Rural round-up

05/10/2021

Farmer who contracted Covid-19 urges public to get vaccinated – Maja Burry:

Some farmers impacted by one of last year’s high-profile Covid-19 clusters are encouraging people to get vaccinated, no matter where they live in the country.

As the global pandemic was being declared in March last year, around 400 delegates from around the world were attending the World Hereford conference in Queenstown.

There were 39 people identified in the cluster, including Roxburgh farmer Robyn Pannett. She became very sick and is still feeling the impact of the virus – even today.

“I still have a really distorted sense of taste and smell. At the same time, my immunity is not where it was. And I am a bit more fatigued. So it has had an ongoing effect.” . . 

Hopes of relocation to NZ dashed– Neal Wallace:

Raynardt van der Merwe and his family will board a plane in November and head back to South Africa, their dream of relocating to NZ eroded by the Government’s uncertain immigration policy.

A taxidermist and hunting guide based in Hawea, Central Otago, van der Merwe has been working in partnership with Glen Dene Hunting and Fishing since December 2019.

“I was reasonably confident I had a good opportunity by relocating to NZ and in fact getting a work visa and working towards residency.”

Even though he has an essential skills visa, the lack of certainty about the path to residency, meant they could not plan for a future. . . 

Discovery brings replaceable closer to irreplaceable – Richard Rennie:

Making formula milk more like Mum’s could provide a means to not only improve its nutritional profile, but also prove to be a valuable formula additive in an industry with a global value of US$60 billion a year. Richard Rennie spoke to AgResearch scientists developing a component that makes infant powder almost as good as the real thing.

Working in the area of infant nutrition and formulation, AgResearch scientist Dr Caroline Thum points out much of infant formula production requires processors to take out some of milk’s best components, and then try to add them back in for the final product.

Typically, infant milk processing has bovine fatty acids replaced with non-bovine fatty acids to try and replicate the fat’s ratio, and resemblance to human fatty acids as close as possible. 

That usually involves adding vegetable oils as the fat source. . . 

New tech helping meat industry mitigate skills shortage :

New retail automation technology introduced by one of the country’s largest beef and lamb suppliers is helping to increase efficiency within its growing domestic business.

PrimeXConnect, an automated transaction platform designed for the meat supply chain, was first piloted by ANZCO Foods in the New Zealand market in 2019 as they sought new ways to help manage the unique nature of the domestic business model.

The system is designed to replace the traditional email and phone call based offer-and-order model that has been favoured by generations of Kiwi butchers.

The platform allows ANZCO Foods customers to place orders from the shop floor at any time from their computer, laptop or phone. The automated process then ensures that the confirmed orders are routed to the company’s distribution centres for delivery. . .

Tatua annual results for the year ended 31 July 2021:

The Tatua Board of Directors and Executive met on 30 September 2021 to consider the financial results for the 2020/21 financial year and decide on the final pay-out to our supplying shareholders.

The lingering uncertainty related to Covid-19 and the ongoing global shipping disruption continued to create challenges through the year. However, we acknowledge that many businesses and individuals have faced greater hardships, and that we are fortunate to have been able to continue to operate as we have.

We are pleased to report that the business has had a good year, achieving Group income of $395 million and earnings available for pay-out of $162 million.

Our earnings equate to $10.43 per kilogram of qualifying milksolids, before retentions for reinvestment and taxation. This is an improvement on the previous year earnings of $9.96 per kilogram of milksolids, and is a record for Tatua. . . 

Farm boost with new agricultural visa signed off – Andrew Brown:

Farmers could soon have access to more workers from overseas, following the creation of a new agriculture visa.

The new visa type, which came into effect from Thursday, will allow for the entry and temporary stay in Australia of workers across primary industries.

While the final numbers of how many workers would be able to enter the country on the visa are yet to be confirmed, the first workers are expected to arrive from late 2021.

Entry to the country will be subject to quarantine arrangements and agreements with partner nations. . . 


Sir Graeme Harrison joins Nat board

28/09/2021

The National Party has appointed Sir Graeme Harrison to its board:

The National Party is pleased to announce the appointment of Sir Graeme Harrison to our Board of Directors.

“Sir Graeme brings an impressive range of personal, commercial, and community experience to the Board of the National Party, and we are excited to welcome him to the team,” President Peter Goodfellow said.

Born and educated in Canterbury, Sir Graeme is best known as the founder of ANZCO Foods. He served as its Managing Director for 20 years, and Chairman for 14 years, leading the company to grow into one of New Zealand’s largest meat product exporters, with annual sales of around $1.5 billion and more than 3,000 employees.

In 2010, Sir Graeme was winner of the Federated Farmers Agribusiness Person of the Year, and in 2011 was made a Knight Companion of the New Zealand Order of Merit for services to business.

Sir Graeme has also enjoyed a long history with Lincoln University as an adjunct professor, member of its Council, and in 2012 was conferred an honorary Doctor of Commerce degree. In 2015, he was also awarded the Order of the Rising Sun by The Emperor of Japan in recognition of his contribution to strengthening economic ties between New Zealand and Japan.

“Sir Graeme is a passionate advocate for rural New Zealand and our primary industries sector, and his strong leadership over the last 30 years has been inspirational to so many Kiwis,” Mr Goodfellow said.

“National backs our farmers, growers, and rural communities, who are the backbone of our economic success here in New Zealand. Sir Graeme brings an important and necessary voice to our Board table in support of those very communities.

“I look forward to working with Sir Graeme, and our wider Board, as together we move forward and seek to deliver on the priorities of the members of the National Party and the people of New Zealand.” Mr Goodfellow said.

Several commentators have made a big thing about no rural representation or people involved in primary production on the board. In doing that they overlook the president’s involvement in primary production through the board of the fishing company Sanford.

It wasn’t something that worried me. I just want a board of people with National’s values in their DNA, who put the party before their egos and who have good governance skills.

Sir Graeme ticks all those boxes and his rural connections and experience are a bonus.


Rural round-up

05/07/2021

Southland MP Joseph Mooney invites Green Party co-leader James Shaw to Southland to meet Groundswell NZ – Rachael Kelly:

Farmer protest group Groundswell NZ said it would ‘’most definitely’’ meet with Green Party co-leader James Shaw if he accepted an invitation to visit Southland.

Southland MP Joseph Mooney wants to extend an invitation to Shaw to the province to meet with the group, who he says Shaw ‘’unfairly vilified in the media this week”.

A spokesperson from Shaws’ office said: ‘’Joseph Mooney is welcome to send an invitation to the Minister, and it will be considered alongside all the others we receive.’’

Shaw admitted for the first time this week that it was Groundswell he was referring to in an interview with Ngati Hine FM last month, when he referred to ‘’a group of pākehā farmers from down south’’ who were ‘’always pushing back against the idea that they should observe any kind of regulation about what they can do to protect the environment”. . . .

B+LNZ launched emissions calculator – Neal Wallace:

The sheep and beef industry have taken a significant step towards managing their greenhouse gas (GHG) emission obligations, with the launch of an emissions calculator for farmers.

Beef + Lamb New Zealand (B+LNZ) has released the free-to-use calculator, which takes information about a farm and stock numbers and applies science and data about average emissions at national, regional and farm system level to calculate on-farm emissions and sequestration.

It has been funded by the Red Meat Profit Partnership and endorsed by the Meat Industry Association (MIA), AFFCO NZ, Alliance Group, ANZCO Foods, Blue Sky Meats, Greenlea Premier Meats, Ovation NZ, Progressive Meats, Silver Fern Farms, Taylor Preston, Te Kuiti Meats, Universal Beef Packers and Wilson Hellaby NZ.

B+LNZ chief executive Sam McIvor says the calculator has been independently assessed as meeting the requirements for calculating emissions under the He Waka Eke Noa programme and agreement with the Government. . . 

Fences fixed first as farmers count cost of flooding – Country Life:

Farmers in Mid-Canterbury say it could take months and cost hundreds of thousands of dollars to clean up the mess on their farms following last month’s massive flooding.

It’s been an extremely challenging situation for neighbouring farmers Anne-Marie Allen and Chrissie Wright, who say they are still trying to get their heads around the scale of the damag of Anne-Marie and her husband Chris’s farm resemble a bombsite.

Their six-hectare water storage pond is destroyed, fences are buried, machinery has been damaged and logs, branches, rocks, gravel and up to a metre of silt have been dumped on the Ashburton Forks property. . .

M bovis eradication on track – Annette Scott:

The next few months will be busy for the Mycoplasma bovis programme as it winds closer to a successful nationwide eradication of the disease.

Biosecurity Minister Damien O’Connor is confident the programme is on track to eradicate the disease from New Zealand in the next five years.

“The programme has been refined and improved, the science and practice on the ground has helped get us to where we are now, just a pocket of five infected properties,” O’Connor said.

But, he says, the next few months will be busy and crucial. . . 

Farmers helping Meat the Need charity via Silver Fern Farms – Linda Hall:

Mince — it must be the most versatile red meat you can buy.

Most people would be able to come up with a nutritious meal by just adding some flavour and vegetables. It goes a long way and it’s reasonably priced.

However, there are many people out there who still can’t afford to buy enough food to feed their family.

It’s not surprising that the need for food parcels is growing with the price of housing and accommodation skyrocketing — and there’s no end in sight. . .

Scottish pig sector ‘at risk’ due to unfair supply chain practice :

The future of the Scottish pig industry is at risk due to continued unfair supply chain practices, NFU Scotland has warned.

It has written to Pilgrim’s, the processing partner of Scotland’s largest abattoir in Brechin, to urge them to stop operating pricing practices that ‘threaten’ the sector.

Farmers had ‘serious concerns’ resulting from the ‘uncompetitive price’ paid by Pilgrim’s for pigs going to the Brechin abattoir.

