Rural Round-up

June 11, 2015

Prime Minister officially opens Fieldays 2015:

Crowds filled the Village Green to see Prime Minister John Key officially open the 47th NZ National Agricultural Fieldays®, along with NZ National Fieldays SocietyTM President Warwick Roberts.

The Prime Minister arrived at Mystery Creek this morning and greeted Fieldays visitors before giving his midday Opening Ceremony speech.

Prime Minister Key said there is an importance for innovation in the farming and science sector to lift New Zealand’s profitability at the ceremony. . .

 

Fieldays fans get on site fast for opening day  – Libby Wilson:

When the sun went down on the first day of Fieldays at Mystery Creek, just under 30,000 people had already checked out what was on offer.

Day one had started fast for the agricultural expo, NZ National Fieldays Society chief executive Jon Calder said.

“We had 15,000 on site by 9 o’clock,” he said. . .

Inventions on show at Fieldays – Adrien Taylor:

A device that converts cow poo into water and fuel is one of the inventions to catch the attention of farmers at this year’s Fieldays.

At the four-day event near Hamilton, a group of business experts are on site to help innovators get their ideas into production.

Fieldays commercial general manager Nick Dromgool says innovation is one of the key pillars of the event. . .

Higher NZ milk production, increased payout to boost NZ economy by $1.8B, AgriHQ says – Tina Morrison:

 (BusinessDesk) – Increased milk production and a higher forecast payout to dairy farmers for the upcoming season should bolster the New Zealand economy by $1.8 billion, according to AgriHQ.

The AgriHQ NZ milk production predictor forecasts growth of about 2.5 percent to 1,930 million kilograms of milk solids for the 2015/16 season, following 3 percent growth in the 2014/15 season.

The expectation for increased milk production comes as New Zealand dairy companies are forecasting higher payouts to farmers this year on the expectation global prices will pick up. Fonterra Cooperative Group, the world’s largest dairy exporter, expects to increase its payout for the 2015/16 season to $5.25 per kilogram of milk solids, from $4.40/kgMS in 2014/15. Synlait Milk expects to pay $5.50/kgMS in the upcoming season, up from a range of $4.40-$4.60/kgMS this season. . .

 Livestock export ‘a win for both countries’:

Federated Farmers says the live sheep shipment headed to Mexico will help that country restock following a serious drought as well as farmers hit by drought here.

The shipment leaving Timaru this morning is New Zealand’s largest-ever live sheep export of 50,000 sheep.

Three thousand cows will also be shipped to Mexico.

The Ministry for Primary Industries (MPI) said the animals were being sent to Mexico for breeding purposes and not for slaughter. Shipments of live animals for slaughter is banned. . .

Concerns at major live sheep shipment:

About 50,000 sheep – New Zealand’s largest live sheep export shipment for nearly a decade – are about to leave Timaru for Mexico.

The Ministry for Primary Industries (MPI) has approved the export of the sheep, as well as about 3000 cattle, for breeding purposes, due to high demand in Mexico after a recent drought.

Since 2007, livestock cannot be exported for slaughter unless special approval is granted by the Director-General.

Agribusiness Agenda 2015 – volume 1

Growing value – an uncertain future

The uncertain future of the dairy sector is currently top-of-mind for many primary sector leaders, reports KPMG New Zealand.

That was a key theme arising from the KPMG Agribusiness Agenda 2015, titled “Growing Value”.

KPMG’s Global Head of Agribusiness, Ian Proudfoot, says conversations about the dairy industry’s future have “changed dramatically in the last year”. . .

 

Ministers welcome KPMG Agribusiness Agenda:

Primary Industries Ministers Nathan Guy and Food Safety Minister Jo Goodhew have welcomed the annual KPMG Agribusiness Agenda, which shows strong industry support for the Government priorities of strengthening biosecurity and adding value to exports.

“This annual report surveys over 100 leaders in the primary sector and is a valuable snapshot of industry views,” says Mr Guy.

