Rural round-up

September 16, 2017

Young farming families able to buy Landcorp farms:

A National Government will help young families into their first farms by allowing young farmers to buy state owned farms after they’ve worked the land for five to ten years.

“The Government owns a large number of commercial farms through Landcorp, but there is no clear public good coming from Crown ownership and little financial return to taxpayers,” Primary Industries spokesperson Nathan Guy says.

“We think that some of these farms are better off in the hands of hard working young farming families who are committed to modern farming and environmental best practice. . .

National to strengthen bio-security rules:

A re-elected National Government will strengthen biosecurity rules, toughen penalties for stock rustling and help exporters add value, National Party Primary Industries Spokesperson Nathan Guy says.

“These policies will help grow and protect the primary sector sustainably, and support our goal of doubling the value of our exports to $64 billion by 2025,” Mr Guy says.

“We are proud to support the primary sector which is the powerhouse of New Zealand’s economy, helping us earn a living and pay for social services. . .

Adapting dryland farming to climate change:

Seven years of dry weather and relentless wind erosion in the early 2000s had devastated the Flaxbourne-Starborough landscape of South Marlborough, one of the country’s earliest farmed areas.

Doug Avery’s Grassmere farm Bonaveree was one of those affected. “Over-grazing during the long dry was harming the financial, environmental and emotional sustainability of the farm,” recalls Barbara Stuart, regional co-ordinator of the NZ Landcare Trust (NZLT). “People like Doug were stressed, heartbroken, even a bit ashamed about what was happening.” . . 

AFFCO’s first chilled shipment unloaded in China – Allan Barber:

AFFCO chairman Sam Lewis visited China last weekend to greet the first container of AFFCO chilled meat to arrive for distribution to eager food service and retail customers throughout Henan Province in east-central China. The arrival was marked by an official reception at Zhengzhou attended by the NZ Trade Commissioner Liam Corkery, MPI representatives Dave Samuels and Steve Sutton, and a Kangyuan executive. According to Lewis the speed of customs clearance for the consignment was a record for meat shipments, taking no more than three hours for the whole process.

The distributor, Kangyuan Food Company, has cool storage and frozen storage facilities and imports more than 10,000 tonnes of meat annually from New Zealand, Australia and South America to supplement its own domestic processing capacity of 600,000 sheep and 100,000 cattle. Kangyuan is also the largest distributor of Halal product in China. . .

Time to walk the talk – Allan Barber:

There are large operators, small suppliers, traders and third party agents and, in times of tight livestock supply, the lines between them start to get a bit blurred and the classifications move around, depending on who is making the judgement.

From a competitor’s perspective one company’s large supplier is a trader who is always presumed to earn a massive premium over schedule, far higher than loyal suppliers who don’t have the same bargaining power. Of course it’s invariably other companies that are the guilty parties when it comes to using third party agents, generally the stock firms. As always the truth isn’t quite so simple. . .

Irish dairy farmers fortunate that consumers drinking ‘real milk’ – Caroline Allen:

While Irish liquid milk producers have been protesting about the possibility of a milk price war, there is still an appreciation of milk as a healthy natural product in this country, Mary Shelman, former director of Harvard Business School’s agri business programme, told AgriLand.

Shelman who is the “absentee owner” of a 475ac farm in Kentucky, which is a cash grain operation divided between corn and soya beans, was in Dublin last week to deliver a number of addresses. She was at UCD’s Michael Smurfit School and also delivering lectures for Bord Bia’s talent programmes, including the Origin Green Ambassador programme. . . 

 

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Rural round-up

September 1, 2017

Low methane producing sheep could be way forward for NZ – Brittany Pickett:

Sheep giving off lower methane emissions are being bred by scientists now looking to see if they can produce leaner meat and more lambs.

Methane from livestock is responsible for 33 per cent of New Zealand’s greenhouse gas emissions. As part of international agreements, New Zealand is committed to cutting these emissions.

“New Zealand has the issue that they can’t do this by cutting urban emissions or planting trees,” AgResearch senior scientist Suzanne Rowe said.

Scientists at Invermay have been involved in a five year programme to measure whether breeding sheep for low methane is likely to affect reproduction, productivity and health. . .

