Rural round-uup

January 18, 2017

Brexit – Pommy Rogernomics? – Adolf Fiinkensein:

It appears British PM Theresa May is going for a hard landing.  Cut the ties to the EU and go it alone, right from the word go.

What will this mean for UK fat lamb producers?  What opportunities will this provide for NZ and Australian frozen lamb exporters?

It seems to me UK farmers will undergo the same shocks that beset NZ farmers when Roger Douglas delivered the much needed coup de grace to the now notorious Supplementary Minimum Prices. . .

Silver Fern Farms payout ‘used as a sweetener’ – Alexa Cook:

Silver Fern Farms’ dividend of 30 cents per share will be a one-off because it was only used to sweeten a deal with a Chinese company, according to one shareholder.

The company is New Zealand’s largest meat company and has confirmed today it will pay $35.5 million in dividends to its shareholders on 14 February. 

The government approved the controversial $260 million deal with Chinese company Shanghai Maling last year after a group of shareholders fought for more than a year to keep the meat company in New Zealand ownership, arguing the original shareholder approval of the joint venture was unlawful. . . 

Apples in short supply across the country – Laura Wlaters:

Apples are in short supply due to a slow start to the New Zealand season.

The popular fruit is usually available year-round but this week shoppers were shocked to see empty shelves where the granny smiths and royal gala would usually sit.

A Countdown spokeswoman said there were apples in their stores at the moment but they were not New Zealand apples.

“We’re in between seasons at the moment,” she said. . . 

Three NZ shearers set world shearing record – Che Baker:

A former Southland shearer made his way into the world record book again after breaking the three-stand strong-wool ewes shearing record for eight hours.

Eru Weeds, of Ohai but now based in Roxburgh, was joined by shearers James Mack, of Weber, and Luke Mullins, of Te Awamutu, at Waitara Station, inland northwest of Napier, to smash the record of 1347 by 264 sheep, finishing with a tally of 1611.  . . 

Constant rate increases irk – Pam Tipa:

THE DAYS of New Zealand having an undue reliance on property taxes to fund local government are coming to an end, claims Local Government New Zealand (LGNZ) chief executive Malcolm Alexander.

He was answering Federated Farmers’ questioning of the priorities and fiscal discipline of New Zealand’s councils, as rates continue to outstrip cost indexes. Alexander says it is pleasing to see others parties like Federated Farmers and the tourism industry are picking up on the need for more flexible funding tools for rates.

This is an issue which no longer can be ignored, he says. The Feds say between 2006 and 2016 there has been 77% hike in rates by the country’s 13 city, 54 district and 11 regional councils.  . . 

Four chartered 747s carry cherries to Asia for Chinese New Year – Amanda Cropp:

Singapore Airlines has put on four special charter flights to get hundreds of tonnes of South Island cherries to Asia in time for Chinese New Year.

The first two 747 “cherry flights” each carrying up to 95 tonnes of fruit flew out of Christchurch on Thursday and Friday.

Another two are scheduled over the next week to get fruit to Singapore for distribution to South East and North Asian markets. . . 


Rural round-up

May 20, 2015

Better returns trump loyalty – Hugh Stringleman:

Fonterra must put more effort into understanding why it is losing market share and therefore its shareholder capital is being diluted, major supplier Trevor Hamilton says.

Family-owned TH Enterprises (THE), which has 10 big dairy farms in the North and South Islands, has “driven a bus through Trading Among Farmers (TAF)”.

Founder and chief executive Hamilton said THE directors, including two independents, had exposed the weaknesses of TAF by making perfectly reasonable and sound business decisions over the past 30 months to cash in shares, to buy more farms and divert half of the milk supply to other processors. . .

TAF delivers what it promised – Hugh Stringleman:

Trading Among Farmers (TAF) has delivered what farmer-shareholders wanted in the way of more flexibility as well as capital security for Fonterra, equity analysts have said.

