Rural round-up

July 3, 2015

More work urged on water quality – Neal Wallace:

A good start but still more to be done.

That is the conclusion of a stocktake by the Parliamentary Commissioner for the Environment on managing the quality of fresh water.

Dr Jan Wright praised the Government for implementing the National Policy Statement to improve fresh water management and regional councils for taking steps to improve water quality, but warned there was still much to be done. . . .

AGMARDT goes Green:

Rural businessman Richard Green of Canterbury has been appointed to the AGMARDT board.

AGMARDT is an independent not-for-profit trust that aims to foster and enable innovation and leadership within the agricultural, horticultural and forestry sectors of New Zealand.

 “We are very fortunate to have Richard join the AGMARDT board of trustees,” says chair Barry Brook. . .

Precision aerial spreading a reality:

Precision fixed wing aerial fertiliser application on hill country is now a reality, says nutrient cooperative Ballance Agri-Nutrients.

New technology in top dressing planes is set to resolve some of the challenges for farmers relying on aerial application, offering the ability to take precision up a gear.

SpreadSmart is a variable rate application system. This allows different amounts of fertiliser to be applied to different areas of the farm to boost productivity and protect waterways and sensitive areas. . .

Donkeys keep dogs on the hoof – Cara Jeffrey:

LIVESTOCK producers in southern NSW are ramping up their fight against wild dogs with baiting, trapping and donkeys all part of the arsenal.

Rob and Sally Bulle introduced donkeys to their Holbrook property “Ardrossan” two years ago to help combat wild dog attacks against their first-cross ewe flock – particularly at lambing time.

The donkeys – a mixture of jacks and jennys – have proven their worth and have remained a fixture on the property. . .

Feeding beats slow- release worm control:

A large anthelmintic trial investigating the efficacy of controlled-release capsules (CRC) and long-acting (LA) anthelmintics in pregnant ewes should ring alarm bells for sheep farmers. The study was initiated by the Whangaehu and Alfredton Farm Business Groups because of the widespread perception among farmers that use of these products will reliably return significant production benefits to both the ewe and her lambs. 

The perception held by farmers, and promoted by commercial interests, appeared to the group to be largely unsupported hence the reason for a widespread, repeated study to provide independent data on both the size and variability in the production response from treating ewes with a CRC pre-lambing. . .

Your first dog – Lloyd Smith:

When buying your first dog, first make sure the animal is going to be an asset not a liability. Sometimes young folk can be a dumping ground for old dogs past their use-by date. But a genuine dog with a few useful years left is a good option to get you started. These dogs are not always easy to source.

A dog’s useful working life is usually pretty much over by 10 years old. I would be hesitant about buying a dog of more than seven years old. Old dogs are pretty set in their ways and are limited in what you can change about them so expectations should not be high. . .


Rural round-up

June 5, 2014

 Flock House sold to local iwi:

Flock House farm near Bulls has been sold by AgResearch to Rangitikei iwi Nga Wairiki-Ngati Apa for an undisclosed sum.

The 1100 hectare property has a 332ha dairy unit and a 768ha sheep-and-beef unit. . . .

Synlait profit forecast dips again – Alan Williams:

Synlait Milk’s latest profit downgrade raises the possibility it might not meet last year’s prospectus forecast leading up to its NZX listing, after at one stage expecting a result up to 70% higher.

The dairy product manufacturer and exporter’s latest after-tax profit range is from $17.5 million-$22.5m, compared with its forecast of $19.8m for the year ended July 31. . .

Spotlight on farm safety – Sue O’Dowd:

Health and safety will be the focus of more than 100 rural contractors when they assemble for their annual conference in New Plymouth later this month.

The conference, Stay Alert on the Dirt, is being held in New Plymouth from June 23 to June 26.

Representatives of WorkSafe New Zealand, the Ministry of Transport and New Zealand Transport Agency will address the conference and answer questions around new legislation affecting the contracting industry. . .

