Rural round-up

January 26, 2018

Big drop in Otago farm sales, NZ sales down 21% – Simon Hartley:

Otago has recorded the largest decline in farm sales across the country, down by 27 on a year ago while nationally sales dipped 21%, down by more than 100 properties.
Ten of 14 regions recorded declines in farm sales for the quarter ended December, with Otago booking the most substantial decline, down 27 sales followed by Northland down 25 sales, while Southland was one of only three regions with an increase, up three sales.

Overall, farm sales nationally for the quarter plunged 105 from 499 for the same quarter last year to 394, according to Real Estate Institute of New Zealand data.

REINZ rural spokesman Brian Peacocke said the sales were a reflection of two key factors which impacted on the rural sector – weather and prices. . .

Is the 20-year white gold rush over for dairy industry? – Andrea Fox:

The country’s second biggest dairy manufacturer and exporter Open Country Dairy believes New Zealand milk production growth has peaked and a long run of muscular annual rises is over.

Chairman Laurie Margrain said the privately-owned company did not believe overall milk production would rise much higher than it is today.

“There will be seasonal variances due to weather of course but it’s not realistic to think New Zealand milk production will go through the growth curve it’s had in the past 10 years.” . . .

Warning after homekill prosecutions rise:

A spike in prosecutions for illegal homekill has prompted officials to warn people not to sell homekill on social media.

Information released to Radio New Zealand showed seven people were prosecuted in 2017, compared to one the year before.

And 44 sales of homekill on Facebook were reported to the Ministry for Primary Industries last year, 30 more than 2016.

Selling homekill is illegal, with fines of up to $75,000 for individuals and $300,000 for businesses. . .

Local rider chosen for trip to Texas – Tom Kitchin:

Ranfurly girl Amanda Voice says she feels lucky to be named in a team to represent New Zealand in Texas for western performance horse riding.
Amanda (15) will travel to the Texas city of College Station to compete in the American Quarter Horse Youth World Cup from June 28 to July 8.

”I’m just so happy with how it’s all gone,” she said.

”I’m very excited to represent New Zealand once again.” . .

How one dairy farmer works just 20 hours per year for every cow in his herd – Seán Cummins:

David Kerr milks a herd of 155 cows under a spring-calving system in Ballyfin, Co. Laois. He’s at the top of his game when it comes to efficiency and works just 20 hours per year for each cow in his herd.

When compared to his peers, David fits firmly within the top 5% of efficient farmers. The 20 hours per cow figure is more than 50% lower than the average number of hours worked by farmers surveyed in a recent Teagasc labour study.

At this week’s Irish Grassland Association Dairy Conference, David outlined the efficiency practices undertaken on his farm. . .

How does a show get its local community involved?

Country shows are a window into a community, showing how close knit its people are, and that community’s values.

However, bringing people together, organising judging events and entertainment takes some time and know-how. So it’s no surprise that as country town populations have taken a hit, the local show has also suffered.

A successful show requires involvement, and inclusion. But sometimes a show seemingly just happens because it has had a long established committee. The local community doesn’t necessarily understand what it can bring to the table, nor what goes into putting the event on. . . 


Rural round-up

September 8, 2015

Passion for irrigation still runs deep – Sally Rae:

Dave Finlay describes himself simply as ”an irrigation man”.

Ingrained in his memory is his time farming a dryland property at Windsor, in North Otago, battling drought and having to sell his sheep in drought sales. It was, he recalls, ”nightmarish stuff”’.

Those challenging times resulted in him later become a driving force behind irrigation development in North Otago.

At 78, Mr Finlay shows no signs of slowing down, as he continues working as a rural sales consultant for PGG Wrightson Real Estate in Oamaru. . . 

Retailers’ revenge could slow dairy recovery:

While wholesale milk prices may be on their way up, we need to be aware of “retailers’ revenge”.

Lincoln University Agribusiness and Food Marketing Programme Director Nic Lees says two things need to happen for the market prices to recover to anywhere near previous levels.

