Rural round-up

October 23, 2013

Fonterra director blocked from Alliance candidacy:

The farmer group campaigning for meat industry reform has a bone to pick with the board of the Alliance meat co-operative.

It is upset that the board has rejected the nomination of one of the four candidates put forward for two directors seats in upcoming elections.

The board accepted three of them – those of sitting directors, Alliance chairman Murray Taggart and Southland farmer Jason Miller, and one challenger, Donald Morrison.

However, it rejected the nomination of dairy and beef farmer John Monaghan because his shareholding in the co-operative is too small for him to be eligible. . .

New Indonesian posting to boost MPI presence in Asia:

Primary Industries Minister Nathan Guy has welcomed the creation of a new position for an agricultural counsellor in the New Zealand Embassy in Jakarta.

“This is in recognition of the growing importance of the bilateral relationship with Indonesia. It is a further step by the Ministry for Primary Industries to increase its presence in Asian markets and provide in-market support for exporters.

“As announced earlier this year, MPI is also putting more staff into China by the end of the year and is doubling its market access team in Wellington from 8 to 16.

“This position in Jakarta has been established in response to the growing interest in trade between New Zealand and Indonesia. Agricultural trade currently makes up over two thirds of New Zealand’s exports to Indonesia. . .

Wrightson names Agria’s Lai as chairman, forecasts lift in operating earnings:

(BusinessDesk) – PGG Wrightson, the rural services company controlled by Agria Corp, named the Chinese company’s founder Alan Lai as its new chairman, replacing John Anderson, and forecast a lift in full-year operating earnings.

The Christchurch-based company first flagged the departure of veteran businessman Anderson last month, after he was appointed to steer the company after its 2010 shakeup that followed the arrival of Agria as an investor with fresh equity at a time profits were weak and debt was high. . . .

Timber confirmed as the best:

The New Zealand Timber Industry Federation (NZTIF) has welcomed confirmation that timber is the best construction material for coping with New Zealand’s seismic conditions.

Experiments carried out in June by BRANZ, (Building Research Association of New Zealand) on behalf of the Ministry of Education, have shown that timber framed buildings can cope with stresses three times that of the Christchurch earthquakes, and still remain standing.

The Ministry of Education commissioned the tests in order to establish how much force its school buildings could withstand in an earthquake. . .

Tru-Test FY sales rise 12 percent, profit triples on UK sale – Jonathan Underhill:

(BusinessDesk) – Tru-Test Corp, which doubled in size after buying a dairy industry equipment business, posted a 12 percent increase in full-year sales and said profit almost tripled on a gain from the sale of a UK subsidiary.

Profit rose to $6.6 million in the 12 months ended March 31, from $2.3 million a year earlier, according to the Auckland-based company’s annual report. Earnings included $5.6 million from the sale of its UK livestock weighing and tagging business Ritchey and Fearing. Sales rose 12 percent to $97.6 million. . .

Summerglow Apiaries Welcomes Confirmation From Intellectual Property Office That UMF Brand Rating System Is Reliable Measure For Manuka Honey Special Qualities:

Hamilton-based SummerGlow Apiaries has welcomed news of the Intellectual Property Office of New Zealand’s (IPONZ) confirmation in a recent decision on the registrability of certain trademarks that the UMF brand rating system is a reliable measure of Manuka Honey’s special qualities.

That decision also meant that terms such as “active” and “total activity” may be inherently deceptive, is a win for those under the UMF brand umbrella.

Margaret Bennnett, co-owner of SummerGlow Apiaries who are licence holders in the UMF Honey Association, said the implications of the decision are far reaching and point consumers towards the UMF brand rating system for reliable measures of the special qualities that Manuka Honey possesses. . .

New Zealand cidery best in class at the Australian Cider Awards:

Local Rodney cider producer Zeffer Brewing Co was announced as Best in Class in the Dry Cider Category with their Zeffer Dry Apple Cider at the Australian Cider Awards held last Friday evening 18 October in Surry Hills.

The awards attracted more than 160 entries from cider and perry makers from around the globe and these were judged by US cider expert Gary Awdey and Australian connoisseurs Max Allen and Neal Cameron. . .


