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. . . 

Image may contain: one or more people and text

A farmer’s tan from Agri 67


Rural round-up

May 31, 2017

Meat exports sold to more than 100 countries – Allan Barber:

New Zealand’s meat exporters come in for a lot of criticism, either for selling too cheaply or for not adding value, and certainly because they can’t (or don’t) pay farmers enough for their livestock. This final criticism is presumably a direct result of the first two – the prosecution’s case argues if they sold product at a higher price or added more value, they would automatically be able to pay more for livestock.

Logic says the critics are correct, but they fail to take into account such annoying complications as market demand, tariffs and market access, exchange rates, seasonality, grass growth and the fact lamb in particular is too expensive to be easily converted into affordable ready meals. New Zealand meat exporters have successfully built relationships with overseas supermarket groups, high quality food distributors and top restaurants, as well as food manufacturers and fast food chains. . . 

Course cultivates wider understanding – Sally Rae:

Growing up on a North Otago dairy farm,  Isabelle Keeling’s knowledge of the agricultural sector was limited to the dairy industry.

Taking an agribusiness course has broadened the Columba College pupil’s knowledge of the wider industry. Having never previously studied economics or accounting, Isabelle (16) has been learning about the likes of co-operative business structures and cashflow forecasts.

“I can understand what my dad’s talking about,” she said, during a class at John McGlashan College this week. . . 

Geographical Indications to reinforce wines reputation:

New Zealand wine and spirit makers will soon be able to register their geographical indications, Commerce and Consumer Affairs Jacqui Dean told New Zealand Winegrowers today.

“Legislation to enable the wine industry to formally register their geographical indications in New Zealand is on track to come into force in late July,” Ms Dean says.

“A geographical indication shows that a wine or spirit comes from a specific region, and possesses particular qualities or characteristics as a result. . . 

North Otago farmer on board – Sally Rae:

North Otago farmer Matt Ross has been appointed to the board of LIC (Livestock Improvement Corp).

He replaces retiring long-standing director Alvin Reid while board chairman Murray King has also been reappointed.

Mr Ross and his wife Julie milk 1800 cows on a 580ha property in the Waitaki Valley. The couple won the national Sharemilker of the Year title in 2007. . . 

Farmer’s windblown trees named among world’s most beautiful – Richard Davison:

While windswept vistas are a regular sight in Southland, a group of macrocarpa trees has found worldwide popularity after they were named among the world’s most magnificent. 

US lifestyle website Brightside recently published an online photo article entitled “The 16 Most Beautiful Trees in the World”, in which a stand of windblown macrocarpa from the mainland’s southernmost location – Slope Pt in the Catlins – featured at number three.

The photograph, sourced from Flickr, was taken during a family trip to the area by French-born amateur photographer Ben Rodriguez. . . 

Your organic cotton t-shirt might be worse for the environment than regular cotton – Marc Bain:

The word “organic” is a powerful marketing tool. In clothing—just as in food—brands love to tout their use of organic agricultural products to show they’re doing their part to fight the industry’s outsized environmental footprint. They know consumers want products they believe are better for them and the planet. “Organic,” which generally means something was grown without synthetic additives or pesticides and wasn’t genetically modified, seems to promise as much.

But the reality isn’t always so simple. Your organic cotton t-shirt may have actually used up more resources to produce than one made of conventionally grown cotton, and could have a greater overall impact on the environment.

One major reason, as various speakers pointed out at a May 23 panel held by Cotton Inc., a research group that serves the cotton industry, is that conventional cotton varieties have a higher yield, meaning a single plant will produce more fiber than its organic counterpart. . . 


Rural round-up

May 26, 2017

Funding boost to strengthen biosecurity:

A boost of $18.4 million of operating funding over four years from Budget 2017 will help further strengthen the biosecurity system and protect our borders, Primary Industries Minister Nathan Guy says.

“Biosecurity has always been my number one priority as Minister because the primary sector is the backbone of our economy. Unwanted pests and diseases have the potential to cause major damage to our producers,” Mr Guy says. . . 

Beef + Lamb New Zealand welcomes Budget biosecurity investment:

Beef + Lamb New Zealand (B+LNZ), on behalf of sheep and beef farmers, has welcomed the Government’s additional investment in biosecurity, announced in the Budget today.

Beef + Lamb New Zealand Chief Executive, Sam McIvor said the additional $18.4 million recognised that biosecurity was a risk to primary production and a threat to the wider New Zealand economy.

“We’re pleased the Minister for Primary Industries, the Hon Nathan Guy has made this commitment to biosecurity. . . 

