Rural round-up

May 26, 2017

Funding boost to strengthen biosecurity:

A boost of $18.4 million of operating funding over four years from Budget 2017 will help further strengthen the biosecurity system and protect our borders, Primary Industries Minister Nathan Guy says.

“Biosecurity has always been my number one priority as Minister because the primary sector is the backbone of our economy. Unwanted pests and diseases have the potential to cause major damage to our producers,” Mr Guy says. . . 

Beef + Lamb New Zealand welcomes Budget biosecurity investment:

Beef + Lamb New Zealand (B+LNZ), on behalf of sheep and beef farmers, has welcomed the Government’s additional investment in biosecurity, announced in the Budget today.

Beef + Lamb New Zealand Chief Executive, Sam McIvor said the additional $18.4 million recognised that biosecurity was a risk to primary production and a threat to the wider New Zealand economy.

“We’re pleased the Minister for Primary Industries, the Hon Nathan Guy has made this commitment to biosecurity. . . 

Zespri 2016/17 season results: record sales by volume and value:

A remarkable season of increased yields and the largest-ever New Zealand crop helped lift total Zespri sales volume from New Zealand to a record 137.7 million trays, 18 percent up on the previous year. Sales of kiwifruit from Zespri’s Northern Hemisphere supplying locations also grew by 14 percent to 16.6 million trays, driven mainly by SunGold vines coming into production in Italy.

Zespri Chairman Peter McBride says Zespri sold more fruit faster than ever before during the 2016/17 season, with global fruit sales revenue rising by 19 percent to $2.26 billion. . . 

$30.5m boost to fisheries management:

A significant boost of $30.5 million of operating funding over the next four years in Budget 2017 will upgrade and modernise the fisheries management system, including the roll-out of cameras, monitoring, and electronic reporting on all commercial vessels, Primary Industries Minister Nathan Guy says.

“This funding will help introduce the world-leading Integrated Electronic Monitoring and Reporting System (IEMRS), which will give us arguably the most transparent and accountable commercial fishery anywhere in the world,” Mr Guy says. . . .

Sanford lifts first-half profit 25% as higher value product offsets lower prices for frozen fish – Tina Morrison:

(BusinessDesk) – Sanford, New Zealand’s largest listed seafood company, lifted first-half profit 25 percent as the benefits from selling more higher value fresh seafood offset the impact of lower prices for frozen commodity products and disruption from adverse weather.

Profit rose to $19 million, or 20.4 cents per share, in the six months ended March 31, from $15.3 million, or 16.3 cents, a year earlier, the Auckland-based company said in a statement. Revenue from continuing operations advanced 5 percent to $230.4 million. . . 

Fairton closure inevitable – Allan Barber:

Wednesday’s announcement by Silver Fern Farms of the proposal to close the company’s Fairton plant was in many ways inevitable. Even the workforce appears to have been resigned to the probability for several years. Sad as it is for workers and the Ashburton community, it is better to front up to the certainty than to have to wait for the axe to fall.

The upgrading of Pareora an hour to the south as a modern multi-species meat works, combined with the loss of sheep in the catchment area had effectively sealed Fairton’s fate. The agonised shrieks from politicians of all the opposition parties railing against last year’s approval of the Shanghai Maling investment in SFF were equally inevitable, but completely missed the mark – I am certain the company’s board would have made exactly the same decision without the new shareholding structure, provided the undercapitalised business could have afforded the costs of closure . . 

Sheep and Beef sector welcomes the recent agreement to move forward with the TPP agreement:

Beef + Lamb New Zealand (B+LNZ) and the Meat Industry Association (MIA) welcome the recent statement by the Trade Ministers of the eleven Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) countries in Hanoi to work towards bringing the trade agreement into force expeditiously.

The TPP agreement has significant value for the New Zealand sheep and beef sector, particular improved access into Japan for New Zealand beef exports, say B+LNZ CEO Sam McIvor and MIA CEO Tim Ritchie. . . 