“The price is uncompetitive compared to alternative market routes,” NFU Scotland president Martin Kennedy said. . . 

 


Rural round-up

12/04/2020

Back to the land after lockdown – David Slack:

With agriculture once again New Zealand’s main export earner, are farmers feeling needed again, and what are their prospects once the lockdown eases? David Slack reports from the farm gate.

There’s a photo of my grandmother and her sisters taken by their father in the late days of the First World War. It’s not the usual sort of photo of the time. They’re alive, it’s vivid. They’re up high in the Rangitikei backblocks. There are cows to be milked, they’re carrying cream cans. They look cheerful, they’re doing work that matters.

There were 16 of them in that family. Some of them went on to raise farmers, some raised city folk. My dad raised us to understand there was no future in farming. We didn’t doubt him, and we made our lives in town. . .

Primary interest: Time to cut the cord and let agriculture thrive – Steve Elers:

Tourism Minister Kelvin Davis said last year that tourism was New Zealand’s “largest export earner”, contributing $39 billion to the economy each year and directly employing more than 200,000 people.

Obviously, Covid-19 has upended the tourism sector, so Davis was left with no choice but to announce earlier this week that he has tasked Tourism New Zealand to lead a programme that includes the Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment, the Department of Conservation, and industry parties to “reimagine the way we govern tourism, how we market domestically and internationally, who we market to, and how we manage visitors when they arrive on our shores”. 

Another major sector upended because of Covid-19 is international education. According to the Tertiary Education Commission, international education “contributes $5.1b to the economy and is the country’s fourth largest export earner” – it also supports about 50,000 jobs. . .

Image sells our meat – Neal Wallace:

China is re-emerging as a significant buyer of New Zealand beef as its families continue to use home cooking skills learned when the country was shut down to control covid-19.

Many restaurants in China are yet to fully reopen and NZ beef appears to be an early beneficiary of growing Chinese retail demand as consumers look for meat from a country with a trusted food production system and a clean and green reputation.

But commentators warn we shouldn’t take this interest for granted, especially when other markets weaken as Governments try to contain the virus. . .

No letup for some works – Neal Wallace:

Most of the country’s largest meat companies will continue to process livestock over at least part of Easter to try to ease a developing backlog.

Selected plants run by Silver Fern Farms, Anzco and Affco will process over the long weekend to clear a developing backlog of stock, which, in some cases, has reached six weeks.

Southland’s Blue Sky Meats has started processing seven days a week and plans to work Easter and Anzac Day. 

Anzco chief executive Peter Conley said it will operate its beef plants on three of the four days over Easter. . . 

 

Coronavirus: Working and living in dairy farm bubble during Covid-19 – Lawrence Gullery:

Ben Moore counts himself lucky to be working on the land during the coronavirus outbreak.

He feels fortunate to still be earning an income, to pay the bills and provide for his family on their dairy farm in the Waikato.

“My heart goes out to those who can’t work,” Moore said. “We can still work, still pay the mortgage but I know there are many people out there who can’t.” 

Stuff is celebrating the coronavirus champions – including essential services workers like Moore and community volunteers – who are keeping New Zealand going though the lockdown. . . 

Prime cuts of beef are going to waste as well: After the scandal of £220,000 of milk being dumped every day during the coronavirus lockdown, GUY ADAMS investigates how the meat industry is coping – Guy Adams:

A couple of weeks ago, as panic-stricken shoppers descended on the nation’s supermarkets, Sainsbury’s and Asda quietly introduced a new product to their meat aisles.

Labelled ‘NO FUSS lean Polish beef mince’ and retailing for the bargain price of £2.95 a pound, it helped fill the empty shelves that had until very recently held Union Flag-stamped packets of best British beef.

Farmers, when they spotted it, hit the roof, accusing the rapacious retailers of flooding the market with cheap imports. . . 

 


Rural round-up

05/02/2019

They’re doing the impossible – Ross Nolly:

A Taranaki family has its eye set firmly on farm ownership. Ross Nolly reports.

When Glen and Trish Rankin entered the Dairy Industry Awards one of the things they looked forward to was the feedback from judges.

However, when it came, it was unexpected and set them aback, especially when they were told farm ownership might not be achievable.

“Feedback from the second time we entered was that we were pulling in different directions and that they couldn’t ever see us owning a farm. It felt blunt at the time but was spot on,” Trish says.

“They suggested we pool our skills and focus on driving our farm business. We’d just had baby number four, we were frantically busy but still not getting ahead. We decided to search for a 50-50 job.” . . 

Extra grazing slows start to meat season :

Good grass growth has dominated the season for central South Island meat processors.

Anzco Foods Canterbury processing general manager Darryl Tones said wet weather before Christmas caused a slower than usual start to the season but meant farmers had quite a lot of feed and the stock was in good condition.

The plant was running at ”full seasonal capacity for beef and lamb with day and night shifts operating for both”, Mr Tones said. . .

Planet-saving diet has pitfalls – Richard Rennie:

Richard Rennie examines a report that suggests the world eat far more grains, nuts and beans with less of everything else.

A report from medical journal The Lancet calls for significant shifts in the types of foods people eat.

It is a shift in diet that has the planet as much as human health firmly in mind but has been challenged on grounds New Zealand is already well down the path to providing the planet with a sustainable diet. . . 

 

Pania Te-Paiho Marsh teaches Kiwi women how to hunt – Kirsty Lawrence:

Every time Pania Te-Paiho Marsh takes a group of women out hunting she sees their confidence grow. 

What started as an innocent Facebook offer has grown into a list filled with more than 1000 women who want the experience of going bush. 

Te-Paiho Marsh started Wahine Toa Hunting in August and said the idea came about as she wanted people to live a better lifestyle. 

“I wanted to help women become more self-sufficient, to walk what I talk.”  . . 

Ozone in the vineyard – Tessa Nicholson:

The word ozone conjures up images of big holes in the atmosphere, stronger UV light, the risk of severe sunburn and CFC’s — at least in this part of the world.

However if you are a vineyard owner, then maybe you want to think again about this particular compound, as it could be a saving grace out there among the vines.

Ozone or O3, is an unstable bluish gas, that has long been recognised as a sterilising agent in wineries and dairy units. . . 

Drought and a creeping emptiness in NSW – Perry Duffin:

Smaller farming communities across NSW are shrinking in the face of economic and social headwinds but those who remain fear the current drought is accelerating the decline.

Between 2006 and 2011 the Riverina-Murray population increased by 18,000 people overall, according to the census.

But a closer look at migration data reveals smaller towns lost thousands to regional centres such as Wagga Wagga and Albury. . . 

 


Rural round-up

31/05/2018

‘We’d better off if we had it’ – Sally Rae:

Southland farmer John Young reckons he would be in a better position if his cattle had Mycoplasma bovis.

With a contract for 1000 calves cancelled by Ngai Tahu Farming, he described himself as a ”by-product” of the disease saying there was no recognition for those in similar situations.

Left short of feed and likely to take a massive financial hit, he was perplexed by the iwi’s motivation as he felt he had done everything to mitigate any concerns.

”We’d be better off if we had it. We would know where we’re at [and could] set a plan and work around it. It would be acknowledged we had it, we’d be compensated. The way we are at the moment, we don’t know where we stand,” he said. . . 

Farmer provides positive advice on coping – Sally Rae:

Argentinian-born Leo Bensegues came to New Zealand with only $700 and the desire for a good life.

Fast forward 16 and a-half years and he has a wife, Maite, and a family and his own business, sharemilking at Morven in the Waimate district.

Last August, that good life was interrupted by confirmation there was Mycoplasma bovis in the couple’s herd.

Their 950 cows and 222 young stock were one of the first herds to be culled, although they had 200 heifers which had not been affected by the disease.

Yesterday, Mr Bensegues declined to talk about how he felt seeing those animals dispatched to slaughter, saying that was ”in the past” and they had to focus on the future.

They were starting over again and he had a message for other farmers affected by this week’s announcement of a massive cull of animals in a bid to eradicate the disease.

They had to work with the Ministry for Primary Industries, rather than against it, and they had to stay positive. . . 

‘Bovis cull will be devastating – Sally Rae:

The impact of the impending Mycoplasma bovis cattle cull on  milk and beef supply nationally will be much smaller than the “devastating” impact on affected farmers, Westpac senior economist Anne Boniface says.

In the bank’s latest Agri Update, Ms Boniface said New Zealand’s dairy herd was about 4.8 million, so the population to be culled accounted for about 0.5%, well within usual seasonal variation in the dairy herd.

While processing capacity might be stretched temporarily at a regional level, there should be ample capacity nationwide to process the additional cow cull. . .

 Business case for cattle disease plan kept secret from public – Andrea Fox:

The cost-benefit analysis behind the $886 million government-agriculture sector decision to try to eradicate Mycoplasma bovis is being kept secret from taxpayers picking up most of the bill.

A Herald request to the Ministry for Primary Industries (MPI) for a copy of the cost-benefit analysis is being treated by MPI as an Official Information Act request, which normally means waiting nearly a month for a response, with no guarantee of full disclosure.

When the Herald tried to clarify that the cost-benefit analysis was not being made public, and if so, who had access to it, the response from an MPI spokesman was: “This has been part of the decision-making process so the decision makers have had access to this information.” . .

Live deer capture: ‘a wonderful time to be alive and to stay alive’, says pioneer– Heather Chalmers:

Recalling the pioneering live deer capture days, veterans like Bryan Bassett-Smith get a gleam in their eyes.

In the 1970s the emphasis changed from killing deer as a feral pest to wanting to capture and keep deer alive for a fledging farming industry. Deer farming made live recovery more profitable than hunting; there were fortunes to be made and adventures to have.