“Retail prices need to fall to stimulate consumer demand and global supply needs to be reduced. Both of these take some time to occur.

“We are starting to see the milk tap being turned off with farmers’ globally selling cull cows and reducing supplement, and plans for future expansion and conversion are being put on hold.” . . 

Farm kids less likely to have asthma:

A new discovery has found that kids who grow up on farms are less likely to develop asthma and have a bigger immunity to allergies than the average city slicker.

It’s the kind of discovery that could completely change how we treat asthma in the future.

Nanotech scientist Michelle Dickinson joined Paul Henry this morning to explain how and why this is.

She says the study shows that farm dust in young children under the age of two can protect them from allergies later in life. . . 

 

Last few days to vote in 2015 Sheepmeat and Beef Levy Referendum:

There is still a significant number of farmers yet to vote in the 2015 Sheepmeat and Beef Levy Referendum before it closes on Thursday this week (10 September).

Beef + Lamb New Zealand Chairman, James Parsons said as of this morning 5,195 farmers (30 per cent of registered farmers) had cast their vote.

“It’s really important for the organisation that it has a strong mandate from farmers if they want Beef + Lamb New Zealand working for them in the next six years. . . 

Members sought for forest levy board:

Nominations are open for members of the Forest Growers Levy Trust board. There are vacancies for two members representing owners of large forests and one representing owners of smaller forests.

This is the first election since a commodity levy was applied to harvested plantation logs in January 2014. The levy raised $7.96 million in 2014 for activities that benefit all forest owners, including research, forest health, safety and training.

“Half of the six elected board members have retired this year after only one year in office. This sets in motion a rotational retirement policy for directors that will see half their number retiring every second year after a four-year term,” says trust chair Geoff Thompson. . . 

Dairy Graziers proactivity will stave off cost:

As the fallout from the steep decline in global diary prices spreads, Crowe Horwath agribusiness specialist Haylee Preston is advising dairy graziers to be proactive to avoid being out-of-pocket this coming season.

“With budgets under pressure from severely restricted cash flows, dairy farmers are moving to cut costs, with many looking to tweak their farming systems accordingly,” says Preston.

“In many farming operations, supplementary feed and grazing are a significant cost when it comes to production,” indicates Preston. “This means they will be some of the most closely scrutinised costs given the current drive to save.” . . 

Farm Environment Competition Pays Off For Young Taranaki Farmers:

Sami and Laura Werder are young and enthusiastic farmers with big plans for improving the sustainability of their new Taranaki sheep and beef farm. So entering the 2015 Taranaki Ballance Farm Environment Awards was a great way to check their plans were on the right track.

The Werders bought their 378ha breeding and finishing property at Huiroa, east of Stratford, two years ago and are currently in the process of developing the farm through subdivision, improved access and a new water system.

“We were both raised on farms and we were lucky to have help from family to get into our own farm,” says Sami, a former rural banker. . . 

Ballance Agri-Nutrients Annual Report 2015:

The Ballance Agri-Nutrients Limited Annual Report for the year ended 31 May 2015 is now available online at http://annual-report.ballance.co.nz/

Our interactive report includes video content and links to additional resources, as well as access to our full financial statements. . . 

Farmers can cut nitrogen loss with new N-Protect:

Farmers facing warm and dry conditions and who need to minimise losses of nitrogen into the air, have a new tool in the toolbox thanks to Ravensdown.

The co-operative’s new N-Protect has a urease inhibitor coating around the urea granule to reduce nitrogen loss to the atmosphere, otherwise known as volatilisation. This can lead to more growth-giving nitrogen kept available for the plant enabling production gains in a critical season for farmers facing El Nino conditions.

“Our advice has always been that there are several ways to ‘skin the N-loss cat’. These range from good management practice to urease inhibiting products like new N-Protect,” explained Lloyd Glenny, Fertiliser Product Manager at Ravensdown. . . 

Be careful with cheap grass seed:

Think twice before buying cheap pasture seed this spring – you may well get more (or less) than you bargained for, and not in a good way.

