Rural round-up

April 19, 2015

DOC and New Zealand Fur Council agreement a win-win – except for possums:

Greater conservation and economic benefits will follow an agreement signed by the Department of Conservation (DOC) and New Zealand Fur Council (NZFC) today.

DOC already works with individuals who wish to hunt and trap on conservation land, but this Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) with the collective voice of the possum fur industry will make it easier for Fur Council accredited hunters and trappers across the country to gain access to public conservation land for fur recovery operations.

“We need more possum fur to increase the market size for New Zealand’s unique blended Brushtail possum yarns and garments,” says Neil Mackie, chairman of the New Zealand Fur Council. .

An iwi-based farming initiative:

A large Māori farming corporation in Whanganui is using a marae homestead near Waiōuru to train young adults from its iwi to run all of the incorporation’s farms.

The Awhiwhenua Land Based Training Farm School based at Ngā Mōkai Papakainga, under the shadow of Mount Ruapehu, is Ātihau Whanganui Incorporation’s third iteration of a training programme that its trust funds.

Chair of Te Ātihau Trust, Toni Waho, said that while its goal is to have uri (descendants) running all its farms, he admitted that the course was lacking a cultural and kaitiakitanga (guardianship) component. . .

Export statistics for the first half of the 2014-15 season:

Beef + Lamb New Zealand compiles lamb, mutton and beef export statistics for the country. The following is a summary of the first six months of the 2014-15 meat export season (1 October 2014 to 31 March 2015).

Summary
Strong demand and a weaker New Zealand dollar against the US dollar led to record high returns for beef in the first six months of this season, with the average per tonne value up 28 per cent, compared to the same period last season. Meanwhile, the total value of lamb exports rose slightly, despite lower export volumes.

October 2014 to March 2015 exports

 . . .

US burger demand bodes well for NZ beef farmers, economist says: – Tina Morrison:

(BusinessDesk) – A trend towards eating out in the US, which saw sales at restaurants and bars overtake spending at grocery stores for the first time last month, bodes well for New Zealand farmers who produce beef for hamburger patties, an economist says.

The US is New Zealand’s largest beef market, accounting for 51 percent of the nation’s $2.65 billion of beef exports in the year through February, according to the latest trade data from Statistics NZ. Retail sales data released in the US yesterday showed younger Americans are more likely to eat out at fast-food restaurants, helping restaurant and bar sales overtake grocery for the first time since the data began in 1992, Bloomberg reported. . .

Minister meets four-legged border protectors:

Customs Minister Nicky Wagner acknowledged the valuable assistance the Australian Customs and Border Protection Service (ACBPS) Detector Dog Breeding and Training Centre has provided New Zealand Customs, on a visit to the Centre in Melbourne.

“I thoroughly enjoyed the opportunity to meet the hardworking Customs staff – both four-legged and two – at the Detector Dog Centre,” Ms Wagner says.

“New Zealand Customs has been working with the ACBPS Detector Dog programme since 2002. The ACBPS provides up to five dogs a year under an agreement that has seen 27 dogs join NZ Customs since 2008. . .

How bad was this summer’s drought? – Andrew McMillan:

There are two interesting questions in regard to this summer’s drought. Firstly, how bad was it compared to other years. And secondly, how bad was it on a regional basis.

To answer these two questions, I grabbed some rainfall data from NIWA’s CliFlo Database and carried out the following analysis. . .

Waitomo-based Footwhistle Glowworm Cave celebrates 100 years guiding:

It is a momentous occasion for the team at the Footwhistle Glowworm Cave Tour in Waitomo as they celebrate a combined 100 years of Guiding. The small Family team of Four Guides have over 100 years of guiding experience between them.

“This is quite an achievement considering we only opened this cave tour in 2010,” says Kyle Barnes, owner-operator of the Footwhistle Glowworm Caves.

“Footwhistle Glowworm Cave is one of the largest systems in the Waitomo area and thanks to conservation measures and careful native planting over the past 20 years our system now supports some of the best Glowworm displays too,” he says. The absolutely stunning cave system is made up from stalactites, stalagmites and other cave formations growing from water dripping from the ceiling or flowing over the walls and leaving behind limestone deposits. . . .

