil moisture, temperature and rainfall, into a simple daily recommendation that’s sent to the farmer by text message.

Since Regen launched in 2010, the company has helped hundreds of farms across the country manage effluent disposal efficiently and its customer numbers have doubled year on year. . .

$107.5m to Lincoln University science rebuild:

Tertiary Education, Skills and Employment Minister Steven Joyce today announced that the Government has approved in principle to provide up to $107.5 million in capital funding toward the rebuilding of Lincoln University’s science facilities destroyed in the Canterbury earthquakes.

“Lincoln University suffered very significant damage in the Canterbury earthquakes, and this money will assist the university with its rebuild programme and help it get back fully on its feet. Lincoln is focused on growing its undergraduate enrolments and the rebuild of its key facilities is the next stage in returning it to sustainable operations”, Mr Joyce says.

Lincoln University lost more than 40 per cent of its academic floor space in the Canterbury earthquakes, including much of its facilities for science teaching and research. The rebuild will involve demolishing the badly damaged Hilgendorf and Burns buildings, and replacing them with modern facilities. . .

Federated Farmers on Ruataniwha appeal:

While Federated Farmers did not lodge an appeal with the High Court against the Board of Inquiry decision on the Ruataniwha Dam and the associated Plan Change 6, it is now considering options in light of Hawke’s Bay & Eastern Fish & Game Councils lodging an appeal.

“Federated Farmers principal interests are in the plan change rather than the dam, which was given consent to proceed,” says Will Foley, Federated Farmers Hawke’s Bay Provincial President.

“I cannot comment on the merits of Fish & Game’s appeal until we see it next week.

“Since we now know of Fish & Game appeal, we must now reconsider the best way forward.  I need our members to know that we do have options.

“It seems farcical since the news today says Kiwi farmers will have to make big changes to cope with climate change, following release of the International State of the Climate report.  Yet more reasons to store water. . . .

Looking for the South Island’s next top farmer:

The South Island’s next top farmer is out there and Federated Farmers wants to see farmers nominated for the 2014 Lincoln University Foundation South Island Farmer of the Year award. The 2013 award being won by the winemaker, Peter Yealands.

“New Zealand farming does not celebrate success enough,” says Dr William Rolleston, Federated Farmers National President.

“As the farmer-comedian Te Radar told us at Federated Farmers’ National Conference, we do not take time to stop and appreciate just how good our farmers really are. . .

Levy vote about capturing wool’s value –  Chris Irons:

In recent news, one might think that sheep farming is all about red meat, but the sheep farmer’s story is not all about protein. We farm a dual purpose animal and whilst the red meat side is performing, its fibre counterpart has yet to reach its full potential.

Sheep farmers are world leaders in producing fibre; supplying 45 percent of the world’s carpet wool, we are the world’s third largest wool exporter. To capture that value behind the farm gate and building the industry’s worth of $700 million, we need a Wool Levy.

The Wool Levy Consultation has been officially launched, and the Referendum will be voted on the 10th October. Imagine the possibilities, with the average value of our raw wool exports having increased by 38 percent from 2010 to 2014. . . .

Rural elderly communities to struggle – report:

An ageing population where deaths outnumber births will be a challenge for rural communities who won’t be able to afford the services they need, according to analysis of New Zealand census data.

The challenges of adapting to an older population are highlighted in the Our Futures report, by an expert panel at the Royal Society of New Zealand.

Panel chairman, Professor Gary Hawke, says the review is a unique multi-disciplinary approach that looks at the big picture.

“We wanted to highlight what an evolving New Zealand society might look like, what is underlying these changes, and the challenges and opportunities these present.” . . .

Mixed fortunes at wool auction:

New Zealand Wool Services International Limited’s General Manager, Mr John Dawson reports that the South Island auction offering 10,122 bales this week received varied support despite a weaker New Zealand dollar compared to the last sale on 10th July.

The weighted currency indicator was down 1.11 percent with 81 percent of the offering being sold.

Steady demand from China underpinned the Fine Crossbred sector, however most carpet wool types eased as contracts in this area have been harder to conclude recently. . .

Value Creation and Environmental Sustainability for Marlborough Wine Industry By-Products:

Marlborough’s wine producers have come together with the Marlborough District Council in a new collaborative approach to the management of grape marc disposal, to generate a new, commercially viable and environmentally sustainable product from grape waste.

