Rural round-up

January 31, 2017

 – Allan Barber:

When sheep and beef farmers in New Zealand grumpily ponder their forecast returns for 2016-17, they may be able to take some comfort from the precarious state of farmers in Europe, particularly the UK where they are facing even more uncertainty of income.

Private Eye’s Bio-Waste Spreader column contrasts the rhetoric of the Environment Minister saying farm subsidies must be abolished post Brexit with a report by her own Ministry, Defra, which finds British farmers would be unable to keep going without them. In the 2014/15 year dairy farms were the most profitable averaging GB Pounds 12,700, whereas cropping farms made GBP 100, lowland livestock farms (most like our sheep and beef) lost GBP 10,900 and grain growers did even worse. These profits or losses came before farmers paid themselves any wages or drawings. . . 

Heavy market share losses affect Silver Fern Farms’ financial performance – Allan Barber:

In recent weeks there has been an exchange of views about PPCS’s acrimonious takeover of Richmond in 2003. Keith Cooper, ex CEO of the renamed Silver Fern Farms, emerged from anonymity in Middlemarch to castigate the appointment of Sam Robinson to the board of Silver Fern Farms as the Shanghai Maling representative. He was critical of Richmond’s rejection of the original approach by PPCS to buy the Freesia Investments shares from the Meat Board in the mid-1990s and Robinson’s role as Richmond’s chairman.

Farmer, SFF shareholder and columnist Steve Wyn-Harris took Keith to task on the grounds of selective memory of what actually happened during the bitter but ultimately successful campaign by PPCS to buy Richmond. I must confess my recollection of events, without being in any way personally involved, is closer to Steve’s perspective than Keith’s and I still remember clearly Ron Clarke’s superb last column on the topic just before he died which was an eloquent attack on what he considered PPCS’s underhand approach. At the time Justice William Young referred to the company’s “gross commercial misconduct.” . . 

 

Quake ends dairy farmer’s season – Nigel Malthus:

Don Galletly’s Loch Ness dairy farm on the Emu Plain, near Waiau, remains the only one in North Canterbury unable to milk since the November 14 quake.

While farms either side were back up and operating within a few days, Galletly’s rotary shed is deemed a write-off.

“Three-quarters of the season is down the drain for us,” he told Rural News. . . 

Patriotism means we should eat more lamb – Jamie Mackay:

 . . On the subject of one-man crusades, last week on my radio show I launched my 2017 tilt at a windmill. In fairness, past crusades have had mixed results. While I failed to bring back rucking, I proudly and vicariously claimed some reflected glory when Fonterra, to its eternal credit, brought back milk in schools.

I also like to think I played a small part in the media publicity which aided a much-deserved knighthood for David Fagan. That’s my story and I’m sticking to it.

So what’s 2017’s on-air crusade? I reckon we should be like the Ockers in the West Island and make it a patriotic pastime to eat lamb on our national day. And if we can’t agree to do that because, let’s face it, we don’t agree on much on Waitangi Day, maybe we could all eat lamb on what I’d like to be our national day, April 25. . . . 

 

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Farming is like any other job. Only you punch in at age 5 and never punch out.


Rural round-up

November 29, 2016

Quake cuts off milk for months – Alan Williams:

Don Galletly has been working on developing his Canterbury dairy farm but the earthquake has put a stop to that while he repairs the work already done. But with his cows dispersed to 13 other farms he won’t be producing any more milk this season.

Waiau dairy farmer Don Galletly was all over the television news but didn’t have time to watch it – he was too busy sorting out his wrecked milking shed and what to do with his cows.

The cows were dispersed across other farms in the wider district over the next two days and  the other work  then took up all his time. . . 

Govt bill gives farmers breathing room on quake repairs:

The government has unveiled three urgent bills to speed up the recovery effort following the magnitude 7.8 Kaikoura earthquake.

Acting Minister of Civil Defence Gerry Brownlee says the government will today introduce a bill amending the Civil Defence Emergency Management Act and a separate Hurunui/Kaikoura Earthquakes Recovery Bill.