These were the days before clipboards, hi-vis vests and health and safety regulations.

Bassett-Smith didn’t fly helicopters himself. “I was a guy that jumped out and used the tranquilliser gun.

READ MORE: Deer farmer recalls days of live capture derring-do

“It was a wonderful time to be alive and to stay alive” he says, referring to the casualties and fatalities from helicopter crashes. “Sadly, there were a few too many funerals,” he told deer industry conference delegates during a visit to Mesopotamia Station in the South Canterbury high country, a property actively involved in live deer recovery. . . 

Distribution deal for Mastatest– Sally Rae:

Dunedin-based veterinary diagnostics company Mastaplex has secured a national distribution partnership with AgriHealth for its bovine mastitis diagnostic products.

Company founder and inventor Olaf Bork said Mastatest  was an on-farm or veterinary clinic-based bovine mastitis test which generated results within 24 hours, enabling dairy farmers to select specific antibiotic treatments recommended by their veterinarian once target bacteria had been identified.

The early  growth-stage company, which is based at the University of Otago’s Centre for Innovation, was also negotiating with a European distributor and  seeking an alliance in the United States, he said. . . 

Rural health must be integral in health services review:

The New Zealand Rural General Practice Network today welcomed an announcement of a comprehensive review of health services in New Zealand.

The NZRGPN is the national network representing the staff of rural medical practices across New Zealand.

“A comprehensive review of the delivery of health and disability services is timely,” said NZRGPN Chief Executive Dalton Kelly. “This review must be comprehensive and wide-ranging, taking into account the full range of communities and health service providers across New Zealand. . .

Tough year hits Anzco profits – Alan Williams:

A difficult year in beef procurement and processing caused a big fall in profit for Anzco Foods.

Intense competition for stock and uneven livestock flows increased costs while consumer market prices were just steady, chief executive Peter Conley said.

Anzco’s pre-tax profit fell to just $1.8 million in the year ended December 31, from $17m a year earlier. Because the group’s international trade offices are required to pay tax in the countries they’re based in, overall group tax took up $1.7m of the earnings, leaving an after-tax operating profit of $100,000, down from $12m previously. . . 

How a routine day on the farm turned into a pig’s dinner – Joyce Wyllie:

Sometimes routine jobs on a routine day take a less routine turn.

With Jock away at dog trials, I walked to the kennels one evening to run and feed the remainder of his team left at home.

It’s a familiar routine of letting energetic dogs off for enthusiastic exercise, feeding pellets to pigs and shutting the team up with their tea.

It was drizzling as I opened the doors and let animated animals race off for time out and toilet. Pushing the feed shed door open to get pig tucker revealed a four-legged super surprise. . . 

Hounding the horehound weed:

Two moths may be imported to combat the horehound weed, which a recent survey estimates to cost New Zealand dryland farmers almost $7 million per year.

The Environmental Protection Authority (EPA) is considering an application from a collective of affected farmers – the Horehound Biocontrol Group – to introduce the horehound plume moth and horehound clearwing moth to attack this invasive weed, and is calling for public submissions. The application is supported by the Ministry for Primary Industries’ sustainable farming fund. . .


Rural round-up

12/02/2018

Retiring from farming not simple – Sally Rae:

Don’t leave it too late.

That’s the message from Rhodes Donald, from Polson Higgs Wealth Management in Dunedin, who has completed a study of retired farming couples.

He advised other farming couples to begin the process at least five years before they thought was the right time.

Now that his work was written up, it was ready to be distributed to anyone that was interested and he also wanted to speak about it to groups. . . 

Government warning: Farmers ignore concerns about meat at their peril – Madison Reidy:

Besieged by celebrity vegetarians, our agriculture industry is taking up the challenge of finding alternatives to old-style farmed meat. Madison Reidy investigates, in Part 2 of our three-week series.

Deep in the Rangitikei, Richard Morrison and his livestock seem safely tucked away from threats. But he, like all meat farmers, is being confronted by a laboratory-grown blight that he cannot fence out.

Bullish new companies are putting meat mimic products on supermarket shelves,  challenging one of New Zealand’s most valuable export industries and forcing farmers to rethink their future. The options are popularising a consumer movement away from slaughtered food, causing demand for beef and lamb to drop.

Owners of 150-year-old family farms like Morrison’s are shaking in their gumboots, hoping the world’s red-meat cravings will continue. . . 

Anzco chairman named to replace Sir Graeme Harrison – Brittany Pickett:

Kazuhiko (Sam) Misonou will take over as chairman of New Zealand food company Anzco Foods, replacing company founder Sir Graeme Harrison who is retiring from the board at the end of March.

Misonou joined the Anzco board in 2013 and brought with him international business experience. Previously he worked in beef processing and feedlot operations in Australia, had six years in the pork industry in the United States and worked extensively in the meat industry in Japan.

In 2016, Misonou became president of Yonekyu Inc., a Japanese meat production, marketing and sales company that was established in 1965. . . 

Otorohanga formula factory granted land consent – Alexa Cook:

A new $230 million dairy factory in King Country has been granted land consent despite local opposition.

report from the Otorohanga District Council last November said the factory should not go ahead because it would impact on the local ecology, landscape, and rural character.

However, after two months of deliberation the council has now granted Happy Valley Milk the land consent to build its infant formula factory.

Public submissions included concerns about the factory drawing too much water from the ground, and discharging stormwater, wastewater, and air pollution. . . 

Share offer opens for irrigators to invest in 100-year community water supply:

Waimea Irrigators Limited (WIL) has publicly released a Product Disclosure Statement for the Offer of Water Shares, which opened yesterday and is publicly available for irrigators on the Waimea Plains to consider.

The Product Disclosure Statement is an offer to buy water shares in WIL. Shareholders can enter into agreements that allow them to apply under the Tasman Resource Management Plan (TRMP) to affiliate an existing ground water or surface water permit for water provided by the Dam, once it’s built. Landowners will be able to apply for shares in WIL even if they don’t have an operative water permit, which would enable potential future water users to buy into the scheme. . . 

LIC proposes share restructure to reduce conflicts between farmers, investors – Sophie Boot:

(BusinessDesk) – Farmer-owned cooperative Livestock Improvement Corp’s board has released its suggested plan to merge its two share classes in a proposal the independent adviser described as relatively complicated but overall will deliver benefits.

LIC has two classes of shares: unlisted cooperative control shares and investment shares, which are listed on the NZX Alternative Market (NZAX). Chair Murray King said the current structure means cooperative shareholders have greater voting rights but limited exposure to the financial benefits, while investment shareholders can reap financial gains but have limited ability to influence the cooperative’s direction. . . 

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Enjoyment and stress of holding an A&P show – Allan Barber:

Auckland Anniversary Weekend Saturday saw the 151st Warkworth A&P Show held, as most years, in hot and sunny conditions, but at least this year there were no strong nor ’easterlies or a major blockage of State Highway 1, apart from the normal holiday weekend traffic queues. Not that this was of great concern as I drove to the Showgrounds at 6.15 to greet the gate officials who have the responsibility of admitting exhibitors and competitors early and taking money off the public who start to arrive any time after 8.30.

As chairman of the Warkworth A&P Society for the last few years – nobody else appears to be willing to put their hand up – I should be used to the frenetic lead up to the Show, which involves last minute trade exhibitors, arranging someone to mark out the show grounds which for the rest of the year are the Mahurangi Rugby pitches and making sure everything else is under control including money in the bank account to cover prizes. But this time was a bit different because Marjorie Blythen, our Secretary of more than 30 years, had retired after the 150th Show and, for all of us, it was a whole new challenge to remember critical things that previously appeared to happen automatically. Fortunately there is a good committee able to take responsibility for each section. . . 

 


Rural round-up

23/12/2017

Van Leeuwen owner ‘devastated’ by cattle disease outbreak, says business could go under – Rebecca Howard:

(BusinessDesk) – Aad van Leeuwen found himself at the centre of a storm when he reported an outbreak of Mycoplasma bovis in his South Canterbury herds but said the bacterial cattle disease didn’t originate on his farms and if government compensation doesn’t come through soon his operation could go under.

“It’s been devastating,” the owner of Van Leeuwen Dairy Group told BusinessDesk. “We are struggling at the moment. Because we notified the disease we are eligible for compensation, but it’s a battle. It’s not coming through. The government is very slow and confusing. This could put us under if it doesn’t come through. It’s as simple as that.”

Van Leeuwen Dairy is a large-scale, high-performance dairy business in the South Island with 16 farms and associated business, including silage. . . 

ANZCO is now 100% Japanese owned – Allan Barber:

One of Japan’s two largest meat processing and marketing companies, Itoham Yonekyu Holdings, has received OIO consent to increase its shareholding in ANZCO Foods from 65% to 100%. It will acquire the shares currently held by ANZCO’s management (18.24%) and Japanese food company Nissui (16.76%) as a carefully planned transition which will see founder and chairman, Sir Graeme Harrison, retire at the company’s AGM in March.

Itoham Foods have held shares in ANZCO since 1995 when they combined with ANZCO management to complete a buyout of the New Zealand Meat Producers’ Board, forerunner of Beef + Lamb NZ, in 1995, having formed a 50/50 JV with ANZCO in 1989 to establish Five Star Beef Limited with its large scale feedlot near Ashburton. Nissui, a joint owner of Sealord with Maori, have also been involved since the beginning, so this latest transaction means the end of a 28 year association. . . 

South Canterbury blackcurrant farm cashes in on superfood buzz – Adriana Weber:

A South Canterbury blackcurrant farm is cashing in on the berry’s “superfood” status.

Tony Howey and his wife bought a blackcurrant orchard near Pleasant Point, about two hours south of Christchurch, 12 years ago.