That’s the advice to farmers looking to save money re-sowing paddocks left bare after winter crop.

With poor germination, high weed content and/or minimal endophyte, cheap seed almost always works out to be anything but cheap at the best of times, pasture experts say.

“It’s even more of a false economy when cash is tight, because farmers need all the good grazing they can get,” says Agriseeds’ Graham Kerr. “No-one can afford paddocks to fail this spring.”

His advice? “Concentrate on sowing a smaller area of land, better. Use proprietary pasture seed which has guaranteed purity, germination and endophyte, so you know what you’re really planting, and do the best job possible of getting it into the ground so it establishes well.” . . 


Rural round-up

March 7, 2015

NZ wool market mixed amid targeted buying – Tina Morrison:

(BusinessDesk) – New Zealand crossbred wool, which accounts for the majority of the country’s production, rose to a three-and-a-half month high this week on lower volumes.

The price for 35-micron clean wool, commonly used for carpets, advanced 3.9 percent to $5.35 per kilogram, the highest level since Nov. 20, according to AgriHQ. The wool type only sold in the South Island this week, with the lower supply bolstering the price as other strong wool types declined in auctions across both islands.

Some 21,228 bales were offered for sale at the combined auctions across the North and South islands, the second-largest volume this year, as New Zealand comes out of its main shearing season from December to early February, which accounts for about 60 percent of the annual crossbred wool clip. . .

Rural Canterbury should diversify land use:

A report suggests Canterbury’s land use and crops should be diversified to support the region’s economy.

The report, released by the Canterbury Development Corporation yesterday, said diversification would help when other sectors such as dairying were under pressure with a low milk payout and the drought.

The corporation’s chief executive Tom Hooper said branching out from the region’s traditional cropping and sheep and beef farming, was making sure the eggs were not all in one basket.

The research found milking sheep and production of honey, blackcurrants and pharmaceutical crops such as poppies were all viable options. . .

Veterinarians play key role in judicious use of antimicrobials following McDonald’s announcement on use of antibiotics in supply-chain:

Yesterday fast food restaurant McDonald’s announced that it will only source animals raised without antibiotics that are important to human health, highlighting the key role veterinarians play in judicious use of antimicrobials to combat the rise of antimicrobial resistant bacteria.

New Zealand is a world leader in the prudent and highly regulated use of antimicrobials. Antibiotics used in animals are regulated by the Ministry for Primary Industries (MPI), and are registered for use for the treatment of animal disease. Antibiotics play a vital role in keeping animals healthy and protecting their welfare. In both pets and livestock, these products treat and control infections that threaten life and productivity, providing significant benefit to both the animals receiving treatment and the people looking after them. New Zealand is different to some overseas countries, in that antibiotics are not permitted to be used for the purpose of growth promotion here. . .

 

Call for 1080 to be used on organic properties:

In a bid to combat wild dogs in Australia, the organics industry there is considering allowing 1080 to be used as bait on certified properties.

While 1080 is derived from plants, it is produced synthetically and not approved for organic livestock farmers to use.

But Australia’s Invasive Animals Co-operative Research Centre is calling for that to change.

The Australian organic industry’s national standards sub-committee will meet early this month to discuss submissions calling for 1080 to be allowed on organic properties to control the wild dog population. . .

New release takes annual ryegrass to a new level:

A new tetraploid annual ryegrass proven to yield 1 tonne dry matter/ha more than old common varieties will help farmers enhance the productivity of their land this season.

That’s the word from Agriseeds, which bred the new cultivar Hogan to replace Archie, and says it will raise the bar for annual ryegrass performance on New Zealand farms.

Hogan’s significant yield advantage over old genetics is valued by the DairyNZ Forage Value Index (FVI) at $380/ha extra profit.

Agriseeds pasture systems manager Graham Kerr says this stacks up to a 10 fold return on investment for the extra $35-$45/ha it costs to sow Hogan compared with Moata or Tama. .

“It amazes us how much Moata and Tama seed is still sold, because these cultivars were released well over 30 years ago. . .

