Rural round-up

07/12/2021

Wool growers too have something to cheer about as dairy leads the charge in brightening farmers’ prospects – Point of Order:

City dwellers,  preoccupied by  Covid,  may not  have  observed  that the  country’s export  economy is  being  sustained  by   its  primary  industries.  Last  week  came  the  news that  Fonterra had  signalled a  record payout to its suppliers, pumping  $13.2bn into the  regions.

Some analysts think that may be on the conservative side and  the final payout will surpass  $9kg/MS.

In  any  case,  the  ANZ commodity  price index lifted  2.8%  in November,  pushing  it into new  territory.  The  bank’s economists, noting that dairy prices  led the   charge, reported they  were  supported  by strong  gains  in  meat.

Again,  because  of the  preoccupation with the pandemic,  it may have  gone  unnoticed that meat  exporters achieved record returns  in the season ended in September. Total export receipts for beef and sheepmeat  equalled the record returns of 2019–20 and were 17% up on the five-year average. . . 

Chisholm getting a real buzz out of breeding Southdown sheep – Sally Rae:

Matt Chisholm is the new ram on the block in the world of stud sheep breeding – and he could not be happier.

On Monday, Chisholm – a familiar face on television and an advocate for mental health, having publicly opened up about his struggles with depression – will head to North Otago to sell a ram from his newly established Southdown stud The Land.

The Cordyline Southdowns ram fair will be like no other, held in the grounds of Brookfield Park, a Heritage New Zealand category 2 listed property which featured in the New Zealand House and Garden tour in 2019.

Built on the outskirts of Oamaru by renowned local architect Thomas Forrester for original owner John Gilchrist, the first mayor of Oamaru, it is now owned by Jennifer (JJ) Rendell, who since buying the property in 2003 has created an imaginative garden retreat surrounding a restored Victorian homestead. . .

New funding to assess impact of on-farm planting on beneficial insects :

Plant & Food Research and co-investment partners welcome the $2.2 million of Government funding for a new project ‘Beneficial Biodiversity for the Greater Good’, just announced by Agriculture Minister Damien O’Connor.

The $3.2 million, five-year research programme aims to understand the impact of native plantings on beneficial insect diversity and abundance on a range of farm types. It seeks to design plantings that optimise pollination and decrease pests on farms, without creating pest reservoirs.

“We’re grateful for the Government support through the Ministry for Primary Industries’ Sustainable Food and Fibre Futures fund, which will fast-track our research efforts significantly,” says Plant & Food Research lead researcher Dr Melanie Davidson. . . 

Unique partnership to enhance soil health and test regen-ag :

New research on farms across New Zealand will measure and provide farmers tools to enhance soil health, including identifying where regenerative agriculture practices can make a difference.

Agriculture Minister Damien O’Connor today announced a unique partnership between food producers Synlait Milk and Danone, science provider AgResearch, and the Ministry for Primary Industries’ (MPI) Sustainable Food and Fibre Futures fund. The project will study soil health on 10 farms in Waikato, Canterbury and Otago over five years, to determine the impacts of changes in soil health on production, farm resilience and the environment, including climate change.

Soils underpin New Zealand’s food and fibre sector and managing for healthy soils improves the natural capacity of soil to sustain plants, animals, and humans. However, assessment of soil health on farms is not routinely measured in New Zealand, and so practical tools are needed to help farmers understand the detailed state of the soils and how best to manage them. . .

New Zealand National Fieldays Society’s annual report to reflect a changing world :

New Zealand National Fieldays Society (NZNFS) released its Annual Report following a virtual Annual General Meeting of Society Members held on Saturday. The new format report uses an all-inclusive approach to reflect the evolution of the organisation and reframe its wider impact.

Historically, the Society has provided an Economic Impact Report on its flagship event Fieldays® followed by a constitutional Annual Report – separate documents telling the Society’s story from different perspectives.

However, as the Society and the global landscape have evolved, a new approach to tell a more holistic story has been identified. The new-look report is also a step forward in aligning the economic analysis with Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment (MBIE) guidelines. . .

Leading Australian producer picks New Zealand’s Redford software to transform operations:

Australia’s largest processor and packer of potatoes and onions, Mitolo Family Farms, has engaged New Zealand fresh produce software provider Radford Software to streamline operations across the entire value chain, from soil to supermarket.

Radford Software chief executive officer Adam Cuming said he was delighted that South Australian-based Mitolo Family Farms had chosen Radfords to support its next phase of growth.

“Onboarding a customer of Mitolo’s calibre reinforces our international growth strategy as we continue to focus on building client relationships across Australia and into the North American market,” Mr Cuming said. . .


Rural round-up

06/12/2021

Wool price making a comeback as overseas demand for product rises :

Higher demand for sportswear, rugs and other wool products has resulted in a resurgence in wool prices.

Prices across all wool types lifted in the year to October, Beef and Lamb’s latest wool export data shows.

Merino was up 28.4 percent to just over $18,000 a tonne and strong wool, which has been struggling with depressed prices, rose 12.1 percent.

PGG Wrightson general manager of wool Grant Edwards said prices are lifting due to higher demand. . . 

Commercial beekeeper numbers drop amid low prices – Maja Burry:

The Ministry for Primary Industries’ latest apiculture monitoring report showed the number of beekeepers with 500 or more hives fell by 9.9 percent to 316 oin the 2020/21 season.

This follows a 7.6 percent drop the previous season.

The total number of registered hives in New Zealand also fell over the last two years to 806,000.

Prior to this the commercial honey industry had been experiencing growth, with a jump in the popularity and price of manuka honey driving a boom in production. . .

NZ agriculture is starting to see value in celebrating its provenance – Tina Morrison:

Much of New Zealand’s agricultural produce is sold as unbranded commodities on global markets. But that’s starting to change as companies discover there is value in heralding their Kiwi provenance.

“New Zealand has got a really strong story and that’s something that we haven’t really told in the past,” says Lincoln University agribusiness and food marketing programme director Dr Nic Lees. “We are making progress. I think we have started on that journey.”

Fonterra, the country’s largest dairy company, has been vocal about its shift in focus under new chief executive Miles Hurrell. Where his predecessor Theo Spierings envisaged the co-operative becoming another big global conglomerate like Danone or Nestle, Hurrell has sold off overseas assets and pulled back to New Zealand to focus on getting more value from the “white gold” produced by local farmers.

Hurrell says Fonterra is only now amplifying the New Zealand provenance message it always knew it had as demand has increased across its global markets to know more about the origin and purity of food. . . 

MLA becomes major supporter of award benefitting Australasian agriculture:

In an exciting development for future leaders in agriculture, Meat & Livestock Australia (MLA) have announced their partnership with Australasian agricultural badge of honour, the Zanda McDonald Award.

The Award, which recognises talented young individuals from Australia and New Zealand who want to make a difference in agriculture, helps take people’s careers to the next level for the betterment of the industry on both sides of the Tasman.

This is delivered through an impressive personal development plan for the finalists on both sides of the Tasman, and a ‘money can’t buy’ prize package for the winners. This prize includes media training, further education, and a tailored mentoring program across both countries, where they spend time up close and personal with some of the biggest leaders and influencers in the sector. . . 

Fellows of New Zealand Winegrowers announced for 2021:

The New Zealand Winegrowers (NZW) Fellows award recognises individuals who have made an outstanding contribution to the New Zealand wine industry.

From making strides in wine governance to adding sparkle to the wine industry, the 2021 NZW Fellows are a group of highly respected and influential individuals who have helped to shape the success of New Zealand wine today.

We are pleased to announce the NZW Fellows for 2021: Steve Smith MW for service to NZW, Wine Institute of New Zealand, and other initiatives, John Clarke for service to NZW and New Zealand Grape Grower’s Council (NZGGC), Andy Frost for service to national research, Rudi Bauer for service to New Zealand Pinot Noir, and Daniel and Adele Le Brun for service to New Zealand bottle fermented sparkling wine. . . 

Eating less meat no climate solution – Shan Goodwin:

AUSTRALIAN-SPECIFIC research is showing the climate benefits of reducing red meat consumption below amounts recommended in dietary guidelines is small and could create negative environmental trade-offs such as higher water scarcity.

The industry’s big service provider Meat & Livestock Australia has released a fascinating report on the topic, which draws extensively from research conducted by CSIRO and other institutions.

Against a backdrop of increasing calls for affluent societies to significantly cut red meat consumption in the name of the environment, the work shows getting Australians to eat less beef is not an effective climate solution.

The Australian Dietary Guidelines recommend eating 65 grams of lean, cooked, unprocessed red meat a day.

The MLA report, called The Environmental Impact of Red Meat in a Healthy Diet, points out that Australian lamb production is in fact climate neutral already. Further, the water and cropland scarcity footprints of Australian beef and lamb are low. . . 


Rural round-up

04/12/2021

Redone foods not so satisfying – Anna Campbell:

Some years ago, I heard Honest Tea co-founder Seth Goldman speak. He is a vegan and had invested in Beyond Meats, where he was the chairman from 2013-20. He is now on to another venture, the PLNT Burger — a quick-serve animal-free chain, with their most popular menu item being “Cripsy Chick N Funguy Sandwich”.

When I heard him speak, he spoke of two key food trends — “undone” and “redone”. Undone being going back to basics. What our grandmothers cooked, simple, additive free, “naked food”. Redone representing plant-based and cellular meats, cellular eggs — basically anything you can imagine, reimagined.

The redone food category is an investment darling internationally, it attracted $US3.1billion ($NZ4.47billion) of investment in 2020, more than three times investment in the previous year. According to Boston Consulting Group, by 2035, alternate proteins could account for 11% of the protein we eat. This is a far cry from reports published and commentators’ opinions of less than five years ago, where there was a belief no-one would be eating animal-based protein within a decade.