Facilitated by the District Council, participating wine companies have formed the “Marlborough Grape Marc (MGM) group” to advance a proposal for an environmentally sustainable use of the wine industry’s waste streams.

The MGM group is chaired by Eric Hughes of Pernod Ricard Winemakers with representatives from Cloudy Bay, Constellation Brands, Delegat’s, Giesen, Indevin, Matua, Mount Riley, NZ Wineries, Pernod Ricard Winemakers, Saint Clair and Villa Maria. The group members generate approximately 80% of the wine production in Marlborough. MGM is an open collective, it is hoped that further companies will join and support this industry wide initiative. . .


Rural round-up

September 27, 2013

New funding for Global Research Alliance projects in Latin America:

Primary Industries Minister Nathan Guy has announced $800,000 in funding for two new Global Research Alliance projects in Latin America.

Mr Guy made the announcement during his speech at the Inter American Institute for Cooperation on Agriculture conference in Buenos Aires, involving Agriculture Ministers from across the region.

“This funding will support two regional livestock greenhouse gas research projects in Latin America – one looking at dairying in the Andes with Peru, Ecuador, Bolivia and Colombia, and the other looking at trees on farms in Central America with Costa Rica, Panama, Nicaragua and Honduras.”

“This additional funding recognises the growing importance of this region to New Zealand,” says Mr Guy. . .

New Zealand ‘beefs’ up presence in China:

The growing appetite for beef in China – which can’t be met by domestic production in the near-term – is good news for New Zealand exporters, according to a new industry report.

In its report, ‘Australia and New Zealand beef up their presence in China’, agricultural banking specialist Rabobank says Chinese beef consumption is expected to continue growing at a faster pace than domestic production, increasing the reliance on imports to satisfy demand.

Report co-author, Rabobank animal proteins analyst Matt Costello warns however, that while the New Zealand beef industry sees long-term growth and potential within the Chinese market, so too do competitors from around the world. . .

Icelandic fishing industry has some lessons for New Zealand’s commodity sector – Allan Barber:

Ogmundur Knutsson, Dean of the school of business and science at Iceland’s University of Akureyri, was in New Zealand in early September to give a keynote speech at the conference Charting Pathways for Maori Industry Future.

He is an expert in the Icelandic fishing industry which has moved from a low cost, harvest-driven model to a market-driven, value added model within the last 40 years. He believes New Zealand is trapped in the same low-cost industry operating model that existed in Iceland and needs to change its thinking to lift the fishing industry’s profitability.

The dramatic improvement in Icelandic fishing returns since it changed from the old, low value, largely frozen model to a new high tech, mostly chilled model provides a very good lesson for our fishing industry. Without having any firm knowledge base of how our fishing industry operates, I was struck by the philosophy which appears to have potential to be applied to other New Zealand commodity sectors, such as the meat industry. . .

Deepwater Fish Stocks in Healthy State:

Reduced hoki catch limits over the past few years have paid off for New Zealand’s second most valuable fishery.

Increases in the Total Allowable Commercial Catch (TACC) levels, from 1 October, for a range of deepwater species, have just been announced by the Minister for Primary Industries, Nathan Guy.

Both the eastern and western hoki stocks are double the size required to produce the statutory maximum sustainable yield. The western hoki stock is now above the management target range set by the Ministry for Primary Industries (MPI), and the eastern stock is at the top of the target range. . .

Estates turn to barn conversions as farms struggle - Agrimoney:

Owners of UK country estates are turning to commercial opportunities, such as office lets, to boost takings in the face of a pressure on agriculture income which is “to continue”, Savills said.

Estate owners are – encouraged by a relaxation in May of UK planning laws, and by an acceleration in economic growth to 0.6% in the second quarter from 0.3% in the first – looking to non-agricultural areas such as turning barns into  industrial units to bolster income.

“The increasing optimism in the economic outlook is reflected in more enquiries to rent commercial space, which is helping to boost rents and reduce void periods and debtors,” Sophie Barrett at Savills said. . .

Good nutrition sets heifers up for lifetime performance:

With the first mating season for heifers coming up rapidly, good nutrition not only has a major role to play in getting replacement stock up to live weight targets, but also in the cow’s productive future.