Zespri 2016/17 season results: record sales by volume and value:

A remarkable season of increased yields and the largest-ever New Zealand crop helped lift total Zespri sales volume from New Zealand to a record 137.7 million trays, 18 percent up on the previous year. Sales of kiwifruit from Zespri’s Northern Hemisphere supplying locations also grew by 14 percent to 16.6 million trays, driven mainly by SunGold vines coming into production in Italy.

Zespri Chairman Peter McBride says Zespri sold more fruit faster than ever before during the 2016/17 season, with global fruit sales revenue rising by 19 percent to $2.26 billion. . . 

$30.5m boost to fisheries management:

A significant boost of $30.5 million of operating funding over the next four years in Budget 2017 will upgrade and modernise the fisheries management system, including the roll-out of cameras, monitoring, and electronic reporting on all commercial vessels, Primary Industries Minister Nathan Guy says.

“This funding will help introduce the world-leading Integrated Electronic Monitoring and Reporting System (IEMRS), which will give us arguably the most transparent and accountable commercial fishery anywhere in the world,” Mr Guy says. . . .

Sanford lifts first-half profit 25% as higher value product offsets lower prices for frozen fish – Tina Morrison:

(BusinessDesk) – Sanford, New Zealand’s largest listed seafood company, lifted first-half profit 25 percent as the benefits from selling more higher value fresh seafood offset the impact of lower prices for frozen commodity products and disruption from adverse weather.

Profit rose to $19 million, or 20.4 cents per share, in the six months ended March 31, from $15.3 million, or 16.3 cents, a year earlier, the Auckland-based company said in a statement. Revenue from continuing operations advanced 5 percent to $230.4 million. . . 

Fairton closure inevitable – Allan Barber:

Wednesday’s announcement by Silver Fern Farms of the proposal to close the company’s Fairton plant was in many ways inevitable. Even the workforce appears to have been resigned to the probability for several years. Sad as it is for workers and the Ashburton community, it is better to front up to the certainty than to have to wait for the axe to fall.

The upgrading of Pareora an hour to the south as a modern multi-species meat works, combined with the loss of sheep in the catchment area had effectively sealed Fairton’s fate. The agonised shrieks from politicians of all the opposition parties railing against last year’s approval of the Shanghai Maling investment in SFF were equally inevitable, but completely missed the mark – I am certain the company’s board would have made exactly the same decision without the new shareholding structure, provided the undercapitalised business could have afforded the costs of closure . . 

Sheep and Beef sector welcomes the recent agreement to move forward with the TPP agreement:

Beef + Lamb New Zealand (B+LNZ) and the Meat Industry Association (MIA) welcome the recent statement by the Trade Ministers of the eleven Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) countries in Hanoi to work towards bringing the trade agreement into force expeditiously.

The TPP agreement has significant value for the New Zealand sheep and beef sector, particular improved access into Japan for New Zealand beef exports, say B+LNZ CEO Sam McIvor and MIA CEO Tim Ritchie. . . 

Momentum building for mandatory CoOL:

The New Zealand public is clearly showing their desire to have mandatory Country of Origin Labelling (CoOL) Horticulture New Zealand told the Primary Production Select Committee at Parliament today.

The Select Committee is hearing submissions on the Consumers’ Right to Know (Country of Origin of Food) Bill before Parliament.

“Firstly, our recent survey showed that more than 70 percent of New Zealanders want mandatory Country of Origin Labelling (CoOL) for fresh fruit and vegetables,” Horticulture New Zealand chief executive Mike Chapman says. . . 

The rice industry is furious at the existence of “cauliflower rice” – Chase Purdy:

The fight over the US government’s definitions for certain foods has flared up again. It’s no longer just a fight for milk farmers, who’ve grown increasingly angry about plant-based food companies (think soy, almond, and cashews) calling their liquid products “milk.”

For the first time, vegetables are being roped into the debate—all because of the arrival and popularization of “cauliflower rice.”

“Only rice is rice, and calling ‘riced vegetables’ ‘rice,’ is misleading and confusing to consumers,” Betsy Ward, president of industry lobby USA Rice, said in a statement earlier this month. . .  Hat Tip: Eric Crampton


Rural round-up

May 22, 2017

Rain severely cuts crop planting – Annette Scott:

Waterlogged South Canterbury farmland will lie idle over winter as farmers wait for spring opportunities to plant crops.

Twice the normal rainfall in March followed by four times the normal rainfall in April left farmers battling with sodden ground and unable to meet autumn planting commitments.

South Canterbury Federated Farmers arable industry chairman Michael Porter said to date only about 50% of farmers had managed to get the crops they planned into the ground. . . 