In the past few years in particular, and since converting their farm into an organic one, their business and brand ViBERi has taken off.

Mr Howey said since blackcurrants were high in Vitamin C and antioxidants, they were able to market their products for their health benefits. . . 

Community calls for more drought support:

National Party Spokesperson for Rural Communities Barbara Kuriger has backed the call for the Government to declare a medium scale adverse event to better support those affected by the rapidly emerging drought conditions in Taranaki.

“Taranaki Regional Council have today met with organisations such as DairyNZ, Federated Farmers, Fonterra, Rural Advisory Group, Rural Support Trust, Taranaki Veterinary Association and Beef & Lamb NZ, with those organisations all calling on the Government to declare a medium scale adverse event for the whole Taranaki region,” Mrs Kuriger says. . . 

Rural Support Trust Making a Difference:

National Party Spokesperson for Rural Communities Barbara Kuriger has thanked the Rural Support Trust for the care and support they extend to people who are facing challenges and encourages those in need to reach out.

“This year has seen a number of challenges for the rural community. The Rural Support Trust has worked tirelessly to help support those who are in challenging times.

“The current extreme weather conditions across the country present hard times for farmers for a number of reasons, especially due to the need to source feed for animals. . . 

Allbirds expands to Australia, eyes further global markets for 2018 – Tina Morrison:

(BusinessDesk) – Allbirds, the merino wool shoe company co-founded by former New Zealand soccer star Tim Brown, has expanded into its third global market, launching in Australia last month, and it’s eyeing up more markets for next year.

San Francisco-based Allbirds started selling its minimalist woollen sneakers direct to consumers in March 2016 and has online operations in the US and New Zealand, shops in San Francisco and New York, and a steady stream of pop-up outlets. It began selling online in Australia on Nov. 21 in response to customer demand from the world’s biggest merino producing country. . . 

Export log prices hit new record on ocntinued strong demand from China:

(BusinessDesk) – New Zealand export log prices edged higher to a new record, buoyed by continued strong demand from China, a weaker currency and historically low shipping rates.

The price for A-Grade export logs reached $129 a tonne, up from $128 a tonne last month, and $127 a tonne the month earlier, marking the highest level since AgriHQ began collecting the data in 2008, according to the agricultural market specialist’s monthly survey of exporters, forest owners and saw millers. All of the main log grades tracked by AgriHQ either held steady or lifted as much as $2 a tonne on the previous month, AgriHQ said. . . 

Sealord operating profit up:

Sealord Group Ltd has reported a profit from continuing operations of $21.8M for its financial year ended 30 September 2017.

Net Profit Before Tax from continuing operations of $28.2M was + 10.2% ahead of the previous year.

This was before a net cost related to discontinued operations of $3.2M. . . 


Rural round-up

21/12/2017

Southland stock trading  likely to be affected by Mycoploasma bovis outbreak – Dave Nicoll:

Some Southland farmers are frustrated and concerned as calves infected with Mycoplasma bovis may have been traded before the outbreak in Southland was discovered.

Last week, the ministry identified three farms near Winton that had tested positive for the bacterial cattle disease Mycoplasma bovis.

Southland Federated Farmers president Allan Baird said there was some uncertainty among farmers because they knew little about the disease and it was possible some of them had stock from the affected farms.

Baird said he had fielded calls from several people concerned about the disease. . . 

Success of merino held up as example of how to boost languishing coarse wool – Gerard Hutching:

Rattle your dags” – that might be the call to Kiwi merino farmers following the news that the dags of the fine wool sheep are generating three times the price of quality strong wool fleece.

Higher quality regular fibre is selling up to a 700 per cent premium over coarse wool. The contrast could not be greater with the prices of coarse wool fleeces tumbling over the past 12 months, and a lot of wool not being sold has been put into storage until the industry picks up again.

Coarse wool exports fell 28 per cent to $550 million to the year to June as a lack of demand from China weighed on prices.

But New Zealand Merino (NZM) is starting to put a focus on coarse wool and using its marketing nous to turn the industry around. . . 

Streamlining NAIT comes with tougher compliance approach:

Federated Farmers is pleased that moves to streamline the National Animal Identification and Tracing Scheme (NAIT) process are coming in tandem with a tougher approach on non-compliance.

Agriculture and Biosecurity Minister Damien O’Connor has indicated after nearly five years of educating farmers about the importance of NAIT for biosecurity and food traceability, those who continue to ignore their obligations would face prosecution and fines of up to $10,000. . . 

Grant awarded to Paeroa company to study nutritional needs of bees:

It may well be the biggest thing to come out of Paeroa since L&P. 

Paeroa-based biostimulant company AgriSea NZ Seaweed Ltd has just been awarded a project grant from Callaghan Innovation for $74,000. The grant will go towards research and development of their bioactive products and the nutritional needs of honey bees. 

“This grant recognises the innovation happening at AgriSea and will continue to grow our R&D capabilities,” said Agrisea general manager Tane Bradley. “To date there is limited scientific data around the nutritional needs of the honey bee so this is really important.”  . . 

OIO considers $105.5 mln buyout of Harvard dairy farms – Sophie Boot:

(BusinessDesk) – The Overseas Investment Office is considering the sale of Harvard University’s 5,500-head dairy farms in the South Island to a Singapore-based investor.

Accounts for the dairy farms filed with New Zealand’s Companies Office show that it entered into an agreement to sell its business assets to WHL Otago Operations on May 31, and the sale was now pending OIO approval but the settlement was expected by June 2018. The accounts show that the expected realisation value of all the company’s assets, after the cost of selling, was calculated to be $105.5 million as at June 30, 2017. . . 

Westland Milk Products completes leadership revitalisation:

Westland Milk Products Chief Executive Toni Brendish has completed her revitalisation of the dairy co-operative’s Executive Leadership Team, with the appointment of Jeffrey Goodwin to the role of General Manager, Sales.

Goodwin came to Westland from his role as Vice-President, Global Operations, for James Farrell & Co, which represents United States-based manufacturers in the export of their ingredients and finished goods.

“Jeffrey’s experience in food and ingredients sales is global in scale,” Brendish said, “with a record of success in South East Asia, Japan, China and the United States (among others). . . 

‘Green window dressing’: EU criticised for wasting billions on green farming subsidies:

Attempts to ‘green’ EU farm policy did not lead to any significant increase in environmentally-sound farming practices – despite countries spending a huge chunk of the EU’s annual budget on the scheme.

The UK’s net contribution of £8.6billion from last year went towards the project, but a European Court of Auditors report shows just 5 percent of the EU’s farmland benefited from the scheme.

The auditors found that the new payments added more complexity to the system but had led to changed farming practices on only about five per cent of EU farmland. . . 

Livestock to help offset big fall in grain production – Brad Thompson:

The farm sector appears fundamentally strong following a record year for farm production in Australia, Rabobank says, anticipating a weaker Australian dollar and strong livestock prices will bolster returns for most farmers next year.

Rabobank’s head of research in Australia and New Zealand, Tim Hunt, said Federal forecaster ABARES’ expectation of a 7 per cent fall in the value of gross production reflected less favourable weather conditions for grain growing after a record harvest last year.

“That is a climate story rather than a structural story, as in we are not back into industry decline we have just had a bad grain season,” he said. . . 

Moving beyond the green revolution in Africa’s new era of hunger – Calestous Juma:

A quarter of the world’s hungry people are in sub-Saharan Africa and the numbers are growing. Between 2015 and 2016, the number of hungry – those in distress and unable to access enough calories for a healthy and productive life – grew from 20.8% to 22.7%. The number of undernourished rose from 200 million to 224 million out of a total populationof 1.2 billion.

Conflict, poverty, environmental disruptions and a growing population all contribute to the region’s inability to feed itself.

To tackle hunger, the continent needs to find new, integrated approaches. These approaches – discussed at a recent Harvard conference – must increase crop yield, enhance the nutritional content of people’s diets, improve people’s health and promote sustainability. . . 

 


Rural round-up

07/10/2016

NZ meat industry pioneer honoured:

New Zealand meat industry pioneer Sir Graeme Harrison has won this year’s Rabobank Leadership Award in recognition of his extraordinary contribution to the food, beverage and agribusiness sectors.

Harrison, the founder and chairman of one of NZ’s largest exporters, Anzco Foods, was presented with the trans-Tasman award at the annual Rabobank Leadership Dinner in Sydney, Australia, last night.

It is the second year in a row a New Zealander has taken the honour with former Fonterra chair Sir Henry van der Heyden the recipient of the award last year.

Presenting the award, Rabobank Australia & New Zealand Group managing director Peter Knoblanche said Sir Graeme was a “true champion of agribusiness” who had made an enormous contribution not only as a NZ business leader, but also in the international meat industry trade”. . .

Farmers say river plan will kill businesses – Glenys Christian:

Many of the more than 150 farmers who gathered in Pukekohe last Monday believe the Waikato Regional Council’s Healthy Rivers Wai Ora plan will drive them out of business or severely limit what they can do on their properties.  

And Waikato University Professor of Agribusiness Jacqueline Rowarth told them if the plan came into force there would be a dearth of young people returning to the land.  

New Zealand enjoyed some of the best quality wild water in the world, backed up by a huge amount of environmental protection.  

She questioned comparisons made and said a lot of the research work used by the Healthy Rivers Wai Ora collaborative stakeholder group (CSG) was based on modelling without giving enough attention to the constraints and uncertainties involved, especially went it came to Overseer programme predictions. . . 

Farmers praise Northland plan – Hugh Stringleman:

Northland’s draft regional plan is pragmatic and headed in the right direction, Federated Farmers says.  

