Rural round-up

August 5, 2015

More hands-on support for rural communities@:

Health Minister Jonathan Coleman and Primary Industries Minister Nathan Guy say around 100 more people will be trained to help farming families across the country access the support they need.

The commitment is the first part of the one-off $500,000 funding boost for mental health initiatives targeted at rural communities announced by the Ministers at Fieldays.

“We recognise that some farmers are under considerable stress. The physical isolation as well as the uncertainties of being reliant on the land creates different pressures to those living in an urban setting,” says Dr Coleman. . .

 Overseas Investment Office penalises investors:

Investigation and enforcement action by the Overseas Investment Office (OIO) has resulted in two south Canterbury farming syndicates being penalised $173,400 for breaches of the Overseas Investment Act.

Both syndicates involve UK investors Andrew and Paul Turney, while one also involves US company Schooner Agribusiness LLC. The farming syndicates are two of six established by the late Alan Hubbard that were investigated by the OIO. The other four syndicates have disbanded and sold their properties.

OIO Manager Annelies McClure said the six syndicates, or their investors, had breached the Overseas Investment Act 2005 and Overseas Investment Act 1973 multiple times since 2001. . . .

 

NZ wool exports jump to the highest in more than a decade in June, helped by low kiwi, Chinese demand – Tina Morrison:

(BusinessDesk) – New Zealand wool exports jumped to their highest level in more than a decade in June, aided by a lower currency and strong demand from China, the nation’s largest market.

Wool exports rose 19 percent to $75 million in June from the same month a year earlier and reaching the highest level for a June month since 1994, according to Statistics New Zealand data. Exports to China, which account for two thirds of the total, jumped 34 percent to $50 million.

“The main driver of the increase in value is the weakened New Zealand dollar,” said Georgia Twomey, a commodity analyst at Rabobank. The New Zealand dollar averaged 71 US cents through May and June of this year, down from about 86 cents in the same period last year, she said. It recently traded at 65.60 US cents. . . .

NZ unions oppose RSE expansion:

 Unions in New Zealand say they oppose any expansion of the Recognised Seasonal Employer scheme.

The RSE allows Pacific workers into New Zealand on short term visas to work in the horticulture sector.

The criticism from New Zealand’s Council of Trade Unions comes as talks on the PACER Plus regional trade deal resume in Samoa, with more seasonal work a critical element in getting the island nations onboard.

The CTU’s Bill Rosenberg says the RSE scheme is threatening to make Pacific workers a dominant source of employees in the industry. . .

Foresters to discuss a better future:

Over 100 forest sector stakeholders are gathering in Wellington next week to discuss developing a national forest policy. They want the policy to be accepted and used by the forestry sector — and for it to guide the Government’s thinking on forestry.

“We believe New Zealand needs a comprehensive long term forest policy, to recognise the long term nature of forests and the many benefits forests provide to society. Many services provided by forestry are not provided by other land uses, and forestry is too often undervalued. This is the reason many other countries have national forest policies,” says Garth Cumberland, chair of the project. . . .

Makeover for OVERSEER®:

The owners of OVERSEER® are establishing a new not-for-profit company to manage, develop and license OVERSEER.

OVERSEER is jointly owned by the Ministry for Primary Industries (MPI), the Fertiliser Association of New Zealand (FANZ) and AgResearch Limited.

The Chief Executives of the owner organisations have committed to a business plan which will significantly enhance OVERSEER over the planned transition phase of three years and ensure a sustainable funding base. . .

Beef + Lamb New Zealand Launches Referendum Proposal to Farmers:

Beef + Lamb New Zealand has launched the 2015 Sheepmeat and Beef Levy Referendum proposal, outlining activities for the next levy cycle between 2016-2022. Sheepmeat and beef producers, including dairy farmers through their cull cows, will have the chance to continue funding activities and programmes for the next six years when voting opens on 8 August.

Beef + Lamb New Zealand chairman, James Parsons said the Commodity Levies Act requires farmers to vote to continue new levy orders every six years and a ‘yes’ vote will enable Beef + Lamb New Zealand’s activities to carry on. A ‘no’ vote would mean that Beef + Lamb New Zealand would be wound down and all the programmes would end. . .

Six DairyNZ spots up for election:

Nominations open this week for farmer-elected directors on the board of DairyNZ, with one spot vacated by long-serving chairman John Luxton, who is standing down from the industry body.

