Rural round-up

Milking our cows in China – Sally Rae:

Dairy giant Fonterra has the ambitious target of producing up to one billion litres of milk from 30 farms in China by 2020, to cater for the massive burgeoning demand by Chinese for dairy products. Agribusiness reporter Sally Rae tours one of the Fonterra farms, near Beijing.

Visit Yutian 2 farm, a 90-minute drive east of Beijing, and, not surprisingly, you discover a slick, high-tech farming operation.

As Fonterra China Farms general manager Nicola Morris sums up, it is about taking the best of Kiwi ingenuity and farming systems, melding it with the best of American and European confinement systems – and doing it in China.

There are 3200 milking cows and 2700 young stock on the property, which is a housed operation involving high-tech, intensive dairy farming systems and three-times-a-day milking. . .

Agreement reached for China meat exports to restart:

Primary Industries Minister Nathan Guy has announced that an agreement has been reached in Beijing last night to ensure that New Zealand meat exports to China can resume on a normal basis, starting later today.

“The resolution is comprehensive and will allow normal trade to resume using NZFSA certification, including for product currently in storage, or en route to China,” says Mr Guy.

“This is an important step in resuming trade, now that containers are moving off the wharves and the backlog is clearing.

“It has also been agreed that New Zealand and Chinese officials will work together over the next month on new meat certificates which will allow reliable future access for New Zealand meat into China. . .

 

NZ business confidence gains as farmers shake off the drought blues:

New Zealand business confidence rose for the first time in three months, helped by a rebound in sentiment in the agricultural sector and increasing optimism from construction firms.

A net 42 percent of firms expect general business conditions to improve in the year ahead, according to the ANZ Business Outlook, up from 32 percent in the April survey. Firms seeing a pickup in their own business activity in the year ahead improved to 34 percent from 30.3 percent.

Sentiment in agriculture bounced back ahead of Fonterra’s announcement of a steeper-than-expected hike to its forecast 2014 payout to farmers and comes in a month when the trade-weighted index fell about 3.5 percent, extending its slide from a record high in April, and drought earlier in the year broke. . .

High Value Avocado Powder Exports Grow At Waikato Innovation Park:

The Waikato Innovation Park’s product development spray dryer is going green – avocado green, to be exact.

The country’s only open access product development spray dryer is helping Bay of Plenty company, Avocado Oil New Zealand, dry avocado pulp into a high value powder for use in cosmetic, nutriceutical and food products.

The dryer – known as FoodWaikato – is part of the New Zealand Food Innovation Network, a national network of science and technology resources that supports growth and development of New Zealand food and beverage businesses. . .

Ballance reduces prices for farmers:

Leading farm nutrient supplier Ballance Agri-Nutrients is reducing prices on most major fertiliser products across the board, passing on purchasing savings to customers.

Ballance Chief Executive Larry Bilodeau says prices on most of the co-operative’s core plant nutrients will be reduced by between $10 and $80 per tonne from June 4.

“During the past year we have kept prices very competitive when global prices were increasing. Now we have seen a steady pattern of price declines globally, so we are taking the lead to pass these better prices on to our shareholders and customers. . .

Food Co-operatives in New Zealand on the rise:

The increase in food co-operatives in New Zealand is enabling communities to take back control of their food supply, improve relationships between community members and achieve better health outcomes,” says Debbie Swanwick, spokesperson, Soil & Health – Organic NZ.

Food co-operatives provide better quality food, mostly organic, at a cheaper price.

“Stories of the average New Zealander’s desire to remove contaminants in their food (GE, pesticides and additives) by establishing an organic food co-operative in their region will feed the next generation well. New Zealanders seem to have picked up on this worldwide trend at a great rate,” says Swanwick. . .

James Cook Hotel Grand Chancellor Tree Planting with the Family Farm:

The management team from the James Cook Hotel Grand Chancellor have planted over 270 trees in support of regenerative agriculture in New Zealand.

With help from The Family Farm, nine management staff from the hotel journeyed to Mangarara Station in Hawkes Bay and took part in planting native trees on the farmland. Mangarara Station has been a sheep farm for more than 150 years. Through sponsorship from the Air New Zealand Environment Trust, Mangarara Station has undertaken an extensive programme of regenerative planting to help restore the land. The first planting of eco-sourced tree stock took place in 2008 and has now become an annual event. These plantings form the conservation estate which has been created by the owners of Mangarara as a gift to the nation. Mangarara Station was the first project to be supported by the Air New Zealand Environment Trust. . .

The answer lies in the soil (you have to have a sense of hummus) – Hot Topic:

Something a little different: soil expert Graham Sait talks about the importance of soil humus and its potential as a way to mitigate climate change at the recent TEDx in Noosa, Queensland. I’m not going to vouch for all his numbers, but as he devotes time to mycorrhizae he’s OK with this truffle grower…

Big Move for 2014 NZB South Island Sale:

New Zealand Bloodstock’s 2014 South Island Sale is set to make a bold move from its traditional August timeslot and be brought forward to April of next year.

The move to earlier in the year will mean that the 2014 Sale will relinquish its identity as a unique sale of untried two-year-olds and will instead form part of the 2014 National Yearling Sales Series as the new ‘South Island Session’.

As such, yearlings offered through the Sale will have the added benefit of now being eligible for the Karaka Million Series featuring the $1 million Karaka Million (Res.L) for two-year-olds and the $100,000 Karaka 3YO Mile (Res.L) for three-year-olds. . .

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