Rural round-up

May 25, 2017

Top dairy woman says industry must ponder its future – Pam Tipa:

A major issue facing the dairy industry is “how much to grow,” says the 2017 Fonterra Dairy Woman of the Year, Jessie Chan-Dorman.

“What is a sustainable growth aspiration for our industry? [We need to] actually put a stake in the ground about what sustainable growth looks like,” Chan-Dorman told Rural News.

“That conversation [is needed] not just among ourselves but – like it or not – with all the wider parties, the New Zealand public, who have an interest in where the dairy industry is heading. . .

Event manager carves out dairy career niche – Sudesh Kissun:

The first solo woman winner of the Dairy Manager of the Year title, Hayley Hoogendyk, hopes to be a role model for others switching to a career in farming.

Hoogendyk (28) left her job as an events manager and took up dairy farming five years ago.

In March she won the Manawatu Dairy Manager of the Year competition; earlier this month she was crowned the national winner at the Dairy Industry Awards final in Auckland.

Hoogendyk told Rural News she had not expected to win. . .

Milk price great news:

Today’s Fonterra milk price forecast of $6.50 for the 2017-18 season, coupled with the revised price of $6.15 for the current season, is great news for dairy farmers, says DairyNZ.

It is great news too for the country as it will boost the regional and national economies.

While welcoming the forecast increase, DairyNZ’s chief executive Dr Tim Mackle says he needs to challenge farmers to ‘make hay while the sun shines’.

“By this I mean that farmers need to take advantage of the milk price increases to pay down debt, and carry out the likes of deferred maintenance,” he says. . .

Fonterra forecast signals dairy industry revival:

The revival in fortunes of dairy farmers has been highlighted today by Fonterra’s announcement that they are increasing the milk price for the current season-lifting its payout from $6.00 to $6.15/kg milksolids for the year ending 30 May 2017.

Fonterra’s favourable forecast wasn’t unexpected and reflects the recent trend of increasing global dairy prices, which has fostered more confidence amongst the markets.

“Many dairy farmers throughout the country will be enjoying their lunch today. This is great news and comes after a turbulent few years where the industry has been under the pump,” says Andrew Hoggard, Federated Farmers Dairy Industry Chair. . .

Higher milk pay-out puts $3.5bn into farmers’ pockets – Fonterra – Alexa Cook:

A milk pay-out of $6.15 a kilogram of milk solids this season will give farmers an extra $3.5 billion compared to last season, says Fonterra.

The co-operative has lifted its pay-out for the season by 15 cents and announced an opening forecast for next season of $6.50 kg/ms.

Milk prices have come a long way from last season’s pay-out of $3.90, and the dairy index is now at its highest in about three years. . .

Ways to keep nutrients out of waterways – Nicole Sharp:

How can we reduce sediment, phosphorus and E. coli getting in to waterways?

AgResearch scientist Tom Orchiston put the question to farmers along with giving advice on good management practices onfarm at Dairy NZ’s Farmers Forum on May 4.

Sediment in waterways reduced the habitat and disrupted the eco-system in streams, he said. . . 

Lewis shows her class – Alan Williams:

Vivienne Lewis is responsible for the results of one of the biggest shearing jobs in New Zealand and the work has won her the NZ Wool Classers Association crossbred wool merit award.

Her team handled the shearing of the 30,000 ewes, 10,000 two-tooths, 12,000 lambs and 700 rams on the sprawling Ngamatea Station near Taihape in the central North Island.

It was a very big clip and the Canterbury Wool Scour-sponsored award was won for the manner of its preparation and classing and presented at the association’s annual meeting in Christchurch in mid-May. . . .

Beef + Lamb New Zealand confirms board positions:

The Directors of Beef + Lamb New Zealand have re-elected Northland farmer James Parsons as the Chairman for another year.

Parsons has been the Chairman of Beef + Lamb New Zealand since 2014 and has represented the Northern North Island as its Farmer Director since 2009.

The Board has also elected Gore farmer, and Southern South Island Farmer Director Andrew Morrison, as the Deputy Chairman, when it met for its May meeting. . .