This year, three farmer positions are open for election to the Board of Directors and another three positions are up for election on DairyNZ’s Directors Remuneration Committee.

Nominations open on August 5 and close on August 28, with voting held from September. . .

 

 

 

 


No excuse for cruelty, deliberate discharge

August 5, 2015

Don’t click on this link if you’re going to be upset by details of ill treatment of animals:

. . .  Michael James Whitelock pleaded guilty in Greymouth District Court on Monday to 12 charges, including ill treatment of animals, unlawful possession of firearms and attempting to pervert the course of justice.

He was bailed to his home in Timaru until sentencing on October 7.

Whitelock was the dairy manager for a Landcorp farm near Westport from July 2012 until his suspension in September 2013. A Ministry for Primary Industries (MPI) investigation began that month after a Landcorp manager arranged for a vet to examine the herd.  . .

There is no excuse for cruelty to animals.

People who can’t treat animals with the care and respect they deserve shouldn’t even contemplate working on a farm.

Nor is there any excuse for this:

A dairy farmer has been fined almost $73,000 for deliberately discharging effluent into his drains which then flowed into the Coromandel Peninsula’s Tairua River.

The 11 years of illegal discharges is “quite staggering”, the Waikato Regional Council says. . .

Accidents could happen on the best of farms. Deliberate discharges might still occur in third world countries but they should not happen here.

 


10th successive fall for GDT

August 5, 2015

GlobalDairyTrade’s price index dropped 9.3% in this morning’s auction, the 10th successive fall.

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Fonterra will be updating its forecast payout on Friday.

The question isn’t whether it will drop from the opening forecast, but how far it will drop.


Rural round-up

August 4, 2015

Experienced Southland farmers pave the way for young talent:

A group of leading Southland farmers have identified the pressing need to develop young farming talent in order to secure a sustainable future for the region’s agricultural industry, as well as New Zealand’s farming sector overall.

The issue of attracting and retaining young people in farming and agriculture has seen central Southland dairy farmer Anita de Wolde join with other local farmers to develop the ‘Ag Pathways’ network.

These farmers form Rabobank’s Southland Client Council, who collectively recognise that one of the most pressing needs for the region is drawing talented young people to the agricultural industry. . .

 

Showing Ayrshire cattle fine hobby – Sally Rae:

Bruce Eade doesn’t go fishing or own a boat.

Instead, the West Otago dairy farmer’s hobby is showing the family’s Ayrshire cattle, a breed he has been involved with all his life.

Mr Eade (35) was presented with an achiever award at Ayrshire New Zealand’s annual conference in Invercargill, along with Kelly Allison, who farms on the Taieri. . .

Not the GDT, but the DIRA – Andrew Hoggard:

I imagine everyone will be assuming this article is going to be about the falls in the Global Dairy Trade, and potential downgrade to come of the Fonterra farmgate milkprice.

But honestly, I have not only been talking about this for the past year, I have also been living it as well.  I’ve been constantly redoing budgets and thinking about strategies, because as some people seem to forget,  I’m a dairy farmer second – family comes first, and then a farmer politician third.

So, I would much rather talk about something slightly different. . .

August a peak period for farm injuries:

Farmers are being reminded of the risks posed by livestock and vehicles during calving as historically the number of injuries on dairy farms rocket up in August.

Although there are relatively few incidents causing injuries on farms in June, this number doubles in July and then more than doubles again in August. Dairy farmers in particular are more likely to be injured by cows in August than in any time of the year.

The two main injuries are to the lower back and neck, and the two main causes are being kicked, stood on or bitten by animals, or muscular stress from lifting or carrying. . .

 

Paying your Children to work on the farm:

Whether it be feeding the calves after school or docking lambs, working on the family farm is a quintessential rural New Zealand right of passage for many kiwi kids.

On top of helping mum and dad out it’s a great way to learn some practical skills for a future career in the industry, not to mention perfect for saving up a bit of pocket money for those weekend trips to the big city or tertiary study.

For farming parents it’s easy to see the children as a ready source of labour for love, however Crowe Horwath Agri Tax Expert Tony Marshall, himself a former family farm child employee, has a word of caution, suggesting “We may be dealing with family, but there are certain rules that need to be followed when it comes to paying your children for work undertaken on the family farm”. . .

 

New construction signals a global focus for leading Waikato -Manuka Honey producers SummerGlow Apiaries:

Waikato-based SummerGlow Apiaries have taken on a new major construction project at their Waikato property.

