Rural round-up

March 20, 2013

Commercial Partnership Pays Dividends for New Zealand:

An AgResearch-developed wool dyeing technology that bridges the gap between high performance and haute couture is set to shine on a global stage thanks to a worldwide licensing deal.

The revolutionary textile dyeing process is now being commercialised by BGI Development. It enables wool to be dyed two colours at the same time, and graphics and images to be dyed into the fabric. There is no loss of the quality feel of the fabric and the images won’t deteriorate over time.

The technology enables designers to use high performance merino in creative ways never before possible, making merino an excellent choice for fashion active wear. . .

Dairying Women Want Greater ROI From Professional Advisors:

The Dairy Women’s Network will work with hundreds of dairying women across the country in April, helping them to increase the return on their investment on rural professional advice.

Dairy Women’s Network chief executive Sarah Speight said dairy farmers spend an average of $4,000 annually for advice from rural professionals (Reference, Ministry of Primary Industries, Farm Monitoring Report 2012 – Pastoral Monitoring: National Dairy) and the Network wants to help ensure this is money well spent.

“Dairying women and their partners want to get the best return possible on the money and time they are investing in rural professional advice. They want to see a demonstrable return on their operation’s bottom line – whether that’s in the short or long term – or it’s money down the drain. . .

Red meat farmers call for industry consolidation – Allan Barber:

Not for the first time, sheep and beef farmers have called for a single processing and marketing company representing 80% of the red meat industry.

At a meeting in Gore on Monday up to 1000 farmers from Southland and Otago, and as far away as HawkesBay voted overwhelmingly for a consolidated structure. The organisers now intend to promote the concept to other farmer groups throughout the country. But the industry has been down this route before without reaching a satisfactory conclusion. So what is different this time?

 In 2006 a group of South Island famers formed the Meat Industry Restructuring Group which called for a merger of the two big cooperatives, Alliance and Silver Fern Farms or PPCS as it then was. In 2008 Alliance Group led an attempt to reach agreement with those companies that made up approximately 80% of the industry which was seen as the minimum level required to achieve critical mass. . .

Drought-fuelled pests threaten winter feed crops:

As farmers across the country grapple with drought recovery plans and dry conditions, Ravensdown’s George Kerse Business Manager Agrochemicals is warning about the impact of insect pests on winter feed.

“As if the lack of moisture was not bad enough, the consistent extremely dry conditions mean insect pests are becoming a real issue for farmers.

The current dry conditions will have already reduced the amount of autumn-saved forage for winter feed, so specialist winter crops are becoming more important ensuring adequate feed for animals to prepare for next season. . .

Deteriorating Conditions Impacting On Farm Sales:

Summary

Data released today by the Real Estate Institute of NZ (“REINZ”) shows there were 28 more farm sales (+8.0%) for the three months ended February 2013 than for the three months ended February 2012. Overall, there were 379 farm sales in the three months to end of February 2013, compared with 399 farm sales in the three months to January 2013, a decrease of 20 sales (-5.0%). 1,445 farms were sold in the year to February 2013, 11.6% more than were sold in the year to February 2012.

The median price per hectare for all farms sold in the three months to February 2013 was $21,951; a 1.43% increase on the $21,641 recorded for three months ended February 2012. The median price per hectare decreased by 8.5% compared to January. . .

NZ Honey Not Always What It Seems: Airborne Honey Urges Kiwis to Buy Fully Traceable Food:

Airborne Honey, New Zealand’s longest standing honey brand, is calling on New Zealanders to be sure that the honey they are buying is what it claims to be and of a sufficiently high standard. According to Airborne Honey data, a large amount of honey on the shelves is heat damaged and labelled inaccurately. This includes Clover and Manuka honeys coming in well under the pollen percentage recommended by published research and derived from applying the Codex international standard for honey.

“The horsemeat scandal in Europe is encouraging more people than ever before to make food choices based on traceability and assured quality. Unfortunately, many don’t realise that there can be such discrepancies when it comes to honey,” says Peter Bray, Managing Director of Airborne Honey. . .

Mobile technology is a game changer for primary industries:

Back in 1990 few people had personal computers, the internet was an unknown and the age of the mobile phones was just around the corner. In a very short space of time these three technologies have fundamentally changed the face of business around the world.

Many of today’s leading global companies, Google, Apple and Microsoft, built their business around these three technologies. The services they provided their customers had a dramatic effect on workers’ productivity and levelled the playing field for many small businesses.

The recent release of smartphones has also been a game changer for many. Businesses now take it for granted that emails can be checked, news read, documents signed or video streamed, all while on the morning commute to work. . .

