Merger not answer for meat

July 6, 2015

A possible merger between Alliance Group and Silver Fern Farms is still on the agenda of some in the meat industry.

Disgruntled Alliance Group shareholders say they hope to have the support from 5 percent of their number within the next 10 days that’s required to force a special meeting to discuss the potential benefits and risks of a merger with Silver Fern Farms.

Last week Silver Fern Farms shareholders crossed the 5 percent threshold to force a special meeting of their meat cooperative to vote on seeking a full analysis of the benefits and risks of merging with Alliance, along with a comprehensive risk mitigation plan, verified by an independent firm. . .

Allan Barber explains why merger’s  not going to happen:

Silver Fern Farms have been forced to take what CEO Dean Hamilton calls a prudent approach to livestock procurement. This is code for being hard up against the company’s banking facility, directly as a result of greater livestock availability. A longer season in the North Island and pressure from drought in North Canterbury are responsible for this situation.

An in-house message to livestock buyers explains the company’s inability to handle all its potential livestock bookings and says it may be necessary to assist some suppliers in finding alternative slaughter capacity. . .

Clearly SFF has taken the sensible step of implementing seasonal closures at some large plants, such as Paeroa in the Waikato and Fairton in the South Island. Unfortunately the pursuit of cost savings has clashed with the longer than expected flow of livestock, but it would be financially unsustainable if not impossible to reopen these plants.

The other major factor is the state of the export market which is scarcely conducive to killing and processing more product than absolutely necessary at this time of year. As Hamilton told me, there is no point in filling up the chillers and freezers when the market is as soft as it is at the moment. He could well have added that the company’s bankers wouldn’t have allowed it anyway.

The internal communication to the buyers makes it plain SFF must live within its means which hasn’t been the case for the last three or four years. The hope is expressed that this will create more flexibility next season. However the $1.3 billion spent on livestock so far this year is greater than last year which indicates the company has yet again failed to live within its means.

Three years ago SFF suffered because it failed to meet the market which resulted in too much inventory having to be written down, causing substantial losses over two financial years.

SFF is suffering the ultimate meat industry conundrum: how to run all its plants at optimum capacity when its bankers impose facility limits which render this difficult or downright impossible in prevailing market conditions; another dimension of the conundrum is the conflict between satisfying supplier demand for slaughter space and the inability to turn this into cash.

Barber gives some history – this is what happened in the 1990s when Fortex and Weddel went into receivership.

SFF is faced with a similar set of problems which can only be resolved by a capital restructure. The shareholder group’s attempts to force a review of the potential for a merger with Alliance are doomed to fail, because the state of the balance sheet and bank constraints make a merger impossible. There are also rumours about the closure of SFF’s overseas offices. . .

It appears the result of the equity raising process carried out by Goldman Sachs will finally be available for communication to shareholders in August. Unless the shareholders can come up with a minimum of $100 million, and even this may not be enough, they will have no entitlement to influence the company’s future. There may be no alternative to bringing in outside capital to recapitalise all or part of the business. . .

The grapevine suggests several scenarios for the future of SFF none of which is a merger with Alliance.

Those wanting that to happen don’t understand directors’ legal responsibilities to work in the best interests of the company, which would rule a merger out.


Rural round-up

June 16, 2015

Federated Farmers water team ‘Reclaiming choice’:

Federated Farmers has launched its very own ‘Water Team’ in response to the growing challenges farmers face in securing a profitable and sustainable future. The Federation hopes to empower the provinces to negotiate their need for the natural resource which is threatened by the lack of choices and missed opportunities through ‘false dichotomies’.

Dr William Rolleston, Federated Farmers President, says “When we deny ourselves choices of how much risk we want to take we are limiting ourselves and our ability to move forward. Our challenge is to ensure regulators, politicians and the judiciary make decisions which are in line with the science, which reflect the uncertainty of the time but are not paralysed by it.

“That’s why Federated Farmers has been developing its very own specialist water team as well as science and innovation teams to help develop our policies and inform public debate.” . . .

 

Agribusiness Agenda poses challenges – Allan Barber:

KPMG’s Agribusiness Agenda for 2015 is a comprehensive analysis of the challenges faced by New Zealand agriculture in meeting the government’s target of doubling exports by 2025. In the light of dramatically falling dairy prices with little sign of recovery, what was always a big ask has suddenly become a whole lot harder.