Do the bullies drink milk, eat ice cream?

May 24, 2017

The increasingly strident anti-dairy campaigns are hitting dairy farmers’ children:

Children of dairy farmers are being bullied at school, just because of the work their parents do.

This was revealed by DairyNZ director Ben Allomes, speaking at a dairy farmers’ forum in Manawatu recently.

Allomes says such behaviour is terrible, and it seems the campaign against dairying is being ramped up as the September election draws near.

Dairy farmers are becoming very sensitive to criticism and feel ‘got at’ by the mainstream media, he says.

“When we start hearing more of the negative media stories it impacts more on us and we are more critical of ourselves and more aware of the impact.

“When you read and hear nothing but negative media stories it brings you down and you are more sensitive to it.

“Farmers get out of bed to do their best for their family and the rest of their country but then get cut to pieces. It isn’t pleasant… especially for kids at school being bullied.” . . 

Do the children bullying dairy farmers’ children drink milk, eat cheese, ice cream or yoghurt?

Do the adults who swallow the anti-dairying messages eat dairy products and do they realise how much poorer the country would be and how much less there would be to spend on social services and infrastructure if it wasn’t for the billions of dollars in foreign exchange which dairying earns?

The economic contribution doesn’t excuse poor environmental practices.

But contrary to too much of the media coverage, most farmers are not environmental vandals and are working very hard to ensure are farming sustainably and, especially, that they are looking after water ways.


Rural round-up

May 19, 2017

Farmers ‘dead keen’ to improve water practices – council – Alexa Cook:

A group of farmers near Whakatāne are working with the regional council to try and improve water quality by changing the way they farm.

Agribusiness consultant Ailson Dewes has gathered about 15 dairy farmers on behalf of the Bay of Plenty Regional Council to understand more about how their farming systems can impact water quality.

Ms Dewes said the group was facing the issue head-on.

“They are sitting around the table, they are exposing all their numbers in terms of the health of their business, their environmental footprint, the way they farm – and they’re saying ‘we realise the way we farmed in the past is not the way we can farm in the future’. . . 

2017 Dairy Award Winners Environmentally Conscious

The 2017 New Zealand Dairy Industry Awards winners and finalists represent a group of people who are acutely aware of environmental issues and the dairy industry’s role in farming responsibly.

In front of nearly 550 people at Auckland’s Sky City Convention Centre last night, Christopher and Siobhan O’Malley were named the 2017 New Zealand Share Farmers of the Year, Hayley Hoogendyk became the 2017 New Zealand Dairy Manager of the Year and Clay Paton was announced the 2017 New Zealand Dairy Trainee of the Year. They shared prizes worth over $190,000. . . 

Fonterra Australia to pay more in 2017/18 season with improving business, milk price –  Rebecca Howard:

(BusinessDesk) – Fonterra Cooperative Group says an improvement in its Australian business and rising milk prices mean it will be able to pay its suppliers more in the season that kicks off in six weeks.

Fonterra Australia expects to pay its Australian suppliers a range of A$5.30-to-A$5.70 per kilogram of milk solids in the 2017/18 season as well as an additional payment of 40 Australian cents/kgMS. It paid A$5.20/kgMS in the season that is just ending. . . 

Counterfeits, name recognition a challenge for Zespri in quest for Chinese market dominance – Sophie Boot:

(BusinessDesk) – Zespri Group’s expansion into China is continuing at pace, after the country last year overtook Japan as its biggest retail market, though the company is battling against counterfeiting and theft from local growers who want a slice of its market.

Lewis Pan, the fruit marketer’s China country manager, says Zespri is focusing on brand recognition to shore up its dominance in the market. China delivered almost $300 million in revenue in the 2016 financial year, a 60 percent lift on a year earlier, and accounting for 16 percent of Zespri’s total $1.91 billion of revenue that . . 

Wilding pines control work nears million hectare mark:

Primary Industries Minister Nathan Guy and Conservation Minister Maggie Barry say wilding pines control work has nearly reached its first year target of a million hectares.

