Rural round-up

July 27, 2015

TPP must deliver, say beef producers:

Beef producers from five Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) member countries are calling for a high-quality market access deal on beef to be secured at the TPP ministerial meeting in Hawaii this month.

Negotiators and trade ministers from the 12 TPP countries will meet in Maui in late July, with the goal of reaching agreement on the outstanding issues across the TPP agenda.

The Five Nations Beef Alliance (FNBA)1 says it is vital that a comprehensive, trade liberalising deal be finalised. . .

North Canterbury farmers get reprieve on intensification limits – Tim Fulton:

Farmers dealing with drought in North Canterbury have been spared the “unintended consequations” of rules that could have stunted their recovery.

Environment Canterbury (ECan) will no longer apply its proposed “10 per cent rule” in the Hurunui catchment, meaning farmers will not be forced to get resource consent for normal farming practices, like re-stocking and applying fertilisers.

ECan will no longer consider some of these improvements a “land use” change triggering its so-called “10 per cent” limit. . .

Hawke’s Bay ‘Land Girl’ honoured:

Veterans’ Affairs Minister Craig Foss will today present a pin and certificate of appreciation to Hawke’s Bay ‘Land Girl’ Tiny (Helen) White.

During World War II, Mrs White and more than 4000 other New Zealand women volunteered for organisations such as the Women’s Land Service.

“These women, commonly referred to as Land Girls, took up the roles of the men sent overseas — they worked on farms and in other essential industries,” Mr Foss says. . .

From city to country to DWN coordinator:

It was the call of the land that saw Dairy Women’s Network’s newest staff member pack up her family from living the city life and head back to the family’s 830-cow dairy farm.

Melissa Sinton, who has just taken over the role of DWN regional convenor coordinator for the lower North Island, was working in pharmacy in Rotorua three years ago, when she was encouraged to come back to the family farm in Arohena, south east of Te Awamutu.

“As a mum of three young boys, it was an opportunity that was too good to pass up. Moving back to the farm was definitely something I did for myself, but more so for my family,” she said. . .

 

Hamilton Honey Scores Sweet Silver at National Awards:

Honey collected from hives at three popular Hamilton locations has claimed a silver medal at the recent National Beekeepers Association National Honey Competition.

Kirikiriroa Honey, produced by Waikato firm Sweetree, claimed second prize in the Beekeepers Special Reserve section of the awards, held in Taupo in June.

The awards’ Special Reserve Category included 12 entries. . .

 

Agcarm President Mark Christie to the 68th Agcarm Annual Conference

Like all well run organisations, Agcarm has a clear vision.

“To protect and enhance the health of crops and animals through innovation and responsible use of quality products.”

From this, our objectives focus on sustainable, science based innovation, where high quality products result in high quality produce for local and global consumption.

They also focus on the strong need for stewardship and responsible use, while ensuring user and environmental safety. . .

Cows master maze make mice, look like dimwits – Julie Power:

Everyone knows rats and mice can navigate mazes, but cows?

New research shows cows can be taught to follow sounds to find food in a maze. Some cows got a perfect score, when tested four times a day for four days straight. 

And confirming that some cows are smarter than others, heifer number two nailed it immediately from day one of testing, amazing researchers when she found the food in less than 20 seconds. . .


Free trade deals save millions

July 24, 2015

Free trade deals have saved multi millions of dollars, Beef + Lamb New Zealand says.

By its calculations, New Zealand’s Free Trade Agreements (FTAs) delivered tariff savings of more than $160 million on sheep meat and beef exports last year.

Beef and Lamb chief executive Scott Champion said those savings would grow as tariffs continued to come down and exports grew.

“The good news, I guess, is how big some of the savings are compared to if those free trade agreements weren’t in place.”

Dr Champion said red meat was one of the most protected products in the world and, especially for beef, the amount of tariffs being paid was still significant.

“It’s about $161 million saved, compared to not having FTAs in place, but the total tariff bill is still about $326 million.

“We have a lot of discussion – often publicly – around whether we should be doing free trade agreements, or shouldn’t we, and what this data really suggests is that… free trade agreements deliver significant savings to sectors, and particularly primary industries.”

Protection limits choice and adds costs for consumers, distorts markets and reduces income for producers.