Have you tried an Impossible Burger, or Beyond Meat burger? If you haven’t, you can buy Beyond Meat burgers at local supermarkets in the frozen section for the price of $12.50 for two patties. My husband does most of our supermarket shopping and when I asked him to bring some home, he point-blank refused, based on principle and price . He can be a stubborn fellow, so I had to make a special trip in the name of “market research”. . . 

Nutrient claims are crap! – Jacqueline Rowarth:

A debate has emerged in nutrient management and fertiliser advice, brought to a head by the hype about regenerative agriculture.

Proponents of the latter are telling farmers that the soil has thousands of years of nutrients and synthetic fertiliser isn’t required. The theory is that animals, including worms and other organisms, will make the nutrients available in their excreta.

The opposite approach from soil scientists is that to maintain soil quality, what is removed in animal and plant harvest (or lost to the environment) must be replaced. If improvements in soil quality are required (development), more nutrients than removed will be required. This maintenance or development approach was pioneered in New Zealand by soil scientists in the 1970s and 1980s. They initiated the Computerised Fertiliser Advisory Service with soil tests investigated, chosen for appropriateness for New Zealand soils and then calibrated for New Zealand conditions rather than those of the northern hemisphere.

New B+LNZ role a challenge and an opportunity – Colin Williscroft:

Kit Arkwright was recently appointed chief executive of Beef + Lamb NZ Inc, taking over from Rod Slater, who retired after 27 years in the role. Colin Williscroft reports.

Following in the footsteps of someone like Rod Slater can be something of a double-edged sword.

On the one hand you’re inheriting an organisation and brand that’s in good heart and a household name, while on the other, there’s some big shoes to fill.

For Kit Arkwright, he sees challenge as well as opportunity. . . 

 

Record low number of sheep measles cases detected :

The amount of sheep measles being detected across the country is at a record low of 0.44 percent.

Tapeworms in dogs produce eggs, which when passed to pasture in their faeces, are ingested by sheep.

The resulting parasitic infection doesn’t make sheep sick but causes cysts on the meat, affecting its quality.

Ovis Management, owned by New Zealand meat companies, sheep measles and educates farmers on how to minimise it. . .

Canterbury sheep Burt is more popular than ewe –  Maja Burry:

A Canterbury sheep called Burt has shot to TikTok fame, with one of the two-year old Romney’s latest videos amassing over seven million views.

Burt lives on a farm in Port Levy on the Banks Peninsula, where owner Naomi Abraham started posting funny videos of him during lockdown last year.

Abraham said Burt was a very special sheep whom she had raised since he was a lamb.

“My partner Tom works on the farm we live on and he brought him [Burt] to me one day because he had lost his mum and all the other lambs had already left the farm and there was this little newborn just floating around with no home to go to,” Abraham said. . . 

Defra unveils payment rates for Sustainable Farming Incentive :

The government has announced the payment rates for the UK’s new Sustainable Farming Incentive (SFI), which will pay farmers to deliver environmental goals.

Defra Secretary George Eustice set out more information on the SFI on Thursday, which is being introduced as part of a post-Brexit reform of farmers’ subsidies.

The SFI – the first of the UK’s new environmental land management schemes replacing the EU’s Common Agriculture Policy – will be rolled out next year.

The reform is the most significant change to UK farming and land management in over five decades. . . 


Rural round-up

03/12/2021

Fonterra expected to pay highest milk price since it was formed 20 years ago – Tina Morrison:

Economists have been hiking their expectations for Fonterra’s milk payment to farmers for this season, with most now expecting the co-operative to pay the highest level since it was founded 20 years ago.

In late October, Fonterra lifted and narrowed its forecast for the 2021/22 season to between $7.90 and $8.90 per kilogram of milk solids. The midpoint of the range, which farmers are paid off, increased to $8.40 per kgMS, matching the previous record paid in the 2013/14 season.

Since then, tight milk supply and continued demand have underpinned prices on the Global Dairy Trade auction platform, prompting economists to raise their forecasts even higher, with BNZ and Westpac both picking an $8.90/kgMS milk price, ANZ at $8.80/kgMS and ASB at $8.75/kgMS. . . 

Taxpayers funding anti-dairying messages:

“Some days it’s difficult to comprehend what I see in the news,” says National Agriculture spokesperson Barbara Kuriger.

“Unbelievably, and thanks to Louis Houlbrooke of The Taxpayers Union and Scoop Independent News, I learnt on Monday taxpayers have funded the anti-dairy documentary ‘Milked’ to the tune of $48,000 — a ‘finishing grant’ given by the New Zealand Film Commission.

“Houlbrooke said in the story the 40,000 Kiwis employed in the dairy sector wouldn’t be happy to know they’ve funded a film that attacks their livelihoods.

“I can tell you right now, as a farmer and MP for a huge rural electorate, we are not! It is a real slap in the face to a sector which brings in 80% of the country’s export revenue. . .

“More milk from fewer cows’ trend continues in a record year for dairy industry :

Kiwi dairy farmers hit a new high for milk production last season with fewer cows, showing that a focus on breeding higher performing cows is paying off.  

The annual New Zealand Dairy Statistics report, released today by DairyNZ and Livestock Improvement Corporation (LIC), shows that total milk volume, total milksolids and per cow production were the highest on record in the 2020-21 season.

New Zealand has 4.9 million milking cows – down from 4.92 million the previous season, and they produced 1.95 billion kilograms of milksolids.

DairyNZ Chief Executive Dr Tim Mackle says it is great to see a continuation of the “more milk from fewer cows” trend because it shows a continuing focus on milking better cows and farming even more sustainably. . .

Honey production and yields fall while export volumes remain buoyant for the 2021-21 year:

New Zealand’s national honey production in the 2020/2021 season was down 24% on the previous season and the average honey yield per hive fell 18%, according to the 2021 Apiculture Monitoring Report released by the Ministry of Primary Industries this week.

Beekeeping for the season ended June 2021 proved to be more challenging than recent seasons, with the national honey production down 24% on the 2019/2020 year to 20,500 tonnes, while the average honey yield per hive fell 18% to 25kgs.

These findings will not be surprising to beekeepers, says Apiculture NZ CEO Karin Kos. “Last summer presented more challenging weather conditions than the previous season when the harvest was aided by excellent weather across the country. . . 

NZ Truffle Company plans to be biggest exporter in the Southern Hemisphere  :

Matthew and Catherine Dwan’s aim to use a 139 hectare North Canterbury Farm in a more profitable and planet-friendly way, looks set to create the largest exporter of truffles south of the equator.

In fact, when the NZ Truffle Company’s plantation of 37,500 trees reaches full maturity in 2036, production is expected to be the largest yield in the southern hemisphere.

“At capacity, we’ll be producing around 17,250 kg of Black, White and Burgundy truffles,” says Matthew Dwan, who, along with his partner Catherine set up the NZ Truffle Company in 2017.

The crop, worth between $2500 and $3500 per kilogram, will be exported to Europe, the Middle East and Asia, where there’s a huge demand in the luxury food market for the counter seasonal supply of what’s known as “plant-based caviar”. . . 

Bronte Gorringe pursues her agriculture leadership goals

Bronte Gorringe has always aspired to be a leader in the agricultural industry and sponsorship to attend a renowned development program will bring her closer to her goal.

Ms Gorringe is being sponsored by the DemoDAIRY Foundation to attend the Marcus Oldham Rural Leadership Program in May next year.

Participants are encouraged to have industry support via sponsorship and DemoDAIRY Foundation would consider supporting additional applicants.

Ms Gorringe had expected to complete the five-day intensive workshop in 2021, but it was delayed due to COVID. . . 


Fonterra forecast milk price up again

03/12/2021

We’ve just got an early Christmas present:

Fonterra Co-operative Group today lifted its 2021/22 forecast Farmgate Milk Price range, reported a solid start to the 2022 financial year and revised its earnings guidance.

The Co-op has lifted and narrowed the forecast Farmgate Milk Price range to NZD $8.40 – $9.00 per kgMS, up from NZD $7.90 – $8.90 per kgMS. This increases the midpoint of the range, which farmers are paid off, to NZD $8.70 per kgMS.  The higher milk price has seen the Co-op revise its earnings guidance to 25-35 cents per share from 25-40 cents per share.

Fonterra CEO Miles Hurrell says the lift in the 2021/22 forecast Farmgate Milk Price range is good news and is an important boost to New Zealand communities. With a midpoint of $8.70 per kgMS, it would contribute more than $13.2 billion to the New Zealand economy.

“It’s the result of consistent strong demand for dairy at a time of constrained global supply.

“We’ve seen the impact of a number of events play out this first quarter. That includes the high price of feed in the US which has seen milk production growth stall and a lower-than-expected supply picture in Europe.

“Fonterra’s New Zealand milk supply is down around 3% on this time last season. While we expect that milk supply will be less than last season’s 1,539 million kgMS, the improving weather conditions and forecast milk collections for the balance of this season that are generally on par with last season support our current season forecast of 1,525 million kgMS.

A lot of wet and warm weather in North Otago has given good grass growth but it’s quantity rather than quality which has impacted on milk production.

“While we’ve seen demand soften slightly in China, global demand remains strong, and we think that will remain the case for the short to medium term.

“A higher forecast Farmgate Milk Price at this level can put pressure on our margins and therefore our earnings, which is why we’ve reduced the top end of our earnings guidance.”

First quarter business update

Fonterra has delivered a Total Group EBIT of $190 million for the three months ending 31 October 2021. This was achieved at a time when input costs are significantly higher than the same period last year. These have been driven by a 30% increase in Whole Milk Powder prices.

Mr Hurrell says there have been a number of factors at play in the first quarter. “We’re seeing stable sales volumes in our Foodservice channel, but a milk price at these high levels has squeezed margins. Our Chilean business continues to improve but tightening margins and weaker local currency in other markets have impacted our Consumer channel overall.

“In our Ingredients channel, we’re seeing margins in our longer-term pricing contracts return to more normal levels, which has helped push Total Group gross margin up from the last quarter last year.