Momentum building for mandatory CoOL:

The New Zealand public is clearly showing their desire to have mandatory Country of Origin Labelling (CoOL) Horticulture New Zealand told the Primary Production Select Committee at Parliament today.

The Select Committee is hearing submissions on the Consumers’ Right to Know (Country of Origin of Food) Bill before Parliament.

“Firstly, our recent survey showed that more than 70 percent of New Zealanders want mandatory Country of Origin Labelling (CoOL) for fresh fruit and vegetables,” Horticulture New Zealand chief executive Mike Chapman says. . . 

The rice industry is furious at the existence of “cauliflower rice” – Chase Purdy:

The fight over the US government’s definitions for certain foods has flared up again. It’s no longer just a fight for milk farmers, who’ve grown increasingly angry about plant-based food companies (think soy, almond, and cashews) calling their liquid products “milk.”

For the first time, vegetables are being roped into the debate—all because of the arrival and popularization of “cauliflower rice.”

“Only rice is rice, and calling ‘riced vegetables’ ‘rice,’ is misleading and confusing to consumers,” Betsy Ward, president of industry lobby USA Rice, said in a statement earlier this month. . .  Hat Tip: Eric Crampton


From $4.25 to $6.15

May 25, 2017

A year ago Fonterra announced an opening forecast milk payout of $.425 for the 2016-17 season.

The forecast has gradually crept up as world prices increased and yesterday the co-operative announced a forecast payout of $6.15.

Chairman John Wilson said the increase reflects the strong fundamentals supporting global dairy markets. “World dairy prices have risen in recent months and as we near the end of the season we have more visibility and certainty which makes us confident of our $6.15 position,” Mr Wilson said.

Fonterra also confirmed its forecast earnings per share range of 45 to 55 cents for the 2017 financial year, as it continues to target a full year dividend of 40 cents per share. “Some of the challenges we faced in the third quarter could continue, but the business is committed to a strong fourth quarter particularly in Ingredients sales. This means we have been able to confirm the earnings per share range.” Mr Wilson said.

“The higher forecast Farmgate Milk Price of $6.15 per kgMS and the target dividend of 40 cents per share gives a forecast cash payout of $6.55 for a 100% shared-up farmer which is good news for our farmers and their communities,” he said.

In a further signal of confidence in the market outlook for dairy, the Co-operative is forecasting an improved Farmgate Milk Price of $6.50 per kgMS for the 2018 season. The forecast earnings range for the 2018 financial year will be announced around the beginning of August.

“The increase in the forecast Milk Price for the current season and the improved forecast for 2017/18 will be welcome news for our farmers following two challenging seasons on farm,” Mr Wilson said.

“Stronger production in March and April has partly offset lower peak milk production and collections are now expected to be down 3% for the season, a much better outcome for our farmers than had been anticipated earlier in the year,” Mr Wilson said.

The last few seasons have been very tough, especially for those new to the industry who didn’t have the good payouts the preceded the downturn.

The increased forecast for the current season and an even better one for the coming season is very welcome.

It will be interesting to see if it has an impact on farm sales.

Some farmers, and some banks, have been holding selling farms until the payout increased in the expectation land prices  will too.


Do the bullies drink milk, eat ice cream?

May 24, 2017

The increasingly strident anti-dairy campaigns are hitting dairy farmers’ children:

Children of dairy farmers are being bullied at school, just because of the work their parents do.

This was revealed by DairyNZ director Ben Allomes, speaking at a dairy farmers’ forum in Manawatu recently.

Allomes says such behaviour is terrible, and it seems the campaign against dairying is being ramped up as the September election draws near.

Dairy farmers are becoming very sensitive to criticism and feel ‘got at’ by the mainstream media, he says.

“When we start hearing more of the negative media stories it impacts more on us and we are more critical of ourselves and more aware of the impact.

“When you read and hear nothing but negative media stories it brings you down and you are more sensitive to it.