Federated Farmers Northland province found the overall thrust of Northland Regional Council policy-making was appropriate for dairy, sheep and beef cattle farmers.  

In particular, it responded to livestock exclusion rules, setback distance from waterways, farm wastewater storage, wetlands and catchment plans for improving water quality.  

It said Northland’s freshwater resources were in a reasonable state and over-allocation and nitrate loadings were not issues. . . 

A damn load of emotional effluent – Tim Gilbertson:

The Ruataniwha water storage scheme saga has gone far beyond soap opera territory: fantasy has long since replaced fact, the noisy quashing any sense.

Here are some examples. Serial anti-RWSS crusader Grenville Christie claims riparian planting stops only phosphate from entering the waterways (CHB Mail Sept 20). Incorrect. It stops virtually everything except nitrogen.

Filtering improves water quality, in some cases by up to 80% within a few months. Nitrogen enters the rivers via groundwater, so riparian planting is ineffective. But nitrogen will be severely limited by Plan Change 6, so Grenville can rest easy. . . 

Time to wake up and get safe! – Mark Daniel:

While quad fatalities keep fuelling a media frenzy, it’s time to look at the broader picture and try to understand what makes our farms such dangerous places.

Dangerous they are: statistics between 2013 and December 2015 show farmers suffered 63 deaths*; the next-highest sectors, transport and warehousing, had 17 and forestry 14 respectively during the same period.  

So the death rate on farms is around four times higher; why is that? If you’ve visited a quarry, warehouse or forest lately, you’ll know that before you get to the action you’ll be hit with rules, hazard identification, hi-vis vests, hard hats and steel-toe boots. Easy to do, you say, on a compact ring fenced site, but much harder to do in the backblocks of New Zealand. . . 

New challenge in milking goats –  Sudesh Kissun:

South Auckland farmer Hamish Noakes had no crystal ball four years ago when he pulled out of cow dairying and started milking goats.

The 40ha family-run farm at Karaka was “just too small and milking 160 cows just wasn’t working”.  

“I was always chasing my tail; I had a lot of leased blocks so I was always running around between leased blocks and running this farm,” Hamish told Rural News. . . 

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Rural round-up

04/07/2016

Drought conditions in South Island continue:

The impact of ongoing dry conditions on the eastern South Island means the medium-scale drought classification will be extended until the end of the year, Primary Industries Minister Nathan Guy has announced today.

“Extra funding of up to $88,000 will go to drought recovery coordination and the five Rural Support Trusts in the area, with $30,000 of this going to the North Canterbury Rural Support Trust,” says Mr Guy.

The announcement was made by Mr Guy at a meeting with local farmers in North Canterbury today, his fifth visit to the region since April last year.

“This will mean the area has been in drought for nearly two years, since its initial classification on 12 February last year. This will be the longest period of time a classification of this type has lasted for.” . . 

Jobs and land galore in Kaitangata:

Kaitangata has a jobs problem perhaps unique among small New Zealand towns – there are too many.

There are only two people without jobs in the entire town of 800, but at least 100 vacancies waiting to be filled.

Three-bedroom standalone houses are now being offered for only $230,000. There are currently 30 sections available, with the houses being built to order.

Clutha District Mayor Bryan Cadogan says they come with “stunning views out over the delta”. . . 

Past, present and future of the meat industry (part 3) – Allan Barber:

The future

There are two diametrically opposing views on the meat industry’s future outlook: either the world is short of protein and has an insatiable appetite for what we produce or meat will be replaced by artificial or synthetic proteins, much cheaper and easier to produce.I can’t predict just where on the continuum between these two extremes actual reality will settle or which direction the trend will move. But it’s probably worth hazarding a guess that the top end of the market will continue to prefer the real thing, produced and presented to a high quality, while the poor who are unable to afford much if anything will be happy to accept the cheaper, artificial version. It is also quite possible the increasingly global craze for fast food, especially hamburgers, could be met by synthetic beef, but here again there would be a premium end of the market demanding the real thing. . . 

MPs urged to back no-tillage farming – Alexa Cook:

An international soil scientist is urging the government to reduce carbon by promoting “no-tillage” farming to the primary sector.

The method is a way of growing crops or pasture from year to year without disturbing the soil through tillage, which results in carbon being captured in the soil instead of released through ploughing.

Scientist John Baker met with Labour MPs this morning as part of his crusade to get the message across that New Zealand has the machinery and technology to transfer carbon into the soil and keep it there. . . 

Silver Fern Farms announces contract extension and new special meeting date – Allan Barber:

Silver Fern Farms have issued two new media releases announcing a revised completion date for the contract with Shanghai Maling and a new date for the shareholder requisitioned meeting.

The revised date of 30th September for meeting the one remaining condition of the contract has been agreed in principle by both parties and is subject to agreement of both boards. SFF’s CEO Dean Hamilton said “We needed to allow more time to answer the further information requests from the OIO and to then provide sufficient time for the OIO and then Ministers to consider the application. We continue to believe that the investment will be approved given its substantial merits.”

“The agreement to the new date reflects positively on the ongoing commitment of both parties to the transaction.” . . 

  – Allan Barber:

ANZCO Foods has just released its annual result for the 15 month period ended 31 December which shows a reduced profit compared with its 12 month 2014 performance. Pre-tax net profit was $5.702 million ($7.128 million in 2014) while NPAT was $4.49 million, down more than 50% on the equivalent 2014 result which included part of the tax benefit from the 2012 loss.

Notable features of the result were a large increase in inventory and in current bank debt which can be partly explained by the purchase of the remaining 50% of Five Star Beef and the effect of the December quarter. However these factors do not seem to explain fully the extent of the increase. . . 

Super Fund swoops on Southland dairy farms – Mel Logan:

The New Zealand Superannuation Fund (NZSF) is actively buying up dairy farms in Southland, clinching deals on seven properties with more to follow.

The new acquisitions come under a dark industry debt cloud and take the NZ Super Fund’s farm portfolio to 21, following two recent dairy purchases in Canterbury. 

NZSF says while the dairy sector faces some difficult short term challenges, it continues to have strong long-term potential. . . 

Fonterra Enhances Pre-Season Preparation:

A single-minded focus on effectiveness, efficiency and innovation across all aspects of Fonterra’s winter maintenance programme is delivering savings for the Co-operative as it gets match-fit for spring.

Director of NZ Manufacturing Mark Leslie said this “winter shut” period is an important time of year for manufacturing teams as all assets across Fonterra’s network of sites are fine-tuned to ensure they are ready for the season ahead.

“Each year we process around 18 billion litres of milk, with the bulk of this carried out in the spring months. The work we’re doing now will help us get match-fit for that peak period.” . . 

Fonterra Launches The Switch To Z Biodiesel:

Fonterra has taken another step forward in its commitment to environmental sustainability, today launching its switch to new Z biodiesel – as a foundation customer for the ZBioD fuel.

Fonterra and Z were joined by Minister of Energy and Resources Hon. Simon Bridges, Whakatane Mayor Tony Bonne and other dignitaries today in celebrating the partnership at the Co-operative’s Edgecumbe site.

Fonterra Chief Operating Officer Global Operations, Robert Spurway said the shift to biodiesel is part of a move towards greater efficiency and sustainability across all operations, and helping Z make cleaner burning biofuel available in New Zealand. . . 

New Zealand Pork, Bacon and Ham Lovers Pay Attention!:

New Zealand pork, bacon and ham lovers pay attention – the ninth annual judging of the 100% New Zealand Pork, Bacon & Ham Competitions kicks of this Friday (1 July) in Wellington.

The Competitions celebrate New Zealand’s finest home-grown pork products and assist customers to identify and appreciate sustainable pork, bacon and ham which is PigCare™ Accredited*. The competitions support our pig farmers, who raise pork solely for New Zealanders.

This year an impressive 210 entries from butcheries nationwide will be scrutinized by an expert and independent panel of 34 judges comprising leading chefs, food connoisseurs and master butchers. The judges will blind-taste each entry to select New Zealand’s best pork, bacon and ham. . .  . . 


Rural round-up

02/06/2015

Experimentation pays dividends – Sally Rae:

Ask Graham Hunter how many trees he has planted through the years and there is a pause.

Because, with about 40ha in forestry on the property he farms with wife Pam, 20km from Lawrence, along with 5km of shelterbelts, not to mention all the trees planted on their previous farm, the answer is literally ”thousands and thousands”.

Mr and Mrs Hunter were named the South Island Husqvarna farm forester of the year at the New Zealand Farm Forestry Association’s conference in Whangarei. . . .

Effluent pond test tool a first: designer – Allison Beckham:

The designer and developer of a new, high resolution device to test whether effluent ponds are leaking says it is the first test in New Zealand which provides farmers with accurate scientific information.

Other tests available collected information only once every 24 hours, Opus principal rural consultant Dr Marc Dresser, of Hamilton, said.

But the device he and fellow Opus Rural Services engineer Andy Johnson have designed and built uses two probes to calibrate information every 10 seconds, taking into account rainfall, evaporation and atmospheric pressure changes. . .

Minister to represent NZ at UN Food and Agriculture conference:

Primary Industries Minister Nathan Guy leaves for Europe today to represent New Zealand at the Food and Agriculture Organisation of the United Nations’ (FAO) Biennial Conference in Rome.

The FAO is an inter-governmental organisation with 194 member nations. Its aims include the sustainability of natural resources while driving economic and social progress.

“As a country founded on our primary industries, New Zealand can add real value to the discussions at the conference,” says Mr Guy. . .

Larger Japanese stake in Anzco gains OIO approval – Tim Cronshaw:

A Japanese company investing just over $40 million has won Overseas Investment Office approval to buy a larger stake in the major meat processor Anzco Foods founded by chairman Sir Graeme Harrison.