The Agenda was prepared following a series of Roundtable discussions with a number of leading agricultural personalities from which the views of the participants have been distilled into a number of conclusions. The key finding is that there is a compelling need to add value to our agricultural output which the report admits is pretty obvious and easier to say than do. . .

Bay sheep make the news in New York – Patrick O’Sullivan:

A photo of a Hawke’s Bay flock of sheep has featured in New York Times Magazine.

It was taken by photographer and book publisher Grant Sheehan for a soon-to-be-released book on a sheep station west of Hastings, Kereru Station – Two Sisters’ Legacy.

The New York Times Magazine story was on Dronestagram, a website featuring aerial drone photography, where Mr Sheehan’s photo was featured.

Mr Sheehan, who grew up on a farm near Nelson, said sheep were very difficult to photograph. . .

Spring Sheep Dairy Takes First Step:

Spring Sheep Dairy has taken its first step, with joint venture owners Landcorp Farming Limited and SLC Group agreeing on the focus for its consumer-led marketing business.

Spring Sheep Dairy Chief Executive and Director Scottie Chapman says SSD’s long term goal is to export high value high quality sheep milk products to Asian consumers.

“We’re still to milk our first sheep so obviously there’s a long way to go and we will take a very careful and considered approach, but we are very excited about the potential opportunities this joint venture offers,” Mr Chapman says. . .

 

Auckland Signs Up For Farm Environment Competition:

Farmers in the Auckland region can now enter the prestigious Ballance Farm Environment Awards.

Awards-facilitator, the New Zealand Farm Environment (NZFE) Trust, has formed a partnership with Auckland Council to bring the highly successful competition to Auckland. The agreement means Auckland farmers and horticulturists are eligible to enter the 2016 Awards.

NZFE chair Simon Saunders says the trust is delighted to deliver the Ballance Farm Environment Awards to the region. . .

Partnership puts spotlight on dairy feed efficiency:

Feed supplier GrainCorp Feeds has teamed up with independent research and technical specialists Dairy Club to help New Zealand dairy farmers using supplementary feed to achieve maximum profit this season.

Farmers working with GrainCorp Feeds will have access to Dairy Club’s online milk prediction tool, Tracker™, which measures current milk production and shows how they can achieve maximum gain.

Dairy Club research shows that about $200,000 of efficiency and productivity gains for the average farm can be achieved using Tracker™, which is the equivalent to adding over $1.50 to the milk price. . .

 

Elders Primary Wool announce name change to CP Wool:

Elders Primary Wool has today announced they will change their brand name to CP Wool from September 2015. The brand name change follows the 50 per cent acquisition of the Elders New Zealand business by South Island based Carr Group.

The business will be identified as CP Wool in the market and will be underpinned by Carrfields Primary Wool, a play on the Carr Group transition to Carrfields which will roll out from July 2015. Primary Wool Cooperative, the other 50 per cent shareholder in the Elders Primary Wool business is represented by the Primary Wool reference. . .


Rural round-up

May 28, 2015

Surveyor believes in power of cooperative model, but says it’s up to farmers – Allan Barber:

Four months into his new job as CEO of Alliance, David Surveyor is really loving the challenge of heading a global business which is so crucial to farmers, consumers and New Zealand as a whole. He has always been interested in the agrifood space, as he terms it, and enjoys getting to know New Zealand through its agricultural producers.

In contrast with his previous roles in steel and building materials, the biggest difference in the meat industry is the question of livestock supply with so many factors outside the company’s control. Variable climatic conditions and land use change are just two of the main ones. At Alliance its cooperative status demands a lot of time seeing things from the supplier perspective which is not such a major factor in manufacturing industries, while all meat companies need to spend more time focused on the market. . .

Positive Signs Ahead as Farmers Look to Put Season Behind Them:

Fonterra Shareholders’ Council Chairman, Ian Brown said Farmers will be cautiously optimistic following today’s announcement by Fonterra of an opening forecast Milk Price for the 2015/16 season of $5.25 per kg/MS, including an opening advance rate of $3.66 per kg/MS.