The 2012 restructure created a new generation of hybrid co-operative in which farmers were able to sell the economic rights of supply shares into the Fonterra Shareholders’ Fund (FSF) but retain co-operative control and voting rights.

The fund had grown to $713 million at the interim balance date January 31 with the economic rights of just under 122m shares. . .

 Sheep numbers down but productivity up – Jamie Mackay:

News last week our national sheep flock had dropped below 30 million for the first time since 1943 probably surprised no one but, regardless, it’s a damning and telling statistic for a once all-conquering industry.

When I was a kid growing up on a Southland sheep farm, two things stuck in my head from my final year of primary schooling in 1972. . .

 Apple harvest appears positive – Alan Williams:

Scales Corporation subsidiary Mr Apple is busy packing this season’s apple crop and isn’t expecting a dramatic impact on yields from hail in Hawke’s Bay earlier this year.

The harvest was due to finish about now but packing operations would continue through to the end of June, Scales managing director Andy Borland said.

The incidence of hail damage would be revealed during the packing process. Borland estimated a “bit of an impact” but many of the orchards avoided the hail altogether, a benefit of the group strategy to spread the orchard across the fruit-growing region. . . .

New Zealand Young Farmers educating Tasman teens at Stock Skills Day:

New Zealand Young Farmers is providing an educational day for Canterbury teens wanting to learn more about stock judging and handling on Sunday 24 May at the Canterbury Agricultural Park.

Members of New Zealand Young Farmers High School Clubs, commonly known as TeenAg Clubs, in the Tasman region have been invited to take part in a hands-on, interactive one day program which aims to introduce students to a different aspect of the agriculture industry.

Students will participate in groups of twelve and move through modules as they would through a typical day of competition at an A & P Show; from prepping and handling through to judging and prize giving. Prizes will be awarded to the most engaged students. There will also be a clipping and shearing demonstration. . .

RailBike adventures begin pedalling into the Forgotten World:

The visitor industry in the central north Island is set to surge once again with the introduction of the country’s first tandem RailBike experience.
Operating along what is arguably known as New Zealand’s most scenic decommissioned railway; Forgotten World Adventures has added the RailBike product to its already impressive list of seasonal rail based adventures using converted golf carts, also known as RailCarts.

Waikato Farmer and Forgotten World Adventures founder and Managing Director Ian Balme believes the introduction of the RailBike is a timely step for a business that has seen exponential growth since it was launched in 2012.

“This season we’ve provided over 6,000 clients with an outstanding experience through the historic Forgotten World and I am thrilled that we’re now in a position to build on our existing range of tours by introducing what will undoubtedly become a must-do kiwi adventure for groups of up to ten people” says Mr Balme. . .

10 reasons we don’t need organic food:

1. Organic crops do not increase yield.

GMOs have increased yields by 22% with even greater success in developing nations.

2. Organic crops increase pesticide use.

GMOs have decreased pesticide use by 37% with even greater success in developing nations.

Organic herbicides only kill the plant tissue that it touches, requiring more to be sprayed, and more repeated spraying. Glyphosate, on the other hand, attacks a specific enzyme that is only found in plants. Farmers using glyphosate don’t need to cover all of the weed to kill it, and they don’t need to spray as often. . .

New Horizons for regional South Island:

A new fund has been announced this morning to help regional South Island tourism operators capture the tsunami of opportunities from the growing China market.

The ‘New Horizons Fund’ is a regional economic development programme initiated by Christchurch Airport, as part of the “South” initiative, which sees all 15 South Island regional tourism organisations working collaboratively in tourist markets.

The programme kicks off with a budget of $100,000 and aims to support a minimum of two South Island tourism operators into the China market each year. . .


Rural round-up

March 1, 2015

Northland water storage study shows potential:

Primary Industries Minister Nathan Guy has welcomed the commissioning of a new report to examine the potential of water storage and infrastructure in Northland.

“This study will identify areas where improved water supply and potential water infrastructure could deliver economic growth and other benefits to Northland,” says Mr Guy.