 


Rural round-up

April 18, 2015

Criteria “too tough” on migrant workers – Federated Farmers – Tess McClure:

Farmers facing labour shortages say immigration criteria is “too tough” for migrant workers plugging the gap.

High numbers of farmers had approached Federated Farmers Southland with concerns about visas for their migrant worker employees, regional president Russell Macpherson said.

He said many workers were having trouble getting residency visas, despite calls from farmers to help keep their employees in-country.
 
“For some reason the people at immigration don’t think these jobs are important enough to grant them residency,” he said. “They’re doing work that New Zealanders clearly don’t want to do, so why are we making it so hard?”
 
While many migrant workers coming to New Zealand on work visas have high hopes of staying in the country and bringing their families over, less than a third are granted the chance of residency. . .

Shearing community mourns woolhandler:

The shearing community is mourning the loss of New Zealand woolhandling legend, Joanne Kumeroa, who has died after a three year battle with cancer.

The 45-year old had been living in Australia but returned home to Whanganui just before Christmas, and died yesterday.

Ms Kumeroa was regarded in shearing circles as a New Zealand icon, winning more World, Golden Shears and national wool-handling titles than any other competitor in her 24 year career.

Friends said she used her battle with cancer to raise women’s awareness of the disease. . .

Project to future-proof our biosecurity system:

Primary Industries Minister Nathan Guy has launched a new project which will further strengthen and future-proof New Zealand’s biosecurity system.

The project, Biosecurity 2025, will update and replace the founding document of New Zealand’s biosecurity system, the 2003 Biosecurity Strategy, with broad input from stakeholders, iwi and the New Zealand public.

“Government and industry have set a goal of doubling the value of our exports by 2025, and an effective biosecurity system is fundamental to achieving this,” says Mr Guy. . .

 

Peta’s mutilated lamb campaign sparks backlash (graphic content) – Rosanna Price:

The picture above has been captioned by PETA with: THIS is what most sheep used for wool look like after “shearing”.

But many people, including animal-activists and sheep shearers, disagree.

The image of an Australian musician holding the explicity graphic and mutilated body of a lamb was animal rights group PETA’s (People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals’) way of advertising their latest expose on sheep shearing. . .

Outstanding in her field:

Dairy Woman of the Year 2015 Katie Milne hopes to use her new profile for the wider good of New Zealand farming. 

Katie Milne hopes winning the Dairy Woman of the Year title will be a good platform to push messages about farming as “the rest of New Zealand do not understand us well”.

 “They need to understand us better so we can be allowed to grow our industry, and to do that New Zealand has got to back us,” Milne told Rural News. . .

Questions for Fonterra – Andrew Hoggard:

A lot of shareholders were disappointed with the interim results Fonterra announced last week.  Many feel they are not seeing a return on their investment.

I think we might be asking the wrong question.  It shouldn’t be about where’s the return on our investment, but rather where do we see the value of being part of a co-op.

At the moment the milk price we are paid is based on the Global Dairy Trade result.  It is averaged across the season – less manufacturing costs – in a very crude simplistic sense.  The reality is that all the other companies should be achieving this anyway with their products. . .

Field day for Waipā catchment:

An event organised by DairyNZ aims to advise famers and landowners on how best to manage their property in an environmentally sustainable way.

People in the Waipā River catchment are being encouraged attend the Kaniwhaniwha Stream field day, which will offer information on funding sources for environmental initiatives along with other resources.

Hosts Denis and Felicity Ahlers have worked with industry body DairyNZ to develop an environment-focused sustainable milk plan. They have also identified work that can qualify for council and Waikato River Authority funding. . .


Lower milk price good in long run

April 18, 2015

Dairy farmers aren’t enjoying the lower prices that have followed a drop in demand for milk, but they could be good in the long run:

Low dairy prices will benefit the New Zealand dairy industry in the long term, Lincoln University Agribusiness and Food Marketing Programme Director Nic Lees says.