Failure to achieve adequate mature live weight targets affects the heifer’s lifetime performance, starting with low conception rates and leading to lower milk production in the first lactation.

Yet a recent study, published in the Proceedings of the New Zealand Society of Animal Production 2013 concluded that between 86-92% of heifers were not achieving optimal weights. . .

New Sacred Hill Sauvignon Blanc already a Gold Medal winner:

The newly released Sacred Hill Orange Label Sauvignon Blanc 2013 is already amongst the gold medals, reflecting this year’s blockbuster vintage.

The wine received a gold medal and was selected in the Top 50 at this year’s New World Wine Awards.

Sacred Hill winemaker Tony Bish says the Orange Label Sauvignon Blanc 2013 showcases everything that was great about the Marlborough vintage, from the cool spring through the warm, dry summer and autumn.

“This year’s Marlborough Sauvignon Blancs sing with energy and are packed with bursting flavour and aromas derived from the long, idyllic summer,” he says. . .

Fine Wools Ease, Coarser Types Steady

New Zealand Wool Services International Limited’s Marketing Executive, Mr Paul Steel reports that the weaker New Zealand dollar played a small role in the South Island Wool auction of 10,300 bales this week, with supply and demand factors influencing sectors differently. There was a 90 percent clearance rate with the fine wool sector making up most of the passed in lots.

The weighted indicator for the main trading currencies eased 1.53 percent compared to the last sale on the 19th September.

Mr Steel advises that compared to the last time offered on 12th September Merino Fleece 17 to 19 microns ranged from slightly easier to slightly dearer. . .


Rural round-up

September 25, 2013

Increases for selected fish stocks show success of QMS:

Primary Industries Minister Nathan Guy has today announced increases to catch limits for a range of New Zealand fisheries, thanks to healthy stock levels.

“These decisions today reflect the success of the Quota Management System (QMS), which is recognised as world leading. It is driven by science and responsive to change, which means that as stocks improve we can increase our sustainable take”, says Mr Guy.

Healthy stocks have led to increased Total Allowable Catch (TAC) limits for Hoki 1, Ling 5, Ling 7, Orange Roughy 3B, Scampi 2, Kingfish 7, Leatherjacket 3, Oyster 4 and Sea Perch 1.

“For several stocks, such as Ling 6, Bluenose 1, 2, 3, 7 and 8 and Snapper 7, I have decided to maintain the current TAC. . .

Regulatory Californication – Willy Leferink:

Isn’t it amazing how some people love catastrophy  Last month’s dairy recalls saw some truly leap off the deep end and when we were just getting through that, others latched onto a report by a New York-based dairy strategist.  It warned the New Zealand dairy industry could be squashed by a resurgent U.S. one.

I am only going off media reports but “Arise the Hunter: The Re-orientation of the US Dairy Industry and Implications for New Zealand,” by Tim Hunt certainly impressed the media.  The U.S. dairy industry produces five times the volume of milk as we do and its star used to be California.  I say ‘used to,’ because our new found love of red tape has me worried our dairy industry may be undergoing ‘Californication.’  There is a raunchy TV series going by that name where a fictional novelist solves his ‘writer’s block’ by having affairs.  Is our affair with regulation going to tie our industry up in knots, just like it did to California’s?

I learned how much California has become horridly regulated from Nicola Waugh.  As a Nuffield New Zealand Farming scholarship recipient, she travelled overseas in 2011 from March until October.  As a farm consultant for AgFirst Waikato, she also understands what regulation is. . .

Stay safe these holidays:

With school holidays starting this week, Federated Farmers is putting out a timely reminder to be vigilant with farm safety.

“Our home is our work place and when the children are home from school, we need to be more alert to hazards around the farm,” says Jeanette Maxwell, Federated Farmers Health & Safety Spokesperson.

“Last year we had 14 fatalities and 408 serious injuries on farm, don’t become a part of the statistic these holidays. Be mindful of visitors on farm wanting to experience the rural lifestyle, educate them on hazards and keep them safe. . .

More options for growers under Wools of New Zealand / New Zealand Wool Services International agreement:

Growers will be the ultimate winners of a direct farm-to-scour service agreement between Wools of New Zealand and New Zealand Wool Services International (NZWSI).

