Rural round-up

August 29, 2015

Leave Fonterra to sort itself (or not) – Stephen Franks:

The amalgamation/monolith structure of Fonterra was a mistake. But it is what we have and pulling it to bits now could compound the mistake.

The Fonterra monopoly came from a conjunction of  dairy politics with the instincts of a leftist Clarke Cabinet, at a time when they needed to rebuild trust with business. The Fonterra ‘capture the value chain’ slogans appealed to a Cabinet nurtured on coop=good/big battalions/commanding heights socialism. So they legislatively outflanked the Commerce Commission, relegated official reservations, and created the monolith.

The Herald has an excellent review of the reasoning and the outcomes by Tony Baldwin, an official at key times. But his recommendations could be used to support those who’d like now to pull levers the other way, and impose new structures, equally well meant, equally sloganistic,  and equally without knowing the future any more reliably. . . 

Why hasn’t Fonterra worked? – Tony Baldwin:

Created in 2001, Fonterra was heralded as a ‘breakthrough idea’ meant to help New Zealand ‘catch the knowledge wave’. 14 years on, there’s been no economic transformation, writes Tony Baldwin.

“Potentially better than an oil well,” boasted Fonterra’s founding chairman, John Roadley, in 2002.

“White gold” is another favourite label.

Over many decades, New Zealand has invested massively in raw milk as a pathway to economic prosperity. It’s why Fonterra was formed. . . .

Landcorp strategy of dairy investment over dividends at odds with government’s surplus goal – Tina Morrison:

(BusinessDesk) – Landcorp Farming, which is taking on debt to convert former forestry land into dairy farms, won’t pay a dividend this year, highlighting the friction between the state-owned farmer’s long-term strategy and the government’s demand for regular payments in preference to investment.

New Zealand’s largest corporate farmer posted an 84 percent decline in annual profit to $4.9 million, in line with its forecast of $1 million to $6 million, as revenue fell 12 percent to $213.5 million on weak milk and lamb prices.

Debt rose 25 percent to $222 million, mostly to fund dairy conversions on the 26,000 hectare Wairakei Estate north of Taupo, slated to become the biggest milk producer in the southern hemisphere. Landcorp is 12 years into a 40-year lease to operate and develop the estate. . .

Northland Ballance Farm Environment Awards Recognise ‘Labour Of Love’:

Entering the 2015 Ballance Farm Environment Awards (BFEA) proved a thoroughly enjoyable experience for Northland farmers Ian and Sandy Page.

The Pages own Tahere Farm near Whangarei in the Pataua North district. Previously a run-down unit, the couple has spent many years developing the 162ha farm into a model of sustainability. With the whole title area under QEII National Trust covenant, BFEA judges said Tahere was like a privately owned regional park, farmed in the public interest.

“By entering an open space covenant, Ian and Sandy have invited the world to share their dreams.”

Tahere has about 62ha of indigenous forest. Another 59ha runs sheep and beef and the balance is in production forestry. . . 

Diabetes nutraceutical wins 2015 Proof of Concept grant:

A team developing a nutraceutical that could help regulate blood glucose levels thereby support the treatment of type II diabetes has won the University’s 2015 Proof of Concept grant.

The $50,000 grant, offered by the University’s commercialisation arm, Otago Innovation, is aimed at transforming novel research at Otago into a marketable idea, product or service.

Dr Phil Heyward and Dr Alex Tups of the Department of Physiology are working on the nutraceutical, which involves a plant product. They are collaborating with Associate Professor Nigel Perry of Plant and Food Research and Pat Silcock, the Manager of Food Science’s Product Development Research Centre, who each bring essential expertise to the project. . .

Wine awards recognise top drops from the Bay:

Some of the country’s best viticulturists and vineyards have been recognised for their grape growing skills.

The Bragato wine awards were announced in Hawke’s Bay last night as part of the New Zealand Winegrowers Romeo Bragato conference.

A Villa Maria chardonnay, with grapes grown by Brett Donaldson, won the Bragato Trophy.

And a Villa Maria cabernet sauvignon merlot, made from grapes grown by Phil Holden in Hawke’s Bay, won the champion domaine wine.

Chair of the judges, Ben Glover, said the competition recognises the grape growing behind a top drop. . . 

Inaugural New Zealand Young Winemaker crowned:

A night of nerves, skill and finesse surrounded the all-female finalists of the inaugural Tonnellerie de Mercurey 2015 New Zealand Young Winemaker competition last night.