It can also facilitate corruption as those seeking market access or to limit access for others seek to influence those with the power to confer favours.

The only real beneficiaries from trade restrictions are politicians, bureaucrats and the protected businesses who gain at everyone else’s cost.


Rural round-up

July 22, 2015

Parasite a bee in keepers’ bonnets:

A bee scientist says the appearance of a new honey bee parasite is the last thing beekeepers need, with the most serious pest, the varroa mite, becoming more difficult to control.

The gut parasite, Lotmaria Passim, has been found in beehives on Coromandel Peninsula and in the southern North Island.

Plant and Food Research bee unit head Mark Goodwin said the discovery had serious implications for the bee industry, because it and another parasite, Nosema Ceranae, also present in New Zealand, have been linked with bee colony collapses overseas. . .

Black Thursday for Dairy and Fonterra – but eventually the sun will rise again – Keith Woodford:

Thursday 16 July was surely a black day for dairy and Fonterra. Not only did prices on the Global dairy trade auction prices drop to a record low, but Fonterra announced it was cutting 523 positions.

It was also a black day for New Zealand, as commentators and exchange rate speculators started to realise that the downturn was going to affect the whole economy. The exchange rate dropped close to 3% that day.

Regional New Zealand has seen the downturn coming for some time, but in the main cities the realisation is only starting to dawn. . .

English: dairy prices will rise:

Dairy prices will pick up, it’s just a matter of when and how quickly they do, Finance Minister Bill English says.

Dairy product prices sank again in last week’s GlobalDairyTrade auction, with whole milk powder leading the way with a 13.1 percent drop.

“The way it’s been described to me is there’s been a perfect storm of excess milk supply influenced by events in Russia, Europe and China and in New Zealand and Australia and that’s led to these prices,” Mr English told reporters. . .

Alliance shareholders force a special meeting – Fiona Rotherham:

(BusinessDesk) – Disgruntled Alliance Group shareholders have gathered sufficient support to force a special meeting to discuss the potential benefits and risks of a merger with fellow cooperative Silver Fern Farms.

Balfour farmer Jeff Grant, who along with rural accountant and farmer, Gaye Cowie, have been gathering the required 5 percent of proxy forms needed to force the special meeting, say they have sent 7 percent to the company for verification.

The move matches a similar one by Silver Fern Farms shareholders to force a special meeting within their own meat cooperative. . .

Property searched, 2 charged – Lynda van Kempen:

A six-month police investigation led to two arrests yesterday in connection with several incidents of alleged poaching in Central and South Otago.

About 20 police, including the armed offenders squad and Alexandra and Omakau officers, carried out a search of an Ida Valley property yesterday morning and seized ammunition, two 4WD vehicles and a quad bike, Sergeant Derek Ealson, ofAlexandra, said.

Following the search, a 27-year-old man and 28-year-old woman, both of Central Otago, were charged with 12 offences relating to unlawful hunting, trespass, unlawful possession of firearms and possession of cannabis, he said. . .

Family tips contribute to success in judging – Sally Rae:

Stud sheep breeding is in Ben Sutherland’s blood.

Mr Sutherland (19), who comes from Benmore Station, near Omarama, has inherited a long standing family interest in and passion for farming.

His great grandfather, H. J. Andrew, farmed Punchbowl, near Maheno, with well known Southdown and Poll Dorset sheep studs, while his grandfather, Jim Sutherland, founded the Benmore merino stud. . .

Man sells human-like sheep to save his sanity – Emma Cropper:

Owners of a lodge near Arthurs Pass have become so fed up with one of their lambs they sent out an online plea for someone to take the animal off their hands.

The animal enjoys hanging out with humans a little bit too much, and it’s driving the owners crazy.

Grasmere Lodge owner Thomas Butler says ‘Marcus’ has a taste for the finer things in life, and he’s getting too cosy with the luxury alpine lodge they call home. He follows them everywhere, chews on the plants, poops on the doorstep and regularly jumps into the car for a ride. . .

 


Rural round-up

July 21, 2015

Farmers And Forest & Bird Unite to Explain 1080 Facts:

The Pest Control Education Trust, a joint Federated Farmers and Forest & Bird initiative, today released ‘1080: The Facts’, a resource created to increase public understanding of 1080 and how it is used.