Wools of New Zealand will be the face to their grower shareholders and supporters with NZWSI providing all of the back office logistics to move wool efficiently from farm directly to the scour and ultimately, to market.

Ross Townshend, Chief Executive of Wools of New Zealand, says the agreement is a ‘win-win’ for shareholders and suppliers providing them with access to a range of sales options including a weekly schedule, monthly plans and more Wools of New Zealand brand contracts, such as the forthcoming Camira lambswool contract. . .

Big dairy results fortnight kicks off with Synlait:

In a big results fortnight for most dairy farmers and the New Zealand economy, listed milk processor Synlait has started the ball rolling with a net after tax profit for 2012/2013, which was ahead of its prospective financial information forecast. Fonterra Cooperative Group releases its 2012/13 results tomorrow with the other two cooperatives due to follow next week.

“For supplier-shareholders of Fonterra, Synlait, Tatua and Westland, this is going to be a huge fortnight, given Open Country Dairy has already paid its suppliers for the 2012/13 season,” says Andrew Hoggard, Federated Farmers Dairy Vice-Chairperson.

“I would add for New Zealand, too, since this relates directly to over a quarter of our country’s merchandise exports. . .

Wrightson chair John Anderson to retire at October meeting:

(BusinessDesk) – PGG Wrightson chairman John Anderson will retire from the rural services company at the annual meeting next month.

Anderson, who joined the board during a tumultuous shake-up in 2010, will step down from the board at the Oct. 22 meeting, the company said in a statement. A new chairman will be appointed after the meeting. Anderson’s appointment coincided with a changing of the guard in 2010 when Craig Norgate and Baird McConnnon left the board and China’s Agria Corp came on as a cornerstone investor, going on to mount a partial takeover of the company. . .

Lindauer Leads Lion’s Charge at New World Wine Awards 2013

New Zealand’s most popular sparkling wine wins gold medals at wine awards

23 September 2013 – Lindauer Classic Brut Cuveé, Lindauer Classic Rosé and Saints Sauvignon Blanc 2012 have scooped gold medals at the New World Wine Awards 2013, leading the way for Lindauer Special Reserve Blanc de Blancs which won silver. In addition, following on from its gold medal win, Lindauer Classic Rosé was then named Champion Bubbles.

A record number of entries were received for this year’s New World Wine Awards, which were judged by an independent panel of 13 wine experts at Wellington’s Westpac Stadium in July. . . .

Spy Valley Chardonnay Named Champion White Wine:

Marlborough’s Spy Valley Wines is delighted to announce that their 2012 Chardonnay has been named Champion White Wine at the 2013 New World Wine Awards.

Now in its 11th year, the New World Wine Awards utilise the internationally recognised ‘20 point scoring system’, with wines blind tasted and evaluated by an independent panel of 13 judges, many from overseas. Winners of each category are then re-judged to find the Champion Red, Champion White and Champion Bubbles, with the sole criteria being that all wines must retail for under $25. . .

Mission Reserve Chardonnay 2012 wins Gold at the 2013 New Word Wine Awards:

One of only two Chardonnays to be awarded Gold.

The Mission Reserve Chardonnay 2012 is one of only two Chardonnays to win Gold at the 2013 New World Wine Awards. These Awards are exclusively for the very best wines retailing at under $25.

In total, a record 1,099 wines were entered from 157 wineries, with the Mission Reserve Chardonnay taking out Gold and a coveted place in the Top 50.

This recognition follows on from a Gold at the 2010 Awards, and marks 15 years of local and international acclaim for the classically crafted Hawke’s Bay Chardonnay. . . .


Rural round-up

September 6, 2013

Record number of Rural Women members step up as candidates in local elections 2013:

A record number of Rural Women NZ members are standing in this year’s local elections, motivated by the need for better understanding by councils and District Health Boards of the challenges facing rural communities.

At least 14 Rural Women NZ members are standing around the country, with three already certain of their seats, being unopposed.

Rural rates are a hot issue, particularly the disproportionate share of rates being shouldered by farmers, which is a top priority for many.

