365 days of gratitude

November 18, 2016

People who’ve lived in North Otago far longer than I have say they’ve never seen it looking greener.

We’ve had a very wet spring and pastures we can almost see pastures growing.

It’s a case of quantity rather than quality though and milk production is down.

But too much grass, albeit lacking in nutrient value, is better than too little.

Ands to today we woke to blue sky and sunshine which was welcomed by stock, farmers, and everyone involved with the Victorian Heritage celebrations in North Otago.

Today’ I’m grateful for blue sky and sunshine.


Word of the day

November 18, 2016

Corybantic – frenzied; agitated; uncontrolled; unrestrained; wild;  frenetic, ecstatic and orgiastic; of or pertaining to a Corybant.


Council charges council

November 18, 2016

Hawkes Bay Regional Council has charged the HB District Council in connection with the contamination of Havelock North’s water in August.

The regional council has charged it with resource consent breaches, which it said were discovered during an investigation of the contamination.

The outbreak in August, in which about 5000 people became sick with gastrointestinal illness, occurred when a bore contaminated the Hawke’s Bay town’s water supply with campylobacter.

The council said earlier today it had laid charges against an unnamed party “for alleged offences uncovered in the course of its investigation into the contamination”.

The charges related to evidence of a breach of the party’s resource consent, it said.

“If a breach is proved, the resource consent no longer permits the taking of water. [The regional council] has commenced a prosecution against the party, alleging the unlawful taking of water from the aquifer arising from the alleged failure to meet well head maintenance conditions.”

In a statement this afternoon, the Hastings District Council confirmed it was the charged party.

It said the charges had been laid under the Resource Management Act for a technical breach of the district council’s resource consent conditions for taking water from Brookvale Bores 1 and 2. . . 

Laying charges doesn’t mean the HBDC is guilty.

But if it is found to have been at fault will anyone take back the accusations thrown at farming?


Fonterra forecast payout up 75c to $6

November 18, 2016

Welcome news:

Fonterra Co-operative Group Limited today increased its 2016/17 forecast Farmgate Milk Price by 75 cents to $6.00 per kgMS.

When combined with the forecast earnings per share range for the 2017 financial year of 50 to 60 cents, the total payout available to farmers in the current season is forecast to be $6.50 to $6.60 before retentions.

Chairman John Wilson said the increase reflects improvements in pricing since September, following the gradual rebalancing of global supply and demand.

“We’ve seen falling production in the major exporting regions, particularly Europe and Australia, and an unprecedented decline in New Zealand milk supply due to wetter than normal spring conditions across most regions. On balance, demand continues to be firm. As a result there has been a steady improvement in global dairy commodity prices and this is reflected in the improved forecast.

“We are very mindful that farm incomes will be affected this year because of lower milk production so we will be doing everything possible to build on our good start to the financial year and deliver the highest possible total payout to our farmers,” said Mr Wilson.

First Quarter Performance Update

Fonterra’s first quarter revenue of $3.8 billion is up six per cent on the same period last year. Sales volumes are up two per cent to 4.9 billion litres liquid milk equivalent (LME), while the gross margin of 22 per cent remains largely unchanged.

Chief Executive Theo Spierings said the first quarter revenue gains reflected broad-based volume and margin growth across the business, and an ongoing focus on cost controls.

“Our operating expenses have reduced by two per cent to $621 million and we continue to keep a close rein on them, in line with the financial discipline shown last year,” he said.

The Co-operative has moved an additional 128 million litres LME into higher-value consumer and foodservice products compared with the same period last year.

“The consumer and foodservice business achieved an improved gross margin of 31 per cent, up from 28 per cent. This reflects the increasing strength of our brands in key markets and our focus on chef-led solutions in foodservice.”

Mr Spierings said while the first quarter performance was pleasing, the Co-operative’s earnings face emerging head-winds for the remainder of the financial year.

“Our current milk collection forecast is 1,460 million kilograms of milk solids (kgMS), down seven per cent on last season, and this is constraining sales.

“In addition there is a potential impact from the price of Milk Price reference products, such as whole milk powder, rising faster than non-reference products.”

Mr Spierings said that, given the Co-operative’s stronger sales performance and lower production volumes, it continues to monitor its inventory and contracted sales position closely.

Chairman John Wilson said the Co-operative has had a strong start to the year.

“The unchanged earnings guidance range of 50 to 60 cents took into account the fact that a higher milk price had the potential to influence margins across the business. However, we do expect this volatility to continue which could impact both milk price and earnings guidance. We will keep our farmers and investors updated as we move through the year,” he said. . .

