Rural round-up

August 29, 2019

The crisis of confidence undermining our primary industries is untenable – Todd Muller:

I have always held the view that families’ most honest conversations occur at the dinner table, often as the used plates wait to be returned to the bench and the wine is closer to the bottom of the glass.

As a child, I can recall my parents’ discussions, as they struggled with every waking effort to hold onto the kiwifruit orchard in the downturn of the early 1990s. Well New Zealand you need to know that the conversations happening in our rural homes across the country are the tensest in a generation.

There is a palpable sense of stress and unrelenting pressure. The sort that makes your guts churn, the sort that can and does lead to more tragic outcomes. Our primary industries and the families that work in them feel isolated and undervalued. For some it feels like being under attack. I am not prone to hyperbole, I use the word deliberately. . . .

Is there an emerging rural divide? – Julia Jones:

The success of the food and fibre sector will be defined by how well we can align and adapt, with the focus being the ‘whole’ sector, not competing subsectors, writes Julia Jones.

We hear lots of talk about the urban-rural divide, but of late, as I travel around the country, I find myself asking, “Is there is an emerging rural-rural divide?”

I’m fortunate to get to talk to a variety of people from a variety of subsectors in the food and fibre sector, and without fail someone within each group (from anywhere in the value chain) will mention that they see the sun setting on another subsector. . . 

Farmers band together to improve local waterway:

Finding the balance between making a profit and farming sustainably has always been at the forefront of Fonterra farmer Paul Warneford’s mind. 

“Swimming in our local rivers, white baiting, doing things us Kiwis love doing, while having a sustainable farming practice is the ultimate goal,” says Paul. 

In 2015, 12 dairy farmers started the Nukuhou North and Waiotahi River Streams Group, aiming to improve the sustainability of their farming operations.

The group was formed after Agri-ecology consultant Alison Dewes spoke to a group of farmers about sustainable farming and finding a sweet spot around environment, profit and production.  . .

Ensuring success of A&P shows – David Hill:

Sheep and cattle at A&P shows go together like candy-floss and Ferris wheels. Cattle have been missing at some shows recently in the wake of the Mycoplasma bovis outbreak but are set to make a return at several Canterbury shows.

For the Canterbury A&P Association’s new president Chris Herbert, the inclusion of cattle is an important part of show day. It was often the only chance city folk had to get up close with sheep and cattle, reinforcing the importance of A&P shows in bringing together town and country.

Agricultural shows are essential to maintaining connections with urban communities, Chris Herbert says.

As he looks ahead to this year’s New Zealand Agricultural Show, the Canterbury A&P Association president said the shows were often the only chance city folk had to get up close with sheep and cattle. . . 

Scales lifts 1H sales across all divisions, reaffirms annual guidance –  Rebecca Howard:

(BusinessDesk) – Agribusiness Scales Corporation reported revenue growth in all divisions in the first half and reiterated full-year guidance for increased underlying earnings.

The company said net profit for the six months to June 30 was $121.8 million versus $34.8 million in the same period a year earlier. The latest result includes gains on asset sales of $93.2 million.

Those divestments include the $151.4 million sale of Polarcold to Emergent Cold, which settled in May, for a gain of $73 million.  . .

Soil health field day brings sustainable solutions  to Marlborough viticulture industry :

A Soil Health Field Day, hosted by Wholesale Landscapes, will bring members of the viticulture industry together to discuss sustainable solutions for improved vineyard management.

Wholesale Landscapes has seen demand for high-quality compost and organic matter increase greatly recently, driven by Marlborough vineyard managers seeking sustainable ways to maximise grape yield, while also maintaining soil health. The Soil Health Field Day aims to provide growers with the most current information and tested solutions to specific challenges.

Soil health continues to be a critical issue for local growers, who are favoured with the terroir which produces the world-renowned Marlborough Sauvignon, with its highly-popular and distinct flavour profiles. Giving back to these unique soils is central to vineyard management, and increasingly, the broader notions of sustainability are making an impact. . .

 


Rural round-up

April 8, 2016

Two new irrigation champions recognised:

Two New Zealand irrigation champions have been recognised with the awarding of the Ron Cocks Memorial Award to South Canterbury’s Robin Murphy and Central Otago’s Tony Banks.

Both men’s achievements were celebrated at IrrigationNZ’s biennial conference dinner last night in Oamaru. The event has drawn more than 400 people to the Waitaki District this week to tour local irrigation infrastructure, listen to global guest speakers address irrigation issues, attend technical workshops and view an industry expo with 52 exhibitors.

