Word of the day

December 3, 2014

Saudade – a feeling of longing, melancholy, or nostalgia that is supposedly characteristic of the Portuguese or Brazilian temperament; yearning; brooding loneliness.


Rural round-up

December 3, 2014

Rabobank Agri Commodity Market Research: Outlook 2015:

The fundamentals in the agri commodity markets appear more balanced through 2015. In their 2015 Outlook, the Rabobank Agri Commodities Markets Research (ACMR) analysts, expect narrower trading ranges for many commodities versus 2014. On the demand side, growth has slowed in recent years. However, lower price levels should now encourage consumption growth, which will support prices. Key variables to watch in the year ahead include US dollar strength, uncertain Chinese demand growth, slowing biofuel demand and oil price weakness.

Stefan Vogel, Global head of Rabobank (ACMR) said, “All in all, 2015 will be another interesting year for agri commodities. Macro drivers remain very much in play and price swings from supply and demand shocks are still likely, given that the stocks for most commodities are not yet at levels necessary to provide an adequate buffer.” . . .

NZ tractor sales hit decade high in Q3 on record dairy payout, high kiwi – Tina Morrison:

(BusinessDesk) – New Zealand tractor sales hit their highest level in a decade in the third quarter as farmers benefiting from this year’s record milk payout and the high local currency bought new equipment.

Tractor registrations rose 8.8 percent to 925 in the three months through September, from the same quarter a year earlier, according to Land Transport Safety Authority figures published by Statistics NZ. The three-month period would have captured orders from the NZ National Agricultural Fieldays at Mystery Creek in Hamilton in June, helping tractor registrations rise to their highest since the December 2004 quarter when they reached 970.

Farmers have been increasing their spending on equipment such as tractors, farm bikes, milking machines, irrigators, ploughs and harvesters this year as cash flows were boosted by Fonterra Cooperative Group’s record payout to dairy farmers of $8.40 per kilogram of milk solids for the 2013/14 season. Also helping drive sales was the higher value of the local currency, with the kiwi touching a record 82.03 in July when measured against a basket of major currencies on a trade-weighted basis, reducing the price of imported farm machinery. . .

 

Former Gordon Stephenson Trophy-Holders Reflect On Busy But Successful Year:

Winning the National Winner title in the 2013 Ballance Farm Environment Awards opened up a whole world of opportunity for Canterbury farmers Craige and Roz Mackenzie.

The Mackenzies handed over the Gordon Stephenson trophy to fellow Cantabrians Mark and Devon Slee in June 2014, but they are still as busy as ever.

Over the last 18-months they have hosted a string of national and international visitors on their intensive arable farm near Methven. As ambassadors for sustainable agriculture they have also travelled widely, spreading the sustainability message throughout New Zealand and overseas.

Earlier this year they toured Argentina, Chile and Uruguay, where they studied arable farming, dairying and beef production. A key aim of the trip, facilitated by the New Zealand Farm Environment Trust, was to exchange views on topics of crucial interest to New Zealand farmers and to showcase New Zealand’s stance on agricultural sustainability. . .

Shareholders pleased with Synlait Milk results:

Shareholders who attended Synlait Milk’s Annual Meeting of Shareholders today were pleased with the company’s solid financial performance and continued progress in the 2014 financial year.

Managing Director Dr John Penno discussed the annual results and outlined the focus for the 2015 financial year (FY).

“We’re pleased that we delivered on the promises we made last year by meeting our prospective financial information (PFI) forecasts. Our $19.6 million net profit after tax (NPAT) was in line with our PFI forecast of $19.7 million, and that’s a good result for our shareholders,” said Dr Penno. . .

 

A budget for farm wages always worth the effort – Chris Lewis:

There has been a lot of comment in the media and by the trusty keyboard warriors on what farmers should be paying staff and whether they are paying enough.

This week we are going to show farmers one correct way of paying staff, but this is only an example. No one size fits all and you may need to make changes to suit your individual circumstances and employees.

Before you start to hire staff, do a staff budget like you do for feed budgets showing deficits and surplus’s each period. If your staff requirements are anything like mine you will have found a need to hire additional staff for spring to manage the additional workload and time off needed through calving. . .