Rural round-up

October 6, 2013

Moves to keep sheep and beef in the frame – Annette Scott:

One of the most important aspects of the AgResearch Future Footprint (FFP) proposal is the need to ramp up New Zealand efforts to confront new challenges faced by agriculture, Beef + Lamb New Zealand chairman Mike Petersen says.

In his chairman’s update last week Petersen assured farmers B+LNZ was consulting AgResearch over its FFP restructure to ensure the needs of sheep and beef farmers were met.  

“B+LNZ has been working closely with AgResearch to ensure the needs of our sector are not compromised by these plans. . .

Advocate for improved farming – Annette Scott:

Lynda Murchison was born with farming in her blood but she grew up in Christchurch. Now a farmer and environmental planning consultant, she talks to Annette Scott for this first in the series of Women Stepping Up.

Lynda Murchison joined the Federated Farmers executive because she wanted to advocate for improved farming outcomes, in particular around land and water management and red meat and wool opportunities.

She identified a gap, she had the skills and she put her hand up for the challenge. . .

New proposal for screening PKE:

Minister for Primary Industries Nathan Guy is welcoming a proposal to bring in compulsory screening of palm kernel expeller (PKE) imported into New Zealand.

PKE is imported mainly from Malaysia and Indonesia and is used by the dairy industry as supplementary stock feed.

“The proposal from the Ministry for Primary Industries is that all PKE must be passed through a 4-6mm size screen on entry to New Zealand and before going on sale. There will also be added requirements for record keeping and traceability.

“It’s important to note there are already tough conditions in place for imports, including heat treatment, fumigation and inspection. On top of this new standards were introduced in June ensuring that in-market facilities are Government approved. . .

Chinese charm offence needed – exporter:

HIGH PROFILE media coverage is needed in China to get the message out that infant formula products are safe, says Chris Claridge from the NZ Infant Formula Exporters Association.

The New Zealand Government needs to take the lead and Prime Minister John Key should visit soon, with industry people, he says.

Claridge is highly frustrated that he cannot seem to get his message heard in New Zealand: our products are still at high risk because the Chinese consumer still thinks New Zealand infant formula is poisoned.

Meanwhile New Zealand’s competitors are cashing in. . .

Two more awards for Tru-Test – Hugh Stringleman:

Agri-technology manufacturer and exporter Tru-Test Group has added two prestigious awards to others won earlier this year, along with a major acquisition.

Tru-Test was named supreme winner in the New Zealand International Business Awards after winning the ANZ Best Business operating internationally, more than $50 million category.

Peter Chrisp, chief executive of award manager NZ Trade and Enterprise, said Tru-Test had forged strong relationships with its partners and developed a well-thought-out market entry strategy. . .

Looming large – Mark C O’Flaherty:

Hermès and Chanel have long chosen Scottish over Italian mills. Now a new generation of designers is following suit, inspired as much by technological innovation as matchless quality. Mark C O’Flaherty reports on a Scottish textile renaissance.

 

The archive library at Johnstons of Elgin in the Scottish Highlands resembles a lavishly produced fantasy film set. There are shelves full of bulging red-leather books with weathered pages, each tome greater in size than the Domesday Book. Collectively, they house the mill’s estate tweeds, each swatch exclusive to a single landowner, and each book marked in gilt across its giant spine with the year of production. The earliest is 1865. In the corner sits a roll of recently woven fabric, an intricately detailed marbled-grey cloth with flecks of red in it. “That’s Albert Tweed,” says James Sugden, a director at the company. “Prince Charles commissioned it from a sample he found in his archive. It was one of the most difficult things we’ve ever worked on. It took months to reproduce and to get precisely the right kind of red, reminiscent of the granite of Aberdeenshire and Balmoral. But that’s why people come to us, because we create things that are too difficult for anyone else to do.” . . .


Tru-Test wins NZ International Business supreme award

September 27, 2013

Tru-Test has won the Supreme Award for International Business in the New Zealand International Business Awards, showing the value of our agricultural products and that manufacturing is doing well here.

Tru-Test Group’s winning the Judges’ Supreme Award for International Business in the New Zealand International Business Awards shows New Zealand can be a better place for manufacturing than China, managing director Greg Muir says.