Dairy farmers discovers the secret of a happy workforce – Esther Taunton:

Faced with a line-up of ‘zombies’ of his own making, dairy farmer Stuart Taylor knew something had to change.

“I looked at these beautiful young people who I’d promised a life and a career and I’d turned them into zombies,” he said.

“I’d made them work from 3am to 6pm and they were broken, the way we were doing things was broken.”

Speaking at DairyNZ’s Taranaki Rural Professional’s Conference in Inglewood, Taylor said the realisation that things weren’t working was the start of a culture change on his Rangitikei farm. . .

Labour manipulating farmers brilliantly over proposed water tax – Gerald Piddock:

Farmers have played right into Labour’s hands with their outcry over their water tax policy.

Last month has seen floods of claims, counter claims, accusations, conflated figures of its impact and downright hysteria in some quarters of the rural sector.

Thankfully, the vast majority of dairy farms in Waikato are dryland apart from a handful that irrigate in South Waikato, so it will have a minor effect on farmers in this region.

A cynical person would see the tax as a simple, clever vote grab of the urban sector by the Labour Party. . .

MPI sniffer dog joins stink bug fight:

A bug-sniffing detector dog introduced by the Ministry for Primary Industries will help stop the potentially devastating brown marmorated stink bug from making a home in New Zealand.

An MPI labrador (named Georgie) demonstrated her sniffing skills on stage today by locating dead stink bugs hidden in a harvesting machine at the New Zealand Winegrowers conference in Blenheim.

MPI will have two trained dogs ready to sniff out stink bugs this summer, including a specialist dog to assist with detecting the pest in the event of an incursion, says MPI Border Clearance Director Steve Gilbert. . .  

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Rural round-up

August 31, 2017

South Canterbury coastal plan will become operative in September – Elena McPhee:

A change to coastal South Canterbury’s farming rules will come into force next month and despite an initial challenge, farmers say they are now looking forward to helping protect a nationally significant wetland area.

The South Coastal Canterbury Plan Change addresses both water quality and water quantity in the catchment, which includes Wainono Lagoon.

Environment Canterbury councillor Peter Skelton said the schedule set out good farming practices relating to nutrient management, irrigation management, grazing intensively-farmed stock, farm cultivation, and animal effluent. . .

‘Retirement’ is apples for Murray – Yvonne O’Hara:

Former Alexandra retailer Murray Bell has given up heels and soles for Honeycrisp and Jazz.

Mr Bell, 63, retired from his shoe retailing business earlier this year, but relaxing with his feet up has yet to happen.

He and partner Rachel Samuel have Crag-an-oir Orchard, which is 15ha of apple trees on the outskirts of Alexandra.

They originally grew some apricots, but they now focus solely on growing several apple varieties, using organic principles. The orchard is certified under BioGro as part of the Springvale Apple Growers Partnership. . .

TracMap gets room to expand:

TracMap founder Colin Brown addresses the crowd at the opening of the company’s new offices in Dukes Rd, Mosgiel, last week.

The company supplies precision guidance systems to the primary food production industries with the cloud-based system allowing accurate task management and placement reporting for products, people and vehicles in-field. . .

Agrifood sector is tech-savvy but not ready for major disruption:

A new agrifood sector report has found that New Zealand farmers have been quick to adopt smart farming techniques, but few are preparing for major technological disruption.

The report, funded through Microsoft’s Academic Programs initiative and prepared by researchers from the Massey Business School, examined the impact of cloud computing and other potentially disruptive technologies on the sector.

Researchers interviewed both technologists and members of the agrifood industry – and found there was a gap between how the two groups perceive the future. . . 

Red Stag Timber plans to lift production from its Waipa ‘super mill’ to meet demand – Tina Morrison

(BusinessDesk) – Red Stag Timber, which developed New Zealand’s first ‘super mill’ a year ago, plans to step up production next year to meet demand in its local and overseas markets.

The Rotorua-based Waipa Mill increased its production of sawn timber to an annual 550,000 cubic metres from 450,000 cubic metres after investing over $100 million in more efficient machinery, transforming the mill, and plans to lift production further to 600,000 cubic metres from next year, general manager Tim Rigter told BusinessDesk in an interview at the Waipa State Mill Road site. . . 

