Rural round-up

January 25, 2019

UK agreement ensures status quo for exporters  – Sally Rae:

The signing of a veterinary agreement between the United Kingdom and New Zealand will provide reassurance to farmers and exporters, Beef + Lamb New Zealand chief executive Sam McIvor says.

Uncertainty has prevailed in the red meat sector since the Brexit vote in 2016. The UK accounted for $560million worth of the sector’s exports, dominated by sheepmeat which represented 85% of that total.

In a joint statement with Beef + Lamb, Meat Industry Association chief executive Tim Ritchie said the signing of the agreement, together with recent advice from the UK about the acceptance of EU health certificates post-March 29, meant the sector was assured existing regulations would remain the same. . .

Elers’ life wrapped up in wool – Alan Williams:

 Tina Elers is working seven days a week but is still finding time to improve her fitness ahead of the World Shearing Championship in France later this year. She also found time to talk to Alan Williams about her busy life.

Thirty years into her wool-classing career Tina Elers is as busy as ever and very motivated.

When some might think it is time to slow down she’s working a seven-day week around Southland, weather permitting, and doing extra fitness work. . .

Milk production record possible – Sally Rae:

 Milk production is on track to set a record this season as the risk of drought derailing it continues to recede.

Earlier in the season, an increasing chance of an El Nino weather pattern this summer was raised and the expectation was the associated dry conditions could crimp production later in the season.

Yesterday, ASB senior rural economist Nathan Penny said relatively healthy soil moisture levels suggested production should “kick on” over the next few months. . .

Surplus research farm gets the chop– Annette Scott:

More than 70 years of agriculture history will go under the hammer when AgResearch sells its Mid Canterbury research farm next month.

Bought in 1946 to provide local research into the use of border-dyke irrigation with long-term fertiliser trials started in the 1950s, the Winchmore research farm has contributed to more than 500 science publications.

But AgResearch has called time on its 72 years. . .

Farmer living the dream on Ponui island :

Living on an island in Auckland’s Hauraki Gulf has its perks for sheep and beef farmer George Watson.

The 26-year-old works on one of three farms on Ponui Island, which lies southeast of Waiheke Island.

The picturesque island has rolling grass-covered hills, pockets of bush and sheltered bays with white sandy beaches.

Agria rep to step down as Wrightson chair by June 26 – Jenny Ruth:

(BusinessDesk) – PGG Wrightson says current chair Joo Hai Lee will step down before June 28 but that the board will continue its governance review in the meantime.

Lee represents Wrightson’s former majority shareholder, Singapore-registered Agria, and took over as chair in early November after Agria principal Alan Lai abruptly resigned the day before the scheduled annual shareholders’ meeting.

Wrightson says in a statement that the board “will provide an update in the near future regarding the outcomes of the review and the chair’s appointment.” . . 

 


Rural round-up

December 18, 2018

Government believes Mycoplasma bovis can be eradicated :

The Government is confident that the cattle disease M. bovis can be eradicated in New Zealand.

It would be a world first if successful.

“Based on all the evidence presented to us, we are confident that eradication is possible and that we are on track in what’s a world first but necessary action to preserve the value of our national herd and economic base, Biosecurity Minister Damien O’Connor said today . . 

Federated Farmers cautiously optimistic on M.bovis plan:

Federated Farmers is supportive of today’s government call that we may be able to achieve the biosecurity triumph of being the first country in the world to eradicate Mycoplasma bovis.

While there are farmers throughout the country still battling with the aftermath of the disease’s discovery, Feds believes we can all start to feel more confident about the outcome of the eradication.

“We are cautiously optimistic, and still have fingers and everything else crossed,” Federated Farmers dairy chair Chris Lewis says. . .

Climate research leads world:

A government research programme has positioned New Zealand as a world leader in research into mitigating greenhouse gases from agriculture and adapting to climate change, a recent independent review has found.

The Ministry for Primary Industries’ Sustainable Land Management and Climate Change (SLMACC) research programme supports the generation of new climate change knowledge across NZ’s agriculture and forestry sectors.

The independent review found SLMACC has triggered new research and boosted NZ’s understanding of the potential impacts and implications of climate change for a range of primary industries, particularly pastoral farming systems and responding to drought. . .

Farming sustainably – Sonita Chandar:

Tiaki, the sustainable dairying programme launched by Fonterra last year, is ticking all the boxes for farmers.

The programme, which helps farmers farm in more sustainable ways, has been in place for a year. 

At its launch Fonterra set an initial target of having 1000 farm environment plans in place. 

The Dairy Tomorrow Strategy will see all farmers adopting a sustainable dairying plan by 2025

“When we committed to the programme we increased the number of sustainable dairy advisers we had in the field,” Fonterra sustainable dairying general manager Charlotte Rutherford said.

“However, demand has outstripped supply.  . . 

New NAIT compliance officers in the field:

A cohort of 27 new NAIT compliance officers are ready to hit the ground and start working with farmers after graduating from their training programme on Friday.

Animal Welfare and NAIT Compliance Manager, Gray Harrison, says the new officers are part of a stepped-up effort to educate farmers about their NAIT obligations, and enforce compliance with the scheme.