“20 per cent of New Zealand will be covered in unwanted wilding conifers within 20 years if their spread isn’t stopped. They already cover more than 1.8 million hectares of New Zealand and until now have been spreading at about 5 per cent a year,” Mr Guy says.

“The National Wilding Conifer Control Programme was put in place in 2016 to prevent their spread and systematically remove them from much of the land already taken over.” . . 

Ten years after the crisis what is happening to the world’s bees? –  Simon Klein:

Ten years ago, beekeepers in the United States raised the alarm that thousands of their hives were mysteriously empty of bees. What followed was global concern over a new phenomenon: Colony Collapse Disorder. The Conversation

Since then we have realised that it was not just the US that was losing its honey bees; similar problems have manifested all over the world. To make things worse, we are also losing many of our populations of wild bees too.

Losing bees can have tragic consequences, for us as well as them. Bees are pollinators for about one-third of the plants we eat, a service that has been valued at €153 billion (US$168 billion) per year worldwide.

Ten years after the initial alarm, what is the current status of the world’s bee populations, and how far have we come towards understanding what has happened? . . .

Delegat grape harvest growth slows, still has enough stock to meet projected sales – Paul McBeth:

(BusinessDesk) – Delegat Group recorded a small gain in its Australian and New Zealand grape harvest but has enough stock on hand to meet its projected sales targets for the coming year.

The Auckland-based winemaker, whose brands include Oyster Bay, had a 4 percent increase in the New Zealand harvest to 34,595 tonnes, while its Australian harvest grew 6 percent to 2,760 tonnes, it said in a statement. Last year, Delegat’s New Zealand harvest expanded 33 percent from a weather-affected crop in 2015, while the Australian vineyards delivered a 56 percent increase in 2016. . . 


Rural round-up

May 16, 2017

Three Years On and more progress by dairy farmers:

Greenie groups who seek to bolster their fundraising campaigns by using dairy farmers as their favourite target need to read the Water Accord report released today.

Federated Farmers Dairy Industry chairman Andrew Hoggard says the Sustainable Dairying: Water Accord ‘Three Years On’ report underlines how seriously dairy farmers take their environmental responsibilities.

“None of us are claiming we’re perfect, or that there is no problem with dairy’s impact on waterways. But the latest report shows the strenuous and ongoing efforts the vast majority of dairy farmers are making to lessen their environmental footprint,” Mr Hoggard says.

The level of compliance for dairy effluent systems is at its highest ever, at a shade under 95 percent. . .

Latest Water Accord update shows good environmental progress by farmers:

Primary Industries Minister Nathan Guy has welcomed the latest progress report of the Sustainable Dairying: Water Accord project, showing dairy farmers have now fenced off over 97 per cent of waterways.

“The Water Accord is a voluntary project led by the industry to improve farming practices and water quality. This Year Three update shows a range of targets have been achieved, including stock exclusion from 26,197 km of measured waterways which is the equivalent of Auckland to Chicago and back again,” says Mr Guy.

“99.4 per cent of regular stock crossing points on dairy farms now have bridges or culverts to protect local water quality, and over 10 million dollars has been spent on environmental stewardship and farmer support programmes. . . 

Climate change report indicates challenges for NZ agriculture – Allan Barber:

GLOBE-NZ, a group of 35 MPs from all the main parties, has released a report by UK firm Vivid Economics which lays out various scenarios for New Zealand to meet the target of zero emissions by 2050. Business New Zealand and the Sustainable Business Council have both welcomed the cross party initiative, saying it gives confidence there will be collective and coordinated action towards meeting the target. It will also help to achieve commitments under the 2030 Paris climate change agreement to reduce emissions to 20% below the 2005 level.

The report, Net Zero in New Zealand, acknowledges this country’s unique characteristics: a significant amount of renewable energy, large share of land sector emissions (i.e. methane from sheep and cattle) and a large forestry sector. . . 

Waikato farmers launch innovative health and safety app:

Waikato farmers have developed an innovative app that aims help farmers meet their health and safety obligations and streamline communication to those who come to farm.