“We continue to see the benefit of our focus on financial discipline with lower interest expense, and operating expenditure down 2% on the same quarter last year.

“Looking at the whole picture, I’m proud of what we’ve achieved. With EBIT of $190 million and a strong Farmgate Milk Price, we are starting to consistently deliver solid commercial outcomes.”

Outlook

While the impacts of COVID-19 continue to be felt around the world, Mr Hurrell says the Co-op is working hard to deliver for farmer owners, unit holders and customers and supporting employees.

“The resilience of our people and our supply chain means we continue to stay on top of the strong demand for our New Zealand milk.”

“However, it is concerning to hear about new variants, which are potentially more resistant to vaccines. There is also the ongoing question of whether economies can rebound from the pandemic and then sustain their financial health.

“That’s why we have a 60-cent range on our forecast Farmgate Milk Price range.”

Supporting our people

Globally, teams are starting to return to the office following extended COVID-19 lockdowns. Mr Hurrell says it’s been a challenging time for employees.

“In some of our regions, our people have spent more than 18 months working from home. We’ve supported them during this time and continue to support their safe return to the office. I want to acknowledge the extra effort from our employees that is helping us deliver good results for the Co-op.

“Here in New Zealand, we recently completed the rollout of our vaccination programme in partnership with the Ministry of Health, which saw more than 8,000 doses administered.”

Path to 2030

Fonterra set out the next phase of its long-term strategy in September, with three key strategic choices guiding the Co-op – a continued focus on New Zealand milk and to lead in sustainability and dairy innovation and science.

Mr Hurrell says the Co-op is confident in its strategy and 2030 targets and is already showing early signs of progress.

“As we continue to focus on New Zealand milk, work is underway on the divestment of our Chilean business and the ownership review of our Australian business, with the appointment of advisors to assist with both processes. Dependent on the outcome of these processes, we intend to return around $1 billion of capital to our shareholders and unit holders by FY24.

Mr Hurrell says the focus on New Zealand milk is paying off with customers. “We recently launched our Mainland cheese range in Dubai’s largest supermarket chain. The range completely sold out, with customers using social media sites to track down the cheese in-store. Our in-region team is now looking at launching the range into other countries.

“We’re also focused on delivering innovative new solutions for our customers. Our new Ingredients ecommerce platform, myNZMPTM, is being embraced by customers across China, Latin America, South East Asia and the Middle East.”

Mr Hurrell says the Co-op is also using innovative technology to make the most of the natural goodness found in our New Zealand dairy.

“A transformative dairy science collaboration with Vitakey will explore how we can further unlock the benefits of our probiotic strains. Our goal is to design dairy products that incorporate targeted and time-controlled release of specific dairy nutrients in a way that locks in the freshness for longer and allows the nutrients to be more active and beneficial in the body.”

New Zealand is already the most carbon-efficient dairy producing nation on the planet and Mr Hurrell says the Co-op is making strides in its intention to retain a significant advantage by being a leader in sustainability.

“By treating water at our Maungatūroto site using a natural wetland, we can reduce water use on site by up to 25%. On-farm, we’ve just introduced Farm Insights Reports, which give farmers a comprehensive picture of their overall farm from an environmental performance and animal health perspective. This enables them to focus on the improvements which will have the biggest impact.

“We’re also working to find a solution to the challenge of on-farm emissions and one of the exciting projects we’ve been working on is Kowbucha™, a probiotic which could switch off the bugs that create methane in cows. Initial results have been promising, showing a reduction of up to 50% in methane, and we’re now at the stage of trialling it on farm.

“This is just some of the great work underway in the Co-op that will enhance our New Zealand sustainable nutrition story.”

This isn’t just good news for farmers, it’s good news for the economy, especially when tourism, which was one of the country’s biggest foreign exchange earners, has been hit so hard by closed borders.


Rural round-up

02/12/2021

Milk price forecasts are being lifted ahead of critical vote on Fonterra’s capital structure – Point of Order:

As dairy farmers prepare for the critical decision  they have to make  on the capital shape of the big co-operative Fonterra,  they  will   be  buoyed  by  the  strong markets across the  globe  for  dairy products — so  strong  that economists are  revising   their forecasts  for  this  season’s  payout.

Fonterra  itself  has  already revised  upwards  its  original forecast range from $7.90 – $8.90kgMS, from  $7.25 – $8.75  kgMS.

The Advance Rate which Fonterra pays its farmer owners will be set off the mid-point of the range. This has increased from $8kgMS to $8.40kgMS.

ANZ  Bank  economists have  raised   their  forecast  to  $8.80  while others,  citing  the  futures  market, see  it  breaking  $9. . . 

Rounding up on Round Up – Leo Argent:

There’s growing talk around New Zealand and the world about glyphosate being a health hazard, possibly a carcinogenic.

Glyphosate is a broad spectrum herbicide that serves as the main ingredient in weed killers like Round-Up and others. It is the most widely used herbicide in the world.

Numerous district councils in New Zealand and foreign countries are attempting to phase out glyphosate, while some are even banning it out right. This has many farmers and others worried.

A NZIER report shows that herbicides are worth between $2.7 to $8.6 billion to New Zealand agriculture, with an average impact on output of up to 20%. . .

Meat, dairy still preferred protein options – Neal Wallace:

The red meat and milk sectors appear to have successfully fended off initial competition from alternative proteins, which are struggling to make market gains.

New Zealand exporters are not dismissing the long-term threat from plant-based alternative protein products, which are being heavily discounted and repositioned to less favourable places on retail shelves.

Financial losses are mounting as international manufacturers struggle to reach sales targets and share prices plummet, but observers note the covid pandemic has encouraged consumers to flock to naturally nutritious products such as red meat instead of highly processed products.

The Financial Times this week reports that in September alone, US sales of plant-based meat alternatives fell 1.8% compared to the year before, taking the decline in sales for 2021 to 0.6%. . . 

Māori agribusiness crop trials hold hopes for local employment :

It is hoped trial crops planted as part of a Māori agribusiness project in eastern Bay of Plenty will help create jobs for locals.

The Whangaparāoa Māori Lands Trust with help from The Ministry for Primary Industries is exploring the potential of their whenua near Tihirau.

The project which started in 2019 involves the owners of 25 Māori land blocks which cover 18,000 hectares of land, with about a third (6000 ha) suitable for livestock, horticulture or arable farming.

Land owner co-facilitator Rika Mato said the group undertook research to investigate options for profitable and sustainable land uses for the whenua. . . 

Report funded to inform councils on farmland use and forestry – Maja Burry:

Local councils concerned that too much productive farmland is being converted to forestry are funding a report which they hope will show a way forward.

In September, the Tararua District and Wairoa District mayors wrote to rural provincial councils about developing a collaborative approach to responding to the increase of forestry planting throughout New Zealand and the impacts on communities.

Fourteen councils stretching from Southland to Waitomo have now opted to come on board, with the farming group Beef and Lamb New Zealand and Local Government New Zealand also providing funding support.

Wairoa District Mayor Craig Little said the aim of the work was to present a high-level document on land use issues, which the government could use to inform policy moving forward. . . 

From wiped out to a $30m business: The Our Cow story – Shan Goodwin:

WHAT began out of pure necessity just to stay in farming has become one the country’s most successful agribusiness ventures that is chipping away at disrupting the boom-and-bust cycle of cattle production.

When drought, bushfires and rock-bottom cattle prices threatened to wipe out Bianca Tarrant and Dave McGiveron’s dreams of being beef producers, they launched a meat box subscription service to sell their product direct to city customers.

That business, Our Cow, is today a $30 million affair, with a boning and packing plant, 30 employees and a hundred other producer suppliers. It delivers premium beef, lamb, chicken and pork to 20,000 customers from Cairns to Adelaide.

Pandemic-driven consumer desire to know where food comes from and how it’s produced, and to support Australian farmers, has fuelled what was already a strong emerging trend for paddock-to-plate purchasing beyond the imagination of the young entrepreneurs. . .


Farmer Christmas

02/12/2021


Rural round-up

01/12/2021

Crunch times ahead for agricultural methane and nitrous oxide – Keith Woodford:

New Zealand must quickly come to grips with how agricultural-sourced methane and nitrous oxide are going to be managed within the ‘Zero Carbon Act’, more formally called the ‘Climate Change Response (Zero Carbon) Amendment Act 2019’.   This Act brings both gases into the Emission trading Scheme (ETS) in 2025 unless an alternative charging system can be devised in the meantime.

Initially, the ETS charges will be only 5% of the full carbon charge at that time. However, the percentage will then increase at 1% of the full price each year. Initially, it will only be a few cents per kg milksolids, and a few cents per kg of sheep and beef carcass. But over time it will build up and become painful.

Given the media negativity to dairy, most people probably don’t realise that it will actually impact on sheep and beef profitability more than on dairy profitability.

In response to the situation set out in the Zero Carbon Act, a 13-sector pan-industry group called He Waka Eke Noa is beavering away, with Government encouragement, on alternatives to put back to Government.  On 23 November, He Waka Eke Noa released a document setting out where their beavering has been heading. . .

Farmers face delays in getting stock to the works – Sally Murphy:

Farmers are facing delays in getting stock to the works as the brakes well and truly come off the cattle kill.

AgriHQ senior analyst Mel Croad said some farmers were having to wait three weeks before they can get a space.

“Delays are likely going to be a common theme this summer, just purely due to the shortage of meat workers, basically limiting how many cattle can be processed each week,” Croad said.

“If farmers face delays it can put some pressure onto farming systems, fortunately, most areas have still got relatively good feed levels, although some regions are sort of a little bit drier than they’d like to be.” . . 

Rural contractor hires young to fill labour gap, recommends others do the same :

A rural contractor says hiring young people to fill labour gaps has paid off and he is urging others to do the same.

Rural contractors have been struggling with a labour shortage since the borders closed as skilled machinery operators, which normally travel from overseas, have been unable to get into the country.

