Rural round-up

August 8, 2012

Efficiency with farm inputs – a recipe for productivity

An increasingly complex and volatile global farm input market is making it imperative for New Zealand farmers to have in place good purchasing strategies, while focusing on ways to conserve soil nutrients and input use, according to a new industry report.

The report, Efficiency with farm inputs – a recipe for productivity, by agribusiness banking specialist Rabobank, says more efficient use of farm inputs – including fertilisers, chemicals and fuel –will be essential in ensuring profitability, driving productivity growth and improving environmental sustainability of farm businesses into the future.

Report author, Rabobank senior analyst Michael Harvey says, with farm inputs a vital component of modern production systems, all farmers in New Zealand are exposed to the dynamics of procuring farm inputs. “In more recent times these markets have been evolving and becoming more sophisticated, which is altering the business landscape for farmers as end users,”he says. . .

Country life # 4 –  Quote Unquote:

Very late last night – me dozing off to the Economist, my wife dozing off to her novel – we heard a cow mooing, mooing for ages and we knew from which paddock. . .

Welcome to the Hotel van der Bijl – Shawn McAvinue:

More dairy farmers are building wintering sheds in Southland.  Shawn McAvinue  talks to one, who says those building them need to “do it once and do it right”.

The back rubs end abruptly when the music wanes. Then the stampede begins. 

    Car Wash, the 1970s disco hit by Rose Royce is playing to 750 cows and a party of about 20 curious farmers, who have come to see a new $4 million wintering barn in Dunearn, near Mossburn. 

    The $9000 wireless sound system is struggling to stay tuned to The Breeze radio station and the 24 speakers in the shed begin to crackle. Then the music stops. It’s like a gunshot fired in a packed nightclub. The cows get startled then stampede. Then there’s a crackle, the radio reception kicks in and Rose Royce returns: “Talkin’ about the car wash, yeah”. 

    The fickle cows are instantly content and return to chewing on feed or massaging their rumps.

Grand plans for NZ lamb in China – Shawn McAvinue:

The sleeping giant is wide awake and has a taste for our meat, say Alliance Group marketers from Southland. 

  Alliance Group staff went to China for 10 days to meet executives from Grand Farm, the largest single importer of New Zealand sheepmeat in China. 

    Alliance marketing development services manager Gary Maclennan said he was surprised how advanced the Grand Farm processing plant in northeast China was, “and how huge their plans are for target growth. They plan to double in two to three years.” . . .

Waikato cattle farmers at higher risk of fatal disease – Natalie Akoorie:

Waikato beef and dry stock farmers have higher rates of leptospirosis, a potentially fatal bacterial disease passed to humans through animals and infected water, according to a study in the New Zealand Medical Journal.

The farmers were probably more at risk because beef and dry stock cattle were less frequently immunised against the deadly disease, according to the report by Waikato District Health Board medical officer of health Dr Anita Bell and health population officer George Cowie.

The study, done over seven years, found the Waikato has one of the country’s highest annual rates of notified cases of the infectious disease, with the majority coming from the Waitomo district. . .

Online tool could enhance farm compliance –  Shawn McAvinue:

The former head of Environment Southland says new technology can ensure good farmers having a bad day are not unfairly prosecuted by compliance officers. 

    Former Environment Southland chief executive Ciaran Keogh said among the well-attended environmental conference in Auckland yesterday were Environment Minister Amy Adams, Primary Industries Minister David Carter and Nelson MP Nick Smith. 

    Mr Keogh was invited by the Environmental Defence Society to talk about new AG-HUB technology at Aotea Centre. . .

Scott seeks higher honours – Gerald Piddock:

Mid Canterbury arable farmer Andrew Scott is now be turning his attention to the Young Horticulturist competition after being crowned the country’s top young grower. 

    The 29-year-old beat three others to win the Young Grower of the Year title at Horticulture New Zealand’s annual conference in Auckland, 

    He earned his place in the competition after winning the Young Vegetable Grower competition earlier this year. . .

Lifestyle blocks a source of tension – Peter Watson:

Rural subdivision is about to come under the spotlight as the Tasman District Council reviews its rules and research shows the region losing some of its  best land at an increasing rate.   Peter Watson reports on what  is set to be a difficult debate. 

    Tasman and Nelson are losing their most productive land to lifestyle blocks and urbanisation at one of the fastest rates in New Zealand, sparking calls for councils to take a much tougher stance on rural subdivision. 

    Recent research by Landcare shows that 24 per cent of 16,000 hectares of high-class land in Tasman is now occupied by lifestyle blocks – the third highest level among regions and well above the national average of 10 per cent. Another 1 per cent of this land has gone on urban development, double the national rate. . . .

New wine frontman takes pride in region:

Richard Flatman describes himself as a “pretty passionate, outspoken bloke who loves Nelson” and good wine. 

    They are qualities that will come in handy in his new role as chairman of the Nelson Winegrowers Association. 

    The 41-year-old viticulturist at Neudorf Vineyards takes over from Mike Brown, who stepped down last month after six impressive years as industry spokesman. . .

Good Things Come in Eights for Misha’s Vineyard

Cromwell, Central Otago, 8 August 2012 – Misha’s Vineyard has announced a distribution expansion into eight markets around the world. The number eight, a lucky number in Chinese culture, has been an auspicious number since Andy and Misha Wilkinson first planted their vineyard on an old Chinese gold mining site on Bendigo Station, Central Otago, just eight years ago.

