Rural round-up

August 29, 2017

A2 Milk outperforms once again – Keith Woodford:

The a2 Milk Company (ATM) took a big step forward with its 2016/17 results which were released on 23 August. Sales were up 56 percent from the previous year to $549 million, and post-tax profits tripled to $NZ90 million. The market was impressed.

Everyone knew that a strong result was in the offing, and so the shares had already risen 50 percent over the preceding three months, and almost trebled in value on a 12-month basis. The share price then rose another 15 percent over the following three days to close at $5.74 at week’s end.

The most important messages within the annual report were not about the present but the future. The picture drawn by CEO Geoff Babidge was of a fast-growing company with no debt and lots of free cash in the bank to fund ongoing developments. . . 

A School of Rural Medicine to be established:

The Government will establish a new School of Rural Medicine within the next three years to produce more doctors for our rural communities, Tertiary Education, Skills and Employment Minister Paul Goldsmith says.

“Every New Zealander deserves quality healthcare services, and we want to grow the number of doctors in rural and regional areas to make it easier for people in those areas to access other key health services,” Mr Goldsmith says.

“The new School of Rural Medicine will be specifically geared toward meeting the challenges faced by high need and rural areas of the country, and will produce around 60 additional doctors per year. . . 

Primary industries feel under siege as prospect of Labour-led government firms:

INSIGHTS ABOUT THE NEWS – The divide between regional and urban politics is being thrown into ever sharpening contrast as the election campaign unfolds. Agricultural industries and rural communities feel under siege in the looming election.

As reported in Trans Tasman’s sister publication The Main Report Farming Alert, weeks ago the chances of a Labour-led government seemed unlikely, but now the chance of this happening seems possible with policies which could prove ruinous for NZ’s main export industries.

Labour will tax users of water, including farmers (but not those companies using municipal supplies). Both the Greens and Labour are committed to bringing agriculture into the emissions trading scheme and say the carbon price should be higher. They have not stated how high they want animal emissions to be taxed. . . 

Hawke’s Bay Regional Council to vote on ending Ruataniwha funding, writing-off $14M debt – Jonathan Underhill:

(BusinessDesk) – The Hawke’s Bay Regional Council will vote this week on whether to stop any further investment in the Ruataniwha Water Storage Scheme and write-off a $14 million debt owed by its investment company.

The vote on Wednesday comes as a result of a report into options following the Supreme Court decision to reject a Department of Conservation land swap need to create the storage scheme reservoir. 

The council’s investment arm, Hawke’s Bay Regional Investment Co (HBRIC), owes $14 million to the council made up of $7 million of charges and $7 million of cash advances, according to the council report. For its part, HBRIC has an intangible asset of $19.5 million on its books related to the feasibility and development costs of RWSS. This was funded with the $14 million advance from the council and $5.5 million from external debt. . . 

Feds Wonder Why We Would Need A Tourist Tax?:

Labour’s suggestion of taxing international visitors to raise funds to pay for tourism infrastructure raises questions about why we can’t find the money already from existing tax.

Federated Farmers has been concerned about the pressure councils, particularly small rural councils, are under to maintain services for tourists, including public toilets and other facilities.

“We agree that tourism is placing increasing pressure on our nation’s infrastructure and these costs are being unfairly borne by regional economies.

“But surely it is possible to find the additional targeted funding for councils in need from within this already increasing area of tax take?” Federated Farmers president Katie Milne says. . . 

Behind the hype of lab-grown meat -Ryan F. Mandelbaum:

Some folks have big plans for your future. They want you to buy their burgers and nuggets grown from stem cells. One day, meat eaters and vegans might even share their hypothetical burger. That burger will be delicious, environmentally friendly, and be indistinguishable from a regular burger. And they assure you the meat will be real meat, just not ground from slaughtered animals.

That future is on the minds of a cadre of Silicon Valley startup founders and at least one nonprofit in the world of cultured meat. Some are sure it will heal the environmental woes caused by agriculture while protecting the welfare of farm animals. But these future foods’ promises are hypothetical, with many claims based on a futurist optimism in line with Silicon Valley’s startup culture. Cultured meat is still in its research and development phase and must overcome massive hurdles before hitting market. . .

Wine exports reach record high:

The export value of New Zealand wine has reached a record high according to the 2017 Annual Report of New Zealand Winegrowers. Now valued at $1.66 billion, up 6% in June year end 2017, wine now stands as New Zealand’s fifth largest goods export.