The new building will expand SummerGlow Apiaries production capabilities providing more genuine Manuka honey to meet the increasing demands of a global market.

Nestled in the Waikato heartland, Manuka Honey Producers SummerGlow Apiaries have been establishing themselves as the number one global brand for genuine Manuka Honey. . .


Rural round-up

August 3, 2015

Ballance delivers cash to shareholders up front:

. . . Farm nutrient co-operative Ballance Agri-Nutrients has fast-tracked its 2014/15 rebate and dividend payment to get much-needed cash to farmers early.

On 31 July, the co-operative will begin its distribution of an average $60 per tonne, seven weeks ahead of its normal payment schedule. The rebate, averaging $55.83 a tonne along with a 10 cent dividend per share will see a total distribution to shareholders of $76 million – equating to 94 percent of its $81 million gross trading result.

Chairman David Peacocke said today that the co-operative’s solid performance meant it could support its shareholders and move quickly to do so. . .

Mixing style, substance and ambition – Sally Rae:

Chanelle Purser is possibly the most stylish calf rearer in Crookston.

Her fur jacket might usually remain in the wardrobe while she is in the calf shed, but brightly painted fingers dispense milk to hungry charges.

Mrs Purser (42) is somewhat of a dynamo, farming with her husband Phil in West Otago and running a successful retail business in Gore, but she takes it all in her well-manicured stride. . .

Strong demand for good farm dogs – Diane Bishop:

A shortage of good working dogs pushed prices up at the Gore dog sale.

PGG Wrightson Gore livestock manager Mark Cuttance said the top heading dogs fetched $5500 to $5700 while the top huntaways made about $5600 at the sale on Wednesday July 29.

Cuttance wasn’t surprised.

“We expect that sort of money for the top end dogs,” he said.

Cuttance said there was a shortage of good working dogs, because of less shepherds on the land, and vendors saw the Gore dog sale as the perfect opportunity to achieve market value for their dogs in a competitive environment. . . .

Mid Canterbury farmland sold to foreign-owned Craigmore Farming – Jack Montgomerie:

A company associated with a South Canterbury rich-lister has bought more Canterbury farmland.

An Overseas Investment Office decision released on Friday stated the 95 per cent foreign-owned Craigmore Farming NZ Limited Partnership had received approval to buy 83 hectares of land.

Craigmore planned to incorporate the cropping land on New Park Rd, located about 15 kilometres southwest of Ashburton, into its Wairepo dairy farm operation. . .

End the squabbling over free range – David Leyonhjelm:

TO scramble the metaphors, various thin-shelled types are running around like headless chooks over free-range eggs, proclaiming the sky will fall if the law doesn’t tell us all what the term means.

Facts and evidence are as scarce as hen’s teeth, while market forces are disappearing faster than a randy rooster.

The cause is the fact that consumers are increasingly choosing free-range eggs over cage eggs. There are no health, welfare, nutritional or environmental advantages to this. Cage and free-range eggs are no different, although free-range eggs are more likely to be contaminated by chook poo. . .

 Pretty Woman protecting soils:

JULIA Roberts is getting dirty with the aim of helping agriculture.

The Academy Award winner and star of such films as Pretty Woman and Mystic Pizza, has become the latest in a line of international VIPs to call for action to protect soils.

The Hollywood actress has become the newest face of the Save Our Soils initiative, following in the footsteps of several dedicated environmentalists including the Dalai Lama, Bishop Desmond Tutu, activist Vandana Shiva and conservationist Douglas Tompkins. . .

Green dilemma – a GE rice that reduces greenhouse gas emissions – Kiwiblog:

This will pose a dilemma for the Greens. Scientists have developed a genetically engineered rice crop that has significantly reduced methane (the most powerful greenhouse gas) emissions over normal rice.

So if the Greens truly believe their rhetoric that greenhouse gas emissions are the biggest threat to Earth today, surely this means they will drop their opposition to genetically engineered crops and welcome this GE rice?

Nature Magazine reports:

Atmospheric methane is the second most important greenhouse gas after carbon dioxide, and is responsible for about 20% of the global warming effect since pre-industrial times1, 2. Rice paddies are the largest anthropogenic methane source and produce 7–17% of atmospheric methane2, 3. Warm waterlogged soil and exuded nutrients from rice roots provide ideal conditions for methanogenesis in paddies with annual methane emissions of 25–100-million tonnes3, 4. This scenario will be exacerbated by an expansion in rice cultivation needed to meet the escalating demand for food in the coming decades4.  . .

