Rural round-up

September 4, 2015

Farmers not sidestepping health and safety reform – Katie Milne:

The Health and Safety Reform Bill has grabbed many recent headlines because of what is deemed a high risk industry – and what is not.

Because most farming industries fall on the low-risk side, many people seem to have rushed to a judgement that farmers are excluded from these reforms.

This is simply not the case.

The reforms are designed to improve the safety of every industry and every workplace. Farms included.

What’s more, the bill passed by Parliament last week is welcomed by Federated Farmers for the very reason it will further help our members to address the high level of workplace incidents and fatalities on our farms. . . 

Survey shows banks have stepped up to the plate during dairy downturn:

Banks are providing much needed support to New Zealand’s dairy industry during this period of desperately low prices, a survey from Federated Farmers has revealed. 

Only 6.6% of dairy farmers say they have come under undue pressure from banks over their mortgage. Just 5.7% are dissatisfied with banks over their mortgages and as little as 3.1% are unhappy about the quality of communication from banks over the past three months. 

Across all farming industries the level of dissatisfaction over mortgages is even less (5.2%), with 5.5% saying they have come under undue pressure in this area and 3.5% unhappy with how banks are communicating with them.

The survey was conducted the week following Fonterra’s announcement on 7 August of a forecast payout to farmers of $3.85 per kilogram of milk solids, and Federated Farmers President Dr William Rolleston says the organisation took the step because it was vital the industry knew exactly what level of support it was receiving.  . . 

Canola grower all in favour of friendly rivalry – Sally Rae:

Competition is hotting up globally in the world of canola and even Guinness World Records is finally excited.

A few years ago, North Otago arable farmer Chris Dennison approached Guinness World Records (GWR) and suggested a new category for the crop, as a lot of canola was grown in the world and there was interest in achieving high yields. . . 

What other EU governments are doing to help their farmers – Amy Forde:

Fed-up Irish dairy, grain and pig farmers took to the streets of Dublin recently to protest about the low prices they are receiving for their produce and low farm incomes.

It is an EU-wide problem and next week there will be an extraordinary meeting of EU agriculture ministers in Brussels.

The ministers will debate the state of play in EU markets as weak prices in a number of sectors is leading to increased farmer unrest across the continent. . . 

Orchard’s Innovation Recognised in Greater Wellington Ballance Farm Environment Awards:

Entering the Greater Wellington Ballance Farm Environment Awards for the second time proved well worthwhile for pipfruit operation JR’s Orchard Ltd.

Owners JR Van Vliet and Jamiee Burns first entered in 2009 and were thrilled to win the Innovation award for the clever way they installed crop protection netting on the 117ha orchard (92ha planted) on the eastern edge of Greytown.

“We found the awards to be a wonderful experience,” says Jamiee.

“We learnt so much, and it made us re-evaluate some of the processes we were using in the operation.” . . .

Klein's Agri Services's photo.

Butchery sizzles competition to take out bacon award:

Butcheries in Christchurch and Auckland have taken out the country’s top awards for bacon and ham.

The 100% NZ Bacon & Ham Competition celebrates turning New Zealand grown pork into bacon and ham products.

Cashmere Cuisine in Christchurch won bacon of the year and Westmere Butchery in Auckland won ham of the year. . . 


Rural round-up

September 3, 2015

The great job-creating machine – Not PC:

. . .  In 1980, almost a quarter of the world’s employment was still in agriculture. Now, only around 15% of the world’s workers are engaged in agricultural labour. Yet we are feeding more people, undernourishment is at an all-time low, and food is becoming less expensive.

Technological advances liberated humanity from toiling in fields by mechanizing many processes and boosting productivity, allowing more food to be produced per hectare of land, and freeing hundreds of millions of people to pursue less gruelling work. 

The elimination of so many unsafe jobs in manufacturing and agriculture means fewer worker deaths. According to data from the International Labour Organization, from 2003 to 2013, the number of work fatalities in the world decreased by 61% (i.e., over 20,500 fewer deaths). This occurred even as the world population grew by over 700 million over the same time period. . . 