Sharyn Price, a Kauru Hill Rural Women member standing for the Corriedale Ward of Waitaki District Council, says, “Rates fairness and value for money are utterly essential. Rural ratepayers have seen much larger percentage increases in rates than council’s averages, thanks to farm development increasing capital values, while town values fail to keep pace. Paying ever more for a shrinking share of services is not reasonable.” . .

$25m invested in new forestry technologies:

The Government is investing $2.5 million over a maximum of five years to support research that will increase the productivity of the forestry industry, Science and Innovation Minister Steven Joyce announced today.

The funding will support the development of new technologies that can be used by pine tree breeders to reduce the time it takes to breed and plant new improved trees by 15 years.

The Radiata Pine Breeding Company, which has formed a partnership between 16 forestry organisations, Scion and the University of Canterbury, is researching and developing the new technologies. . .

RMA reform bill third reading ‘a reform entrée’:

 Federated Farmers is welcoming some parts of the Resource Management Reform Bill 2012, which recently passed its third reading in the Parliament. 

 “While some parts of the Bill relate to Auckland, other parts are an economic and environmental appetizer for farmers,” says Ian Mackenzie, Federated Farmers Environment Spokesperson.

 “There are some aspects we welcome, some we have reservations about and some we do not think go far enough.

 “A few environmental activists have irrationally fought tooth and nail against having a robust cost benefit analysis in the RMA.  Without one, however, the RMA was increasingly trending towards perfection as a benchmark and that is as unaffordable as it is unobtainable. . .

Hoorah for Rotorua lake water quality!:

Federated Farmers applauds a recent Bay of Plenty Regional Council report showing water quality improvement in the Rotorua Lakes catchment has improved significantly.

“This gives a good, accurate illustration on the state of water quality within Rotorua Lakes,” says Neil Heather, past provincial president Federated Farmers Rotorua-Taupo.

“It highlights all the good work done through collaborative partnerships with landowners and the community undertaken to improve the lakes’ water quality. Federated Farmers supports the regional council’s use of the Trophic Level Index (TLI), which has undoubtedly led to an overall increase in water quality of the lakes catchment.

“A major impact on these results was the decision to apply alum dosing, which is key for algal growth meaning there are now less favourable conditions for weed growth and algal blooms. . .

New Zealand Young Farmers Appoints New CEO, Terry Copeland:

New Zealand Young Farmers is pleased to announce the appointment of the new CEO, Terry Copeland. After twelve years of service to NZYF as CEO, Richard Fitzgerald is stepping down.

Mr Copeland, comes to Young Farmers with an arsenal of experience from management, sales and marketing and supply chain management to tertiary teaching, journalism and being a brand ambassador.

His latest post was with Treasury Wine Estates, the second largest wine company globally. He led the export strategy and the supply chain team for four years. . .

MPI To Work with Farmers On Blackgrass Biosecurity Response:

Federated Farmers is working with the Ministry for Primary Industries (MPI), and other stakeholders to ensure that blackgrass is not established in New Zealand, following the news of a potential blackgrass incursion in mid-Canterbury.

“The seed was spilt between Ashburton and a seed dressing plant in the Methven area and is a serious threat to arable farming in New Zealand,” says David Clark, Federated Farmers mid-Canterbury Grains Chairperson.

“We have just one chance to get this right and we commend MPI for identifying and informing us of this restricted weeds presence.

“Federated Farmers is firmly committed to working collaboratively with MPI and the Foundation of Arable Research to mount a credible response. . .

Synlait joins the ‘Good News Club’

Federated Farmers is thrilled that Synlait has increased their forecast milk price of $8 per kilogram of milk solids.

“Synlait has joined the ‘Good News Club’ at a time when dairy farmers needed some reassurance in the strength of the market,” says Willy Leferink, Federated Farmers Dairy Chair.

“It has been a tumultuous time for the dairy industry this past month, but it is clear from Fonterra, Westland and Synlait that the demand for New Zealand milk is stronger than ever. . .

Wool Prices Continue to Rise:

New Zealand Wool Services International Limited’s General Manager, Mr John Dawson reports that the 9,400 bales of North Island wool on offer this week saw a 98 percent clearance and significant price lifts in some sectors compared to the last sale in the South Island on 29th August.

The weighted indicator for the main trading currencies lifted by 1.05 percent, however resurgence in wool prices in other markets coupled with limited supply locally, bypassed any currency impact with the market lifting between 3 and 10 percent.