In the northern hemisphere the new markets are the Scandinavian countries of Denmark and Sweden through Gastro-Wine and across in the important US market, Misha’s Vineyard will be represented by Vindagra USA. . .


Rural round-up

July 28, 2012

Kiwi a Transtasman winner:

Tim van de Molen, the Royal Agricultural Society of New Zealand (RAS) Rural Youth Ambassador, was announced as the Australasian Rural Youth Ambassador in the finals at the Darwin Royal Showgrounds.

This is a historic win for New Zealand, taking top honours in only the second year the competition has been extended transtasman.

Van de Molen, a 29-year-old agribusiness manager for ANZ and based in Waikato, is overwhelmed by the win. . .

Rapid lamb gains now in the past – Hugh Stringleman:

The drivers of sheep farm productivity increases are forecast to be throttled back over the coming decade, compared with the rapid pace of improvement over the past 20 years.

Total lamb weight produced per breeding ewe, lambing percentage and lamb carcase weight will ease off compared with past productivity increases which have been the envy of the national economy.

Beef + Lamb New Zealand chief economist Rob Davison told the Red Meat Sector Conference in Queenstown that an industry-wide discussion is needed on the right mix of lamb carcase weights for the future – whether farmers should push on above 18kg. . .

Ballance shareholders benefit from strong result

Another strong result by Ballance Agri-Nutrients has its 18,200 shareholders sharing in a $47 million rebate and dividend distribution.

Shareholders will receive $43.6 million through a $40 rebate per tonne of fertiliser purchased plus a further $3.4 million through an imputed dividend of $0.10 per share.

This will result in an average return of $44.29 per tonne, a result which compares well with last year’s record distribution averaging $50.29 per tonne. . .

Ravensdown announces new CEO:

Ravensdown, the 100% farmer-owned co-operative, has appointed Greg Campbell as the new CEO to replace chief executive Rodney Green when he retires on the 31st December 2012.

 In announcing the appointment, Chairman of Ravensdown, Mr Bill McLeod, commented that “Rodney Green had given us plenty of notice of his intention to retire, which gave us the luxury of time to conduct a really thorough search for his replacement. We are grateful for that, as Rodney will leave a very different Ravensdown to the one he took over in 1998. We especially thank Rodney, and acknowledge the job he has done growing and strengthening the company over the years of his stewardship. This meant we needed to find a special replacement to take over the reins from him.” . . .

North Islander set to defend title:

 Last year’s winner of the Canterbury A&P Association Mint Lamb Competition, Bill Feetham of Hastings, is preparing his entries for 2012 with the opening of this year’s competition launched this month.

 Farmers from throughout New Zealand are invited to showcase their quality lamb and compete in the 2012 Mint Lamb Competition held in conjunction with the country’s largest Agricultural and Pastoral Show, the Canterbury A&P Show. . .

Government scheme increaeses recycling on farm:

More than 650 tonnes of plastic farm waste has been recycled nationwide during the past year thanks to a government-funded scheme, Environment Minister Amy Adams says.

Under the product stewardship scheme, Plasback supplies more than 1000 recycling bins to New Zealand farms, and collects agricultural plastics such as bale wrap, silage wrap and covers, agrichemical containers and crop bags.

The waste is recycled into plastic resin pellets and then reused in new plastic products.

“Many farmers have been frustrated by the lack of options for dealing with plastic farm waste and know that burning or burying waste is not a sustainable solution,” Ms Adams says. . .

Allied Farmers granted waiver for $1.2M loan for bobby calf business:

Allied Farmers, the company whose market value was all but wiped out when it acquired the financial assets of Hanover Finance, has been granted a waiver to borrow up to $1.2 million for the operations of its bobby calf venture.

The waiver, granted by NZX Markets Supervision, was required because the loan would exceed 10 percent of Allied’s average market capitalisation of about $2.5 million and would have needed approval of shareholders. . .

REINZ Introduces New Farm Price Index:

REINZ is pleased to announce today the introduction of the REINZ Farm Price Index, as a superior and more accurate guide to changes in farm sale prices.

The new measure has been developed in conjunction with the Reserve Bank and adjusts for property specific factors such as location, size and farm type in measuring changes in farm prices.

“The REINZ Farm Price Index is less influenced by the type of farms that happen to sell, providing an improved measure of underlying farm prices,” says REINZ Rural Market Spokesman Brian Peacocke. . .

Canterbury vegetable grower takes national Young Grower title:

Andrew Scott from Canterbury has been named Young Grower of the Year at the Horticulture New Zealand Conference 2012.

Andrew, 29, was presented with his award last night after the day-long Young Grower of the Year competition held at Ellerslie Events Centre, Auckland, as part of this year’s Horticulture New Zealand Conference. . . .


Young Farmer Grand Final

May 26, 2012

The 44th National Bank Young Farmer Contest Grand Final opened in Dunedin on Wednesday.

Since then contestants have had their intellectual and physical skills tested and tonight they face their final test.

Among them is  Northern’s representative, Katherine Tucker, who is only the third woman to reach a final.

Other contestants are Otago/Southland’s Pete Gardyne, Sam Williams from the Waikato/Bay of Plenty Region, Tasman’s Michael Lilley and Andrew Scott from the Aorangi Region, who have all reached the final before. the other two finalists are Tony Dowman from the East Coast Region and Taranaki/Manawatu’s Brad Lewis.

RivettingKateTaylor is there and has photos.


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