Husband and wife Horsham Downs dairy farmers Megan Owen and Jason Ham teamed up with Hamilton-based tech company Bridge Point to create the cloud-based app Orange Cross, which launched in late 2016.

Orange Cross will be showcased at the Innovation Centre at Fieldays from June 14-17. . . 

Feds’ keen to improve awareness with stock management on roads:

Federated Farmers is looking forward to working with Marlborough District Council on building more awareness and good practices around stock movement on local roads.

This follows a recent review of the council’s Traffic Bylaw which found current guidelines as being sufficiently “practical and enforceable”.

“It’s very pleasing to see the council have taken on board our feedback and listened to the local community,” says Sharon Parkes, Federated Farmers’ Marlborough Provincial President.

“Many farmers rely on the ability to use public roads in rural areas to move stock between different parts of their farming operations, while clear, workable bylaws assist everyone in their application and use. . . 

Forestry Training and Success Celebrated in the South:

Last Friday saw an outstanding turnout by local forestry companies, contractors and transport operators from throughout the lower South Island of New Zealand. The function was the 2017 Southern Wood Council Forestry Awards.

The Council, representing all major forest owners and most of the major wood processing companies in Otago and Southland ran the 2017 Awards programme in conjunction with the country’s industry training organisation, Competenz. . . 

High producing contract vineyard placed on the market for sale:

A boutique highly productive vineyard supplying grapes to one New Zealand’s largest contract winemakers has been placed on the market for sale.

Zaccarat Vineyard in Renwick on the outskirts of Blenheim consists of some eight hectares of grape plantings – encompassing 6.55 hectares of sauvignon blanc vines and 1.43 hectares of pinot noir. . . 


Dairying making good progress on protecting waterways

May 16, 2017

Dairy farmers have made significant progress on their commitment to protecting dairy waterways, according to a new progress report on the Sustainable Dairying: Water Accord ‘Three Years On’.

The independently audited report shows that 97 percent of dairy cattle are fenced off from waterways on farms. That equals 26,197km of measured Accord waterways excluded from dairy cattle or the equivalent of 12 trips by road from Cape Reinga to Bluff.

National levels of significant non-compliance for dairy effluent systems on farms have dropped to their lowest ever, at 5.2 percent (down from 7 percent in 2013-14).

Eighty-three percent of farmers (compared to 56 percent in 2013-14) are now getting nitrogen information to help them farm more responsibly – with 9,517 nutrient budgets processed last year. The nitrogen management programme collects data to show nitrogen loss on-farm. This enables farmers to make improvements to their farm systems to reduce nitrogen loss and improve efficiency of use.

More than 99 percent of 44,386 regular stock crossing points on dairy farms now have bridges or culverts to protect local water quality.

DairyNZ CEO Dr Tim Mackle, says it’s heartening to see what farmers have achieved in the past three years.  “I acknowledge that there is still some work to do, but dairy farmers are making a positive difference.

The decline in water quality occurred over time and will take time to reverse but most dairy farmers are making significant, and expensive, efforts to protect and enhance waterways.

“They have made great strides since the Sustainable Dairying: Water Accord was launched in 2013. Dairy farmers made a commitment to good management practices and the actions they have taken, both large and small, are reflected in these results. The really special thing is that they have made this commitment voluntarily, and I take my hat off to them”, says Dr Mackle.

Dairy Companies Association of New Zealand executive director Kimberly Crewther says that since the Sustainable Dairying: Water Accord was launched in 2013, the industry has made significant progress on meeting it’s environmental commitments.

“The annual process of independent auditing of results gives a high degree of assurance that real progress is occurring against targets”, she says.

This is good progress on a long journey. Farmers have done a lot but there’s still more to be done to clean up waterways by both rural and urban people.

You can read more about the Water Accord here.


Rural round-up

May 11, 2017

Dairy Awards highlight immigrant commitment:

The value of new immigrants to the dairy industry was on show at the Dairy Industry Awards in Auckland last night.

Federated Farmers Dairy Chairman Andrew Hoggard says while immigration builds as an election issue, it was particularly significant that runner up to the most prestigious award were 33 year-old Filipino immigrants Carlos and Bernice Delos Santos.