“Farmers get out of bed to do their best for their family and the rest of their country but then get cut to pieces. It isn’t pleasant… especially for kids at school being bullied.” . . 

Do the children bullying dairy farmers’ children drink milk, eat cheese, ice cream or yoghurt?

Do the adults who swallow the anti-dairying messages eat dairy products and do they realise how much poorer the country would be and how much less there would be to spend on social services and infrastructure if it wasn’t for the billions of dollars in foreign exchange which dairying earns?

The economic contribution doesn’t excuse poor environmental practices.

But contrary to too much of the media coverage, most farmers are not environmental vandals and are working very hard to ensure are farming sustainably and, especially, that they are looking after water ways.


Rural round-up

May 23, 2017

Farmer groups set out to improve water quality – Sally Rae:

A new project set up in North Otago is aimed at helping farmers learn about how their activities can impact onwater quality.

Seven small ”pods” of farmers are being set up. Their members are setting achievable goals to achieve better water quality and then taking action to reach them.

The initiative is part of the ”local solutions built by local people” approach being taken by North Otago Sustainable Land Management Group (Noslam).

The project was a good way for the community to work together to find solutions for water quality in the Kakanui catchment, spokeswoman Jane Smith said.

The Otago Regional Council supported the approach being taken to help farmers meet their obligations under the water plan, which gave them room to be innovative in their farming practices, as long as they did not harm water quality, she said. . . 

Salmon net sabotage will cost farm $150k – Lydia Anderson:

Staff at a South Island salmon farm have been left reeling after vandals cut one of its nets and released 6000 young salmon into the wild.

High Country Salmon, near Twizel, has lost about $150,000 in earnings after the 800g salmon were cut free on Friday night.

Manager John Jamieson said he got an urgent call on Saturday from his workers, saying that one of the the farm’s topline nets had been cut. . . 

Learning from Tillamook dairy – Keith Woodford:

This last week I have been in Tillamook, in Western Oregon. Together with three colleagues from Calder Stewart, I have been exploring the dairy systems here, to see what learnings we can bring back to New Zealand.

Tillamook is a high rainfall zone on the Pacific Coast and has much of the same feel about it as the West Coast of New Zealand.  It is one of the few places in the world where dairy cows can be grazed on perennial pastures, and using the same grass species as we use in New Zealand. The latitude is 45 degrees North, which is a latitudinal mirror image of Oamaru, Alexandra and South Westland.  But climatically, it Westland that is the best comparison. . . 

Fit for transport animal welfare app launched today:

The Ministry for Primary Industries has launched a mobile app that helps farmers, transporters, stock agents and veterinarians determine whether an animal is fit for transport.

Developed with industry and vets, the app is an easy and efficient tool to help people make the right decision for the welfare of animals. It consolidates available information in to one place and doesn’t require internet access, which makes it suitable for on-farm use. . . 

Erosion control funding round opens:

Associate Minister for Primary Industries Louise Upston has welcomed the opening of the next round of funding for erosion control in the Gisborne region.

The Ministry of Primary Industries’ Erosion Control Funding Programme (ECFP) helps eligible land owners in the region contain erosion and improve susceptible land.

Improvements were recently made to the programme, including providing upfront funding to reduce the financial burden for land owners and extending the land categories eligible for treatment. . . 

Tis the season… for calf rearing:

It’s the busiest time of the farming year.

Between July and October many dairy farmers will be run off their feet with calving. Up at the crack of dawn (or even earlier), checking cows and not finishing until well after the sun has gone down.

To help prepare their members for another busy season, Dairy Women’s Network are running their annual ‘Successful Calf Rearing’ workshops in the regions from late May through to early July. . . 

NZ log prices advance in ‘humming’ forestry sector, AgriHQ says – Tina Morrison

(BusinessDesk) – New Zealand export log prices generally rose this month, as key fundamentals move in the country’s favour, AgriHQ said.

Prices lifted through all unpruned export log grades this month, while pruned logs experienced some minor weakness, according to AgriHQ’s monthly survey of exporters, forest owners and saw millers.