North Canterbury Chapman Agriculture owner Allan Chapman said the labour shortage had forced him to look closer to home, and he had hired a team of nine young New Zealanders ranging from 14 to early 20s for the current season.

“It’s been a bit of a struggle but it’s been rewarding, it’s probably cost the company a bit of money as the guys have made a few mistakes but at the end of the day we’ve got through,” Chapman said. . . 

Campaign for wool activity garners industry support :

After the successful launch of their strategy in September, The Campaign for Wool New Zealand (CFWNZ) has begun the first round of their “live naturally, choose wool” consumer campaign. With advertising across television, OnDemand, radio, print and digital, as well as consumer PR and a new website launching mid-December, CFWNZ has wasted no time getting their activity started.

Tom O’Sullivan, Chairman of CFWNZ is thrilled. “It’s very exciting to see our strategy turn into action so fast. This agility means we can start turning the dial more quickly.” O’Sullivan has also grown his team to help deliver their bullish plans by bringing on Linda Calder in a newly created role as Campaign Manager.

Strategic consultant for CFWNZ, Kara Biggs provides further comment. “The trick is to line up all of the activity at the same time using a diverse range of marketing channels,” she says. “This means the message to “choose wool” becomes heavily embedded in the minds of consumers when they are making purchasing decisions.” Biggs also remarks that New Zealand acts as a strong test market before more activity is rolled out globally. . . 

Wool weed mats reduce environmental footprint :

A new weed and mulch mat made from natural New Zealand wool is providing a completely organic and biodegradable option for weed control while helping gardeners reduce their environmental impact and support the agriculture industry.

Wool Life director Stephen Fookes says a key point of difference with their weed and mulch mats is that they contain 100 per cent pure New Zealand wool and are an organic product with a low-carbon sustainable footprint.

“We use a low energy needle punching and carding process to create the mats which are produced at our plant located at Te Poi near Matamata. Using new and untreated wool has benefits over recycled wool as the finished product is completely pure and does not require any chemical treatment. The mats and pegs completely biodegrade over 12-18 months.” . . 

How an upland farmer converted to dairying :

Just like his parents and grandparents before him, Nick Davis farmed beef and sheep on Esgairdraenllwyn, an upland holding rising to 430m at its highest point.

But diminishing returns and a desire to take the farm in a different direction from the systems run by previous generations drove a conversion to dairying in 2015.

“A lot of people said it couldn’t be done on this farm and that was another reason for driving forward with the change – the challenge of proving that it could be done and done profitably,” Mr Davis recalls.

To inform that change, he visited dairy farms running the grazing systems he aspired to replicate at Esgairdraenllwyn and spent time with people who had a similar mindset. . . 


Rural round-up

30/11/2021

Taxpayers Milked to the tune of $48K for anti-dairy propaganda :

The New Zealand Taxpayers’ Union is challenging the New Zealand Film Commission’s funding criteria after it gave anti-dairy documentary Milked a $48,550 “finishing grant”.

The film, currently screening in New Zealand cinemas, argues that the dairy industry causes climate change, pollutes water, destroys land, abuses cows, and victimises dairy farmers. The film is explicitly political, with constant shots of the Beehive in the trailer, and features contributions from Greenpeace, SAFE, and the Green Party. The film appears to be part of a wider anti-dairy campaign – the promoters have erected billboards attacking the dairy sector.

Union spokesman Louis Houlbrooke says, “The 40,000 New Zealanders employed in the dairy industry are unlikely to be happy to learn they are funding a film that attacks the source of their livelihoods. And that’s to say nothing of the rest of us, who all benefit from dairy’s enormous contribution to New Zealand’s economy.”

“We wish the filmmakers well in their attempts to win hearts and minds, but that doesn’t mean they should receive government money for their propaganda. Just imagine the outcry from certain groups if the Taxpayers’ Union received government money to produce a film on the evils of socialism.” . . 

Unease over regulations – Kayla Hodge:

Proposed changes to adventure activity regulations could prove to be a nightmare for commercial operators and landowners.

A review of the adventure activities regulatory regime is proposing to tighten restrictions on how operators work, and introduce tougher rules for landowners who allow access to adventure activity operators.

Under the Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment proposal, landowners will have to be involved in the management of natural hazards, providing information to operators or assessing and managing risks.

The review came in the wake of the 2019 Whakaari/ White Island eruption that killed 22 people and injured 25 who were on a tour accompanied by an operating company. . .

Co-products offaly underused: academic – Sally Rae:

Fancy a shake of pizzle powder in your chowder? How about some heart in your tart?

Don’t choke at the suggestion; meat co-products, better known as offal, are protein-rich and food scientist Associate Prof Aladin Bekhit, from the University of Otago, believes consumers are missing out on “wonderful nutrients” by turning their noses up at them.

A recent study, supervised by Prof Bekhit, investigated the macronutrient composition of sheep heart, kidney, liver, skirt, stomach, testis, tail and pizzle.

Protein content ranged from 10.2%-28.8% and the pizzle (an animal’s penis) was found to have one of the highest levels. . .

 

Fight to eradicate wilding pines far from over – expert – Tess Brunton:

The lead investigator of a nationwide fight against wilding pines says they can’t stop work to eradicate wildings or risk the tide turning against them.

Before 2016, wildings were estimated to be invading roughly 90,000 hectares each year.

Later that year, a five-year government-funded research programme, Winning Against Wildings, was launched aiming to control or contain wildings nationally by 2030.

It has sparked new knowledge, research and techniques for controlling the pests including remote-sensing tools to detect and map invasions in remote areas and using low-dose herbicides to control dense wilding invasions. . . 

ANZ sponsors Dairy Industry awards :

A unique sponsorship opportunity with the New Zealand Dairy Industry Awards (NZDIA) has been entered into by New Zealand’s largest bank.

ANZ Bank New Zealand will sponsor the Financial and Business merit awards in the Share Farmer and Dairy Manager categories in four regions – Southland/Otago, Canterbury/North Otago, Waikato and Taranaki.

A representative from the bank will also judge the National Share Farmer of the Year category.

NZDIA General Manager Robin Congdon says this sponsorship shows ANZ Bank New Zealand has huge support for the dairy industry. . . 

NSA responds strongly to article labelling sheep a menace of the countryside  :

The National Sheep Association (NSA) is shocked and disappointed by factually incorrect and damaging comments made of UK sheep farming in yesterday’s Daily Telegraph (Thursday 25th November 2021).

In the article titled ‘There’s a fluffy white menace that is spoiling Britain’s National Parks’ ‘destination expert’ Chris Moss labels sheep as a blot on the landscape suggesting they be removed from National Parks and failing to recognise their importance to the countryside he is enjoying or the rural communities that so many appreciate visiting.

NSA Chief Executive says: “The comments made in this piece are both unhelpful and divisive at a time when many in agriculture and the environmental movement are working together to move to an even more multifunctional land use and approach to farming.

“Mr Moss states that sheep are ruining our landscapes, including National Parks, ignoring the fact the vast majority of these are in areas where sheep farming is the predominant land use activity. Maybe he should consider that it is thousands of years of sheep and livestock farming in these areas that has actually made these iconic regions such that people want to designate them as national parks. In fact, sheep farming and its relationship with the Lake District landscape and culture is one of the core reasons why this national park was designated a World Heritage site in 2017.” . . 

 


Rural round-up

29/11/2021

Which face do we believe – Peter Burke:

When Covid-19 first arrived in New Zealand, PM Jacinda Ardern made great play of the fact that it would be the primary sector – and that means rural NZ – would be the saviour of the economy.

Agriculture and the supporting processing and supply chain workers and farmers were deemed essential, and to their great credit these people have delivered 100% and more.

But if perchance, or maybe out of morbid curiosity, you tune into Jacinda’s daily sermons from the Beehive, you would struggle to hear the word ‘rural’ mentioned these days.

The vaccine roll-out has been urban driven with percentage rates in Auckland hailed and glorified. It seems to be all about high population numbers, which also means votes, or is that being too cynical? . .

Residents take up arms in Central Otago as rampant rabbits ruin land– Olivia Caldwell:

A plague of rabbits has destroyed thousands of grape vines, chewed through fence posts and rose gardens and left properties in Central Otago potted with holes, costing landowners thousands of dollars.

The trail of destruction has driven some to take up arms – despite never having owned a gun before – and shoot them from their front lawns.

The local authority says the responsibility for dealing with the pests lies with homeowners – a stance which has infuriated some, who say the buck should stop with the council, not them.

In recent months the Otago Regional Council (ORC) has visited more than 300 properties across the rabbit-prone areas of Lake Hayes, Morven Hill, Dalefield, Gibbston Valley and Hawea, and has now emailed hundreds of letters to landowners asking them to come up with their own compliance plan to get rid of rabbits. . . 

Bank opts for woollen carpet – Country Life:

The chief executive of Rabobank was so determined its new Hamilton HQ would have wool carpet he arranged for it to be craned in.

Todd Charteris says it was suggested synthetic carpet squares would be more appropriate because rolls of carpet were too big to be carried in the lift.

He wasn’t having a bar of it.

Rabobank specialises in rural banking and is relocating its head office from Wellington to the third and fourth floors of a central Hamilton building. . . 

Native dairy farmer – Country Life:

A Waikato farming couple will be hanging up their tennis racquets this year after transforming the farm’s tennis court into a native plant nursery.

Dave Swney and Alice Trevelyan started The Native Dairy Farmer and spent the latest Waikato lockdown potting up 22,000 plants now neatly lined up on the court.

Alice estimates they moved about 16 cubic metres of compost.

“Heaps of shovelling,” says Dave. “Some of us farmers have fatter fingers and probably aren’t as good on some of the more delicate jobs but we can get on the end of a shovel and shove a bit of compost.” . . 

First year EIT student chosen as Young Vintner of the Year:

Maddison Airey, a 23-year-old first year Bachelor of Viticulture and Wine Science (BVWSci) student from EIT, has won the Hawke’s Bay A&P Society & Craggy Range Young Vintners Scholarship for 2021.