The latter bill – aimed specifically speeding up the quake recovery – will temporarily increase the timeframes for applying for retrospective consent for emergency post-earthquake work.

It will also give farmers the ability to ask for permission for emergency work until March next year. . . 

Meat exporters and farmers must get used to change– Allan Barber:

As if Brexit wasn’t a big enough shock, the US presidential election has really set the cat amongst the pigeons. Commentators of all nationalities and political inclinations have literally no idea how a Trump presidency will affect the world order, from trade agreements and global interest rates to immigration or deportation, let alone internal security issues and relationships with other nations.

After predictions of imminent disaster, share markets have been cautiously positive and interest rates have started to rise, while there has been an initial fall in the New Zealand dollar. This has nothing to do with our dollar, but merely reflects its relative global importance; however, it provides a small but welcome relief. . . .

Big names in farming get behind plan to reduce death and injury rate – Gerard Hutching:

Farmers need to move on from the risky culture that previous generations operated under if farming is to become a safer job, says Rangitikei dairy farmer Stuart Taylor.

Speaking at the launch of the Agricultural Leaders’ Health and Safety Action Group, Taylor said farming was no longer in its pioneering phase when people took risks and endured pain.

“My grandfather and father used to like talking about their physical toughness, and how they used to break in the land. They had that culture of endurance and overcoming pain.

Innovator wins top prize with a hay bin – Jill Galloway:

Chelsea Hirst’s design for a hay bin that cuts wastage for horses has won the Innovate competition.

Run by Manawatu based-Building Clever Companies (BCC), the contest finds the top new business ideas which could be marketed.

Five of the six best people presented their ideas to three judges, to decide the winner.

They included 11 year-old Riley Kinloch with his Kozy Kennel, a solar heated kennel for dogs, Doug Tietjens with his exercise pack, Chelsea Hirst with her hay feeder, and a quiet door closer, as well as high school student Maqueen-Davies with her SWAG kids healthy dairy food for time poor parents to put in kid’s lunch boxes.

How to spend 10 years married to a farmer – Wag’n Tales:

1) Be patient – When he tells you to pick him up at the Lone Tree Quarter and you go to the quarter of land that has the only tree on it and he tells you that he meant the quarter of land that had one tree on it when his grandfather was farming…well, that’s just how farmers think.

2) Be flexible – When he says that he’ll be in the house in 20 minutes for supper and you get everything ready and then two hours later he walks in the door saying that some salesman had stopped and that he didn’t buy anything, but time just got away from him…well, maybe he should be the flexible one. That way he can duck when you throw the plate at him. . . 

 


Rural round-up

November 14, 2016

Alliance in good shape – Allan Barber:

Alliance has produced a solid result for the year ended 30 September with a pre-tax profit of $10.1 million compared with $7.9 million for the previous year achieved on 9% lower revenue of $1.366 billion. Of greater significance to farmers is the decision to distribute $9.8 million to shareholders, while the company’s equity position has improved from 58% of assets to 72%. Debt reduced from $129 million to $41 million with no seasonal debt at year end.

Alliance’s transformation programme has achieved improvements of $56 million compared with budgeted savings of $34 million and, according to chairman Murray Taggart, the company is only part of the way through the programme. In spite of the market challenges arising from global uncertainties like Brexit and the US presidential election result, Taggart told me he is feeling more optimistic than at any time since joining the Alliance board. . . 

Meat, wool lack NZ brand: report – Sally Rae:

One of the biggest weaknesses — and thus opportunities — for the meat and wool sector is the lack of a coherent New Zealand “brand” internationally.

That is a key point raised in Westpac’s latest Industry Insights report covering New Zealand’s largest primary industry.

Farmers, meat and wool processors, farm advisers and farm support business were among those canvassed for their views on the biggest risks and challenges for the sector. . . 

Stratford deposes world champ shearer Smith –

Reigning world champion Rowland Smith has been deposed by Southland shearer Nathan Stratford who will now represent New Zealand at the world championships in his home town.

