GDT down again

May 20, 2015

The GlobalDairyTrade price index dropped 2.2% in this morning’s auction.

That’s the fifth consecutive drop.

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Sheep numbers lowest since 1943

May 15, 2015

New Zealand had just 29.8 million sheep at the end of June last year – the lowest number for more than 70 years.

 “The number of sheep fell by 3 percent from 2013. The last time the sheep number was below 30 million was back in 1943,” agriculture statistics manager Neil Kelly said.

At 30 June 2014, the number of dairy cattle had increased 3 percent, while the total number of beef cattle declined slightly. The total number of dairy cattle was just under 6.7 million, with increases of 67,000 dairy cattle in the North Island and 148,000 in the South Island.

“These increases came mainly from the key dairy regions of  Waikato, Canterbury, and Southland,” Mr Kelly said.

In 2014 the number of deer fell below 1 million for the first time, decreasing by 70,000 (7 percent). The number of deer peaked at 1.8 million in 2004, but this has been falling since 2009.

New Zealand had 660 hectares planted in cherries at 30 June 2014, up 7 percent since 2012. The main export markets for cherries were Taiwan, China, and Thailand.

The 2014 Agricultural Production Survey involved farmers and foresters in New Zealand. It covered land use, animal farming (livestock), arable crops, horticultural crops, forestry, and farming practices (including fertiliser and cultivation). The survey was conducted in partnership with the Ministry for Primary Industries.

Three decades ago we had more than 20 sheep per person – 70 million sheep and just three million people. Now the human population is more than four million we’ve fewer than 10 sheep each.

However, the peak sheep number was based on subsidies not markets. A lot of what we produced couldn’t be sold.

Now we produce what the markets want and although the the numbers in the national herd have dropped, yield per animal has increased. We’re we’re producing much more meat per sheep and able to sell it all.


Rural round-up

May 7, 2015

Bull-selling season prime for entertaining start – Kate Taylor:

Two counter-balancing influences are expected to have an impact on this year’s bull-selling season, says PGG Wrightson New Zealand livestock genetics manager Bruce Orr.

The season begins on May 12 with almost 100 bulls offered for auction at Te Pari Beef Expo in Feilding.

The bulls come from six different breeds, with 45 anguses, 28 herefords, 11 simmentals, six shorthorns, five gelbviehs and three south devons.

The bull sales are a gauge for how the season might progress.

Orr said the lead-in to this year’s sales had two distinct parts. . .

Genetics the answer for high quality pasture-fed beef – Pat Deavoll:

South Canterbury angus breeders Gerald and Sue Hargreaves are convinced New Zealand is missing the boat when it comes to producing high quality pasture-fed beef of an international standard.

The world wants grass-fed beef, Gerald Hargreaves says, but ours isn’t consistent or marbled enough to make the grade. He says the only way forward is with genetics and facts.

He “saw the light”, turning to genetics in 1994. He had worked for an angus breeder in Scotland in the mid 60s before moving back to New Zealand to take over the family farm – Kakahu Farm near Geraldine – and the accompanying angus stud, which his father had started in 1954. Originally almost all the bulls were sold to Molesworth Station, but in 1974 Gerald linked up with another local Angus breeder, George Hill, for his first sale. . .

2015 Sheep Industry Awards Finalists:

Finalists in the 2015 Beef + Lamb New Zealand Sheep Industry Awards have been announced today.

The awards are now in their fourth year and Beef + Lamb New Zealand chief executive, Dr Scott Champion said they were a great way of recognising and celebrating excellence in the industry.

“It’s right that we acknowledge the top performers and showcase our industry, which is a significant contributor to the New Zealand economy.”

Beef + Lamb New Zealand Farmer Council national chair, Martin Coup, who also chairs the awards judging panel, said the New Zealand sheep industry could take heart from the high quality and quantity of this year’s nominations. . .

 Sweet smell of success at Kiwi lavender farm – Nadene Hall:

Corry Zeestraten had spent so many years talking about one day running her own herb-based business, when her son sent her an email about a lavender farm for sale back in 2008, he wrote  “Mum, this is something for you as a joke!”.

But Corry and her husband Jan took one look at the advertisement for a 3.4ha block including show garden and commercial lavender crop a few kilometres inland from Kaikoura on the South Island’s east coast, and decided to take a look.