Flour Producer Gets Grant to Develop Nutrition Focussed Products:

Farmers Mill is the first independent grower-owned and operated flour producer in the country to receive funding from the Agricultural and Marketing Research and Development Trust (AGMARDT), for the specific development of nutrition focussed flour and baking products.

Farmers Mill, which has partnered with Lincoln University and the Food Innovation Network, will receive support from Agmardt aimed at exploring market opportunities and encouraging innovative ideas within the agribusiness sector. . . .

New Online Fertiliser Store Launched To Cut Costs for Kiwi Farmers

 The cost of buying fertiliser in New Zealand is about to fall substantially thanks to a new online store which will save farmers as much as $85 per tonne on standard products.

FertDirect launched its new website over Queen’s Birthday weekend (www.fertdirect.co.nz) and supplies both New Zealand-based and import-to-order products.

It’s the first online service of its kind to be offered nationwide and FertDirect Business Manager Rob Williams says it’s designed to save farmers money without compromising on quality. . .

New president for Federated Farmers Manawatu-Rangitikei:

Federated Farmers would like to welcome our new Manawatu-Rangitikei provincial president, James Stewart, who is replacing Andrew Hoggard, following their Annual General Meeting.

“James joined the Federation three years ago as Manawatu-Rangitikei’s dairy Chair, and we are thrilled to have him on as provincial president,” says Bruce Wills, Federated Farmers National President.

“We are in a year of change within the Federation, with leadership changes throughout the organisation both nationally and provincially, James is an incredibly passionate advocate for the farming community and I know he will do a fantastic job,” said Mr Wills. . .


Rural round-up

January 22, 2014

Rural contracting nears a billion-dollar-a-year industry:

New Zealand’s rural contracting industry contributed almost a billion dollars to the country’s economy last year, according to recently published research.

Rural Contractors New Zealand (RCNZ) says a report, prepared for it by research company Infometrics, shows that the rural contracting sector contributed some $947 million to New Zealand’s GDP in 2013.

“This research shows that the rural contracting industry is not only a major contributor to our all-important agri-sector, but also a strong and vital part of New Zealand’s over all economy,” says RCNZ chief executive Roger Parton.
This contribution to the national economy came from some 5255 registered rural contracting businesses. . . .

Hastings apple orchard attacked:

A Hastings fruit and vegetable grower is picking up the pieces after vandals destroyed 5,500 apple trees on one of his orchards.

Kulwant Singh says he arrived at the orchard one morning in November to find his 10 hectare apple block had been destroyed.

He says it was a deliberate attack by people who knew what they were doing.

He says 100 rows of trees had been cut or snapped in such a way as to destroy them. . .

Queenstown chef wins accolade – Hamish McLeod:

A Queenstown chef has been named one of New Zealand’s “culinary rockstars”.

Ben Batterbury, head chef at the True South Dining Room at the Rees Hotel in Queenstown, was one of five chefs awarded the Beef + Lamb New Zealand Ambassador Chef title, and was the only one from the south.

Beef + Lamb NZ communications manager Kim Doran said 2014 was the second year Mr Batterbury had received the title.

The five ambassadors were chosen from 164 recipients of the 2014 Beef and Lamb Excellence Award. . .

Gates speaks at ag innovation forum:

BILL GATES will call on participants to help create another agricultural revolution in our lifetime to support a world where most of the poorest are farmers.

He will speak upcoming Global Forum for Innovations in Agriculture (GFIA), which claims to be world’s largest showcase of game-changing agricultural innovations and technology.

The solutions-driven event and will run from February 3-5 at Abu Dhabi’s National Exhibitions Company (ADNEC). . .

 

 NSW mine licence cancellation emotional news for farmer – Lisa Herbert:

A Hunter Valley farmer who’s been fighting a nearby mine proposal for the past five years says the NSW Government’s decision to rip up the mining licence caught him by surprise.

Late yesterday afternoon Premier Barry O’Farrell announced the Government will introduce legislation to cancel the exploration licences for Doyles Creek, Mount Penny and Glendon Brook; mines that were at the centre of two high-profile corruption inquiries.