Existing shareholder Itoham Foods met overseas investment criteria to lift its ownership to 65 per cent of the company, from 48.2 per cent,  after buying three lots of shares from Nippon Suisan Kaisha Limited, known as Nissui,  Harrison and Janz Investments which is majority owned by Harrison with senior Anzco managers.

Anzco is now a subsidiary of Itoham which is Japan’s second largest meat based manufactured and processed foods company. Itoham announced in February it wanted a larger shareholding as part of expansion plans in its processed meat business to meet growing Asian demand. . .

 Visa application holdups add to farmers’ Gypsy Day headaches – Phil McCarthy:

A Southland dairy leader is calling on Immigration New Zealand to extend migrant visa concessions handed out elsewhere to workers on farms in southern regions.

This month the Government announced changes to immigration policy which will make it easier to recruit and retain Filipino migrant workers for the Canterbury rebuild.

The change meant that employers who wanted to retain a lower-skilled Filipino worker could do so without having to renew the visa annually. They would also not have to apply for a variation of conditions if they changed employer. Overseas people working in tourism in Queenstown have also had their visa requirements short-cut  on a temporary basis. . .

 Rural agents bet on farmland boom – Matthew Cranston:

COMPETITION is growing between Australia’s major rural land selling agents as farm sales volumes are expected to come out of a trough and major institutional and private investors seek to gain a foothold in the growth area of agriculture.

Elders chief executive Mark Allison, who saw the rural services company sell more than $1.4 billion in real estate last year, is taking on the new entrants of CBRE and Colliers International.

He is aiming for 12 real estate agency acquisitions next financial year and 40 by fiscal 2017. . .

Saddle up for the High Country: – Mark Abernethy:

THE colonial days of stockmen and bushrangers come alive when you journey on horseback.

There was a point when the slow clop of the hooves and the primal shade of the gum trees could have placed us in a much earlier era of history.

There were eight of us on horseback, sliding through the high country of the Great Dividing Range just north of Glen Innes in New South Wales, the iron barks and gums swaying under the clear skies; and if it hadn’t been for the occasional click of an iPhone camera, we could have been riding through the colonial frontier, about to bump into a bushranger or a bullock team. . .


Rural round-up

05/03/2015

What drought really means for New Zealand: Jacqueline Rowarth:

As we head into another drier-than-normal season, New Zealand needs to put more thought into water management.

Urban rain and rural rain are different. The quality is the same – drops of water that, in New Zealand, fall out of the sky relatively pure – but interpretation of the quantity is very different.

Urban rain stops barbecues, dampens the washing on the line, and slows the traffic as though rain had never been experienced before. It interrupts activities for humans, but makes little difference to the ability of plants to grow, rivers to flow or dams to fill.

Rural rain does all three. Rural rain soaks into the ground. It reaches roots and allows the micro-organisms to function. When there is rain in sufficient quantity, primary production, and hence the export economy, flourishes. . .

Stead’s mission to help farmers – Sally Rae:

Angela Stead knows how to cook a good lamb roast.

Beef and Lamb New Zealand’s new extension manager for the central South Island not only has a passion for farming, she is also a trained chef.

Miss Stead started work last month, having returned from Australia where she had been working in the dairy industry and was looking forward to a new challenge. . .

ANZCO share sale bid:

ANZCO Foods founder and chairman Sir Graeme Harrison aims to reduce his shareholding in the company, while Japan’s Itoham Foods is looking to increase its stake.

Itoham Foods would increase its shareholding from 48.3% to 65% if its purchase offer was accepted by other shareholders and approved by the Overseas Investment Office.

In issuing notice to the Tokyo Stock Exchange, Itoham said it would buy 9,882,113 shares of ANZCO stock in cash transactions of just over $40 million. ANZCO has annual sales revenue of $1.3 billion. . .

Try the Dutch approach to dairy and use barns – Aalt Dijkhuizen:

New Zealand and the Netherlands are world leaders in dairy.

New Zealand has developed a unique, extensive dairy system with a low cost price. The Netherlands has gained a reputation for highly productive and efficient dairy farming using the latest technologies. Can the two countries develop systems that will satisfy growing demand while being more environmentally sustainable?

The global context of agriculture and food is changing dramatically.

Demand from fast-growing economies in Asia is expected to double over the next decades and there will be increasing scarcity of raw materials and land. To be leaders in green dairy New Zealand and the Netherlands should work together and learn from each other – and make the boat go much faster. . .

Culverden farmer elected to Beef +Lamb NZ board:

Culverden farmer Phil Smith has been elected as the farmer director to represent sheep and beef farmers in the Beef + Lamb New Zealand Northern South Island electorate.

Smith received 6916 weighted votes and Nigel Harwood of Takaka received 5749 weighted votes in the recent election.

Beef + Lamb NZ returning officer Warwick Lampp said the voting return percentage for Northern South Island was 25.88%, being 795 returned voting papers. . .

Farmers disappointed by restrictions in proposed drone rules – Karl Plume and P.J. Huffstutter:

U.S. farmers hoping to use drones to locate lost livestock or monitor trouble spots in their fields were disappointed by what they say are overly restrictive commercial drone rules proposed Sunday by the Federal Aviation Administration. 

Two of the long-awaited draft rules were singled out for particular criticism: a requirement that pilots remain in visual contact with their drones at all times and a height restriction that limits the crafts to flying no more than 500 feet above ground.  These constraints, farmers and drone operators say, would limit a drone’s range – and consequently its usefulness.

    Leading drone makers PrecisionHawk and Trimble Navigation Limited (TRMB.O), farm data services firms, including ones run by Monsanto (MON.N) and FarmLogs, and even some federal lawmakers are saying the proposed rules could delay the development of drone-assisted agriculture in the United States if they are finalized as currently written.

The FAA said farmers can address the line-of-sight limitation by placing spotters to track a drone’s pilot. . .


Rural round-up

28/01/2015

Repositioning NZ trade on the world stage:

Founder and Chairman of ANZCO Foods, Sir Graeme Harrison, is showing his unwavering commitment to New Zealand business by personally funding a Professorial Chair in Global Value Chains and Trade at Lincoln University.
The newly created position will contribute to the research and teaching at the specialist land-based university – but it will also come with a far wider reaching remit: to help lead change in the way New Zealand businesses engage globally throughout the value chain.   
 
Described by Lincoln University Vice-Chancellor Dr Andrew West as “an extraordinarily visionary and generous act”, the funded professorial chair will need a unique set of skills. “As well as carrying core academic responsibilities, we see the appointee becoming a leading spokesperson on global trade, particularly around the challenges facing New Zealand’s agricultural exports,” says Dr West. . .

Conviction for the illegal sale of home killed meat applauded:

Federated Farmers is applauding the Ministry for Primary Industries prosecuting a Northland man for selling meat which had not been processed in accordance with the Animal Products Act 1999.

The Chair of Federated Farmers Rural Butchers, Haydn Cleland says the successful prosecution shows the inspection regimes to protect the integrity of New Zealand’s food safety systems are working. . .

Caution not panic in kill plans – Alan Williams:

Farmers are taking a cautious line on stock for processing during an increasingly dry summer, booking them for two to three weeks ahead.

But they were ready to take them out if there was decent rain in the meantime, AFFCO Holdings interim general manager Rowan Ogg said.

In some cases farmers might have lambs booked in with more than one processor, he said. AFFCO had more stock than it could handle. . .

NZ lamb wool price rises to 3-year high on increased demand – Tina Morrison:

(BusinessDesk) – New Zealand lamb wool prices rose to a three-year high last week on increased demand for the fibre from clothing manufacturers in China.

The price for lamb wool jumped 10 cents to $6.10 per kilogram at last week’s North Island auction, matching a price last seen in January 2012, according to AgriHQ. The price for 35-micron clean wool, a benchmark for crossbred wool used for carpets and accounting for the majority of New Zealand’s production, was steady at $4.85/kg compared with the average price in auctions in both islands the previous week. Merino and mid-micron wool didn’t trade in the latest auction. . .

Sporting Stars Set to Choose Nation’s Top Lamb:

Iron Maidens Lisa Carrington, Sophie Pascoe and Sarah Walker are set to judge the ninth annual 2015 Beef + Lamb New Zealand Golden Lamb Awards, aka the Glammies.

The competition, supported by Zoetis, aims to find the most tender and tasty lamb in New Zealand, with categories for both farmers and retailers.

With the sporting superstars on the panel, alongside foodwriter, Lauraine Jacobs and head judge Graham Hawkes, entries will have to be of superior quality to impress this year.

Third time judge, Sarah Walker says she is thrilled to be involved in the competition once again. . .

NZ Forests Gain International Visibility:

With the acceptance of the NZ Forest Certification Association (NZFCA) as New Zealand’s PEFC Member, New Zealand forest growers gain visibility in the world’s leading forest certification system. “We are delighted to be accepted into membership of PEFC and to represent PEFC in New Zealand” says Dr Andrew McEwen, chair of NZFCA.

With more than 260 million hectares of certified forests, PEFC (Programme for Endorsement of Forest Certification) is the world’s leading forest certification system, promoting Sustainable Forest Management through independent third party certification. PEFC works throughout the entire forest supply chain to promote good practice in the forest and to ensure that timber and non-timber forest products are produced with respect for the highest ecological, social and ethical standards. Thanks to its eco-label, customers and consumers are able to identify products from sustainably managed forests. . .

 

 


Rural round-up

22/08/2014

NZ meat industry tie-up stumbled on differing strategies – Tina Morrison:

(BusinessDesk) – New Zealand meat companies abandoned efforts to consolidate and reduce surplus capacity last year because they lacked an agreed export strategy and farmers wouldn’t commit stock to firms that closed plants, industry sources say.