Mr Dawson advises that Fine Crossbred Fleece and Shears were 3 to 6 percent dearer. Good Style Coarse Full Fleece were 5 to 6 percent stronger with poorer styles lifting by 7 to 10 percent. . .

Rural Equities annual profit slides 31% on property revaluations, drought; lifts dividend:

(BusinessDesk) – Rural Equities, the farming group controlled by the Cushing family, reported a 31 percent drop in annual profit as property revaluations lagged behind those from a year earlier, and as the North Island’s worst drought in seven years ate into operating earnings.

Net profit fell to $10.9 million in the 12 months ended June 30, from $15.8 million a year earlier, the Hastings-based company said in a statement. Profit included a gain in the 27-farm property portfolio of $4.9 million, smaller than the $14.3 million revaluation in 2012. Operating earnings declined to $2.1 million from $2.9 million as the drought increased the cost of feed, and the farms received lower prices for milk, sheep and wool. . .

 Eastpack Celebrates 30 Years of Packing Kiwifruit:

Leading kiwifruit post harvest supplier, EastPack has celebrated 30 seasons of packing kiwifruit. EastPack, which began in Edgecumbe and was originally called Rangitaiki Fruitpackers Co-operative, is now New Zealand’s largest post harvest kiwifruit operator, following its merger earlier this year with Satara.

Chief Executive Tony Hawken has led the company through 30 years of continuous growth.

“From day one, we have always had, and continue to have, a reputation for looking after our growers no matter how challenging the circumstances,” Mr Hawken said.

“As a grower-owned company, EastPack growers share in the company’s financial success. We consistently deliver industry-leading orchard gate returns (OGR) through our operational efficiencies, inventory management and our grower-owned structure.” . . .

Sacred Hill scores high in Gimblett Gravels Vintage Selection:

Hawkes Bay’s Gimblett Gravels has selected its top wines from an outstanding 2011 line up and Sacred Hill Vineyards is the only producer to have two wines make the grade in the prestigious Annual Vintage Selection (AVS), recording the highest scoring wines in two categories.

The selection of wines from the 2011 vintage was made this week following a tasting by one of the world’s most highly respected Masters of Wine, Andrew Caillard of Australia.

Gimblett Gravels producers were allowed to put forward no more than three wines each for the tasting with a maximum of two from any winery eligible for the final selection of 12 wines. Only wines scoring 93 points out of 100 or more were selected. . .


Rural round-up

March 9, 2013

Teaching Farm Wins Top Award in East Coast Ballance Farm Environment Awards:

A well-known Hawke’s Bay station and training farm has taken out the Supreme title in the 2013 East Coast Ballance Farm Environment Awards.

Smedley Station and Cadet Training Farm also collected several category awards at a special Ballance Farm Environment Awards (BFEA) ceremony on March 7, 2013.

Managed by Terry and Judy Walters, the 5054ha (3186ha effective) sheep, beef and deer farm near Tikokino, northwest of Waipukurau, is home to 22 cadets who are presented with a wide range of learning opportunities during the two years they live and work on the property.

BFEA judges said the intensely scrutinised station sets and achieves high benchmarks.

 “As a working farm Smedley not only practises profitable and sustainable management, it also teaches this ethos to tomorrow’s agricultural leaders.” . . .

Environmentally conscious couple asked to teach others:

An environmentally-conscious farming family in Waikato is being brought on board by Fonterra as part of a project to restore signifcant waterways around the country.

Andrew and Jennifer Hayes farm an 88 hectare dairy farm between two peat lakes – Kaituna and Komakorau (co-mark-a-row), at Horsham Downs in Waikato.

The Hayes have won environment awards for their guardianship of those lakes and Fonterra has asked them to share their knowledge with fellow farmers. . .

Survey Reveals Huge Pasture Investment:

In the past four years New Zealand farmers have sown enough new proprietary pasture seed to cover more than 1.5 million ha of land, new data shows.

“That’s the equivalent of just over 6600 average sized dairy farms,” says Thomas Chin, general manager of the New Zealand Plant Breeding and Research Association (NZPBRA).

Based on tonnages of seed sold for the four years ending 31 December 2012, the data is a NZ first and reveals the ‘colossal’ potential and effect of proprietary plant varieties on NZ farms.