Maddison received her award at the Hawke’s Bay A&P Bayleys Wine Awards dinner last night.

As part of the scholarship, Maddison wins $2,000 funding from the Hawke’s Bay A&P Society and a vintage position at Craggy Range Winery for the harvest season of ’22, and she will also be an associate judge for the Hawke’s Bay A&P Bayleys Wine Awards next year.

Maddison says she is excited about the scholarship and the opportunities it will offer her. . . 

‘I’m afraid we’re going to have a food crisis’: The energy crunch has made fertilizer too expensive to produce, says Yara CEO – Katherine Dunn:

The world is facing the prospect of a dramatic shortfall in food production as rising energy prices cascade through global agriculture, the CEO of Norwegian fertilizer giant Yara International says.

“I want to say this loud and clear right now, that we risk a very low crop in the next harvest,” said Svein Tore Holsether, the CEO and president of the Oslo-based company. “I’m afraid we’re going to have a food crisis.”

Speaking to Fortune on the sidelines of the COP26 climate conference in Glasgow, Holsether said that the sharp rise in energy prices this summer and autumn had already resulted in fertilizer prices roughly tripling.

In Europe, the natural-gas benchmark hit an all-time high in September, with the price more than tripling from June to October alone. Yara is a major producer of ammonia, a key ingredient in synthetic fertilizer, which increases crop yields. The process of creating ammonia currently relies on hydropower or natural gas. . .


Rural round-up

28/11/2021

Inflation stalks NZ agriculture – Hugh Stringleman:

The inflationary thief is active in New Zealand and it is not clear whether it will be transitory or more persistent, independent economist Cameron Bagrie says.

The Reserve Bank said inflation is 4.9% currently and expected to rise to 5.7% in the first quarter of next year and it has assessed its presence as “somewhat transitory”.

After the sharp peak, the bank expects that it will take until 2024 to return to the 2% target zone.

But the economic commentators are having a bob each way. . . 

WTO trade ministers must seize agricultural subsidy reform opportunity :

Ahead of the WTO’s 12th Ministerial Conference from 30 November – 3 December, the Dairy Companies Association of New Zealand (DCANZ) is strongly supporting calls for a meaningful outcome on agricultural subsidies reform.

“Agricultural domestic support reform is the most urgent agricultural trade policy issue needing to be progressed multilateral,” says DCANZ Executive Director Kimberly Crewther. “An ambitious outcome would unlock major benefits for global agricultural trade.”

Domestic support subsidies are a major source of distortion and price volatility in agricultural markets. They lock in unsustainable food production systems, create significant disadvantages and inequities for unsubsidised producers, and cause a raft of negative environmental impacts through inefficient use of natural resources.

Crewther says domestic support has fallen behind the other key areas of the WTO’s agricultural negotiations and an outcome is long overdue. . . 

Deck the hay bales Southland farmers get behind Christmas competition :

Southland farmers are hoping to spread some Christmas cheer by creating sculptures such as hay bale reindeer and fertiliser tank Christmas trees on their farms.

Thriving Southland, which represents 30 catchment groups, has launched a competition calling on its farmers to create a festive themed sculpture.

Spokeswoman Rachel Holder said despite only starting a couple of days ago people are getting really excited about the competition.

“One of the catchment groups came up with the idea to inject some wellness into our communities and to boost morale because it’s been a really tough spring – there has been a lot of rain. . . 

Highly visible Queenstown property protected from development :

A highly visible piece of Kawarau Falls Station is now protected from development, following a decision by the owners, the Mee family, to place a QEII covenant on 170 hectares of the property.

The covenanted land is located across the Kawarau River from Queenstown Airport, north of the Remarkables Ski Area access road.

This follows an announcement last year that 900 ha of the neighbouring property, Remarkables Station, has been covenanted and will be gifted to QEII. While the Mee property will remain in family ownership, the landscape will be protected from development in the same way that Remarkables Station is.

Kawarau Falls Station director Mike Mee said the decision to covenant the areas was “the right thing to do” and he hoped it would inspire others in the region to consider legal protection as they look to the future. . . 

Consultation opens for registration of forestry advisers and log traders :

Key players in the forestry industry are encouraged to have their say on the design of a new registration system for log traders and forestry advisors with consultation opening today.

Legislation introduced in 2020 aims to raise professional standards across the forestry supply chain by requiring forestry advisers and log traders to register.

Te Uru Rākau – New Zealand Forest Service’s Director Forestry and Land Management Oliver Hendrickson says the system will provide assurances for anyone dealing with registered forestry advisers that they are receiving expert and impartial advice from people with the right knowledge and experience.

“These changes will also support a more open marketplace for the large number of new forest owners bringing their timber to the market for the first time. They also increase investor confidence in commercial forestry, support long term investment, and meet the broader objectives for land management and climate change. . . 

Farming robot kills 100,000 weeds per hour with lasers – Kristin Houser:

Carbon Robotics has unveiled the third-generation of its Autonomous Weeder, a smart farming robot that identifies weeds and then destroys them with high-power lasers.

The weedkiller challenge: Weeds compete with plants for space, sunlight, and soil nutrients. They can also make it easier for insect pests to harm crops, so weed control is a top concern for farmers.

Chemical herbicides can kill the pesky plants, but they can also contaminate water and affect soil health. Weeds can be pulled out by hand, but it’s unpleasant work, and labor shortages are already a huge problem in the agriculture industry.

“It’s harder to find people to do that work every single year,” vegetable farmer Shay Myers told the Seattle Times. . . 

 


Rural round-up

27/11/2021

Close call highlights necessity for on-farm covid plan – Gerald Piddock:

A sharemilking couple whose staff member become a close covid-19 contact are backing calls for farmers to create a plan in case they get a positive case in their bubble.

That checklist needs to be a living, moving document because of the variables that can occur during a close contact or covid positive situation on a farm when there are the needs of staff and animals to be taken into consideration.

The employee, Sarah*, became a close contact after they visited a family member while observing distance protocols.

One of the members of that household tested positive after they had met, which made that worker a close contact. . . 

‘Tomorrow’s too late’ – Borders open not fast enough for labour shortage :

Rural contractors struggling with a labour shortage are relieved the borders opening next year, but say they need workers sooner.

The government yesterday announced fully vaccinated foreign nationals would be allowed into the country from 30 April 2022, without needing to go through managed isolation.

Rural Contractors New Zealand chief executive Andrew Olsen said the border announcement was amazing news, but it had come too late for this summer’s harvest.

Andrew Olsen said the sector urgently needed 200 workers, but efforts to bring in skilled overseas workers through the MIQ system had proved extremely challenging. . . 

Wānaka A&P show to go ahead :

One of the South Island’s biggest agricultural shows will go ahead next year, bucking the trend of widespread cancellations of A&P shows around the country.

Organisers of the Wanaka A&P show have confirmed to RNZ that the show will return in March, despite a spate of show cancellations across the country in the past six months due to Covid-19 restrictions.

Gore was the latest show to be cancelled earlier this week, following the cancellation of the national A&P show in Canterbury at the beginning of November.

Wānaka event manager Jane Stalker said the show is a community event and a highlight on the town’s calendar. . . 

Share concentration risk allayed – Hugh Stringleman:

The risk of ownership concentration in Fonterra arising from proposed changes in the share standard will not adversely affect the co-operative, according to investment bankers and corporate advisors Northington Partners.

The firm was commissioned by Fonterra Co-operative Council to assess the proposed capital restructure, which includes much smaller minimum shareholding requirement and much larger permitted excess share ownership.

Within what Fonterra now calls the new flexible shareholding the historical one-for-one share-backed supply rule would be considerably changed.

The minimum requirement would be one share for three kilograms of milksolids and farmers would be permitted to own shares up to four times their annual milksolids production. . . 

Delving into diversification – Ben Speedy:

The future of farming is reliant on good people making good decisions – successfully managing risk today to ensure the farm is fit for tomorrow. We know from conversations with our customers those decisions weigh heavily on the minds of farmers.

Recent Kantar research conducted by ASB Rural told us 57% of farmers surveyed have succession planning on their minds. We know that for some owners of inter-generational businesses there can be added pressure when it comes to the business succeeding both today and into the future; it’s appeared to work up until this point so there is an expectation that it must continue to be successful.

Owning and running a business has never been easy, but inter-generational business owners often carry an extra burden with extra considerations, and at ASB Rural we work with our customers to support them as they make these decisions. . .

Don Agro International achieves 8.9 thousand tonnes growth in crops harvested :

Don Agro International Limited (the “Company” or “Don Agro”) and its subsidiaries (collectively the “Group”), one of the largest agricultural companies based in the Rostov region of Russia is pleased to announce that it has achieved a 8.9 thousand tonne growth in total crops harvested, with 72.3 thousand tonnes of winter wheat and 19.0 thousand tonnes of sunflower harvested till date.

A key driving force which has enabled Don Agro to sustain this growth has been the expansion of the Group’s totalled controlled land bank via new strategic acquisitions.

Following its initial public offering in February 2020, the Group made its maiden post-listing acquisition at the end of 2020 of Volgo-Agro LLC, an agricultural company based in the Volgograd region of Russia operating a controlled land bank of approximately 10,040 hectares. Subsequently in July 2021, the Group acquired a neighbouring agribusiness, Rav Agro Rost LLC (“Rav Agro Rost”), located in the Millerovo District, Rostov Region of Russia. With an arable land bank of approximately 3,200 hectares, Rav Agro Rost alone contributed up to 3.1 thousand tonnes of winter wheat and 1.54 thousand tonnes of sunflower. . . 


Rural round-up

26/11/2021

Carbon farming – farmer’s poem for the Prime Minister – Graeme Williams:

East Coast farmer and bush poet Graeme Williams is back with another poem for Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern. Today he wants to take the Government to task over carbon farming and shares his poem, written at 2 o’clock this morning – his “least angry period of the day”.