“The study is an important step in a joint project involving the Ministry for Primary Industries’ Irrigation Acceleration Fund, Northland Regional Council, and economic development agency Northland Inc.

“More reliable irrigation will help develop sectors like farming and horticulture, meaning more local jobs and exports.” . .

 Dramatic figures show human cost – Neal Wallace:

In the three hours it took for the Otago launch of the Safer Farms project on February 20, 16 farm workers filed work-related injury claims with ACC, a statistic that reinforced farming as New Zealand’s most dangerous occupation.

Each year on average 17 people were killed and 20,000 people would lodge a claim with ACC for a farm-related injury and those dramatic statistics aside, the Government’s focus of improving farm safety would bring the sector into line with the legal obligations of other businesses.

Workplace Relations and Safety Minister Michael Woodhouse said 120 people had been killed on farms since 2008, with the 20 who died last year four times as many as the forestry or construction industries.  . .

 We’re in business. Mobile milking approved & the milk is flowing – Milking on the Moove:

Two weeks ago The Ministry For Primary Industries approved my Risk Management Programme!

It’s a huge achievement & it means that mobile milking & more specifically mobile milk processing is possible in New Zealand.

This now opens up a huge range of possibilities for us to develop some pretty radical and truly sustainable dairy farming systems.

I made my first delivery on the 10th February to our first and only customer C1 Espresso in Christchurch. . .

Fonterra’s global reach – Keith Woodford:

[This is the third of five articles on Fonterra written in early 2015 and published in the Fairfax NZ Sunday Star Times. This one was published on 15 February 2015. Earlier articles in the series were titled ‘The evolution of Fonterra’ and ‘Fonterra’s Journey’ ]

Within Fonterra, there is inevitable tension as to its role on the global stage. From a farmer perspective, Fonterra is a business with assets of about $20 billion (about half equity and half debt) which processes the milk produced by five million New Zealand cows. It then markets the resultant dairy products across the world.

Most of the value of these dairy products lies in the farm gate price of the milksolids contained therein. Accordingly, ask any of Fonterra’s farmer owners as to what they most expect and demand of Fonterra, it is likely to be that this farm gate price is maximised. . .

Rural course revamp leads the way:

The highly-respected Kellogg Rural Leadership programme for 2015 has begun at Lincoln University with a new structure and fresh content. A group of 23 participants working within primary industries from around New Zealand started the revamped six-month course in late January. It includes three residential components and an industry-based project. 

“The changes introduced this year include a shortened six-month programme and a second course starting in June. This provides better options for different seasonal sector commitments,” Kellogg Rural Leadership Programme general manager Anne Hindson said. . .

Breeding oomph back into our apples – Laura Basham:

Roxy and Big Daddy are set to make it big. They are colourful characters, and tasty.

They have been in the making for 20 years and now it’s planned to put them on the international market.

The pair are new apple varieties, the darlings of Nelson orchardist and breeder Bill Lynch who reckons there are too many boring, tasteless apples on supermarket shelves.

He wants to put some oomph into the industry that has been his life and leave a lasting legacy, not only for his orchardist son, Dan, but for other growers and the country. . .

 


Rural round-up

February 26, 2015

Federated Farmers advises farmers to prepare Feed Budgets:

As stock feed becomes scarce Federated Farmers is encouraging farmers to get a feed plan and budget under way for the remainder of the year.

Katie Milne, Federated Farmers Adverse Events Spokesperson says “The dry conditions and reduced payout have left many farmers not only short of feed now, but facing a shortage for the rest of the year.”

“Farmers may have already done this, but given this is a pretty stressful time we want to remind them to keep it up to date.” . . .

A2 Milk’s premium payout attracts farmer interest with lower dairy prices this year – Fiona Rotherham:

 (BusinessDesk) – A2 Milk Co, which markets milk with a protein variant said to have health benefits, says it’s had more interest from farmers interested in supplying the company since dairy prices have dropped this year.