“What this clearly shows is that farmers are using well-bred, well researched, proven plant genetics to get the best out of their land, and their animals,” Chin says. . .

Brown paddock recovery plan – growing grass after the dry:

 Livestock management may have been farmers’ number one priority during recent dry weeks – and rightly so – but now it’s time to think about pastures too.

“We realise you need to look after livestock, however pasture is what’s going to fuel your recovery after rain, and it will be your main feed for the next 12 months,” says senior agronomist Graham Kerr.

“Continued dry conditions in the last three weeks have dramatically changed the pasture situation on many farms, and pasture renewal programmes need to change likewise.”

The best practice in this type of year is to assess all pastures on the farm, and divide paddocks into three categories. This information can then be turned into proactive pasture renewal and pasture management plans. . .

Ambitious Young Winners in Auckland Hauraki Dairy Awards:

At just 28, the 2013 Auckland Hauraki Sharemilker/Equity Farmer of the Year, James Courtman, is young, ambitious and already successful.

Mr Courtman won the title and $14,000 in cash and prizes at the region’s Dairy Industry Awards dinner at the TelstraClear Pacific Events Centre in Manukau last night.

“I entered the awards for the first time to challenge myself, to develop better goals, and to try and win!” he said. In February he contested the regional Young Farmers Competition final, winning the AGMARDT agri-business challenge. . .

Last chance for Aorangi Young Farmer:

Next weekend will be Phil Campbell’s last chance at a Grand Final in the ANZ Young Farmer Contest. At 31, the last year for eligibility, the sheep, beef and cropping farmer will be the oldest competitor in the Aorangi Regional Final being held at the Methven Showgrounds and Heritage Centre, Saturday 16 March.

Eight competitors will be vying for a spot at the Grand Final in Auckland 16-18 May and their share of a considerable prize pack worth $13,000 thanks to ANZ, AGMARDT, Lincoln University Scholarship, Ravensdown, Silver Fern Farms, Honda, and Husqvarna. . .

Cavalier Congratulates Speed Shearers:

The Golden Shears ‘Big Bang’ speed shearing event shows that New Zealand’s reputation for world class shearing is in good hands, says Cavalier Woolscourers Ltd (CWS).

The ‘Big Bang’ is part of the annual Golden Shears programme of events, and sees world class speed shearers compete in Senior and Open grades.

“CWS congratulates Brett Roberts – who topped a Seniors field of 29 contestants with a time of just 34.5 seconds – and Digger Balme, whose 28.92 seconds saw him triumph in the Open section,” said Nigel Hales, CEO of Cavalier Wool Scourers. . .

Wool prices continue firming:

New Zealand Wool Services International Limited’s General Manager, Mr John Dawson reports that the combined North and South Island auction offering of 24,400 bales saw a 91 percent clearance and a firm to dearer market across the board.

The weighted indicator for the main trading currencies was practically unchanged compared to the last sale on 28th February, firming by 0.23 percent.

Mr Dawson advises that the Fine Crossbred Fleece was generally slightly dearer with the shear types firm to 2 percent stronger. . .


Rural round-up

January 11, 2013

Labour spokesperson’s quad confusion gets it sort of right:

Federated Farmers welcomes the belated support of Labour to reclassify quad bikes as agricultural vehicles, given the Federation has lobbied for this change.

“While we welcome Labour’s change of heart, it is a shame it did not come when Federated Farmers submitted for quad bikes to be reclassified as agricultural vehicles,” says Ian Mackenzie, Federated Farmers Transport spokesperson.

“Unfortunately for Iain Lees-Galloway, Labour’s Transport Safety spokesperson, he doesn’t seem to know that quad bikes

Gisborne Milk Co-op survival bid washed away by Fonterra ‘perfect storm’

Gisborne Milk Co-op survival bid washed away by Fonterra ‘perfect storm’ – Paul McBeth:

Gisborne Milk Co-op, the 66-year-old Bay of Plenty dairy supplier in liquidation, has lost a last-ditch bid to get back shares and supply arrangements with Fonterra Cooperative Group.