“The key fundamentals at the wharf gate have swung ever so slightly into NZ exporters’ favour,” AgriHQ analyst Reece Brick said in his report titled ‘Forestry sectors keeping humming’. . . 

Substantial pastoral station placed on the market for sale:

An expansive sheep and beef station has been placed on the market for sale. Waipaoa Station spreads across 1667 hectares some 58 kilometres north-west of Gisborne.

Waipaoa Station winters 16,500 stock units over 87 subdivided paddocks of easy-medium terrain, in conjunction with 358.5 hectares of adjoining leased pasture land subdivided into a further 12 paddocks. The property is being marketed for sale by Tender through Bayleys Gisborne – with tenders closing on June 16th 2017. . . 


Rural round-up

May 22, 2017

Rain severely cuts crop planting – Annette Scott:

Waterlogged South Canterbury farmland will lie idle over winter as farmers wait for spring opportunities to plant crops.

Twice the normal rainfall in March followed by four times the normal rainfall in April left farmers battling with sodden ground and unable to meet autumn planting commitments.

South Canterbury Federated Farmers arable industry chairman Michael Porter said to date only about 50% of farmers had managed to get the crops they planned into the ground. . . 

Report shows plenty to work on – Hugh Stringleman:

Lack of progress on mitigating nitrogen losses from dairy farms was evident in an otherwise mainly positive scorecard for the Sustainable Dairying: Water Accord (SD:WA) in year three.

The national average nitrogen leaching loss in 2015-16 was 39kg/ha a year — the same as the year before.

N-loss calculations in Canterbury and Otago (64 and 39 respectively) revealed higher figures than the rolling average of the two previous years of accord measurements (50 and 33).

This was because irrigation effects were included for the first time after a change in the Overseer computer model used to generate the leaching loss numbers. . . 

Dairy farm water report factual, independently audited:

Kiwis can be confident that dairy farmers are ‘walking their environmental talk’, says the chair of the Dairy Environment Leaders’ Group, Alister Body.

Commenting on the latest Sustainable Dairying: Water Accord report, Mr Body says the work being carried out by farmers to help achieve swimmable rural waterways is each year independently audited by Telarc SAI.

The Crown Entity subsidiary is the leading certifier of quality, environmental, food, and occupational health and safety management systems. . . 

Fairton closure unfortunate but inevitable – Allan Barber:

Silver Fern Farms decision to close its Fairton plant did not have much to do with Shanghai Maling’s investment, but was only a matter of time. Even the workforce had apparently come to accept the inevitable after seeing lamb numbers through the plant decline sharply from more than 1 million in 2010 to less than 500,000 last season and 325,000 in the latest six months.

This demonstrated graphically the unsustainability of keeping the facility open when the company’s modernised multi species operation at Pareora is only an hour down the road. In its notice of proposal to close, subject to a two week consultation period, SFF cited declining sheep numbers in the surrounding catchment area as a result of land use change to more profitable forms of agriculture. However not surprisingly the company didn’t mention its substantial loss of market share at the same time, 14% share loss over a six year spell since 2010. . . 

North Canterbury cattle stud makes it through drought and out the other side – Pat Deavoll:

Three years of drought and an earthquake that destroyed three farm buildings and badly damaged another has failed to deter Kaiwara Angus Stud of Culverden, in north Canterbury, from preparing for its annual bull sale in a month’s time.

Stud owner George Johns is in the process of producing the catalogue. “You think you have taken great photos through the year, but where are they when you need them,” he says with a laugh.

The stud was formed in 1971 by George’s father Bruce Johns. At the time the family farmed a property in Waiau but moved to Culverden and Kaiwara Farm 25 years ago. . . 

Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) Agreement Ministerial Statement:

Ministers and Vice Ministers from Australia, Brunei Darussalam, Canada, Chile, Japan, Mexico, New Zealand, Malaysia, Peru, Singapore and Viet Nam met today to discuss the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) in the margins of the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) Ministers Responsible for Trade.