Tru-Test Group tonight won both the ANZ Best Business Operating Internationally over $50 million award, and the Judges’ Supreme Award for International Business.

Tru-Test Group is the world leader in livestock production systems, including electric fence technology, milk cooling and storage, animal weighing and recording and milk metering. Tru-Test Group has also been a New Zealand pioneer in adopting Lean manufacturing philosophies. 

Doing most of the manufacture in New Zealand reflects a number of competitive advantages locally:

•       Simpler distribution logistics given the company’s multiple product lines and 100 plus export destinations

•       The ability to do short product runs

•       The ability to produce exact amounts of product required by the market at any time, minimising inventory over-runs (or shortages)

•       Enhanced quality control through having centralised operations

•       The opportunities for contract manufacturing for other organisations in New Zealand

“When we decided to continue to manufacture in New Zealand we knew it meant competing on the international manufacturing stage,” Mr Muir said.

“The only way to do this was with an absolute commitment to adopting new ideas, maximising efficiency and minimising waste.”

This has been key to Tru-Test Group releasing 20 new products in to 100 countries worldwide in the past three years.

The media release on the awards says:

Forging deep relationships with partners, spending time to understand its customers and a well-thought-out market entry strategy are just some of the ingredients that have led to agri-tech company Tru-Test Group taking out this year’s Supreme Award at the New Zealand International Business Awards. The accolade was closely fought, with judges awarding a Special Commendation to Christchurch company ARANZ Geo – the first time in the history of the Awards such a gesture has been made.

Tru-Test, who also took out the ‘ANZ Best Business Operating Internationally – Over $50million’ category, is a leading manufacturer of livestock scales, electronic identification products and milk metering equipment. It has a global network that spans the agricultural and security sectors in more than 100 countries. Over the past three years, the company has released 20 new products specifically aimed at expanding its position in overseas markets.

Judges described Tru-Test as a leading example of New Zealand’s agritech industry that displays a high degree of innovation and deep understanding of customers and channels, while ensuring its brand is represented and positioned correctly across different countries. “Its broad and diverse geographic presence and strategic outlook, together with its active and ongoing merger and acquisition activities, are equally valuable assets,” they said.

ARANZ Geo, developer of 3D geological modelling solutions for the mining, hydrogeology and geothermal industries, also took home the award for the ‘ANZ Best Business Operating Internationally – Under $10million’ category. Two years on from embarking on an aggressive three-year strategic plan, the company’s revenues, profitability and market share have grown 300% with further growth on target for year three. Its software licence numbers have tripled to 934, with user numbers in the thousands.

Judges noted that innovation is at the heart of ARANZ Geo’s success, describing the application of its technology to mining geology as revolutionary. “No other company is making similar software and after considerable scepticism ARANZ has now sold to all major global miners…its discipline speaks of a much bigger company and its Fort Knox client list is testament to that discipline. Its transformation has been nothing short of incredible”.

The Awards, run by New Zealand Trade and Enterprise (NZTE) and Strategic Partner ANZ, celebrate the passion, vision and new approaches that New Zealand businesses are taking to achieve international success.

Other New Zealand businesses recognised for exemplifying that passion and vision include Gentrack, Buckley Systems, and Auckland UniServices, with The New Zealand Merino Company and JUCY joint winners in their category.

New Zealand’s international business leaders were also acknowledged, with Brett Hewlett (Comvita) named ‘KPMG Outstanding International Business Leader’. Judges admired Brett’s commitment to Comvita’s founding values and to giving back to other businesses.

John Brakenridge (The New Zealand Merino Company) was named ‘KPMG Leader: Outstanding Contribution to International Business’, adding to the ‘Outstanding International Business Leader’ accolade he picked up in the 2010 New Zealand International Business Awards. Judges commended John for being resolute in his vision to move New Zealand merino out of the commodity basket and up the value chain.

NZTE Chief Executive Peter Chrisp said this year’s winners showcase the prized can-do attitude that enables the internationalisation of business, and ultimately, the growth of New Zealand’s economy.