The gruelling 10-month selection process ended in dramatic fashion at the Canterbury A&P show with Stratford causing the second boil-over in a many days after Mary-Anne Baty bolted into the wool-handling team with fellow Gisborne handler Joel Henare.

Stratford will team up with 2014 world champion John Kirkpatrick of Napier in the machine shearing team. . . 

Baty bolts into NZ woolhandling team:

A bolter. It’s an oft-used term in the sporting world, and it sits comfortably with Gisborne’s Mary-Anne Baty.

On Thursday Baty completed a remarkable three weeks by being named alongside Joel Henare in the CP Wool Shearing Sports New Zealand woolhandling team to compete at the 2017 world shearing and woolhandling championships in Invercargill in February.

Baty had to rely on a strong finish in the final qualifier of the six-event, year-long series in Hastings in October to sneak into the six-person selection final on a countback. She then made the most of her opportunity to qualify third from the semi-finals and take second place behind Henare to earn New Zealand selection. But it could have been a very different story. . . 

Binxi not only Blue Sky suitor – Neal Wallace:

A takeover offer by Chinese-backed NZ Binxi (Oamaru) Foods is not the only offer being considered by Southland processor Blue Sky Meats.

The company earlier this year employed Auckland consultants BDO to provide business options for Blue Sky and the $2.20 a share offer from NZ Binxi was the “first out of the blocks”, chairman Scott O’Donnell said.  

“They are not the only party talking to us.”  

The offer valued the company at $25.3 million, a significant premium on its market capitalisation value of $15m.   O’Donnell said the process of formally documenting the takeover offer, board consideration of its merits and finally making a recommendation to shareholders could take four to six weeks. . . 

Apple connoisseur to the core – Gerard Hutching:

Tony Fissette knows his apples. Hailing from Belgium’s growing heartland, he has been involved in the fresh produce business most of his working life.

As far as he is concerned, the jazz and envy apples he markets from his office near Brussels for T&G Global (the former Turners & Growers) are “the best apples I’ve ever eaten”.

European consumers agree. For the industry standard 18kg carton of jazz sold to supermarkets, growers receive an $8 premium over the old standby braeburn and royal gala varieties. . . 

Seafood New Zealand welcomes improvements to the management of our fisheries:

Seafood New Zealand welcomes the opportunity to review and refine fisheries management in New Zealand.

The Government proposes three strategic and two regulatory changes that focus on improving information gathering and management, and on ways to further minimise the industry’s environmental footprint, in the Future of our Fisheries report released by the Ministry for Primary Industries today.

“The report brings a renewed focus, for all those who love kaimoana, to work together to further improve New Zealand’s fisheries,” Seafood New Zealand Chairman George Clement said. . . 

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I think that if you were raised on a farm, you were born with dirt in your shoes, and once you get dirt in your shoes, you can’t ever get it out.

 


Rural round-up

November 9, 2016

MIE tried hard but couldn’t make a difference – Allan Barber:

MIE’s decision to disband after three years trying to persuade the red meat sector it was going to hell in a handcart has come as no surprise. But the organisation’s founders and directors are not unnaturally disappointed at their inability to gain support for their plan to solve the endemic problems of the industry.

MIE’s chairman Dave McGaveston has blamed everybody for MIE’s failure, including the government, directors of Silver Fern Farms and Alliance (especially the MIE candidates who were appointed to their boards), the rural media, Federated Farmers and Beef + Lamb NZ. The last named organisation actually provided nearly $300,000 of financial support for farmer awareness meetings, business plan preparation and production of the Pathways to Sustainability report. But it incurred MIE’s displeasure when it refused to provide further funding for a roadshow to drum up support for the group’s plans, correctly recognising this was beyond its remit. . . 

China’s Binxi Cattle to mount $25.3 million takeover for Blue Sky Meats –  Sophie Boot:

(BusinessDesk) – China-based Heilongjiang Binxi Cattle Industry Co intends to make a $25.3 million takeover offer for Blue Sky Meats, the Southland-based meat processor whose shares trade on the Unlisted platform.