“It’s no surprise to see biosecurity highlighted again as the number one issue by industry, as it has been my number one priority since becoming Minister. . .

Combined rural firies take home top award

The district’s combined rural firies have scooped the Supreme Award at the 2015 Trustpower Ashburton Community Awards last night at Hotel Ashburton.

The Awards were announced and presented last night in front of almost a hundred spectators, entrant nominators and volunteers. . .

 

Opportunities for greater New Zealand-European Union agricultural partnerships:

Primary Industries Minister Nathan Guy says his visit to Europe over the last 10 days successfully highlighted opportunities for more agricultural partnerships between producers in the European Union and New Zealand.

Mr Guy visited France and Poland, and represented New Zealand at the International Agricultural Forum at the Milan Expo and at the 39th Food and Agriculture Organisation of the United Nations (FAO) conference in Rome. . . 

Rabobank Fertiliser Quarterly Q2: Neutral Nutrients:

Fertiliser markets will be neutral to slightly bearish the coming three months, according to the Rabobank Fertilizer Quarterly Q2. Across-the-board price support for fertilisers seems possible only if volumes discipline from suppliers remains or intensifies. In demand terms, price support would have to originate from India and Brazil.

Currently, demand in India remains fragile as buyers await more clarity on rupee volatility and monsoon rains. Brazilian buyers are holding out on significant purchases, based high-beginning stock levels and a subdued agricultural outlook. “In Brazil, we expect that full-year fertiliser imports in Brazil, could decline with as much as 15 to 20 percent YOY,” says Rabobank analyst Victor Ikeda. . .

Premium dairy brand launches ‘Breast Milk’ onto supermarket shelves:

New Zealanders wanting to support the search for a cure for one of our biggest killers can do so by having a swig of ‘Breast Milk’.

Lewis Road Creamery is backing Breast Cancer Cure’s mission to find a cure for breast cancer by repackaging its most popular organic cow’s milk, Homogenised, as Lewis Road Creamery Breast Milk f or a three-month period, from today. . .

Lewis Road Creamery ‘breast milk’ causes upset:

Lewis Road Creamery says it did not intend to mislead customers with its new “breast milk”, a labelling move that has been slated by breastfeeding advocates.

In a bid to raise money for breast cancer research, Lewis Road has branded its blue top 1.5 litre organic homogenised cow’s milk with a red label reading: “Breast Milk: the cow’s milk that funds the cure”. 

For every labelled bottle sold (RRP $6.09) Lewis Road will donate 20 cents to Breast Cancer Cure, the research foundation that originally pitched the idea to the dairy company. . .

 

 


Rural round-up

April 29, 2015

Scientists make breakthrough in fight against methane gas – Adrien Taylor:

Scientists in Palmerston North have found a way to reduce methane emissions from cows and sheep by up to 90 percent.

The breakthrough came after trials found certain compounds inhibited methane being produced during digestion of food.

Chambers help scientists accurately monitor the amount of methane being produced by sheep, with the goal to reduce it.

Peter Janssen of AgResearch says they’re one step closer to finding a solution. . .

 

Extraordinary Focus Earns Couple Supreme Award in 2015 Otago Ballance Farm Environment Awards:

Table Hill farmers Dave and Janene Divers have won the Supreme title in the 2015 Otago Ballance Farm Environment Awards (BFEA).

The Divers, who farm a 1600ha sheep and beef property ‘Table Hill’, inland from Milton, were presented with the award at a BFEA ceremony on April 17. They also collected the Massey University Innovation Award, the Donaghys Farm Stewardship Award and the Ballance Agri-Nutrients Soil Management Award.

BFEA judges described the Divers as an “an extraordinarily focused, motivated and enthusiastic couple” who have embedded their philosophy of ‘Sustainable Farming, Sustainable Tourism, Sustainable Lifestyle’ into their personal and business lives. . .