Hawke’s Bay Winemaker, Lauren Swift took the inaugural title after she battled it out following three days of winemaking challenges at the Romeo Bragato conference.

Lauren says, “It was an extremely tough competition, I’m really thrilled with the result. It’s been such a great opportunity for me, and has already opened a number of doors and given me so much confidence. . . .


Rural round-up

July 14, 2015

NZInc, Australia Mall and China’s JD.com – Keith Woodford:

For the last four years I have been promoting the notion that we need an integrated approach to selling New Zealand food online in China. Now the Aussies have gone and beaten us with ‘Australia Mall’ on China’s JD.com.

Chinese buyers increasingly want to want to buy their food online. They want food that is processed in a Western country. They also want a one-stop online shop. And they want same day delivery.

All of the above consumer needs are increasingly being achieved by our competitors. We need to be there too. . .

$7.3m for agricultural research partnership:

The Government will invest $7.3 million over five years in an agricultural research partnership to improve pasture grasses and lift the performance of livestock farming, Science and Innovation Minister Steven Joyce and Primary Industries Minister Nathan Guy announced today.

Pastoral Genomics is an industry-led research partnership between DairyNZ, Beef+Lamb NZ, Grasslands Innovation, NZ Agriseeds, DEEResearch, AgResearch, and Dairy Australia whose objective is to provide pastoral farmers with better forage cultivars that will increase productivity, profitability and environmental sustainability of New Zealand’s pastoral farming systems. . .

Risk-based approach mooted for bovine TB eradication  – Gerald Piddock:

Proposed changes for bovine tuberculosis management in New Zealand could see a risk-based approach adopted in deciding which livestock to test for the disease.

This meant shifting to a system where high TB risk areas would be targeted, a risk profile would be built around infected livestock. That profile would relate to the area, a herd’s history and the amount of stock movements. The higher the level of movements, the more risk there was of infection.

The Biosecurity Act required the plan to eradicate TB be formally reviewed on a regular basis. The proposed changes would come into effect in July 2016. . .

Designers carry the flag for wool:

The inspiring way in which Australia promotes wool used in its fashion and interiors sectors prompted Auckland fashion editor and stylist Anna Caselberg to initiate a fashion wool week this year – ‘Choose Wool 2015’.

The inaugural ‘We’re loving Wool’ week last year involved a number of New Zealand high fashion designers, with a major kick-off event – including sheep shearing – in the trendy Britomart precinct of Auckland. It was organised in conjunction with Elders Primary Wool. . .

Productivity and lifestyle meet at Bellingen – Nick Heydon:

AFTER time spent living in Hong Kong, Duncan and Fiona McDonald and their family planned to live at their North Coast grazing property “Glynravon”.

Mr McDonald purchased the property at Bellingen in 2008.

“Glynravon” was seen as an opportunity to set up a home base close to New England Girls School and The Armidale School, where Duncan and Fiona’s children were set to board.

“We decided on Bellingen so we could be close to the kids, close to the coast, and that it was easy to get to Sydney,” Mr McDonald said. . .

 Meat Slicer Nelson –Safer, More Efficient Meat Slicers on the Rise:

When dealing with fleshy goods, meat companies take utmost care in every part of the process. From raising the animals to their actual processing, butchers ensure complete sanitation in each step. All of them rely on heavy machinery to do much of all the heavy work, including slicing and packaging.

These two procedures have received much development in the recent years. Its involvement ensures clean meat reaches customers. As for the slicers, it’s just not about safety. People demand specific cuts for particular dishes. This means in addition to guaranteeing cleanliness, meat slicers have to be versatile and efficient.

Local Excellence

New Zealand can compete with the best meat and dairy producers in the world. With some of the most well looked after livestock, the Pacific nation exports top-class products guaranteed. Meat-loving countries demand constant supply of premium-grade meat from NZ’s prized farms and they cannot afford to disappoint. . .

 


Rural round-up

June 4, 2015

Hunter Downs irrigation backing forthcoming – David Bruce:

A new Waimate irrigation scheme capable of providing water to up to 32,000ha now has enough shareholder support to move on to the next stage of investigations after fears in April some farmers might be backing out.

The Hunter Downs irrigation scheme, estimated to cost about $375 million, had sold enough shares to cover 24,000ha in its first instalment of payments. . .

The science behind deer velvet – Jemma Brackebush:

AgResearch scientists are working with Korean counterparts to discover what components of deer velvet may help boost immune systems.

Deer antler products are commonly used in northern Asian countries in the winter to boost people’s immune systems and fight off colds and flus.