The wet spring has led to lower production over most of the country but if the forecast is realised, all but the least efficient farms will be safely above break-even.

Debt repayment will be a priority on most farms, but this level of payout will enable more spending on businesses that service and supply farms.


Friday’s answers

November 18, 2016

Andrei and J Bloggs posed Thursday’s questions for which they get my thanks.

Should they have stumped us all they can claim a virtual bunch of roses. (Mine are appreciating today’s sun and promising to bloom should it continue to shine).


Rural round-up

November 18, 2016

Feds Grateful For earthquake response:

The response to the Federated Farmers earthquake assistance line has been fantastic.

Federated Farmers is fielding plenty of offers of help for North Canterbury farmers affected by the earthquakes but the big challenge is reaching those who may be most in need.

The number 0800 FARMING (0800 327 646) was set up for farmers to tell us what they need, and for us to match them up with people making offers of assistance, Federated Farmers Adverse Events spokesperson Katie Milne says.

“In these situations, a lot of people want to offer support but it’s not always clear who needs it, especially in an area like this where power and communications outages make contact so difficult.” . . 

Waiau farmers struggle without water or power – Michael Morrah:

The farmers on the outskirts of the town Waiau are desperate.

An underground water pipe that 100 farms rely on to feed stock is broken. Without it, a critical rural water link is inoperable.

The farmers also face another challenge – four days since the quake, they remain without power.

Contractors are wrestling with broken lines and buckled poles. . . 

Cut-off farmers calling out for help – Alexa Cook:

North Canterbury farmers cut off by Monday’s earthquake are calling out for help and are frustrated that helicopters have been flying over them to Kaikoura and not stopping to check on them, Federated Farmers says.

Federated Farmers spokesperson Katie Milne said they had managed to reach isolated farms by helicopter yesterday, and were greeted by some very relieved farmers.

They were very pleased to see someone, they’d been able to hear the choppers going backwards and forwards and seen the odd news one go through, she said.

“One actually disturbed a bit of stock and upset people. . . 

Quake-hit Kaikoura farmers forced to dump milk – Conan Young:

Dairy farmers in the Kaikoura district are managing to get all their cows milked despite a power cut, no water and damage to milking sheds.

But some have no option but to dump milk until road access is reopened.

Two sheds in the district are no longer usable. The farmers concerned have been able to send their cows to functioning shed and avoid having to dry their cows off just as the milking season gets under way. . . 

Feds Set Up Fund To Help Earthquake Zone Farms;

Federated Farmers has reopened its Adverse Events Trust Fund to raise funds to support farms affected by the North Canterbury earthquake.

The trust fund will take donations which will be spent on immediate emergency support for farms, including emergency supplies, farm equipment, essential tools and materials.

“It’s a times like this that people are so keen to help, and that’s fantastic, but we have to be aware, the reality is dollars are going to be required to get these farms back up and running,” Federated Farmers adverse events spokesperson Katie Milne says. . . 

Beef farmers describe quake experience:

A woman living on the farm at the centre of Monday’s earthquake was knocked off her feet as she went to see her children during the shaking.

The 7.8 magnitude quake was 15km deep and was centred north-east of the North Canterbury town of Culverden, with the epicentre located on Ben and Renee Dampier-Crossley’s sheep and beef farm.

Mr Dampier-Crossley said the epicentre was in their back paddock.

“On the way to the kids, Renee was knocked off her feet by the force of it, and she ended up crawling down the hallway.” . . 

‘Everybody’s there for everybody else’

Awatere Valley parish nurse Rachael Westenra and her husband Warren were on their farm, near Seddon, when Monday’s 7.8 magnitude earthquake struck. Not long after, they were on the road checking on elderly people in the community.

When RNZ spoke to her this morning she was about to head out again. She told Marcus Stickley what the past few days have meant for her and the community she’s been part of for 30 years.

That evening we had come home from Christchurch and we were tucked up in bed, as you are at midnight. We just dived out of bed and dived for cover when the earthquake started. It just went on and on and on.

There was no power. You could hear everything crashing around you. And we literally – and I know now it’s not the right thing to do – stood in the doorway together and just held onto the doorway because otherwise we would have been knocked off our feet. It was just a matter of standing there until things calmed a wee bit. . . 

Young farmers to the rescue in quake-hit communities – Alexa Cook:

A New Zealand farming group that has nearly 100,000 members on Facebook has leapt into action after Monday’s earthquake.

NZ Farming was started by 22-year-old Tyler Fifield and is now one of the country’s largest farming communities.