NZ Binxi (Oamaru) Foods, a subsidiary of the Chinese company, will offer $2.20 per share for up to 100 percent of the shares, Blue Sky said in a statement to Unlisted. The formal takeover offer has not yet been made but is due within 30 days of the notification of intention. . . 

Lamb flap prices jump to 18-month high on Chinese New Year demand – Tina Morrison:

(BusinessDesk) – Lamb flap prices jumped to their highest level in a year and a half, driven by increased demand from China where buyers are stocking up for New Year celebrations.

The price for lamb flaps rose to US$4.70 per kilogram in October, up from US$4.50/kg in September and US$3.80/kg for the same period a year earlier, according to AgriHQ’s latest monthly sheep & beef report. That’s the highest level recorded by AgriHQ’s since April 2015. . . 

Sydney shows off ag’s opportunities:

GROWING confidence in global agricultural is putting fizz back into the farm sector, and Rabobank’s innovation summit in Sydney today is yet another example of the investment communities’ interest.

Focused on food trends and new business development, 1000 local and international farmers are mingling with ag start up companies, investors and industry leaders on Cockatoo Island, formerly a convict prison barracks, Navy dockyard and now a UNESCO world heritage site. . . 

 

New programme tackling disruptive innovations for primary industries:

Five years ago, a small team of tech enthusiasts laid the groundwork for a new primary industry event for Australasia, MobileTECH. The objective was to bring together and showcase mobile innovations designed to increase productivity within the sector.

In a sector where meetings, conferences, expos or field days run every other week, it was always important that this event had to have a clear purpose. Those involved were excited about the growth in mobile technologies for the rural sector and in the rapid developments in cloud computing, wireless sensors, big data, satellite imagery and others.

In its design, it needed to be an independent programme about the technology and what it can do; not about politics, markets or the business buzzwords of the day. . .

Vegetable industry joins GIA partnership:

The vegetable industry has become the twelfth industry partner to join the Government Industry Agreement (GIA) biosecurity partnership, Primary Industries Minister Nathan Guy has announced today.

“It’s great to have Vegetables New Zealand Incorporated signed up and working with the Ministry for Primary Industries and other industry partners,” says Mr Guy.

“It means we can work together on managing and responding to the most important biosecurity risks. . . 

Fresh vegetable industry signs biosecurity agreement:

Vegetables New Zealand Incorporated today signed an agreement with Government to better protect the fresh vegetable growers it represents in managing biosecurity procedures.

Vegetables NZ Inc is the governing body representing 900 commercial growers who produce more than 50 crops, with a farm gate value of over $390 million per annum, to supply the increasing demands of sophisticated customers both in New Zealand and in our export markets.

The Deed of the Government Industry Agreement (GIA) for Biosecurity Readiness and Response was signed by representatives from Vegetables NZ Inc and government at Parliament, with Martyn Dunne, chief executive of the Ministry for Primary Industries (MPI), and Associate Primary Industries Minister Jo Goodhew in attendance. Vegetables NZ Inc joins 12 other primary sector industry groups that have joined with the government in the GIA partnership. . . 

Are dairy fats beneficial for good health?

For decades, experts advised people to reduce their fat intake, however they now agree that fats are actually beneficial for people’s health, and dairy fats have an important role to play.

Fonterra Senior Research Scientist and Nutritionist, Dr Elisabeth Weichselbaum, explained that the idea that fat makes you fat was flawed. Research today shows that, people who eliminated fats from their diet often replaced them with refined carbohydrates, which in turn is thought to have contributed to the double burden of obesity and diabetes.

“Fat not only provides a valuable source of energy, but also delivers key building blocks for the body and essential, fat-soluble vitamins. Dairy, which is a natural source of fat, plays a key part in this because it is packed full of nutrients. . . 


Rural round-up

October 28, 2016

Capturing excess water a no-brainer – Steve Wyn-Harris:

One of the current Hawke’s Bay regional councillors who has strongly opposed the Ruataniwha Dam and, party to many comments regarding farming, has as his guiding thought when considering council matters: ‘wisdom is old men planting trees under whose shade they will never sit’.