Senior scientist Stephen Haines said a major factor in selling deer velvet in key markets like South Korea and China was being able to prove the product does what the marketers claim.

 Manuka Health mulls capital raising options after global launch of new honey products – Fiona Rotherham:

(BusinessDesk) – Manuka Health, the functional food and dietary supplement company, is reviewing capital-raising options to help fund a global roll-out of new products said to boost the antibacterial qualities of manuka honey and its pipeline of research and development.

The private company has ruled out a public listing at this stage but chief executive Kerry Paul said it was considering other options including new investors who bring more than just capital to the table.

Manuka Health was founded in 2006 and exports 90-plus products based on propolis, royal jelly, bee pollen, and manuka honey to 45 countries. It has annual turnover of more than $50 million, 80 staff, and is owned by a number of private shareholders including Paul and family interests associated with chairman Ray Thomson, and institutional investors, Milford Asset Management and Waterman Capital. . .

Finalists announced for 2015 Green Ribbon Awards:

Environment Minister Dr Nick Smith and Conservation Minister Maggie Barry today announced the finalists for the 2015 Green Ribbon Awards, which will this year mark 25 years of honouring New Zealand’s environmental leaders.

“Over 70 nominations were received across the 10 categories for this year’s awards, and they cover a wide range of environmental initiatives that include protecting our biodiversity, reducing greenhouse gas emissions, minimising waste, reducing water pollution, preserving the marine environment, educating and inspiring the community, and implementing more sustainable business practices,” Dr Smith says. . .

Maximising profit and environmental protection on NZ pastoral farms:

Agricultural growth agendas are currently based on the idea that more production, at any cost, is the best strategy for higher national GDP. But, it is unclear how these agendas will be fulfilled, given tightening water quality limits and the pressing need to account for greenhouse gas emissions.

Alison Dewes (Headlands Consultancy) says that the combination of volatile economic conditions and enforceable environmental limits will force farmers to reconfigure their farm systems. Farmers will have to demonstrate efficient resource use, minimal environmental effects and robust economic performance to ensure New Zealand’s agriculture sector can thrive and stay ahead of the game. . .

Make the most of Government forestry planting grants; NRC:

Northland farmers and landowners are being encouraged to take full advantage of a Government forestry grant scheme, with the Northland Regional Council advising it also has options to help.

The Government recently re-launched its Afforestation Grant Scheme (AGS), announcing it would spend $22.5 million over the next six years subsidising the planting of forests on erosion-prone land.
This scheme previously saw more than 12,000 hectares of new forest planted nationally between 2008 and 2013.
The re-launched scheme, administered by the Ministry for Primary Industries (MPI), is accepting applications for the next month (SUBS: these close 30 June 2015). . .

Young Butchers Set to Carve up Competition:

Across New Zealand, young butchers are preparing for the battle of their careers in anticipation of the 2015 Alto Young Butcher and Competenz Butcher Apprentice of the Year.

A total of 73 butchery protégées have entered the regional stages of the competition in the hopes of making it to the Grand Final on September 10 at Shed 10 in Auckland.

Competition Organiser, Pippa Hawkins from Retail Meat New Zealand says the event is now widely recognised within the industry with past competitors reaping huge benefits. . .


Nature has a reason for men

May 20, 2015

Ever wondered why we need men?

Nature has a reason:

 . . .Biologists have always puzzled over why males have survived given that their only contribution to reproduction is sperm.

It makes far more sense in evolutionary terms to have an all-female asexual population which creates daughters who can reproduce rather than sons who cannot, such as the Mexican whiptail lizard.

But new research suggests that sexual competition for mates keeps populations healthy, free of disease and genetically diverse. . .

It wouldn’t be hard to think of some other reasons, would it?

Hat tip: Tim Worstall


Rural round-up

February 12, 2015

Farmers trading risks with barns, study shows:

Investing in a wintering barn may feel good for the farmer but it won’t necessarily be profitable, according to a DairyNZ study.

DairyNZ senior economist Matthew Newman and AgFirst consultant Phil Journeaux, presented the interim results of the study to a conference in Rotorua today, indicating that the jury is still out on whether investing in a wintering barn is a good financial or environmental move.

The paper presented to the Australian Agricultural and Resource Economics Society’s annual (AARES) conference is based on analysis of a selection of five South Island farms with free stall barns. . .