 

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The Fujita Scale measures the power of tornados but was regarded as too technical for lay people so meteorologists came up with the Moojita Scale:

M0 Tornado- Cows in an open field are spun around parallel to the wind flow and become mildly annoyed
M1 Tornado- Cows are tipped over and can’t get up
M2 Tornado- Cows begin rolling with the wind
M3 Tornado- Cows tumble and bounce
M4 Tornado- Cows are airborne.
M5 Tornado- Steak.


Rural round-up

March 3, 2015

Bluff oyster season ‘looks promising’:

The Bluff oyster season has opened with predictions it will be a good one.

The season for collecting oysters from one of the world’s last remaining wild fisheries opened yesterday and runs until the end of August.

Niwa says the oyster population has declined from last year because of the shellfish disease bonamia – which is harmless to humans. . .

– Keith Woodford:

[This post was first published in the Fairfax NZ Sunday Star Times on 22 February 2015. It is the fourth of a series of five on Fonterra.  The earlier posts were ‘The evolution of Fonterra’, ‘Fonterra’s jouney’, and ‘Fonterra’s global reach’.]

One of the big challenges for Fonterra has been to determine its overall market position. Is it a marketer of commodities? Or is it a marketer of fast moving consumer goods (fmcgs)? Or is it a marketer of specialist ingredients? Can it be all three?

The challenge of trying to be all three is that the appropriate business culture is different for each market positioning. Commodity marketing is all about logistics, efficiency, and financial discipline. Fmcgs are all about entrepreneurship, creation of brands, being fast on one’s feet, and willingness to take risks. Specialised ingredients require a focus on science and technology. . .

Dairy women look to future – Blake Foden:

New Zealand’s leading female dairy farmers will come together in Invercargill next month to discuss strategies and plan for the industry’s future.

The Dairy Women’s Network will hold its annual conference at ILT Stadium Southland on March 18-19, with a series of workshops and guest speakers focused on the theme of “Entering tomorrow’s world”.

Chief executive Zelda de Villiers said in the wake of a difficult season where most farmers were expecting a low payout, early bird registrations had been lower than anticipated.

While money might be tight, the current conditions made it even more important to attend and look to the future, she said. . .

Rabobank Dargaville celebrates opening:

Rabobank’s newest office in New Zealand celebrated its official opening on Thursday 26 February with a special event held at the Dargaville branch to mark the occasion.

Located in the heart of Dargaville, the new Rabobank branch is located at 94 Normanby Street and has been purpose-built to suit the needs of clients and staff frequently accessing the facility.

Rabobank chief executive officer for New Zealand Ben Russell said he was pleased to see the new premises “come to life”.

“We have been developing our plan to open in Dargaville for some time now and it’s great to see the team open the new building for business,” Mr Russell said. . .

Second Grand Finalist Confirmed:

Matt Bell is the second Grand Finalist to be named in the 2015 ANZ Young Farmer Contest.

The twenty-eight year old contract-milker took first place at the Aorangi Regional Final in Oamaru on Saturday 28 February.

Mr Bell went home with a prize pack worth over $10,000 including cash, scholarships and products and services from ANZ, FMG, Lincoln University, Ravensdown, AGMARDT, Silver Fern Farms, Honda, Husqvarna and Vodafone.
Matt placed third in the 2013 Grand Final and is determined to take out top honours in his final bid to become the ANZ Young Farmer Contest Grand Champion. In his spare time Matt enjoys getting out on his motor-bike, snowboarding and refereeing rugby. . .

Grow your bottom line with new pasture:

 Cost-conscious dairy farmers take heart – even with the lower payout, investing in new pasture remains highly profitable this autumn.

Financial analysis shows spending $1000 on autumn pasture renewal can lead to a gross return of more than $4000 over the next five years, while spending $1000 on palm kernel actually leads to a small loss this season in terms of milksolids.

“Pasture remains the corner stone of feeding cows in the New Zealand dairy industry, and the amount of pasture eaten per ha is widely acknowledged as a key profit indicator,” explains Graham Kerr, pasture systems manager for Agriseeds. . .