A2 Milk pays a premium of around 5 to 7 percent to its small number of farmer suppliers in New Zealand, Australia, and the UK, which has become more attractive as the farmgate milk price for standard milk has dropped markedly this season. Dairy exporter Fonterra Cooperative Group is due to update tomorrow morning its forecast milk price which was reduced to $4.70 per kilogram of milk solids in December compared to $8.40/kgMS last season. . .

 

Old Reefton mines to be cleaned up:

New Zealand’s most toxic contaminated site located near Reefton in two old mines are to be cleaned up in a joint funding agreement between the Ministry for the Environment and the Department of Conservation totalling $3 million, Environment Minister Dr Nick Smith announced today in Reefton.

“The Prohibition and Alexander mine sites are acutely toxic and a blight on New Zealand’s clean, green reputation. The levels of arsenic are among the highest recorded anywhere in the world at 400,000 parts per million on land, or 500 times the safe level, and in water at 300 parts per million, or 33,000 times the safe limit for drinking water,” Dr Smith says.

“We need to clean up this site so as to prevent ongoing contamination to the surrounding environment and make the site safe for future generations. . .

It is time to stand up for agriculture – About Agriculture:

Ahhhhh, Sunday morning.  The perfect time to sit down with a cup of coffee and actually open and read some of those links I’ve been eyeing up on twitter and facebook.  This week I started jotting down a few ideas for a couple blog posts and now I am searching social media to help with some thoughts to finish one.  I read through a few posts and news stories until I stumble upon a newly posted video of a TEDx talk by Robert Saik on GMOs.  Knowing Roberts company (AGRI-TREND) and his values, I figure that I should take the 20 minutes and listen, and I am really glad I did.

Our farm is not a customer of AGRI-TREND so there is no conflict of interest, this is not a paid post, and I am not ‘shilling’ in any way.  It is sad that these are statements that I feel I have to make when speaking up for biotechnology and agriculture, but the accusation of somehow being employed by “big Ag” (whatever ‘big Ag ‘means) is all too common. . .

Hat Tip: Utopia

White clover rewards careful sowing:

Farmers can get up to 20% more white clover established in their new paddocks simply by sowing it differently, a Canterbury trial has found.

Agriseeds compared five different techniques for establishing new pasture in autumn, plus a control treatment, to find out more about what effect sowing method has on clover population in the sward.

Broadcasting clover and ryegrass seed on the surface, then harrowing and rolling it to simulate the effect of a roller drill, gave the best result when the swards were analysed nine months after sowing. . .

 

The World’s LOUDEST Apple:

SweeTango® apples are the hottest apple in the world right now and it’s all about texture! SweeTango® have cells that are twicethe size of normal apples which gives them their legendary crunch and makes them amazing to eat. It’s also the reason why they’ve been scientifically proven to be the loudest apple in the world!

Bred by the University of Minnesota, who are known for developing unique varieties, SweeTango® has a flavour that is rich and intense at a time when many apples are becoming bland.

SweeTango® apples are ready in late January, before any other fresh commercial apple varieties are available. And because The Yummy Fruit Company are the only company growing them outside of the United States it means we get to enjoy them first each season! . . .

 


Rural round-up

October 12, 2012

Business skill vital for farming success – Ali Tocker:

Business skills are crucial to high-performing and profitable farms, new research from DairyNZ shows.

The research covered 150 dairy farms in Waikato and Canterbury, and identified the key characteristics of the top-performing farms.

It took the top quarter of farms surveyed, ranked on operating profit per hectare, and identified their common characteristics.

“It’s not animal husbandry, feed or people management – the biggest skill gap is in the business area,” DairyNZ economist Matthew Newman said. . .

Lamb prices hurting Americans – Gerald Piddock:

New Zealand farmers are not the only lamb producers facing tough times.