I like it very much and although not claiming to be wise I have planted some 50,000 trees on my own property and continue to plant as I near 60 so certainly won’t be sitting under the shade of these latter trees.

My own guiding principal throughout my farming career has been ‘live life as though you may die tomorrow but farm as though you may live forever’. . .

Southland woman published book on being a woman in a man’s world in the rural sector –  Briar Babington:

Women in the workplace have come a long way in the past 50 years, but it’s those experience that are the framework for one Southland woman’s latest book.

Dawn Andrews was born and bred in Gore and has put her life experience to pen and paper and published a book outlining the challenges of being a working woman in the rural sector.

“It’s a book that I’ve thought about writing for a long, long time,” she said.

The book is an autobiography of sorts, spurred on my Andrews’ passion to make sure history was being well documented, providing something for the future generations to look back on. . .

5000 lambs  ‘click the ticket’ in US supermarkets – Kate Taylor:

A Hawke’s Bay sheep farm is the first in the world to be certified for its pasture-only system. Kate Taylor reports on what makes this Central Hawke’s Bay station stand out from the rest.

Visitors to Mark Warren’s hill country farm get to witness at first-hand the skills of an expert four-wheel driver. A spectacular view from the top of Waipari Station is their reward for taking what seems to be a direct line up to the sky.

Perceived danger aside, Warren is skilled and confident on the side of a hill and doesn’t stop talking about the great advantages New Zealand farming has to offer.

Warren and his partner Julie Holden live on the 1300ha station (1000ha effective) in the Omakere district in coastal Central Hawke’s Bay that is managed for them by Nigel Hanan. . .

Taranaki road transport boss says bobby calf video is positive – Sue O’Dowd:

A video purporting to show poor handling of bobby calves being loaded on to stock trucks has been rubbished by Taranaki road transport boss Tom Cloke. 

Cloke said the footage released by Farmwatch this week failed to show the truck crates contained rubber mats to cushion the calves’ landing when they were rolled aboard. 

He wants the public to realise the bobby calves weren’t being rolled onto a hard grating. . . 

Fonterra assesses impact of big drop in milk production on future sales – Fiona Rotherham

 (BusinessDesk)Fonterra Cooperative Group is assessing the impact of a big drop in milk production this month on its contract book and future production plans.

In its latest global dairy update, the world’s biggest dairy exporter said daily milk volumes across the central and upper North Island were down significantly in the early part of October due to the impact of wetter than normal spring weather and this has continued, particularly in the key dairying region of Waikato where daily milk volumes are down around 14 percent compared to last year.

Given that milk collections are now at the peak of the season, they are not expected to recover and will flow into the balance of the season, it said. . . 

Differences between Australian and NZ meat industries – Allan Barber:

Information obtained from Sydney based consultancy agInfo shows a very high degree of procurement competition for domestic market supply, especially for beef; this situation has been driven by a tightening of livestock supply combined with aggressive pursuit of retail market share by Woolworths.

It illustrates how the dynamics of the Australian market differ from here, although the structure is quite similar: retail butcheries competing with two major supermarket chains and a larger proportion of stock destined for export. But the Australian domestic market represents more than 30% of total livestock production compared with only 10-15% in New Zealand where mid-winter is the only time of year when domestic production exerts greater influence.

Australian beef producers are receiving what appears to be an unsustainable price at the moment, measured at 69% of the retail price which compares with 56% in October 2015, 44% in 2014 and 36% in 2013. . . 

Farmers need to be vigilant around fixed rate mortgages:

Market commentators are indicating with 80% certainty the Reserve Bank of New Zealand will lower the official cash rate by 25 basis points next month and then it will begin to stabilise. This is leading many rural borrowers to consider if now is the time to be looking at fixing rates. Head of Corporate Agribusiness at Crowe Horwath, Hayden Dillon, cautions that with markets still showing volatility, making hedging decisions simply by following economists’ advice can be fraught with danger.