The couple have worked their way up through the dairy industry and are a shining example of the significant contribution and leadership our immigrants can provide. They also won the Ecolab Farm Dairy Hygiene merit award. . .

Remuneration survey finds modest lift in farm employee salaries:

There has been a modest rise in farm employee salaries over the last 12 months, the 2017 Federated Farmers-Rabobank Farm Employee Remuneration survey shows.

The mean salary for employees on grain farms increased by 2.3 per cent since the 2016 survey, while the mean salary increased by 1.8 per cent and 0.3 percent for employees on sheep and beef and dairy farms respectively.

The survey was completed earlier this year and collected information from 914 respondents on 2834 positions.

Federated Farmers employment spokesperson Andrew Hoggard said it was positive to see farming salaries creeping upwards given the tough economic conditions experienced by farmers in recent years. . .

Sheep and beef farmers make biodiversity contribution through QE11 covenants:

New Zealand sheep and beef farmers are making a significant contribution to this country’s biodiversity and landscape protection, a new study on Queen Elizabeth 11 National Trust covenants has highlighted.

The study by the University of Waikato Institute for Business Research quantifies the financial commitment made by landowners who have protected around 180,000 ha since the Trust was established in 1977.

Beef + Lamb New Zealand Chief Executive, Sam McIvor said the report showed that two thirds ofQEII covenants are on primary production land, with 47% of all covenants being on sheep and beef farms. Some farms have more than one covenant and many farmers open their covenants to the community, often partnering with schools and local community groups. . .

Farmers take a lead in environment protection

Farmers’ environmental credentials have been under attack from some quarters of late but new research highlights just one way those who work the land also strive to look after it.

Federated Farmers welcomes a study by the University of Waikato Institute for Business Research that highlights the impact and costs of land placed under covenant via the QE II National Trust.

“Farmers have been front and centre in the activities of the QEII National Trust right from the start. We congratulate them on their 40th anniversary, and for commissioning this study,” Federated Farmers environment and water spokesman Chris Allen says. . .

New fund launched to support QEII covenantors

A new fund to help covenantors with the management of their covenants was launched today by QEII National Trust Chair, James Guild, at an event hosted by Rt Hon David Carter at Parliament’s Grand Hall.

The Stephenson Fund for Covenant Enhancement aims to support covenantors with strategically important enhancement projects they have planned for their covenants. . .

Irrigation funding for Kurow Duntroon welcomed:

Primary Industries Minister Nathan Guy has welcomed $388,000 in new development grant funding for the Kurow Duntroon Irrigation Company (KDIC) from Crown Irrigation Investments Ltd.

“This grant is an important step forward for this project which could have major benefits for the North Otago region,” says Mr Guy.

The funding is required to complete the remaining work to reach construction commencement and confirm the commercial viability of the proposed scheme. . . 

New national body to represent Rural Support Trusts:

Minister for Primary Industries Nathan Guy has welcomed the election of a national body to represent all 14 Rural Support Trusts across the country.

“Rural Support Trusts do fantastic work supporting our rural communities in tough times, and this new central body will make them more efficient and effective,” says Mr Guy.

“It will provide single point of contact for other national organisations and the Government, and help the different regions share resources and experience.

“Rural Support Trusts operate independently in their areas, staffed by local people who really know their local communities. . .

Moving Day: need to know:

It’s a familiar date in the dairying diary, Moving Day, and here’s what herd owners need to know to meet their NAIT and TBfree requirements when moving their dairy herd to a new farm.
· Update contact details and record stock movements in NAIT
· Check the TB status and testing requirements of the destination area . . 


QEII covenantors invest millions in conservation

May 10, 2017

QEII National Trust covenanting landowners spend an estimated $25 million of their own money every year to protect native species, forests, wetlands, and other special areas.

This was the finding of a University of Waikato Institute for Business Research study.

These landowners, the majority of which are farmers, have made an overall financial commitment of around $1.1 to $1.3 billion to protect these special areas of private and leased land since the
QEII National Trust was set up forty years ago.