Telco minnow joins giants by winning rural broadband contract:

A no-frills approach has seen Hawke’s Bay-based rural wireless broadband company AoNet Broadband successfully compete with the giants of the industry to win a slice of the Government’s latest rural broadband funding package.

Telecommunications Minister Simon Bridges today announced AoNet Broadband as the Wireless Internet Service Provider for the King Country, making it responsible for connecting homes over an area that includes remote and mountainous terrain.

The appointment is part of a $150 million funding package for telco companies to partner with the Government through Crown Fibre Holdings Limited (CFH) to bring better broadband and mobile services to an increased number of under-served rural areas, state highways, businesses, residents and tourists in New Zealand. . . 

First chilled meat shipments to China – Allan Barber:

According to a press release from SFF the company’s first sea container leaves this week for arrival early next month, claimed by the company to be the first sea freight consignment of chilled product to the Chinese market which has only recently opened up to New Zealand meat exporters. However, I have since been informed that the first shipment from Greenlea arrived on 18th August and a chilled container of AFFCO product is already on the water, arriving on Friday 1st September, with a container of chilled mutton being shipped next week.

According to SFF’s press release the company has already trialled small quantities of chilled beef cuts to food service distributors for high end restaurants and lamb cuts to a multinational supermarket chain. But the sea shipment is planned to test the port and supply chain protocols for large scale consignments of chilled product. . . 

Swiss meat is expensive in dollars, cheap in minutes – Catherine Bosley:

Swiss meat prices are pretty hard to stomach at first glance.

At $49.68, Switzerland tops the ranking for a kilogram of beef leg round. Yet that seemingly eye-watering sum – around 150 percent higher than the world average – gets more reasonable when you factor in what locals get paid: An unskilled worker needs just 3.1 hours to afford it.

The 2017 Meat Price Index is a foray into the study of relative price levels of goods and labor. According to publisher Caterwings, the cost of beef, fish, chicken, pork and lamb in each country’s biggest cities were compared to the minimum wage and then calculations were run for affordability. In those where there is no federal statutory minimum, it used the average pay for unskilled labor. . . 

Allied Farmers posts 60% lift in full-year profit as livestock division outperforms – Rebecca Howard:

 (BusinessDesk) – Rural services firm Allied Farmers reported a 60 percent lift in net profit on an improved result from its livestock division, particularly in the second half, and further cost reduction.

The Hawera-based company said net profit was $2.2 million in the year ended June 30 versus $1.4 million in the prior year. Pretax earnings were up 52 percent to $2.4 million, which was ahead of the guidance it gave in June when it forecast a 40 percent gain. . . 

 


Rural round-up

July 24, 2017

Help sought for flood-hit farmers – Timothy Brown:

The Otago Regional Council is calling on any farmers in the wider region able to offer support to those affected by the weekend’s deluge to contact Federated Farmers.

Dozens of properties on the Taieri Plains remain evacuated with paddocks and pastures inundated with water from a wild storm that began on Friday afternoon.

Otago Regional Council chairman Stephen Woodhead said on Sunday it would be a difficult road ahead for farmers affected by the downpour and they would need assistance from the wider rural community.

“Federated Farmers is seeking assistance with feed and grazing,” he said. . . 

NZ the home of real free-range meat – Rod Slater:

The arrival of alternative proteins creates an opportunity for New Zealand to sell its natural pasture-to-plate story, says Beef + Lamb NZ marketing supremo Rod Slater.

 I want to address a certain issue that’s been driving plenty of chatter, both among those in the industry and those interested in food, our environment and our economy, and that’s the rise of alternative proteins.

There is no denying that this conversation, which is not just isolated to New Zealand, is gaining momentum and given the speed in which our current world operates we have no choice but to take notice of it.

However, I’m a huge believer that in every challenge lies a greater opportunity and I believe that if we adapt at speed we can make the most of the situation facing our industry. . . 

Meat substitutes’ rise a danger to NZ farmers – KPMG – Alexa Cook

New Zealand farmers could be under threat from a rise in plant-based products that mimic animal products such as burger patties, KPMG says.

