Rural round-up

December 21, 2014

Chinese seek bigger stake in Oamaru meat plant – Sally Rae:

Overseas Investment Office approval is being sought to increase a Chinese-based shareholding in Lean Meats’ Oamaru plant.

NZ Binxi (Oamaru) Foods, whose shares were owned by Heilongjiang Binxi Cattle Industry Co Ltd, has already bought a 24.9% stake in the plant and wants to increase that to 50%.

Yesterday, Richard Thorp, who finishes this week as chief executive of Lean Meats and will join NZ Binxi (Oamaru) Foods as chief operating officer, said it was positive news for North Otago. . .

Other iwi benefiting from sweet success:

The Ātihau-Whanganui Incorporation is sharing its business knowledge with neighbouring tribes to help generate money for their descendants by using land that’s unsuitable for beef and sheep farming.

Last year, the incorporation collaborated with the Ruapehu iwi Ngāti Rangi to survey the Whanganui River valley using traditional knowledge and modern science to identify the potential of harvesting mānuka honey.

The incorporation’s chairperson, Mavis Mullins, says it is now sharing that information with other tribes, which is paying off as they include different ways of making the whenua more productive. . .

Fashion queen weaves good yarn – Rob Stock:

Few people can claim to have developed a genuinely new fibre. Peri Drysdale has just unveiled her second.

Twenty years ago, Drysdale, founder of Christchurch’s Snowy Peak and Untouched World, blended possum fur, which had previously been considered too short for weaving, with merino wool to create “merinomink”, a much-mimicked yarn that launched an industry.

“It was the first new yarn in 200 years,” Drysdale said. “Now we’ve done it again.” 

Drysdale has now unveiled a textile she’s called Kapua in the Untouched World range, the Maori name for cloud, which she hopes will command prices even higher than merinomink. . .

The big kill – New Zealand’s crusade to rid itself of mammals – Elizabeth Kolbert:

In the days—perhaps weeks—it had spent in the trap, the stoat had lost most of its fur, so it looked as if it had been flayed. Its exposed skin was the deep, dull purple of a bruise, and it was coated in an oily sheen, like a sausage. Stoat traps are often baited with eggs, and this one contained an empty shell. Kevin Adshead, who had set the trap, poked at the stoat with a screwdriver. It writhed and squirmed, as if attempting to rise from the dead. Then it disgorged a column of maggots.

“Look at those teeth,” Adshead said, pointing with his screwdriver at the decomposing snout.

Adshead, who is sixty-four, lives about an hour north of Auckland. He and his wife, Gill, own a thirty-five-hundred-acre farm, where for many years they raised cows and sheep. About a decade ago, they decided they’d had enough of farming and left to do volunteer work in the Solomon Islands. When they returned, they began to look at the place differently. They noticed that many of the trees on the property, which should have been producing cascades of red flowers around Christmastime, instead were stripped bare. That was the work of brushtail possums. To save the trees, the Adsheads decided to eliminate the possums, a process that involved dosing them with cyanide. . .

RWNZ windfall to benefit rural communities – Yvonne OHara:

Rural Women New Zealand (RWNZ) sold its home care organisation, Access Homehealth Limited (Access), to Green Cross Health for $18 million last month and intends to use the money to further enhance its charitable and advocacy work in rural communities.

Access, which had its beginnings in a 1920’s bush nurse scheme, provides home health care services to more than 16,000 people throughout New Zealand, including in Otago and Southland, and is one of the largest home care providers in the country, with contracts with DHBs, the Ministry of Health and ACC. Access chief executive Graeme Titcombe said Green Cross Health would continue to provide specialised home-based care and support, as well as funding the organisation’s rural scholarships and awards and Access’s 4000 staff would retain their jobs. . .

Ram breeder a CT scanning fan  – Tim Cronshaw:

A Canterbury ram stud breeder has become a convert to CT scanning after selling a southdown ram for $14,000.

Brent Macaulay, from Maclaka stud, Lincoln, was one of two breeders to take the top price honours, with Chris Medlicott’s ram from his Clifton Downs Southdown stud sharing the same price, at the Canterbury A&P Association’s Elite Ram and Ewe Sale last month.