 

 


Rural round-up

February 26, 2015

Federated Farmers advises farmers to prepare Feed Budgets:

As stock feed becomes scarce Federated Farmers is encouraging farmers to get a feed plan and budget under way for the remainder of the year.

Katie Milne, Federated Farmers Adverse Events Spokesperson says “The dry conditions and reduced payout have left many farmers not only short of feed now, but facing a shortage for the rest of the year.”

“Farmers may have already done this, but given this is a pretty stressful time we want to remind them to keep it up to date.” . . .

A2 Milk’s premium payout attracts farmer interest with lower dairy prices this year – Fiona Rotherham:

 (BusinessDesk) – A2 Milk Co, which markets milk with a protein variant said to have health benefits, says it’s had more interest from farmers interested in supplying the company since dairy prices have dropped this year.

A2 Milk pays a premium of around 5 to 7 percent to its small number of farmer suppliers in New Zealand, Australia, and the UK, which has become more attractive as the farmgate milk price for standard milk has dropped markedly this season. Dairy exporter Fonterra Cooperative Group is due to update tomorrow morning its forecast milk price which was reduced to $4.70 per kilogram of milk solids in December compared to $8.40/kgMS last season. . .

 

Old Reefton mines to be cleaned up:

New Zealand’s most toxic contaminated site located near Reefton in two old mines are to be cleaned up in a joint funding agreement between the Ministry for the Environment and the Department of Conservation totalling $3 million, Environment Minister Dr Nick Smith announced today in Reefton.

“The Prohibition and Alexander mine sites are acutely toxic and a blight on New Zealand’s clean, green reputation. The levels of arsenic are among the highest recorded anywhere in the world at 400,000 parts per million on land, or 500 times the safe level, and in water at 300 parts per million, or 33,000 times the safe limit for drinking water,” Dr Smith says.

“We need to clean up this site so as to prevent ongoing contamination to the surrounding environment and make the site safe for future generations. . .

It is time to stand up for agriculture – About Agriculture:

Ahhhhh, Sunday morning.  The perfect time to sit down with a cup of coffee and actually open and read some of those links I’ve been eyeing up on twitter and facebook.  This week I started jotting down a few ideas for a couple blog posts and now I am searching social media to help with some thoughts to finish one.  I read through a few posts and news stories until I stumble upon a newly posted video of a TEDx talk by Robert Saik on GMOs.  Knowing Roberts company (AGRI-TREND) and his values, I figure that I should take the 20 minutes and listen, and I am really glad I did.

Our farm is not a customer of AGRI-TREND so there is no conflict of interest, this is not a paid post, and I am not ‘shilling’ in any way.  It is sad that these are statements that I feel I have to make when speaking up for biotechnology and agriculture, but the accusation of somehow being employed by “big Ag” (whatever ‘big Ag ‘means) is all too common. . .

Hat Tip: Utopia

White clover rewards careful sowing:

Farmers can get up to 20% more white clover established in their new paddocks simply by sowing it differently, a Canterbury trial has found.

Agriseeds compared five different techniques for establishing new pasture in autumn, plus a control treatment, to find out more about what effect sowing method has on clover population in the sward.

Broadcasting clover and ryegrass seed on the surface, then harrowing and rolling it to simulate the effect of a roller drill, gave the best result when the swards were analysed nine months after sowing. . .

 

The World’s LOUDEST Apple:

SweeTango® apples are the hottest apple in the world right now and it’s all about texture! SweeTango® have cells that are twicethe size of normal apples which gives them their legendary crunch and makes them amazing to eat. It’s also the reason why they’ve been scientifically proven to be the loudest apple in the world!

Bred by the University of Minnesota, who are known for developing unique varieties, SweeTango® has a flavour that is rich and intense at a time when many apples are becoming bland.

SweeTango® apples are ready in late January, before any other fresh commercial apple varieties are available. And because The Yummy Fruit Company are the only company growing them outside of the United States it means we get to enjoy them first each season! . . .

 


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