Rural round up

December 29, 2013

Wool rice product developed:

A Wellington company which has developed a new upholstery fabric blended from wool and rice straw is expecting to start commercial production next year.

The Formary, a textile design and development company, is proposing to use 70% New Zealand mid-micron wool and 30% rice straw in the fabric, which will be manufactured in China.

The Formary co-founder Bernadette Casey said manufacturing of commercial samples would start in China early next year, with full production by mid-year. . .

Indo Minister steps up rhetoric on live cattle:

The Indonesian agriculture minister Suswano has stepped up his anti-Australia rhetoric, calling for cut backs on the importation of live cattle from Australia due to the ongoing spying rift between the two neighbours.

The Minister has called on the cattle industry to cease imports of cattle from Australia and to give preference to local suppliers. He said the appeal was related to Australia’s snooping on Indonesia.

“Basically it is business-to-business, (and is) the right of businesspeople to chose where they source their meat supplies. However, when the government shows a certain political stance, it would be good if the businesspeople adapt to it,” he said. . .

Donating kidneys to protect the landscape – Erin Hutchinson:

Manawatu farmer Dave Stewart reckons the agricultural landscape needs a lot more kidneys.

Dave uses the term to describe the numerous small native-bush blocks he has planted in the small, incised gullies that criss-cross the family’s property.

Those organs across the flat to occasionally rolling territory intercept nutrients carried in paddock run-off before they enter waterways. Dave calls them nutrient-interceptor beds.

Dave and wife Jan are the fourth generation of Stewarts to farm the 600ha property at Hiwinui, a short distance from Palmerston North. . .

Year in review – April - Rebecca Harper:

Fonterra’s strong balance sheet was used to bring forward the advance payment schedule for its milk supply pool and improve cashflow for drought-affected dairy farmers. The co-op declared a net profit increase of 33% on the first half of 2011-12 to $459 million in the six months to January 31 after an 8% increase in sales volume. The milk payout forecast was lifted 30c to $5.80/kg milksolids.

The Meat Industry Excellence Group (MIE) continued to hold farmer meetings around the country to gauge support for its push for red meat industry consolidation. Meat companies said they were working together on a plan to rationalise the processing industry and the two big co-ops said they were willing to work with MIE. Tradable slaughter rights were suggested as one solution to industry woes as the impetus for change gathered momentum.

MIE elected a national executive with Richard Young as chairman. . .

And from the Nutters Club:

>:) kindest, Boris


Rural round-up

December 6, 2012

Innovative Wellington Entrepreneurs Identify Massive New Wool Markets

A small Wellington company The Formary has a plan that will help China reduce its air pollution, while at the same time creating a potentially massive new market for New Zealand wool.

After China’s rice crop is harvested in the paddy fields, millions of tonnes of rice straw are burnt, causing massive air pollution, closing airports, shutting out the sun and creating health issues for millions of people. Working with Massey University in Wellington, The Formary has developed a rice-straw-wool fabric prototype that could lead to a multi-million dollar business.

The Formary is owned by Bernadette Casey of Wellington and Sally Shanks from Gisborne and the idea is an extension of another product they developed, when they identified the potential of using waste fibre from Starbuck’s vast amount of unwanted coffee sacks and blending it with New Zealand crossbred wool to create fabric they called WoJo®. . .

Government to assist kiwifruit growers:

A package of support measures is to be made available to North Island kiwifruit growers affected by the Psa-V vine disease, Primary Industries Minister David Carter announced today.

Mr Carter has declared Psa a medium-scale biosecurity event under the Government’s Primary Sector Recovery Policy, triggering further assistance for growers dealing with the impacts of the disease. 

“The Government has worked closely with kiwifruit industry representatives to ensure that this declaration is timed to give maximum possible benefit to growers,” says Mr Carter. . .