In December, the Independent Commission Against Corruption (ICAC) recommended the cancellation. . .

Campaign touts benefits of wool:

An international wool industry leader is crediting the ongoing Campaign for Wool for raising awareness of the environmental benefits of the fibre.

Peter Ackroyd, chief operating officer of the campaign and president of the International Wool and Textile Organisation (IWTO), is in New Zealand to meet wool industry representatives.

He said the four-year-old campaign, under the patronage of Prince Charles, had focused on promoting the natural and sustainable attributes of wool over competing artificial fibres. . . .

Fonterra Issues Renminbi Bond to Support China Growth:

Fonterra Co-operative Group Limited announced today it has raised 1.25 billion Chinese renminbi (approximately NZD250 million) through a 5 year “dim sum” bond issue (Chinese renminbi raised offshore) as part of its ongoing commitment to developing its China business.

Fonterra Chief Financial Officer, Lukas Paravicini, said the funds raised from the dim sum bond issue will be used to further strengthen and support the growth of Fonterra’s businesses in China.

“Along with refinancing some of our existing China operations, we will also be using funds to support further growth in this market. This will include the further expansion of our consumer, foodservice and farming operations,” he said. . .

Mt Difficulty Wines
Six seeds in a berry – meant to be impossible! Going to be large berries and bunches this season… #‎pinotcentral‬ ‪#‎nzwine‬
Six seeds in a berry - meant to be impossible! Going to be large berries and bunches this season... #pinotcentral #nzwine

New marketing collaboration to grow Hawke’s Bay wine sales in China

Funding has been confirmed for a $500,000 three-year programme to increase awareness and sales of Hawke’s Bay wine into China.

Hawke’s Bay Winegrowers’ Inc., the regional organisation representing local grape growers and winemakers, has secured a dollar for dollar grant from the Agricultural and Marketing Research and Development Trust (AGMARDT), an agribusiness trust, to get a collaborative China marketing project underway.

The programme includes up to nine education and tasting events per year in addition to PR and social media campaigns. . . .

#MondayMotivation Even in the cold and on holidays, our #Farmers & #Ranchers keep working!


Rural round-up

May 5, 2013

Multiple causes for colony collapse – report – by Seth Borenstein:

A new federal report blames a combination of problems for a mysterious and dramatic disappearance of US honeybees since 2006.

The intertwined factors cited include a parasitic mite, multiple viruses, bacteria, poor nutrition, genetics, habitat loss and pesticides.

The multiple causes make it harder to do something about what’s called colony collapse disorder, experts say. The disorder has caused as much as one-third of the nation’s bees to just disappear each winter since 2006. 

Bees, especially honeybees, are needed to pollinate crops.

The federal report, issued Thursday by the Agriculture Department and the Environmental Protection Agency, said the biggest culprit is the parasitic mite varroa destructor, calling it “the single most detrimental pest of honeybees”. . .

And the top steaks are…:

After an intense semi-final tasting today, the top 20 sirloin steaks have been found to compete in the Beef + Lamb New Zealand Steak of Origin Grand Final.

Today’s semi-final saw over 70 steaks tasted by a panel of chefs and foodwriters, including 2012 MasterChef winner Chelsea Winter.

Winter says the quality of the product on show made marking the steaks very difficult.

“I love a steak at the best of times and to taste some of the best in the country was a great experience. It was a hard job as they were each of such high quality, but someone has to do it!” says Winter. . .

Tuatapere Hump Ridge Track Nominated For Green Ribbon Award:

The Tuatapere Hump Ridge Track has been nominated as a finalist in the Green Economy category for the 2013 Green Ribbon Awards for the second consecutive year. Honouring outstanding contributions to protecting New Zealand’s environment, the Green Ribbon Awards are conferred by the Ministry for the Environment.

Environment Minister Amy Adams announced 32 finalists in 11 award categories that recognise individuals, businesses, communities and youth, as well as larger organisations.