“Although Tru-test is already a leading manufacturer of livestock scales, electronic identification products and milk metering equipment, the company is constantly striving for growth and innovation and continues to invest in the development of new products. Constantly pushing the boundaries is an extremely valuable trait and it’s one Tru-Test and many other winners tonight have demonstrated.

“Growing a business is also about identifying market opportunities and having the strategic nous to pursue those opportunities, something ARANZ Geo has epitomised with its move into markets such as North and South America, South Africa, Europe, and Australia.”

David Green, Managing Director Institutional at ANZ New Zealand, said: “As the Strategic Partner for the New Zealand International Business Awards, ANZ is proud to recognise and celebrate our leading international businesses and the role they play in building a successful export sector. Their success creates jobs and growth in the New Zealand economy and delivers for their stakeholders.

“This year’s winners are world-class businesses and business leaders that have generated innovative ideas, identified market opportunities, through a commitment and skill that has carried them through to success on the global stage. In doing so they embody the outstanding qualities needed to compete and win in offshore markets, and provide an example for other businesses that aspire to international growth.”

We toured Tasmania on an International Grasslands pre-conference tour a couple of weeks ago.

Several farms we visited there used, and paid tribute to, New Zealand technology and products.

Opposition politicians harp on about diversifying from agriculture and in doing so ignore the value of the many innovative and successful businesses, like Tru-Test, which support and service agriculture here and overseas.

2013 New Zealand International Business Awards winners are:

JUDGES’ SUPREME AWARD FOR INTERNATIONAL BUSINESS

Tru-Test Group
SPECIAL COMMENDATION

ARANZ Geo Ltd
ANZ GENERAL CATEGORY WINNERS
ANZ Best Business Operating Internationally

Under $10million: ARANZ Geo Ltd

$10m-$50million: Gentrack

Over $50million: Tru-Test Group

SPECIAL CATEGORY WINNERS

Callaghan Innovation International Success through the Application of Innovation

Buckley Systems Ltd

 

James & Wells Best Commercialisation of Intellectual Property in International Business

Auckland UniServices Ltd

AUT Business School Most Innovative Business Model in International Business

Joint winner: JUCY and The New Zealand Merino Company

Best Use of Design in International Business

3i Innovation Ltd
KPMG LEADERSHIP CATEGORY WINNERS

KPMG Outstanding International Business Leader

Brett Hewlett, CEO, Comvita

KPMG Leader: Outstanding Contribution to International Business

John Brakenridge, CEO, The New Zealand Merino Company Limited

More information on all the finalists can be found at the Ministry of Trade and Enterprise.

 


Rural round-up

June 23, 2013

Agri-tech firm big winner at Auckland Export Awards -

Farm technology company Tru-Test Group took out the top honours at last night’s Auckland Export NZ awards.

The company which manufactures livestock weigh scale indicators and milk meters also won the Westpac Exporter of the Year – total sales over $25 million. . . .

Zespri’s gold dream back – Richard Rennie:

The rebuilding of gold kiwifruit orchards has met with unprecedented demand from growers this season, with allocations 34% ahead of Zespri’s expectations.

Zespri has allocated 1130ha of licences for the gold fruit in the Psa-tolerant variety Gold3.

This is 288ha more than intended and includes 688ha of new orchard plantings.

The remainder is replacing the more Psa-vulnerable Hort16A variety with Gold3. . .

Yeah right – everyone loves a farmer - Stephen Bell:

I’m continually and increasingly seeing headlines and stories about farmers wanting to improve the opinion urban Kiwis have of them.

But I see little evidence of them doing much to improve their image, apart from moaning about the fact townies don’t understand them and implying this is somehow the townies’ fault.

Fonterra has made a bloody good start with its school milk programme, backed up by a clever and engaging advertising campaign, where the kids are grateful for the milk but relieved the farmers aren’t taking over the running of schools.

However, contrast that with the Silver Fern Farms ads, which portray negative stereotypes of farmers and urban dwellers. If I ever meet the farmer from those ads I might be tempted to whack him in the mush – if someone gives me something to stand on – such is the way he annoys me. He really is a drongo. . . .