The former chairman of the Earnscleugh Irrigation Company, Tony Banks, was described as an outstanding leader in delivering the benefits of water to Central Otago. Tony has given 31 years of service to the scheme; more than half his working life and all in a voluntary capacity. . . 

Power to the people – Anee Hardie:

The power bill is a big expense for many farms. Anne Hardie talked to Franz Josef farmer Graeme Berry about using local resources to reduce that bill to zero.  

Water is an abundant resource around Graham Berry’s Franz Josef dairy farm, which prompted him to build a small hydro power scheme that now supplies all his electricity with enough extra to sell into the national grid and pay its cost.  

It was a lengthy exercise that took years to acquire the necessary consents and ended up costing nearly half a million dollars, but that extra power sold into the national grid pays the interest while the farm and dairy now pay zilch for electricity. . .

Carrfields wins Innovation Award for irrigator stabiliser:

Ashburton’s Carrfields Irrigation company has won 2016’s IrrigationNZ Innovation Award in association with Aqualinc for its innovative irrigator stabiliser.

The award was presented last night at the industry body’s national conference which has attracted more than 400 people to Waitaki District this week.

The HydroFix Irrigator Stabiliser System consists of a series of inflatable water tanks connected to a pulley and counterweight systems along the length of an irrigator. . . 

South America set to dominate beef trade – Allan Barrber:

Rabobank’s quarterly report on the global beef market maintains South American beef producers, particularly Brazil, will be the major influence on the beef trade in 2016.

The most notable features are expected to be an increase in China’s official imports which rose sharply by 60% last year, a decline in US imports and lower than usual Australian beef production. New Zealand’s cattle kill is forecast to be earlier and lower than 2015 because of the earlier dairy cull. Although the American beef kill is still at 20 year lows, high stocks of frozen product will continue to put a dampener on both prices and import volumes. . . 

Isolated negligence of one farmer does not reflect Colony farming practice:

Allegations by SAFE that Colony farming causes increased mortality and poor welfare among layer hens is being strongly rejected by the Egg Industry.

The Egg Producer Federation (EPF) has been working with the Ministry of Primary Industries (MPI) to investigate claimsmade by SAFE about one of its member farms.

SAFE broke into a member farm to obtain footage that the Industry said is an unacceptable, but isolated discovery.

“The welfare of the birds is our first priority, so this footage is most definitely disturbing. Investigations have shown this is the negligence of one farm, in an isolated incident that shows poor practice around cage checking and clearing. . . 

Judge Valley Dairies Judged Supreme Winner In 2016 Waikato Ballance Farm Environment Awards:

Puahue dairy farmers John Hayward and Susan O’Regan are Supreme winners of the 2016 Waikato Ballance Farm Environment Awards.

At a special Ballance Farm Environment Awards (BFEA) ceremony on April 7 (2016), the couple also collected the LIC Dairy Farm Award, WaterForce Integrated Management Award, Waikato Regional Council Water Protection Award and the Ballance Agri-Nutrients Soil Management Award.

Based on 245ha of flat to steep contour east of Te Awamutu, their operation, Judge Valley Dairies Ltd, was described by BFEA judges “as a highly productive farm that works well in a challenging landscape while balancing environmental care”. . . 

IrrigationNZ and Feds ask for scientific integrity:

IrrigationNZ and Federated Farmers say greater scrutiny of claims irrigation causes increased ‘rumbly-gut’ is needed, as recent assertions by Alison Dewes are not scientifically sound.

The industry bodies have joined forces to ask for improved scientific integrity when making claims in the media as “the validity of the argument around increased pathogen losses resulting from irrigation or water storage are not sound,” says IrrigationNZ CEO Andrew Curtis.

“Our understanding is pathogen contamination of a water supply generally occurs through a direct pathway – a point source contamination. Neither irrigation nor water storage create pathogen issues, except through natural means, the increased birdlife around a water storage lake for example. The main causes of pathogen contamination are poor water treatment from domestic discharges or inadequately protected well- heads. ” says Mr Curtis. . .

International Agri-Group Digs Deep for Farm Community • Raising Over $40,000 for Rural School:

A $5,000 donation for catering and serving lunch for 130 of Australasia’s leading agribusiness professionals turned into an impromptu fundraising event recently – with a rural school of 36 students receiving over $40,000.