“All the finalists have shown great dedication and initiative. I am looking forward to meeting them and learning first-hand about the great work they are all doing to help New Zealand’s environment,” Ms Adams says. . .

Growers, Importers Scramble to Meet New Brassica Rules:

A snap change to government import rules for brassica seeds has caught New Zealand producers on the hop as they prepare for sowing the high value crops.

The new rules, including mandatory fungicide treatment, mean significant delays to shipments and serious production issues for some growers already working to very tight planting schedules.

Thomas Chin, general manager of the New Zealand Grain and Seed Trade Association, says the Ministry for Primary Industries gave no warning of the change and no immediate explanation. . .

Appointment Of AGMARDT’s Associate Board Member:

AGMARDT has announced the appointment of James Allen as an Associate Board Member to join its Board of Trustees.

AGMARDT is an independent not-for-profit trust that aims to foster and encourage leadership, innovation and research capability within the agricultural, horticultural and forestry sectors of New Zealand.

AGMARDT Chairman Jeff Grant said that the purpose of creating the Associate Board Member position is to provide an emerging agribusiness leader with an opportunity to observe and experience governance in action within an innovative agribusiness environment. . .


Rural round-up

December 23, 2012

DairyNZ Chairman to speak at Oxford Farming Conference:

New Zealand dairy farming will be front and centre at a prestigious farming conference being held in Oxford in England from January 2-4, 2013.

DairyNZ Chairman John Luxton has been invited to give his personal perspective on the New Zealand dairy farming experience at the Oxford Farming Conference examining the role of farming within British society.

Mr Luxton is one of a number of speakers lined up to present on a range of topics, including a seminal piece of work which quantifies the non-direct contributions farming makes to British society in a financial context and an Oxford Union Debate on economies of scale in agriculture. . .

Boilogicals showing worth trust member says – Tim Fulton:

The Rotorua Lakes and Lands Trust, a joint venture between Te Arawa Federation of Maori Authorities and Pakeha farmers, has spent at least a decade studying nutrient management around the Central Plateau and is convinced that biological systems are a worthwhile tool against nutrient leaching.

Now all the trust wishes for is greater funding and sustained expertise to win more people over.

Farmers who have turned to biological systems are often anxious about the increased use of synthetic fertilisers that has caused economic and environmental concerns. Fertiliser costs and problems with water quality typically shape as the major problems. . .

Rural women at heart of regional support:

New Zealanders have big hearts.  A new report on philanthropy shows New Zealanders gave about $2.67 billion to charitable and community causes during 2011, a level of generosity that was boosted by sympathy for people affected by the Christchurch earthquakes.

Rural Women were at the forefront of that generosity. The “big ticket item” supporting Cantabrians has been the Aftersocks™ campaign. Rural Women sold 19,000 pairs, raising more than $130,000 for the Christchurch Mayoral Fund.

While the funky black and red striped socks featuring the February 22 seismic shake grabbed headlines and orders from around the world, behind the scenes Rural Women members were quietly getting on with a host of other projects that helped make their communities a better place to live, or gave some deserving cause a boost. . .

Favourable season boosts September quarter primary exports:

Higher volumes of exports resulting from last year’s favourable production season have boosted primary sector revenue this past quarter.

The Ministry for Primary Industries (MPI) today released its report of production and trade statistics for the September 2012 quarter.

Primary sector export revenue at $7.12 billion for the quarter was up 4.7 percent on the previous September quarter, and at $32.43 billion for the year to September was up 0.5 percent on the previous year. . .

PGW to set up showcase in China – Alan Wood:

PGG Wrightson is developing an agricultural showcase with majority shareholder Agria in a “hi-tech” industrial park in western China.

The agricultural showcase would serve as a strategic platform for the firms to expand agri-tech business and broader collaboration between China and New Zealand, the companies said.

New Zealand’s experience in the field of animal husbandry, agricultural co-operative societies and information systems would be applied in the showcase.

PGG Wrightson and Agria said they had signed a memorandum of understanding with a Chinese administrative authority for the Yangling Agricultural High-Tech Industries Demonstration Zone. . .