Update on recovery in storm-affected regions:

Civil Defence Minister Nikki Kaye says recovery from the severe storm in June is going well, but latest estimates show its economic impact could be around $270 million. Areas hardest hit by the storm included parts of Taranaki, Whanganui and Manawatu. “Much of the cost of the storm will be met by private insurance, but the Government will also contribute significant support. “We do this in several ways. We make support available to individuals through things like contributions to local relief funds.  . . 

Extra $2.6m support for storm-affected regions:

Minister for Primary Industries Nathan Guy and Civil Defence Minister Nikki Kaye have announced an extra $2.6 million of Government support for communities worst affected by the severe storm in June.

“Today’s announcement extends the support we can usually draw on to help communities recover from an emergency such as this,” says Ms Kaye.

“This was an unusual event because certain areas were hit a lot harder than others.

“The new support package includes one-off initiatives that take into account the severity of localised damage that occurred in parts of Taranaki, Whanganui and Manawatu.”

Today’s announcement adds to previous Government funding and welfare support, and includes: . . .

What’s happening in China – and what does it mean for New Zealand’s agri-food? – Keith Woodford:

In recent weeks I have been traveling in Western China. It is just over a year since I was last there, and as with every visit the changes are visible: more fast railways, more four lane highways, and lots more apartment buildings.

This visual perspective contrasts with what we are reading in the media about China’s declining economic growth. Which is correct? Well, both perspectives are valid.

There are many ‘Chinas’ but for simplicity I will divide China into two. There is the eastern seaboard comprising Beijing, Shanghai, Guangzhou, Tianjin, Zhejiang, Shenzhen and other big seaboard cities. And there is another China west of the seaboard, including Chengdu, Chongqing, Xian, Wuhan, Kunming, and Xining. . . 

New judging coordinator appointed for Canterbury sustainable farming awards:

Farming journalist Sandra Taylor has recently been appointed Judging Coordinator for the Canterbury Ballance Farm Environment Awards.

The award application period is open and Sandra is encouraging farmers to show how important environmental management and enhancement is to the industry.

“Farmers take great pride in their farm environments and the Ballance Farm Environment Awards provides a fantastic opportunity to both benchmark and showcase all the great work that is being done on farms throughout the Canterbury region.” . . .

Ballance holds pricing to help farmers through spring:

Ballance Agri-Nutrients has today announced it is holding nitrogen prices to help shelter customers from the significant drop in the dollar and support production on farm this spring.

“We know this is a crucial period for pastoral farmers, and with nitrogen a key feed source in farm budgets we are doing our best to help out where we can and support our customers to plan their feed requirements for spring,” said Ballance CEO Mark Wynne.

Ballance Science Manager Aaron Stafford advised farmers to focus on the nutrient inputs that drive production in the current season or year when planning budgets. . . .

Job Done Wins Idea Pitch at Fonterra Activate to Bring Tech Innovation to Dairy Farms:

Fonterra is pushing on with a business relationship with digital innovation start-up company Job Done after they won an idea pitch yesterday at GridAKL, in Auckland’s innovation precinct.

Seven teams representing Icehouse, Spark Ventures and BBDO spent a month developing prototypes at their own cost with a view to securing future services with the Co-operative to help farmers save time and money.

The seven ideas were pitched to a judging panel made up of Fonterra farmers and staff.

Pitch winner Job Done was mentored by Icehouse and founded by Manawatu farmer Nigel Taylor. . . 

Simcro Limited acquires ISL Animal Health and NJ Phillips PTY

Simcro Limited, a leader in the global animal pharmaceutical delivery device industry, has acquired ISL Animal Health (Hamilton, NZ) and NJ Phillips PTY (Gosford, NSW, Australia) from Forlong & Maisey and the Maisey family of Hamilton, New Zealand.

The agreement is effective from 1 September 2015.