The Ministers reaffirmed the balanced outcome and the strategic and economic significance of the TPP highlighting its principles and high standards as a way to promote regional economic integration, contribute positively to the economic growth prospects of its member countries, and create new opportunities for workers, families, farmers, businesses and consumers. . . 

Get to the heart of decision making:

Heartland Bank and NZX subsidiary AgriHQ have launched a free online livestock finisher tool, AgriHQ Finisher, to assist sheep and beef farmers to calculate the potential trading margin after finishing any livestock they are considering buying.

Heartland Bank’s head of rural, Ben Russell, said the old adage “information is power” is particularly true in this instance.

“With store livestock prices at historically high levels, the arrival of AgriHQ Finisher couldn’t be better timed. . . 

The strange sheep that baffled scientists – Eloise Gibson:

When a farmer in Otago, New Zealand, saw a bizarre-looking lamb in his flock, he first assumed a wild goat had snuck in and impregnated one of his ewes. The newborn had a lamb-shaped body yet was coated with straight, lustrous wool, more like the hair of an angora goat than a typical sheep.

News of the “geep” (or sheep-goat hybrid) soon reached the local papers but, when scientists saw photos, they immediately suspected the baby animal was something else. For decades they had been hoping to study a rare woolly mutant called a “Felting Lustre” mutant: a sheep which has straight, fine wool instead of the usual crimped stuff.

“You can see it when the lambs are born, they have a different sheen,” says Jeff Plowman, a wool researcher at New Zealand’s AgResearch science company. “It doesn’t have a dull look, it’s shiny and bright.”. . 

 


SFF closing Fairton plant

May 18, 2017

Silver Fern Farms is planning to close its Fairton sheep meat plant:

Silver Fern Farms Chief Executive Dean Hamilton says the proposed closure is due to a significant decline in processing numbers over the last 10 years and the opportunity to now process the consolidated volume at its nearby Pareora site.

“There has been significant land-use change in Canterbury and Marlborough over the last decade and there are fewer sheep farms in these regions as they have made way for other uses such as dairy and wine. Higher returns from land-use conversion, and periods of drought in these regions have contributed to this decline in sheep numbers. While our beef processing volumes have risen significantly over this period, the lamb numbers available have steadily decreased.

“Fairton was consistently processing over 1 million lambs prior to 2010. Last season we processed under 500,000 lambs. This year that has continued to decline and we processed just over 325,000 in a six month seasonal operation.

“Whilst we believe the pace of land-use change has slowed considerably, we expect sheep numbers to consolidate around current levels rather than expand in the foreseeable future. It makes economic sense to consolidate this volume at our nearby Pareora site which has the capacity to process the combined numbers.

“Pareora is a large multi-species plant, an hour down the road in Timaru. Consolidating at one plant will provide a longer season with higher staff retention rates. We have recently invested $7m at Pareora to add to its capability.”

This will be tough on the hundreds of workers who will lose their jobs, and others who service and supply the plant and its staff.

But it comes as no surprise.

Sheep numbers have been declining for several decades but there is still excess capacity in meat plants.

Fairton’s closure isn’t the first and it is unlikely to be the last.

 

 


Rural round-up

May 17, 2017

British agricultural report sees NZ as model for the future – Allan Barber:

A recently published report entitled The Future is Another Country by British consulting firm, Ferguson Cardo, attempts to describe a positive picture of post Brexit Britain, using the example of New Zealand in the 1980s as proof of what is possible. The authors base their hypothesis on certain key events, including the removal of subsidies, dismantling the producer boards’ funding model and compulsory acquisition rights, and a refocus away from the UK towards Asia.

New Zealand’s experience is cited as proof of how a major change in a country’s economy and trading environment demands a revolutionary new approach which initially produces a sharp and painful shock, but over the longer term results in a massive improvement. The report accepts New Zealand’s reforms were in response to a serious fiscal crisis which affected the economy as a whole, not just agriculture, while the UK is not, or at least not yet, in anything like the same serious condition. . . 