“The low prices are the best thing that can happen as it will limit the European expansion.”

He says a cost war is going on between New Zealand and Europe at the moment.

“Quotas have come off production in Europe so they are expanding production. This is similar to what is happening in oil with expanding production due to shale gas,” Mr Lees says.

“Ireland, for example, is planning to increase milk production by 50 per cent.”

A Dutch dairy farmer who visited us last year had begun increasing his cow numbers in preparation for the end of quotas.

He says New Zealand is the Saudi Arabia of milk — “We can be the lowest cost producer, but need to focus on grass based production to weather the storm”.

“Grass will always be the lowest cost source of feed and New Zealand has the most efficient grass- based dairy system in the world.

“Ireland can grow grass too but currently they utilise less than half what they grow. The large housed dairy operations in Europe are also only profitable at high milk prices,’’ Mr Lees says.

“We need to focus on what we are good at, which is grass.”

Higher prices encouraged farmers to use more expensive feeding systems but our climate and soils give us a natural advantage in growing grass.

The halcyon days may be gone for a while though.

“We are unlikely to see high prices again soon.

“It is going to be a slow recovery of price and dairy farmers need to be able to be profitable at $5/kgMS or they won’t survive.”

He says the average milk price over the last 10 years was around $5.50/kg MS.

“It is likely that this will be similar over the next decade as well. What we are seeing though is greater volatility. This is going to continue so farmers need to have systems that are still profitable when the price is low. The most resilient system is the low input grass based system.”

As an economy we also need to see the opportunities in other areas, he adds.

“For example there have been record high returns for beef in the first six months of this season, with the average per tonne value up 28 per cent. Beef is a great story with China needing to increase its beef imports by up to 20 per cent a year for the next five years to meet its surging demand for protein.”

Lamb also has good prospects, Mr Lees says, and there are other opportunities, such as can be seen with the growing sheep dairy industry.

Lower dairy prices will take the heat out of land prices.

They’ll also make conventional sheep and beef farming more attractive and there is potential for more sheep milk production.

 


Rural round-up

April 17, 2015

Southern Dairy Hub Great Farmer Investment:

The Southern Dairy Hub is an excellent investment for southern dairy farmers, as every dollar invested automatically delivers a $6 return.

That’s the view of Hedgehope dairy farmer Nigel Johnston, who has pledged his support for the Hub proposal and considers it a good investment for his farm business for a number of reasons.

“We need some decent science around what’s happening specifically in Southland and especially around nutrient management. A collective approach to that – like what’s being proposed with the Hub – is critical.” . .

 

Drystock farm ownership, what’s the path? – Kiwifarmer:

Drystock farm ownership, what is the path?

I have a collection of ideas on this and it’s a great discussion to be having.

With drystock farms increasing in value faster than individuals can save and are also realistically out of reach of the saving only model. How becomes a very good question!?

In recent times I’ve read suggestions about share farming and share cropping.

The sticking point for me with these arrangements is the risk and return. There has to be enough return or fat in the agreement that both party’s feel they get their fair share and in the case of the farm owner, they need a fair return on their capital. Which they may or may not currently be getting. . . 

New Zealanders Treat Soil like Dirt:

An international soil scientist claims that, too often, New Zealanders treat “soil like dirt” when it should be revered because “our lives depend on it.”

Dr John Baker says human life exists because of soil yet all that most people do is walk on it, dirty their shoes or dig it up and put buildings and roads on it.

“Soil is a living entity. It provides us with up to 90 percent of our food. There are more living organisms in a cupful of healthy soil than people on the planet,” he says.

Dr Baker says alarming figures provided by the United Nations Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO) and the UK Farmers Weekly suggest that the quality of soil is rapidly diminishing. . .

New Zealand vintners pioneer low-alcohol techniques

(Reuters) — New Zealand’s cooler climate is giving its wine makers an edge as they seek to exploit growing global demand for lighter, premium wines.


Rising temperatures are pushing up the alcohol content of wines from rivals such as Australia and the United States.