Simcro Executive Chairman, Will Rouse, said, “After the Riverside Company became our majority shareholder in 2013, we began looking for opportunities to exponentially grow Simcro’s international market strength. We’ve been in discussions with ISL Animal Health and NJ Phillips for quite some time.

“Internationally, animal health companies are amalgamating at a rapid pace. These industry changes are creating opportunities for companies like ours. These opportunities, however, create the requirement to meet ever-increasing quality and compliance thresholds for our global customers. . . 


Rural round-up

September 2, 2015

Tap turned on at Hororata irrigation scheme – Annabelle Tukia:

The tap has officially been turned on for one of the country’s largest irrigation projects.

The Central Plains water scheme will irrigate more than 20,000 hectares of Canterbury farmland.

One Hororata farmer says the massive scheme, which runs off the Rakaia River, will enable him and his neighbours to completely transform their operations.

Rodney Booth has waited a long time to turn the irrigators on at his Hororata farm. . . 

Dairy and travel still our largest export earners:

New Zealand earned $2.3 billion more from exports than we spent on imports during the year ended June 2015, Statistics New Zealand said today.

In the year to June 2015, total exports of goods and services were $67.5 billion, while total imports were $65.1 billion.

Dairy remains New Zealand’s largest export commodity, earning $12.0 billion in the June 2015 year. However, this was down from $15.8 billion in the June 2014 year. Spending by international visitors to New Zealand (travel exports) increased $2.4 billion, reaching $11.7 billion in the June 2015 year.

“Dairy and travel are New Zealand’s biggest export earners,” international statistics senior manager Jason Attewell said. “A fall in dairy exports to China, combined with the increase in expenditure by overseas visitors to New Zealand, has narrowed the gap between the two.” . . 

App helps keep hives humming – Sally Rae:

Brice Horner gets a buzz about educating others about beekeeping.

Now the Dunedin police officer has developed a phone app that helps beekeepers identify whether they have the destructive bacterial disease American foulbrood (AFB) in their hives.

AFB kills bee larvae and infected hives have to be destroyed by burning, as the disease is very difficult to combat. After destroying the bee larvae, spores could survive outside a bee colony for more than 35 years.

It is a serious issue, and beekeepers are legally required to advise the AFB Management Agency within seven days of noticing an outbreak and to destroy the disease by burning within the same period. . . 

Kiwi dairy farmers feeling the pinch are right – their payout is the world’s lowest – Fiona Rotherham:

(BusinessDesk) – New Zealand dairy farmers bracing for the lowest payout in a decade probably won’t welcome the latest analysis of global trends in the industry – their counterparts in every other dairy-producing country are being paid more.

An expected uplift in dairy prices in the overnight GlobalDairyTrade auction won’t change the fact Kiwi dairy farmers are the lowliest paid. AgriHQ analysed milk prices from around the world converted to NZ$/kilogram of milk solids to allow valid comparisons, although some dairy farmers incomes in other countries are boosted by subsidies and support schemes.

Fonterra’s forecast farmgate milk price, which is the price setter in the New Zealand dairy industry, is $3.85/kgMS for the current season, the lowest in a decade. That compares to China at the other end of the scale at $11/kgMS, the United States at $8.15/kgMS, Argentina at $7.57/kgMS, and the UK at $6.95/kgMS. Of the countries analysed, Ireland’s payout of $6.10/kgMS was the closest to New Zealand’s. . . 

OceanaGold raises 2015 production estimate to reflect Waihi acquisition – Tina Morrison:

(BusinessDesk) – OceanaGold Corp expects 2015 production to increase while costs fall after the gold miner takes control of Waihi Gold Mine later this year.

The acquisition of the Waihi mine from Newmont Mining Corp is awaiting approval from the Overseas Investment Office this month, and once completed, OceanaGold expects to assume the economic benefits and costs associated with Waihi from July 1, the Melbourne-based miner said in a statement. The company increased its 2015 production estimates, and reduced its costs forecast to reflect lower copper and diesel prices and a weaker New Zealand dollar, it said. . . 