“Even with another cut appearing to be imminent, the market appears to have little appetite for more, and inevitably talk will begin around when they may start to go up. Many rural borrowers are now looking at an interest rate curve that is still relatively flat, and thinking now could be the time to take some cover. But there are variables that you need to be aware of before you start to consider your options,” warns Dillon. . . 

Young Viticulturist of the Year drives off in brand new Hyundai Santa Fe:

Cameron Price the winner of the Young Viticulturist of the Year competition 2016 is thrilled to receive a Hyundai Santa Fe as part of his prize package. He will have full use of the vehicle for a whole year. It is appropriately “grenache” coloured – one of the more unusual red grape varieties that Price nurtures on the Villa Maria vineyards where he works.

The vehicle was presented to him at the Bayswater Hyundai Dealership. Hyundai have been sponsoring the Young Vit competition for the last three years and in that time the prestigious Bayer Young Viticulturist title has been taken out by a Hawke’s Bay finalist, a genuine hat-trick for the region. Paul Robinson also from Villa Maria won the competition in 2014 and Caleb Dennis from Craggy Range took it out in 2015. It is becoming a familiar sight therefore to see a Young Vit branded Hyundai Santa Fe cruising around The Bay. . . 


Rural round-up

October 13, 2016

 – Allan Barber:

Just when we thought New Zealand was about to enjoy the benefits of several new agreements, not least TPP, the world appears to be growing more and more averse to signing up to trade deals. There is a distinct trend towards self-reliance and protectionism among countries that have up to now been champions of the benefits of free trade, most obviously sizable blocs of voters in the United States, EU and Great Britain exercising their democratic right to protest.

The problem with free trade for disaffected voters is the direct connection with the theories of liberal economics and the rise of capitalism which have dominated the global economy for the last quarter of a century. When the benefits of capitalism were shared, resulting in generally higher prosperity, free trade was seen as a force for good, but in the years since the GFC capitalism has got a bad name, deservedly so in many cases. Economic hardship has not been shared equally – banking directors and executives were responsible for billions of dollars of shareholder losses, but most of them have got away with it and many continue to receive bonuses in spite of the losses. . . 

Sicily a melting pot for food production – Allan Barber:

Sicily has been taken over by the Saracens, Greeks, Romans, Arabs, Normans,  Swabia, Austro-Hungary and Spain, before Garibaldi led the rebellion that led to the unification of Italy under one monarch, Vittorio Emanuele I, in 1861. Each of the occupying powers has brought something different to the food and agricultural produce of this unique island.

The Greeks brought olives, the Romans began wheat growing, bread making and wine production, the Arabs brought spices and invented dried spaghetti, the Normans were responsible for salted cod and the Spanish introduced candied fruit and marzipan, while the Italians have refined bread and pastry baking and wine making. There is no evidence of Swabian or Austro-Hungarian influences, although their occupations were fairly brief. . . 

Wool to take its rightful price – Alan Emerson:

Generally, nothing is as divisive in rural New Zealand as the debate about wool and how to market and promote it.

The possible exception is Merino.  Over the years the debates I’ve reported on and the “new initiatives” I’ve commented on have been legendary.  

It would have been the most soul-destroying, internecine and negative saga of our sector and I can remember back to the great acquisition debate and the rise of the Sheep and Cattlemen’s Association.  

The mistakes farmers or their representatives have made over the years have also cost us dearly. . . 

New season brings a new challenge – Sonita Chandar:

A showjumping career came to an abrupt halt for a Manawatu farmer who has found passion in dairying.

But now, contract milker Renae Flett has the best of both worlds – her new job allows her to keep her horse Giant in the paddock by her house – and she has big plans for the farm and her future.

She is the Manawatu Dairy Manager of the Year and now has her sights set on the Share Farmer title. . . 

Cellular ag – Robert Hickson:

A US meat company is now an investor in vegan burgers, and selling them alongside meat patties. That’s just one of the signals pointing to big changes in food production systems in affluent nations.