The study was released today at an event hosted by Rt Hon David Carter at Parliament’s Grand Hall. The event was organised by the QEII National Trust as part of its 40th anniversary programme of events.

Working in partnership with the QEII National Trust, covenanting landowners have invested to establish over 4,300 covenants protecting around 180,000 ha since the National Trust was established in 1977. This works out at an average of two new covenants established every week since that date.

The area being protected by covenants is still growing with a further 115 on track to be registered this year alone.

It’s encouraging to see this growth after the previous Labour-led government stalled QEII covenenting.

The study was commissioned to provide a framework for estimating the cost effectiveness of conservation activity facilitated by Queen Elizabeth II National Trust, and to quantify the financial commitment made by National Trust covenantors in their covenanted land for the public good.

‘This is the first time the National Trust has undertaken research of this nature and it has given us a clear indication of the huge investment landowners around New Zealand have made in covenants since the National Trust was set up 40 years ago,’ Trust Chair James Guild says.

‘With the release of this report we acknowledge the hard work, philanthropy, generosity, and passion of the thousands of landowners who have voluntarily elected to covenant special places on their land with the National Trust.

‘Together they are making a very significant contribution towards the protection and enhancement of our threatened ecosystems and biodiversity on private land to ensure New Zealand’s uniqueness is protected forever,’ he says.

The QEII National Trust partners with private landowners wanting to permanently protect special natural and cultural features on their land with covenants. QEII (open space) covenants are legally binding agreements that are registered on the land title and protect the associated land and its natural values forever. The covenanting landowner and subsequent owners retain ownership of and management responsibilities for the protected land.

The QEII National Trust is the perpetual trustee to ensure the purpose and objectives of the covenant are achieved by monitoring the covenant and providing advice and other support to the landowner.

Analysis of data collected for the study has shown environmental gains  and substantial costs, both direct and in lost potential earnings, for land owners:

· Waterway protection (20%), restoration planting (19%), wetland restoration (18%), weed control (15%), pest control (7%) and fence maintenance (7%) are the major contributors to total maintenance costs for QEII covenants.

· The total estimated maintenance expenditure on covenants is $25 million per year and has a net present value of $387 million (calculated over 30 years). That equates to an average of just under $6,000 per covenant per year or $150 per hectare of covenanted land.

· 53% of covenanted areas would have had an alternative economic use (for example, grazing, residential development, exotic forestry) that is foreclosed by the decision of the landowner to covenant the land to protect its natural values. Grazing is the most common economic use foreclosed by the covenant, followed by housing and exotic forestry.

· The total opportunity costs (the loss of potential income from other alternative uses due to development and use restrictions) associated with the covenants that had alternative uses foreclosed is estimated to be in the range of $443 million to $638 million. That equates to approximately $105,000 per covenant or $2,657 per hectare of covenanted land (calculated over 30 years with a 5% discount rate).

The loss of potential earnings could also be reflected in a lower value for the whole property when it’s sold.

· The total estimated expenditure on covenant establishment up until June 2016 was around
$205 million. That is approximately $50,000 per covenant on average, or $1,228 per hectare of covenanted land.

· The biggest cost for landowners establishing covenants is fencing the covenanted areas to exclude livestock (30%) followed by initial weed control (18%), restoration planting (10%) and wetland restoration work (10%).

· Calculated over a 30-year period with a 5% discount rate, the annual maintenance expenditure on covenants adds up to an investment in the order of $92,000 per covenant or $ 2,300 per hectare of covenanted land.

· The estimated net present value of the total commitment by land owners across the nation in
QEII open space covenants is estimated to be in the range of $1.1b to $1.3b, or over $260,000 per covenant.

· It should be noted that despite virtually all QEII covenants running in perpetuity, the maintenance costs and revenue foregone has been estimated only over a 30 year period with a 5% discount rate.

QE II covenants are a win-win for conservation and property rights.

Landowners retain ownership of their land while preserving landscapes of aesthetic, cultural, recreational, scenic, scientifc, or social interest or value.

The full report is here or a hard copy can be requested by writing to the QEII National Trust, PO Box 3341, Wellington.


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