The country’s four biggest meat processors – farmer owned cooperatives Silver Fern Farms and Alliance Group, accounting for about half the industry, the Talley’s Group family-owned Affco and ANZCO Foods, with a majority ownership held by a Japanese food company – ended talks after failing to reach agreement last year.

A proposal for competitors to share the cost of closing plants was rejected, as was a plan for each company to retain its stock volumes for a period of up to five years following a closure, so they weren’t disadvantaged, according to people involved in the talks, who asked not to be named. . .

No more rules please, say farmers – Diane Bishop:

Education, not regulation, is the key to good environmental outcomes, Southland farmers say.

They want Environment Southland to establish best-practice guidelines around hill and high country development instead of enforcing rules on them.

“I don’t like rules,” Lumsden farmer Willie Menlove said.

“I’ve farmed for more than 20 years without these sorts of rules and I’d prefer education to be the end goal.”

He isn’t alone. . .

GM artificial food may be ‘staple diet’ – Matt Stewart:

From test-tube meat to 3-D printed pizza, the future of food is a brave new world where science is racing to keep up with a resource that grows ever more expensive and scarce.

As part of Wellington on a Plate, Victoria University tourism management honours students are imagining various scenarios around the future of food festivals and, ultimately, the way we will consume and make food as the planet struggles to feed 10 billion mouths by 2050.

“By 2050 the burger competition at Wellington on a Plate could consist of restaurants who are growing their own hamburgers,” student supervisor and futurist Ian Yeoman said. . .

Quality of river raises passions – Gerard Hutching:

Outside the mercury may be falling, but indoors the atmosphere heats up as a trio of farmers passionately debate the future of dairying in the Tararua district.

It’s a hot topic, with the Horizons Regional Council laying down the gauntlet to land users to clean up their act with its One Plan and the Environment Court setting limits on the amount of nitrogen loss into rivers.

Many found the court’s ruling hard to swallow.

“It would have been catastrophic. Our farms were going to rot from the inside out. The regional council had not done its work properly,” says Dannevirke dairy farmer Will Findlay. . .

 John Deere and the downside of an abundant harvest:

This year hasn’t been kind to the US agricultural sector.

Just ask John Deere, the world’s largest manufacturer of farming machinery. The company reported a 15 per cent plunge in profit for its fiscal third quarter compared with the previous quarter on Wednesday. After years of sustained growth, the company has now seen its sales fall in each of the first three fiscal quarters of 2014 and each time significantly.

Tractor sales, which are often used as a barometer of agricultural sector health, have been especially weak in the US. Deere’s equipment sales fell by 6 per cent in the third quarter, and are expected to tumble by another 8 per cent in the fourth quarter. . . .

Strong sales signal confidence in the New Zealand wine industry:

Solid export value growth and continued demand for New Zealand wine is the summary of the year according to the June year end 2014 Annual Report of New Zealand Winegrowers.

“Wineries took full advantage of the glorious 2013 vintage to bounce back from the supply constraints of 2012. The end result was a 10% increase in both export volume and value as overseas sales earned a record $1.33 billion” said Steve Green, Chair of New Zealand Winegrowers. The highly successful sales year left stocks needing replenishment and even greater demand forecast. 445,000 tonnes of grapes were harvested in 2014.

All grape growing regions witnessed a two-speed growing season which commenced early but slowed in the lead-up to vintage with a run of fine but cool weather in most regions allowing for good flavour development. . .

Our Seafood the Best in the World:

The Prime Minister John Key called New Zealand’s seafood ‘the best in the world’ in opening the Seafood Industry Conference in Wellington.

John Key said he’s travelled all over the world and eaten seafood in all sorts of places, but ‘without doubt New Zealand produces the best and I’ll challenge anyone to show me better.”

“I’ve hosted Hilary Clinton, to Will and Kate, and they’ve all been impressed by our seafood,” he told delegates. . .

 

 


Rural round-up

10/01/2014

ANZCO opens new food laboratory – Alan Williams:

ANZCO Foods has set up a new innovation centre at Lincoln University to focus on new food developments.

Its research team was already working on new developments, with more in the pipeline, the company’s Food and Solutions business chief executive Rennie Davidson said.

The centre was opened last month by ANZCO chairman Sir Graeme Harrison, who said it was part of an $87 million project to generate more value from beef carcases.

The FoodPlus project is a joint venture between ANZCO and the Government’s Primary Growth Partnership (PGP) programme. . .

Kiwis set to shine in New York – Alan Williams:

Promotion and sales are the focus for two top New Zealand knitting yarn marketers later this week at the Vogue Knit Live fair in New York.

Marnie Kelly and Bev Forrester will be showing their yarns in front of thousands of knitters from all over the United States and many others from round the world, in the heart of Times Square.

They sell to American and Canadian tourists in NZ and to customers online, and now they want to use the fair to attract retailers who can provide them with a bigger market. . .

Sizzling summer brings boats into play

SIZZLING, dry conditions in Queensland mean the prospect of feed grain being brought around from South Australia to Brisbane to boat becomes ever more likely.

Once considered fanciful, analysts now suggest the economics of bringing feed grain in from southern areas is now a strong possibility.

Lloyd George, AgScientia, said with the planting window for sorghum in southern Queensland rapidly closing and largely inelastic demand, end-users were casting their net ever further afield to source stocks. . .

ACCC has concerns over Murray Goulburn’s takeover of WCB –  Tim Binsted and Jared Lynch:

The competition regulator has cast doubts over Murray Goulburn’s claim that its acquisition of Warrnambool Cheese & Butter will yield benefits to the public and re-establish Australian dairy’s global competitiveness.

Murray Goulburn is locked in a fierce $500 million-plus takeover battle for control of WCB with Canadian dairy company Saputo.

Murray Goulburn must convince the Australian Competition Tribunal that the public benefits of its acquisition of WCB outweigh anti-competitive concerns or its bid is finished.

In an issues paper made public on Tuesday, the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission – which is helping the tribunal – rejected Murray Goulburn’s claim that its takeover of WCB would cause no significant lessening of competition. . . .

Food campaigners target Oxford Farming Conference – Johann Tasker:

Campaigners have called on the Oxford Farming Conference to recognise the contribution of small-scale farmers and food producers.

Members of the Land Workers’ Alliance protested outside the conference venue as delegates arrived at the Oxford Examination Rooms on Tuesday (7 January).

The alliance – members of the international peasant movement La Via Campesina – is a group which campaigs for the rights of small producers and a better food system. . .

 Musterer injured after horse collapses – Murray Robertson:

A CASUAL musterer on a farm at Rere was flown to hospital yesterday morning when the horse he was riding died underneath him as they descended a steep hillside.

Emergency services were alerted at about 11am.

The 69-year-old horseman suffered neck, head and facial injuries in the mishap. He was flown to Waikato Hospital yesterday afternoon after being assessed at Gisborne Hospital’s emergency department. . .

Manning the panic station – Tim Fulton:

It was just on five minutes to six in the half light of the morning when a cry rang out.

My wife’s urgent tone was comparable to the fright of a burglar in the living room: “Tim, Tim…the sheep are in the garden.”

Our sheep – a modest tally of four ewes and five lambs – make a mockery of our attempt at fencing.

The artificial barriers between yard and garden grow ever higher but still the mini flock tests weak links in the wire. . .


Rural round-up

09/12/2013

Alliance targets increased lamb exports to Iraq – Hannah McLeod:

Alliance Group plans to increase exports to the Middle East.

The company has just completed its first year exporting directly to Iraq, supplying Pure South lamb to hotels, restaurants and catering companies.

Group general marketing manager Murray Brown said yesterday Alliance provided more than 1000 tonnes of red meat to the Middle Eastern country this year.

They hoped to increase their presence in the Iraq market by introducing a wider product range, and doing more promotional work. . .

Meat exporter turns loss into profit

Meat exporter ANZCO Foods has turned around its last-season loss to record a post-tax profit of $12.2 million for the year to September

The result comes from total revenue of nearly $1.3 billion.

It is an improvement on the $19.1m deficit during a difficult 2011-12 season for red-meat trading and the company says its books are in a healthy position.

ANZCO was begun by Sir Graeme Harrison, who is company chairman, and is owned by three shareholder groups led by Japanese company Itoham Foods . . .

Progeny test helps Perendale breeding – Sally Rae:

Warren Ayers believes Perendale New Zealand’s progeny test will lead to the betterment of the breed.

Now in its fourth year, the test has been extended, with facial eczema and maternal traits, including body condition scoring and ewe longevity, added to the measurements.

Guided by a Perendale genetics group, the society is working with AgResearch and Ovita, with Beef and Lamb New Zealand investment.

Mr Ayers has taken over as host farm for the South Island portion of the progeny test, while a property at Tutira in Hawkes Bay is also involved. . .

Outlook fine for merinos – Sally Rae:

Mark Ferguson may be trying to help provide the perfect sheep – but he also reckons he has the perfect job.

Dr Ferguson is an Australian-born geneticist specialising in fine wool sheep who moved from Western Australia to Christchurch last year to join the New Zealand Merino Company.

He is leading NZM’s production science project, an initiative that aims to unlock the potential of ”the perfect sheep” – one that was healthy, fertile and high-producing, with high-quality meat and wool fit for high-value markets. . .

Survey looks at whitebaiting culture- Yvonne OHara:

Whitebaiting is quintessential Southland and part of the culture, like deer hunting, Environment Southland’s science technical adviser Dr Andy Hicks says.

He sent out a questionnaire in August to about 600 registered holders of whitebait stands in the lower Mataura and upper Aparima areas, to find out their opinions on their whitebaiting experiences.