Safer Farms a personal responsibility:

Speech by Peter Jex-Blake, Federated Farmers Gisborne/Wairoa provincial president to the SaferFarms launch at Wairakaia Station, Muriwai

First of all I would like to congratulate WorkSafe on the Safer Farms initiative. Improving farmer awareness and understanding of risks involved, along with education on how these risks can be minimised and or managed, is a far more effective approach than dishing out heavy handed fines which are totally disproportionate to the offence committed, and create much antagonism towards the regulators.

By nature, farmers are individuals who strongly believe in personal responsibility rather than having ‘big brother’ telling them what to do, and have an inherent intolerance for bureaucracy and attending to endless compliance documents. Family farms are still the backbone of the New Zealand economy, and often are run solely by family members. Farmers do what they do because they enjoy the lifestyle the business provides. It enables the family to be involved in the business. It is a challenging, demanding and complex business, so attending to increasing compliance and filling out of forms is not something that most farmers enthuse over, and does take away some of the enjoyment factor. . .

Biosecurity officials go to war over bug:

Biosecurity officials are raising a bit of a stink about a voracious bug that could cause havoc with fruit and vegetable crops if it gets loose here.

The Ministry for Primary Industries has scaled up treatment requirements for vehicles and machinery coming from the United States because of more frequent discoveries of the brown marmorated stink bug on these imports.

The stink bug originated in Asia, notably China, Japan, and Korea but has now invaded the United States where it is causing huge losses to crops. . .

China-NZ Customs work to enhance trade:

Customs Minister Nicky Wagner says New Zealand and China Customs authorities are a step closer to establishing a system to enhance trade assurance and facilitation under the New Zealand China Free Trade Agreement.

Ms Wagner and NZ Customs officials met with the Vice Minister of the General Administration of China Customs Mr Sun Yibiao and his delegation in Auckland today to discuss facilitating trade and combating drug trafficking.

“Trade with China is critical to our economy, and it’s important that traders’ documents meet our trade partners’ standards to ensure exports travel smoothly,” Ms Wagner says. . .

 

Julio’s first day of farming – Julian Lee:

Campbell Live reporter Julian Lee – also known as Julio – wanted to find out what it was really like to be a dairy farmer.

So he left the office for the day and stayed on the Downings’ Farm in Morrinsville and did an actual shift on the job.

Everyone in the Campbell Live office was so impressed by Julio’s first day as a dairy farmer, that we’ve decided to turn it in to a series: Have you got a job for Julio? . . .

Merino fashion brand PERRIAM expands with the launch of Little PERRIAM:

Little PERRIAM, the exciting, fresh new babies and children’s merino clothing label by Wanaka fashion designer Christina Perriam, launches online and in select retail outlets today.

Today’s release of the first Little PERRIAM range follows the successful launch of Christina’s new luxury lifestyle merino fashion brand PERRIAM, which took place in Tarras in October 2014.

Little PERRIAM replaces Christina’s hugely popular babies and children’s label Suprino Bambino as she continues to deliver her new brand’s overall vision. With similar design elements to Suprino Bambino, like fun prints, bold colours, touches of Liberty fabrics and on-trend designs, the Winter 2015 range of Little PERRIAM is expected to continue to be a hit with parents and kids.

 

Leading real estate company strengthens leadership of its rural division:

Bayleys Real Estate has strengthened its countrywide rural division – with the appointment of Simon Anderson to head up the company’s rural marketing and sales activities nationally in the newly created role of national country manager.

Mr Anderson has been involved with the company’s rural activities for 13 years as the regional rural manager for the Bay of Plenty, Waikato and Taranaki regions.

Based out of Bayleys’ Tauranga office, Mr Anderson will take on a strategic role to expand the agency’s national and international marketing of rural properties – ranging from horticulture, sheep and beef, forestry and viticulture sites, through to agricultural and dairying blocks. . .

 

 

 


Where does the money come from?

September 29, 2014

I came across this advertisement during the election campaign but didn’t use it because I believed people were better giving their party votes to National.
Photo: We say you cannot have economic growth or higher living standards by attacking farmers and locking out foreign investment.<br /><br />
If you share these values, vote for them. See our plan at www.act.org.nz.

However, the plea for the party vote, aside, the message about where the money for services comes from is right and reinforced by this story:

Research cash from milk industry could be put in same category as that from armament companies:

Research funding from the dairying and soft drink industries could be declined on ethical grounds under proposals being worked through by the University of Canterbury.

The university is in the midst of a wide-ranging debate about ethical research funding – who academics should and shouldn’t accept money from, and for what research purpose.

Currently, research funding from the tobacco and armaments industries could be declined.