Both breeders sent their sires through a Lincoln University CT scanner as ram hoggets to examine their bone and muscle composition.

Macaulay was so impressed that he will be sending another five or six rams with sires from other southdown breeders for CT scanning in February or March. . .

 

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image Hat tip Utopia


Rural round-up

November 18, 2014

Aussies eye fairer fight with NZ dairying  – Matthew Cranston & Tim Binsted:

As an exporter of 40,000 litres of milk to China a year, Lemontree Dairy has had to wait 11 years for the same treatment in China as New Zealand dairies.

“We have been fighting with one hand behind our back for years now with New Zealand but with this free trade agreement being equal to New Zealand will make the fight fairer,” said director James McNamee.

“It’s about time they got it over the line.”

Australia’s free trade agreement with China is set to provide A$630 million in savings from 2016 to 2025 as the tariffs are wound back, according to Australian Dairy Industry Council. . .

Black market for messy mutton  – Tracey Chatterton:

Sheep carcasses are being dumped on Hastings streets as thieves continue to target livestock.

Meat continues to be sold on the black market despite suspects having already been arrested in recent months, Flaxmere community constable Greg Andrew said.

Ratepayers were footing the bill for the mess sheep rustlers were making.

Hastings District Council contractors collected and cleaned up the dumped carcasses and offal at a cost of between $100 and $300 per carcass. . .

Milk price variability – what it means for dairy farm businesses  – Grant Rowan:

It may not appear to be, but the milk price is trending upwards.

It is also becoming more and more volatile, with the past 18 months a good case in point. In May 2013 global Whole Milk Powder (WMP) prices peaked at US$5600/tonne. The average WMP price at Fonterra’s most recent Global Dairy Trade auction was US$2522/tonne.

The question for anyone interested in the health of NZ’s biggest export industry is how are dairy farmers faring?

This edition of Farm Investment Insight explores milk price variability and the tools farmers can use to generate operating profits in times of negative price shocks. . . .

Is Our Food Safety System as Strong as We Think. Private Sector vs Public Sector – Milking on the Moove:

Is our food safety system as robust as we think it is? And are we better served by the public or private sector?

Last week I blogged about my issues getting the mobile cowshed evaluated by inspectors.

The way the food safety system works, is the government agency via The Ministry of Primary Industries (MPI) set the food standards. When a company sets up a food business, the verification services are provided by the private sector.

In New Zealand we have AsureQuality, which is a state owned enterprise, but it operates as a for profit business. There seems to be only two other providers, Eurofins & SGS in NZ who can offer dairy evaluation services. . .

Cut fees for Ag degrees:

GETTING YOUNG people into agribusiness is critical for New Zealand’s future, says ANZ chief economist Cameron Bagrie.

 He told the recent Zespri conference that he is concerned to see the right people enter the agri sector in the numbers required. For example, the kiwifruit industry will soon be producing 30 million more trays of product and will need more people to cope with that trend.

Bagrie is convinced that most young people do not understand the long term future they could enjoy in some primary industries. . .

$18mln payday for Rural Women NZ in sale to Green Cross Health – Jonathan Underhill:

Green Cross Health has agreed to pay around $18 million for Access Homehealth, a not-for-profit home healthcare services company owned by a grass-roots charitable organisation, Rural Women New Zealand, which will gain representation on the Green Cross board as part of the deal.

The purchase will add to earnings immediately, said Green Cross, formerly known as PharmacyBrands and the owner of the Life Pharmacy and Unichem pharmacy chains. Access has annual sales of about $85 million and employs about 4,000 people, the Auckland-based company said.

The purchase price, which includes assumed debt, will be funded from existing cash and bank funding, Green Cross said. . .

 Grow your own with a hand from Ballance science:

With cashflows tight on dairy farms, pasture comes out on top as the cheapest feed source and getting the best grass for the least cost can be achieved with a hand from science.