Lab-grown meat gets the headlines, but burgers made from plant proteins are well ahead of that, and likely to have a much lower yuck factor.

Red meat consumption is trending downward in many western countries, which is an important influencing factor. . . 

Buzzing Blagdon bees have been caught 300m away – Brittany Baker:

The case of the missing swarm has been solved, but the hobbyist beekeeper who lost them has missed out on her pot of gold.

On Monday “two balls of bees” buzzed off from Gina Hartley’s garden.

Hartley, who was wanting to expand her at-home hive collection, turned to Neighbourly and Facebook for help in returning them. . . 

Results of Fonterra Shareholder Voting at Special Meeting:

Fonterra shareholders have supported changes to the Co-operative’s governance and representation model, including a reduced Board and changes to the election process for Farmer Directors.

At today’s Special Meeting in Palmerston North 85.96 per cent of votes were cast in favour of the governance recommendation, sufficient to meet the 75 per cent support required under Fonterra’s Constitution.

The results of the resolutions are:
RESOLUTION RESULTS –
% in favour
Resolution 1: Governance related amendments to the Constitution and the Shareholders’ Council By-laws 85.96 . . 

Yealands Wine Group puts in largest solar panel installation in New Zealand – Oliver Lewis:

A Marlborough winery has so many solar panels it could power 86 houses.

The Seaview Vineyard winery, owned by the Yealands Wine Group, has a total of 1314 photovoltaic panels across its roof.

The company first had solar panels fitted at its Seddon winery over the course of 2012 and 2013, which at the time was the largest installation in the country before it was surpassed. . . 

 


Rural round-up

August 18, 2016

Trade access landscape increasingly crowded – Allan Barber:

At the same time as the TPP is struggling to get across the finish line before the next American President takes over early next year, there are several signs of access to the USA freeing up for some of New Zealand’s competitors.

The announcement of greatest significance concerns access for Brazilian beef after 17 years of negotiations which will be permitted to begin in September. Admittedly Brazilian plants must still gain accreditation before they can export to the USA and, when they do, their entitlement will be included in the ‘other country’ quota of 64,800 tonnes at the same preferential tariff of 4.4 cents per kilo as New Zealand for its 213,402 tonne quota. However, there is a possibility Brazil’s eagerness to export, combined with its weak currency, will encourage it to sell at the 26.4% general tariff rate. . . 

The pros and cons of PKE – Keith Woodford:

In recent weeks, PKE has been in the spotlight.  The key reason for this has been the decision by Landcorp to phase out its use on the Landcorp farms. This has brought back into focus Fonterra’s 2015 recommendation to farmers to only use 3kg per cow per day. It has also given a platform for various other groups to promote their own perspectives.

Amongst the environmental groups, there are two polar perspectives. Greenpeace says we should stop using all PKE. However, the World Wildlife Fund (WWF) says that palm oil production is OK as long as it sustainable, and certified by the Roundtable on Sustainable Palm Oil (RSPO). . . 

A farming mum who loves helping others – Kate Taylor:

Regular visitors to the Facebook site, Farming Mums NZ, will be familiar with an online blogger whose zest for life seems never-ending. Kate Taylor reports.

There’s an element of irony about the name of Chanelle O’Sullivan’s daily blog, Just a Farmer’s Wife, because it couldn’t be further from the truth.

She is, actually, a farmer’s wife, but is also a mother of two, qualified vet nurse, blogger, project manager, 2016 scholar on the Kellogg Rural Leadership Course, guest speaker, online business woman, long-distance runner and admin for several flourishing Facebook pages.

Chanelle lives at Waitohi in South Canterbury with husband Dave, who is working on a farm on Rockwood Rd. He grew up near Timaru and has a Diploma in Farm Management from Lincoln University. . . 

Silver Fern Farms shareholders vote conclusively in favour – Allan Barber:

The long awaited special meeting finally took place this afternoon with the company’s desired outcome. 80.4% of shareholders voting voted in favour of the Shanghai Maling deal, a small reduction from the 82% that voted in favour last October.