The fact sheet is an illustrated, easy-to-read rundown on which predators are targeted by 1080 and the native species that benefit from its use, and how using 1080 prevents the spread of bovine tuberculosis. It also outlines the precautions taken to ensure 1080 operations are safe.

Federated Farmers National Board Member and a Trustee of the Pest Control Education Trust (PCET) Chris Allen says the fact sheet has been produced in response to strong public demand for accessible, factual, summary information about 1080 and its use. . .

Open Country dairy slashes milk price forecast – Andrea Fox:

New Zealand’s second biggest milk processor Open Country Dairy has slashed its milk payout forecast by more than $1kg for the season as industry pessimism deepens about the multi-billion dollar dairy sector’s earnings outlook.

Open Country had until last week been forecasting a milk payment of $4.75-4.95kg milksolids to its around 700 national supplier farmers. 

Now it has told its farmers to instead bank on $3.65-$3.95kg. . .  

Partnership Helps to Set New Zealand Beef Apart From the Competition:

A partnership between Beef + Lamb New Zealand and a restaurant chain in Taiwan is helping to open consumers’ eyes to the nutritional benefits of grass-fed New Zealand beef.

New Zealand product makes up more than 80 per cent of the beef dishes offered on Royal Host’s menu.

The chain has 14 locations across Taiwan and caters for family dining in particular. Vice President Shirley Huang says local diners put a premium on safe, quality food, so Royal Host values that New Zealand beef is such a positive option. “In our menus, we include images of cows grazing peacefully on open pasture. New Zealand grass-fed beef is low in fat and has lower cholesterol.” . .

 

A2 shares fall as investors weigh up funding needs – Paul McBeth:

 (BusinessDesk) – A2 Milk Co shares fell to a three-week low as investors weighed up the company’s funding needs after the board turned down a potential offer from cornerstone shareholder Freedom Foods Group and US food and beverage firm Dean Foods.

The shares fell as low as 70 cents in morning trading on the NZX, and were 6.5 percent to 72 cents shortly before midday. A2 today said it told Freedom and Dean Foods the expression of interest wasn’t compelling enough to get a board recommendation if a formal bid was made, though was open to talking with the suitors. It has also attracted other potential bidders and is evaluating them. . .

Major Revamp of Dairy Awards:

The most significant changes in the history of the New Zealand Dairy Industry Awards have been made to enhance the competitions and enable more dairy farm workers to enter the awards programme.

Awards Executive Chairman Gavin Roden says he is excited about the changes that have been made to all three of the awards competitions.

“As an executive we had identified for a few years that there were a lot of people that couldn’t enter our awards because of the changing face of the industry and employment,” Mr Roden says. . .

Worker participation key to future safety:

After months of industry consultation, the forest industry has a new safety body – the Forest Industry Safety Council (FISC). Most importantly, there has been practical input from experienced forest contractors from on the forest floor and workers with experience at the bushline.

Some simple questions and answers may help explain how FISC will work:

Q: Who decided forestry needs a safety council?

A: The independent forest safety review team was not satisfied that people on the forest floor had a voice in making workplaces safer. Following the review and its recommendations, FICA has worked with forest owners and managers to put in place this new group. It will focus on safety using incident information reported by people working at the bushline to identify work areas. . .

 

Farmers get online survey option:

Farmers are for the first time this month completing their annual Agricultural Production Survey online.

Every year Statistics New Zealand surveys about 30,000 farmers about their land, livestock and crops, and farming practices.

This week farmers can start filling in their online survey forms, once they’ve received details in the post.

The survey measures changes in the sector, and is used for planning and forecasting. Farmers can use survey results on the Statistics NZ website to keep track of trends and make changes in their businesses. . .

 

Ballance appoints General Manager Sales:

Ballance Agri-Nutrients has appointed Campbell Parker as General Manager Sales.

Campbell will join the co-operative in October, following a successful banking career, including leadership of BNZ’s Partners Network and a track record in rural lending.

Ballance CEO Mark Wynne says Campbell combines sales leadership experience with a strong understanding and connection with the agri-business sector. . .