Mr Fifield, who now works as a builder in Blenheim, said he and his friends loaded up building supplies first thing Monday morning and headed out to help repair homes and buildings.

They soon realised that it was much worse than they thought and immediately put out the call to members for help. . . 

China’s infant formula market continues to evolve – Keith Woodford:

Chinese infant formula imports are now worth more than twice the value of whole milk powder (WMP) imports. According to Italian information analysis company CLAL, infant formula imports to China for the first nine months of this year had a landed value of US $2.1 billion, whereas WMP imports were valued at only $US 0.87 billion.  This was despite the WMP volumes being more than double those of infant formula.  On a per kilo basis, the infant formula had a landed value of US $12.63 whereas the WMP was valued at US $2.52.

New Zealand is the dominant supplier of China’s imported WMP, with more than 90% market share. However, New Zealand is only a small player in the infant formula market, with 11% of Chinese imports. . . 

Rabobank New Zealand announces new chairman:

Rabobank has announced the appointment of Sir Henry van der Heyden as chairman of Rabobank New Zealand Limited, succeeding John Palmer who has retired from the board.

The bank has also announced Scales Group managing director Andy Borland has joined the New Zealand board, filling the position left vacant by Mr Palmer’s departure.

The world’s leading specialist food and agribusiness bank, Rabobank is one of New Zealand’s largest rural lenders and a major provider of corporate and business banking services to the country’s food and agribusiness sector. The bank also operates online retail savings and investments business RaboDirect. . . 

Entries rolling in for New Zealand Dairy Industry Awards:

The window of opportunity for dairy trainees, dairy managers and share managers to give their farming career a boost, closes on November 30.

Entries for the New Zealand Dairy Industry Awards have been steadily rolling in since entries opened in October, with 276 entries across the three competitions received so far.

General Manager Chris Keeping says if some-one is still considering entering, they should do so soon.  “The sooner a person enters, the longer they have to prepare their farming business for judging,” she explains. . . 

  Peter Yealands Recognised with Lifetime Achievement Award:

The Drinks Business Lifetime Achievement Award looks for an individual who has “excelled throughout their career in furthering environmental, sustainable or ethical practices in the drinks industry to the benefit and education of others. This individual will have dedicated a significant part of their working life to environmental and/or ethical causes. Whether in areas of production, marketing or management this individual will have a dedication to all matters green or ethical and will have sought to introduce a culture of best practice in these areas where ever they have been able to have some influence.”Yealands Wine Group Founder and Principal, Peter Yealands, has been recognised with a Lifetime Achievement Award at The Drinks Business Green Awards 2016 for his continued innovation and commitment to sustainable practices. His company, Yealands Wine Group (Yealands), on the same night received a Renewable Energy Implementation runner-up award for the installation of the largest solar array in New Zealand on their winery roof. . . 

 

Steady As She Goes

Summary

Data released today by the Real Estate Institute of NZ (“REINZ”) shows there were five fewer farm sales (-1.4%) for the three months ended October 2016 than for the three months ended October 2015. Overall, there were 353 farm sales in the three months ended October 2016, compared to 388 farm sales for the three months ended September 2016 (-9.0%), and 358 farm sales for the three months ended October 2015. 1,760 farms were sold in the year to October 2016, 1.7% more than were sold in the year to October 2015, with 26% fewer dairy farms and 6% fewer grazing farms sold over the same period.

The median price per hectare for all farms sold in the three months to October 2016 was $25,974 compared to $27,579 recorded for three months ended October 2015 (-5.8%). The median price per hectare fell 3.2% compared to September. . . 

Has The Market Peaked?:

Summary

Data released today by the Real Estate Institute of NZ (“REINZ”) shows there were 52 more lifestyle property sales (+2.5%) for the three months ended October 2016 than for the three months ended October 2015. Overall, there were 2,175 lifestyle property sales in the three months ended October 2016, compared to 2,230 lifestyle property sales for the three months ended September 2016 (-2.5%), and 2,123 lifestyle property sales for the three months ended October 2015.

9,115 lifestyle properties were sold in the year to October 2016, 17% more than were sold in the year to October 2015. The value of lifestyle properties sold was $6.91 billion for the year to October 2016. . . 


Quote of the day

November 18, 2016

I hope that people will finally come to realize that there is only one ‘race’ – the human race – and that we are all members of it. Margaret Atwood who celebrates her 77th birthday today.

She also said:

You will always have partial points of view, and you’ll always have the story behind the story that hasn’t come out yet. And any form of journalism you’re involved with is going to be up against a biased viewpoint and partial knowledge.

And:

An eye for an eye only leads to more blindness.


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