Silver Fern Farms Appoints New Independent Director:

Silver Fern Farms has appointed Jane Taylor of Queenstown to the role of Independent Director, following the retirement of Richard Somerville, who was appointed to the Board in 2004.

Jane Taylor, who will be one of the three independent appointees to the Board, is a barrister, a chartered accountant and member of the Institute of Directors and Global Women.

Jane is a Director of Radio New Zealand and the Institute of Geological and Nuclear Science (GNS Science). She has a strong interest in both the primary sector and the food industry, and was previously a Director of Scion as well as the former Forestry Corporation of New Zealand Ltd. . .

Shining the light on cotton - Art4Agriculture:

Last week 10 of our Young Farming Champions went to Cotton HQ at Mascot where they got the inside story on the Australian Cotton Industry and what an exciting story it is.

Cotton is grown on the east coast of Australia from Emerald to Hay. Just love the denim map

Cotton is seen as an opportunity crop by Australian farmers in the regions where it is grown. It is only grown when water is plentiful and when it provides the best return on investment at that point in time

Now 20 years ago the cotton industry was shall we say not feeling the love from the community and getting a bit of a bad rap about its environmental footprint. Well kudos to them wow have they got their act together to address this by using Cotton BMP to guide their farmers to grow cotton in harmony with our natural environment. Cotton BMP is your guarantee of Australian cotton farmers environmental and ethical stewardship with audited processes and traceable supply chains – from the farm to you. . .

Entries are now open for the 2013 New Zealand International Wine Show:

Established in 2005 this competition has been the largest wine judging event in New Zealand every year and it is also one of the largest international wine shows in the Southern Hemisphere.

There were 2122 entries in 2012 resulting in a total of 22 Trophies and 224 gold medals.

Bob Campbell MW is New Zealand’s leading wine judge and once again he will lead a team of 26 wine senior wine judges. Assistant Chief Judges this year will be Larry McKenna, Peter Cowley and from Australia, Ralph Kyte-Powell. . .


Rural round-up

February 4, 2013

Alliance taste testers help guide NZ meat industry – Dave Gooselink:

A team of 50 Southlanders have what some carnivores might see as the perfect job.

They’re the taste testing panel for meat company Alliance, charged with ensuring the company’s export lamb, beef and venison is gourmet quality.

There’s not a lot of conversation around the table. The diners are too busy eating prime cuts of lamb, cooked to perfection by an award-winning chef. It’s their job, making in-depth evaluations of meat.

“You smell it for the aroma, then you bite into it for the texture and succulence, then last of all the flavour,” says veteran meat taste tester Sonja Lindsay. . .

$21m of new funding to benefit research partnerships:

The Government will invest $21 million over a maximum of seven years to support research that will benefit two of New Zealand’s primary industries Science and Innovation Minister Steven Joyce announced today.

A $16 million investment over seven years will be made in the Pastoral Greenhouse Gas Research Consortium and a $5 million investment over a maximum of seven years will be made in Seafood Innovations Limited.

“Science and innovation are major drivers of economic growth and international competitiveness. These investments will help improve the performance of two key parts of our primary industries, and as a result the New Zealand economy will benefit,” Mr Joyce says.

The Pastoral Greenhouse Gas Research Consortium — a partnership between AgResearch, DairyNZ, Beef+Lamb NZ, Fonterra, Landcorp Ltd and DeerResearch — will develop new technologies that farmers can use to reduce greenhouse gas emissions without loss of productivity. . .

ORC split on water accord – Rebecca Fox:

A decision about whether or not to sign up to the dairy sector’s new water accord has divided Otago regional councillors.

The council, along with others nationally, has been asked to sign up to the accord as a ”friend” but the implications of this worried some councillors, while others were concerned not signing would alienate the dairy sector.

Councillors voted three times before a final decision was made to sign the document – although not all were happy. . .

Winton’s dairy vet woman of year finalist – Sally Rae:

Winton dairy veterinarian and mastitis consultant Kath Taylor is among six finalists in the 2013 Dairy Women of the Year Award.

She has been a dairy vet for 19 years, graduating from Massey University in 1994 and working in mixed practice in Taranaki for the next seven years before moving to Southland in 2001. She works for VetSouth Ltd in Winton, leading the milk-quality team. . .