Report shows plenty to work on – Hugh Stringleman:

Lack of progress on mitigating nitrogen losses from dairy farms was evident in an otherwise mainly positive scorecard for the Sustainable Dairying: Water Accord (SD:WA) in year three.

The national average nitrogen leaching loss in 2015-16 was 39kg/ha a year — the same as the year before.

N-loss calculations in Canterbury and Otago (64 and 39 respectively) revealed higher figures than the rolling average of the two previous years of accord measurements (50 and 33).

This was because irrigation effects were included for the first time after a change in the Overseer computer model used to generate the leaching loss numbers. . . 

Dairy farm water report factual, independently audited:

Kiwis can be confident that dairy farmers are ‘walking their environmental talk’, says the chair of the Dairy Environment Leaders’ Group, Alister Body.

Commenting on the latest Sustainable Dairying: Water Accord report, Mr Body says the work being carried out by farmers to help achieve swimmable rural waterways is each year independently audited by Telarc SAI.

The Crown Entity subsidiary is the leading certifier of quality, environmental, food, and occupational health and safety management systems. . . 

Fairton closure unfortunate but inevitable – Allan Barber:

Silver Fern Farms decision to close its Fairton plant did not have much to do with Shanghai Maling’s investment, but was only a matter of time. Even the workforce had apparently come to accept the inevitable after seeing lamb numbers through the plant decline sharply from more than 1 million in 2010 to less than 500,000 last season and 325,000 in the latest six months.

This demonstrated graphically the unsustainability of keeping the facility open when the company’s modernised multi species operation at Pareora is only an hour down the road. In its notice of proposal to close, subject to a two week consultation period, SFF cited declining sheep numbers in the surrounding catchment area as a result of land use change to more profitable forms of agriculture. However not surprisingly the company didn’t mention its substantial loss of market share at the same time, 14% share loss over a six year spell since 2010. . . 

North Canterbury cattle stud makes it through drought and out the other side – Pat Deavoll:

Three years of drought and an earthquake that destroyed three farm buildings and badly damaged another has failed to deter Kaiwara Angus Stud of Culverden, in north Canterbury, from preparing for its annual bull sale in a month’s time.

Stud owner George Johns is in the process of producing the catalogue. “You think you have taken great photos through the year, but where are they when you need them,” he says with a laugh.

The stud was formed in 1971 by George’s father Bruce Johns. At the time the family farmed a property in Waiau but moved to Culverden and Kaiwara Farm 25 years ago. . . 

Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) Agreement Ministerial Statement:

Ministers and Vice Ministers from Australia, Brunei Darussalam, Canada, Chile, Japan, Mexico, New Zealand, Malaysia, Peru, Singapore and Viet Nam met today to discuss the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) in the margins of the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) Ministers Responsible for Trade.

The Ministers reaffirmed the balanced outcome and the strategic and economic significance of the TPP highlighting its principles and high standards as a way to promote regional economic integration, contribute positively to the economic growth prospects of its member countries, and create new opportunities for workers, families, farmers, businesses and consumers. . . 

Get to the heart of decision making:

Heartland Bank and NZX subsidiary AgriHQ have launched a free online livestock finisher tool, AgriHQ Finisher, to assist sheep and beef farmers to calculate the potential trading margin after finishing any livestock they are considering buying.

Heartland Bank’s head of rural, Ben Russell, said the old adage “information is power” is particularly true in this instance.

“With store livestock prices at historically high levels, the arrival of AgriHQ Finisher couldn’t be better timed. . . 

The strange sheep that baffled scientists – Eloise Gibson:

When a farmer in Otago, New Zealand, saw a bizarre-looking lamb in his flock, he first assumed a wild goat had snuck in and impregnated one of his ewes. The newborn had a lamb-shaped body yet was coated with straight, lustrous wool, more like the hair of an angora goat than a typical sheep.

News of the “geep” (or sheep-goat hybrid) soon reached the local papers but, when scientists saw photos, they immediately suspected the baby animal was something else. For decades they had been hoping to study a rare woolly mutant called a “Felting Lustre” mutant: a sheep which has straight, fine wool instead of the usual crimped stuff.

“You can see it when the lambs are born, they have a different sheen,” says Jeff Plowman, a wool researcher at New Zealand’s AgResearch science company. “It doesn’t have a dull look, it’s shiny and bright.”. . 