Its global head of agribusiness, Ian Proudfoot, said he has been to Silicon Valley and seen firsthand what alternative proteins were on the menu.

Mr Proudfoot said New Zealand meat and dairy producers needed to identify what level of risk the products presented for their industry and plan accordingly.

The threat of vegetarian alternatives to meat products was looming as companies were beginning to create products that would genuinely appeal to consumers, Mr Proudfoot said. . . 

Dairy beef profitable for beef and dairy – Allan Barber:

For well over 20 years one of the largest challenges in the meat industry has been dairy farmers’ lack of recognition of the opportunity to make more money from their calves by selling them to calf rearers for beef production. There have always been calf rearers willing to stick their neck out and buy calves, but this was highly dependent on both beef and milk price. But for dairy farmers it was easier to select their replacement heifers and put the rest on the bobby calf truck, rather than find rearers to take the bull calves or keep them on the farm for up to three months.

The importance of dairy beef has been inevitable ever since the dairy industry started to increase in size at the expense of the sheep and beef industry which was forced to retreat further up the hillside to land unsuitable for other farming types. 70% of cattle born in New Zealand are born on the dairy farm and dairy cows now outnumber beef cows by about five to one which makes it essential to encourage the dairy industry to assume a significant role in breeding replacement beef cattle. . . 

New Zealand Landcare Trust regional coordinator Annette Litherland ready for top of the south challenge – Jeffrey Kitt:

They are big shoes to fill after 18 years, but Annette Litherland says she is determined to continue the fight for farmers and the environment.

Annette has taken over as the New Zealand Landcare Trust regional co-ordinator for Nelson and Marlborough, taking the top job from Barbara Stuart following her retirement.

Barbara worked for the trust since 1999, finding her niche in helping farmers reduce their impact on the land and seeing a huge shift in attitudes about sustainability. . . 

LIC full year results announcement:

Farmer-owned co-operative, Livestock Improvement Corporation Limited (NZX: LIC), announces its financial results for the year ending 31 May 2017.

As forecast in the half year result in February, LIC has returned to a modest level of profitability in the 2016-2017 year.

Strong performance in its core services of artificial breeding and herd testing, and a reduction in operating costs across the business all contributed to a positive result and a return in value to all shareholders. . . 

Great progress with PEFC Eco-Certification of NZ forest practices:

Illegal forest management practices are a global problem. Governments and markets around the world are increasingly requiring proof of legality for harvested wood products. This has created a demand for labelling and endorsement of sustainably managed and legally harvested forest and wood products.

The Programme for the Endorsement of Forest Certification (PEFC) is an eco-certification system that is recognised as providing assurance of legality and sustainability and is increasingly required for access to some of NZ’s major markets. . . 

Agricultural Census a valuable resource to farmers and wider primary sector:

This year’s Agricultural Production Census is an important survey that assists all farmers and the primary sector says Federated Farmers.

Farmers are generally bombarded with questionnaires and surveys and replying can be time consuming, but the Federation recommends that members take time to fill in the census and answer the questions accurately.

The compulsory survey, conducted every five years by Statistics New Zealand, is a valuable outlet for monitoring industry trends and a resource used by local authorities. . . 

Australian MPs visit to discuss biosecurity and water use efficiency:

A delegation from the Australian House of Representatives Standing Committee on Agriculture and Water Resources is visiting New Zealand 23-27 July 2017. The visit is part of an annual exchange of select committees between New Zealand and Australian Parliaments.

New Zealand’s Speaker, Rt Hon David Carter, is pleased to host this visit.

“The Australia-New Zealand agriculture and science relationship is very significant. This visit will enable the parliamentary delegation to cover important inquiry topics for Australia with New Zealand’s Primary Production Committee members as well as New Zealand academic, farming and business sectors. It is an opportunity to share information of mutual benefit.” . . 

Government funding wetland enhancement project:

Hohepa Hawke’s Bay has been awarded nearly $175,000 from the Government’s Community Environment Fund to restore and increase a wetland adjacent to the Taipo Stream in Napier, Associate Minister Scott Simpson announced today.