Ballance Science Manager, Aaron Stafford says the “grow your own” approach of using nitrogen fertiliser to boost pasture growth provides the most cost-effective supplementary feed, but with cash-strapped farmers working within very tight budgets, they want to be confident of a good pasture response to money spent on nitrogen.

“There is nothing more frustrating than seeing a poor or variable pasture response nitrogen fertiliser to boost feed availability. We can help farmers get the best results by enabling them to tailor application rates to areas which are likely to produce the highest pasture response.” . . .


Rural round-up

April 29, 2014

Bad weather in south destroys crops – Kloe Palmer:

Wintry weather has hit the South Island and is moving up the country.

Drivers on the Crown Range between Queenstown and Wanaka were caught out by snow this morning, and heavy rain is forecast for much of the country for the next 24 hours. That is bad news for crop farmers in Canterbury.

As rain pours down, Federated Farmers say an unseasonably wet two months has made harvesting nearly impossible. The crop is too damp and the ground too soggy for the machinery.

“It’s just frustrating, a huge frustration, and there will be a massive economical hit for some of those farmers, but it can’t be quantified yet,” says Chris Allen of Federated Farmers. . .

Little impact seen on Synlait, a2, Fonterra fund from tighter Chinese infant formula rules – Suze Metherell:

(BusinessDesk) – New Zealand’s listed dairy companies, Synlait Milk, a2 Milk Co and Fonterra Shareholders’ Fund, probably won’t face much disruption from tighter rules on infant formula in China, the nation’s biggest market for milk products, investors say.

A2, whose Platinum infant formula is manufactured at Synlait’s Canterbury plant, led the three dairy companies lower on the NZX today, after saying it is monitoring and responding to China’s new requirements, which include demonstrating a close association between brand owner and manufacturer, and a new form of registration from May 1.

China telegraphed its new requirements to the government last week by releasing an audit of a sample of New Zealand manufacturers conducted in March. That left officials and companies scrambling to interpret the changes in time for the registration deadline this week. The government says manufacturers who control 90 percent of the nation’s infant formula exports are working through the registration process but the remaining 10 percent face a tougher job to comply. . .

Whangarei market generating $10m of activity – Hugh Stringleman:

The weekly Whangarei Growers Market generates nearly $10 million annually of direct sales and flow-on economic activity for Northland, a social and economic impact study shows.

It employs 90 people, mainly stall-holders on Saturday mornings.

The study was commissioned by the market company and was done by a team from the Northtec business management faculty, supervised by Dr Warren Hughes, an Auckland researcher and academic.

The team found the market turnover last year was $3.66m and additional economic activity was $5.84m. . .

Setting the standard in poultry vaccine – Tim Fulton:

The low-slung office of Pacificvet in Christchurch suburb Hornby stood up strongly to the earthquakes.

That’s just as well, because the company has a stock of especially sensitive vaccine.

A lot of Pacificvet’s practical know-how comes from the owners, Bruce Graham and Kent Deitemeyer.

They are proud of their modern diagnostics laboratory at the Innovation Park near Templeton, southwest of Christchurch. . .

Applications open for Rural Women/Access Homehealth health scholarship:

Applications are now open for Rural Women NZ & Access Homehealth scholarship 2014.

“This $3000 scholarship will be awarded to a health professional to help further his or her studies,” says Rural Women New Zealand National President, Wendy McGowan.

We encourage health professionals, especially those studying at a post-graduate level, to apply before the closing date of 1 July. . .

 More support needed in rural communities as legal highs withdrawn – Rural Women NZ:

Rural Women NZ welcomes news that the Government is tackling the issue of legal highs, following reports from our members of a surge in anti-social and threatening behaviour in rural townships, apparently stemming from their use.

However Rural Women NZ says the withdrawal of supply from shops must be coupled with more resources in rural areas for those suffering from the effects of drug addiction, and their families.

“There is real concern in rural communities about the lack of access to specialist services,” says Rural Women NZ health spokesperson, Margaret Pittaway.

“Distance to treatment services and support for families can be a real barrier to getting the help required to overcome addiction, or deal with its results.” . . .


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