At today’s meeting in Dunedin, as soon as the result was announced, it appears John Shrimpton who led the requisition group shook SFF chairman Rob Hewitt’s hand and agreed that democracy had had its say and the campaign was over. . . 

Clear vision for red meat sector in sight at last – Allan Barber:

After many years of relatively low levels of expenditure on market development and promotion, the red meat industry faces a major challenge in deciding how best to create the desired image to appeal to the world’s affluent consumers. Currently expenditure is divided between generic promotion, funded by farmer levies, and brand advertising by the meat exporters, with a small amount of joint funding in some of the less mature markets.

Delegates at the recent Red Meat Sector Conference heard about the importance of telling a believable and emotionally compelling story built on the heritage and healthy attributes of New Zealand and its farming sector. But they were also challenged to make sure this story is constructed on credible building blocks of environmentally sustainable farm, animal welfare and processing practices. . . 

New primary sector groups to support climate change goals:

Two new reference groups will help support New Zealand’s climate change goals and reduce emissions from the livestock and forestry sectors, Primary Industries Ministers Nathan Guy and Jo Goodhew have announced today.

“As part of ratifying the Paris agreement on climate change, New Zealand has set a target of reducing our emissions by 30 per cent below 2005 levels by 2030. The primary sector will need to be an important part of that,” says Mr Guy.

“The Biological Emissions Reference Group will bring together a wide range of agricultural, horticultural and farming stakeholders to collaborate with Government and build a solid evidence base. This will ensure we have the best possible range of information on what can be done right now to reduce biological greenhouse emissions. . . 

Glass half-full for dairy after price lift – Alexa Cook:

Dairy farmers could finally have break-even milk prices this season, AgriHQ dairy analyst Susan Kilsby says.

This season’s forecast of $4.25kg/ms is the third season of prices below $5.

Most farmers need about $5kg/ms to cover their costs, which is about $US3000 a tonne for whole milk powder, the industry’s main export.

In the overnight Global Dairy Trade auction prices lifted by 12.7 percent and whole-milk powder surged 18.9 percent to $US2695 a tonne. . . 

Countdown Egg Producer Programme for Free Range and Barn launches today – Supermarket assures farmers their investment in free range and barn eggs will pay off:

Countdown has today launched an Egg Producer Programme to support free range and barn egg farmers to increase the supply available for Countdown stores and our customers.

The Egg Producer Programme provides farmers an opportunity to increase investment in free range and barn egg capacity, as Countdown will make a commitment to take future supply through individual partnership agreements.

Currently, just 18 per cent of eggs produced in New Zealand are free range. Countdown wants to put in place plans with farmers, to increase the availability of the free range and barn eggs.  . . 

Bill to streamline Food Safety passes first reading:

Food Safety Minister Jo Goodhew is welcoming the Food Safety Law Reform Bill having passed its first reading in Parliament last night, with unanimous support.

The Bill is the final step in implementing the Whey Protein Concentrate (WPC) Inquiry recommendations, in particular those which require legislative change.

“This Bill is an important part of putting the false Botulism scare behind us. It illustrates the Government’s commitment to ensuring the safety and suitability of food, which is vitally important for the health of consumers – both in New Zealand and overseas – and our international trade reputation,” says Mrs Goodhew. . . 

Retirement of Fonterra Director:

Fonterra Co-operative Group Limited today announced that Mr John Waller ONZM will be retiring as an Independent Director on the Fonterra Board with effect from 31 August 2016.

Fonterra Chairman John Wilson said that Mr Waller is retiring to reduce his workload after serving on the Fonterra Board since 2009. He chaired Fonterra’s Fair Value Share Review Committee, the Trading Among Farmers Due Diligence Committee and the Milk Price Panel, and was a member of the Audit and Finance Committee and the Risk Committee.

“John has been an outstanding director of our Co-operative and has made an invaluable contribution by combining his strong personal values, drive and leadership with commercial common-sense. I am pleased that after such a significant contribution John is finding the time to rebalance his commitments so that he can spend more time with his family and pursue his other interests. . . 


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