Hohepa Hawke’s Bay is owned by the Hohepa Homes Trust, which has provided homes, education and vocational services in Hawke’s Bay to people with intellectual disabilities since 1957.

“The wetland is an important natural habitat for many native and endangered species. The two-year Lower Taipo Stream Environmental Enhancement project will increase the wetland by at least 6 hectares, providing additional habitat for the nationally endangered matuku or Australasian bittern,” Mr Simpson says. . . 

It’s not all gold for some kiwifruit growers:

Despite what people might believe, some kiwifruit growers are a long way from recovering from the 2010 Psa-V outbreak which devastated the kiwifruit industry in New Zealand, Te Puke kiwifruit grower Alistair Reese said today.

“It really concerns me that a lot of the commentary about the kiwifruit industry is that Sun Gold (“G3”) has been the ‘saviour’ post PSA, and that the industry is now doing very well because of the new varieties. . . 

Can New Zealand repeat stellar success in 2017 Sydney International Wine Competition? Entries invited from NZ wineries for 38th Competition:

New Zealand wineries are expected to holder even greater sway in this year’s Sydney International Wine Competition, following the huge success of Kiwi producers in the 2017 judging.

Entries for this year’s Competition – the only international wine show that judges all its finalists in combination with appropriate food – can be made up till 15 September, with judging in mid-October and provisional award and trophy winners notified by the end of October. . . 


Rural round-up

July 14, 2017

EU-Japan trade deal ups the ante – Allan Barber:

The FTA announced just before the G20 meeting in Hamburg is touted to bring substantial benefits to EU agricultural producers. It will put EU exporters on a level playing field with countries like Australia which already have an agreement, but notably it will put New Zealand at an even greater disadvantage until our trade negotiators can achieve a similar outcome.

There is great enthusiasm for what is being called the ‘most important bi-lateral agreement ever done,’ embracing some 20% of the world’s population. When the details are completed, targeted for the end of this year, there will potentially be no tariffs applying to all food exports, including beef, sheepmeat and pork products. It remains to be seen how long the phase-in period will be.

However, reading the EU comments that greeted the news, there appears to be absolutely no concern about the impact of Japanese produced goods entering the EU. That will no doubt be for non-food producers, including French, German and Italian car makers to worry about. . . 

Russia warns dairy restrictions possible after butter tests –  Alexa Cook:

Russia is warning of a potential restriction on New Zealand dairy products after finding butter from this country tested positive twice for the antibiotic tetracycline.

News agency Dairy Reporter said Russia has warned of a potential restriction on New Zealand dairy products after some butter tested positive twice for the veterinary medicine tetracycline.

Russia’s government said if it continued to find the antibiotic, it would limit the supply of milk products from New Zealand. . .

Predator Free 2050 arsenal to expand:

Predator Free 2050’s arsenal is set to expand with funding for three projects to control stoats and rats.

“The funding gives that extra push to promising projects already in the pipeline to help make them safer, more cost effective or to enlarge their scale,” Ms Barry says.

“We know new tools and technology are needed to win the war against invasive predators, so we’ve funded the newly-formed company Predator Free 2050 Ltd to support breakthrough scientific research.”

“We also know our current tools and technology need to be improved and enhanced to make a difference in the short to medium-term as we head toward a predator-free New Zealand.” . .

Birds and bats on the rise after widespread predator control:

Native species are on the rise thanks to intensive trapping and aerial 1080 operations across Fiordland National Park, latest monitoring results show.

Following widespread beech seeding across Fiordland in early 2016, and a recorded increase in rat numbers, the Department of Conservation (DOC) treated six sites with aerially applied 1080 as part of the national Battle for our Birds programme, including the Eglinton and Arthur Valleys, the Waitutu Forest and areas of the Kepler. . .

Monitoring of commercial fishing to revolutionise fisheries management:

New regulations gazetted today will help revolutionise the way New Zealand’s commercial fisheries are managed and monitored, says Primary Industries Minister Nathan Guy.

The regulations require the use of geospatial position reporting (GPR), e-logbooks, and cameras across the commercial fishing industry and are being rolled out from 1 October this year. . .