Bayer Central Otago Young Viticulturist of the Year 2015 announced:

Congratulations to Mike Winter from Amisfield who has just become the Bayer Central Otago Young Viticulturist of the Year 2015 and now goes through to the National Final. After a challenging day of activities on Friday at the Central Otago Polytechnic, the contestants’ final task was to deliver a speech at the Annual Winemakers Feraud dinner on Saturday night at Northburn.

It was a very close competition with Annabel Bulk taking 2nd place and Cliff Wickham coming 3rd, both from Felton Road Vineyard. . .

 

 


GDT price index drops 10.7%

July 16, 2015

More bad news on the dairy front this morning with a drop of 10.7% in Fonterra’s GlobalDairyTrade price index.

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Fonterra’s board will review the forecast milk price next month.

It won’t be going up and could well go down.

The dollar fell to a fresh five-year low in the wake of the GDT result.

The kiwi touched 65.81 US cents, and was trading at 65.92 cents at 8am in Wellington, from 67.05 cents at 5pm yesterday. The trade-weighted index sank to 70.01 from 70.88 yesterday.

The New Zealand dollar dropped sharply after dairy product prices sank an average 10.7 percent to a six-year low in the GDT auction, with the key whole milk powder price dropping 13.1 percent to US$1,848 a tonne. Dairy prices have remained lower for longer amid higher global supplies in New Zealand, Europe and the US, weak demand in China and an import ban in Russia. The weaker prices come as New Zealand production is rising heading into the country’s peak supply period in October, raising concern about the impact on the nation’s economy. . .

We can be grateful we have our own floating currency and aren’t like Greece which is tied to the Euro.

 

 


Rural round-up

July 12, 2015

Merino school jersey success – Sally Rae:

 With a passion for New Zealand wool, it was only natural that Banks Peninsula farmers Carl and Tori Uren dressed their four young children in merino clothing.

But when their eldest daughter Annabel turned 5, they were disappointed to find the only jersey option for the school uniform was made from polar fleece.

Believing there had to be another option, the sheep and beef farmers made some inquiries and were disappointed to find merino jerseys were not available. . .

Safe workplace culture ‘comes from within’ – Sue O’Dowd:

Changes around health and safety need to come from the community and from industry, says a Taranaki Worksafe leader.

“It’s not going to be the regulator that makes the change,” WorkSafe assessment manager Jill Manaia told about 200 people at this week’s NZ Ground Spreader Fertiliser Association conference in New Plymouth. “It’s industry and the community who decide what’s important.” 

She said Worksafe was tasked with leading a step change in health and safety performance in New Zealand to reduce fatalities and serious harm by 25 per cent by 2020.

“Whatever we’ve been doing hasn’t worked. We’re killing too many people – each statistic is a family member, a business member, a guy who has to be replaced and who is no longer part of society. If someone is killed or injured at your business, it’s likely you knew them well.” . . .

Export conditions still tough – Neal Wallace:

If last year proved tough for exporters they are unlikely to get much of a reprieve in the coming season.

A combination of economic upheaval in key markets and high production from competing exporters threatens to overshadow the looming export season before it even starts.

Rabobank’s dairy research director Hayley Moynihan said this season would be tough but some of that impact could be softened by an easing NZ dollar. . .

All atwitter over beef Wellington – Rod Slater:

Before our very eyes, the way we advertise our products is changing rapidly.

No longer can we refer to a marketing plan which includes the traditional mix of television, print, radio, outdoor and a touch of online marketing, as strong.

Online marketing is without a doubt “taking over the world” and I’m certainly not one for closing my eyes to the inevitable. In fact, I’m predicting the social media and the online space will quickly begin to absorb the majority of our costs when it comes to allocating advertising spend. . .

 

Outram’s Johnstones win again – Sally Rae:

Outram Limousin breeders Rob and Jean Johnstone have done it again.

The couple have been awarded the Alan Dodd Trophy for the overall champion in the annual Otago Southland beef carcass competition, which attracted 38 entries. . .

Governance skills a priority for new apiculture body:

Federated Farmers is calling for people with bee industry experience and skills to apply for positions on the Interim Apiculture Industry Governance Board (IGB). The IGB emerged out of the merger between Federated Farmers Bees, Honey Packers and Exporters Association and National Beekeepers Association at the New Zealand Apiculture Conference last month.