Babich Wins Trophy for ‘New Zealand Wine Producer of the Year 2013’ in China:

Babich Wines has continued their run of impressive international accolades by winning the Trophy for ‘New Zealand Wine Producer of the Year 2013’ at the China Wine & Spirits Awards Best Value 2013 held in Hong Kong earlier this month.

The Babich Marlborough Sauvignon Blanc 2012 and Babich The Patriarch 2010 both won a Double Gold Medal. These medals, along with a Silver Medal for the Babich Black Label Sauvignon Blanc 2012 helped clinch the ‘New Zealand Wine Producer of the Year 2013’ trophy. . .


Rural round-up

November 3, 2012

European farmers surprisingly upbeat – Gerald Piddock:

European farmers are surprisingly upbeat about the future of their industry despite the continent being still very much in a recession, Beef+Lamb chairman Mike Petersen says.

Speaking from Brussels, Mr Petersen said he expected to see “doom and gloom” as a result of the recession.

“I have been pleasantly surprised at the mood of the farming population over here. They are very optimistic about the future and quite optimistic about the coming season.”

Petersen has been in Europe, meeting with counterparts and discussing their expectations for the coming year. He outlined his observations in a Beef+Lamb conference call. . .

Water priorities come up trumps – Jon Morgan:

The elephant in the room analogy is becoming a bit overworked, but I like it. Lately, the elephant has been really showing off. In the debate about freshwater quality the elephant is nitrogen leaching.

It was brought into the room by conservationists a few years back but attempts to prod it into life largely failed. It just sat stinking in the corner.

But a few weeks ago Judge Craig Thompson of the Environment Court climbed aboard and hit it with a big stick.

The elephant reared back on its hind legs and let out an ear-splitting roar, loud enough to be heard in every milking shed and dairy factory throughout the land. . .

NZ Commodity prices rise 1.3% in October, led by wool, cheese:

New Zealand commodity prices rose for the third straight month in October, led by gains in wool and dairy products while aluminium fell.

The ANZ Commodity Price Index rose 1.3 percent last month with 12 commodity prices gaining two declining and three unchanged.

A slightly firmer New Zealand dollar meant the gain in the ANZ NZD Commodity price Index was a slightly lower 1 1 percent. . .

Fonterra’s Trading among farmers launches but I still don’t understand it – Milking on the Moove:

I’ve blogged about TAF before here and here. We now have a bit more information on how it will play out in practice. But to be fair, I still don’t really understand it and this view has been expressed by many observers in the media and the industry. It is not fully understood and some of the reason for this is Fonterra themselves don’t know exactly how the governance will work, as they are still undertaking a review.

My thoughts;

Will farmers sell some of their shares into the fund?
I think they will, there are lots of farmers who have very high debt levels, the drop in the forecast payout is making many farm budgets drop into the red. I think many of these farmers would sell 25% of their shares into the fund and use the proceeds to pay off debt.

The dividend portion of the shares is estimated to return net 4.2%-5%, farmers will be paying 7%-8% interest on their debt, so they make a greater return by reducing their debt.  . .

New director shows youth and wisdom
THE RISING average age of farmers creates succession problems not only for farms and orchards; it is also seen in the boardrooms of primary producer businesses.

That’s why Zespri’s newest director Nathan Flowerday is pleased an Agmardt scheme which helped him get elected to Zespri’s board will be extended to others. 

Flowerday was the successful candidate in 2011 for an associate board trustee position created by Agmardt on its own board to give young farmers or growers governance experience. He believes that experience gave Zespri voters the confidence in him to elect him in July this year to the Zespri board. 

As a result, he and Agmardt are urging other agribusiness organisations to pick up the idea of creating an associate board-membership position, or at least establish observer positions on their boards. . .

Record Early Entries in Dairy Awards

There’s been a record-breaking response to the number of entries received in the 2013 New Zealand Dairy Industry Awards, since entries opened just yesterday.

National Convenor Chris Keeping says 33 entries were received online at www.dairyindustryawards.co.nz yesterday – the first day people could enter the New Zealand Sharemilker/Equity Farmer of the Year, New Zealand Farm Manager of the Year and New Zealand Dairy Trainee of the Year competitions. . .

Babich Wines Look to Expand in Marlborough

The 96 year old New Zealand wine company, Babich Wines Limited, announced today the sale of their 50% share of the Marlborough winemaking facility, Rapaura Vintners Limited to Treasury Wine Estates.

Rapaura Vintners Limited, an integrated winery, packaging and warehouse facility has been invaluable for Babich over the last 12 years as they have continued to grow production and sales of their Marlborough wines.

Babich Wines will now look to build their own state of the art facility in Marlborough – a move that will give the family owned wine company full control over their future winemaking in the region, where over 80% of the company’s production comes from. . .


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