Help for Kiwifruit Growers as Psa-V Declared an Adverse Event:

New Zealand Kiwifruit Growers Incorporated (NZKGI) welcomes Government approval for a financial and recovery support package, for kiwifruit growers hit by the vine-killing disease Psa.

NZKGI President Neil Trebilco says the organisation has worked very closely with the Government, to firstly extend the coverage of existing adverse events recovery provisions to include incursions on pests and disease, and then get the Psa-V support package approved for kiwifruit growers.

“This will give some growers most affected by Psa a level of financial and welfare support to help them through the impact of this disaster.” . .

Equity raising and change of listing to the NZX Main Board

Today, A2 Corporation Limited (“A2C” or “the Company”) announces that it is undertaking an equity raising to provide additional funding to accelerate the global growth initiatives outlined in the recently announced strategic review.

The Company will issue NZ$20 million in new equity and the Company’s three largest shareholders have resolved to sell a percentage of their holdings in the Company to new and existing investors (together “the Transaction”) at a fixed offer price of NZ$0.50 per new share (“Offer Price”) to provide additional liquidity, contemporaneous with a change in listing to the NZX Main Board, thus facilitating inclusion in the NZX50. . .

Commitment needed by wool growers to ensure sustainable, profitable wool future:

A key objective of Wools of New Zealand is to build the company, evolving within five years to be a fully commercial grower-owned sales and marketing business.

Wools of New Zealand has spent considerable time meeting with all sectors of the industry in New Zealand and internationally building strong collaborative relationships and is now pursing commercial opportunities with supply chain participants for mutual benefit. The Directors are pleased with the cooperation and progress made to date. Wools of New Zealand is, for example, very supportive of the New Zealand scouring industry which underpins the quality and integrity of our fibre which supports the Company’s branded, market-pull strategy. . .

ANZCO Foods’ new Foodplus programme – comments by Sir Graeme Harrison:

ANZCO Foods Chairman, Sir Graeme Harrison, who has worked in the meat industry in various roles since 1973, is enthusiastic about the potential of the new Foodplus programme to enhance business opportunities for the sector.

ANZCO Foods and the Ministry for Primary Industries announced joint funding for the $87million Foodplus programme earlier this week. MPI Director-General Wayne McNee approved funding from the Primary Growth Partnership, which is administered by MPI.

Sir Graeme says it will give a vital boost to the meat industry. . .


Rural round-up

June 20, 2012

Beefing up the research team at Rabobank:

Rabobank Australia & New Zealand has announced the appointment of Sarah Sivyer as the senior animal proteins analyst in its Food & Agribusiness Research and Advisory (FAR) division.

Ms Sivyer will undertake high quality research of the animal proteins sector – beef, sheepmeat and pork– supporting Rabobank’s analysis of key markets in the food and agricultural sectors in the region.

Announcing the new appointment, Rabobank general manager for the bank’s Food and Agribusiness Research & Advisory division Luke Chandler said Sarah would be a valuable asset to the research team given her experience across a range of agricultural industries.

“Not only has Sarah been involved with the hands-on and strategic running of her family cattle property, she has also built a career working with leading global agricultural companies, which gives her an excellent foundation for her role at Rabobank,” Mr Chandler said. . .

Beef + Lamb NZ supports wool innovation:

Funds left over from wool levies collected by Meat & Wool New Zealand – now Beef + Lamb New Zealand -have supported the development of a new fabric that blends waste rice straw and New Zealand strong wool.

Beef + Lamb New Zealand Chief Operating Officer, Cros Spooner welcomed the innovation from Wellington company,  The Formary, the same company that transformed Starbucks coffee sacks into upholstery fabric for the coffee chain’s furniture.

“The Formary and Managing Director Bernadette Casey have made some valuable contacts in China which produces about two hundred million tonnes of rice a year. This makes vast amounts of waste rice straw and this latest innovation uses the waste rice straw and blends it with 29 micron wool to make upholstery weight fabric. . .

