Diversity in a variable climate – Blair Drysdale:
Surprised and shocked would accurately describe my reaction to being asked to pen a column for a publication I love and have read from front to back for more than 20 years. It’s somewhat daunting given the calibre of the other columnists.
Along with my wife Jody and three children Carly (9), Fletcher (7) and Leah (5) we farm 325 hectares in Balfour, northern Southland with my parents Fiona and Ken still living on farm. Our farming operation consists of arable, beef, dairy grazing, sheep and land leased out to tulip growers annually.
It’s a diverse operation which spreads our risk across both our variable climate and commodity cycles, neither of which we can control or influence. We can have wet winters and very dry summers, with all four seasons turning up the same day occasionally just for a laugh. Like all regions it has its challenges, but if it were easy every man and his dog would want a crack. . .
Data released today by the Real Estate Institute of NZ (REINZ) shows there were 131 fewer farm sales (-29.3%) for the three months ended November 2017 than for the three months ended November 2016. Overall, there were 316 farm sales in the three months ended November 2017, compared to 261 farm sales for the three months ended October 2017 (+21.1%), and 447 farm sales for the three months ended November 2016. 1,577 farms were sold in the year to November 2017, 12.5% fewer than were sold in the year to November 2016, with 29.8% more finishing farms, 29.2% more dairy farms and 34.6% fewer grazing and 32.5% fewer arable farms sold over the same period. . .
Westpac is offering to assist its hardest hit customers, as drought-like conditions grip large parts of the country.
Westpac’s Head of Commercial and Agribusiness, Mark Steed said the impact of a severe weather event can be stressful for those affected, particularly in the dairy sector in recovery from the payout slump in 2015/16.
He said the bank is offering financial assistance and is encouraging farmers experiencing hardship to talk to Westpac about how the bank can help them. . .
Recent tertiary graduates are earning good incomes from their employment in the forest industry, according to a recent survey by the New Zealand Institute of Forestry (NZIF).
A survey of 600 NZIF members indicates recent graduates in the forestry sector are attaining a median gross salary of $58,520, which increases to $62,725 for a total remuneration package.
NZIF spokesperson Tim Thorpe says many of the graduates would have a degree from the University of Canterbury Schools of Forestry and Engineering. But he says others would be included in the recent graduate category as holders of New Zealand diplomas in forest management or similar, from Toi Ohomai in Rotorua, NorthTec in Whangarei or EIT in Gisborne. . .
No reindeer here, but MPI says sleigh vigilant – Kate Pereyra Garcia:
There are currently no reindeer in New Zealand, not even in zoos.
Ministry for Primary Industries (MPI) readiness group manager Melanie Russell said there was an attempt to import a reindeer 10 years ago for the filming of the Narnia movie.
“But the reindeer that had been trained for the role tested positive for an exotic disease, so the importation never happened.”
The reindeer in the movie was computer generated instead. . .
Synlait Milk is partnering with Foodstuffs South Island Limited to become the Cooperative’s exclusive supplier of its private label fresh milk and cream from early 2019.
Synlait intends to invest approximately $125 million in an advanced liquid dairy packaging facility to supply Foodstuffs South Island.
The investment establishes a platform for Synlait to pursue a range of dairy-based products for domestic and export markets in the future. . .
The Commerce Commission has released its final report on its annual review of Fonterra’s Milk Price Manual for the current dairy season.
The manual sets out Fonterra’s methodology for calculating the price it will pay farmers per kilogram of milk solids for the current dairy season, ending 31 May 2018. Our review is part of the milk price monitoring regime under the Dairy Industry Restructuring Act (DIRA). The regime incentivises Fonterra to operate efficiently while providing for contestability in the market for the purchase of farmers’ milk.
“The Commission’s conclusion is unchanged from its draft report released in October, which finds the manual is largely consistent with the purposes of the milk monitoring regime,” Commission Deputy Chair Sue Begg said. . .
Fresh chicken sales are soaring higher than the mercury currently with the highest levels of consumption seen by the Poultry Industry Association of New Zealand (PIANZ).
The Poultry Industry has produced 118,000,000 birds this year to meet demand, three million more than 2016.
“We are are eating more fresh chicken than ever before. On average, Kiwis have devoured over 41 kilograms of fresh chicken per person this year, and we’re only just hitting peak poultry season,” says PIANZ Executive Director, Michael Brooks. . .
In what surely must be the biggest upset in any wine competition in 2017, New Zealand winemaker Andy Anderson, on entering his first ever wine competition, has beaten wines from the best in the world at London’s prestigious International Wine and Spirit Competition (IWSC) to take out two trophies. Anderson was first awarded the world’s best Pinot Noir trophy for his 2012 Takapoto Bannockburn Single Vineyard Pinot Noir and then secured the 2017 New Zealand Producer of the Year trophy.
These trophies are usually reserved for the powerhouses of the industry at the glamorous award ceremony held in London, not a winemaker entering his first competition. . .
• 2017 wine industry financial benchmarking survey shows profitability and strengthening balance sheets
• Wine industry makes diverse contribution to regional communities across New Zealand
• Opportunities exist for wine businesses of all sizes through new and emerging export markets as well as through tourism and online channels . .