As part of its annual conference in Wellington, the Platinum Primary Producers (PPP) Group visited a sheep farm and a dairy operation in the Wairarapa. The school children welcomed the delegation with a Kapa Haka followed by the serving of fresh, local produce including paua fritters, whitebait and crayfish for lunch. . . 

Ideal conditions for sowing:

If you haven’t sown your new pastures yet, there’s no better time than now to get seed into the ground.

Soil temperatures in many parts of the North Island and upper South Island are still mild – over 15 degrees C which is ideal for establishing most pasture species.

Perennial ryegrass or any short term ryegrass can be sown through to about Anzac Day, so that gives you plenty of options.

Early April is however too late for sowing pasture brome or fescue, because these species are sensitive to low soil temperatures. . . 

Report Shows Strong Future for Organic Products:

There’s good news for New Zealand’s organic fruit and vegetable growers in the report released today showing Kiwis are buying more organic product from their local supermarket.

The Organics Aotearoa Organic Market Report 2016 shows continuing growth in markets for organic fresh fruit and vegetables, particularly in supermarkets, up 127% in four years.

“What is good about that figure for horticulture is it shows shoppers are thinking more about what they put in their shopping trollies.

“That’s a good trend for all the producers serving the New Zealand domestic market,” HortNZ chief executive Mike Chapman says.. . 

Weaker Dollar Moves Wool Up:

New Zealand Wool Services International Limited’s C.E.O, Mr John Dawson reports that the slightly weaker New Zealand dollar compared to last weeks’ sale helped lift local prices, aided by strong support for a more stylish South Island selection suitable for greasy wool orders.

Of the 9,400 bales on offer, 91.6 percent sold.

The weighted currency indicator was down 1.12 percent week on week.

Compared to the last time comparable wools were sold on 23rd March in the South Island Fine Crossbred Full Fleece and Shears were firm to 1.7 percent dearer. . . 

 

 

Farmers Are Awesome's photo.

Let’s also pay tribute to those farmers’ husbands/partners who work as hard or harder than their farmers.


Rural round-up

April 5, 2016

Smith takes out NZ top shearing title:

Shearer Rowland Smith won top honours at the New Zealand Open Championship final in Te Kuiti over the weekend.

Mr Smith won by just 0.411 points, John Kirkpatrick came second and Gavin Mutch was third.

Joel Henare won the open woolhandling final, a month after scoring his fourth consecutive Golden Shears Open title.

Doug Laing from Shearing Sports New Zealand said it was a typically exciting final. . . 

IrrigationNZ congratulates Waihao Downs Irrigation:

The opening of Waihao Downs Irrigation Scheme reinforces that irrigation will continue to be a vital ingredient for the health of rural New Zealand, regardless of the fortunes of the dairy industry, says IrrigationNZ.

The $32million Waihao Downs project will be officially opened today  by IrrigationNZ Chairwoman Nicky Hyslop, coinciding with the first day of the industry body’s bi-ennial conference.

More than 400 people will converge on Waitaki District this week to view irrigation infrastructure, hear guest speakers from around the world speak on irrigation issues and attend technical workshops. The conference opens with a Farmer’s Trade Afternoon on Tuesday (3.30pm-5.30pm) where 52 exhibitors will showcase irrigation technology, services and products to farmers and the general public. . . 

IrrigationNZ and Feds ask for scientific integrity:

IrrigationNZ and Federated Farmers say greater scrutiny of claims irrigation causes increased ‘rumbly-gut’ is needed, as recent assertions by Alison Dewes are not scientifically sound.

The industry bodies have joined forces to ask for improved scientific integrity when making claims in the media as “the validity of the argument around increased pathogen losses resulting from irrigation or water storage are not sound,” says IrrigationNZ CEO Andrew Curtis.

“Our understanding is pathogen contamination of a water supply generally occurs through a direct pathway – a point source contamination. Neither irrigation nor water storage create pathogen issues, except through natural means, the increased birdlife around a water storage lake for example. The main causes of pathogen contamination are poor water treatment from domestic discharges or inadequately protected well-heads. ” says Mr Curtis. . . 

Success Helps Southland/Otago Dairy Awards Winners Keep Goals on Track:

The major winners in the 2016 Southland/Otago Dairy Industry Awards, have adapted their business to remain on track to achieve their farming goals.