Mr Brown: “Farmers will view next season’s forecast as a positive given the situation we have experienced this past season.

“They will also see the announcement as a signal from their Board that the market should start to move in a positive direction in the near future, which is welcome news. . .

Fonterra Announces Board Change:

Fonterra Co-operative Group Limited today announced that Sir Ralph Norris has indicated he will not seek to continue his term on the Fonterra Board, following the Co-operative’s Annual Meeting on 25 November 2015.

Sir Ralph joined the Board in May 2012 as an Independent Director, and made this decision because of his other commitments.

Sir Ralph is also resigning from the Board of the Manager of the Fonterra Shareholders’ Fund, from 25 November 2015. . . 

Funding bost for Irrigation Acceleration Fund:

Irrigation projects will receive a kick-start of $25 million in operating funding for five years from 2016/17 through the Irrigation Acceleration Fund (IAF), Primary Industries Minister Nathan Guy has announced today.

“This funding will help to complete the investigation and development of new regional scale irrigation proposals,” says Mr Guy.

“The need for more water storage projects is obvious given that nearly every part of the country has suffered through drought at some stage over the past three years.

“Providing a reliable water supply for farmers and growers has massive potential to boost growth, creating jobs and exports in provincial regions.” . . .

New Zealand National Party's photo.

Call for more water storage heard by Government – more funding allocated:

IrrigationNZ today welcomed the post budget announcement by Primary Industries Minister, Nathan Guy, of a $25 million allocation of new funding to the Irrigation Acceleration Fund.

“This will boost the development stages of water storage and irrigation distribution infrastructure, which is desperately needed in our summer dry east coast regions. Reliable water supply will sustain communities and maintain the environmental health of their rivers,” says Nicky Hyslop, IrrigationNZ Chair.

“With additional IAF funds contributing to the early stages of this infrastructure development, it will be essential that RMA process reforms that empower collaboration also occur so that the funds do not go to waste,” says Mrs Hyslop. . .

Choice of chair underlines importance of forest safety:

A safety council has been set-up, chaired by Dame Alison Paterson, to make forests safer places to work. Establishing the council was a key recommendation of the Independent Forestry Safety Review Panel that reviewed forest safety in 2014.

The Forest Industry Safety Council (FISC) was launched tonight at a function at parliament. Its board includes representatives of forest owners, contractors, workers, unions and Worksafe New Zealand. Funding will come from the Forest Grower Levy and from government – ACC and Worksafe. . .

Kanuka right at home on winning farm – Kate Taylor:

Kanuka is very much part of our landscape, says Simon Beamish, who with wife Josi was named the 2015 Pan Pac Hawke’s Bay Farm Forester of the Year in April.

They farm alongside the Ngaruroro River that slices between the Kaweka and Ruahine ranges in Hawke’s Bay, west of Hastings, with the farm rising to 690 metres above sea level.

Their 1121ha Awapai and 992ha Waitata properties have been owned by the Beamish family for almost 130 years. They were both part of the original Whanawhana block leased and then freeholded by Simon’s great great grandfather Nathaniel Beamish in 1886. Nathaniel’s son George was sent up to manage the block of land at the young age of 18. . .

Cervena venison piloted in Europe:

New Zealand venison exporters have started a trial to test the appetite of European consumers for Cervena venison in the summer grilling season.

The trial, which began in April, is part of the Passion2Profit initiative that was formally launched today at the Deer Industry Conference in Napier. P2P is a joint venture between the deer industry and the Ministry for Primary Industries (MPI) under the Primary Growth Partnership programme.

“We are really excited that this pilot is underway. Launching Cervena in Europe has been talked about in the deer industry for many years, but it needs careful branding and substantial promotional support to make it a sales success,” says DINZ venison manager Innes Moffat. . .

Horticulture’s future may lay with city slickers:

Increasing urbanisation means more support for initiatives like the ‘NZ Young Horticulturist of the Year 2015 Competition’ is needed to encourage fresh talent into primary industries, like horticulture, to sustain this country’s edge as a top quality food producer.

The horticultural industry has a bright future and is fundamentally important to New Zealand’s economy, but the fact that more than 85 per cent of kids under 15* now live in urban areas is prompting some of the country’s top companies to throw their weight behind career awareness and development initiatives in the sector. . .