Consultant appointed to investigate Bee Industry restructure:

New Zealand’s bee industry has appointed a consulting firm to advise the industry on how best to unify under one peak representative body.

To date the industry has been represented by several bodies and membership

organisations, a situation that is inefficient and that stifles industry development said Kim Singleton, Chair of the Interim Industry Working Group established to manage this project.

“This process is about exploring options that provide a more effective and better resourced industry organisation and to do that we need an outside look in.  That’s why we’ve brought in a consultancy firm.” . .

Entries Closed in 2015 Dairy Awards:

A total of 539 entries have been received in the 2015 New Zealand Dairy Industry Awards, including the New Zealand Sharemilker/Equity Farmer of the Year, New Zealand Farm Manager of the Year and New Zealand Dairy Trainee of the Year competitions.

“It’s a great result and we are really thrilled with the response,” national convenor Chris Keeping says. “Given the circumstances with a lower forecast milk payout, a challenging spring in some parts of the country and a change to the timing of entries being accepted we are really pleased.

“The numbers ensure strong competitions will run in each of our 11 regions and that is great for the entrants, for the competitions and for us as organisers of the awards.” . .


Too much weather

December 3, 2014

Southern contractors are struggling in wet and cold weather:

The dreadfully wet season being experienced in the southern part of the country is leaving many rural contractors and farmers under huge pressure and stress, claims Rural Contractors NZ.

 RCNZ vice president and Southland-based contractor David Kean says there are reports of contractors not being able to get work done, struggling with their finances and some having to lay staff off.

“Many contractors are really feeling it and the stress is starting to tell on both them and their businesses. Our advice is simple: ask for help and talk to the appropriate agencies before things get out of hand,” he explains.

Meanwhile, there’s the opposite problem in Canterbury – which has had lots of strong, cold Norwest winds and very little rain over the past couple of months – meaning there is very little work to do now after a busy start to the season. 

Mr Kean says if rural contractors are struggling to pay bills and/or staff they should be in contact with both Work and Income NZ and the IRD for assistance and advice.

“It is far better for people to be proactive; admit they have issues to deal with and seek the appropriate help – rather than just bottling it up or letting any problems get out of hand.

“Both IRD and WINZ are there to provide help in these kinds of situations and they have the people and expertise to offer advice and assistance.”

Mr Kean says Rural Contractors NZ is also there to help members and to act as support network for contractors who are feeling under pressure.

“However, we are not experts in financial matters or if people are coming under mental duress,” he adds.

“We are telling people they should be talking with their accountants and financial advisors about their business and with their families and medical professionals if they are under pressure themselves.”

The chair of the Rural Health Alliance Aoteoroa NZ (RHAANZ) Dr Jo Scott-Jones agrees.

“We know rural people tend to delay seeking help until they can no longer work, but it is true that a ‘stitch in time saves nine’”, Dr Scott-Jones says.  “Talking to a GP or practice nurse about stress seems to cause people difficulty. But anyone in this situation should know it is never as hard as you think and the benefits that flow from sharing some of the burden and talking through the way you feel can be enormous.”  

 Mr Kean adds that talking with professionals, as well as family and friends is an important step in getting the proper advice and help – when and where it is needed.

“Farmers also need to be aware of the pressure contractors are under and have to be realistic about getting work done,” he adds. “The last couple of months have been so wet that even if the weather cleared today it is going to take a long time to clear the back log of work and get everyone caught up again.”

Further north it was too wet in winter and now it’s too dry:

Weeks of persistent wind with little rain are putting farmers on edge in eastern areas of the country, from Gisborne to Canterbury.

Federated Farmers Gisborne Wairoa president Sandra Faulkner said soil moisture levels in that region were well down on normal for the time of year. . .

We didn’t really have a summer last year then had a very wet start to winter but we’ve had little significant rain since July and there’s all the signs of a looming drought.

That doesn’t mean we’re having good weather, it’s still cold which is slowing pasture growth and potato crops.

In contrast, a wet winter, less sunlight and cooler temperatures are being blamed for hampering potato crops and creating a shortage of the vegetable.

Potatoes New Zealand said there was more demand than growers could supply and that was having a flow on effect on companies such as potato chip processors.

Chief executive Champak Mehta said none of the previous season’s crops were left in storage and the new season’s potatoes were taking longer to hit the shelves. . .