Sanford quits Pacific tuna business, lines up buyers for vessels – Paul McBeth:

(BusinessDesk) – Sanford, New Zealand’s largest listed fishing group, will quit its underperforming Pacific tuna business and put the unit’s fleet up for sale.

The Auckland-based company sold its San Nanumea vessel and is in talks with a potential buyer of San Nikunau, its other Pacific tuna ship, after reviewing the viability of the business, Sanford said in a statement. On April 9, it entered into a conditional agreement to sell both international purse seiner vessels, according to Sanford’s interim report released in June. . . 

Rural Equities posts 27% decline in annual earnings after milk prices slumped – Tina Morrison:

(BusinessDesk) – Rural Equities, the farming group majority-owned by the Cushing family, posted a 27 percent decline in annual earnings as milk prices plummeted.

The Hastings-based company said operating earnings before interest and tax fell to $4.67 million in the year ended June 30, from $6.43 million a year earlier as Fonterra Cooperative Group slashed its milk price payout to $4.40 per kilogram of milk solids from $8.40/kgMS the previous year. While that impacted its seven dairy farms, the company said its Waikato Puketotara sheep and beef property had a record year and it had steady income from leasing 15 of its 25 farms.

“Operating earnings were satisfactory given the substantial reduction in milk price,” said executive chairman David Cushing. “The company’s portfolio, with a mixture of directly operated and leased farms and diversity by property type and geography, helped provide balance.” . . 

Government grant for East Coast stream restoration:

An $89,700 grant from the Community Environment Fund for the restoration of the Whangawehi stream on the Mahia Peninsula was announced today by Environment Minister Dr Nick Smith during a visit to the catchment. 

“New Zealand has a major challenge to improve the management of our waterways, which has to be achieved stream by stream, river by river and lake by lake. The key to the success of these restoration programmes is getting all parties – landowners, iwi and hapū, district and regional councils as well as the Government – working together. This has been achieved on this project and that is why the Government is providing funding support,” Dr Smith says.  . . 

Fonterra Farmers Can Now Apply for Co-Operative Support:

Fonterra farmers can now apply for Fonterra Co-operative Support, a loan to help them deal with the current challenging conditions.

Chairman John Wilson said Fonterra is well placed to help its farmers because of the Co-operative’s underlying strength.

“Being able to help our farmers is all about standing together as a Co-operative and using our collective strength to get through these tough times,” said Mr Wilson. “We have had a lot of interest from farmers who appreciate what the Co-operative is trying to do for them to assist them with their farming businesses in a tough financial climate, and we are anticipating a large number of applications.” . . .

 


GDT up 10.9%

September 2, 2015

The GlobalDairyTrade trade weighted index increased by 10.9% in this morning’s auction.

This is a welcome second successive increase after a run of big falls.

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Rural round-up

September 1, 2015

‘Water is the next gold’ where expectations and dreams become reality – Kate Taylor:

After starting his working life in a family motor business, Jerry Greer took up farming with a young family and a determination to make a success of his new vocation.

“I had always had a yearning for the land, loved working with animals and loved being outside,” he says.

Jerry and wife Diana love the life they have created in the Argyll East farming district, between Tikokino and Waipawa, and being close to their four children and four grandchildren.

All have an interest in farming, Diana says. . . 

Working on cost of irrigation scheme – Lynda van Kempen

Good things take time, say the promoters of the Manuherikia irrigation scheme.

Feedback will be sought from landowners on revised figures by Christmas, after the estimated costs of the scheme upgrade almost trebled from initial estimates, forcing a rethink of the design and costs.

”It’s taking a bit longer than we’d have liked, but we’ll keep working at it until we’ve got a scheme that’s economic,” Manuherikia Catchment Water Strategy Group chairman Allan Kane said yesterday. . . 