Rural Connectivity Symposium 2015 gets underway today:

After months of planning TUANZ and RHAANZ are delighted to announce that the Rural Connectivity Symposium kicks off in Wellington today.

“The event has sold out with over 150 people attending. The Symposium will be opened by the Communications Minister, The Hon. Amy Adams and has been well supported by sponsors across the health and ICT spectrum” said Craig Young, CEO of TUANZ.

“Rural satellite service provider, Wireless Nation, is the premier sponsor for our one-day event, which is a mixture of presentations and workshops.” . .

New dairy mineral blend ticks all the boxes:

As mineral deficiencies continue to cost dairy farmers time, money, livestock and lost production, a unique new mineral blend is offering a comprehensive, cost-effective solution.

Developed specifically for New Zealand dairying by BEC Feed Solutions, Main Stay Macro Minerals, delivers key nutritional minerals in a convenient, palatable, accurate and dust-free blend. And, because it incorporates the revolutionary Bolifor Mag 33 and MGP+ Magnesium products, farmers won’t have to worry about pasture dusting again, consequently saving valuable time and labour costs. . .


Rural round-up

May 27, 2015

Olive harvest underway:

The olive industry is welcoming a new processing plant opened in Wairarapa over the weekend.

The Olive Press in Greytown was opened by Primary Industries minister Nathan Guy yesterday, and was expected to be busy over the coming months as growers in Wairarapa and Hawke’s Bay prepared to begin the olive harvest.

When we spoke to Olive New Zealand’s president Andrew Taylor he was overlooking snow in Napier this morning, which he said was unlikely to affect the trees. . .

Border clearance levy welcomed:

Beef + Lamb New Zealand and the Meat Industry Association are welcoming a border clearance levy, signalled in the Budget 2015 announcement by the Government.

From the start of next year, passengers coming in and out of New Zealand will pay around $16 (inwards) and $6 (outwards) for those departing New Zealand.

Beef + Lamb New Zealand Chief Executive, Dr Scott Champion said this was an action the organisation had been asking government to consider for some time and so it was good to see some form of user pays applied to those who pose a potential biosecurity risk to New Zealand’s agriculture sector. . . .

MPI risks loss of focus on food safety and biosecurity – Allan Barber:

Most people would almost certainly see the primary role of Ministry for Primary Industries as the protection of New Zealand’s biosecurity, food safety and primary production. The creation of MPI was designed to meet a number of objectives, one of which, probably the most important, must surely have been to ensure a world class agency to deliver this priority.

Since 2012 there has been an increased focus on a series of policy initiatives which appear to the outside observer to be in danger of taking precedence over the core function on which our agricultural sector’s prosperity and survival depend. A reading of the 2013 and 2014 Annual Reports confirms the importance the department attributes to the protection role, but it is only one of a number of business areas which receive equal precedence. . .

Passion2Profit officially joins Primary Growth Partnership:

Deer Industry New Zealand (DINZ) and the Ministry for Primary Industries (MPI) have announced today that a new Primary Growth Partnership (PGP) programme, Passion2Profit, will officially begin.

The contract has just been signed for the $16 million, seven-year programme, which is intended to be a game-changer in the production and marketing of venison, delivering $56 million in extra revenues a year from the end of the programme.

Speaking from the Deer Industry annual conference today, DINZ Chief Executive Dan Coup says it’s exciting to be able to begin work on this venture. . .

Minister welcomes new venison PGP programme:

Primary Industries Minister Nathan Guy has welcomed the formal start of a new Primary Growth Partnership (PGP) programme involving the deer industry.

“’Passion2Profit’ is a seven year programme which aims to deliver economic benefits of $56 million per year in additional industry revenue by the end of the programme,” says Mr Guy.

“The partnership between Deer Industry New Zealand (DINZ) and the Ministry for Primary Industries will set the groundwork for major improvements in the production and marketing of New Zealand venison. . .

UC Forestry part of new multi-million forestry industry research:

The University of Canterbury is part of a new $14 million, seven year collaborative research effort aimed at maximising the value and export earnings of the forestry industry.