Dear Aunty Jacinda,
From you we have not heard.
I’ve written to you twice before
And this will be my third.

I’m really, really annoyed
And I think it’s only fair,
That the reason for the annoyance
With the country, I should share.

Carbon farming will ruin us all.
Of that, I have no doubt.
I am acutely aware of the issues
And wish to share my views about. . . 

Alliance Group financial performance lifts – Sally Rae:

Alliance Group’s improved financial performance is a ‘‘favourable result’’ after another challenging year, chairman Murray Taggart says.

The co-operative yesterday announced an operating profit of $41.9million before tax and distributions for the year ending September 30, up from $27.3million last year.

Last year’s result was heavily impacted by a $19.9million provision for back-paying employees for donning and doffing. This year’s result included an allowance of just over $2million for that.

Revenue of $1.8billion was on a par with last year and a profit distribution of $8.5million would be made to farmer shareholders, in addition to $16.7million in loyalty payments already paid over the course of the year. . .

Fish & Game supports calls for forestry refocus :

Fish & Game NZ is supporting calls for an urgent rethink on the rapid proliferation of exotic forests currently being supported by central government, and instead refocus on native plantings for better long-term environmental and social outcomes.

The Native Forest Coalition – comprising the Environmental Defence Society, Pure Advantage, Road Donald Trust, the Tindall Foundation, Project Crimson, Dame Anne Salmon and Dr Adam Forbes – recently released a statement urging a shift away from “short-term thinking and siloed government policy” in tackling climate change.

Central to the Native Forest Coalition’s concerns is current policy favouring carbon sequestering in exotic pine plantations over native forests, which is being driven by high carbon prices. This is having a myriad of adverse impacts.

“While Fish & Game is behind initiatives to address the climate crisis, the current short-sighted focus on securing offshore carbon credits ignores significant long-term environmental and social problems,” says Fish & Game spokesman Ray Grubb. . . 

Lake Ohau narrative goes up in smoke – David Williams:

On closer inspection, luck played a bigger part in no one losing their life in last year’s Lake Ōhau Alpine Village fire. David Williams reports

It was the country’s most damaging wildfire in living memory.

The early-morning conflagration in October last year destroyed most of the houses in the Mackenzie Basin’s Lake Ōhau Alpine Village, burning through more than 5000 hectares, including conservation land.

The costs were eye-watering. Fighting the fire from the air alone cost more than $1.2 million, while insurance losses totalled about $35 million. . . 

The wizard of woolsheds for 41 years – Alice Scott:

If your woolshed has been built by Calder Stewart in the past 41 years, chances are Dave Mathieson probably built it.

Mr Mathieson (61) started out with Calder Stewart at the age of 20 and, apart from a short stint working on commercial builds in the late ’80s, he has enjoyed a career as a foreman specialising in woolshed builds.

Being based in Milton, Mr Mathieson and his crew will travel up to an hour and-a-half for work and in his early years he would often stay away.

“I probably stay away for one job a year, but I’d like to think I am mostly done with that now. After all these years, I am allowed to make that demand,” he laughed. . . 

Unvaccinated shearers continue to work – Annabelle Cleeland:

Unvaccinated shearers are continuing to work, despite Victoria’s sweeping effort to compel most agricultural workers to receive two doses of the coronavirus vaccine before Friday.

Victorian shearing contractors have complained to Shearers Contractors’ Association of Australia secretary Jason Letchford about unvaccinated shearers and shed staff continuing work in a “concerning cash economy”.

“I thought the way it would roll would be that unvaccinated shearers would find work in NSW, but the concern I have is they have stayed and they are finding enough work in Victoria,” Mr Letchford said.

“We have tried the positive approach with these people who are resistant to being vaccinated. . . 


Rural round-up

25/11/2021

Surge of demand for NZ meat, continuing supply chain disruption predicted for 2022 :

Disruption that has permeated primary sectors throughout 2021 will persist next year, a report from rural lender Rabobank says.

Demand was strong and set to grow further as economies continued to reopen, and balancing high costs through the supply chain would be a key challenge according to the Global Animal Protein Outlook report.

Rabobank global strategist for animal protein Justin Sherrard said changes within the market would be an opportunity for growth, rather than solely a risk.

“Rabobank sees agile business leadership as the most likely route to sustainable growth and is advising firms to embrace consumer preferences for sustainability and to be prepared for a surge in demand as economies continue to reopen and adjust following Covid-19-induced lockdowns.” . . 

Groundswell here to say – ODT Editorial:

It was always going to be a hard act to follow.

After the phenomenal turnout for Groundswell New Zealand’s Howl of a Protest in July — estimated nationally at around 60,000 people — the probability of a repeat performance seemed less likely.

Yet the turnout for the second protest event on Sunday, dubbed Mother of All Protests, showed the depth of feeling that continues to exist in the rural community, as horn-honking tractors and placard-bearing utes rolled into towns and cities throughout the country. From humble beginnings, dreamed up by a couple of concerned cockies in the South, Groundswell has become a juggernaut and that has brought its own difficulties.

Unable to manage all aspects of it, Groundswell has been forced to distance itself from controversy — as claims have been made linking it from everybody from Brian Tamaki to other anti-vaxxers — with social media unhelpfully helping to fuel the fire of misinformation. Throw in some particularly distasteful posts from agribusinessman Ross Townshend, a former Groundswell organiser in the North Island who should have known better and who has been kicked to touch by Tatua, the dairy company on whose board he was a director, and it has not helped the Groundswell name. . . 

Forget Groundswell: now farmers are in a real fight – Richard Harman:

Forget the tractors and the angry groundswell signs; the real battle between farmers and the Government kicked off yesterday when farmers got the formal proposal to price methane and nitrous oxide emissions from their farms.

The stakes, both political and economic, are huge.

That much was clear yesterday in the immediate reaction of Federated Farmers who even though they have been involved in developing the proposal offered it only a guarded welcome.

Farmers have been offered two schemes to consider; one which would price the methane according to a complex calculation based on the Farm Environmental Plan of how much methane their farm emitted. The other is a more straightforward levy on milk and meat delivered to processors. . .

No rest for the wicked at Less Valley Station :

The new farm manager at one of New Zealand’s biggest sheep and beef properties in North Canterbury has hit the ground running.

As well as getting up to speed with a holistic grazing system established by the farm’s US owners, Michael Whyte is also dealing with extensive damage to infrastructure caused by devastating floods in June.

The down-to earth farmer is relishing the challenge of running Lees Valley Station.

“I’m enjoying the valley life, but it’s also the climate. I love the seasonal changes. You get up in the morning and you don’t know if it’s going to snow or be 30 degrees. It’s really quiet and peaceful too,” he says. . .

Heritage vegetables, vintage tools, full skirts and bonnets – Guy Frederick:

It’s hard to believe that on September 1, 2020 there was nothing but a bare patch of ground where there is now a thriving vegetable garden.

Six months later, in the historic Totara Estate just south of Oamaru, bees were happily resident, herbs in full flower, and big, blood red, healthy beetroots were being pulled from the soil. It felt like the garden had been there for a mighty long time.

“We have to get cracking,” Alison Albiston had said in early September when she first visited the site, referring to summer’s imminent arrival.

Headhunted by Totara Estate Manager Keren Mackay and resident guide and cook Annie Baxter, Albiston jumped at the opportunity to get stuck into a project involving soils and plants, coinciding with her move into Oamaru after 45 years of country living at Burnside Homestead, inland from Oamaru, where Albiston and her husband Bruce lovingly restored the property to its original plans. . .

Halal certified red meat exports jump  :

Halal-certified red meat exports increased 13 per cent during the 2020-2021 season with most product going to non-Muslim markets, according to an analysis by the Meat Industry Association (MIA).

New Zealand exported a total of 471,072 tonnes of halal product during the season (12 months ending 30 September) – 46.5 per cent of total red meat and offal exports. This compared to 417,323 tonnes during 2019-2020.

China was the largest market for New Zealand halal-certified red meat during the 2020-2021 season, purchasing 341,618 tonnes, 74 per cent of the total and a 23 per cent increase on the previous year.

The United States was the second highest with 20,042 tonnes, followed by Canada’s 18,945 tonnes, Indonesia with 17,604 tonnes, Saudi Arabia with 7,710 tonnes and Malaysia with 7,289 tonnes. . . 


Rural round-up

24/11/2021

Sometimes we forget where our watches come from – Peter Cresswell:

The weekend’s #Groundswell protests, and the #Groundswell movement itself, were intended to highlight the plight of the New Zealand farmer under an unsympathetic regime. Instead, however, the organisers have allowed it to become easily gaslighted as something it’s not. As racist, or anti-vax. 

And the important message has been lost: that it’s NZ farmers who allow us to live in first-world comfort — that it’s their exported produce that allows us to buy, at not unreasonable prices, all the technology of the world. As Ludwig Von Mises explained back before electronics took over:

The inhabitants of [Switzerland] prefer to manufacture watches instead of growing wheat. Watchmaking is for them the cheapest way to acquire wheat. On the other hand the growing of wheat is the cheapest way for the Canadian farmer to acquire watches.

The lesson remains the same. To paraphrase now, for us: . . .

‘It’s getting harder and harder to farm’ – Farmers rally for second protest :

Farmers and their townie mates are determined to keep pressuring the government to back off what they see as unnecessary expensive changes after Sunday’s nationwide Groundswell protests.

Driving tractors and utes, they clogged streets in all of the main centres on Sunday to have their say on the government’s Three Waters reforms.

It was the second time the Groundswell group had organised such action, calling the rally the “Mother Of All Protests”.

It was hard to get a handle on the exact numbers taking part, with everybody mostly remaining in their cars and socially distanced, but one thing was for sure: the protesters were rowdy. . . 