Beef + Lamb New Zealand election in Western North Island:

Two nominations have been received for the Farmer Director position in Beef + Lamb New Zealand’s Western North Island electorate.

They are Kirsten Bryant (incumbent) of Fordell and John McCarthy of Ohakune.

Farmers in this electorate must be on the Beef + Lamb New Zealand electoral roll by 5 pm on Wednesday 23 January 2013 to be eligible to vote. They must also have owned (on 30 June 2012) at least 250 sheep, or 50 beef cattle or 100 dairy cattle. . .

New plates and tastes at Gibbston Valley Winery’s Vintner’s Kitchen

Renowned Central Otago winery Gibbston Valley Winery is launching a Vintner’s Kitchen experience from today (Friday December 21), offering visitors a ‘taste’ of the multi-award-winning experience.

Gibbston Valley Winery CEO Greg Hunt said the new Vintner’s Kitchen tasting and café area was designed to provide a casual, friendly and welcoming space for visitors at any time of the day.

“It’s aimed at those who might not have the time to stay for lunch, want to combine wine tasting with a small plate of matching food, or are simply looking for a coffee or a cold drink,” he said. . .

New Appointment to AGMARDT General Manager Position

AGMARDT has secured the services of a well-respected and knowledgeable agricultural businessman. The Chairman of the AGMARDT Board of Trustees, Jeff Grant, is pleased to announce the appointment of Mr Malcolm Nitschke to the position of General Manager.

Mr Nitschke comes from a strong background in the agricultural sector and brings with him a vast wealth of knowledge gained during his extensive time as an Agri Banker, and latterly as Head of Lending Services Agri, at ANZ and formerly National Bank, as well as owning his own farm at Marton. . .


Rural round-up

November 3, 2012

European farmers surprisingly upbeat – Gerald Piddock:

European farmers are surprisingly upbeat about the future of their industry despite the continent being still very much in a recession, Beef+Lamb chairman Mike Petersen says.

Speaking from Brussels, Mr Petersen said he expected to see “doom and gloom” as a result of the recession.

“I have been pleasantly surprised at the mood of the farming population over here. They are very optimistic about the future and quite optimistic about the coming season.”

Petersen has been in Europe, meeting with counterparts and discussing their expectations for the coming year. He outlined his observations in a Beef+Lamb conference call. . .

Water priorities come up trumps – Jon Morgan:

The elephant in the room analogy is becoming a bit overworked, but I like it. Lately, the elephant has been really showing off. In the debate about freshwater quality the elephant is nitrogen leaching.

It was brought into the room by conservationists a few years back but attempts to prod it into life largely failed. It just sat stinking in the corner.

But a few weeks ago Judge Craig Thompson of the Environment Court climbed aboard and hit it with a big stick.

The elephant reared back on its hind legs and let out an ear-splitting roar, loud enough to be heard in every milking shed and dairy factory throughout the land. . .

NZ Commodity prices rise 1.3% in October, led by wool, cheese:

New Zealand commodity prices rose for the third straight month in October, led by gains in wool and dairy products while aluminium fell.

The ANZ Commodity Price Index rose 1.3 percent last month with 12 commodity prices gaining two declining and three unchanged.

A slightly firmer New Zealand dollar meant the gain in the ANZ NZD Commodity price Index was a slightly lower 1 1 percent. . .

Fonterra’s Trading among farmers launches but I still don’t understand it – Milking on the Moove:

I’ve blogged about TAF before here and here. We now have a bit more information on how it will play out in practice. But to be fair, I still don’t really understand it and this view has been expressed by many observers in the media and the industry. It is not fully understood and some of the reason for this is Fonterra themselves don’t know exactly how the governance will work, as they are still undertaking a review.

My thoughts;

Will farmers sell some of their shares into the fund?
I think they will, there are lots of farmers who have very high debt levels, the drop in the forecast payout is making many farm budgets drop into the red. I think many of these farmers would sell 25% of their shares into the fund and use the proceeds to pay off debt.