The Government recently announced it will invest the research funding in the effort, to be matched dollar for dollar by the forestry industry. The programme will be led by industry-operated entity Future Forests Research, in collaboration with Scion, UC, and the New Zealand Dryland Forests Initiative. The Government funding is provided through the Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment’s Research Partnerships Programme. Industry fiunding is being provided by Forest Growers Levy Trust and a number of leading forestry companies and Farm Forestry Association. . .

Trust provides funding for two initiatives to benefit New Zealand wine industry

The Cresswell Jackson New Zealand Wine Trust has awarded funding for two University of Otago projects, both designed to benefit the country’s wine industry.
 
The first was awarded to Associate Professor David J Burritt of the Department of Botany to undertake research concerning the process of extracting phenolics during the winemaking process. Professor Burritt said, “The wine industry is incredibly important to the New Zealand economy. We are very grateful to receive this grant, which will be used to support our research investigating the potential for pulsed electric fields (PEF) technology to be used in the New Zealand wine industry.” . . .

SSanford Reports Satisfactory Result and Marks Shift in Customer Focus in Six Month Result:

. . . Sanford Limited, New Zealand’s largest commercial fishing and aquaculture company, has recorded an 18.1% rise in its EBITDA in its interim report for the six months ending 31 March 2015. EBITDA increased to $33.9m from $28.7m for the same period last year. Profitability was affected by one-off impairment charges with respect to Sanford’s fleet and plant and equipment at the Christchurch mussel processing plant. Net profit after tax for the six months was down 18.3% from $11.7m in 2014 to $9.6m for the current half year.

Sanford CEO Volker Kuntzsch says the result is satisfactory, given the challenging conditions faced in international markets. “In particular, in the last three months of the period, we have seen improving results. The team has worked really hard to lift our revenue. Initially, the period was marked by lacklustre sales for a few months, primarily due to weak currencies and political upheaval in some of our important export markets.” . .

2013 vintage wines “amongst the greatest red wines produced in New Zealand”:

GIMBLETT GRAVELS® 2013 Annual Vintage Selection revealed

The sixth year of this initiative from the Gimblett Gravels Winegrowers Association (GGWA), the Annual Vintage Selection serves as a unique snapshot of a particular vintage and helps to chart the evolution of GIMBLETT GRAVELS® wines on a vintage by vintage basis.

The highly acclaimed palate of Sydney based Master of Wine Andrew Caillard MW has been the independent selector for all six vintages, 2008-2013, inclusive. The 2013 selection was the most comprehensive yet, with a record 46 GGWA members’ wines submitted for selection. . .

Taranaki-based AgriPeople are your rural recruitment and People Management experts:

Working with agricultural employers and employees, AgriPeople focus on creating lasting relationships by using practical tools and applying a practical approach.

AgriPeople is made up of a stellar group of highly professional consultants and administrators. “Our consultants all continue to grow through professional development,” says Racquel Cleaver, Consultant and Director of AgriPeople. . .


Rural round-up

May 4, 2015

Unlikely lower dairy payout will lead to immediate land use change – Allan Barber:

Previous downturns or relative changes in sector profitability have generally led to a change of land use; and because sheep farming was the predominant 20th century rural activity, land use change was usually to a form of farming other than sheep. Think forestry in the late 80s and 90s, dairy since the early years of this century, horticulture, grape growing and rural subdivision for lifestyle blocks since the 1980s.

Now the dairy payout has almost halved in 12 months because of global overcapacity and weaker economic conditions, the question arises whether there will be a flight from dairy, either back to sheep and beef or to one of the other agricultural options.

There are two main facts about the dairy sector: the current price is below the cost of production and global dairy production will continue to increase. There are also differing opinions about the implications of the price downturn and the prospect of improvement in the near future. . .

Dairy Awards Winners Lead Profitability Charge:

The winners of the 2015 New Zealand Dairy Industry Awards are ahead of the game in driving profitability on farms, during a forecast period of low milk payouts.

At Auckland’s Sky City Hotel last night, Justin and Melissa Slattery were named 2015 New Zealand Sharemilker/Equity Farmers of the Year, James Foote became the 2015 New Zealand Farm Manager of the Year and James Davidson was announced 2015 New Zealand Dairy Trainee of the Year.

