Rural round-up

29/08/2017

A2 Milk outperforms once again – Keith Woodford:

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

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

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

A School of Rural Medicine to be established:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Feds Wonder Why We Would Need A Tourist Tax?:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Wine exports reach record high:

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

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

More Kiwis than ever are enjoying speciality cheese:

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

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

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

Largest ever Bayer Young Viticulturist of the Year National Final:

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

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


Rural round-up

21/07/2017

Surrender now and we’ll pay a huge cost in future – Will Foley:

If the dam is dead, as its opponents are claiming, we’ve missed a great chance to smooth the jagged edges of Mother Nature.

Right now, Hawke’s Bay is sodden. A welcome but uncharacteristic (in the current weather pattern) wet autumn set us up to be wet right through the winter and that’s exactly how it’s playing out.

We’ve swung from one extreme to the other; as recently as February we were fretting about another dry summer. . .

Patangata Station shortens supply chain and buys own butchery – Kate Taylor:

An overheard conversation led to a Central Hawke’s Bay farming couple diversifying into retail butchery. Kate Taylor reports.

The market wants to know where its meat comes from, say Duncan Smith and Annabel Tapley-Smith, the owners of Patangata Station and the new owners of Waipawa Butchery.

“When people buy meat from Waipawa Butchery they now know it’s finished at a farm just 10 minutes up the road,” says Smith.

The couple took over the butchery at the beginning of the month. It was sold by 77-year-old Murray Stephens who had worked there for 60 years and owned it for 40. The Smith family has been farming in Central Hawke’s Bay for just as long and has been shopping at the butchery for many years. . . .

Variety is the spice of life on Miranda Farm – Andrea Fox:

If Waikato agroforester and dairy farmer Graham Smith could bottle his energy, he’d make a killing.

Running four businesses from his 37 hectare farm in the Korakonui area, 25km south east of Te Awamutu isn’t enough: he’s about to launch a fifth, and just for fun, excavate a submerged ancient forest and create a little sport museum.

Profitably milking 80 crossbred cows provides the base for all these entrepreneurial efforts, but it’s growing an unusual tree with multiple uses and benefits that sets him apart and proves it is possible to make a small farm a good earner. . .

Researcher using milk protein to help regrow human muscle – Amy Wiggins:

Milk could be the key to helping regrow muscle and eventually body parts.

A Canterbury University PhD student is using milk protein to create biodegradable films with 3D imprints in the shape of muscle and bone cells on them in the hope they may influence the shape and growth of cells.

Azadeh Hashemi is focused on creating those films using casein – one of the two proteins found in milk – so they are biodegradable and would not need to be removed if used as an implant. . .

New animal welfare regulations progressed:

Minister for Primary Industries Nathan Guy has confirmed 46 new animal welfare regulations will be developed this year.

“Changes we made to the Animal Welfare Act in 2015 have allowed us to create directly-enforceable regulations. This has given the Act more teeth, and creates more tools to deal with mistreatment of animals,” says Mr Guy.

“These 46 regulations include stock transport, farm husbandry, companion and working animals, pigs, layer hens and the way animals are accounted for in research, testing and teaching. . . 

New app to measure success of wildings control:

For the first time, authorities fighting the spread of wilding conifers will have a complete picture of infestations throughout the country, says Minister for Land Information Mark Mitchell.

“Land Information New Zealand has developed the Wilding Conifer Information System, a web-based mapping and monitoring tool, to ensure control of this invasive species is carried out in the most efficient way possible,” Mr Mitchell says. . .

Seafood New Zealand applauds paua relief package:

The Government’s financial assistance package for the Kaikoura commercial paua divers has been welcomed by Seafood New Zealand chief executive Tim Pankhurst.

“The package will help support paua divers in Kaikoura who have been under considerable financial stress since last year’s earthquake,” Pankhurst said. . .

Carrfields acquires Farmlands’ livestock business:

Carrfields Livestock has grown to a national heavyweight player in its sector following the purchase of Farmlands’ livestock business this month.

Under the deal, Carrfields Livestock has acquired Farmlands’ entire livestock business, which includes a team of nearly 30 agents mainly based in the South Island.

This extends Carrfields’ coverage of the livestock market to all major regions of New Zealand, said Donald Baines, General Manager Carrfields Livestock. . . 

Bayer Wairarapa Young Viticulturist of the Year 2017 announced:

Congratulations to Ben McNab-Jones from Urlar who became Bayer Wairarapa Young Viticulturist of the Year 2017 on 20 July. This is the second year McNab-Jones has entered the regional competition and he is over the moon to be going through to the National Final to represent the Wairarapa.

Congratulations also to Scott Lanceley who came 2nd. Lanceley is currently self-employed and contracting to different vineyards within the region. Congratulations also to  from Te Kairanga who came 3rd. . . 


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