Te Anau dairy pioneers claim supreme title in 2015 Southland Ballance Farm Environment Awards:

Te Anau sheep and dairy farmers Robert and Anna Kempthorne are the Supreme Winners of the 2015 Southland Ballance Farm Environment Awards (BFEA).

At a BFEA ceremony on April 16 the Kempthornes also received the PGG Wrightson Land and Life Award, the LIC Dairy Farm Award, Ballance Agri-Nutrients Soil Management Award and the WaterForce Integrated Management Award.

The couple runs Mavora Farms Ltd, a successful self-contained dairy and sheep operation spread over 613ha in the Te Anau Basin. In partnership with Robert’s parents Bruce and Linda, the Kempthornes converted the family drystock farm and a neighbouring property in 2007, creating the first dairy farm in the district .The dairy operation now milks 550 cows on 235ha of mainly river-terrace contour, with the crossbred herd producing 231,000kgMS last year. . .

One Step Closer to Finding the Nation’s Top Steak:

The 2015 Beef + Lamb New Zealand Steak of Origin competition charges ahead with today’s announcement of the successful semi-finalists.

The competition, sponsored by Zoetis, seeks to find the nation’s most tender and tasty sirloin steak – and the Grand Champion title is hotly contested by farmers.

Carne Technologies has now completed scientific testing of all entries for tenderness and colour. The top 20 per cent now go through to the semi-final at Auckland University of Technology on Friday 1 May, where they will be tasted by a panel of chefs and foodwriters. . .

Dairy Awards Trainees Begin Tour:

The 11 finalists in the 2015 New Zealand Dairy Trainee of the Year competition begin a three-day study tour of the Central Plateau and Waikato today, where they will visit award-winning farmers and gain a greater insight into the dairy industry.

“The trainee study tour has quickly gathered a reputation for enabling the trainees to see what is possible to achieve in the industry with the right attitude and aptitude,” national convenor Chris Keeping says.

“It really focuses them on their own career, what they need to do and who can assist them. The dairy industry has a great co-operative spirit with people willing to share knowledge and assist others to achieve their goals. That’s really what the study tour is all about.” . . .

New growth opportunities for NZ Agri as ASEAN becomes Asia’s third engine of growth – Opportunity for NZ exporters to diversify from China, Australia:

A resurgent ASEAN will provide a significant opportunity for New Zealand exporters to diversify and reduce their reliance on the China and Australian markets over the next decade, according to ANZ Bank NZ.

A new ANZ Research report finds that greater economic integration could see ASEAN replace China as the world’s leading manufacturing centre over the next 10 – 15 years and emerge as a key market for New Zealand food and agriculture products with the potential for NZ-ASEAN trade and investment to increase from US$13 billion last year to US$22–US$27billion by 2025.

“ASEAN: The Next Horizon,” released today, highlights the region’s enormous potential driven by closer economic integration, demographics, low labour costs and its strategic position at the intersection of global trade and shipping routes. . .

Opportunities for New Zealand in revival of Japanese wine demand – Rabobank:

Signs of a revival in demand in the important, high-income Japanese wine market present opportunities for New Zealand wine producers, according to Rabobank’s latest Wine Quarterly report.

After a nearly two decade-long hiatus, beginning after the Asian financial crisis in the late 1990s, the Japanese wine market has now ‘come of age’ with the country’s wine drinkers increasingly open to new consumption occasions, wine styles and innovations, the report says.

Emerging indications that white wines are beginning to grow in popularity amongst Japanese wine consumers, albeit from a relatively low base, signal opportunities for New Zealand producers, according to report co-author, Rabobank senior wine analyst Marc Soccio. . .


Rural round-up

January 13, 2015

Z plant turns meat waste into diesel – Adrien Taylor:

Z Energy has started construction on a south Auckland plant to convert meat waste into biofuel.

The plant will produce 20 million litres of the fuel every year, but Z says that’s just the beginning of a green transition, if consumers want it.