Judges say the winners were actively seeking to manage through tougher economic times in the dairy industry. “They are ahead of the game and are planning to ensure they will be profitable if the payout is bad,” Sharemilker/Equity Farmer contest head judge Mark Horgan says. “The whole group were focused on operating profitable systems.”

Some finalists were actively involved in trialling new grasses on their farms while all were monitoring stock liveweights to ensure they met targets for optimum reproductive performance. . .

 

Culverden sharemilkers win national dairy title – Gerald Piddock:

The 2015 New Zealand Dairy Industry Awards winners are ahead of the game in driving profitability on farms, during a forecast period of low milk payouts.

Justin and Melissa Slattery, who farm in Culverden, North Canterbury, were named 2015 NZ Sharemilker/Equity Farmers of the Year at the annual awards in Auckland on Saturday night.

James Foote was named 2015 NZ Farm Manager of the Year and James Davidson is the NZ Dairy Trainee of the Year.

The winners were actively seeking to manage through tougher economic times in the dairy industry, the awards judges said. . .

Nervous wait on backlogs – Nigel Stirling:

The United States’ emergence from its economic slumber looks certain to rev up beef prices again this year. First though, large inventories built up during last year’s ports strike will need to be worked through. 

Prices for imported cow and bull beef reached record highs of US$2.97/lb and US$3.17/lb respectively in November because of high consumer confidence and because the long-awaited rebuild in the domestic herd squeezed local supplies. . .

Vet LSD shows promise for cattle:

Farmers who have enjoyed improved flock performance using Vet LSD (Livestock Survival Drench) mineral supplement will welcome early trial results on its use in cattle.

Developed by respected Marlborough veterinarian Peter Anderson, Vet LSD is now recognised as the benchmark for quality mineral supplementation, providing a valuable boost to vitamin and trace element deficiencies.

Its success as a quality mineral supplement for sheep has made it a mainstay for farmers using it pre-mating to lift fertility performance and again at pre-lambing to boost lamb survivability. . .

 Tales of a bushman and businessman – Inga Stunzer:

DESPITE being softly spoken and self-deprecating, Tim Connolly has a mischievous twinkle in his eye that hints at a roguish past.

And this is all laid out in print in his self-published autobiography, Bushman Bullrider Bushman – well, let’s say a sanitised version of his life.

The title says it all. His book maps his life as a six-year-old on a remote property at the foot of the Carnarvon Ranges, to life on the professional bull-riding circuit in the US, to droving and working in the mines at Mt Isa.

Now living in Miriam Vale, Tim says the idea to write began about 30 years ago. . .

Harris Tweed – the wool to succeed – Victoria Moss:

Even through the clouds on a murky day, as your plane begins its descent, the islands of the Hebrides are breathtaking: the barren landscape, that mixture of vibrantly coloured furrows accented with heaps of peat, has an earthy beauty. Driving across the Isle of Lewis, you see a bare expanse dotted by small villages, the houses flecked in pebbledash, all built to endure their environment rather than to please the eye. But aesthetics have long had a home here. These undulating roads have welcomed Dame Vivienne Westwood (who apparently complains if she arrives in good weather, preferring the biblical wind, rain and hailstones that more fittingly frame these islands) and designers from Chanel, Comme des Garçons, Yves Saint Laurent and Alexander McQueen, as well as a harried employee from a Parisian fashion house sent here on a wait-and-return private jet to pick up a pre-fashion-week panic roll of Harris Tweed.  . .


Rural round-up

April 2, 2015

MIE plan stimulates debate but won’t fix the problem – Allan Barber:

The Pathways to Long-Term Sustainability document launched earlier this month makes some very valid points about the red meat industry’s shortcomings, but its recommendations are almost certainly impossible to implement.

Even if the processors are willing to consider capacity rationalisation, it won’t be on the scale envisaged by the GHD consultants and judging by Sir Graeme Harrison’s remarks ANZCO won’t be part of it; nor will AFFCO unless the Talleys undergo a St Paul like conversion on the road to Motueka. This leaves the cooperatives, with Rob Hewett prepared to consider merging with Alliance, although he isn’t holding his breath, while Murray Taggart remains very lukewarm.