“I’d lived in Lincoln, close to Christchurch, for 40 years and we’d run a market garden,” says Corry. “I’d always had a really big herb garden and I’d always been keen on doing something with herbs. My son sent me a website link about this farm as a joke, but we went for a look straight away.” . .

Weak dairy prices prompt analysts to pull back Fonterra forecast payout for next season – Tina Morrison:

 (BusinessDesk) – Weak global dairy prices have prompted analysts to pull back their expectations for Fonterra Cooperative Group’s payout to farmers for next season.

Average prices dropped 3.5 percent in the GlobalDairyTrade auction overnight. New Zealand’s key product, whole milk powder, slipped an average 1.8 percent, extending its cumulative decline over the past five auctions to 27 percent.

Auckland-based Fonterra, the world’s largest dairy exporter, last week cut its forecast payout for the current 2014/15 season to $4.50 per kilogram of milk solids, from a previous forecast of $4.70/kgMS and last year’s record $8.40/kgMS, citing an oversupply in international markets and volatile commodity prices. . .

Pacific Seeds appoints Canterbury Seed Company for New Zealand distribution:

Pacific Seeds, part of the Australian owned Advanta Seeds Group has awarded Canterbury Seed Company (Canterbury Seed) its New Zealand distribution rights effective 1 June, 2015.

Subsequent to an internal restructure aimed at better servicing the New Zealand market and its farmers, Pacific Seeds wanted to partner with a distributor who was strong in local market knowledge and logistics.

Operating in New Zealand for over the past 23 years via selected agents and direct to clients, Pacific Seeds chose Ashburton based Canterbury Seed after many years of successful co-operative business dealings in other parts of the seed industry. “We know Canterbury Seed well – they are leading edge in the local New Zealand seed business, are passionate about quality and are customer centric in their approach,” said Pacific Seed Managing Director, Nick Gardner. “We are positive the Pacific Seeds range of products will be well represented and accessible across all North and South Island farming regions,” he said. . .

 


GDT price index down 3.%5

May 6, 2015

Price’s at Fonterra’s GlobalDairyTrade auction dropped again this morning with the price index down 3.5%.

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What goes down can fall further but sooner or later prices will go up again.


Rural round-up

May 4, 2015

Unlikely lower dairy payout will lead to immediate land use change – Allan Barber:

Previous downturns or relative changes in sector profitability have generally led to a change of land use; and because sheep farming was the predominant 20th century rural activity, land use change was usually to a form of farming other than sheep. Think forestry in the late 80s and 90s, dairy since the early years of this century, horticulture, grape growing and rural subdivision for lifestyle blocks since the 1980s.

Now the dairy payout has almost halved in 12 months because of global overcapacity and weaker economic conditions, the question arises whether there will be a flight from dairy, either back to sheep and beef or to one of the other agricultural options.

There are two main facts about the dairy sector: the current price is below the cost of production and global dairy production will continue to increase. There are also differing opinions about the implications of the price downturn and the prospect of improvement in the near future. . .

Dairy Awards Winners Lead Profitability Charge:

The winners of the 2015 New Zealand Dairy Industry Awards are ahead of the game in driving profitability on farms, during a forecast period of low milk payouts.

At Auckland’s Sky City Hotel last night, Justin and Melissa Slattery were named 2015 New Zealand Sharemilker/Equity Farmers of the Year, James Foote became the 2015 New Zealand Farm Manager of the Year and James Davidson was announced 2015 New Zealand Dairy Trainee of the Year.

Judges say the winners were actively seeking to manage through tougher economic times in the dairy industry. “They are ahead of the game and are planning to ensure they will be profitable if the payout is bad,” Sharemilker/Equity Farmer contest head judge Mark Horgan says. “The whole group were focused on operating profitable systems.”

Some finalists were actively involved in trialling new grasses on their farms while all were monitoring stock liveweights to ensure they met targets for optimum reproductive performance. . .

 

Culverden sharemilkers win national dairy title – Gerald Piddock:

The 2015 New Zealand Dairy Industry Awards winners are ahead of the game in driving profitability on farms, during a forecast period of low milk payouts.