North Otago is justly famed for its new potatoes but picking started only a week or so ago.

We didn’t plant ours in the garden until after labour weekend and they’re still a good couple of weeks ago from giving us anything to pick.

But I bought a box of Rare Earth  Jersey Bennes at the Oamaru Farmers’ Market on Sunday – they were delicious.


Bobby Keys 18.12.43 – 2.12.14

December 3, 2014

Rolling Stones’ saxophonist Bobby Keys has died.

. . . The musician had been battling liver disease cirrhosis in recent months, and was forced to pull out of the ‘Brown Sugar’ hitmakers’ tour dates in Australia and New Zealand in October.

The Texas native began his music career as a teenager, touring with Buddy Holly and Bobby Vee as a teenager. He befriended the Rolling Stones in 1964, and was later recruited to play on their 1969 album Let It Bleed.

Keys was a mainstay on the British band’s albums until 1974, and reunited with Mick Jagger and Keith Richards and pals in 1980 for their Emotional Rescue project. He remained a key player on all subsequent albums, including 2005’s A Bigger Bang. . .


Most parties support security Bill

December 3, 2014

Prime Minister John Key welcomed the report back of the Countering Terrorist Fighters Legislation Bill, which has been strengthened by the select committee process.

“I’d like to thank all of the members of the Foreign Affairs, Defence and Trade select committee for their hard work on the Bill,” Mr Key says.

“The Bill has been significantly improved because of their efforts and because of the efforts of submitters.

“A number of changes have been agreed, particularly in areas where submissions had raised concerns.

“As I said at the start of this process, I am seeking wide-ranging political support for the Bill and we have been working with other political parties in good faith.

“The agreed changes to the Bill reflect feedback from our support parties ACT and United Future, as well as positive negotiations with the Labour Party.

“The Bill responds to the rapidly evolving issue of foreign terrorist fighters, with measures that can add to the safety and security of New Zealand in the short-term.

“A larger review of the intelligence agencies, their legislation and their oversight is required by law to begin by the middle of next year.

The proposals contained in the current Bill will be subject to a sunset clause.

The changes include:

The 48 hour emergency surveillance proposal will be reduced to 24 hours, and be restricted to activity that relates to the foreign fighters issue only

The new visual surveillance power will be restricted to activity that relates to the foreign fighters issue only

The sunset clause has been pulled back by a year to April 1, 2017

Additional oversight safeguards and more regular reporting will be required with regard to some of the new powers, particularly the 24 hour emergency surveillance power. . .

Measures like this should be supported by more than a bare majority and it is a good reflection on the whole committee that negotiated changes enabled most parties to support the legislation.


GDT – 1.1%

December 3, 2014

The GlobalDairyTrade price index dropped again in this morning’s auction.

gdt31214

gdt3.12.14

The 1.1% drop in the price index isn’t much but the 7.1% drop in the price of whole milk powder, the country’s single biggest export and the product on which the milk payout is largely based, is more significant.

Several commentators are predicting Fonterra to announce another drop in the forecast payout.


Shame perpetrator’s not victim’s

December 3, 2014

Two sisters who were abused as children will appeal a judge’s decision to keep the perpetrator’s name suppressed:

. . . The man was convicted for indecent assault in 1995 for the historic abuses, and received name suppression to protect his victims’ identities.

Earlier this year, a Christchurch District Court judge lifted the suppression for sisters Anne-Marie Forsyth and Karen Beaumont, but a legal clause prevented him from doing the same for their abuser.

Ms Forsyth said she wanted the law changed to help other young victims of sexual abuse, and the women are filing for a judicial review of the decision this afternoon.

“I mean the goal for us is to get people talking about it, to get it out in the open and to stop the secrecy, because secrecy is what paedophiles and abusers hide behind,” she said.

If victims want to remain anonymous and naming the perpetrator would threaten that, suppression is in order.

Victims have a right to privacy but should feel no shame.

The shame in cases of abuse is the perpetrator’s not the victims and if, as the case in this instance, they don’t want their names suppressed the grounds for suppressing the name of the perpetrator no longer apply.

If current law doesn’t permit his naming then the law should be changed to ensure this doesn’t happen again.


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