Rural round-up

April 27, 2014

‘Incredibly high’ NZ land prices divert Aquila to Australia – Agrimoney:

The “incredibly high” prices of New Zealand dairy farms have prompted Aquila Capital to switch its investment drive to Australia, where the dairy sector offers “the best risk-adjusted returns in global agriculture”.

The alterative asset manager, which in all sectors has assets approaching $10bn, said it was in agriculture keeping dairy as its priority investment area, citing the support to the market from strong growth in Asian consumption.

“[This] might lead to a potential demand overhang for dairy products of as much as 5bn litres by 2020,” said Detlef Schoen, head of farm investments at German-based Aquila, citing analysis of OECD data. . . .

Opinion: New Zealand dairy investment isn’t such a bad bet – Agrimoney:

I was most interested in the comments by Aquila on Agrimoney.com comparing returns from Australian and New Zealand dairy farms.

Aquila made some interesting points in favour of Australia. However, I believe that New Zealand remains the better target for investment.

Land price comparatives

Land prices – whether one country’s land prices are higher or lower than another country’s is neither here nor there. It is the current and expected long term sustainable economic returns that matter and on this basis New Zealand dairy land prices quite justifiably need to be higher than Australia’s. . . .

Environmental pressure threat to pasture farming – Gerry Eckhoff :

The publication of passionate articles extolling the virtues of a given system or company needs to be tempered with a dose of reality.

One such article was by Leonie Guiney, under the headline “We abandon pasture farming at our peril – returning farmer” (FW, February 24).

I would agree with the sentiment expressed, but the real reason for the move to herd homes and/or the emotive factory farming of dairy cows – environmental pressure – was not even mentioned by Ms Guiney.

One of the major causes is so well known but is almost impossible to fix.

That is the urine patch, which deposits the equivalent of 1000 kilograms a hectare. . .

Export lamb prices offset fall in volume – Alan Williams:

Higher export lamb values have more than offset a fall in volume in the first half of the trading year, with prices continuing to rise.

The average value per tonne of product rose 14% over the six months to March 31, compared with a near 9% lift in the first three months ended December 31, Beef + Lamb New Zealand data show.

Mutton average values also rose 14% over the period, building on a 5% lift in the first three months.

“What we’re seeing is an increase in value, growing faster as time went on,” B+LNZ chief economist Andrew Burtt said.

Despite the relatively high NZ dollar, the “macro” economic environment was favourable and the outlook for prices still strong, he said. . . .

No confidence vote for straw in dairy cows – Sue O’Dowd:

Dairy farmers who add straw to their cows’ diet would be better off taking up yachting, says a rumen specialist.

Lincoln University expert Jim Gibbs spoke to about 100 farmers at DairyNZ’s FeedRight roadshow at the Westpac Taranaki Agricultural Research Station (WTARS) at Hawera last week.

Gibbs said adding straw to a pasture-based diet was a waste of money. Not one study showed an increase in milk production when straw was added.

“You’re replacing something that has an ME (metabolisable energy) of 12 with one that has an ME of 6 or 8. You’ll see either a loss of production or no change. . .

North Island-wide facial eczema warning – Gerald Piddock:

North Island farmers have been warned to check their stock for signs of facial eczema following a sharp jump in spore numbers from the fungus that causes this disease among livestock.

The disease is caused by spores from the fungus Pithomyces chartarum, which live in pasture and produce a spore containing a toxin that causes liver and bile-duct damage to livestock when eaten.

The high spore counts were the result of high soil temperatures and recent wet weather, AsureQuality facial eczema monitoring co-ordinator Leo Cooney said.

”There is a combination there that is a recipe for disaster.” . . .

Love transcends language bar – Charlotte Squire:

A Mongolian and Kiwi couple living in Golden Bay have literally created their own love language.

Golden Bay born Zoe Leetch met her future husband Enkhnasan Chuluunbaatar in 2008 on a Mongolian goldmine on the northern edge of the Gobi Desert. The pair, who then worked together on the mine, taught each other English and Mongolian, and eventually created their own unique language blend of the two languages.

