Rules tweak still leaves migrant dairy workers in a bind – Chris Lewis:
The Government recently relaxed the “mid-skilled” migrant salary threshold to avoid tough new restrictions down to $41,000. So why are farmers still unhappy?
They’re unhappy because in the dairy sector, salary threshold is not the problem. In submissions to the Government the dairy industry did not object to the original threshold of $49,000.
The fact is, unless the migrant worker is a farm manager or earns over $73,000, they’re deemed “low-skilled” and booted out of the country after three years. Hardly an incentive to even apply in the first place, and disruptive and expensive for the farmer, who has to look for someone else to plug the gap. . .
Alliance targets UK food service – Tony Benny:
Alliance Group has launched a pilot programme in UK targeting high-end restaurants and hotels in a bid to generate more revenue. Tony Benny reports.
Food service is growing globally while traditional retail outlets in many markets are stagnating and marketers often talk of the need for producers to shift their focus to this growth sector. Now Alliance has established a four-person team in the UK tasked with making direct connections to top chefs and building new distribution channels.
“Historically a lot of New Zealand lamb has gone into wholesale in some form and can go through three or four sets of hands before it gets to the end customer and often the end customer doesn’t know where their lamb’s coming from,” says Alliance director of food service Graham Bougen, who heads the team in UK. . .
Vet praises farming gorup’s reaction – Sally Rae:
The veterinarian who initially signalled the possibility of an outbreak of a bacterial disease not previously found in New Zealand says it has been an ”enormously stressful and harrowing experience” for the farmers involved.
Yesterday, Merlyn Hay addressed a meeting at Papakaio, outlining how confirmation of Mycoplasma bovis in cows on two Van Leeuwen Dairy Group properties unfolded.
Over the past few weeks, her priority focus – as the group’s key veterinarian – had been her client and their cows and she had ”nothing but admiration” for the way the group had conducted itself during the crisis, she said.
The care and concern shown to animals in their charge had been humbling and the group deserved empathy and respect. She hoped the community would support them as the crisis continued. . .
Neighbouring properties test negative for disease – Sally Rae:
Results have confirmed nine of the farms bordering Van Leeuwen Dairy Group properties, all tested negative for cattle disease Mycoplasma bovis.
The bacterial disease had previously been confirmed on two Van Leeuwen Dairy Group farms in the Waimate district, the first time the disease had been detected in New Zealand.
In a statement last night, Ministry for Primary Industries director of response Geoff Gwyn said the results for the nine neighbouring properties was good news but further tests, over several months, on those farms would be required before they could be declared free of the disease. . .
The discovery of Mycoplasma bovis on two South Canterbury farms understandably has the farming community on tenterhooks.
The bacterial disease may be prevalent among cattle globally but it has never previously been detected in New Zealand.
Fortunately, it presents no food safety risk and there are no concerns about consuming milk and milk products.
But the disease has serious effects including mastitis, abortion, pneumonia and arthritis and therefore the ramifications for farmers — both financially and from an animal welfare perspective — are huge. . .
Dairy farmers still fighting debt – Richard Rennie:
Waikato and Bay of Plenty dairy farmers face a “back to the future” slog into 2020 to get back to their 2015-16 season when dairy prices took a tumble.
The latest AgFirst financial survey for Waikato-Bay of Plenty dairy farmers was released last week.
Survey compiler Phil Journeaux said the model farm used in the budget incurred an additional $126,560 of term debt, or almost $1/kg of milksolids in 2015-16 to cover the hit the farm took when the payout slumped to $3.90/kg MS that season.
“This loan amount was almost an extra $1/kg milksolids and some debt repayment was made in 2016-17 and is budgeted again for 2017-18. . .
I tried taking some high resolution photos of local farmland but they all turned out really grainy.