Milking the carbon question – Dr Jon Hauser:

This month I have been asked to comment on the dreaded carbon tax and associated government policy. It is a massive question and the Australian government is pouring an enormous amount of taxpayer’s time and money into the issue. This article provides a perspective on what is it all about and what it means for Australian dairy farmers.

Why is carbon a problem?

Many would say that the climate change is the underpinning driver for the carbon tax and associated government policy changes. Depending on your viewpoint climate change issue is either (a) a fiction and a conspiracy propagated by scientists and other political and economic opportunists (b) it is real but a natural climate cycle outside our control (c) a man-made phenomenon arising from our consumption and emission of CO2 and other greenhouse gasses. Irrespective of your personal view, governments around the world are taking option (c) very seriously. At an international level co-operation and direct action to reduce CO2 and the associated climate effect remains patchy. There is none-the-less a consensus that something should be done to reduce the rate of increase of greenhouse gas emissions and work towards a net reduction. . .

Top price for Gimmerburn bull - Sally Rae:

Maniototo stud cattle breeder Bev Helm was thrilled to    achieve the top price at the South Island Shorthorn sale in Temuka.   

 Rough Ridge Primo 1004 sold for $10,200 to Bill Callwood, of      Northland. It was also the top-priced Shorthorn bull in New  Zealand this year.   

 Mrs Helm, who farms at Gimmerburn with her husband Malcolm      and their three children, was “absolutely stoked” with the result. . .

Sainsbury cadets visits Alliance :

Representatives from one of the UK’s major supermarkets have gone behind the scenes at Alliance Group.   

      Two cadets from Sainsbury’s have been visiting the meat  company to gain an insight into the industry including meat processing, research and development and livestock procurement.   

  Lisa Quinn, of Ireland, and Mark Chaddock, of Manchester, were in New Zealand as part of the supermarket’s six-week Taste the World programme, in which students worked with Sainsbury’s suppliers and partners around the world. . .

Grass growth key to farm improvement - Sally Rae:

It is all about grass. Forget the stock, or even yourself –      Farmax Ltd general manager Gavin McEwen reckons the biggest asset a farmer has on their farm is the ability to grow      grass.   

 Farmax, which is 50% owned by AgResearch, specialises in decision support systems for pastoral farming enterprises.   

 Mr McEwen gave an address entitled “Converting Pasture Into Profit” during the recent PGG Wrightson seminar series at  Waimate.   

  New Zealand was very good at producing protein, particularly safe, reliable high quality animal protein, he said. . .

RX Plastics launches major product innovation at Fieldays:

This year’s Mystery Creek Fieldays was the platform for New Zealand pipe and irrigation specialists RX Plastics to launch their biggest range of pipe fittings yet for the farm irrigation market.

The result of a year’s worth of research and development time, prototyping and tooling up, the injection moulded range is glass reinforced nylon, and will firmly cement the company’s position as New Zealand’s premier fittings manufacturer and distributor.

According to industrial designer and project engineer, Chris Clay, this is the first time in the company’s history that such a major product development process has been undertaken. . .


Wool levy funds 7 entrepreneurial projects

July 12, 2011

Seven entrepreneurial projects using wool will share half a million dollars from Beef + Lamb NZ.

The cash comes from a contestable fund set up to share out the remaining wool levies, with the money going to businesses demonstrating the greatest potential to pump money back into the wool industry – and ultimately, into farmers’ pockets.

Some of the projects aim to do this by achieving savings through the development of tools and systems for improved efficiency and consistency. Others are focused on increasing demand for wool through research and the creation of new products and niche markets.

The successful applicants were chosen by an advisory panel from 28 bids by farmer groups, wool industry service providers and manufacturers.

B+LNZ Chief Operating Officer, Cros Spooner says it was exciting to review all 28 projects. “It shows there is some genuine passion and talent with companies involved in the New Zealand wool industry.”