In a University of Auckland lab, Z is developing what it hopes will be a growing part of the fuel mix it offers customers. The New Zealand company is converting waste fat from the meat industry, a green tallow, into a high-grade mineral diesel substitute – clear in colour.

Z says the biodiesel has a carbon footprint less than 10 percent the size of mineral diesel. . .

 NZ fights Illegal fishing in the Southern Ocean:

Foreign Minister Murray McCully today put illegal fishing vessels operating in the Southern Ocean on notice and vowed to take action against their owners.

“As part of a multi-agency operation, the HMNZS WELLINGTON has intercepted two vessels claiming to be flagged to Equatorial Guinea, fishing illegally in the Southern Ocean,” Mr McCully says.

“Fishing in this area is regulated by the Convention on the Conservation of Antarctic Marine Living Resources and New Zealand conducts regular patrols in the Southern Ocean targeting illegal fishing operations.  . .

Hard to fight rural fires without water tanker – Bill Campbell:

Palmerston volunteer firefighters called to send a water tanker to a scrub fire at the weekend had one problem: they no longer have a tanker.

The tanker was taken out of service last month and might not be replaced before July 1, despite East Otago having one of the driest summers on record. . .

Police, farmer at odds over sheep rustling – Sue O’Dowd:

Police and a Stratford sheep farmer are at odds over the disappearance of stock from a backcountry farm. 

Ewes and lambs missing from Backvale Farms at Tututawa, 27km east of Stratford, have been returned by neighbours who found them among their own flocks, Detective Constable Glen Bosson, of Stratford, said. 

But while police believe that may have solved the missing sheep mystery, Backvale Farms spokesman Brendon Back said a further 247 ewes and their lambs were still missing. 

Between 350 and 400 in-lamb romney ewes disappeared from the farm last year between July 28, when there were 1310, and October 20, when there were only 936. . .

Using technology to grow company’s ‘golden goose’ – Gerald Piddock:

New Zealand knows how to produce large amounts of animal protein cheaply.

We excel at it and Waikato company Dairy SolutioNZ and its chief executive Derek Fairweather are leading the country in exporting this knowledge across the globe.

It was, he said, the biggest opportunity for New Zealand in terms of the knowledge economy.

“What knowledge that we have that is really valuable? That knowledge is how to turn grass into protein. We do that better than anyone in the world.”

Exporting New Zealand’s farming knowledge was a growing industry and while people quickly understood the idea, putting it into practise was difficult because farming was a conservative long-term business. . .

Years of dedication rewarded – Annette Scott:

When Jan Wills and her husband Barrie were married they followed the Wills family tradition of showing cattle at the local A&P shows.

The young couple soon realised an opportunity to breed their own cattle and being beef farmers surrounded by dairy farmers they themselves were a breed out on their own, Wills said. 

“We chose the Hereford because the quiet temperament of the breed suited our intensive farming style. With dairy all around us we were beef farmers in a pocket surrounded by dairy and growing. . . .


Rural round-up

January 5, 2015

Is raw milk safe? Some pasteurisation facts. Why I won’t well Raw milk & what to look for in a raw milk supplier – Milking on the Moove:

Tragically a child in Australia has died as a result of drinking contaminated raw milk.

So the raw milk vs pasteurised milk debate begins again. The comments on this article from June this year show the diverse opinions.

I grew up drinking raw milk from the vat. We looked long and hard at selling raw milk. We looked at the issues and decided that raw milk was not for us. I’ll explain why.

Is raw milk safe or not? 

The quick answer is, it can be safe, but it can turn bad very quickly. . .

Silver Fern Farms profit unsatisfactory, but promises more to come – Fiona Rotherham:

Silver Fern Farms, New Zealand’s biggest meat processor and marketer, has returned to profit after two years of losses but admits it still needs to deliver more.

Net profit after tax was $500,000 in the year ended Sept. 30, a significant turnaround from the $28.6 million after tax loss the previous year while pre-tax profit was $1.8 million compared to a loss of $36.5 million in 2013, the Dunedin-based cooperative said in a statement.