About half of the respondents (54.5%) of the survey wanted to see more whitebait and better water quality, while about 23% thought there was no need for any change. About three-quarters (73%) of the 100 respondents said they were happy with their experience. However, 20% said they were not. . .

Fonterra finds cause of milk contamination:

Fonterra has completed its inquiry into an October incident in which 150,000 litres of milk in 14 tankers was contaminated with suspected mining waste at its Eltham Plant in Taranaki.

The milk was contaminated with mud and gravel and was disposed of at an Eltham waste plant.

Fonterra’s lower North Island regional manager Scott Walls says the company now knows what happened and has made changes so it can’t happen again.

He says a contractor had accidentally connected a trailer that was not intended to transport food products to a truck unit. . .


NZ will win with TPP

14/10/2013

Trade Minister Tim Groser said there was no need for concern about the content of the Trans Pacific Partnership:

“When this deal is done, I am certain that I and the Prime Minister will be able to come in from of New Zealanders and say: ‘this is virtually all upside’.”

“In relative terms, New Zealand will gain more than any country in TPP … the structure of these massive protective barriers that will come down will benefit New Zealand more than any country in this negotiation.” . . .

. . .  Mr Groser . . . said concerns about intellectual property and patents under the TPP had been “wildly exaggerated”.

He said the United States is the “most innovative country in the world” so their intellectual property law could hardly chill innovation.

New Zealanders would not be paying more for drugs as a result of TPP, Mr Groser said.

“I’ve said categorically Pharmac is not on the table.”

ANZCO Foods chair Sir Graeme Harrison said New Zealand has a lot more to gain from the TPP now Japan’s in the negotiations.

He said:

New Zealand could bring in $5 billion per year in our exports now Japan was involved in the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP), compared to $3.5 billion without Japan.

The increase in exports to Japan could mean a 2% gain in GDP, with many of the gains in the primary industries, he said. . .

He said Japan’s inclusion has made the TPP more worthwhile for the United States, which in turn will work in New Zealand’s favour.

“All of this comes together with two countries, the world’s first and third largest economy, both believing in a rules-based trading system, that are on our side, and we can have quite an influence in that process.”

Both were speaking on The Nation yesterday. You can watch the full interviews here.

New Zealand has a very small domestic market and we have one of the most open economies in the world.

We’ve already gone through the hard part of giving up protection and puts us ahead of most of the other countries which are negotiating the TPP.

We have a lot to gain and very little to lose from the successful completion of the TPP agreement.


Rural round-up

21/05/2013

We’re here to stay – Anzco chair:

REMOVAL OF excess capacity is a key to breaking the impasse in the meat industry, says Anzco Foods chairman Sir Graeme Harrison.  This will ultimately be achieved, either in a relatively orderly way or through company collapses, he says. “Either way, Anzco Foods as a predominantly beef company intends to remain a part of the New Zealand meat industry,” Harrison told Rural News.His comments come as farmers make another push for merging co-ops Silver Fern Farms and Alliance in a bid to lift returns. However, combining the co-ops is unlikely to be enough to change the industry’s performance, strategy and structure.

SFF and Alliance collectively hold a market share of only 53%. Adding the private Affco and Anzco companies would bring total processing capacity to nearly 80%. . .

Nitrate leaching overview – Milking on the Moove:

Today I give an overview of nitrate leaching.

What is Nitrate Leaching?

What type of farming leach the most Nitrate?

How nitrate leaching from dairy farms is different from cropping & horticulture. . . .

How absentee farm owners can protect themselves from a “dirty dairying” taint:

The obvious answer is to stay on top of effluent discharge in the first place says Geoff Young, environmental monitoring consultant and Managing Director of BPO Ltd, the Waikato company which specialises in providing technical environmental monitoring information and systems both in New Zealand and overseas.

In Young’s opinion the recent Waikato Regional Council vs a Mangakino farm case was a no win situation. According to the reports, warnings had been issued and it wasn’t until charges had been laid that improvements were made. The investment made by the owners was significant but it was made too late to head off the Environment Court charges.

The Regional Council has been trying to get the message across for years that when it lays charges it’s already too late. According to Young, dairy farming cops more than its fair share of flack and this is yet another example protagonists will use to point out how bad dairy farming is, when that’s not the case at all. . .

High quality, safe NZ seafood focus of new role:

Cawthron Institute has boosted its science and aquaculture capability with the appointment of senior scientist Dr Jacquie Reed as its new head of aquaculture.

“We are excited to further strengthen our science leadership team with this new appointment,” Cawthron Institute Chief Executive Professor Charles Eason says.

“Dr Reed is an accomplished scientist with extensive, proven scientific expertise and specialist knowledge of the commercial aquaculture sector. She will complement and enhance our existing research, while bringing a fresh approach, new energy and drive to this important role.”

Dr Reed will lead the Aquaculture Group, manage the further development of the Cawthron Aquaculture Park and spearhead research and development to support new and existing partners, including SPATnz, Kono and Aotearoa Fisheries Limited. . .

MT. Beautiful Winery Founder David Teece to Be Honored for Receiving a Companion of the New Zealand Order of Merit:

United States-based internationally acclaimed professor of economics and founder of Mt. Beautiful Wines/Teece Family Vineyards, David Teece, is “absolutely delighted” that efforts to promote U.S. – New Zealand relations have been officially recognized.

Professor Teece, who is also a successful entrepreneur and consultant, has received a Companion of the New Zealand Order of Merit for services regarding New Zealand-United States relations. This Royal Honor will be presented at investiture dinner on Thursday May 23rd at 7pm by the Governor General on behalf of Queen Elizabeth II.

“In my case I have worked hard on a lot of issues between the U.S. and New Zealand, but this is a complete surprise on my part. I’m delighted to have the recognition and I feel stimulated to work even harder towards achieving common goals between the countries,” Teece said. . .

Green Meadows Beef Shows Commitment to New Zealand Food Traceability with Launch of Own Butchery:

Green Meadows Beef, a New Zealand owned, family business that produces 100% grass-fed, free-range beef has opened the doors to its own butchery in New Plymouth. This is the natural next step for the brand that hopes their approach to beef farming, processing and delivery will lead to more Kiwis purchasing healthier, tastier and more ethically produced meat.

Taranaki based Pat Hogan, who has more than 25 years experience as a butcher under his belt in supermarkets, retail butchers and his own store, has been brought on to manage the butchery. He is a welcome addition to the Green Meadows Beef team, which is led by Michael and Margy Carey, and their sons, Nick Carey, Brent Carey and Karl Carey. Pat’s expertise complements Michael Carey’s extensive knowledge of animal management and Nick Carey’s business and marketing skills. . .

Unique line-up of International Judges for New Zealand’s Spiegelau International Wine Competition:

From a total of 12 judges, three are flying in from Australia and one from Singapore to add their extensive experience to the eight-strong New Zealand team at this year’s Spiegelau International Wine Competition.

Joining regulars Ralph Kyte-Powell from Melbourne and Adelaide-based consultant Phil Reedman MW are Annette Scarfe, a newly minted MW based in Singapore and Nick Ryan, wine writer and commentator from Sydney. . .


Positive outlook for meat industry

14/07/2008

ANZCO Foods chairman Graeme Harrison is confident that the meat industry has a positive future.

He said the industry is not broke and farmers should take a “level headed” approach to its future – because it does have a good future. 

ANZCO, a 24-year-old private company, is the fourth biggest player in the New Zealand sheepmeat market and the second biggest in the beef and veal markets.

It has in the last three years invested $125 million in new plants and upgrades and in food manufacturing expansion, says Harrison, a significant individual shareholder.

“We wouldn’t be making these investments if we didn’t think there was a good future for the business.”

By way of example Harrison says ANZCO has only recorded one loss in its 24 year history – in 1998 – “because of an investment outside New Zealand”.

“I’m sick and tired of all the negative publicity about where the meat industry is…. I’ve got confidence so producers should be taking a very level-headed view of this (debate) instead of being carried away with all the negative publicity.”

When prices are low, costs are rising and balance sheets in the red, it is easy to become pessamistic but I agree that the industry has a bright future.

Harrison says this was the message he gave a recent gathering of producers for ANZCO’s CMP business and he wants to repeat it to all meat growers as they debate the future of their industry.

“The problem sector in the meat industry is lamb and it’s in the South Island because of competition for land use (dairying).

” We have an industry with four players, all with about the same financial strength. Forget about sales turnover and market share … what you actually have is declining livestock numbers and supply is the key to this business. Where companies are similarly resourced clearly you are going to have severe competition. The long and the short of it is, some fallout is going to occur. What we have is livestock supply eroding in sheepmeat at a rate we haven’t seen since the mid-1980s. So clearly there is going to be change.”

Harrison says market forces are at work and farmers are responding to them. The biggest market force is the dairy boom.

“It’s the biggest boom in New Zealand agriculture since the early 1950s.(when dairying converted to sheep, particularly in mid-Canterbury and Southland). We’ve got a reverse of that now but on a bigger scale. Good mixed farming areas are going into dairying and the reason is comparative profitability.

“There’s nothing new about this…but extraordinary things happen in those environments. I’ve been trying to make the point that the meat industry is not broke. There’s been far too much talk about this, though it is true that financial rewards have been poor in the last four years.

“Sooner or later when you have poor returns there will be an effort to rationalise.”

If we still had subsidies we’d probably still have 60 million sheep and a mountain of lamb and mutton deteriorating in freezers. Instead we now have fewer than 40 million sheep and farmers are looking at their options and making rational business decisions based on the markets. Some are persuaded by dairy returns to convert their farms to dairying or dairy support. Others who don’t want to do that are looking at the positive impact dairy prices are having on their own land and selling.  Some still belive there is a future in sheep and beef, which of course there is.

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