In the High Court in Auckland, Justice Rebecca Ellis turned down Gisborne Milk’s claim that Fonterra breached its empowering legislation, saying the Bay of Plenty firm made its own commercial decisions to surrender shares in the cooperative. The Dec. 17 judgment was published on the Justice Ministry’s website this week.

“It is difficult not to think of the shareholders Gisborne Milk as sailors caught in a perfect storm,” Justice Ellis said. “It is impossible not to have considerable sympathy for them. But none of their claims can succeed.” . .

are not and have never been classed as an agricultural vehicle. They are in fact classed as an ‘all-terrain vehicle.’ . . .

nternet paves way for southern merchants – Tim Fulton:

The days of wool merchants operating like “rag and bone men” have given way to flexible, efficient trading online, a large Canterbury operator says.

As a shed-buyer Mainland Wool is comfortable handling loads from one bale to 1000, using the Wool Online system to keep cost to a minimum.

The five-year-old company has become the biggest wool merchant in the South Island and is convinced of the value in electronic sales, which have become a fixture for southern operators.

One of Mainland’s three owner-operators, Dean Harrison, said online sales were ideal for them as an alternative to auction centres like Christchurch and Napier. . .

Satara boss Wilson takes final jab at Zespri fees in outgoing update – Paul McBeth:

Departing Satara Cooperative Group boss Tom Wilson has taken a stab at Zespri International’s brokerage fees at the expense of growers in his last update to shareholders.

The Te Puke-based kiwifruit and avocado grower is still in talks with Zespri, which controls the nation’s kiwifruit exports, over its 6% brokerage rate on gross sale proceeds and 6% of FOB sales, which Wilson says is costing growers between $60 million and $140 million every year.

“I continue to be amazed at the politics, patch protection and commercial arrogance that prevents this money going to growers – this should have been sorted years ago,” Wilson said. . .

‘Green’ Americans underpin price of beef - Jonathan Underhill:

It is possible to be too cute about cause and effect, but America’s determination to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and bolster its fuel security ultimately benefits New Zealand beef farmers.

The Energy Independence and Security Act of 2007, which contains the expanded Renewable Fuel Standard known as RFS2, calls for 36 billion gallons of biofuels to be added to America’s transport fuel supply (excluding jet fuel) by 2022 from a target of 16.55 billion gallons in 2013.

Of the 2022 target, the amount from corn starch-derived ethanol is capped at 15 billion gallons. The drive for mandatory minimum volumes of biofuels began in 2005 and was a shot in the arm for corn growers. Ethanol from sugar cane and biodiesel from soy are also recognised by the Environmental Protection Agency which administers RFS2. . .

Top International Wine Media Eagerly Anticipating Nelson International Aromatics Symposium:

A select group of the world’s most influential wine commentators will be descending on the small country village of Upper Moutere, near Nelson in early February to taste, compare and discuss Aromatic wines.

They include internationally recognised wine experts Matthew Jukes and Jamie Goode from the UK, David Lawrason from Canada, Alder Yarrow and Jordan McKay from the USA, Cees van Casteren and Cuno Van’t Hoff from the Netherlands, Felicity Carter from Germany and Jan Arrnhenius and Jan Peterson from Sweden alongside some of New Zealand’s top wine commentators. . .

Demand Lifts Wool Prices:

New Zealand Wool Services International Limited’s General Manager, Mr John Dawson reports that the combined North and South Island first wool auction for 2013 resulted in a strong market based on recent increased buying interest particularly from China.

Of the 21,900 bales on offer, 90 percent of the offering sold. The weighted indicator for the main trading currency compared to the last sale on 19th December was practically unchanged, lifting only 0.05 percent and having no impact on prices. . .

The ANZ Contest is heating up:

The District Finals are completed, the Regional Finalists have been found, and the anticipation is building because the next phase of ANZ Young Farmer Contest is about to begin. The ANZ Young Farmer Contest, now in its 45th year, is New Zealand’s Ultimate Rural Challenge, inspiring excellence, showcasing innovation and growing human capabilities.

District Finals are the entry level for the Contest and over 300 New Zealand Young Farmer members from throughout the country entered in one of 23 District Finals held in the last few months of 2012.

Each District Final was organised and run by a team of local volunteers. . . .

Beef + Lamb NZ has a competition to win dinner with the three Iron Maidens here.

And from Medical Humour:

Photo


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