New coalition demands a halt to further large-scale exotic carbon farming :

The Native Forest Coalition representing the Environmental Defence Society, Pure Advantage, Rod Donald Trust, the Tindall foundation, Project Crimson, Dame Anne Salmond and Dr Adam Forbes, has released a policy statement and recommendations on native forests, highlighting the urgent need to halt the rapid proliferation of pine plantations driven by high carbon prices and short-term policy settings.

The Coalition strongly favours prioritising native forestry over exotics and argues that before seeking offshore carbon forest credits, government should invest in native forests, for their myriad of benefits, at home. The Coalition’s concerns are summarised in the policy statement below: 

“In tackling the climate change crisis, there’s an urgent need to move away from short-term thinking and siloed government policy. We need a shift towards joined-up strategies that also address the biodiversity crisis, the degradation of waterways and risks to rural communities.  . .

Online job expo hopes to entice seasonal workers for picking season :

A job expo which helps link job seekers with jobs in the horticulture sector is moving online this year.

Last year, Employment and Careers South held a series of expos around Southland and Otago to help those who found themselves unemployed due to the pandemic get jobs in the horticulture sector which was short staffed due to the border closure.

With summer just around the corner and the border still shut – some growers are still facing a worker shortage going into the vital picking season.

With Covid event restrictions the job expo called Super Summer Jobs has gone online this year. . . 

Hill Country Futures programme:

Innovative tools to support farmers and farm consultants in pasture planning are expected to become available next year as part of the Hill Country Futures Programme.

Lincoln University’s Professor Derrick Moot, who is leading several of the research areas that make up the programme, said findings from a number of projects are now being written up.

These include a simple model to help farmers forecast potential yields of lucerne for their properties, a national database of pasture growth data, and legume production data to help farmers assess the difference in productivity they could achieve by replacing resident pasture with improved pasture.

Hill Country Futures is a long-term $8.1m partnership programme, co-funded by Beef + Lamb New Zealand, the Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment (MBIE), Seed Force New Zealand and PGG Wrightson Seeds. . .

Manawa Honey wins four awards at the London Honey Awards 2021:

A small honey producer from Ruatāhuna, in the remote Te Urewera wilderness, crowned Best Tasting Honey in the World earlier this year, has now won four awards at the London International Honey Awards 2021.

Manawa Honey’s Manuka Honey and Tawari Honey won Gold, and their Rewarewa Honey and Pua-a-Tane Wild Forest Honey won Silver. The London Honey Awards attract hundreds of entries from over 30 countries across the world each year. Entries are judged on a range of criteria including the general sense of enjoyment, taste and appearance.

These achievements and awards are now snowballing for this honey producer that has its community rather than commerce alone at heart. Ruatāhuna is situated deep in Te Urewera forest, home to the Tūhoe tribe. It has a population of only about 350 people residents and is a one-hour drive from the nearest town, Murupara and two-hour’s drive from Rotorua. . . 


Rural round-up

23/11/2021

Farmers struggling as MIQ system causes shortage of experienced workers :

A Waikato agricultural contractor is warning there could be an accident if the serious shortage of skilled machinery operators is not sorted.

It has been a long-standing concern within the sector as overseas operators struggle to access Managed Isolation and Quarantine (MIQ).

Brook Nettleton from Bluegrass Contracting in Matamata said it was getting way past a joke, with efforts to get in more overseas workers failing.

He said there could be serious consequences if things did not change. . . 

The problem with promises at COP26 – Jacqueline Rowarth:

The problem with COP26 is not the promises that were made amongst the 30,000 people attending, but the reality of how the promises can be achieved, Dr Jacqueline Rowarth writes.

Greta Thunberg and other sceptics may well have been right when they predicted that COP26 would be just another expensive (in dollars and greenhouse gases) talkfest.

The problem is not the promises that were made amongst the 30,000 people attending, but the reality of how the promises can be achieved.

Politics and diplomacy were to the fore and the people making the promises did their best to be equitable and reasonable. . . 

Forest Owners says lessons for New Zealand in UN wood-based products report :

The Forest Owners Association says the UN Food and Agriculture Organisation has laid down a blueprint for the New Zealand forest and wood industry, with the release of ‘Forest Products in the Global Economy’, as part of the COP26 meeting and events in Glasgow.

The New Zealand Forest Owners Association Chief Executive, and former Chair of the UN Advisory Committee on Sustainable Forest Industries, David Rhodes, says while trees are best known here for their ability to sequester carbon from the atmosphere, the future of forest products, as a replacement for petrochemical sourced materials, is equally important.

“This just released FAO Report details what can be done with both timber itself, and what can be achieved as well using wood materials.”

“Much of it is already well proven technology. What has been lacking is the realisation of the dreadful consequences on the environment if we continue to use vast volumes of fossil fuels, steel, concrete and plastics.” . . 

Farmers get down to bare basics to aid mental health charity – Katie Doyle:

A group of North Island farmers are stripping down to their birthday suits – all in the name of rural wellbeing.

The Ngarua Young Farmers club has produced a 2022 calendar featuring farmers in the nude, with the profits to be donated to an organisation called Will to Live.

Will to Live works to raise awareness about mental health in rural communities, and it offers three free private counselling sessions for farmers.

Brooke Matthews from Ngarua Young Farmers said her group offers a strong support system for its members, but some farmers are not as lucky. . . 

National welcomes use of genetic technology research in conservation :

The National Party supports research into genetic technologies with the possibility of it playing a key role in New Zealand reaching its Predator Free 2050 goal, says National’s Conservation spokesperson Jacqui Dean.

“When National introduced the Predator Free initiative back in 2016, we did so with great ambition to have every part of New Zealand completely free of rats, stoats and possums by 2050.

“It was a move we made to protect New Zealand’s native birds and other species, along with the rest of our environment.

“Introduced pests threaten our economy and primary sector, with a total economic cost of around $3.3 billion a year.  . . 

Taking Stock: A good stock agent is not just about the quick quips – Samantha Townsend:

Ask anyone about the Collie Hotel’s social media video on stock and station agents and they will tell you it’s on the money.

The hotel’s owner Tom Hancock is captured on the phone leaning against the wall, leaning on the table and leaning on the fence while striking a deal.

But it poses the serious question what makes a good stock and station agent, who are certainly a breed of their own.

They are always on call and like the video their phone is glued to their cheek. They have their finger on the pulse and have to be quick thinking when markets pivot and rain falls. And they are often the first phone call before the accountant when it comes to big investments. . . 


Rural round-up

22/11/2021

Feds honours the life and work of John Luxton:

Federated Farmers wishes to pass on its condolences to the family and friends of former Minister of Agriculture and dairy industry leader John Luxton who passed away today.

“We pay our respects to acknowledge and praise the work John did for New Zealand agriculture, especially the dairy sector,” Federated Farmers national president Andrew Hoggard says.

John was a Member of Parliament from 1987 to 2002 and his political contribution was significant across numerous ministerial roles, including his time as Minister of Agriculture.

“The dairy sector would not be the same if it weren’t for John’s work towards forming DairyNZ and then chairing the organisation between 2008 and 2015. . .

Farmers helping feed Auckland families this Christmas:

Farmers and growers are being asked to help put fresh food on the Christmas table for Aucklanders in need this year.

Federated Farmers has launched a “Farmers Feed Families” campaign aimed at raising funds for the Auckland City Mission.

Feds Gisborne President Toby Williams was dismayed to learn how many more Auckland families were struggling as a result of COVID-19 fallout, including loss of jobs or cutbacks to hours.

“It only costs $135 to provide a box of food for a family of four, with enough good ingredients for about four days’ worth of meals. We are asking fellow farmers to help families pay for good, fresh food for Christmas. . .

Rural connectivity not ready for Covid-19:

Rural New Zealand is facing a COVID crisis thanks to the Government’s failure to secure their digital future, says National’s Digital Economy & Communications and Rural Communities Spokespersons Melissa Lee and Joseph Mooney.

“Alongside the Government’s failure to provide New Zealanders with a plan to get our country back in business and end the MIQ Lottery of misery the Government continues to leave rural connectivity behind causing real fears that families across our regions will be unable to access critical health services and information when COVID strikes their towns.

“Rural New Zealanders have already had to do the hard yards during lockdowns of the past 18 months facing network congestion, poor connectivity options and data limits that have seen many of them having to choose between their child’s education or keeping their businesses afloat. This is morally bankrupt for those working in the primary sectors keeping our economy intact. . .

Crunch is coming for agricultural contractors :

Federated Farmers’ concerns about the serious shortage of experienced agricultural machinery operators is proving justified as summer approaches.

A shortage of experienced operators is being felt across rural New Zealand, and the pressure is building on both farmers and rural contractors, Feds immigration and employment spokesperson Chris Lewis says.

“Unfortunately, we all saw this coming a long way out. Federated Farmers has repeatedly explained the implications of having no international seasonal rural workers to the Immigration, Primary Industries and Workplace Relations and Safety Ministers, the Primary Production Select Committee and the CEO of WorkSafe.

“The shortage is leaving both contractors and farmers in the lurch and we have serious concerns for the coming season. These are complex machines that require experienced operators,” Chris says. . .

IrrigationNZ makes big strides with plans to deliver more in 2022 :

IrrigationNZ has made great strides in the last 12 months, with a revitalised strategy put to work propelling the organisation to new heights.

The organisation held its annual general meeting (AGM) via Zoom yesterday, and revealed to members that for the first time in three years the organisation has ended the financial year in the black.

Chief Executive of IrrigationNZ Vanessa Winning, who has been in the role for a year, is proud of her team’s performance, and is looking forward to continuing the good work into 2022.

“I joined IrrigationNZ just before last year’s AGM. We had just completed a restructure, decided to move the head office to Wellington, and were close to another annual loss,” says Ms Winning. . .

Producer prices increase :

Producer prices increased more in the year ended September 2021 than in any other year for more than a decade, Stats NZ said today.

In the year ended September 2021, prices received by producers increased 6.2 percent, and prices paid by producers increased 7.0 percent.