Over the same period the company paid down $99 million in debt as part of a plan to reduce the company’s debt servicing costs. Total income was $2.32 billion, up from $2 billion the previous year while earnings before interest, tax, depreciation and amortisation was $68.1 million, a nearly $46 million improvement on the 2013 financial year. . .

Silver Fern Farms release audited result just before Christmas – Allan Barber:

The delayed and much anticipated final result for Silver Fern Farms’ 2014 year has made it into the public arena in time for Christmas. Although it has squeaked in just above breakeven for the year at $1.8 million pre-tax and $0.5 million after tax, this is worse than the original guidance of $5-7 million announced at the end of October.

The difference is accounted for by a $3.3 million provision following a ruling by the Employment Relations Authority in relation to a technical redundancy arising from the closure of the Silverstream plant in 2013. From recollection SFF laid off staff on the basis of a seasonal shutdown, although at the time the company announced that it was unlikely to reopen unless stock numbers increased significantly.

The ERA’s ruling suggests this automatically implies a technical redundancy situation, whereas SFF believes not. The company has sensibly chosen (requested by the auditors?) to make the provision “while we consider our next steps over the coming month” according to chairman Rob Hewett. The time taken to reach this decision indicates the auditors must have refused to sign the accounts without this provision. . .

Year of contrasts for rural New Zealand:

It has been a year of contrasts for rural New Zealand, weather-wise and in other ways.

In Northland, for instance, while some farmers were emerging from drought, others were battling floods.

And dairy farmers saw record milk payments for the past season plunge from above eight dollars a kilo to below five dollars in a few short months.

Pondering on that is Waikato University’s professor of agribusiness, Jacqueline Rowarth.

“Hooray, hooray for good prices and then far more of a crash than actually was predicted by any of the analysts, though the banking ones were saying ‘watch out, we don’t think it’s going to be as good as you’re saying’, but of course they’re still saying that and there are some fairly dire predictions by the end of the year. . .

Rabobank Beef Quarterly Q4: Supplies remain tight amid robust consumer demand:

Rabobank’s Beef Quarterly Q4 reports that tight global cattle and beef supplies continued in Q4 2014, although prices tempered from their Q3 highs. The US remains the major global driver, with import demand affecting prices and volumes for other countries. A big question heading into 2015 with such a finely balanced market is—if Australian export rates decrease and herds in Mexico and Canada continue to be run down by the US—whether a new norm has been reached for prices or whether they still have room to rise.

“The US continues to be the driver in the global beef market with constrained supply and strong demand keeping prices high. A recent strengthening in the US economy and dollar will support continued imports to the US however we are watching a drop in the oil price and depreciation of the Russian Ruble given Russia’s status as the world’s largest beef importer”, explains Rabobank analyst Angus Gidley-Baird.  . .

Wine industry shows continued increasing profitability:

2014 financial benchmarking survey supports industry-wide optimism

The turnaround in the New Zealand wine industry has continued in 2014 on the back of improved profitability across wineries of all sizes, according to the ninth annual financial benchmarking survey released today by Deloitte and New Zealand Winegrowers.

Vintage 2014 tracks the financial results of wineries accounting for over 40% of the industry’s export sales revenue for the 2014 financial year. Survey respondents have been categorised into bands according to revenue to assist comparison within the industry.

Deloitte partner Peter Felstead says that for the first time since 2007, every category showed profitability before tax, ranging from 3.3% to 17.6%. . . .

New technology helps in fight against pests – Adrien Taylor:

A New Zealand inventor hopes to add drones to the fight against pests.

He won $25,000 to help turn his dream into reality and a trial of his Trap Minder system is taking place on Great Barrier Island this summer.

Scott Sambell and his dog Millie are finding that keeping Glenfern Sanctuary pest-free can be hard work.

The 240 hectare peninsula is cordoned off by a pest-proof fence to protect native wildlife, but that doesn’t stop a handful of unwanted predators making their way in every year. . .


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