Rural round-up

New Zealand’s first independent product development spray dryer:

 New Zealand’s first and only independent product development spray dryer is one step closer to being open for business.  The 10.5 metre high stainless steel dryer, weighing 7.5 tonne was lifted into the new pilot plant today on the Waikato Innovation Park campus in Hamilton.

The $11 million product development spray dryer facility, primarily funded by Innovation Waikato Ltd, is the Waikato component of the Government-sponsored New Zealand Food Innovation Network.  Capacity of the multi-purpose spray dryer is one-half tonne/hour.

Construction of the facility will be completed in April 2012 and the first product run is scheduled for mid-May.

“We’re now looking for commitments from companies that want to research and develop new spray dried food products in the pilot plant.  Our message out to the market is that we’re open for business and we want to help companies create new products and reach new export markets. . .

Strong finish for rural property sales in December:

Data released today by the Real Estate Institute of NZ (“REINZ”) shows there were 140 more farm sales (+65.7%) for the three months ended December 2011 than for the three months ended December 2010.  Overall, there were 353 farm sales in the three months to end of December 2011, compared with 213 farm sales in the three months to December 2010.  The number of sales increased by 38 (+12.1%) in the three months to December 2011 compared to the three months ended November 2011.  1,193 farms were sold in the year to December 2011, the highest number of farm sales on an annual basis since June 2009.

The median price per hectare for all farms sold in the three months to December 2011 was $20,445, the same as for the three months ended November 2011 and down $3,230 per hectare on the $23,675 recorded for the three months to December 2010. . .

Red meat potential is there but so are challenges – Suzie Horne:

“You can win … you can grow … you can be one of the food industry’s great success stories,” was the positive message from Joanne Denney-Finch to producers at Quality Meat Scotland’s conference this week.
IGD’s research showed that farmers were viewed as hardworking, down to earth, professional and vital to the future, said chief executive Ms Denny-Finch . . .

Livestock prospects for 2012 – Allan Barber:

Livestock processing volumes have been very low so far this season and the prices being paid to farmers are at historically high levels for both beef and lambs. This has got very little to do with the overseas markets, nothing at all with the exchange rate and everything to do with the grass growth everywhere except Otago and Southland.

Many farmers are holding onto their stock with little prospect of being able to afford to buy replacements because of the state of the store market. Although the published schedules are closer to $4.30, current North Island prime beef prices are as high as $4.70, which reflects saleyard prices for 2 ½ year old steers as high as $2.75, equivalent to $5.50 a kilo. This is a grass market running rampant . . .

Anger at loss of lamb weighing at saleyards

GISBORNE farmers are appalled that livestock companies have revoked access to weighing lambs at Matawhero, Stortford Lodge and Feilding saleyards.

PGG  Wrightson and Elders have told iFarm that the lamb weights reported in Livestock Eye were playing a part in increased competition from paddock-based agents, by providing independent benchmark lamb pricing.

Since 2006, iFarm had a contract to weigh a sample of each pen of lambs sold at the yards . . .

Hat tip: interest.co.nz

Farmers’ group aims for greater urban ties – William McCorkindale:

New Zealand Young Farmer leaders have revealed the organisation’s intention of creating closer ties to city contacts.

Young Farmer organisation chief executive Richard Fitzgerald, speaking at the beginning of the 2012 Young Farmer of the Year contest in Dunedin yesterday, stressed the need for agriculture to market itself into urban areas.

Staging the grand final in Dunedin in May would be one of the few times the event had been hosted in a large centre, he said.

“We are taking a more proactive approach to marketing the contest and agriculture in general to an urban audience by holding the grand final in a large centre.”

The Young Farmer competition highlighted the need for today’s farmers to have a diverse range of qualifications, technical skills, and abilities, he said . . .

Potatoes New Zealand appoints  new interim board:

Potatoes New Zealand has appointed a new interim board ahead of changes to the organisation’s structure to help the industry achieve its goal of tripling the value of the potato supply chain by 2020.

Potatoes New Zealand’s structure is changing to reflect its new role representing not just growers, but the whole potato supply chain – from grower to seller – who all face the same industry challenges such as psyllid, tightening margins and maintaining consumer demand. Previously, Potatoes New Zealand was a grower-only organisation.

Ron Gall, Potatoes New Zealand Business Manager, believes the new Potatoes New Zealand structure will present greater opportunities for growth and collaboration among its expanded membership base.

From the paddock to the packet field day:
The 2011 Lincoln University Foundation South Island Farmer of the Year will hold a field day on their South Canterbury property in early March.

Raymond and Adrianne Bowan will open Fallgate Farms and their Heartland Potato Chip factory to the rural community to show how innovation helped them turn well grown potatoes into great tasting chips.

Lincoln University Foundation chairman Neil Taylor expects many people from throughout the South Island and potato growers from around the country to attend the field day.

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