The 2015 vintage of the country’s flagship Sauvignon Blanc will be the first produced under a government-backed initiative to research and produce wines that dispel the image of low-alcohol, low-calorie wines as overly sweet, inferior tastes.
 . .

Marlborough vineyard with growth opportunities goes up for sale:

A respected Marlborough vineyard producing award-winning sauvignon blanc grapes has been placed on the market for sale.

Located in the Awatere Valley, the vineyard is owned by the Van Asch family who are well-known for farming in the region for 150 years.

After spending more than a decade creating the vineyard from bare land and building up the business, the owners have decided the time is right to move on. The freehold property has been placed on the market with Bayleys by negotiation, with a closing date for offers of April 22. . .

 

Hat tip: Utopia


Rural round-up

April 16, 2015

Call for Cantabs to think about future of water:

Canterbury would have much to gain from improving its water management practices but needs more information on how land use affects the water supply, Waterways Centre director Jenny Webster-Brown said during a recent talk at Lincoln University.

Almost three-quarters of New Zealand’s total water allocation comes from Canterbury, and current land and water use practices mean the future of the region’s water quality is far from certain, Dr Webster-Brown said.

“The region’s water management challenges have arisen for a unique combination of reasons. The main causes include a reliance on untreated groundwater for drinking, intense agriculture production and the fact that most of the population live in the lower catchments.”

Dr Webster-Brown said while a lot of water is used in irrigation on the plains, urban Christchurch residents go through around 400 litres of water each per day; one of the highest rates of city use in New Zealand or Australia. . .

 Student in take welcome:

A significant lift in numbers of students studying agriculture is overdue and ”great news” for the sector, Beef and Lamb New Zealand chief executive Dr Scott Champion says.

This year, Massey University recorded its biggest intake into agricultural qualifications for at least 25 years.

At Lincoln University, the Bachelor of Agricultural Science and Diploma in Agriculture programmes both attracted 20% more enrolments than last year. Enrolments doubled for the new Bachelor of Agribusiness and Food Marketing and the Master of Science in Food Innovation programmes.  . .

Local government funding reform good news – Dr William Rolleston:

Thank you for the opportunity to speak with you this evening. Federated Farmers has for many years been a strong proponent for reform of local government funding. We particularly support reduced reliance on the system of property rates, which in our view is inequitable from both the redistribution of wealth and the beneficiary pays perspectives.

Overall, rates revenue amounts to around 58 to 60 percent of the local government sector’s total operating revenue.

The difficulty with this system is that it seeks revenue for public goods from only those who own property in the community.  Thus the burden falls disproportionately on those who have relatively high value properties without necessarily the ability to pay. Compare for example rates paid by a super-annuitant living in their own home with a business such as the Warehouse in a provincial centre paying less in rates than an average farm. In fact rates constitute one of the top five expenses in many farming enterprises. . .

Nutrients Are Pesticides: The Dose Makes The Poison – The Foodie Farmer:

Most people find it odd that I am a Registered Dietitian who is licensed as a commercial pesticide applicator. I actually find it quite advantageous because what I studied in my nutrition degrees both undergrad and grad school, applies across multiple biological systems, not just human systems, but soil and plant systems too. Because I have a solid understanding of the science of nutrition, I therefore have a solid understanding of the science of pesticides. Many of the nutrients I studied as an RD, have applications as pesticides.

Paracelsus was correct when he coined the term “The dose makes the poison“. 

First, lets start with some definitions: . . .

 

Mr and Mrs Flowers – Thekitchensgarden:

Yesterday, after milking the cow and feeding the goats and the cows and the big pigs and the little pigs and the chickens of all descriptions, John and I loaded two dog crates into The Matriarchs jeep and went to the Bantam Swap. Do you remember last years Bantam Swap we brought home Godot and Carlos Garcia and the year before we brought home BooBoo and the year before that it was The Duke of Kupa. 

Well this year was just as successful. . .

Fruit and vegetable market ripe with growth opportunities goes up for sale:

A well-known fruit and vegetable market in Napier’s ‘Golden Mile’ – known as the centre of lifestyle, horticulture and market gardens – has been placed on the market for sale.