Over the past two decades the wine industry has achieved average annual export growth of 17% a year states the Report. “With diversified markets and a strong upward trajectory, the industry is in good shape to achieve $2 billion of exports by 2020” said Steve Green, Chair of New Zealand Winegrowers. . . 

More Kiwis than ever are enjoying speciality cheese:

As Kiwis prepare to celebrate New Zealand Cheese Month, sales data shows we are enjoying more locally made cheese than ever before.

Nielsen data shows supermarket sales of New Zealand Specialty cheese have increased in value by 6% in the 12 months to August 2017 . What’s more, in the first quarter of 2017 Nielsen says 771, 383 Kiwi purchased specialty cheese, an increase of more than 20% compared with the same period in 2014 .

Every October the New Zealand Specialist Cheesemakers Association (NZSCA) members host a variety of tastings, inviting cultured Kiwis to events across the country to meet cheese makers and taste their wares. . . 

Largest ever Bayer Young Viticulturist of the Year National Final:

2017 sees the largest National Final ever held for the Bayer Young Viticulturist of the Year competition. Taking place next Tuesday 29th August at Villa Maria in Marlborough, there will be a total of six national finalists representing six of our wine regions: Tim Adams – Auckland/Northern; Ben Richards – Hawke’s Bay; Ben McNab Jones – Wairarapa; Laurie Stradling – Nelson; Anthony Walsh – Marlborough and Annabel Bulk – Central Otago.

Bulk is the first woman in the competition since 2011, so it is great to see viticulture is very much a serious career option for both men and women. . .  


Rural round-up

July 11, 2017

China’s returning appetite for dairy set to benefit NZ producers – Visiting Chinese dairy expert:

After a two-year hiatus from the global dairy market, China’s appetite for dairy commodity imports is starting to revive, and this will create opportunities for New Zealand, particularly at the higher-end of the market, according to a visiting Chinese dairy expert.

In New Zealand for a series of industry presentations, Rabobank Shanghai-based senior dairy analyst Sandy Chen said China’s appetite for dairy commodity imports is starting to pick-up at a time when global supply across the export engine is returning to growth. . . 

Wool industry hits hard times – Peter Fowler:

Wool prices have hit rock bottom, causing a lot of stress and emotion in the industry, says a Hawke’s Bay wool broker.

Wright Wool managing director Philippa Wright has been in the industry 40 years and said she can’t think of a time when prices have been lower.

Ms Wright said the wool sale at Napier yesterday was very disappointing.

“We are now at a lower point than we’ve ever been in my memory. Six years ago it was around about this level but yesterday I think it went a bit lower.

“The shorter wools are at an all time low but yesterday we saw the longer wools, the better coloured wools, the carpet type wools actually drop as well and quite significantly,” she said. . . 

Farming must adapt for climate change, Nat’s candidate says – Mike Mather:

Tim van de Molen might be looking to inherit a safe National Party seat, but that does not automatically mean he is as staunchly conservative as his predecessors or – likely – some of his contemporaries.

The 34 year old, who officially launched his election campaign in Matamata on Saturday afternoon, is quick to admit that climate change is a reality and more needs to be done to deal with it.

He is also “leaning toward” the decriminalisation of euthanasia, but is less swayed by those calling for the decriminalisation of cannabis for recreational use.

“I don’t think we should be taxing something that could be causing health issues,” he said. . . 

Bayer Young Viticulturist of the Year – two more contestants go through to the National Final:

Congratulations to Anthony Walsh from Constellation who became the Bayer Marlborough Young Viticulturist of the Year 2017 on Thursday 6 July. At 29 this was the last year Walsh could enter so he was more determined than ever to take out the title this year as it was his last opportunity to go through and represent Marlborough in the National Final. He is thrilled all his hard work paid off.

Matthew Gallop, also from Constellation, took out second place and Shannon Horner from Marisco came third, so a great achievement for both of them too. . .  

Hawkes Bay Syrah crowned the champion of the world:

Hawkes Bay wine producer Rod McDonald Wines has won the Champion Red Trophy for its Quarter Acre Syrah 2015 at the world’s most influential wine awards – the International Wine Challenge (IWC).

The winery was already noted for scooping four trophies for its Quarter Acre Syrah 2015, including Best International Syrah, Best New Zealand Syrah, Best New Zealand Red and Best Hawkes Bay Syrah. The Champion Trophy was selected by the IWC Chairmen after re-tasting all the trophy-winning wines. The last time a New Zealand winery won a Champion Red Trophy was in 2013. . . 


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