Justin and Melissa Slattery, who farm in Culverden, North Canterbury, were named 2015 NZ Sharemilker/Equity Farmers of the Year at the annual awards in Auckland on Saturday night.

James Foote was named 2015 NZ Farm Manager of the Year and James Davidson is the NZ Dairy Trainee of the Year.

The winners were actively seeking to manage through tougher economic times in the dairy industry, the awards judges said. . .

Nervous wait on backlogs – Nigel Stirling:

The United States’ emergence from its economic slumber looks certain to rev up beef prices again this year. First though, large inventories built up during last year’s ports strike will need to be worked through. 

Prices for imported cow and bull beef reached record highs of US$2.97/lb and US$3.17/lb respectively in November because of high consumer confidence and because the long-awaited rebuild in the domestic herd squeezed local supplies. . .

Vet LSD shows promise for cattle:

Farmers who have enjoyed improved flock performance using Vet LSD (Livestock Survival Drench) mineral supplement will welcome early trial results on its use in cattle.

Developed by respected Marlborough veterinarian Peter Anderson, Vet LSD is now recognised as the benchmark for quality mineral supplementation, providing a valuable boost to vitamin and trace element deficiencies.

Its success as a quality mineral supplement for sheep has made it a mainstay for farmers using it pre-mating to lift fertility performance and again at pre-lambing to boost lamb survivability. . .

 Tales of a bushman and businessman – Inga Stunzer:

DESPITE being softly spoken and self-deprecating, Tim Connolly has a mischievous twinkle in his eye that hints at a roguish past.

And this is all laid out in print in his self-published autobiography, Bushman Bullrider Bushman – well, let’s say a sanitised version of his life.

The title says it all. His book maps his life as a six-year-old on a remote property at the foot of the Carnarvon Ranges, to life on the professional bull-riding circuit in the US, to droving and working in the mines at Mt Isa.

Now living in Miriam Vale, Tim says the idea to write began about 30 years ago. . .

Harris Tweed – the wool to succeed – Victoria Moss:

Even through the clouds on a murky day, as your plane begins its descent, the islands of the Hebrides are breathtaking: the barren landscape, that mixture of vibrantly coloured furrows accented with heaps of peat, has an earthy beauty. Driving across the Isle of Lewis, you see a bare expanse dotted by small villages, the houses flecked in pebbledash, all built to endure their environment rather than to please the eye. But aesthetics have long had a home here. These undulating roads have welcomed Dame Vivienne Westwood (who apparently complains if she arrives in good weather, preferring the biblical wind, rain and hailstones that more fittingly frame these islands) and designers from Chanel, Comme des Garçons, Yves Saint Laurent and Alexander McQueen, as well as a harried employee from a Parisian fashion house sent here on a wait-and-return private jet to pick up a pre-fashion-week panic roll of Harris Tweed.  . .


Fonterra drops forecast payout

April 30, 2015

Newsletter from Fonterra chair John Wilson:

Today we’ve unfortunately had to announce that the forecast Farmgate Milk Price for the 2014/15 season is being reduced from $4.70 per kgMS to $4.50 per kgMS.

When combined with the previously announced estimated dividend range of 20-30 cents per share, this amounts to a forecast Cash Payout of $4.70 – $4.80 for the current season.

The 20 cent drop in the forecast means we have had to reduce the Advance Rate payments, particularly over winter which will have a significant impact on farm budgets.

The updated Advance Rate schedule will be available on Fonterra Farm Source later this morning.
There is still a lot of volatility in international dairy commodity prices caused by over-supply in the market.

We have confidence in the long-term fundamentals of international dairy demand but, right now, the market is out of balance. GDT prices for products that set our forecast Farmgate Milk Price have fallen 23 per cent since February.

Given the uncertainty, there continues to be further risk.

We also announced today that our latest estimate of New Zealand milk production for the current season is 1,607 million kgMS. This is based on recent growth conditions on-farm but will depend on conditions for the rest of the season.

Westland dropped its forecast yesterday too.

It’s disappointing but not unexpected.


Rural round-up

April 23, 2015

Show Me Sustainable Dairy Farming:

Pakotai dairy farmers, Rachel & Greig Alexander, winners of the 2015 Northland Ballance Farm Environment Supreme Award, are hosting a field day at their Award winning property at 3305 Mangakahia Road on Thursday 7th May 2015.