“The new officers will be located throughout the country helping farmers use NAIT consistently and taking action when non-compliance is detected. . . 

Ngāi Tahu backs out of Agria deal, takes stake in Wrightson:

Ngāi Tahu Capital has taken a direct stake in PGG Wrightson, ending a seven-year relationship with Singapore-domiciled Agria as the foreign investor’s grip on the rural services firm remains uncertain.

Last Friday, the investment arm of the South Island iwi ended an agreement that pooled its investment in Wrightson with Agria and Chinese agribusiness New Hope International. Ngāi Tahu Capital was a junior partner in the joint venture with a 7.24 percent stake. At the time, it touted the $15 million investment as diversifying its portfolio and building international relationships. . . 

Computational breeding: Can AI offer an alternative to genetically modified crops? – Greg Nichols:

Hi Fidelity Genetics (HFG), a company that uses sensors, data science, and statistical genetics to create non-genetically modified crops, just raised $8.5 million in a Series A. It’s a sign of the growing importance of data science in agriculture, and it may signal an alternative path to sustainable farming without the use of genetic modification.

The issue is a prickly one. Genetically Modified Organisms (GMOs) have been touted as saving the world by increasing food supply and maligned as a lever by which Big Ag constrains the market while doing untold damage to public health and delicate ecosystems. As the debate rages on, GMOs have come to dominate agriculture, accounting for more than 90 percent of the corn, soy, and cotton grown in the U.S., according to the USDA. . . 


Rural round-up

October 14, 2018

Nebraska trip all about irrigation– Yvonne O’Hara:

Ben Donaldson, of Cromwell, was one of a group of people to visit Nebraska to look at new technology and new ideas relating to irrigation.

The recent five-day trip was organised by Irrigation New Zealand and as well as farmers, there were irrigators, consultants and service industry representatives

In addition to visiting the Husker Harvest Days,  the world’s largest irrigated farm show, they  visited the University of Nebraska’s Water for Food Global Institute, research farms and research trials, irrigation schemes, natural resource districts, which manage water resources, and irrigation manufacturers. Mr Donaldson,  general manager (Southern) of Irrigation Services,  said he found the trip useful.

“For me the greatest learnings were around the nitrate levels in the water, education of the children in regards to agriculture and how the use of fertigation ties all of this together,” he said. . . 

Honey collectors will act as biosecurity buzzers – Neal Wallace:

New Zealand could be about to recruit millions of extra biosecurity officers who will pay for their work by supplying nectar and honey.

A $1 million Endeavour Fund grant to Otago University researchers aims to recruit honey bees as biosecurity monitors to detect and find noxious weeds.

Biochemistry research fellow Dr Andrew Cridge said the plan is to strategically site hives in areas where there are suspected to be unwanted plants.

Because the cost of DNA diagnostic testing has fallen so much, it makes it viable to analyse bee-collected pollen to see if unwanted plants are near the hives. . .

Hipsters pay for farm view – Tim Fulton:

South Island couple Genna and Alistair Bird have opened a door to a world of people wanting to soak up a panoramic view from their Tiny House on a hill. Tim Fulton reports.

Hipsters are getting to know The Grange and the open skies and plains of Canterbury. Genna and Alistair Bird run a 560ha sheep and beef farm near Ashley Gorge, just out of Oxford. . .

New Zealand avocado industry on track to bounce back from last year’s low volume season:

New Zealand Avocado growers are expecting volumes to be around 25 per cent higher than last season.

NZ Avocado Chief Executive Jen Scoular says the current season is a medium volume season, following on from a low volume season in 2017-18 and a record high volume season in the year prior.

“The season’s total harvest volume is forecast at 5.2million trays (5.5kg), of which 3.6million trays are forecast for export, accounting for around 60 per cent increase on the previous seasons export volumes,” she said. . . 

$434M sale of Wrightson’s seeds fair to minorities – Paul McBeth:

Danish cooperative DLF Seeds’ $434 million cash and debt bid to buy PGG Wrightson’s seeds unit is fair to minority shareholders, independent advisor KordaMentha says.

Wrightson’s 12,059 shareholders will vote on the deal at a combined annual and special meeting on Oct. 30 in Christchurch. The transaction needs 75 percent support to go ahead, meaning controlling shareholder Agria can’t force it through. . .

Get advice before burnoff:

Farmers are being urged to seek advice from rural fire officers before burning off standing vegetation or slash after a burn-off got out of control in Northland on Wednesday.

The landowner was intending to burn off about two hectares of standing gorse and logging waste on the Tinopai Peninsula, but the fire jumped a firebreak into more gorse and slash and eventually burnt through most of a 50 hectare block before stopping once it got to green pasture.

Fire and Emergency New Zealand Northland Deputy Principal Rural Fire Officer Rory Renwick said after jumping the firebreak the fire burnt rapidly along a ridge to where a digger was still in the process of building further fire breaks. . . 

Mastitis prevention and milking efficiency go hand in glove:

Udder health and milk quality are important to farm productivity and profitability. There’s a strong link between milking efficiency and preventing mastitis, while improving milking times will also improve milk quality, says mastitis expert and AgriHealth vet Dr Steve Cranefield.