Five reasons why agriculture is among the hottest growing industries – Paul Cranch:

Everyone talks about IT, energy and health care as the growing industries of the future, but agriculture should be on that list, too! This is an exciting time to be in agriculture. Here are 5 reasons why I think big opportunities await you in this often overlooked industry.

Agriculture is in the center of one of the greatest challenges of our time – achieving food security.

Long-Term Global Need.
Why is there so much opportunity in Agriculture? Let’s have a look at what is happening in the world
. . .

Avocado prices near record levels and kumara hits new high:

Food prices rose 0.2 percent in June 2017, Stats NZ said today. The rise was led by higher prices for avocados and soft drinks. The average price for a 200g avocado was $4.52 in June 2017, compared with $3.38 in May 2017.

“Avocado prices tend to peak in the winter before falling in spring as new fruit become available,” consumer prices manager Matthew Haigh said. “Prices are back near the record level in June last year.”

“Fruit and vegetables prices eased off somewhat in June, from their highs in May,” Mr Haigh said. “Lettuce and broccoli prices were down, but tomato and kumara prices continued to rise. Kumara prices were at their highest-ever level – $8.18 a kilogram.” . .

StockX wins Beef + Lamb NZ Sheep Industry Innovation Award:

StockX has been announced as winner of the prestigious Beef + Lamb NZ Sheep Industry Awards – 2017 Tru-Test Innovation Award held in Invercargill last week.

Head Judge, Hamish Bielski said, “The panel’s decision was unanimous given the ability of StockX to provide transparency in the sales and purchase process, and the way it connects buyers and sellers in a cost-effective manner. The concept – which uses technology not available 20 years ago – represents a step-change in the industry and has challenged the status-quo when it comes to trading livestock.” . .

Competition Set to Find NZ’s Young Winemaker of The Year:

The battle is on again to find the 2017 Tonnellerie de Mercurey NZ Young Winemaker of the Year, with a new structure to the competition which is set to bring the North vs South rivalry back into play, the young wine making talent of New Zealand will compete for the ultimate title during the next few months.

Now in its third year, the competition is about finding the best winemaking talent in New Zealand, as well as providing education and support for those in the industry under 30. Not only that, the winner walks away with a travel allowance, training grant, full registration to the Romeo Bragato conference, a profile in Cuisine Magazine, wine allowance, plus a trip to the Tonnellerie de Mercurey France (airfares from NZ included), and of course the title of being the 2017 New Zealand Tonnellerie de Mercurey Young Winemaker of the Year. . .


Rural round-up

June 30, 2017

Rural confidence trends remarkedly similar across sectors – Allan Barber:

The latest Rabobank Rural Confidence Survey shows the highest level of confidence among all agricultural sectors since the survey started in 2003 which is proof of the remarkable success of New Zealand agriculture and commodity prices. At a time when our dollar is also stronger against almost all, if not all, currencies over the same period, this is a surprising fact that most people would say is at least counterintuitive if not downright impossible.

57% of farmers surveyed now see a positive outlook for the next 12 months, up from 34% in the previous survey, in contrast to only 3% who think things will get worse. A net 41% of sheep and beef farmers see a positive outlook, up from just net 2% in the first 2017 survey, while a net 61% of dairy farmers and 38% of horticulturalists are also bullish. Not surprisingly improving commodity prices are the main reason for this burst in confidence. . . 

Rabobank Beef Quarterly Q2 2017: Market Disruption Changing Trade Flows:

The global beef complex has been characterised by a series of market disruptions through Q2, according to the Rabobank Beef Quarterly Q2 2017.

Political upheaval in Brazil, a new trade agreement between the US and China, and proposed bans on slaughter in India: All involve the major bovine-exporting nations of the world and have the potential to cause material shifts in global trade.

According to Blake Holgate, Rabobank Analyst Animal Protein: “While US exports continue to perform strongly (and have now reached record levels), reduced supply from Australia and New Zealand, along with potential shocks from Brazil and India, could see the balance in the beef market shift back to a supply-limited market.”. .

Farmers Feeling Less Stress From Their Banks:

Pressure on farmers appears to be easing a little on the back of an improved farming outlook, according to Federated Farmers’ latest Banking Survey undertaken in May by Research First.