Their dairy farm will be open to all interested parties, commencing at 10.30am, with the day concluding with a light lunch at approximately 1.30pm.

The field day will provide the opportunity for visitors to learn how Rachel and Greig interpret ‘sustainability’ in their farming business. The Alexanders will explain how they incorporate sustainability into their day to day operation while still achieving bottom line profitability across the farming business, which also includes a beef operation and forestry. . .

Farming finalists a family success:

One of the three finalists for a major Maori farming award has opened its gates to visitors for a field day.

Mangaroa Station, about an hour inland from Wairoa, is a finalist in this year’s Ahuwhenua Trophy for Maori excellence in sheep and beef farming.

Owners Bart and Nukuhia Hadfield showed judges the farm and stock yesterday and are running the field day today.

Mr Hadfield said the history of how the couple came to own the station was a major part of their entry into the awards. . .

NZ cow’s milk product wows Mexican dermatologists:

Hamilton-based company, Quantec Ltd, has successfully launched its world-first anti-acne cream to hundreds of Mexican dermatologists in Mexico City this month.

Quantec’s product, a clinically-proven anti-acne cream derived from cow’s milk called Epiology, was first launched into New Zealand pharmacies in May 2014.

Quantec founder and managing director Dr Rod Claycomb said it was the product’s success nationally that spurred Quantec to swiftly take the product global. . .

The New Zealand Seafood Industry has lost a titan with the death of Philip Vela:

The New Zealand seafood industry has lost a titan with the death of Philip Vela.

“Philip Vela was an early pioneer in the development of the hoki, orange roughy, tuna and squid fisheries. He continued to be a major player and innovator in New Zealand fisheries – a business where only the strongest of the strong have survived over these past 40 years,” Deepwater Group chief executive George Clement said.

“As such, the New Zealand seafood industry owes Philip and his brother Peter a huge debt. . .

Battle For Our Birds a great success:

Conservation Minister Maggie Barry says the success of the Battle For Our Birds programme is a welcome victory for endangered native species.

The Department of Conservation today released preliminary monitoring results for the eight-month long anti-predator campaign.

“There are thousands more native birds alive today than there would have been without the work done by DOC’s Battle For Our Birds last summer,” Ms Barry says.

“If we had done nothing and treated it as business as usual, the rat and stoat plague accompanying last year’s beech mast would have wiped out local populations of some of our rarest birds such as the kakariki, mohua/yellowhead or whio/blue duck.” . .

On the road again – RCNZ workshops being held in May:

Rural Contractors New Zealand (RCNZ) will be on the road again this May updating its members on the latest changes in health and safety, transport and employment laws – as well as other topics – in a series of roadshows being held around the country during May.

RCNZ chief executive Roger Parton says the roadshow presentation will cover off the proposed new Health & Safety legislation and regulations, the Safer Farms programme and Codes of Practice for using tractors and other self propelled agricultural vehicles and what these changes will mean for rural contractors. . .  

Farmers encouraged to check they are registered with Beef + Lamb New Zealand for referendum vote:

Beef + Lamb New Zealand (B+LNZ) is encouraging farmers to check they are registered to vote in the sheep and beef levy referendum that will be held later this year.

All sheep, beef and dairy farmers will be able to vote on continuing to invest in programmes run by B+LNZ, which are designed to support a confident sector with improved farm productivity, profitability and performance.

B+LNZ Chief Executive Dr Scott Champion said it’s important that famers ensure they are on the roll and that their details are up to date. . .

OVERSEER 6.2’s new irrigation module now live through the new OVERSEER website:

OVERSEER 6.2 went live last night after a month-long OVERSEER road show that attracted hundreds of farmers and farm advisers willing to learn how to use the new irrigation module.

Full technical notes and the updated Data Input Standards have been released with OVERSEER 6.2 through a brand new website and OVERSEER’s General Manager Dr Caroline Read says users have everything they need to get up to speed.

“We’ve been working with IrrigationNZ since the start of the year to forewarn irrigators that OVERSEER 6.2 would be launched this month. Regional councils in popular irrigation areas have also been getting the message out. Farmers and growers can now work with their advisers to make sure their OVERSEER data is in line with what the new irrigation module requires,” says Dr Read. . .


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