The interim working group member and Federated Farmers Bee Industry Group Vice-Chairman, Peter Bell, says it is vital to have the best people to navigate a way to structure and fund the apiculture industry. . .


Rural round-up

July 11, 2015

Toughest farming conditions fro more than 25 years – Tim Fulton:

The micro-climate at Tim and Katie Wilding’s farm at Conway Flat in Canterbury is balmy enough for a crop of garden macadamias but the couple haven’t seen dry conditions like this since the 1980s.

All the natural springs “on the hill” have dried up. That’s never happened before, lifelong resident Tim says.

 Last summer had lifted soil temperatures to about 50 degrees Celsius. It killed a block of hopeful young grass with barely a fight.

The family runs one of New Zealand’s largest beef cattle studs, Te Mania. Their place is a narrow strip between North Canterbury and Kaikoura that usually gets plenty of rain and sun. hence the macadamias. The Wildings have been in full charge of the herd since 1982. . .

Farm worked by same family for 171 years:

A Nelson farm owned by the same family for 171 years is still going strong – and that’s despite the slump in dairy prices.

The Raine family have owned Oaklands farm since 1844 and began milking cows there in the 1930s, but they reckon weather and urban growth are bigger threats to its future. They have become the oldest family in New Zealand to receive a Century Farms Award, which recognises families who have worked the same land for a century or more.

The farm is now run by Richard’s eldest son Julian Raine and his wife Cathy, who live on a neighbouring house on the property. The farm currently milks 200 cows year-round and is run as part of an integrated farm business alongside other farms and horticultural interests in the Nelson region. . .

Most dairy farmers will run at loss this season:

The national dairy industry body says at current forecast milk prices, in Fonterra’s case $5.25 a kilo, most dairy farms will run at a loss this season.

To help them survive that, DairyNZ is providing a new service that they can tap into.

Farmers can go on-line and check out detailed budgeting information from top performing farms, which have pared back their production costs to below $3.50 a kilo of milk solids.

DairyNZ’s research and development head, David McCall, says as things stand the average dairy farmer will lose $150,000 to $200,000 this season if they don’t make changes. . .

West Coast wetlands protected by Nature Heritage Fund:

A significant wetland on the West Coast home to rare birds and plants will be preserved for the public thanks to the Nature Heritage Fund, Associate Conservation Minister Nicky Wagner says.

“The Nature Heritage Fund has purchased 56 hectares of land in Okuru, South Westland to become part of the conservation estate. This land is a great example of open pakihi, a type of wetland characterised by low soil fertility,” Ms Wagner says.

“The pakihi provides a perfect home for the declining South Island fernbird and supports several types of native plants, including sun orchids, carnivorous sundews and bladderworts. . .

US market offers huge potential for New Zealand wines, especially Sauvignon Blanc:

New Zealand wine exports to the United States are growing faster than to our traditional international markets of Australia and the UK, and that pace is being matched by increasing recognition at the top competitions.

In the five years from 2010-2015, exports of Kiwi wines increased three times faster than the UK and Australia. For the 12 months ended April 2015, New Zealand exported 5.88 million cases of wine to the US – up three million since 2010. During that period, exports to Australia increased to 6.4 million (4.8 million five years ago), and in the UK to 6.3 million (4.7 million). . .

 

New possibilities for NZ urea production:

Tenders have been called for a possible redevelopment of Ballance Agri-Nutrients’ ammonia-urea plant at Kapuni in Taranaki.

The only plant of its kind in New Zealand, Ballance CEO Mark Wynne says the call follows a year-long feasibility study including discussions with international specialists in converting gas to fertiliser.

“This has given us confidence to make the next move and ask global experts to scope and cost a re-development. . .

 

Success at Fieldays means boost for Kiwi economy:

With the success of James & Wells’ clients at this year’s and previous Fieldays, there’s no denying that agriculture is still a huge part of New Zealand’s economy.

But it’s not necessarily agriculture as we used to consider it – traditionally farming, machinery and fruit growing – but innovation in agriculture that is allowing wealth to be created from ideas.

In the 27 years James & Wells have been involved with Fieldays, we’ve seen plenty of innovative agricultural ideas, and having our roots in the Waikato since the 1970s, we know a good one when we see it.  . .

 


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