Rural round-up

We need a dream – Dave Stanton:

My neighbour was saying farmers were once ranked alongside doctors, lawyers and accountants.

My dad used to shear the sheep and go off to town and buy a new car.

Fat chance of that these days. You can draft all your lambs and barely clear the seasonal financing.

We are still getting the same prices for beef that we were 20 years ago, when we started farming, and inflation has tripled the cost of things since then.

To borrow from Martin Luthur King, we need a dream.

A dream of a better future. . .

True cost sought for consolidation – Nigel Stirling:

The farmer-led group behind a renewed push for consolidation in the meat industry say its major players need to come clean on the true costs involved.

The Meat Industry Excellence Group is pushing for 80% of New Zealand’s red meat to be sold through a single company in an effort to boost recent poor returns.

Alliance Group chairman Owen Poole has put the cost of such a plan at $600 million. . .

Drought challenges still lie ahead:

 Minister for Primary Industries Nathan Guy says he is pleased with the way New Zealanders have rallied to help drought-affected communities, but challenging times still remain ahead.

“Scattered rain is forecast over the next week which will be welcomed, but on its own it won’t be enough to break the drought conditions. We still need plenty more rain to help grass growth before the colder weather settles in.

“However it’s encouraging to see a range of support available from not just the Government but also businesses and communities.

“Federated Farmers have run a series of ‘farming in drought’ field days and have been organising shipments of feed from the South Island to the North which have been gratefully received. . .

Top soil scientists gather:

More than 150 soil scientists from around 30 countries will meet in Queenstown in April to discuss the ins and outs of testing soil.

They will also look at the environmental impacts of increased fertiliser use on soil carbon and the increasingly important role of soil testing in environmental stewardship both now and in the future.

The symposium, held every second year at different locations around the world, is being hosted in New Zealand for the first time in its 26-year history. . .

Fonterra to slash Australian brands to restore profitability:

(Business Desk) – Fonterra Cooperative Group plans to slash its consumer brands in Australia to restore profitability as competition intensifies for both milk supply and retail sales.

The company’s ANZ division, which produces consumer products and ingredients in Australia and New Zealand and runs the RD1 rural supplies chain, posted a 32 percent decline in normalised earnings before interest and tax in the first half to $98 million. Of that, EBIT from Australian consumer brands fell 31 percent while New Zealand consumer brand earnings were “slightly up.”

“There’s a new reality in Australia,” chief executive Theo Spierings told reporters on a conference call. . .

Northland farmers urged to register for DairyNZ Farmers’ Forum, 5 April:

DairyNZ’s national series of Farmers’ Forum events kicks off in Whangarei on Friday, 5 April.

The event is free to levy-paying farmers and their staff who are urged to register this week for the informative and practical seminars to be held at the ASB Leisure Centre from 9.30-2pm.

Each year the Farmers’ Forum provides a great opportunity for dairy farmers to see how their levy is invested and to learn about dairy industry research and development work.

Every second year the event is held in the regions where forum topics are customised based on locally relevant issues. . .

Once a day milking a hot topic at North Island DairyNZ Farmers’ Forums:

The benefits and costs of milking cows once a day when you’re short on feed will be the focus of one hot science topic scientists will be sharing with dairy farmers at its North Island DairyNZ Farmers’ Forum events during April and May.

DairyNZ kicks off its regional Farmer’s Forum events in Whangarei on 5 April. Two other North Island events are in Hawera on 18 April and Woodville on 28 May.

Extreme weather conditions, such as those we’re experiencing now but also flooding in late winter and early spring can create short and long term feed shortages. DairyNZ scientist Jane Kay said for many years farmers have used once-a-day milking as a means of alleviating nutritional stress on the cow. . .

Farmers, don’t be afraid to discuss: “Who gets the family farm?”

DairyNZ’s Farmers’ Forum event is coming to Hawera on 18 April. One of the most anticipated speakers at the event is Joan Baker, a succession planning expert.

Joan herself comes from a farming family and knows first-hand the intricacies that come with succession. She says it can be quite easy to organise all the money and the legalities surrounding successions, “It’s actually very difficult for people to face up to the need to plan for succession and to think about what they really want and to have the conversations with all of the people they need to have them with to make it happen.”

She acknowledges that the most difficult decisions are the emotional ones: “What’s very hard for people is to do the thinking and the talking that’s required to get them to the point of having a succession plan.” . .

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