Former Southland District mayor Frana Cardno’s final gift – Blake Foden:

Frana Cardno’s life was all about giving, and the former Southland District mayor has left her beloved province one final gift.

Three generations of Cardno’s family joined her close friends, members of the community and complete strangers to plant 329 trees on the shores of Lake Te Anau on Saturday afternoon.

A former kindergarten teacher who led the region for more than 20 years, Cardno organised her funeral during her battle with cancer. She asked that mourners dressed in colourful clothing and brought a donation of native trees and shrubs. . . 

Silver Fern Farms won’t rule out foreign investment:

The country’s largest meat co-operative, Silver Fern Farms, is not ruling out foreign investment as part of its capital raising process.

Silver Fern Farms is seeking about $100 million in new funding to help reduce debt and has appointed the stockbroking firm Goldman Sachs to help with that process.

New Zealand First leader Winston Peters said he had been made aware Chinese investors want at least a $100 million stake in the company. . .

DairyNZ board candidates put forward

Ten candidates have put their names forward for the three positions up for grabs on the DairyNZ board.

Four farmer candidates have also put their name forward for the three seats on DairyNZ’s directors’ remuneration committee.

Results from the double election would be announced at the DairyNZ Annual General Meeting in Morrinsville on October 13. . .

 


Rural round-up

August 31, 2015

Why people oppose GMOs even though science says they are safe – Stefaan Blancke:

Genetically modified organisms (GMOs) have met with enormous public opposition over the past two decades. Many people believe that GMOs are bad for their health – even poisonous – and that they damage the environment. This is in spite of overwhelming scientific evidence that proves that GMOs are safe to eat, and that they bring environmental benefits by making agriculture more sustainable.

Why is there such a discrepancy between what the science tells us about GMOs, and what people think? To be sure, some concerns, such as herbicide resistance in weeds and the involvement of multinationals, are not without basis, but they are not specific to GMOs. Hence, another question we need to answer is why these arguments become more salient in the context of GMOs. . .

Win over dumping celebrated – Patrick O’Sullivan:

Local growers are celebrating after winning their fight against the relaxation of anti-dumping measures.

They have been lobbying against a proposed relaxation of the measures, which threatened the local canning industry.

Cabinet had agreed in principle to change the rules which would have resulted in anti-dumping duties only after damage to local industry was proven, with the duties removed after an Automatic Termination Period (ATP).

Dumping is illegal under World Trade Organisation agreements. . .

El Niño predicted to give farmers a rough ride over spring and summer –  Michael Forbes and Caleb Harris:

Climate scientists are warning farmers to brace for a large-scale El Nino, with rainfall expected to drop by 15 per cent in some regions and increase by the same amount in others.

The National Institute of Water and Atmospheric Research (Niwa) is projecting the upper North Island and east coast of both islands will be hardest hit by dry conditions, which could mimic the devastating drought that shaved $618 million, or 0.9 per cent, off national GDP in 1997-98.

Principal climate scientist Andrew Tait said there was a 97 per cent chance El Nino would continue until October and a more than 90 per cent chance it would persist through until April 2016. . .

Retired farmer gives helping hand to struggling sharemilkers  – Hannah Lee:

A man who knows a thing or two about how tough farmers are doing it right now is helping out with a free meal.

Retired Lepperton farmer Bob Pigott said the industry has always had its ups and downs, but the current conditions were pretty dire.

As a way to lend a helping hand, Pigott has donated $1000 in meal vouchers at Sporty’s Cafe and Bar in New Plymouth, for sharemilkers who are in need of a night away from the stress of the job.

“To go from $8.25 to $3.85 payout, I mean, it’s pretty disastrous.

“It’s part and parcel of the job though isn’t it, prices go down and come back again – it’s happening again but I think it’s a lot worse this time.”  . . .


Rural round-up

August 30, 2015

Just one today. I found it on Facebook and in case someone whose grammar is better than that of its author notices, whoever is behind it doesn’t know the difference between you’re and your.
NZ Farming's photo.


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