 


Rural round-up

May 17, 2017

British agricultural report sees NZ as model for the future – Allan Barber:

A recently published report entitled The Future is Another Country by British consulting firm, Ferguson Cardo, attempts to describe a positive picture of post Brexit Britain, using the example of New Zealand in the 1980s as proof of what is possible. The authors base their hypothesis on certain key events, including the removal of subsidies, dismantling the producer boards’ funding model and compulsory acquisition rights, and a refocus away from the UK towards Asia.

New Zealand’s experience is cited as proof of how a major change in a country’s economy and trading environment demands a revolutionary new approach which initially produces a sharp and painful shock, but over the longer term results in a massive improvement. The report accepts New Zealand’s reforms were in response to a serious fiscal crisis which affected the economy as a whole, not just agriculture, while the UK is not, or at least not yet, in anything like the same serious condition. . . 

Reopening of meat exports to Iran is like a new market says Feds’:

The reopening of trade between New Zealand and Iran with meat exports is a great opportunity for our meat industry says Federated Farmers.

Market access to Iran effectively ceased in 1998 as a result of international sanctions imposed on the Islamic state.

Primary Industries Minister Nathan Guy however, cleared the way for resumption of trade when he concluded a veterinary agreement with his Iranian counterpart in Tehran in February. . . 

Miraka to export first own branded product into Malaysia  – Rebecca Howard:

(BusinessDesk) – Miraka, the milk processor majority owned by several North Island Māori trusts, is to export its first branded consumer product into Malaysia, followed by shipments to Singapore, the Philippines and China, says Maori Development Minister Te Ururoa Flavell.

Taupo-based Miraka and Malaysian distribution partner Storiiu signed a memorandum of understanding in Kuala Lumpur, witnessed by Flavell during a visit to Malaysia with a delegation of seven Māori companies to raise the profile of New Zealand’s food and beverage sector, he said in a statement. . . 

Miraka agreement in Malaysia a milestone:

Māori Development Minister and Associate Minister for Economic Development Te Ururoa Flavell witnessed the signing of a Memorandum of Understanding between Miraka Ltd and its Malaysian distribution partner, Storiiu, in Kuala Lumpur yesterday.

Miraka is New Zealand’s first Māori-owned dairy processor. The agreement means the company will start exporting its first own-branded consumer product.

Mr Flavell says the agreement was evidence of Māori innovating and moving products and services up the value chain, forming long-term international partnerships, and building economic value for the future. . . 

Budget 2017: $21m to Battle for our Birds:

Conservation Minister Maggie Barry says DOC will fight this year’s beech forest mast year increase in rat and stoat numbers with a $21.3 million war chest from Budget 2017 for the Battle for our Birds control campaign.

“I can confirm there will be a widespread forest seeding, or mast, once again this year that will trigger a big increase in vermin,” Ms Barry says. “The mast event will affect much of the North Island, the northern South Island and parts of western Otago.

“The Battle for Our Birds 2017 campaign will use $21.3 million of new operating funding in the 2016/17 financial year to undertake one of the largest predator control programmes in our history, across more than 800,000 hectares of land. . . 

Oregon County mandates 2,000 acre organic farm sprayed with chemical herbicides – Darren Smith:

A 2,000 acre organic farm in central Oregon is facing what could be a be an existential threat to its operations after county weed control authorities sent notice mandating that the farm use chemical herbicides, such as Roundup, to eradicate weed growth.

The mandate would bring to an end nearly 18 years of organic farming, placing a significant loss of organic food to the public.

Azure Farms is a certified organic farm located in Moro, Sherman County, Oregon. The farm produces almost all the organic wheat, field peas, barley, Einkorn, and beef for Azure Standard. . . 

Hat tip: Utopia

Farm business sophistication encourages call for activating mentorships:

Farm Source stores, Director, Jason Minkhorst, suggests that young farmers may wish to now take a more active role in approaching and interacting with potential industry mentors.

“If you were taught farming by your parents, you got lucky,” says Minkhorst, taking part as one of this year’s invited leaders in the Leaders Review Focus Points public service series for business. “Regardless,” he says, with the rising size and sophistication of dairy and other farms, it was more important than ever to, “find that outside mentor to help ‘create’ more luck.” . . 

Marlborough’s Sauvignon Blanc Day celebrations a success:

Only in Marlborough could a one day celebration of Sauvignon Blanc turn into 16, which is what happened in the region world famous for Sauvignon Blanc.

Wine Marlborough’s recently completed post event survey garnered a fantastic response from wineries, cellar doors, tour operators, restaurants, and bars to be involved in the inaugural ‘16 Days of Sauvignon’ in celebration of Sauvignon Blanc Day, with 27 mini events crammed into just 16 days in the region. . .

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