The common theme evident from all the company chairmen is the fundamental need for any solution to be commercially justifiable from the companies’ perspective. The problem with this particular stance is the conflict with the farmer bias of MIE’s proposals. . .

Wine and Spirit geographical registration coming:

Trade Minister Tim Groser and Commerce and Consumer Affairs Minister Paul Goldsmith today announced that Government will implement the Geographical Indications (Wine and Spirits) Registration Act.

“The Act will set up a registration regime for wine and spirit geographical indications, similar to the trademark registration regime,” Mr Groser says.

A geographical indication shows that a product comes from a specific geographical region and has special qualities or a reputation due to that origin.  Well known products that are identified by geographical indications include Champagne, Scotch Whisky and Prosciutto de Parma.

The use of geographical indications by New Zealand producers is largely confined to the wine industry. . .

Implementation of Act is a big step forward for the New Zealand wine industry:

New Zealand Winegrowers warmly welcomes the announcement that Government will implement the Geographical Indications Registration Act.

Geographical indications identify wines as originating in a region or locality says Philip Gregan, CEO, New Zealand Winegrowers. The Act will set up a registration system for wine geographical indications, similar to the trademark registration system. . .

 

$7.8m for new sustainable farming projects:

29 new projects have been approved for $7.8 million in new funding over four years through the Sustainable Farming Fund (SFF), Primary Industries Minister Nathan Guy has announced today.

“These are grass-roots projects that support farmers, growers and foresters to tackle shared problems and develop new opportunities. They will deliver real economic, environmental and social benefits.

“For example, one project will develop industry tools for farmers to improve their farm practices to improve water quality and infrastructure, while reducing nutrient loss. . .

Forestry projects identify practical solutions:

New Zealand’s forestry sector will benefit from five new projects in the latest round of the Sustainable Farming Fund (SFF), Associate Primary Industries Minister Jo Goodhew announced today.

“Around $1.2 million has been committed over four financial years towards five new SFF projects involving the forestry sector,” Ms Goodhew says.  “SFF continues to be a great example of government supporting foresters to ensure the sustainability of our primary industries.”

The forestry projects are part of the 29 new SFF projects announced today—following the 2015/16 SFF funding round held last year. . .

New OSPRI Chief Executive appointed:

OSPRI Chairman Jeff Grant has today announced the appointment of Michelle Edge as Chief Executive of OSPRI.

Ms Edge brings a wealth of agricultural industry experience to the position having had an extensive career spanning scientific research, government regulation, policy and industry organisations within the Australian agricultural sector.

She was most recently Chief Executive of Australian Meat Processor Corporation – a levy-funded research, development and extension organisation operating in the red meat sector. . .

IrrigationNZ welcomes OVERSEER 6.2 despite forecast Nitrate loss spike:

IrrigationNZ says any short-term pain for irrigating farmers who end up with worse nitrate leaching results in OVERSEER 6.2 will be out-weighed by the benefits of more realistic irrigation modelling.

To prevent issues arising from OVERSEER 6.2’s introduction, IrrigationNZ and OVERSEER’s General Manager Dr Caroline Read have been working to inform affected regional councils to reduce compliance concerns. The industry body says irrigating farmers also need to be proactive and familiarise themselves with the new software.

The latest version of OVERSEER® Nutrient budgets (OVERSEER 6.2) launches later this month and IrrigationNZ says some irrigators will see increased nitrate loss estimates for their properties due to more accurate modelling. This may impact on their compliance under regional council regulations. . .

Nitrogen dollars dissolving in thin air:

Millions of dollars’ worth of nitrogen is vanishing into thin air, causing losses to farmers and to New Zealand in wasted import dollars.

That’s the conclusion reached in field trials completed as part of the Ballance Agri-Nutrients’ Clearview Innovations Primary Growth Partnership programme to measure ammonia losses from standard urea and urea treated with a nitrogen stabiliser. These losses occur when the nitrogen in the urea volatilises into ammonia.

While farmers try to avoid the loss by applying urea when wet weather is forecast, research by Landcare Research and Ballance has shown a good 5 to 10 mm of rain is needed within eight hours of application to reduce ammonia loss – a finding consistent with research in New Zealand in the 1980s. . .