North American sheep farmers have had a 40 per cent drop in lamb prices with values now sitting where they were a decade ago, Beef+Lamb North American representative Andrew Burt said.

Mr Burt is back in New Zealand having recently taken up the role of Beef+Lamb’s chief economist.

US lamb producers were forecasting an over-supply of lamb for this coming season he said. . .

Alpaca breeders’ patience pays off – Peter Watson:

You need plenty of patience to breed quality alpacas.

New Zealand herds are invariably small and vary widely in quality, top animals are expensive to buy, females take almost a year to produce an offspring and twins are rare. . .

Apple orchardists on a roll south – Sandra Finny:

With little help from anyone outside of family, orchardists Peter and Danny Bennett are reaping the rewards after nearly six years of battling red tape to bring a lucrative apple growing franchise to South Canterbury.

The Bennetts, who own the established Waipopo Orchard near Temuka, are in expansion mode planting 50,000 apple trees on top of 40,000 they planted three years ago, which are already producing export crops to meet an insatiable demand for their trademark HoneyCrunch apples in US markets.

The apples are a point of difference with Southern hemisphere supply being market-led not producer-driven. . .

Unlocking the perfect sheep:

Imagine the perfect sheep; healthy, fertile, and high producing, with meat of unsurpassed eating quality and wool fit for high value markets. This is the sheep that will transform New Zealand’s sheep industry, providing higher returns to growers and elevating the fibre on which much of the New Zealand economy was built to new heights.

With assistance from the government’s Primary Growth Partnership (PGP), The New Zealand Merino Company (NZM) is investing in production science initiatives to unlock the potential of this perfect sheep, which will thrive across a range of geographic areas and combine great quality meat and wool traits in the same animal. . .

And an interesting infographic on the difference between natural cheese and processed cheese.


Apples away!

November 30, 2010

The World Trade Organisation’s Appellate Body, has upheld New Zealand’s case  in the dispute over exporting apples to Australia.

This is great news for orchardists which has been welcomed by Trade Minister Tim Groser.

 “The appeal report upholds the thorough analysis undertaken by the WTO dispute Panel around risk assessment and the science at issue. These findings – reached by independent external arbiters – settle any debate.  This is good news for New Zealand apple exporters,” said Mr Groser.

 New Zealand has been seeking access into Australia for its apples since 1986 but has been barred from the market as a result of restrictive quarantine measures.  Australia has maintained that the alleged risk of introducing fire blight, European canker and apple leaf-curling midge justified the measures.

 After exhaustive efforts to resolve the matter with Australia, New Zealand took the issue to the WTO.  The WTO Panel report on the case was released in August.  Australia appealed. The Panel had found that all 16 of Australia’s quarantine measures, along with their Import Risk Analysis, were inconsistent with Australia’s legal obligations under the WTO Sanitary and Phytosanitary Agreement. The Appellate Body has now upheld the Panel’s core findings. 

 On a subsidiary issue – whether there were less trade restrictive measures available to Australia – the Appellate Body overturned the Panel’s decision on technical grounds.  But this does not weaken the central findings around risk assessment and the science.    

 “The Appellate Body has confirmed that Australia’s objections to New Zealand apple imports are simply not backed by the science.”

 This ruling opens the door to apple exports to Australia worth millions of dollars.

That’s not only good for our producers it will offer more choice, and potentially lower prices through more competition, to Australian consumers.


Apple battle won but appeal will prolong the war

August 10, 2010

The World Trade Organisation has ruled against Australia’s ban on the import of our apples.

It is not quite the end of the process, because Australia can appeal.

But any appeal would be limited to looking at the legal consistency of the decision, not relitigating the whole case.

An appeal could take about eight months, but Australia might not appeal at all.

Given there’s an election looming across the Tasman and both major parties will be courting votes in marginal seats it is likely there will be an appeal.

But the WTO decision is decisive so it’s probable this will only delay the inevitable decision which will let Australian consumers enjoy our apples, including some varieties which aren’t grown there.


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