Fonterra has confirmed what most analysts had been predicting and lifted its 2020/21 forecast farmgate milk price range to $7.30 – $7.90 kg/MS, up from $6.90 – $7.50. This should send a further surge of confidence across NZ’s rural regions, hopefully in a wave strong enough to encourage farmers to plan to increase production next season.
As a result of the higher payout, the co-op will be pumping $11.5bn into the rural economy, well ahead of the $10bn predicted last year. Although farmer-suppliers to Fonterra are paid off the mid-point $7.60 of the new range, most analysts believe the final payout will reach $7.90.
That should ensure a handsome return for most suppliers, whose cost of production averages around $5.80-$6 kg/MS—and for the highly efficient, at below $4, an even better one. . .
Lessons from M. Bovis outbreak – Peter Burke:
The chair of a new committee set up to review the handling of Mycoplasma bovis outbreak says it isn’t a witch-hunt.
Massey University academic Nicola Shadbolt says the review is about learning from the past and helping us to be stronger for the future. She says it’s about finding out what happened and seeing what might need to be put in place if there a biosecurity outbreak of this nature in the future.
Shadbolt, a professor of farm and agribusiness, served as a Fonterra director for nine years and is currently chair of Plant and Food Research. . .
Franz Josef and Fox Glacier communities have been told that the government can’t save every business that’s struggling during the pandemic.
A week ago the two communities sent Tourism Minister Stuart Nash a $35 million wishlist of what they need to survive.
Yesterday he visited Franz Josef with Rural Communities Minister Damien O’Connor but didn’t make any promises.
Across Country Quad Bikes used to run four fully booked tours a day, closing for a few months over winter after a hectic summer. . .
Bees get a fighting chance – Neal Wallace:
University of Otago Researchers have made a discovery that may just give honeybees a fighting chance against the varroa mite. Neal Wallace reports.
Scientists have identified naturally occurring compounds which induces a cleaning response among some worker bees, killing juvenile varroa mites.
The University of Otago researchers are now looking at how to replicate the six relevant compounds they have discovered, and a way to deliver them to hives from which beekeepers can selectively breed bees that have this trait.
Emeritus Professor Alison Mercer of the university’s Department of Zoology says varroa mites reproduce in brood cells, but researchers have identified some worker bees can sense where the mites are using these compounds, then open those cells and pull out the contents, including the mite, killing it. . .
Why aren’t farmers using more agritech on farm? – Phil Edmonds:
While internet connectivity may be viewed as a barrier to farmers adopting more agritech solutions, Phil Edmonds discovers there are many reasons for New Zealand’s low adoption rate, including technology not being developed with their needs in mind.
A fresh look is under way into understanding why agritech adoption in New Zealand has not escalated to the same extent that our primary sector exports have. A cursory glance at the unflattering data on uptake suggests farmers are content using tried and tested methods despite the increasing availability of ‘go faster’ solutions. However, ‘tried and tested’ will inevitably start to hold the industry back. The initial thinking on where to get the ball rolling faster is for agritech developers to focus on time-saving rather than insight solutions, and stop assuming farmers are inherent technophobes.
An analysis of the impact of agritech on the New Zealand economy published last year suggested that New Zealand is underperforming relative to its global peers. While food and fibre exports have grown substantially, the same can’t be said for agritech, which has netted a consistent (rather than accelerating) $1.1 billion to $1.2 billion over the past five years. . .
Exclusion fence gives options for diversity at Bollon – Sally Gall:
A decision in the summer of 2017 to fully enclose their 36,420ha of country in the Bollon district has rewarded Scott and Alison Todd many times over.
The couple came to Brigalow Downs 90km south of Bollon in 2014, walking into one of the biggest droughts on record.
At that stage they were an all-cattle operation with rangeland goats running freely on the property, and with a good reserve of mulga and cattle selling very cheaply in the Barcaldine and Blackall districts, they began building cattle numbers.
As the drought went on, their mulga didn’t regenerate as well as expected, and with cattle agistment bills mounting, they decided to diversify. . .