Rural round-up

Push for Fonterra board cut takes to road

The board of New Zealand’s biggest company is not the place to learn how to be a director, says an advocate of cutting Fonterra’s board size to improve performance.

Former Fonterra director Colin Armer told about 30 farmer-shareholders at Tatuanui, Waikato that the Fonterra board should not be a “training ground” for “junior directors”. 

Aspiring farmer directors needed to come to the board having had commercial governance experience “outside – not through the (Fonterra) shareholders’ council”, said the large-scale dairying businessman.

Armer and former Fonterra deputy chairman Greg Gent are meeting shareholders who want to hear more about their call for voter support at this month’s Fonterra annual meeting for their resolution to reduce board members from 13 to nine. . . 

Drone technology makes mustering easy in North Otago – Daisy Hudson:

A North Otago couple have taken to the skies with a revolutionary new method of herding stock on their Kurow farm.

Janina and Justin Slee are using a drone to muster hard-to-reach cattle on their property near Mount Domett, and the technology has revolutionised the way they operate their farm.

After hearing about the drone at a show in Wanaka about six months ago, the couple decided to bite the bullet and try the technology on their own farm. . . 

Conservation ‘cornerstone’ of tourism – Stacey Bryant:

Southern tourism operator Real Journeys won a Conservation Week Award for protecting the kakapo and whio (blue duck) and also ridding the Walter Peak area of wilding pines and restoring land. Commercial director talks to Stacey Bryant.

What is it about conservation work that got your company interested and continues to interest it?

In the 61 years that Real Journeys has been operating, conservation work has always interested us.

Real Journeys founder Les Hutchins made the now famous quote (back in 1998): ”Today I am more convinced than ever before that conservation is the real cornerstone of New Zealand’s tourism industry. Tourism and conservation need each other for mutual survival and the right direction to go is to take more notice of conservation issues, not less.” . . .

Making it sexy – David Anderson:

The Government has set a target to increase the value of New Zealand’s food sector exports from $25 billion to $60b, meaning there will be an additional 50,000 jobs in the primary sector by 2025.

What must we do to encourage NZ’s best and brightest to look to the primary sector for a career?

According to John Brackenridge, the head of Merino New Zealand and the leader of the chief executives’ agri-bootcamp scheme that takes industry high-flyers to the United States, the current messaging aimed at attracting young people into the agri sector is unappealing and the wrong people are involved in that messaging. . . .

Get ready for the big dry:

Vets are encouraging farmers to prepare for a dry summer and to figure out how best to manage livestock through this time.

The NZ Veterinary Association (NZVA) says forecasters are predicting that the already strong El Nino conditions of spring 2015 will continue over summer and into autumn 2016 and it could rank amongst the four strongest El Nino events recorded along with 1972-73, 1982-83 and 1997-98.

“During El Nino NZ tends to experience stronger or more frequent winds from the west in summer, leading to drier conditions in the north and east, and more rain in the west,” it warns. . . 

What Indonesia wants – Melissa Aisthorpe:

INDONESIA’S growing demand for food imports holds much opportunity for Australian exporters beyond the cattle industry.

The real value of agrifood consumption in Indonesia is projected to quadruple between 2009 and 2050, on the back of expected sustained economic growth, population increase and continued urbanisation.

That’s according to a new report, What Indonesia wants: Analysis of Indonesia’s food demand to 2050 from the Australian Bureau of Agricultural and Resource Economics and Science (ABARES). The report is set to be discussed at the 19th Indonesia–Australia Working Group on Agriculture, Food and Forestry Cooperation this week. . .


10 Responses to Rural round-up

  1. Bulaman says:

    El Nino may in fact be weakening. Note here that the southern Oscillation Index is getting weaker (less negative)

    Closer to zero the weaker it gets. Last 30 days a (nearly ) 4 point move away from a strengthening El Nino.

    Also see

    Some cool water off Peru showing Humbolt upwelling so may not be as bad as the doom sayers..


  2. JC says:

    I was wondering about that.. the past few weeks have had some of the indicators but here on the Central Plateau it just hasn’t felt quite right for some sort of record setter.. so much so three weeks ago I planted 1000 end of season flax plant throw outs from the nursery into a waterway for future flood control and duly got near an inch of rain to bed them in a few days later. Tree growth here has been phenomenal this spring with 60cm P rad seedlings planted in July already up to about 1.4 metres.

    I suspect I’ll have to “shape” the top growth in late Summer to reduce wind resistance before the Autumn storms arrive.



  3. Paranormal says:

    Interesting JC. We’ve also experienced really good tree growth but the soil is really dry. We haven’t had decent rain for a couple of weeks now.


  4. Paranormal says:

    I should comment more about a lack of rain. Overnight we received a good steady fall that was just what we needed.


  5. homepaddock says:

    We’ve had about 10 1/2 inches for the year – less than half what we’d expect in a “normal” year. We’re getting odd showers but usually only enough to dampen the dust. Thank goodness for irrigation.


  6. Paranormal says:

    Sitting here watching another SE gale pass through and realised we’ve had far more easterlies this year Ele. I would have thought more easterlies would give you more precipitation, but clearly not.

    As Bulaman points out this s not a normal El Nino if there is such a thing.


  7. Bulaman says:

    7mm here last night near Tu. SOI has risen again and now -12.97. This from a high (low) of -21.3. Trend maybe reversing from the strengthening El Nino. More rain in Metservice forecast from Sunday on.


  8. JC says:

    23-35mm this month around Rotorua and halfway to the coast. Not huge but surprisingly enough.. mainly because of a good early Spring. El Nino indicators should be on the slide this month so with luck we’ll be OK. Waikato as far as Hamilton looks OK.. anyone done the back road up past Maramarua lately?.. thats a good drought country indicator.



  9. Will Dwan says:

    Pretty dry in the Waikato hills now but growth still ok. Lambs enjoying the sun. Went from sodden to tripping over bricks in three weeks of dry westerlies. Will need some serious rain in December to set up for summer. Not sure about this El Nino yet, but the ENSO meter is almost in the red. Never seen it like that.


  10. Will Dwan says:

    How beautiful the Waikato is this morning. Crystal clear to the far horizons. I can just see Ruapehu’s snow-cap and the sharp outline of Karioi out by Raglan. Blue sky, green hills, cool breeze.


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