The dividend portion of the shares is estimated to return net 4.2%-5%, farmers will be paying 7%-8% interest on their debt, so they make a greater return by reducing their debt.  . .

New director shows youth and wisdom
THE RISING average age of farmers creates succession problems not only for farms and orchards; it is also seen in the boardrooms of primary producer businesses.

That’s why Zespri’s newest director Nathan Flowerday is pleased an Agmardt scheme which helped him get elected to Zespri’s board will be extended to others. 

Flowerday was the successful candidate in 2011 for an associate board trustee position created by Agmardt on its own board to give young farmers or growers governance experience. He believes that experience gave Zespri voters the confidence in him to elect him in July this year to the Zespri board. 

As a result, he and Agmardt are urging other agribusiness organisations to pick up the idea of creating an associate board-membership position, or at least establish observer positions on their boards. . .

Record Early Entries in Dairy Awards

There’s been a record-breaking response to the number of entries received in the 2013 New Zealand Dairy Industry Awards, since entries opened just yesterday.

National Convenor Chris Keeping says 33 entries were received online at www.dairyindustryawards.co.nz yesterday – the first day people could enter the New Zealand Sharemilker/Equity Farmer of the Year, New Zealand Farm Manager of the Year and New Zealand Dairy Trainee of the Year competitions. . .

Babich Wines Look to Expand in Marlborough

The 96 year old New Zealand wine company, Babich Wines Limited, announced today the sale of their 50% share of the Marlborough winemaking facility, Rapaura Vintners Limited to Treasury Wine Estates.

Rapaura Vintners Limited, an integrated winery, packaging and warehouse facility has been invaluable for Babich over the last 12 years as they have continued to grow production and sales of their Marlborough wines.

Babich Wines will now look to build their own state of the art facility in Marlborough – a move that will give the family owned wine company full control over their future winemaking in the region, where over 80% of the company’s production comes from. . .


Stats confirm agriculture still important

July 28, 2008

NZIER economist Chris Nixon was speaking to the converted when he explained the importance of agriculture at the AGMARDT breakfast during the National Bank Young Farmer Contest.

He said that although agriculture contributes only about 5% of GDP at the farm gate that is only part of the story.

Agriculture has a major impact on downstream and upstream activities. The impact of these industries suggests that roughly 20% of GDP is directly affected by on-farm agricultural activity. These include businesses that service the farming community (downstream) and those that turn farm produce into consumer products – transport and logistics, processing, and marketing activities.

Furthermore, agriculture has a major impact on exports. Land and sea based exports are roughly 42% of exports.

 

The importance of agriculture to our economy is confirmed by a Statistics New Zealand report prepared for Fontera which showed dairy products accounted for 27% of exports earnings for the year to May and all but 2% of that was from Fonterra.

Fonterra is the world’s largest dairy exporter, fifth largest dairy company globally and trades in 140 countries. Chairman Henry van der Heyden said much of the increase had been driven by record commodity prices.

“If we hadn’t had the drought, which saw our milk production drop by around 4 per cent, the figure could have been even higher,” he said.

World economic growth and demand from emerging markets – along with reduced supply, drought in Australia and biofuel production driving up the costs of feedstock – helped drive up dairy commodity prices.

The ANZ Commodity Price Index for dairy products hit 291.9 in November, having risen for 15 consecutive months from 127.6 in August 2006. The dairy index has since fallen in all but one month to reach 256.7 in June.

“We’re seeing continued investment from farmers and in our processing capacity. That’s a huge boost, particularly for regions like Southland with a lot of new jobs and benefits flowing through,” van der Heyden said.

“It’s great that dairying is able to make such a positive and timely contribution to the New Zealand economy at a time when the broader economy is facing increasing pressure.”

It is indeed, although the best may still be ahead of us. Nixon said it takes roughly 18 months for export performance to filter through to the domestic economy so the impact of the good prices farmers are getting now won’t show up beyond the farm gate until the end of next year.


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