“We believe each of the seven projects we’ve funded has a very real chance of delivering value back to New Zealand farmers, which is great news.”

To ensure the Wool Levy Fund distribution improves returns for wool growers, applicants were required to show their commitment to investing time, money and resources in the success of the project. Each of the successful projects will be matched 50:50 with funding from the applicant group.

  • Eastbourne-based Potroz-Smith Technologies Ltd is researching the production
    of an environmentally friendly, super absorbent wool-based material for use in
    personal hygiene and wound-care products that will be natural, non-toxic and
    biodegradable.
  • NZ Wool Services International will focus on developing practical tools to
    avoid underweight bales, which currently cost the industry an estimated
    $4million a year. The company is based in Christchurch.
  • Wellington company and sustainable textile inventor The Formary is looking
    at blending New Zealand strong wool and a waste material to develop a range of
    commercial and domestic interior products.
  • Wool Partners International and Banks Peninsula Wool Growers Group are
    working together to develop a truly sustainable carpet using natural processes
    and materials, including low pesticide, ethically-produced, traceable New
    Zealand wool.
  • Invercargill’s Alliance Group plans to incorporate wool production into its
    Hoofprint software package (developed in conjunction with Dunedin-based
    AbacusBio to measure on-farm carbon footprints). The company will work with NZ
    wool producers and marketers to gain extra market value for Hoofprint-accredited
    wool products.
  • Wool’s eco-friendly properties are the basis for a project by Matamata
    manufacturer Wool Equities, which will carry out market research, design and
    produce samples, and establish markets for high value bed blankets for premium
    international markets.
  • The New Zealand Shearing Contractors’ Association will use the funding to
    establish a quality assurance programme, underpinning recent work to ensure
    accredited shearing operators provide consistent product descriptions and
    demonstrate socially sound and sustainable business practices.

RadioNZ has a story on one of the recipients. Protroz-Smith Technologies is developing a super absorbent wool-based material called NatraZorb, to be used in disposable nappies, personal hygiene and wound care products .


Wool + waste = winner

October 15, 2010

Wool Partners International  will be supplying wool for WoJo – a furnishing fabric developed for Starbucks.

The Wellington based design team The Formary created WoJoTM for Starbucks by combining LaneveTM wool, with its sustainable, ethical and traceable qualities, with jute from recycled coffee sacks, to form the new furnishing fabric.

The fabric uses 70% strong and mid fibre wool and the jute is recycled from Starbucks’ coffee sacks.

Mixing wool with waste has to be a winner – a natural product meets waste reduction.

 Federated Farmers meat and fibre spokesman Bruce Wills is excited about the venture:

“It’s an inspiring twist on the adage of something new and something old.

“While the initial focus of WoJo is upholstering Starbucks’ 8,000 stores outside of the United States, The Formary has really created a whole new ecologically friendly fabric.

“With the manufacturing partnership with Yorkshire-based Camira, we have a genuine opportunity to get wool back into people’s minds for their homes, offices, schools and even public transport.   Not just here but right around the globe.

“It’s easy to overlook the nearly $600 million that wool generates each year for New Zealand.  Yet we feel the potential is more than five times that sum, if, and that’s the key word, we can spark wool’s renaissance. 

“The Formary’s commitment to wool shows it is possible and we believe New Zealand Trade and Enterprise can see the vast potential that wool has. 

“It’s this kind of joined-up approach to market and product development with the exporters, that will make consumers take that all-important second look at wool. . . “

Wool should tick all the boxes for consumers who want a natural, renewable product and WoJo is a wonderful example of what can be done with it.

More good news followed this announcement – a continuing world shortage of wool is having a positive impact on the price.

Although meat companies often get blamed for the depressed state of the sheep industry, meat prices haven’t been bad. It’s low prices for wool and other by-products which have kept returns low.

Big losses in the southern snow storms and restocking will keep the supply of lambs low this season which will also help prices.


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