Reopening of meat exports to Iran is like a new market says Feds’:

The reopening of trade between New Zealand and Iran with meat exports is a great opportunity for our meat industry says Federated Farmers.

Market access to Iran effectively ceased in 1998 as a result of international sanctions imposed on the Islamic state.

Primary Industries Minister Nathan Guy however, cleared the way for resumption of trade when he concluded a veterinary agreement with his Iranian counterpart in Tehran in February. . . 

Miraka to export first own branded product into Malaysia  – Rebecca Howard:

(BusinessDesk) – Miraka, the milk processor majority owned by several North Island Māori trusts, is to export its first branded consumer product into Malaysia, followed by shipments to Singapore, the Philippines and China, says Maori Development Minister Te Ururoa Flavell.

Taupo-based Miraka and Malaysian distribution partner Storiiu signed a memorandum of understanding in Kuala Lumpur, witnessed by Flavell during a visit to Malaysia with a delegation of seven Māori companies to raise the profile of New Zealand’s food and beverage sector, he said in a statement. . . 

Miraka agreement in Malaysia a milestone:

Māori Development Minister and Associate Minister for Economic Development Te Ururoa Flavell witnessed the signing of a Memorandum of Understanding between Miraka Ltd and its Malaysian distribution partner, Storiiu, in Kuala Lumpur yesterday.

Miraka is New Zealand’s first Māori-owned dairy processor. The agreement means the company will start exporting its first own-branded consumer product.

Mr Flavell says the agreement was evidence of Māori innovating and moving products and services up the value chain, forming long-term international partnerships, and building economic value for the future. . . 

Budget 2017: $21m to Battle for our Birds:

Conservation Minister Maggie Barry says DOC will fight this year’s beech forest mast year increase in rat and stoat numbers with a $21.3 million war chest from Budget 2017 for the Battle for our Birds control campaign.

“I can confirm there will be a widespread forest seeding, or mast, once again this year that will trigger a big increase in vermin,” Ms Barry says. “The mast event will affect much of the North Island, the northern South Island and parts of western Otago.

“The Battle for Our Birds 2017 campaign will use $21.3 million of new operating funding in the 2016/17 financial year to undertake one of the largest predator control programmes in our history, across more than 800,000 hectares of land. . . 

Oregon County mandates 2,000 acre organic farm sprayed with chemical herbicides – Darren Smith:

A 2,000 acre organic farm in central Oregon is facing what could be a be an existential threat to its operations after county weed control authorities sent notice mandating that the farm use chemical herbicides, such as Roundup, to eradicate weed growth.

The mandate would bring to an end nearly 18 years of organic farming, placing a significant loss of organic food to the public.

Azure Farms is a certified organic farm located in Moro, Sherman County, Oregon. The farm produces almost all the organic wheat, field peas, barley, Einkorn, and beef for Azure Standard. . . 

Hat tip: Utopia

Farm business sophistication encourages call for activating mentorships:

Farm Source stores, Director, Jason Minkhorst, suggests that young farmers may wish to now take a more active role in approaching and interacting with potential industry mentors.

“If you were taught farming by your parents, you got lucky,” says Minkhorst, taking part as one of this year’s invited leaders in the Leaders Review Focus Points public service series for business. “Regardless,” he says, with the rising size and sophistication of dairy and other farms, it was more important than ever to, “find that outside mentor to help ‘create’ more luck.” . . 

Marlborough’s Sauvignon Blanc Day celebrations a success:

Only in Marlborough could a one day celebration of Sauvignon Blanc turn into 16, which is what happened in the region world famous for Sauvignon Blanc.

Wine Marlborough’s recently completed post event survey garnered a fantastic response from wineries, cellar doors, tour operators, restaurants, and bars to be involved in the inaugural ‘16 Days of Sauvignon’ in celebration of Sauvignon Blanc Day, with 27 mini events crammed into just 16 days in the region. . .

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