Rural round-up

Higher returns for lamb exports expected in coming year:

Beef + Lamb New Zealand is expecting higher returns for lamb exports in the coming year to offset a drop in lamb numbers.

From its annual stock number survey, Beef + Lamb NZ has calculated that 2 million fewer lambs will be born this spring, due to the summer drought reducing ewe numbers and lambing percentages in the North island.

It is forecasting an 8.5% drop in the export lamb slaughter from 2013-14.

However, its chief economist Andrew Burtt says improved marketing conditions will outweigh that by lifting the average value of lamb exports by 10%. . .

NZ Merino Co in finalists’ cut :

The New Zealand Merino Company and its chief executive John Brakenridge have been named as finalists in the 2013 New Zealand International Business Awards.

The awards are run by New Zealand Trade and Enterprise and the winners will be announced at a function in Auckland on September 26.

The New Zealand Merino Company is a finalist in the most innovative business model in international business category, while Mr Brakenridge is a finalist in the outstanding contribution to international business section.

Under his leadership, the company implemented a strategy to lift New Zealand merino out of the commodity basket. . .

PGG Wrightson disappointed it put farming sector at risk:

PGG Wrightson says it is terribly disappointed it has put the arable farming sector at risk.

It has acknowledged it breached biosecurity regulations by transporting a delivery of contaminated imported red fescue seeds in an unapproved manner, which led to black grass seeds spilling off its truck throughout mid Canterbury.

Black grass is highly invasive, often herbicide-resistant and significantly reduces the yields of wheat, barley, rapeseed and other crops.

PGG Wrightson seed general manager John McKenzie says the company sincerely regrets the breakdown in procedures at its end that led to the incursion and it will do what it can to make things right. . .

‘Terrific’ response from deer farmers over Invermay – Sally Rae:

Former Invermay director Jock Allison says there has been a ”terrific” response from deer farmers after a call for them to support the retention of Invermay’s deer research programme.

A letter was sent to farmers from Dr Allison, former deer programme leader Dr Ken Drew and Prof Frank Griffin from the University of Otago, asking farmers to indicate whether they preferred the programme to be located at Invermay or Lincoln, and to express their opinions to politicians.

AgResearch is proposing to centralise its operations in Lincoln and Palmerston North, jobs at Invermay dropping from 115 to 30 and 180 jobs going from Ruakura, near Hamilton. . .

Stratford farmer underpaid worker in dry season – Lyn Humphreys:

A message has gone out to farmers that they cannot underpay workers by paying them less in the dry season.

In a test case which has put the dairy sector’s wages under the microscope, a Stratford farmer has been ordered to pay his worker more than $6000 in backpay.

The case follows a Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment Labour Inspectorate investigation of the dairy sector, focusing on employers maintaining accurate time and wage records. . .

Zealong Tea:  we’re still here – Andrea Fox:

Waikato green tea exporter Zealong Tea says rumours of its demise have been greatly exaggerated as it is swamped with calls from concerned supporters and tea house cancellations after selling part of its tea estate.

Zealong this week said it had sold its original Borman Rd tea farm on the edge of Hamilton’s northern suburbs to a residential property developer rather than face its Rototuna neighbours’ wrath if it has to use helicopters to combat frost damage during harvest next month.

Bulldozers will move onto the 11ha Borman Rd tea farm in November and the company said it would now focus on developing its big Gordonton plantation and tourism site. . .

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