The survey shows that 8.5%of farmers reported coming under ‘undue’ pressure from their bank over the past six months, down from 9.6% in the last survey undertaken in November 2016. . . 

Canada’s policies depress milk prices – Alexa Cook:

Ten global dairy industry organisations, including one from New Zealand, are fighting for Canada to remove milk policies they say are depressing milk prices.

The Dairy Companies Association of New Zealand (DCANZ) is part of the group, which includes dairy industry leaders from Argentina, Australia, EU, Mexico and the US.

DCANZ said Canada’s recently-implemented ‘Special Milk Class 7’ policies were facilitating the unfair export of highly subsidised Canadian dairy products onto global dairy markets, and at the same time increasing Canada’s barriers to dairy imports. . . .

Te Araroa trail contributing millions to regional NZ:

Business is booming for cafés, dairies, campsites and other enterprises along the length of New Zealand’s national Te Araroa Trail.

More than 550 people have completed the 3,000km trail over the past year, stopping to re-supply in urban centres and rural communities as they walk from Cape Reinga to Bluff.

Te Araroa Trust chair David McGregor said the record number of walkers had contributed an estimated more than $5 million to the economy, with walkers reporting an average spend of between $7,000 and $10,000 throughout their four to five month journey. . . 

War on Weeds gets half million regional boost:

Conservation Minister Maggie Barry says almost $500,000 extra will be spent on regional projects that target the country’s worst weeds.

“DOC will fund ten regional and district councils to do weed control projects in their communities, especially those that target our annual ‘Dirty Dozen’ weeds – identified as doing the most damage by smothering our natural landscapes and destroying the habitats of our native species,” Ms Barry says.

“The projects focus on weeds such as Old Man’s Beard or Spartina and intensifies efforts to keep them under control or totally eradicate them.” . . 

Nelson – Marlborough scallop fishery temporary closure for 2017 season:

Continued low scallop levels at the top of the South Island have forced a further temporary closure of the Southern Scallop fishery SCA 7, Primary Industries Minister Nathan Guy has announced today.

The 2017/18 season closure affects scallop fisheries in Golden Bay, Tasman Bay and the Marlborough Sounds. It also includes the neighbouring Port Underwood area. . . 

Wool Market Loses Further Ground:

New Zealand Wool Services International Limited’s CEO, Mr John Dawson reports that today’s market was down due to a combination of slower demand and a slightly stronger New Zealand dollar.

South Island price levels have now come more into line with their North Island counterparts.

The weighted indicator for the main trading currencies compared to the last sale on the 22nd June was marginally stronger by 0.24 percent. . . 


Rural round-up

June 16, 2017

Mānuka genes could help fight myrtle rust – scientist:

Mānuka tree genetics has the potential to help the myrtle plant family develop resistance to myrtle rust, a scientist says.

The airborne disease has spread to Te Puke, meaning there are 46 infected properties across Northland, Waikato, Taranaki and the Bay of Plenty.

The Ministry for Primary Industries said it was no closer to containing the spread, which affects all members of the myrtle plant family – including pōhutakawa and mānuka. . .

Steady progress with Primary Growth projects – Allan Barber:

It is eight years since the Primary Growth Partnership programme was announced by the then recently elected National Government. At the end of 2016 there were 20 projects under way and just two completed, but 30th June sees the completion of FarmIQ, the largest of the red meat sector programmes. This seems to be an appropriate point to evaluate the success of PGP, in particular the six meat and two wool programmes which have been allocated total Crown and industry funding of $342 million.

The key point about PGP is its funding structure, with the taxpayer and industry putting up approximately half each, thus ensuring industry commitment to a better than even chance of a successful outcome. Nevertheless, as a general principle, the larger the amount of money invested, the greater the difficulty of measurement and the wider the potential for missing the target. . . 

Impassioned plea for rural health research funding:

The head of the national rural health group today made an impassioned plea for the government to consider much-needed rural research.

Michelle Thompson, chief executive of the Rural Health Alliance Aotearoa New Zealand (RHAANZ) says there is a strong feeling that rural health outcomes are poorer than urban health outcomes but until they have the hard data they can’t be sure whether there is a difference or understand the scale of the difference.