Mastitis in New Zealand dairy cattle is our sector’s most common (and costly) disease. “Cows with healthy udders have less mastitis, produce more and are easier to milk,” says Steve. “Maintaining good teat skin condition is essential to reduce the chance of bacteria multiplying on the teats and getting into the udder. In addition, adopting good milking routines will help reduce the mastitis risk from teat end damage caused by over-milking.” . .


Rural round-up

December 4, 2013

Govt stepping up on forestry safety:

The Government has stepped up its efforts to improve forestry safety and Labour Minister Simon Bridges is calling on those in the industry to do the same. 

“The Government is committed to implementing the major step change in workplace health and safety that we need to see in New Zealand, which will help bring down fatalities and serious injuries in the forestry sector,” Mr Bridges says. 

“WorkSafe NZ, the new Crown agency dedicated to workplace health and safety, will go live on 16 December.  It has a very clear mandate to bring down the death and injury toll – by 25 per cent by 2020 – in our workplaces.  The Government has allocated an additional $30 million to WorkSafe to strengthen education and enforcement. . .

The science behind white clover decline – Doug Edmeades:

I’m hearing a cacophony of denial out there in farm-land. I am not talking about the local sports teams or politicians. I am referring to my pet hobby-horse – white clover.

We give ourselves so many reasons to justify why white clover no longer thrives on our farms like it did back in Dad’s day – it must be the dreary droughts, or the fickle flea, the evil weevil, miss’s management or mister drug, fertiliser N. The list goes on.

I have no doubt that these events, practices and insects have some effect – sometimes all of them – but I’m not willing to concede that we should take an early shower, pack the kit and retire to our clover-less farms. . .

Minister welcomes resumption of trade negotiations with Korea:

Trade Minister Tim Groser welcomed Korea’s decision to resume formal negotiations toward a free trade agreement, following a meeting today in Bali with his Korean counterpart, Minister of Trade Yoon Sang-jick.

“The resumption of negotiations was discussed by Prime Minister John Key and Korean President Park Geun-hye during the Prime Minister’s recent visit to Korea in July. I am pleased that their shared determination to conclude a free trade agreement has led to this point,” Mr Groser says.

“This is an important step. Korea is one of New Zealand’s biggest and most important trading partners.” . . .

Shareholders welcome Synlait Milk plans for growth:

Synlait Milk’s performance for the 2013 financial year and its plans for the future were welcomed at its Annual Meeting of Shareholders, held today in Christchurch.

Managing Director Dr John Penno said FY13 had been a good year.

“The IPO was successful and we are very pleased to welcome all new shareholders. During the year product volumes and margins continued to grow. This helped the business deliver on its forecast which was a significant improvement over performance for the previous financial year.” . .

New pesticide approved for use:

The Environmental Protection Authority has approved an application for a new pesticide to control sucking insects including aphids and greenhouse whitefly.

Dow Agro Sciences Limited applied to import and manufacture GF-2032, a pesticide containing the chemical sulfoxaflor, for use on a variety of commercial crops.

GF-2032 provides a more effective and less toxic means of pest control compared to some other pesticides currently available, such as organophosphates. . .

Agria repays $5 million loan, interest owed to Livestock Improvement:

(BusinessDesk) – Livestock Improvement, the farmer-owned bull semen and dairy genetics company, said China’s Agria has made early repayment on the balance of a loan that allowed it to take control of PGG Wrightson.

LIC provided the loan as part of Agria’s $144 million partial takeover of Wrightson in 2011 and last year gave the Chinese company until March 2014 to repay the balance, extending an earlier deadline. The funding allowed Agria to take control of New Zealand’s biggest rural services company including its valuable portfolio of proprietary seeds. . .

The Sheep Deer and Cattle Report: Vote for your future meat Co-Op shareholders urged – Tony Chaston:

Lamb schedules continue to ease as the emphasis changes from chilled to frozen as processing volumes build, but prices are at least $10 a head better than last year and demand is good with low stocks on hand.

Pre Christmas weaning drafts are common and operators are keen to market all killable lambs while procurement premiums are still in place.

Demand for early cull ewes is strong at the saleyards with many yardings of good cutting animals averaging $90-$100 a head. . . .

 


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. . .


Selling IP bigger concern than selling land

June 29, 2010

If people weren’t happy when a Chinese company, Agria, bought a 19% share of PGG Wrightson last year, it didn’t make the headlines yet the thought of selling land to Chinese causes an uproar.

Wrightson isn’t just a stock and station firm it does a lot of plant breeding.

In gaining a share of the company the new owners would have gained rights to intellectual property in grass species developed by Wrightson.

No-one can pick up land and take it with them but it’s very easy to take IP and use it somewhere else.


PGW rebrands

October 28, 2009

Rod Orman was less than enthusiastic about PGG Wrightson taking Chinese company Agria as a cornerstone partner.

Perhaps the person who photoshopped the PGW store with Chinese script below the brand had similar concerns:

PGGW

 


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