Rural round-up

April 1, 2015

Big dump culmination of years of worry – David Bruce:

A frustrated North Otago farmer drove 120km on Monday to dump a load of excrement at the Otago Regional Council’s doorstep in Dunedin. David Bruce talks to him about why he did it.

Five Forks dairy farmer Robert Borst says he is at a loss about where to go from here.

He says he faces losing everything he has worked for in an industry he has wanted to be in since he was 15.

He left school and started at the bottom in dairying, shifted from Taranaki to the Waitaki Plains in 1992 then, from 1997, he and wife Sylvia started to build up what are now three dairy farms at Five Forks.

Changes in a water plan by the Otago Regional Council setting new limits on discharges from his farms has put everything in jeopardy, he believes. . .

Positive agriculture Omarama winner – Sally Rae:

Omarama farmers Richard and Annabelle Subtil want to help highlight the positive side of agriculture.

Mr and Mrs Subtil were named the supreme winners in this year’s Canterbury Ballance farm environment awards.

The couple farm Omarama Station, a property of nearly 12,000ha, which has been in Mrs Subtil’s family since 1919. . .

Farmer confidence grows – Dene Mackenzie and Sally Rae:

There is a sense of relief as two surveys show regional economic confidence rose in the three months ended March.

Farmer confidence has taken a ”significant jump” in the first quarterly Rabobank rural confidence for the year. The survey, completed earlier this month, was released the same day as Fonterra dropped its dividend estimate range by 5c to between 20c and 30c to the disappointment of farmers.

The Westpac McDermott Miller regional economic confidence survey showed rural regions and smaller centres generally showing the biggest gains. Confidence in the main centres was mixed. . .

Can science fix the dairy debate – Kevin Ikin:

The debate continues on whether there should be a moratorium on further dairy farm development.

The Green Party and the Fish and Game organisation are keen on the concept, which they say should be given serious consideration while the impact of intensive farming on the environment is properly assessed.

The issue also came up at a water management forum in Geraldine, South Canterbury, last week.

One of the speakers, Morgan Foundation economist Geoff Simmons said if the Government was serious about water quality then it had to consider a moratorium on further dairy farm conversions.

“Actually, if you are maintaining or improving the water quality, how can you do that when you are still doing conversions? . .

Fonterra’s disappointing performance – Allan Barber:

Fonterra’s interim result announcement contains confirmation of the farmgate milk price forecast of $4.70, but a reduction in the added value dividend.

The steady milk payout forecast was anticipated, although Global Dairy Trade auction results have so far failed to achieve the US$3,500 per tonne average which is estimated to be the minimum needed to underpin the payout. The higher volume being released for auction GDT and likely milk production by competitors such as American and European farmers may actually increase the risk of underachieving the forecast end of year payout. . .

Fonterra says it’s holding its own in Canterbury as farmer suppliers look to new processors – Fiona Rotherham:

(BusinessDesk) – Fonterra Cooperative Group, New Zealand’s largest dairy processor, says it’s holding its own in the dairy-intensive Canterbury region, despite reports some of its 10,600 farmers shareholders are lining up to supply milk to its competitors in the wake of its weak interim results last week.

Farmers were disappointed with the half-year results, which included a 16 per cent drop in profit to $183 million and a trimming of the forecast dividend payout for the year by 5 cents to a range of between 20 cents and 30 cents. Faced with a low forecast payout of $4.70 per kilogram of milk solids this season compared to a record $8.40 kg/MS last season, farmers had been expecting a fatter rather than skinnier dividend from its value-added activities. . .

Search on for 2015 Young Horticulturist of the Year:

A nationwide search begins this week for young men and women who exemplify the leadership qualities that have earned New Zealand’s primary products the trust of consumers all over the world.

Starting this April, young horticultural leaders from every corner of New Zealand will compete in six sector competitions to qualify as a finalist in the Royal NZ Institute of Horticulture Education Trust’s ‘Young Horticulturist of the Year 2015 Competition’.

2014 overall winner, Northland orchardist and horticultural business owner, Patrick Malley, believes that despite the ups and downs the primary sector has faced in recent times, New Zealand’s value as a leading producer of primary products comes from the high levels of trust this country’s products enjoy overseas. . .


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