These days they live in Golden Bay with their young son Tushinbayar Enkhnasan. Enkhnasan, who is known as Nasa, is now a busy sheep shearer, who came second in the intermediate section of the Golden Bay A&P Show sheep shearing champs. It took some time for Nasa, who grew up in a family of nomadic herders, to become a Kiwi sheep shearer. . .


Rural round-up

September 23, 2013

Rural contractors ready to help:

Farmers around the country hit by devastating storms last week are being reminded that rural contractors are available to help them with any clean-up work.

“Canterbury was hit by its worst wind storm in 40 years, which has caused major damage on farms throughout the province,” says Steve Levet, president of Rural Contractors New Zealand (RCNZ). “There are also reports of a fair bit of destruction in the North Island as well.

“This has been a tough time for landowners with many needing to carry out big clean-up jobs on their properties. If the farmers don’t have the time or the resources to clear up storm damage; they should contact their local rural contractor and ask for help.” . . .

Northland farmer Parsons named B+LNZ chair-elect – Hugh Stringleman:

New Beef + Lamb New Zealand chair-elect James Parsons, of Northland, has left on his first market access and trade relations trip to Southeast Asia and Europe.

He has accompanied chairman Mike Petersen to Japan, South Korea, and Europe for a meeting of the sheep-meat forum.

Parsons has been appointed by fellow directors for six months as chair-elect before Petersen retires in March.

Rather than have deputy chairmen, in recent times primary sector organisations like Fonterra, Alliance, Ballance, and now B+LNZ, have used a nominated heir approach to transition. . .

New chair for Awards trust:

The New Zealand Dairy Industry Awards Trust has a new chair- Mid-Canterbury dairy farmer and DairyNZ director Alister Body.

Body says a key focus of the Trust under his leadership will be to ensure the awards and its three contests – the New Zealand Sharemilker/Equity Farmer of the Year, New Zealand Farm Manager of the Year and New Zealand Dairy Trainee of the Year – retain relevancy and competitor interest.

“The competitions are improving and evolving and that’s really important. They also provide a great showcase of the dairy industry and give tremendous promotion of the value and benefits to be gained by participating in the dairy industry,” he says. . .

End of drought boosts prospects of NZ land prices – Agrimoney:

The ending of New Zealand’s drought has handed the country’s farmland market a “strong platform” for the important spring season, real estate professionals said, amid bright hopes for the important dairy sector too.

Economic data on Thursday highlighted the impact to New Zealand agriculture from one of the worst droughts on record, with the sector seen shrinking 4.8% in the April-to-June period from the previous quarter, thanks largely to the impact on dairy farms of poor pasture conditions.

“Dairy production was the biggest contributor to the fall, while sheep and cattle farming also fell,” the official statistics office in New Zealand, the top milk exporting country, said. . .

Golden harvest puts industry back on track:

THE WINE industry is seeing the first signs of renewed interest in new vineyard development, showing there is new optimism in the industry, says New Zealand Winegrowers chairman Steven Green.

Five years ago the New Zealand wine industry suffered a supply imbalance as producers made more wine than they could sell. Grape prices slumped and vines were ripped out.

But a record 345,000 tonnes of grapes were harvested this year producing 250 million litres of wine. The 2013 crop is up 28% on the small 2012 harvest but up only 5% on 2011. . .

My father’s succession strategy worked a treat – Stephen Carr:

My great farming hero, the late Hampshire farmer writer and broadcaster John Cherrington, used to maintain that if you wished your son or daughter to follow you into dairying you should “break them in” before they knew any better.

To delay an introduction to the mind-numbing routine of the milking parlour beyond the age of 12 was to run the risk that the adolescent will discover there are easier ways of earning a living than being tied to the tail of a dairy cow 365 days a year from 4am each morning.

My own father inducted me into farming with ruthless single-mindedness. We didn’t have dairy cows, but he introduced me to the delights of beef, sheep and arable farming without me realising that a subtle brainwashing was in progress. . .


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