Earlier this year the RHAANZ presented its five most urgent priorities to government, one of which included comprehensive rural health research support. . . 

Cartel’s gonna cartel – Eric Crampton:

Canada’s dairy cartel continues to impress. After Canada negotiated increased access to Canadian markets for European cheesemakers, the dairy cartel managed to do this:

Under the terms of the Comprehensive Economic and Trade Agreement (CETA), Canada has agreed to allow nearly 18,000 additional tonnes of European cheese to be imported tariff free.

But CBC News has learned that when Canadian officials briefed their European counterparts on how they would allocate the quota for importing this new cheese, not everyone around Europe’s cabinet table felt Canada’s approach lived up to the spirit of the negotiations.

A European official, speaking on the condition of anonymity because he was not authorized to speak, characterized the state of things as a “row.” . . 

Beef and Sheep sector outline key priorities in their 2017 Manifesto: “Blueprint for partnership with the New Zealand Government”:

Beef + Lamb New Zealand (B+LNZ) and the Meat Industry Association (MIA) are presenting the sector’s priorities to all political parties ahead of this year’s General Election.

The two organisations, who represent New Zealand sheep and beef farmers and meat processors, marketers and exporters have outlined in a manifesto a set of key priority policy areas on which to base a stronger partnership with government. 

MIA Chief Executive Tim Ritchie said the sheep and beef sector is our second largest goods exporter and a significant contributor to the New Zealand economy. . . 

Launch of Māori Kiwifruit Growers Forum an industry first:

The Māori Kiwifruit Growers Forum was officially launched yesterday in Tauranga, representing a first for the kiwifruit industry.

The forum has been created to advocate for the interests of Māori growers in the sector and is a partnership between Māori kiwifruit growers, Te Puni Kōkiri and Zespri.

Minister for Māori Development, Hon Te Ururoa Flavell attended the launch at Te Hua Whenua Orchard in Welcome Bay. . . 

Finalists selected in NZ Sheep Industry Awards:

Leading farmers, scientists, a retired sheep breeder and a ground-breaking stock trading company are among the finalists selected in this year’s Beef + Lamb New Zealand Sheep Industry Awards.

This year’s Awards feature five people-related categories in which finalists were selected by a team of judges representing the farming and agribusiness industries.

These “people” awards sit alongside the Supplier of Year Award, where processing companies nominate a top supplier and four genetics awards, in which the top three animals in each category are selected through the Beef + Lamb New Zealand Genetics evaluation. . . 

Kiwi entrepreneurial spirit on show at Fieldays:

From dairy to blueberries and from milk to beer, agribusiness diversification is the hot topic at this year’s National Fieldays according to ANZ’s Managing Director Commercial & Agri Mark Hiddleston.

Visiting Fieldays this week, Mr Hiddleston said many producers were looking outside their main business for ways to make their operations more profitable and resilient.

“In just half an hour I met three different dairy farmers who either have, or are in the process of, looking at other forms of milking. That might be diversifying to milking sheep or goats, or moving into something entirely different, such as hops to support the craft beer industry,” Mr Hiddleston said. . . 

Resurgent New Zealand Dollar Lowers Wool Prices:

New Zealand Wool Services International Limited’s Marketing Executive, Mr Nathan Arthur advises that the rise in the New Zealand dollar generally saw corresponding lowering of local wool prices in most areas apart from fine crossbred fleece and some targeted coarser types.

Of the 7,930 bales on offer 56 percent sold. . . 

The value of a good rural school:

The integral role that a school plays in a local community is heightened in rural locations where it becomes a focal point for social activity and where a real sense of ownership is instilled among parents.

With more people seeking out lifestyle properties where they can raise their families away from the pressures of a fast-paced city, the educational opportunities on offer are very much part of the decision-making process. A good rural school is a key driver for a tree change lifestyle.

It’s not just a matter of reading, writing and arithmetic. The small country school takes on a life of its own. It’s usually a Civil Defence base, often its swimming pool is available to families after-hours via a key system, the principal will know all the children by name and will sometimes be teaching, and pet days are part of the school calendar. . . 

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A farmer’s tan from Agri 67


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