The couple were announced winners of the region’s Share Farmer of the Year competition at the Southland/Otago Dairy Industry Awards annual awards dinner held at the MLT Events Centre in Gore last night. The other big winners were Wayne Ashmore, who became the 2016 Southland/Otago Dairy Manager of the Year, and Chloe Mackle, the 2016 Southland/Otago Dairy Trainee of the Year. . . 

Conditions now right for recovery in global dairy prices, ASB economist Penny says – Fiona Rotherham

(BusinessDesk) – Global dairy prices will recover this year as growth in European production has now slowed, says ASB rural economist Nathan Penny.

His comments follow a Fitch Ratings report last week that forecast the modest supply response so far to low global dairy prices would prolong a recovery in prices beyond 2016.

Last month, when announcing Fonterra Cooperative Group’s half-year results, chairman John Wilson said the company and most of its global dairy peers were struggling to make predictions on the direction of global dairy prices but the imbalance in supply and demand could correct itself in the next six months. . . 

Changes to maximum allowable weight of greasy wool bales in industry code of practice:

The National Council of New Zealand Wool Interests Inc comprises associations and organisations involved in the domestic and international trading of greasy and scoured wool. The Council acts as the New Zealand member of the International Wool Textile Organisation, which represents the interests of the wool textile trade at the global level.

The National Council and its members are committed to providing a safe working environment throughout the wool industry. Increasing concerns relating to bales weighing over 200kg (which are estimated to cover approximately 6% of the national clip) have prompted the Council to address the issue. . . 

Farmers Are Awesome's photo.


Rural round-up

February 26, 2016

A Fonterra thought experiment: where to from here? – Keith Woodford:

Since the turn of the century, New Zealand dairying has been growing rapidly. Currently, the industry produces about 75% more milk than back in 2000. However, the world of New Zealand dairying is now changing and the growth tide has turned.

The forces of change are both economic and environmental.

In the short term, it will be economic factors that determine production. This year we are already seeing North Island but not South Island production decline. There is a strong likelihood that overall production will decline further next year as many farmers try to manage their cash flows by reducing cow numbers and bring support stock back on-farm. . . 

Dairy Industry’s $38b debt problem:

The future of the dairy industry in this country is looking depressing as farm debt reaches $38 billion, an agribusiness consultant says.

Minister for Primary Industries Nathan Guy has met with three major banks to discuss the dairy debt, as a Federated Farmers poll last week found more than one in 10 are now under pressure from banks over their mortgages.

Mr Guy said the banks told him they would be standing by struggling dairy farmers, and he believed the medium- to long-term outlook for the sector was incredibly rosy.

But agribusiness consultant Alison Dewes was not so sure. . . 

Hastings Orchardists Claim Top Title in East Coast Ballance Farm Environment Awards:

Resilient, innovative and hard-working growers Graham and Marian Hirst are Supreme winners of the 2016 East Coast Ballance Farm Environment Awards.

At a Ballance Farm Environment Awards (BFEA) ceremony on February 25, the couple also collected the CB Norwood Distributors Ltd Agri-Business Management Award, East Coast Farming for the Future Award (as sponsored by the Hawke’s Bay Regional Council and the Gisborne District Council), Massey University Innovation Award and the PGG Wrightson People In Agriculture Award.

BFEA judges said the Hirsts have committed themselves “in good and bad times” to their business and industry, describing them as “a hard-working couple using their individual strengths to create a strong team that balances innovation with production strengths”. . . 

Agcarm President Mark Christie to the Agcarm Summer Conference:

I’ve mentioned data protection in every speech to every Agcarm conference I’ve ever spoken to since I became President of Agcarm.

So I can’t break with a well-established tradition now. In fact, the four years of me standing in front of you discussing data protection is just the tip of the iceberg. Agcarm has persisted in trying to rectify New Zealand’s dismal data protection regime for well over a decade now.

To demonstrate how far we’ve come and the tenacity Agcarm has had over this issue, I will read to you an excerpt from an Agcarm newsletter to members dating back to August 2001: . . .

Novel approach to get farmers to trust their gut:

Lincoln University researcher Dr Peter Nuthall has a question for farmers.

“How many times do you find yourself thinking about how can you make your farm more successful?”

His answer lies in developing your ability to understand or know something based on your well- informed intuition.

Dr Nuthall says farms are run on intuition every day: every farmer makes a myriad of decisions based on it.