“The increases in prices received and paid by producers in the year ended September 2021 are the largest increases since the years ended March 2009 and December 2008 respectively,” business prices delivery manager James Mitchell said. . .


Seen but not heard

22/11/2021

Groundswell’s Mother of All Protests  went ahead as planned yesterday.

The ODT reports southern towns were swarmed by tractors, utes and other farm vehicles.

Similar numbers drove into towns and cities throughout the country.

In spite of attempts to paint Groundswell as anti-vax and racist, the overwhelming message was clear – farmers and the people and businesses that supply and support them have had enough of unworkable regulations.

The movement and its supporters are not environmental luddites.

We accept that mistakes have been made in the past and there is a need to ensure that they are not repeated and damage done is repaired.

It is the pace of change and the way it is being handled that is the problem.

What needed in one catchment isn’t necessarily what’s right for another.

But what has been proven to work in some places and will work in others is farmers and councils working together to clean-up past messes and to protect the land and waterways.

One farmer told me her family had been on the same farm for five generations and had no doubt about their responsibility to ensure that they farmed in a way  to ensure that future generations could continue their legacy.

Groundswell’s Howl of a Protest a few months ago and yesterday’s Mother of All Protests ensured the message was seen but the message from the government has been equally clear – it wouldn’t be heard because they don’t want to listen.


Rural round-up

21/11/2021

Ludicrous that Fonterra is still bound by legislation that tilts playing field towards its competitors – Craig Hickman:

With the prospect of this season’s farm-gate milk price looking closer to $9 than $8 and a significantly better than expected free-trade deal with the UK, economically things are looking rosy for Fonterra farmers. I’m a strong supporter of the co-op and was intrigued when it announced it was looking to change its capital structure to make it easier for farmers to join.

The new proposed capital structure put forward by Fonterra’s board would make joining the co-operative easier by reducing the high capital investment required to supply it and allow farmers greater financial flexibility when they decide to leave.

Fonterra last changed its capital structure when it adopted Trading Among Farmers (TAF) in 2012. TAF was a response to the issue of farmers exiting Fonterra and redeeming their shares, meaning large sums of money were washing in and out of the co-op, mainly out.

It addressed one issue, the threat to Fonterra’s balance sheet, but ignored systemic problems like the high cost of becoming a Fonterra supplier and the fact suppliers were still leaving the co-op in favour of independent processors who don’t require farmer investment. . .

Unvaccinated social media users want harvest work, but lockdown mandate looms in WA – Emily JB Smith:

An Esperance farmer has warned unvaccinated people requesting harvest jobs that agriculture is not the “industry of last resort”.

As vaccine mandates edge closer for many West Australian workers, a number of people have posted on Esperance social media pages declaring their vaccine-free status and asking for work.

Although farm workers are not required to be vaccinated, the WA government has included them in the list of workers who will not be able to work during a lockdown.

Grower Mic Fels said employers could face penalties of up to $100,000 if unvaccinated staff were found breaking those rules. . .

Minister missing when agriculture needs him most :

Agriculture Minister Damien O’Connor must stand up for the industry that has carried New Zealand though the Covid crisis, says National’s Agriculture spokesperson Barbara Kuriger.

“Every day, every facet of the industry is calling on the Minister to do more to support growers and producers, and every day there is radio silence from him.

“One of the most pressing issues is the shortage of skilled staff and the inability to bring skilled migrants into the country.

“Farmers, vets, contractors and processors are among many groups that need skilled people to keep our essential industries at full potential.  People are needed now. . . 

MPI backs project to establish internationally competitive hemp seed processing plant :

A new project backed by the Ministry for Primary Industries (MPI) aims to establish a hemp seed processing plant in New Zealand that could be a gamechanger for the local hemp industry.

MPI is contributing more than $245,000 to Hemp Connect’s two-year pilot project through its Sustainable Food and Fibre Futures fund.

The project ultimately aims to enable locally grown hemp food products to compete with imported varieties. Since 2020, the Levin-based company has been working on creative solutions for processing New Zealand grown hemp more efficiently and reducing production costs.

“One of the keys to reducing costs has been researching how to use the entire seed, as well as the associated waste streams,” says Mathew Johnson, Managing Director, Hemp Connect. . .

Craigmore Sustainables and ASB team up on $79m sustainable transition loan  :

Craigmore Sustainables, one of the largest diversified farm management companies in Aotearoa, has secured nearly $80 million in funding from ASB in an innovative sustainability-focused deal.

The sustainable transition loan provides a pathway to develop and embed Craigmore’s sustainability strategy and targets. The company’s portfolio includes a mix of dairy, grazing, forestry and horticultural properties covering almost 20,000 hectares throughout New Zealand.

Under the loan terms, Craigmore has committed to providing a robust sustainability strategy with targets and an action plan, within 12 months of drawdown.

Craigmore Chief Executive Che Charteris says partnering with ASB will help to achieve its bold aspiration to be a leader in land-based reduction of greenhouse gases. . .

Large Northland dairy operation offers flexibility :

An expansive dairy operation offering scale and flexibility across all dairy system types presents an opportune investment in Northland to either owner operators or farm investors.

The 357ha property on Frith Road, Mamaranui combines the best of the district’s soil types into a productive, accessible dairy unit that also enjoys the security of having 80ha of irrigation from the neighbouring Kaihu River.

The farm’s well-developed flats are based on productive silt soils while the rolling country consists of free draining Te Kopuru sandy loam, providing a good balance across the entire farm. . . 


Rural round-up

20/11/2021

New twists to carbon farming – Keith Woodford:

Each time I write about carbon farming, I think it will be the last time I do so for quite some time. But then something new comes up and there is a new twist to be explored. Right now, there are two new twists, potentially pulling in different directions.

First, just prior to the COP26 talkfest in Glasgow, James Shaw and Jacinda Ardern issued a joint press release stating that New Zealand will increase the carbon targets to be achieved by 2030. The specifics are more than a little obscure, but the increase is going to be considerable.

The changes are made more complex by changes in the accounting methods. Here, I am talking about carbon accounting, not dollar accounting. 

Sometimes the Government talks about gross emissions that do not include forestry offsets. Sometimes the Government talks about net emissions after allowing for offsets. And sometimes the Government compares different time periods using what is called ‘gross-net’, which gets even more confusing. . .

Isolated rural police face burnout, lack of support – IPCA review:

An Independent Police Conduct Authority (IPCA) report has highlighted major issues in the resourcing of small community police stations, with some officers saying they are close to burnout.

The review was done after several people in communities with a one- or two-person police station complained about the way their local officers dealt with them.

The IPCA selected 12 small communities across the country, and interviewed the local officers and residents.

It found officers enjoyed the challenges of working remotely but felt they were constantly on call, and the remoteness made it more difficult for them to access relief or backup. . .

Will New Zealand workers save Central Otago’s summer harvest?  – George Driver:

As the fruit harvest season nears, orchardists are again raising the alarm of an impending worker shortage. So will enough of us head to the country this summer to pick Central Otago’s crop?

Every year I said it would be my last. Every year I came crawling back.

From the age of 14, I spent a decade of summers picking stone fruit under the searing Central Otago sun. I was fortunate to have been born into the iPod generation, but all of the audiobooks on Napster couldn’t stave off the boredom of fruit picking. Working 7am to 4pm seven days a week atop a shuddering Hydralada would put me into fatigue-induced stupor that enveloped every summer of my youth. The only reprieve was the sound of rain on the corrugated iron roof that signalled a long awaited day off.

But for a teenager working at a time when youth rates meant the minimum wage was a little over $7 an hour, the pay was unbeatable. . .

Farm walks lose bookings with Aucklanders unable to travel – Susan Murray:

Private farm walks are taking a financial hit due to cancellations from Aucklanders unable to travel, with some losing 40 percent of their bookings.

Farm walks have blossomed in the past couple of decades as more farmers have looked to diversify farm income and showcase less publicly accessible land.

Shaun Monk runs the the Island Hills Station Walk (formerly called Hurunui High Country Station Walk), a two- to three-day track in North Canterbury.

Monk said he had lost 40 percent of the early season bookings. . . .

Mediaworks join NZDIA national sponsor family :

New Zealand Dairy Industry Awards (NZDIA) are pleased to announce an exciting new addition to their National sponsor family.

NZDIA General Manager Robin Congdon is rapt to welcome MediaWorks and is looking forward to working with them to extend the programme’s reach in the traditional rural sector and others via more mainstream channels.

“Just as the dairy industry is evolving, so are the people working in it and we need new ways to connect with our entrants. . .

Celebrate and be in to win with NZ FLowers Week November 22-26:

Spring time is celebration time for the local cut flowers industry and during NZ Flowers Week flower lovers all over the country are invited to join the party.

From Monday November 22 through to Friday 26 the resilience, passion and skill of industry players, from growers to floral retailers will be acknowledged and just as importantly, their customers too.

For the sixth year in a row the event’s organisers Feel Good With Flowers have created a big bunch of great opportunities for people to revel in the beauty of quality, NZ-grown blooms and foliage, and have a chance to win prizes from a pool totalling $30,000.

During the week Feel Good With Flowers will be asking the NZ public to purchase blooms and bouquets from their favourite florists and support them using hashtags #supportlocalflowers and #nzflowersweek2021. . .

Comvita and For the Love of Bees launch a new partnership to help create a world where bees thrive :

Comvita and For The Love of Bees launch a new partnership to help create a world where bees thrive

Comvita, global market leader in Mānuka honey, has today announced a major partnership with social enterprise, For The Love of Bees (FTLOB), which will see the two organisations working together to protect these vital pollinators and the natural ecosystems they live in.

Since its establishment in 1974, Comvita has been guided by its founding principle of Kaitiakitanga, or guardianship and protection over nature – building on co-founders Claude Stratford and Alan Bougen’s passion for connecting people to nature, while caring for the environment. . .


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