Shearers take break before big Southland record challenge:

Four shearers are sitting it out in Southland in the countdown to a World Record shearing challenge in which they could shear as many as 3100 lambs between them on Tuesday.

Contractor and event organiser Brendon Potae says he’s given the quartet the weekend off after three hard weeks preparing for the Heiniger Four-stand Crossbred Lambs Eight-Hour World Record, to be shorn at Centre Hill Station, near Mossburn.

“I’ve told them to go fishing, sightseeing,” he said today as he and others from a support crew expected to swell to almost 70 people put finishing touches to the shed where about 250 people are expected to watch the event inside, with others watching on CCTV in marquees nearby. . .

Dancers for Farmarama - Sally Rae:

Tractors, motorbikes, farm machinery and dancing girls will all be on display at the Southfuels Farmarama at Lawrence on February 7 and 8.

The biennial event will be held at the Lawrence gymkhana grounds, opening to the public at 11am on the Thursday and 9am on the Friday. . .

Tru-Test Group acquires NZ’s leading milk containment and refrigeration company, DTS:

Auckland-based agri-tech company Tru-Test Group has today announced the acquisition of Dairy Technology Services from NDA. The move is the second such deal completed by Tru-Test Group in recent months, following its purchase of Radian Technologies (MilkHub) in December.

Dairy Technology Services (DTS) is the leading provider of milk storage and cooling systems in the New Zealand dairy industry. It employs 80 staff in its manufacturing facility in Taranaki and its nationwide sales, installation, repairs and maintenance and customer service operation based in Hamilton.

The deal reflects NDA’s desire to focus on its engineering activities in the dairy processing and transport, chemicals and refining, wine and resources industries. . .

New Record Top Price at Karaka Festival Sale:

Day 1 of New Zealand Bloodstock’s two-day Festival Sale was highlighted by a new top price for this session with the Swiss Ace colt at Lot 1149 fetching $125,000.

From the Hussonet mare Eclaircissement, Lot 1149 from Westbury Stud was purchased by Rogerson Bloodstock for $125,000.

Having a previous affiliation with the family, Rogerson was prepared to go beyond his budget to secure the colt out of a half-sister to multiple stakeswinner Illuminates (Strategic). . . .


Rural round-up

July 25, 2012

Alliance expands greenhouse measuring programme:

Alliance Group is expanding a green-house gas monitoring programme to all of its suppliers after a successful trial.

The meat co-operative introduced the web-based Hoofprint programme late last year and tested it with farmers supplying meat for Sainsbury’s supermarket chain in the UK.

It’s a software system that farmers can use to measure and monitor agricultural greenhouse gases associated with beef and lamb production on their farms and improve their productivity. . .

Lean manufacturing helps Tru-Test Group become first to achieve NZQA certification:

Tru-Test Group is bucking the trend towards outsourcing manufacturing to lower-cost economies overseas. The world leader in electric fencing, milk metering and animal weighing and recording, has chosen to keep more than 80 per cent of its production in Auckland.

Reflecting this commitment to the local market, Tru-Test Group has become the first New Zealand company to achieve a New Zealand Qualifications Authority (NZQA) Level 2 Certificate in Competitive Manufacturing for its entire production and stores staff.

The NZQA qualification allows factory operators to become actively involved in developing systems that improve productivity and quality. . .

Beef + Lamb NZ has photos and presentations from the Red Meat Sector conference here.

Among them are:

Opening address – Wayne McNee, Director general of Minsitry of Primary Industry.

NZ political environment  – Colin James.

The International Meat Industry – an update  – Murray Johnston General Manager Merchandise  Progressive Enterprises

An Australian perspective – market development, access and outlook – Scott Hansen, Director, Meat & Livestock Australia

Domestic trends and measuring progress against the Red Meat Sector Strategy  –  Rob Davison, Executive Director Economic Service, Beef + Lamb New Zealand

Best practice implementation – tertiary institutions, crown research institutes and industry working together – Dr Andrew West, Vice-Chancellor, Lincoln  University

Dairy sector – best practice in action - Dr Mark Paine, Strategy Investment Leader for People & Business, Dairy NZ

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