McKelvie’s Country Market is a long-established, family owned produce business operating from 284 Meeanee Road in Napier. The area is locally known as the ‘Golden Mile’ for its fertile soil resulting in the high quality fruit and vegetables produced and sold. . .

 


GDT down 3.6%

April 16, 2015

The GlobalDairyTrade price index fell 3.6% in this morning’s auction.

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Rural round-up

April 15, 2015

Don’t use high NZ dollar as excuse – MacPherson – Phil McCarthy:

Southland farmers need to look beyond the short-term constraints of a high New Zealand dollar and put pressure on meat and milk processors to perform better in the global market-place, Federated Farmers Southland president Russell MacPherson says.  

Yesterday the New Zealand dollar was sitting at about 99.4 cents against the Australian and 76 cents against the US Dollar. Along-side the high dollar, European dairy producers are on the verge of an end to quotas meaning they could ramp up milk production.

But MacPherson said that rather than seeing the developments as threats, farmers should recognise the other side of the coin with lower costs for farm inputs and less pressure on labour costs. . .

The hills are alight – Laird Harper:

A world first on east Taranaki’s unforgiving slopes has set the dog trial community alight.

Twenty-one huntaway dogs tackled the community stage of the Tarata Sheep Dog Trial under lights on Saturday.

Club president Bryan Hocken said the innovative approach proved pivotal to the trial’s success.

The large crowd and competitors were “fizzing” and “buzzing” all night and interest from outside the region was growing.

“It was a perfect night, a perfect site, everything was magic,” he said. . .

Maternal longevity traits closer – Terry Brosnahan:

A longevity breeding value for sheep will be released later this year.

Beef + Lamb New Zealand Genetics senior geneticist Mark Young said Sheep Improvement (SIL), B+LNZ Genetics and ram breeders recently reviewed the first version of a longevity breeding value for sheep.

Young said SIL would introduce it by the end of June this year. He was responding to an article in the March, 2015 issue of Country-Wide regarding compelling arguments for genetic selection to increase longevity of ewes and beef cows. 

Maternal longevity is a key trait missing from selection indices that characterise profit for a ewe flock or a beef cow herd. . .

New pieces to the puzzle – Ginny Dodunski:

The impacts of ewe body condition, variations in pasture components and the effects of salt topdressing on bearings have produced some surprise results.

The Beef + Lamb New Zealand farmer-initiated technology transfer (FITT) programme-funded trial investigated bearings on a large South Island sheep and beef property.

Lochiel Station, bordered by the Waiau River in north Canterbury, runs 42,000 stock units and has a history of high ewe losses from bearings.

“We have worked hard on improving our feed management and ewe body condition, plus have stabilised what was genetically a very variable flock,” station manager Kim Robinson said. . .

Diversity of opinion welcomed at Federated Farmers – Chris Lewis:

A few weeks ago I went through a bit of a learning curve about how to inadvertently make headlines. 

I’d thrown out a few thoughts at a Federated Farmers’ executive meeting on where our industry might be heading.  Those musings of mine morphed into front page news and down in Wellington what was claimed to be fixed Federated Farmers policy in parliamentary question time.

But I shouldn’t be too thin skinned about this.  Most of Waikato Federated Farmers’ meetings are fully open to whoever might want to turn up and we have always had a diversity of opinion expressed.

Our organisation has flourished the most when members have shown passion for a topic and offered to roll up their sleeves and offer their services to help on an issue.

This is how we initially attract most out our elected people to our organisation. . .

Lighting the way to dairy savings – Matthew Cawood:

ENERGY is a a major cost for dairy farmers, and one that keeps inexorably rising – which is why Dairy Australia has launched an initiative to identify energy waste in dairies.

The organisation secured $1 million in funding from the federal government to deliver the ‘Smarter energy use on Australian dairy farms’ project, which aims to improve energy efficiency on dairies.

Many of the potential energy leakages on farms, and the options for resolving them, are written up in a Dairy Australia booklet, Saving energy on dairy farms.  . .

 


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