Some academics have argued that should extend to certain industry-funded alcohol, gambling, dairying, mining and soft drink research.

Others believed there should be no prohibition and that the acceptance of funding should be left to individual moral judgements. . .

The issue appears to be water quality.

It’s not a good reflection on the scientific rigor that researchers would write off a whole industry on the strength of what some farmers used to do and take no notice of what’s being done to improve matters.

Dairying farming has been contributing to the deterioration of water quality but farmers and those who supply and support them are making good progress on cleaning up their practices.

There is still more work to do and it will need good science to help. Would researchers turn down money from the industry if it was investigating ways to improve its environmental impact?

This issue, lumping dairying with alcohol and arms, highlights the dark green anti-farming stance which counts the costs but not the benefits.

The dairy industry produces milk which is an important source of nutrients for people here and even more overseas.

The food we export earns a lot of the money which enables us to pay our way in the world and import goods and services from other countries.

The tax paid by farmers and those who service and supply them and process, distribute, market and sell what they produce is what funds universities and hospitals.

If they’re going to turn down money from dairy companies, will they also turn down the tax revenue from the industry which funds the institutions where they work?


Rural round-up

July 25, 2014

Federation wins rates remission against urban sprawl:

Federated Farmers is thrilled that common sense has prevailed in the Horowhenua District Council’s unanimous decision to adopt a rates remission for farms being rezoned as urban.

“Due to the urban sprawl, farmers are increasingly being rezoned as urban, and consequently being faced with enormous rates bills, but thankfully the Council listened to us and has taken a more common sense approach,” says James Stewart, Federated Farmers Manawatu-Rangitikei provincial president.

“Federated Farmers suggested a similar rates remission policy to its neighbouring Kapiti Coast, in order to avoid unnecessary costs to farming businesses, which would reduce their competitiveness with other farmers in the region. . .

Council and farmers work together – Chris Lewis:

As Henry Ford once said, “Coming together is a beginning; keeping together is progress; working together is success”. This is now evident in the Waikato as we see comparative data in effluent compliance, prepared by the Waikato Regional Council, pre the collaborative process and to now.

With farm inspections on the ground having increased by just over 200 farms since 2012, we are seeing a conscious effort to work alongside farmers rather than be a distant enforcer. Every successful business or individual knows that their achievement depends on a community working together, with a shared vision or goal. . .

Focus on farm-exit water quality :

The Otago Water Plan’s Plan Change 6A (PC6A) was not about the Otago Regional Council using a ”big stick” to ensure compliance for water quality, chief executive Peter Bodeker said.

He said the council did not wish to dictate to land owners, farmers, horticulturists and forest owners how they managed their properties.

The council decided to take an ”effects-based approach” to controlling discharges from properties, rather than regulating operational methods, and to encourage management practices that ensured water leaving the property was of sufficient quality. . .

Gold surge tipped for Zespri – Richard Rennie:

An impending avalanche of Gold kiwifruit will present as many challenges as opportunities for growers over the next two seasons and returns are expected to ease as a result.

Zespri chief executive Lain Jager used this year’s annual meeting to caution growers about the prospect of moving from a post-Psa famine in gold fruit to a feast by 2018.  

The latest harvest yielded the lowest volume yet of the high-value fruit, at 11.1 million trays, reflecting the grafting change from the disease ravaged Hort16a variety to the more Psa-tolerant Gold3 and associated varieties. . .

Ag scientist’s career marked by contrasts  – Sue O’Dowd,

Agricultural science has provided a Taranaki man with a career marked by contrasts.

There’s been the ice, snow and dry valleys of Antarctica and the desert of Saudi Arabia. Malcolm Macfarlane has also worked for the New Zealand Fire Service and in the hillcountry of the North Island’s East Coast, where he’s undertaking forage research.

Although he lives in Inglewood, where wife Rosie Mabin is Inglewood High School’s principal, he’s a scientist for Hastings-based On-Farm Research. . . .

The latest dairy farm syndicate spurns debt as investors focus on risk – Greg Ninness:

Roger Dickie NZ has launched a dairy farm investment syndicate that will have almost no debt.

The company is best known for putting together forestry investment vehicles, but its latest offering, Eastbourne Dairy Farm Ltd, will be its third dairy farm offering and it has also previously syndicated a sheep and beef property.

Eastbourne has been set up with a company structure in which investors will buy shares, with 11 million shares on offer at a dollar each and the minimum investment being $25,000.

The proceeds will be used to buy an established 241ha dairy farm in Southland and a 520 cow herd. . . .

 


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