Apropos of which with a hat tip to Utopia:


Quote of the day

August 3, 2015

“It used to be that in the 1960s, you only needed to say ‘I’m a farmer’ and the poor, simple bit was thrown in,” he comments wryly. “Now there are some wealthy farmers out there, so you have to add it in.  . .”Chris Reeve


Rural round-up

August 2, 2015

Groser disappointed TPP deal not reached:

Trade Minister Tim Groser is disappointed that the TPP negotiations were unable to reach a conclusion today, but TPP ministers collectively pledged to meet again as soon as possible to finalise the deal.

“Good progress was made this week, but a number of challenging issues remain, including intellectual property and market access for dairy products”, Mr Groser said.

“We will continue to work toward a successful conclusion. This is about getting the best possible deal for New Zealand, not a deal at any cost.” . . .

TPP pressure on Canada, but US is super-star in agriculture subsidies – Lawrence Herman:

Americans provide billions in protectionism to dairy that will have to be given up for trade deal.

We rail against Canada’s supply management system. Rightly so. It’s a Soviet-style regime that is out of step with Canada’s international trade interests and objectives. Every credible Canadian think-tank has said that supply management is a regressive system that distorts the market by guaranteeing dairy, poultry and egg producers a positive return on production, inhibiting competitiveness and, in the long-run, preventing Canada from becoming an exporting agriculture powerhouse. . .

 Groser proves trade credentials by insisting on a good deal:

The Dairy Companies Association of New Zealand (DCANZ) is commending New Zealand Trade Minister, Tim Groser, for standing firm against enormous pressure to concede to a sub-standard deal for dairy. The Minister and his team of expert negotiators have preserved the ability to conclude a good deal in the future.

“What was on the table fell well short of the deal required to deliver the commercially meaningful access that is needed by New Zealand’s dairy industry” says DCANZ Chairman Malcolm Bailey, who has been in Maui, Hawaii, where the negotiations took place over the past week.

Agreeing a bad deal would have consigned New Zealand farmers to many more years under the burden of heavy protectionism. Trade prohibitive tariff levels in Japan, Canada and the United States contribute to a thin global dairy market and exacerbate extreme price volatility. . .

 Concerns over strong El Niño:

NIWA fears this year’s El Nino may be as bad as 18 years ago, when widespread drought cost the country a billion dollars in lost exports.

International guidelines indicated a 97 percent chance of El Niño continuing over the next three months and a 90 per cent chance it will continue over summer.

El Niño typically sees the west of New Zealand wet, and the east very dry.

Niwa forecaster Chris Brandolino said it was looking like it could be as significant as the El Nino in the nineties. . .

Where every day is a good day – Kate Taylor:

Discussion groups, monitor farm programmes, running a Gisborne hill country station and his house burning down couldn’t prepare farmer Ken Shaw for being given a 15 per cent chance of surviving the cancer attacking his body. But survive he did.

“Every day’s a good day,” he says, driving his bike in driving, freezing cold rain on his Matawai farm the day before a big snow storm hits the region and dumps a metre of snow on tops of his hills.

Ken and Kirsty Shaw farm the 709ha hectare Elmore Station (680ha effective) on Rakauroa Road at Matawai near the highest point of the highway between Gisborne and Opotiki. . .

Cut unprofitable production – DairyNZ CEO:

With the continued decline in milk price, DairyNZ chief executive Tim Mackle is calling on farmers to cut unprofitable production from their systems.

“These are extraordinary times. Open Country Dairy’s milk price forecast is under $4 per kilogram of milksolids (kg MS) and all indicators show Fonterra will be forced to lower their forecast on August 7. This price dip is lower and longer than anything we’ve seen in the last decade,” says Tim.

“Assuming a milk price of $4.00 for the average Open Country Dairy supplier, that means a potential deficit of around $250,000 for the year ahead.” . . .

Rural Women as relevant today:

In 90 years, Rural Women New Zealand has grown to a 2700-strong organisation but many of the issues it works on have remained the same.

In July 1925, Florence Polson became the first head of the women’s division of the forerunner of Federated Farmers.

Women’s Division Farmers Union was driven by concerns about health and the effects of isolation for women living on farms. . .

 


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