“Successful farm management is totally dependent on the quality of the farmer’s inherent intuition.” . . 

South Island Wool Sale Firms:

New Zealand Wool Services International Limited’s C.E.O, Mr John Dawson reports that apart from Lambs Fleece, the market lifted generally 1 to 4 percent compared to the sale on 18th February.

Of the 8,600 bales on offer 89 percent sold.

The weighted currency indicator firmed 0.61 percent having little impact.

Mr Dawson advises that emerging new business and shipping requirements for older contracts combined to lift the market for the selection of mainly good style wools. . . 


Rural round-up

June 4, 2015

Hunter Downs irrigation backing forthcoming – David Bruce:

A new Waimate irrigation scheme capable of providing water to up to 32,000ha now has enough shareholder support to move on to the next stage of investigations after fears in April some farmers might be backing out.

The Hunter Downs irrigation scheme, estimated to cost about $375 million, had sold enough shares to cover 24,000ha in its first instalment of payments. . .

The science behind deer velvet – Jemma Brackebush:

AgResearch scientists are working with Korean counterparts to discover what components of deer velvet may help boost immune systems.

Deer antler products are commonly used in northern Asian countries in the winter to boost people’s immune systems and fight off colds and flus.

Senior scientist Stephen Haines said a major factor in selling deer velvet in key markets like South Korea and China was being able to prove the product does what the marketers claim.

 Manuka Health mulls capital raising options after global launch of new honey products – Fiona Rotherham:

(BusinessDesk) – Manuka Health, the functional food and dietary supplement company, is reviewing capital-raising options to help fund a global roll-out of new products said to boost the antibacterial qualities of manuka honey and its pipeline of research and development.

The private company has ruled out a public listing at this stage but chief executive Kerry Paul said it was considering other options including new investors who bring more than just capital to the table.

Manuka Health was founded in 2006 and exports 90-plus products based on propolis, royal jelly, bee pollen, and manuka honey to 45 countries. It has annual turnover of more than $50 million, 80 staff, and is owned by a number of private shareholders including Paul and family interests associated with chairman Ray Thomson, and institutional investors, Milford Asset Management and Waterman Capital. . .

Finalists announced for 2015 Green Ribbon Awards:

Environment Minister Dr Nick Smith and Conservation Minister Maggie Barry today announced the finalists for the 2015 Green Ribbon Awards, which will this year mark 25 years of honouring New Zealand’s environmental leaders.

“Over 70 nominations were received across the 10 categories for this year’s awards, and they cover a wide range of environmental initiatives that include protecting our biodiversity, reducing greenhouse gas emissions, minimising waste, reducing water pollution, preserving the marine environment, educating and inspiring the community, and implementing more sustainable business practices,” Dr Smith says. . .

Maximising profit and environmental protection on NZ pastoral farms:

Agricultural growth agendas are currently based on the idea that more production, at any cost, is the best strategy for higher national GDP. But, it is unclear how these agendas will be fulfilled, given tightening water quality limits and the pressing need to account for greenhouse gas emissions.

Alison Dewes (Headlands Consultancy) says that the combination of volatile economic conditions and enforceable environmental limits will force farmers to reconfigure their farm systems. Farmers will have to demonstrate efficient resource use, minimal environmental effects and robust economic performance to ensure New Zealand’s agriculture sector can thrive and stay ahead of the game. . .

Make the most of Government forestry planting grants; NRC:

Northland farmers and landowners are being encouraged to take full advantage of a Government forestry grant scheme, with the Northland Regional Council advising it also has options to help.

The Government recently re-launched its Afforestation Grant Scheme (AGS), announcing it would spend $22.5 million over the next six years subsidising the planting of forests on erosion-prone land.
This scheme previously saw more than 12,000 hectares of new forest planted nationally between 2008 and 2013.
The re-launched scheme, administered by the Ministry for Primary Industries (MPI), is accepting applications for the next month (SUBS: these close 30 June 2015). . .

Young Butchers Set to Carve up Competition:

Across New Zealand, young butchers are preparing for the battle of their careers in anticipation of the 2015 Alto Young Butcher and Competenz Butcher Apprentice of the Year.

A total of 73 butchery protégées have entered the regional stages of the competition in the hopes of making it to the Grand Final on September 10 at Shed 10 in Auckland.

Competition Organiser, Pippa Hawkins from Retail Meat New Zealand says the event is now widely recognised within the industry with past competitors reaping huge benefits. . .


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